Sorry Bargs, it’s not “Il Mago” you’re “Il Diva”. After whining about playing time in Toronto saying he wanted to play somewhere warmer to the Italian media, the obvious answer is the tropical climate of New York City. Il Diva disappeared in his final year in Toronto, playing under 30 minutes a game for the first time since 07-08. His FG% fell to a career-second worse, the 3PT% second worst and tied a career-worst in rebounding. After 35 games, they cut open his elbow and he cut his ties with the great country of Canadia (sp?). Enter 2013-14 and Bargnani was coming off the bench, and Knicks fans were even booing him after one quarter. Welcome to the Big Apple! I saw some early Knicks action as well, and Bargnani looked as bad as Amar’e Stoudemire. Hey-o! But then Tyson Chandler went down with the broken leg, thrusting Il Diva into a starting role. At that point, I put no stock in either Bargs or Amar’e, but Bargnani has been able to prove something to me: he needs big minutes to be able to do anything. And it’s not a per/48 thing, it’s getting comfortable in the game. Through this season, in the 5 games he’s under 30 minutes he’s shooting 48.8% for 10.2/1.4/0.4 with 0.8 threes a game. And didn’t log a single block. In 3 games over 30 minutes, he’s 53.8% 23/7.7/1.7 2.3 Blks and 2.7 threes a game. Even at per/48 rates and taking into account the small sample, the disparity is shocking. Since Chandler is out a good while healing up the broken leg and Amar’e is just a huge contract sitting on the bench, Bargnani is going to get huge minutes (almost always over 30) and continue this run. “Let me play lots or else I stand around!” Must own in all leagues, a statement I made last week and confirmed with another 24/4 line with three threes and a block last night. Here’s what else I saw in last night’s action:
Carmelo Anthony – A ridiculous 30 shots. Ridiculous in that he should’ve had more since J.R. Smith couldn’t hit the broad side of a crack den shooting 4-16. 45/10/4 for Melo. Huge.
Metta World Peace - He’s terrible. Had a nice little run for a while, but with J.R. back and pulling his Anchorman weatherman stunt, it’s Metta World Bench.
Iman Shumpert - Trade rumors still swirling like a Helen Hunt movie. Do I make too many movie references? Probably. Does Shumpert need to be on the wire in almost all leagues? Definitely.
Jeremy Lin - Return to NY! Linsanity! 7-16 for 21/5/3 only hitting 1-6 threes after knocking down 9 Wednesday night. But he still got 4 more minutes than Patrick Beverley, who went a paltry 5/2/2. If you’re in a deeper league, the time is now to try and buy PBev if you can.
Omri Casspi - Disappointing. Sometimes your vices can disappoint, what can I say? 1-3 for 4 points hitting a three, but no other stats in 17 minutes. He was The Invisible Israeli. Doesn’t that just sound like an Oscar-winning movie, right off the bat?
James Harden - Got knocked around a little and stayed on the floor for a minute at one point. I would say it was another flop, but that was just too long a performance. Luckily he had 18 free throw shots to slow down the game.
Dwight Howard – Couldn’t get into the offense. Only 1-5 for 7 points, but still got you your 15 board and 4 blocks. Hilariously, Steve Kerr during the broadcast was like, “the Knicks need to bring Bargnani in, and I can’t believe I’m saying this, but for his defense!”
Omer Asik - Wants out. He wants to take the Midnight Express outta Houston. Scratched and it’s looking bad until he gets somewhere else.
Terrence Jones - Second straight start, and in 34 minutes 6/8/2/1/1 of solid production. I don’t think this is far from the norm and useful in deep leagues. Still think Casspi gets a look against smaller lineups without the need for Jones to D up someone.
Greg Smith - Took a terrible fall after being on the court a mere 40 seconds. Did not look good on replays. Then on TNT Overtime he was grimacing literally inches from the cameraman. Getting a little voyeuristic, no? The age of media… Nothing big for fantasy, but thins out the Houston bigs even more.
Andre Iguodala - 14/1/9/1/1 no TOs and a huge game-winner. Dude shot 5-6 (2-2 3PT 2-2 FT) in one of the more efficient games this year. Tangent idea I have – ESPN should make a “Top 10″ fantasy league, where you draft all athletes, and you get a point per Top 10 appearance, maybe 2 for the top play. You play H2H weekly or something like that. I would be all o’er dat.
Klay Thompson - 3 blocks last night?! Say whaaaa? 10-15 (6-9 3PTM) 27/5/2 with no TOs. The Warriors had 7 turnovers last night. They managed to have a Mark Sanchez game.
Harrison Barnes - Got a lotta rock last night. 6-14 16/3/1 and two of those Warriors turnovers! Unacceptable. It was the first time Barnes had taken more than 8 shots and is a decent filler guy in deeper 12 teamers and beyond. But I still don’t see much more value than that.
Andrew Bogut - Another quiet great line in not big minutes. 6/7/2/3/0.
Reggie Jackson - Listen, he’s still good talent-wise, but I don’t buy his upside in fantasy while on the Thunder. I don’t see any way he’s moved this year, but a change of scenery could make him dynamite somewhere else. 5-9 12/5/3, it’s all decent, but only for the really deep leagues.
Steven Adams - Another start and another disappointment. I bet you Adams supporters are wishing he was still off the bench! I kid, I kid, I was buying into the upside too, but only 14:10 last night, going 1-1 for 2 Pts and no other stats except a TO. Yikes. And there was still no Kendrick Perkins either. The Thunder stayed small against the smaller Warriors lineups, but Adams is surely slipping.
Serge Ibaka - This is what I’m talking about! It was a slow start, but a huge 27/13 night with three blocks, shooting 9-14 and 9-9 FT. It’s all turning around for one of my bold picks and stalwart on several teams. REL look out!
Russell Westbrook - Man, looked killer last night. Would’ve had the game winner if Iggy wasn’t gettin’ Iggy with it. 31/9/5 with three steals. Remember when I had him in the top 5 and everyone yelled at me? Then the knee injury news faked everyone out… Ugh…
Lou Williams - Now up to Day-to-Day and close to returning from ACL surgery. Lou was ballin’ last year before he got hurt. He’ll be eased in and don’t think it changes the fantasy outlook of anyone too much, but the main guy that may lose 5 minutes a night is Commenter darling Kyle Korver. He was at 30 mins/per last year and is at 35 this year. Given a lot of that was without Lou anyway, but yeah, Korver might slide back into ThrAGNOF streaming!
Chauncey Billups - His knees are old, and he may sit out a few games. Kentavious Caldwell-Pope alert! If he was dropped and you have room for a spot start tonight in a deep league, worth a roll-a-da-dice.
Next Games: I’ve got CHA @ CLE then MIN @ DEN. Game 1 should be a snooze fest, but pumped to see my boy Corey Brewer off his best game this year against his former team. This rounds out week 3 from me, good luck over the weekend and see you Monday!