I’m in Florida visiting family for the next two weeks, so the next two installments of Dimes will be short and to the point, as opposed to my usual novelette. I’m staying in a house with 12 family members, ranging in age from 8 to 70. My chances of finding privacy or some sort of understanding about why I’m writing about fantasy basketball right now instead of hanging out with them are slim to nil.
No matter. There’s a lot happening in the NBA and players of fantasy hoops can’t stop, won’t stop for family time. Myself included.
Just as a personal, non-basketball note: I feel like a fish out of water as a Canadian spending time in the United States. I’m adjusting to the general lack of poutine, disregard for the metric system, and the way you spell rumour and favourite. I do, however, enjoy how easily I can see live basketball. Knicks at Magic tonight and Warriors at Heat on January 2nd. Game on!
Add Andray Blatche / Mirza Teletovic
Brook Lopez has officially been ruled out for the rest of the 2013-14 season with a broken right foot. Yes, the same foot that he broke multiple times in 2011-12 and had several surgeries on. It’s an infinite bummer for Lopez owners (myself included) who have to drop him and find a way to replace his 20.7 points, 6.0 rebounds, 1.8 blocks per game, .563 shooting from the field, and .817 shooting from the line. The best replacement options in the Nets lineup are Andray Blatche and Mirza Teletovic.
In the nine games that BroLo has missed this season, Blatche has averaged 17.6 points, 6.4 rebounds, 1.3 steals, 0.8 blocks, .561 from the field, and .829 from the line. That’s pretty close to Lopez’s production and the most obvious choice for his replacement. A dark-horse candidate to breakout is Teletovic. He has started two of the last three games and averaged 14.5 points, 4.5 rebounds, 0.5 steals, 0.5 blocks, and a ridiculous 4.0 threes in those starts. His percentages are a bit of a drag, with season averages of .387 from the field and .588 from the line, although his .414 from deep is pretty good. Blatche has a more proven track record of stepping up as an injury replacement, but keep a close on Teletovic as a possible up-and-comer who isn’t very widely owned yet.
Add Giannis Antetokounmpo
Call him Greek Freak, call him Alphabet, or be brave and call him Giannis Antetokounmpo. Either way, call him a decent add and an above-average stash for a possible breakout as the season wears on. NBA pundits are very bullish on the rookie and his potential. He has become an important part of the rotation over the last six games for the Bucks, averaging 10.7 points, 6.7 rebounds, 1.8 assists, 0.7 steals, 0.8 blocks, .486 shooting from the field, and .829 from the line. His needle is pointing up and the seemingly always depleted and terrible Bucks could soon switch to full-on development mode, meaning big things for the 19-year-old.
Drop Ersan Ilyasova
I’ve been one the biggest advocates for holding onto Ersan Ilyasova through his struggles, as he has a history or turning craptacular starts into strong finishes (I outlined this in Volume 1). Well, even I have my limits. He has been “shut down” for the foreseeable future with a nagging ankle injury. The Bucks have tons of guys who can step in and take his minutes and there are plenty of scrubs on fantasy waiver wires stepping up as injury replacements that are more worth your roster spot than Ily. Even when playing this season, he has only averaged 8.2 points, 4.6 rebounds, 1.7 assists, 1.1 steals, 0.2 blocks, and 0.4 threes per game, while shooting .383 from the field, .216 from deep, and .786 from the line. No one would fault you for moving on.
Add Tony Snell / D.J. Augustin
Derrick Rose is out for the season, Jimmy Butler is in and out of the lineup with toe and ankle injuries, Kirk Hinrich has back issues, and Marquis Teague generally stinks. By default, rookie Tony Snell and newly-signed D.J. Augustin are producing in the Bulls backcourt, because there’s literally no one else left to do so. Snell has posted 13.5 points, 6.5 rebounds, 2.0 assists, 0.5 steals, 1.0 block, and 3.5 threes in 42.7 minutes per game over his last two, while Augustin has averaged 13.8 points, 2.3 rebounds, 8.0 assists, 1.5 steals, and 2.8 threes in 37.6 minutes per game over his last four. As long as the Bulls are so decimated, Snell and Augustin make good plug-and-play options.
Add Lakers Wings
Sigh. In Volume 6, I was all like, “Drop your Laker wings, Kobe’s back, they’re not reliable.” Now, I’m all like, “Kobe’s out another six weeks, someone’s got to pick up the slack, pick up (Lakers wing X) again, because he’s hot right now.” Seriously, on any given day, you could get a decent game out of Nick Young, Jodie Meeks, Xavier Henry, or Wesley Johnson. The chances of them producing now are only further compounded by the fact that every serviceable point guard for the Lakers (Steve Nash, Steve Blake, Jordan Farmar) is out with an injury. I won’t bother ranking them or spewing stats, because it will all change in a matter of days. Personally, I’m not interested in owning either of them, but they all make sense as a temporary add if you need to. Add Young if you need points and threes, Henry if you need points and steals, Meeks if you need points, threes, and steals, and Johnson if you need peripherals (steals, blocks, threes). Honestly, you’re probably better off just finding something four-sided and flipping it.
Sell Thad Young
Thaddeus Young may have requested a trade from the Sixers and maybe he didn’t. It’s all he said, he didn’t say at this point. Regardless, he’s been in trade rumors most of the year and the chance is certainly there that he gets moved before the deadline. The situation in Philly is a fantasy dream and his value is certainly at its highest while he’s in a Sixers uniform. At the chance that he gets traded to a contender and drops off, you should be moving him for equal value right now. You could even sell a bit high at the moment, as he’s averaging 18.7 points, 6.4 rebounds, 1.8 assists, 1.3 steals, 0.7 blocks, and 1.2 threes per game in December, while shooting .531 from the field, .464 from deep, and .808 from the line (career numbers of .511, .346, .696 respectively).
Buy Josh Smith
Josh Smith’s season-long value is dragged down by low percentages (.408 field goal, .261 three-point, .573 free throw) and high turnovers (2.5 per game). He’s not quite living up to his lofty early-round ADP, posting his lowest averages in four years in points (15.4), rebounds (6.5), assists (3.3), and blocks (1.5). He was off to a slow start as he was getting acclimated to his new teammates in Detroit, but has been absolutely crushing it as of late. In his last five games, Smoove has averaged a stellar 23.6 points, 6.0 rebounds, 2.8 assists, 2.2 steals, 1.6 blocks, 0.6 threes, and only 1.2 turnovers (good enough for top-20 value in the league over that period). He’s one of only four guys in the league that gives you a steal, a block, and a three per game and he’s clearly trending upwards. Now is the time to buy while his year-long numbers still look below-average.
Add Lou Williams
Lou Williams hasn’t found consistency since coming back from his ACL tear, but he has shown flashes of recapturing his old form. In his last four contests, he has had two games where he averaged 3.5 points, 0.5 steals, 0.5 threes, and .231 shooting from the field sandwiched between two where he averaged 26.0 points, 2.5 steals, and 6.0 threes, while shooting .586. It’s really a tale of two players, but he’ll likely be closer to the better version as he gets further removed from his surgery. Coming back from an ACL injury often takes time (see Ricky Rubio’s early and late season splits from last year), so he should gain some consistency as the season wears on and is worth an add for that upside.
Add Marco Belinelli
Marco Belinelli has played well over his last two games, averaging 22.5 points, 3.0 rebounds, and 4.5 threes, shooting .552 from the field, .563 from deep, and hitting all four of his free throws. He’s been fairly productive in spurts this year, but has disappeared for stretches as well. For now, Coach Popovich seems more intent on giving Belinelli minutes over regular starter, Danny Green. Impressively, Belinelli has actually managed to rank 33rd on our NBA Player Rankings with an nERD of 5.2 on the year. While he’s hot, Belinelli makes for a good spot start if you’re looking for points and three-pointers.
Buy Kemba Walker
Your chance to buy low on Kemba Walker may have already passed, but you should definitely give it one last shot. Despite an early-round ADP, he was only performing at late-round value on the year up to 10 days ago. Over the last five games, on the other hand, Kemba has averaged 26.2 points, 4.6 rebounds, 4.2 assists, 1.8 steals, 0.6 blocks, and 2.4 threes, while shooting an absurd .623 from the field, .522 from deep, and .852 from the line. That puts him at first-round value, which most would claim is a perfect sell-high moment. I, however, believe Kemba is a great all-around player to own and that perhaps you can still use his early season struggles to buy him at a discounted price while he's moving on up.
Drop Omer Asik
In Volume 2, I told you to drop Omer Asik, because he’s not going to be much of a fantasy asset playing behind Dwight Howard in Houston. Last week, I told you to add him because the Rockets seemed close to trading him and he would be a fantasy asset once again if he landed on a team that would start him at center. Well, if you’re still stashing him, trade talks have died off for the time being and he’s safe to drop once again. If he pops up in trade talks again, he’ll always be worth a speculative add and stash, but for now you can move on for a hot free agent. This situation is likely to flip-flop back and forth at least another dozen times before it's resolved, so be prepared for this opinion to change a few more times.
Add Tony Allen
Tony Allen is known for being a defensive stalwart in real basketball, but tends to be an afterthought in fantasy hoops. With the Memphis Grizzlies being so depleted by injuries, Allen is being asked to do a little bit of everything. He’s averaging 11.0 points, 4.3 rebounds, 2.1 assists, and 2.1 steals (seventh in the league) on the year, while shooting an impressive .516 from the field and .720 from the line. In the last three games in particular, with several Grizzlies missing time due to injury, Allen has stepped up and averaged 17.0 points, 8.7 rebounds, 3.3 assists, 2.3 steals, and 0.3 blocks. He’s definitely a must add while he’s hot with the chance of sustaining value for the rest of the season.