Gotta hand it to that Daryl Morey character.
Somehow, someway, the Houston Rockets’ GM has made it possible to like Dwight Howard again, simply by bringing him to the Houston Rockets.
Dwight was insufferable with the Magic, always whining about calls with blabber coming out of that head that was always too small for his hulking frame. And then, of course, he was even worse with the Lakers, thinking he could just come in and take the throne from Kobe Bryant.
In Houston, there wasn’t gonna be any of that disrespectin’ going on. The Rockets had Dwight working with The Dream. Kevin Freaking McHale was the coach. And Kobe might be Kobe, but James Harden’s beard is a whole other can of worms. Would you mess with that beard?
Then Morey went the extra yard and kept Omer Asik around to basically look like Omer Asik – i.e., a mega a-hole. His curiously pouty ways and passive-aggressive trade demands have made Howard look like an NBA Citizenship Award candidate.
Overall, the result has been great for the real-world Rockets, as they’re winning because of Howard and not in spite of him and his free-throw shooting, which is actually halfway decent these days.
In fantasy land, this means that it’s starting to become OK to view Howard as a studly fantasy center. Yes, even in leagues that count FT percentage.
Houston should continue to push toward the top of the Western Conference as the year goes on, and I expect Howard to rise to the occasion with guys like Coach Herman Munster breathing down his back.
Last year it looked like Nikola Vucevic was the new Dwight Howard, but this year it appears that Dwight Howard is still the Dwight Howard. Got that?
Anyway, Howard is constantly dissed in fantasy circles, so if you can swindle him in a deal now, go for it.
Here’s what else I saw around that perforated half circle over the course of the last week.
Larry Sanders – Blurred vision seems to be a real problem in Milwaukee. Sanders got it Saturday when he was poked in the eye and he could be out for a game or two next week. As we all know from his rotations, Larry Drew has had it all year, and now it also seems the front office in Milwaukee could also benefit from a visit to the eye doc. The team is reportedly getting offers for Sanders, as in, yes, we’d love to have this major head case, and sure we’ll take his giant mistake of a contract. But the Bucks are turning everyone down, maybe seeing the glass half-full after Larry’s recent decent run and the 25-15-1 he put up against Denver last week. If someone offered you anything even remotely decent for Larry in fantasy would you do it? Yep, thought so.
Ersan Ilyasova – Never mind the lingering back issues. When he boards he doesn’t score, and when he scores he doesn’t board, and he doesn’t block at all. And he’s 6-10. This guy still 74 percent owned in Yahoo? What the Buck?
John Henson – With both Sanders and Ilyasova out, Henson got the start and brought home a 14-10-4 line (and 50 percent shooting) in 40 minutes of work. If you’re fighting for your life, you just can’t hold the Muppet Man. If you can afford to stash him, and you want to gamble that Sanders will indeed get dealt, by all means, stash away.
Derrick Williams – Never fails to disappoint. Yeah, he had a double-double of 11-12-1 gobbling up minutes while Rudy Gay was out, but he shot just 2-11 in a losing cause on Friday. That was sandwiched by two real stink bombs, including last night where he all but vanished.
Jared Sullinger – Nice, Nice, baby. In his three games since earning Boards-N-Blocks headlining status last week Sully averaged 20.3 ppg, 12.6 rpg and 1.6 bpg, including his 31-16-1 bust out Friday in Sacramento. Get him if you still can.
Ronny Turiaf – It wasn’t a block … it was a block monster! He’s been swatting mad while filling in for Kevin Love and Nikola Pekovic, averaging 3.4 per game over the last five including a solid 8-13-3 Saturday against the Blazers’ tough front line.
Jonas Valanciunas – Hurting in the guts department, but Raptors fans knew that already. Might miss some time after putting up two straight double-doubles. He’s playing like Spencer Hawes from a few years ago, and if you want to know what that was like ask a 76ers fan, then get ready to unload the Weezer song.
Nikola Vucevic – Had his best game production-wise since returning from the concussion, contributing 19 points, 13 rebounds, 2 steals and a block in yesterday’s big win at home against the Pacers. I’ll say it again: He just seems shaky this year for some reason. Look for a deal.
Luke Babbitt – Deep league special! I don’t want to go too overboard here, but we might be watching “The Luke Babbitt Story” unfold before our eyes. Stellar college career? Check. Draft day joy turned to stinging banishment to the D-League? Check. Dubious breaking of a contract with a Russian basketball team? Check. Now the story of redemption, as the Pelicans have brought in Babbitt to shoot some three’s and maybe get some boards and blocks in 20 minutes per night or so. OK, maybe I did go a little too overboard …
Kyle O’Quinn – Is this dude’s beard big and bushy like Santa Claus or does he have an abnormally huge jaw? More importantly, was his six-block game last Wednesday for real? Not sure he can do that again, but Jamaica, New York, is a tough place, and O’Quinn’s a big body, and he gets a lot of boards in a very short amount of time. Keep an eye on this guy.
DeAndre Jordan – Ho-hum, 10-20-4 in a 45-point decimation of the Sixers last night, all while making the Philly frontline look like little boys. So beastly.
Rudy Gobert – Was pumped to see my man get a whopping 31 minutes in last Monday’s blowout loss to the Raptors, in which he had 8 rebounds and 3 blocks. Was bummed when reality kicked me in the Goberts and Rudy went back down to six minutes in his next game Friday.
Little Big Man of the Week: Randy Foye. As surprising as it has been to see the three-point specialist put up 20-point games at will, it’s been even more mind-boggling to see a 6-4 shooting guard blocking a crap load of shots. He’s averaging almost 2 bpg over his last four, including four last Wednesday against the Bucks.