The Nets beat one of the best teams in the Western Conference last night on the strength of three bench players. So it makes perfect sense for me to choose this day to poo on him for being such a bad coach. It’s easier to destroy than to create. The Nets beat the Hornets and I wanted to destroy something beautiful, Tyler Durden. So here we go. The problem here is that at least two of those players have proven for a while now that they should not be bench players. There are several bad coaches in this league. A few of them have been fired this season, a few of them might still get fired, and yet even a few more won’t be with us come next season (if there is a next season in 2011), but none of them have acted in such a bullying manner as Avery Johnson time and time again. Even without Carmelo, this team should be a playoff contender. Not top four, but top 8, maybe even top 6 (it is the East). But again and again, Bradley gets in his own way, or his team’s way or both. Or just one. Who knows. New Jersey’s a confusing place, man. At no point this season has Johnson had a plan with this team, unless you consider benching guys that ‘irk’ him from day-to-day (to day) just because no one can stop him from doing so, “a plan.” Which, I don’t. But Jim O’Brien does and I feel that should tell Avery Johnson something. All season, Troy Murphy has sat, Travis Outlaw hasn’t. Brook Lopez went from an efficient scoring big man last season, to an inefficient, soft fantasy bust (whom I fully plan to endorse as a sleeper five months from now). Everyone except Kris Humphries has underperformed this season and even Humphries (14/15 last night) has been relegated to the bench so as better illustrate how poorly Derrick Favors is developing (10/10 in October, 4/6 so far this month). At some point Avery, why not try Sasha Vujacic (25 points last night, five treys) at SF? I know that’s not his natural position, but what have you got to lose? Besides more games, I mean. If that’s possible, which it barely isn’t.
Anyway, here’s what else I saw in fantasy basketball last night:
John Salmons – Started for the first time since January 17 and ended with a 14/1/3 line. Meh. Nothing special. But you watch, he’s going to get hot in the next couple weeks.
Brandon Jennings – 20/5/4, with three steals. You’ll take it and hope for extra helpings again soon.
Cartier Martin – Scored 15 points, on five threes.CartMart hasn’t scored 15 points since the first game of the season. He’s gonna hafta tighten that gap before I consider rostering him. Although, technically, in order to write that, I had to have decided when it’s appropriate to consider rostering him, which means I already considered it.
JaVale McGee – 15/17, with three blocks. Great game, but the guy can jump over five midgets sitting on each other’s shoulders, but hadn’t grabbed double-digit rebounds in six games before last night. Pardon me if I save my drool for when he strings several of these games together.
Rashard Lewis – 1-for-5 isn’t good, but the fact that he only shot the ball five times in 29 starter’s minutes is the bigger problem. It didn’t help last night that Ilyasova is an above-average defensive player, but ‘Shard’s career-low 17.3 USG% suggests he’s an afterthought on this offense (THIS offense!) Shallow leagues should have already dropped him, medium leagues should seriously consider it.
DeJuan Blair – 28/11, with two blocks. That’s got “…against Toronto” written all over it. Still, he’s super hot. Go! Now! You!
George Hill – 18/5/6, with two steals and two threes. One day, this will be a normal game for Hill.
Roy Hibbert – Career-high 29 points. It was also his fourth double-double in six games. If he keeps up this pace, he’ll land well ahead of my preseason projections for him, which is amazing a) because my projections were very favorable, b) he all but disappeared in December and January, and c) there’s no c, but a and b were impressive enough that you should read them over again.
Josh McRoberts - 12/9/7. He’ll be inconsistent, but he’s more a part of the offense lately and he might see a large enough increase that his averages rise across the board (they’ve already improved across the board from the last two months).
Jrue Holiday – Sucks lately. He’s a bench, not a drop.
Willie Green – 19/1 as he was moved to the starting lineup in front of Marco Belinelli. Belinelli ended with 17/3/1 from the bench, so go figure. All you need to know is Marcus Thornton has no part in the lineup shakeup.
Aaron Gray – 10/15. I wouldn’t pick him up with your team if your team slept with my ex-girlfriend. It was his first double since …holy Hell, he’s had two double-doubles in three games!?! Really? I totally forgot that. This is weird. Wait. I have to sit down. Okay, I’m sitting and it still feels weird. I’m gonna go lay down.
Chris Paul – In 51 minutes Paul managed 9/5/11, 7 tovs and was 4-for-15 from the field. Yuck. He’s still better than whoever your PG is.
Dirk Nowitzki – Ditto on that yuck (4-for-14, 10 point). Dirk doesn’t look great on the floor lately. Ignore his stats, he looks pained.
Danilo Gallinari – Threejerk!
Baron Davis – Season-high 16 assists. I’m too lazy to look it up, but when he was getting slammed in the press and dropped on a lot of fantasy teams, I said over and over that he’d bounce back. I didn’t know how far, but this Baron is the best Baron you could have hoped for back in November. That said, avoid drafting him next season at all costs. Identify what you think he’s worth and plan to draft him four rounds later.
Chauncey Billups – Took the day off, so he’ll be fresh for national TV tonight.
Stephen Curry – 13/0/2. I don’t own him in any of my leagues, mostly because I refused to take him with the first dozen picks of the draft. I can’t say I regret my decision. He’s good, but he doesn’t seem very fun to own.
Tyreke Evans – 16/10/9. He hasn’t taken a step forward as many hoped he would this season, but his step backward has been widely exaggerated. Maybe he’ll draft position next year will be a little more affordable.
DeMarcus Cousins – 19/15 … unlike this dude, who won’t be available anywhere near the ninth round like this year.
Samuel Dalembert – 20 points last night. First time all season. Very well could be the last (although Sammy D has scored 16+ in three of his last six). There’s a lot of last place fantasy teams with a handful of Pistons and Kings and no idea what the hell is going on.