When they rewrite the story of the Lockout-shortened 2011-12 NBA season, the first thing they better mention is the shocking number of disposable players that came from out of the shadows and into the light. Rubio, Lin, Green, Jenkins, Robinson, Mullens, and on and on and on, until you get to J.J. Hickson. I own Hickson on almost every last one of my fantasy teams and have spent the first 5/6 of the season taking a bath on having ranked him so high. Was I a fool? Was I evaluating him all wrong? Was he injured on the down-low? How could I be so off? The Kings dropped him from its roster. Didn’t trade him. Released him. I had him ranked in the top 80 back in December and by March, he’d been ditched. Then Portland picked him up and Hickson went from a 5/5, .370 FG% loser playing 18 minutes a game to a 15/6, .614 FG% stud with room to grow (16/9 in his last four). The Blazers aren’t great. They had been 2-6 in they’re previous eight games before Hickson suited up and improved them to a non-embarrassing 4-4. He’ll keep seeing minutes as Portland has all but shot their way out of the playoffs, which means that Hickson could shoot your team into a championship. And despite three months of seriously deep depression brought on by dark self-reflection, I never had any doubt this is where Hickson would end up. I’ve developed an ulcer and a nervous tick waiting for him to prove me right, but it was all worth it. Here’s what else happened in a busy Wednesday night.
Roy Hibbert – Couldn’t yank down a single rebound last night. And he hasn’t yanked down double-digit rebounds in 12 games. Kevin Seraphin outrebounded Indy’s all-star center last night. What’s it all illustrate? That the All-Star Game is stoopid? No. That giraffe’s are just knees and necks? Um, no. That Roy Hibbert is soft as hell? Yea- well, actually that second one was pretty great. Let’s go with that.
Jordan Crawford – Sank five threes on his way to 28 points. Ah, spring. The temperature rises, the dew falls and the Crawfords are in bloom.
Donald Sloan – Turns out, your high-priced divorce attorney also has a decent jumper. Sloan of Sloan, Sloan and Kitterman, LLC dropped 12 points and eight assists in place of Kyrie Whatshisname, whom I have all but forgotten now that the new hotness Donald Sloan is here to save the NBA. He’s averaging 11/4/6 as a starter. When the league plays this many games in this short a period, it doesn’t take much to save the NBA.
Andre Iguodala – Returned from his eye injury wearing a pair of fancy goggles. If they were Google’s new augmented reality goggles, I can only assume Iggy saw overlayed graphics in front of his eyes that said, “The Sixers are in deep cahcah.” Don’t let the poo get in the way of getting him in your lineups.
Alan Anderson – Hit three threes last night. Let him do it thrice more and then maybe I’ll host an AA meeting.
Ed Davis – Grabbed his second-highest total of rebounds of the season last night (14), but only shot the ball four times. Get greedy, Ed.
Michael Redd – Popped three threes (stutterer!) last night and ended with 19 points. He had 16 points the game before. Great. So that moves him up one slot on Phoenix’s depth chart. It now goes: Shannon Brown, Grant Hill, the French lead singer of the band Phoenix, his girlfriend Sofia Coppola, John McCain, Redd, an actual Phoenix.
Drew Gooden – Spasming back. Problematic for tomorrow’s game and therefore not probable for tomorrow’s game.
Derrick Rose – 50/50 for tonight’s game against Boston. He’s still only running at 2/3 speed, which means he can only run six times faster than everyone else instead of 10.
J.J. Barea – 15/6/8, with 3 threes in his first game in Minny’s last seven. He also committed seven turnovers, but that doesn’t really fit into the narrative that Barea owners wanted. He’ll get the next three starts at PG with Ridnour out and should be owned in all leagues during that time.
Ray Allen – Also returned after six games off. I’d keep him benched until he shows you he’s healthy enough to outdo his 5/7, 2 steal performance from last night.
Caron Butler – Season-high 28 points. My party hat is firmly planted.
Andrew Bynum – Good game, he shot another three-pointer last night after Mike Brown fined him for shooting a three last week. I am now actively rooting for Bynum to shoot threes just to further showcase how little respect Mike Brown gets wherever he goes.
Kobe Bryant – Slightly hobbled with a shin soreness, or a “shinjury” if you enjoy making fake words. Shinjuries are what happened to the world after everyone fell madly in love with the Garden State soundtrack. Remember Garden State? No. You don’t.
Eric Gordon – Returned! Finally! Sweet Relief! 15/4/4, with 2 threes. Now here’s the kicker, despite playing almost 34 minutes last night, I wouldn’t be surprised if he sees less than 30 most nights. You’ll still need to start him, of course, but adding Eric Gordon to your team now is less like adding a top 3 SG than it is adding a top 8 SG.
Greivis Vasquez – Lotta action in New Orleans last night, and I don’t mean by the trannies in the French Quarter. Well, I don’t JUST mean them. Jarrett Jack was a last-minute benching because of an ankle thingy (technical term!). If you have any room on your bench, use it on Vasquez. This is the time of year when starter’s get rested or shut-down. Vasquez is worth a ton if either happens to Jack.
Trevor Ariza – After four games off, he’s back and better than Ezra. New Orleans knows what I’m talkin’ about.
Carl Landry – Also returned and is still not better than Jason Smith. Which is almost as weird of a sentence as this next one you’re about to read …
JaVale McGee – George Karl, “New York’s taking J.R. Smith? Oh, thank Christ. I couldn’t handle another year with that head-case. Finally, a solid, smart, present team. Anyway, what are we doing at the trade deadline? … What’s that, you say? … You sonsuvabitches.”
Earl Watson – Jumped in for Devin Harris‘ emotionally unstable ankle. Speaking of unstable: Earl Watson.Still, if you miss out on Greivis, might as well take a flier on Earl.
Kawhi Leonard – He’s only averaging 20 minutes a game over his last three and didn’t score a single point last night. Drop him, but hang onto the keepsakes of your time together. Memories are not to be trifled with.
Tony Allen – Left the game with a bloody mouth, or as Ol’ Dirty Bastard might call it, “a blood mouf.”
O.J. Mayo – The only thing better than playing well is playing often. Actually, that’s not true. But it sounded good.
Dwyane Wade – Returned after a one-game layover. But he’s still banged up. You can’t bench him, but you can live your life in constant fear of having to.
Serge Ibaka – Five blocks in 24 minutes. I don’t know what’s scarier, his lack of minutes this season or the fact that it hasn’t stopped Serge from leading the league in blocks (by a lot).