Houston’s Chase Budinger has averaged 30 mpg in the three games since Thursday’s trade deadline. In that small sample size, Budinger has averaged .516/.850, along with 2.7 3pg/21.7 ppg/5.3 rpg. I don’t need to tell you how outstanding that production is from a player owned in fewer than 25 percent of fantasy leagues. You don’t need to be told. Telling doesn’t need to happen. And yet. And yet … here I go anyway. The question now is, is (stutterer!) Budinger’s production for real? Or fo’real, for those in a hurry. Or F’Oréal Paris, for those who want to apply it to their face. Short answer: no. Long answer: yes. Elaborate answer: Last week, former Rockets starting SF Shane Battier went walking in Memphis and backup PG/occasional starting SG Aaron Brooks went to Phoenix. Both those trades effectively left a) a gaping hole in the starting SF slot, b) a gaping hole in the backup SG slot, and c) me to write lists detailing the ways in which Budinger’s minutes are going to go up. And thus, Budinger has played the two best games of his season in the last six days. This is why you should add him to your roster immediately. The reason you shouldn’t add him in place of Gay or Pierce or someone, is because Rick Adleman isn’t likely to pump just Budinger full of additional minutes, nor are teams likely to ignore Budinger much longer. Also, his two best games? They were against Cleveland and New Jersey (worst and 10th worst defense in the NBA respectively). So two terrible defensive teams – still acclimating themselves from roster changes brought about from the trade deadline – came into the game under-prepared to defend Budinger? Now look at what he did against New Orleans’ sixth-best defense in the league last night: 8/2/1, with 3-for-8 shooting. So, yeah. Budinger won’t average 29/7, with 4 threes a game through April. He just won’t. Courtney Lee and Patrick Patterson will see some extra time and have their share of game highlights. Still, pick this guy up. No, his .586 average won’t last – he’s a career .435 shooter through 132 games. But even if he returns to his .440 form, the rest of his stats over the past three games have averaged out right along with his per36 averages. He’s a 15/6/1 player who will sink a pair of threes every game and give you solid shooting from the free-throw line. Your team can use that. Every team can use that. So go use that.
Here’s what else I saw in fantasy basketball over the weekend:
A.J. Price – 18/5, with four threes – all season highs. Price played 25 minutes, compared to Darren Collison‘s 24. He also took all of DarCo’s minutes in the fourth and OT. I think this was a case of Frank Vogel sticking with the hot hand, so don’t move on Price yet. But if Price continues hot-handing the rock, you might want to move quickly.
Tyler Hansbrough – 13/5 in 22 minutes. Psycho-T was thiiiis close to taking over the starting role from Josh McRoberts at the trade deadline. It didn’t happen, but keep in mind during the offseason that Indiana wanted it to.
Grant Hill – Scored a season-high 34 points. Actually, it was the most points the General scored in any game in exactly six years. On 2-27-05, Hill scored 34 points against the Heat. Jrue story. Also “jrue?” The fact that because Hill spent some of his prime years (2000-2006) injured and forgotten, he’s like someone who took a cat nap and can’t go to sleep until three in the morning, as Hill is having his best season in five years.
Aaron Brooks – Played his first minutes with Phoenix (10), scored his first points (3), distributed his first assist (1) and should be on either your bench or your free agent pool until Nash is incapacitated and no sooner.
Nick Collison – Starting with Kendrick Perkins on the shelf for the next three weeks and played 32, mostly scrappy-but-ineffectual minutes (5/6/2). Ibaka, Collison and Cole Aldrich are your pick-ups in that order, but only Ibaka should be owned in anything shallower than a 14-team league.
Lamar Odom – Twenty-two double-doubles this season, but none in the last eight games (9/7/5 last night). This is Lamar Odom. He gives you an unbelievable 40-50 games every season. the other half, he putts around with 9/8/4-ish lines that shift him from the top 30 right back to ninth-round value. He did it in ’08, ’09 and this season. See you in 2011.
Antawn Jamison – Broke his left pinky finger. He might be out, he might not. It’s the pinky finger you know? Also, it’s Antawn Jamison, you know? Also2, it’s the Cleveland Cavaliers, you know?
Wesley Johnson – He’s averaging 19.5/5/3.5 in his last two. Pretty solid stats, yes. He’s also averaging 40+ minutes in each of those games. Not only are those stats less impressive, they’re probably won’t remain that high much longer.
Rodrigue Beaubois – 5/0/1 in 15 starter’s minutes. He looks messy; and moving at about 2/3 of his normal speed (which is still 1/3 faster than everyone else, but still). If you need the roster spot, drop him, but if you can afford to hang on, I never said you’d get a lot out of him this year and anything that you might get out of him will probably come in the final two weeks of the season. I said that. A couple times. Look it up.
James Johnson – Played his best game of the season last night (8/7/7, with two steals and two blocks in 37 minutes). Just so’s we’re clear, Johnson has played a) 16 games this season, b) no more than 23 minutes in any of this season’s games when he was on the Bulls, c) as a starter. So telling you that his first three games with the Raptors were his fourth, fifth and first best games of his season is like telling you that Doc and Sneezy were two of Snow White’s favorite dwarves. Doesn’t make it not true.
Troy Murphy – Agreed to be bought out and promised to go East, old man. The good news is, he’ll have to sign by Tuesday to be eligible for the playoffs. The bad news is, there’s still no telling how he’ll fit in to a team like the Celtics or Heat. Do what you gotta.
Ryan Anderson – 6/7, with two threes; the only two shots he sank in nine attempts. This ship has sailed. Give him a hug and send him on his way.
Gerald Henderson – Shot 2-for-13 in 32 minutes against the Magic. This career .430 shooter was sinking more than half his shots over the past four games. Did you not think he’d find his average sooner or later? This is going to happen from the sophomore. I’m sure he found plenty of support and encouragement waiting in the locker room, or at the very least, Matt Carroll was there to remind him that no one was paying attention.
Chris Paul – Shooting .355 in his last nine games. *gurp* I just threw up a little in my mouth.
Carl Landry – With Okafor healthy, the best he’s gonna do is 15/6 with a block. Last night he gave you 13/3, with a block. S’a’ight.
Tony Parker – Played 14 minutes then left with calf contusion. Better that than a half-delusion, where you start thinking crazy thoughts – but only part of the time. The other part, you’re totally fine. For those of you with weekly deadlines, plug in George Hill to be on the safe side or remove Parker to be on the safe side or ride your bike on the sidewalk to be on the safe side. Whichever is most applicable to your life.
Tiago Splitter – Out for the rest of his super disappointing season with ligament tears. Secretly, he’s hoping Parker is hurt for an extended period of time so he has someone to talk to … besides Chris Quinn, I mean.
O.J. Mayo – Mayo, Tony Allen, Sam Young and Shane Battier combined for a 24/10/5 line that included six steals, but also .385 from the floor. Bucket o’ Yuck.
Marcus Camby – Returned to play limited minutes. Ended with limited value (0/6/3). Hang onto him, but give him at least a couple more games to get his feet back under him. His old, old feet.
Gerald Wallace – Only shot 4-for-12 from the floor. Give him a pass. The Portland system is still new and he was playing Atlanta. He was reminded of his old home region. Marvin Williams kept taunting him, telling him that the Bobcats robbed his house an hour after he climbed the plane to Oregon. Then Wallace reminded Williams that Chris Paul was taken later in the draft than he was and asked how his career was going in comparison to the Hornets PG so far? Then Williams kinda stopped talking to everybody.
Dwyane Wade – Shot 5-for-15 from the floor, as Shawne Williams shpwned him last night.
Mike Miller – Returned from what feels like nine different head issues to score 10 points on three treys. Also known as the Mike Miller Special.
Amar’e Stoudemire – Scored 16 points in 40 minutes. I can feel a “look how far Stoudemire’s scoring has fallen since Carmelo joined the Knicks” blurb coming on in about three weeks.