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The Atlanta Hawks, record-wise, are winners. They’re 12-7 so far this season. But, really, there isn’t a bigger batch of losers with winning records out there. They rely on Mike Bibby to give ‘em 29 minutes per game. Marvin Williams still hasn’t turned into the dynamic swingman they hoped for … yet still starts for Atlanta. Jamal Crawford has an expiring contract on his mind and is playing like it. Or perhaps, I should say he played like it. I doubt he stays rutted for much longer. The newest boner sticking out of the Hawks’ waistband is that Joe Johnson‘s sudden elbow injury is going to force him to miss 4-6 weeks. Actually, he won’t miss 4-6 weeks. He’ll be there for all of the weeks. He’s just gonna sort of let them pass him by while not playing basketball. Crawfords Jordan and Jamal will both be playing basketball, as will Maurice Evans. Evans might even start to keep Crawford’s bench spark in tact. Either way, it won’t matter. Jamal will see a bump in minutes from 29 to about 35 and Evans will see a bump from 19 mpg to 23-25. Also, Bibby may have to play so many minutes that he gets the jelly legs like dehydrated marathon runners right before they fall face first onto the sidewalk. And although that last part might be kind of funny, the fantasy damage here isn’t. Out goes a third-round pick until sometime in January and in his place is either a sharpshooter with a dull shot or Mo Evans, a guy who probably won’t throw down anything better than 10/4 with a three here and there. Damn you, cold chill of December.

Here’s what else I saw in fantasy basketball last night:

Carlos Boozer – Made his season debut to the tune of 5/2/1 in 21 minutes. Did you bench him like I told you? No? Well, Chicago plays Boston next. Heed me, bro. Heed me.

Joakim Noah – 16 points, no rebounds. It was the first time in his career he played more than seven minutes and failed to grab a rebound. Honestly, this seems impossible to me. I didn’t watch this game but I picture Noah and Boozer constantly looking at each other with that I thought YOU had it - look on their face as the Magic go sprinting to the other end of the court.

Russell Westbrook – He played in a triple overtime game in which he was guarded by New Jersey’s backup PG and Durant was wearing a suit on the bench. I’m kinda surprised he only ended with a 38/15/9/3 stl line. Honestly, does anyone dance as close to triple-doubles as this guy? High school chaperons are putting balloons in between the two.

Brook Lopez – Yes, yes. The Nets and Thunder slugged on each other for 63 minutes last night and neither team played their bench much, so everyone had a monster game (except Durant and Harris, of course. HawHaw!) Even though Lopez ended with 28/11 and three blocks in 53 minutes, the fact that a career .505 shooter shot .304 from the floor last night makes me want to stick my head in the oven. How can you shoot 30 percent from the field when your “field” is no further than 15 feet from the basket?

Pau Gasol – 8/9/3/sore hamstring. Gasol hasn’t scored 16 points in the last four games, the Lakers haven’t won in the last four games. Career-high 39.4 mpg = gassed Gasol.

Matt Barnes – 14/8 in 30 minutes. He averaged 8/3.4 in 22 minutes in the previous five. The latter is closer to his norm, but Gasol is going to need a break sometime and it’s possible Barnes will see a small (and short) increase in minutes.

Baron Davis – Returned, came off the bench to drop 7/10 in 23 ½ minutes and was clearly on his best behavior. He looked winded in limited minutes, but I’d be shocked if he’s not L.A.’s starter two games from now. I’m also pretty sure he’s very sorry about the last three weeks.

Tony Parker – Frozen Tony-watch: Sat out most of the second half and has shot 11-for-37 (.297) in his last four games. If you added 10-for-11 from the charity stripe, you’d have the average Kevin Martin daily line.

J.R. Smith – 20/10/1 in 32 minutes. Carmelo still battled the flu, but he’s worth a stash (Smith, not Carmelo). So stash Smith either on your bench if you’ve got the room, or in the back of your brain in case someone else goes down in Denver and you need a hefty shot of scoring.

Larry Sanders – 14/10/8 blks in place of Andrew Bogut. It must be the position in Milwaukee rather than the player. If they start Corey Maggette at center one game and he does something other than drive to the basket, we’ll know there’s something magical about the team’s five-spot.

Xavier Henry – Mayo has improved his shooting efficiency playing 10 fewer minutes as Memphis’ sixth man. Unfortunately Xavier Henry is playing exactly how you’d expect a guy who pronounces his name as Zah-vee-ay to play and I’m still convinced this fun little experiment ends the second Memphis loses its second game in a row.

John Wall – Returned from his nagging ankle to drop a 19/1/8 line in 32 minutes off the bench. Only two turnovers. Good sign. Here’s another good sign.

Ed Davis – Shocked the world by making his NBA debut with an 11/6/2 blk line in 26 minutes. Here’s another good sign. Give it another game. If he approaches this again, deep leagues should take note. For now, everyone should take note that this is the Raptors and you should trust their personnel about as much as that of Con Air passengers.

Al Thornton – Returned to lineup. It’s a returnapalooza tonight! And just like most palooza’s, you have your main stage acts and the guys playing near the Port-O-Potties. 3/4/2, 1-for-5 from floor in 16 minutes.

Jerryd Bayless - 16/6/5 in 24 minutes. Went from 4.5 ppg in 13.5 minutes with New Orleans to 9.3 ppg in 16 minutes in Toronto. Also, I’m pretty sure most Canadians pronounce it Jare-eed. I’m not sure if that’s better or worse than what they called him in N’Awlins: Jerry D.

Deron Williams – 24/3/16. Had 12/10 dub-dub after 14 minutes. And if they didn’t tabulate any other stats in order to earn a triple-double, he’d have had that at halftime too. Yezzir.

Juwan Howard – Took the same number of shots (9) and played 29 seconds more than Dwyane Wade against Detroit last night. This doesn’t have any fantasy implications. Just another reason to hate watching teams play the Pistons.

Paul Pierce – Hit four threes on his way to 28 points. That’s Wes Matthews being unable to handle the Truth.

Wesley Matthews – Scored 23 points in 38 minutes, including five treys, but only went 1-for-1 in the fourth quarter. He went similarly quiet after three quarters his previous game. The only person I want getting quiet after three, is the screeching infant that lives above me.

Willie Green – If team A played Green all 17 games this season and team B played Marcus Thornton all 17 games this season, who earned the most stats? Why, yes. Willie Green is shooting better from the field and earning more assists, points, steals and blocks. But the correct answer is Russell Westbrook. Russell Westbrook earned the most stats. And frankly, your answer of “Willie Green” just seems stupid to me.

T.J. Ford – Didn’t score any points 30 minutes into the game. I know this because while watching it on TV, a production mic picked up a guy yelling, “Give it to T.J.! He fuckin’ hasn’t scored yet!” I didn’t see who yelled it, but there’s no way he doesn’t own Ford on a fantasy team.

  1. barker says:
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    is larry sanders worth a shot in my 18 team league over chuck hayes jordan hill or splitter

    will splitter ever become relevant this year ???

  2. Travis says:
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    Do we have an East Coast Bias here? lol No Love for Blake? This guy is a human highlight film! Any chance he’s real life hype equals fantasy stud?….still ranked 139 on yahoo for what it’s worth

  3. Adam

    Adam says:
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    @barker: He wouldn’t be a horrible speculative pickup in deep leagues, but realistically he won’t do much better than this this year and certainly not on any regular basis. Bogut sat out, Gooden isn’t back up to speed. It was a nice night for Sanders. Until he sees substantial time on a regular basis, he’s probably not going to be worth much, even in deep leagues.

    Re: Splitter – I can see him gaining value later in the season after a) he’s had 50+ games to acclimate to the U.S. style of play and b) when Poppovich rests Duncan even more than he’s resting him now in preparation for the playoffs.

    @Travis: No bias. I’ve spoken on several occasions about how well Blake Superior is playing. It doesn’t need to be re-iterated every night. It’s not like he’s available on waivers, right? Pay no attention to those Yahoo! ranks. They weigh percentages far more than 1/8 or 1/9 of a player’s performance and seem not to weigh steals at all. I think Howard is ranked deep into the 100s also.

  4. brad says:
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    drop bledsoe for ed davis?

  5. brad says:
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    @brad: i could also dump batum

  6. Adam

    Adam says:
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    @brad: Sure. I’d hang onto Batum, but you’ve got nothing to lose by dropping Bledsoe.

  7. Migs says:
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    Hey Adam, I think only French Canadians pronounce it “Jare-eed”, and for the most part, they could care less about basketball. Most of the rest of us Canadians would say “Jare-eh’d” eh?

    Also, I just dropped Splitter for Marvin Williams.. will this guy ever put it together? I figure he’s more relevant than Tiago right now at least… now what to do with Bledsoe….

  8. AnotherFalstaff says:
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    @Adam – I hit the trifecta since I own Durant, Harris and Batum. I’d rather hit the tri at Arlington or Sportsman’s Park. Batum looks lost on the second squad and Rush is available on the WW. Make the switch? Roddy is still out there as well. Thanks!

  9. Adam

    Adam says:
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    @Migs: Ha! I love it.

    Dropping Splitter for Williams seems smart. At least for the next month or so. I thought Williams would put it together this season in Atlanta’s motion offense. He hasn’t. If he can’t do it with the team’s best scorer out for an extended period of time, I’d be willing to right him off for good.

  10. Adam

    Adam says:
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    @AnotherFalstaff: Oof. That Jersey/OKC box score must have killed you. That’s a 63-minute long ticker tease, my man.

    Go ahead and drop Batum for Rush, but keep an eye on Batum. He’s just too good to be playing like this for long … I hope.

  11. Migs says:
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    Yeah, I’m crossing my fingers on Marvin. He’s been in this league for 5+ years and I still don’t know what he does. He’s always been one of those guys who I skim over on draft day with a “meh” because he hasn’t really stood out in any particular stat category to be useful in fantasy… He’s like the anti-Marion (circa early 2000s)

    I honestly think that Ed Davis will be a force for the Raptors in the near future. He has that “my dad was an NBA player” type of basketball IQ, looks like he’s bulked up since summer league, and is playing behind Amir, who can be a foul machine sometimes. He plays under control, and if he just gets used to setting better picks and learns the pick and roll game with Jose, he can be pretty dangerous. Not Bosh-like, but he’ll be at least be a better option than Dorsey while Reggie is out.

  12. Adam

    Adam says:
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    @Migs: I feel the same way about Williams. A lot of people feel that way. I guess that’s why I hoped he’d “get it” this season. Because no one would be watching if he did.

    Also, almost anyone is a better option than Dorsey while Reggie is out.

  13. Tony says:
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    Have they started burning jerseys, cars, and buildings down yet in Cleveland? Born and raised in Ohio, I can’t tell you tonight is going to be one night to remember…. I’m drinking already, can’t wait for the game to start! GO CAVS!

  14. Adam

    Adam says:
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    @Tony: “Mothers have called me askin’ did someone get shot!” – Tim Meadows, ‘Mean Girls’

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