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StarStreet Optimized Roster
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The Best of the Best
LeBron James - The gang's all back together! Wade and Bosh's return does mean that LeBron won't be the sole option like he was against the Wizards and Sixers earlier this week. However, that doesn't mean that I'm going away from him, especially against the Paul Pierce-less Sixers. No Pierce means Jeff Green will likely draw the short straw of LeBron duty, and his 104 defensive rating is only behind Avery Bradley's 105 among tonight's projected starters.
Blake Griffin - We'll keep on pushing him until our lungs get sore, and he'll keep coming through like his 19 points, 8 rebounds, 7 assists game against Minnesota on Tuesday. I'm pretty sure this is Griffin's third straight appearance in this particular article, but if the schedule-makers are going to feed him the injured Lakers, injured T'Wolves, and defensively poor Hornets in a row, what are we supposed to do? For my money, I'm going to feast on that No. 28 New Orleans defensive rating tonight.
Al Horford - Horford played through a hamstring injury against the Sixers and missed the prior game against the Spurs, and his cost has gone down almost universally as a result. But with him looking healthy for tonight's game against the Bucks, it's time to take advantage of that sweet market inefficiency action. Larry Sanders has already been ruled out for Milwaukee tonight, meaning rookie John Henson will likely get the start. Henson looked good against the Magic, but Horford's just a tiny bit tougher, I'd say.
Top Mid-Range Values
Zach Randolph - I'm not so sure that Randolph counts as a mid-range value personally, but if the majority of platforms are going to place him with a mid-to-high range cost, then I'm going to take advantage. The Houston Rockets run with the quickest pace in the NBA, so the Grizzlies' normal slow-it-down approach isn't a big minus mark like it normally is. Houston's No. 17 defensive rating means plenty of points opportunities as well, even if the put-backs won't be there (Houston's No. 1 in defensive rebounding percentage).
J.J. Hickson - Kendrick Perkins may be the largest walking stiff on a title contender this season, but it's still worth mentioning that the Thunder allow 101.8 points per 100 possessions with him on the court and 105.2 points per 100 possessions with him off of it. With him out against the Trailblazers tonight, the middle of the lane opens up Pacific Ocean wide for J.J. Hickson, who may be able to add some points to his always-high rebounding efforts.
O.J. Mayo - Track meet alert! The already sixth-quickest in the NBA Mavericks take on the second-quickest in the NBA Nuggets tonight in a battle of "Who can shoot more with 15 seconds left on the shot clock?" That's exactly the type of game that gets Mayo going - he shoots a .572 effective field goal percentage (eFG%) in the first 10 seconds of the shot clock and around .500 eFG% during the remaining 14 seconds.