Josh Smith only missed two of his 16 shot attempts on his way to a season-high 34 points. Has Jorsh really become a top 5 forward in this league or are we seeing simple runoff from a Joe Johnson-less Hawks team? I dunno. Does a rainbow lead to the pot of gold or shoot out of it? Statistically, Smoove hasn’t improved tremendously from last year’s totals, but he does have a pair of things going for him that suggest his top 10 status isn’t a fluke. Coincidentally, this is what they said about John Holmes 40 years ago. I never did find out what the other half of the pair was. Josh’s minutes per averages have improved. He’s playing two fewer minutes a game while still maintaining his 2009 numbers. This bears out when you look at his efficiency stats. He’s shooting over 70 percent from the line for the first time in three seasons and has the third-highest FG% of his career despite re-introducing threes into his repertoire. Oh yeah, he’s shooting threes again. Making 45 percent of his attempts too. His ability to efficiently shoot threes is like a phoenix rising from the ashes … and wondering why the Hell it was in ashes in the first place, as it had never existed before. The second half of Josh’s pair is that Larry Drew understands what an asset Smith is in a way Mike Woodson never quite did. Smith’s Usg% in his last two seasons was 22.4. This season, it’s climbed to 24.1, which has also allowed him to do more in fewer minutes on the court. For those of you who didn’t waste the spring getting drunk on Boone’s Farm in your grandfather’s garage, you’ll remember that Smith’s minutes steadily climbed as the season progressed, while his averages took the down elevator. Even if his minutes increase this year too, if he’s starting at a lower burn rate now, his stats won’t dip during fantasy playoff time. B’Gosh!
Here’s what else I saw in fantasy basketball last night:
Jamal Crawford – Crawford offered a season-high 26 points. In the last five games he’s averaging over three minutes, three points and an assist more than he did in November.
Thaddeus Young – Season-high 26/11. Wow. Cavs basketball: gotta love it!
Spencer Hawes – Double-doubled for the first time all season and I’m pretty sure Anderson Varejao made tiny cuts in his arm after the game, just to feel something again. Anyway, Hawes is averaging 9/8 in his last four games. If that does it for you, get in there and get it.
Andre Iguodala – Shot 3-of-12 and looks like an afterthought in the Sixers’ offense (18.8 Usg% this year as compared to 22.6 in his last three seasons). Relax. Breathe into this bag. Iggy’s been hurt and the rotation has been in flux. They’ll start giving ‘Dre the ball. He’ll start feeling comfortable doing something with it. There. Don’t you feel better? You should. That bag is full of cocaine.
Jodie Meeks – He’s averaging 17 points in his three games as Philly’s starting SG along with an unconscious 4.3 3ptm. I don’t want to say that he can’t keep this up, so … I’ll just tell you that I’m thinking it.
J.J. Hickson – 18/4 with a block. This is as believable as your bald co-worker showing up one day with a brand new head of hair.
Jordan Farmar – Has scored at least 16 points in each of his last five games, only two of which he started or played more than 28 minutes. He’s got to be the only Net thriving in that tortuous situation. He’s the Farmar in the Hell.
Troy Murphy – DNP-CD. F.U. Aver-E.
Luis Scola – Luis Schoolya dropped 35/12 on the Pistons, but the real story of the night is that he also exploded for one block.
Chuck Hayes – Hayes technically started, but who could tell? Houston’s Voltron trio, Jordaduck Hilleres, combined for 5/9/2 in over 44 collective minutes.
Kyle Lowry – You’re expecting me to mention the 22/3/12 and six steals he earned last night. But I’m not going to. I’m going to mention the season-high six turnovers he had last night because I own Aaron Brooks in three leagues. Schadenfreude, snitches!
Chris Kaman – An MRI revealed an ugly bone bruise that will keep him out of Wednesday’s game at the very least. The bruise’s ugliness had no real bearing on the length of time Kaman will be out because every bone in Kaman’s body is ugly, you see.
Nick Young – Dropped season-high 30 points on the Lakers last night, including six treys. Ixnay on Nick’s six treys. I really don’t know what to make of this. He’s been mostly consistent over the last 11 games and is the only NBA reserve with seven 20-point contests under his belt already, but … Nick Young: Sixth Man of the Year? I just can’t swallow it. He’s been shooting a very high three-point percentage and a ton of those were open looks from lazy defenders who didn’t respect his jump shot. Defenders will start respecting it soon enough (my guess is after last night) and we’ll see him plummet back to Earth.
Yi Jianlian – Started in his first game of the season, his 11th total in place of late-scratch Andray Blatche (I’m an almost-poet!) Blatche had a hip contusion, which is different than a hip-confusion. That’s where my mother tells me she likes gangsta rap like Will Smith and Coolio. Yi finished with 7/5 in 26 minutes, almost allowed Pau Gasol to earn a triple-double, and reminded the Wiz why he should not be starting. It sounds as if Blatche will return for D.C.’s next game.
Jason Richardson – Foul trouble. Not to be confused with “Fowl Trouble,” the poignant story of a rooster’s inability to love or guard against the pick and roll.
Chauncey Billups – Augustin was feeling hands-y and Diaw thought Billups had an Almond Joy hidden in his waistband, so they both helped him get to the line a season-high 12 times. It was just the third time this season he scored 20+ points, but the second time he’s done it in five games.
J.R. Smith – I’m going to paraphrase Limp Bizkit about 35 words from now. If that’s going to irk you, go ahead and skip down to Andre Miller’s blurb. For those of you who don’t mind soul patches and barbed wire tattoos, Smith sank four threes on his way to 14 points in just 24 minutes. After months of keeping Earl in a cage, everyone running their mouth, he’s playin’ and breaking the eff out. He keeps rollin’, rollin’, rollin’, rollin’ …
Andre Miller – Iguodala’s consecutive game streak? Done. Samuel Dalembert‘s? Done. Andre Miller’s 296 consecutive games? Done. Thanks for being frustrating, Blake Griffin!
Ian Mahinmi – 12/10 after going 8-for-10 from the free throw line. Biedrins had never seen the guy before and kept swatting at him. Let that be a lesson to any other fringe players in the league, if Biedrins mistakes you for a fan of the home team bum-rushing the court, he will swat at you like a sleepy baby.
Dirk Nowitzki – Is 7-feet-tall, attempts two treys a game and is shooting .553 from the field this season. That is all.
Hakim Warrick – Even with Channing Frye and Earl Barron in foul trouble all game long, Hakim Warrick played fewer than 11 minutes. Any instance in which Alvin Gentry removes a player from his rightful place in the rotation in favor of someone who clearly doesn’t belong there will henceforth be known as Gentryfication.