Upon entrance into the 2010 season, the general consensus was that LeBron James was the NBA’s best player and Kevin Durant was fantasy basketball’s best option. It still appears to be that way by most accounts. It’s an opinion so common it feels like fact. Like Clooney being charismatic or the best Jell-O being lime flavored. But have you ever tasted lime Jell-O alongside orange Jell-O? Don’t ask me why I’ve got numerous bowls of Jell-O in front of me, that’s not the point. The point is, I’m unconvinced orange Jell-O is getting its due. Thunder PG Russell Westbrook has looked just as much the leader for Scotty Brooks’ team as Durant has this season. It doesn’t feel as if Westbrook is anywhere near the “best player in the league” conversation, which, as of the first 17 games of this season, is a crime. Durant has struggled with his shot, as has Westbrook. Both are shooting over .900 from the line, but Westbrook gets to the line more often. Durant blocks twice as many shots and sinks threes. Westbrook earns nearly three times as many assists and steals the ball at a heavier clip. Although they’re within one tov and 1.5 rebounds of one another, Durant has the edge in both and is averaging 3.6 more points per game than Westbrook. Advantage Durant. But not by much. And if Westbrook develops any type of mid-range jumper before the season’s end, perhaps not at all. There’s a new flavor in the discussion of fantasy’s best, and it should make the old guard shake like a bowl full of … well, you get it.
Here’s what else went on this weekend in fantasy basketball:
Josh Smith – Triple Doubled for the third time in his career. “Damn you, Josh!” – Marvin Williams, who double-doubled for the first time since March 19.
Joey Dorsey – Started in place of Reggie Evans, but more notably, started in place of Reggie Evans instead of Amir Johnson. The Razzball glossary needs a term for when a coach starts a clearly inferior player in favor of keeping the better of the two coming of the bench as an “energy guy.” Then again, the Raptors got blown out of the gym by only 18 instead of 30 or something, so perhaps Triano is on to something here!
Jerryd Bayless – 9.3/3.7/2.7 in three games as a Raptor. It’s Toronto. Literally anyone has a chance of having break out games on this team. Wouldn’t it be ironic if he played his way into a timeshare with Jose Calderon and all the Calderon owners in the league dropped arsenic into their eggnog? Hey, it’s almost December, guys. It’s officially eggnog season!
Tayshaun Prince – 31/8/7 … all season highs. Excited? Well, pump them brakes, kids. Remember how excited you were for Ben Gordon‘s resurgence back in September? Yeah, he had three points in 29 minutes last night. Or Austin Daye a month later? He’s played fewer than 17 minutes total since November 17. Or what about Charlie Villanueva last week? Yeah well he’s averaging 20.5 mpg and 8.5 ppg since then. The Detroit Pistons: where all hope goes to die.
Landry Fields – Fifth double-double of the season, second one in as many games. He’s averaging 14/9/2 in 2010 and has single-handedly made every fantasy basketball blogger question their inability to have effectively foreseen this kid coming.
Danilo Gallinari – 29/9/4 with a quartet of threes in just under 52 minutes. Now if he could only average 52 minutes every game, he’d be right where he should be.
Toney Douglas – Missed Sunday’s game with a bruised thigh, which is only slightly worse than a snooze-thigh, which I believe is what happens to players whose leg falls asleep from sitting on the bench at odd angles.
Carmelo Anthony – Played less than three minutes with a chest cold and shortness of breath. Denver’s altitude is awesome for players with breath shortness, I hear.
Tony Parker – Has shot 6-for-19 (.316) in his last two games. Clearly the match.com subscription fees are not sitting well with Monsieur Parker.
George Hill – Shooting over .500 from the floor, 1.000 from the line and averaging 17.4/3/2 over the weekend. He’s going through the backdoor to do it, but his stats are roughly where they should be, which isn’t news until one of San Antonio’s starting guards go down for a significant amount of time.
DeJuan Blair – Starting, but averaging about nine minutes per game in his last four. I have to give you this information, I don’t have to tell you what to do with it.
Marcus Thornton – Played 20:29 on Sunday, it was just the third time all season he’s cleared 18 minutes. He went 11/2/1, which is neither outstanding, nor awful. Don’t grab Thornton, but get ready to do so if these trends continue for another few games.
Blake Griffin – Earned his fifth straight double-double. Yeah, he’s averaging 29.6/14.2 over that span. Yeah, that’s extraordinary. And yeah he’s expanded his game to include 4.8 assists in that time. And yeah, he’s generally awesome. But … I forgot the point I was making.
Ryan Gomes – Was on the court for over 31 minutes and only attempted six shots. Even if he had made all six, he still wouldn’t be worth a look. He only made two, which deserves a pointed look-away, an upturned nose and a few passive-aggressive snickers in Gomes’ direction.
Chuck Hayes – Started and ended with a 5/5/3 line. Brad Miller and Jordan Hill combined for 23/14/5. If only I could combin all three bigs and only use one roster spot, then we’d be on to something. Call him Jordaduck Hilleres.
Darren Collison – 14/1/3, most of which came in the third quarter. I’m all sorts of unsettled about DarCo. First of all, he’s only averaging about :54 more seconds per game this season than last, despite playing behind Chris Paul for 50 games last season. Second of all, his FG% is down despite his 3P% being up. For the half-dozen of you who’ve watched a Pacers game this season, you’ll note how many layups and shots close ot the basket he’s missing. Third of all, the only per36 statistic dreadfully off from last year is his assists, which strikes me as off because he has more options on this team to pass to than last year’s Hornets. All that said, these are all things he should be able to adjust and improve as he gets more comfortable. By God, buy low.
Troy Murphy – Hey, Murphy played! *relieved sigh* … 2:06 fewer minutes than Derrick Favors. *exasperated sigh*
Wesley Matthews – Sank a team-high 25 points on the strength of five treys, two of which came in the final eight seconds of Portland’s loss to the Nets. This is why he should be owned. His 4-point-game on Friday is why he probably should not be started in normal-sized leagues.
J.R. Smith – Dropped 30 points in just under 30 Carmelo-less minutes on Sunday. Although this will help Smith earn more minutes, the Caremelo-less portion of that last sentence is what you should be focusing on, not the poor sentence structure.
Jason Richardson – 39/10/3 along with seven threes. Now remember this game when he goes 7/1/1 in a few games and you think he was a horrible draft day mistake, just like you thought two weeks ago when he went – well, look at that – 7/1/1!
Josh Childress – 15/5 and played over 21 minutes on Sunday, or just long enough for my girlfriend to notice him and say, “dude looks like Bubbles from ‘The Wire.’ +1 for the girlfriend.