New Jersey’s stalwart Brook Lopez looks more like a stalled wart so far this season, and nothing improved in the 18+ minutes he played on Wednesday. After shooting .499 in ’09 from the floor, Lopez is writhing around with a .381 FG%. He’s rebounding two fewer balls a game and looks more fed up with being a Net now than when the Nets lost 18 games in a row last season. It’s always comforting to spend the first few weeks of the season letting every little negative pass because “the season is still young.” Well, this was New Jersey’s eighth game 0f 2010. If this season were a person, it would be nearly 10-years-old. Yeah, perhaps it’s too early to freak out about where he’s going to college or when he’s going to give us grandchildren, but comparing Lopez’s growth this season (growpez?) to his other season’s of growth, he went from reading at the fifth grade level to scribbling in coloring books. Regression, son. Regression. The situation seems to be that Avery Johnson doesn’t care to hold back from screaming at Lopez. Frankly, Johnson is treating Brook like Robin. Not cool. The Nets aren’t going to trade Lopez, but Johnson has taken the worst team in the Eastern conference last year and made them 3-5, so at this point, he’s not on the short list of coaches on unemployment-watch. Lopez is too good to trade at a loss just yet and he’s too good to bench unless your backups are stellar. You’re going to have to bear it until something gives. This is me telling you to bear it until something gives.
Here’s what else I saw in fantasy basketball yesterday:
Troy Murphy – Sat out yesterday’s game after I suggested Murphy stay on the bench until he starts producing. No, not you, real Troy Murphy. Fantasy Troy Murphy must sit on the bench! Sadly, his status remains inconclusive until Murphy figures out how fantasy basketball works.
Sonny Weems – 20/2/2 in 30 minutes. Expect lines like this as long as Leandro is laidlow. If your league is deep enough to own Barbosa, it’s deep enough to own Weems.
Amir Johnson – He’s averaging 26 mpg in his last four games. In that time he’s averaging 11.8 pts/9 rbd. Also, Reggie Evans left with an injured hip. Jrue story. You know what to do, deep leaguers.
Linas Kleiza – Four points in 17 minutes against the Bobcats defense. Kleiza’s played well against the Kings, Knicks, Cavs and Warriors. He’s not done well against the Jazz, Lakers and Blazers. Blockhead Linas is getting manhandled by teams who tend to manhandle other teams.
O.J. Mayo – 4/3/3 in 29 minutes after shooting 1-for-8 from the field. Call him No J Mayo.
Jrue Holiday – He’s averaging 18/9 in his last five games. Hey, Chauncey Billups! Is that you? No, it’s Jrue. Who? Jrue. Oh.
Carlos Delfino – Missed his second straight game with a strained neck last night. I’ve been there before. With me, my neck strain is usually caused by marathons and unending girls in jogging shorts. Hi-O! Anyway, he’ll have three more days until Milwaukee plays again.
Brandon Jennings – Has improved his FG% .055 since last season along with his rebound and assist numbers. Really, only his free throw shooting is notably down. Considering he looked like Oscar Robertson 12 months ago, I’m holding my breath until we’re through February.
Corey Maggette – For just the second time in nine games, Maggette played 30 minutes. Not coincidentally, for just the second time in nine games, he scored 20 points. Call him Corey MPG (pronounced ’emPEEgee’). Still doesn’t explain how he managed no rebounds and an assist.
Andrew Bogut – Hasn’t cleared 26 minutes, 10 points, or seven rebounds in either of his last two games. Might be nothing. Might not be nothing, which would make it something. Monitor his next game as closely as the hobo monitors the Whole Foods dumpster.
Ersan Ilyasova – 17/10 in 27 minutes. If you weren’t convinced that the important fantasy players on this team are going to be the mpg leaders, this game should be all the proof you need.
Zaza Pachulia – Relieved Jason Collins of having to defend Bogutron. He scored a season-high 16 points in just under 23 minutes. Even a broken clock is right … when Jason Collins starts against Milwaukee.
Jameer Nelson – Returned Wednesday and dropped 19/5/7 with four threes and two steals That’s two games in a row in which he’s scored at least 19 points and dished out at least six assists. I picked him up in the same shallow league I dropped him in after he shot .250 and averaged seven points over a two game span. I expect to drop him 2-3 games from now.
John Wall – First career triple-double, just a week after missing a points-assists-steals triple-double by one steal. LeBron never triple-doubled his rookie year, and Tyreke Evans didn’t do it until March. Blake Griffin won’t do it this season because Blake Griffin doesn’t have a trio of fantasy skill sets.
Kevin Martin – There is one foolproof time to haul ass down a highway without fear of getting nabbed by the fuzz: right after you pass someone else getting pulled over. There won’t be another cop for at least 20 miles. Punch it, Chewie! Anyway, Martin just passed Aaron Brooks getting pulled over for the next 4-6 weeks and he hit the gas to the tune of 31/7/6 with a steal. Have a fun 20 miles, kids!
Yao Ming – The Rocket doctors (Roctors!) were considering lifting Yao’s restrictions on back-to-back games and perhaps his 24 minute limit. *Poof* Whoa, where’d you come from Karma Chameleon? I didn’t see you there. Yes, that’s the point. I blend in. So, uh, what’s the deal with Yao? He left with a sore leg because after a few games they already started discussing bending the strict limits. That’s cold, K.C. Hey, Adam and Eve weren’t allowed to lick the forbidden fruit, okay? Either stay away or don’t. There can be no bending … or licking. At this point, if you don’t already know to grab Brad Miller and Jordan Hill (in that order) it’s because you don’t care to know.
Ishmael Smith – Started in place of the injured Brooks and the recovering Kyle Lowry. He went 12/3/5 in 26 minutes. The fact that Lowry played this game suggests that this represents the peak of Ish’s season. He might start one more depending on how Lowry responds to yesterday’s game. Hey, it could be worse. A week ago, Smith thought the highlight of his season was going to be when Yao accidentally sneezed right on top of his head.
Wilson Chandler – Started at PF, moving Amar’e Stoudemire to the five and giving New York a front court averaging 14.4 combined rebounds per game, or the number of boards Amar’e should be averaging per 36 minutes. The shift suited him well as the Knicks and Warriors fired all of their guns at once and Wilson came out with 27 points.
Carl Landry – Coming off a 4/0/1 game, he dropped another 4/5/0 turd on all of Creation. If you have room on your bench, bump him. If you don’t, dump him.
Tyreke Evans – 5/3/9 with five turnovers before fouling out. Was this unforgivable because it was against the Timberwolves or completely understandable for the exact same reason?
Michael Beasley – Crushed his career-high in points (42). Notice how I clarified that I was talking about getting high on points? By now, he really should be owned across all leagues. Probably not started, but certainly owned.
Kevin Love – Sat out 12 minutes between the third and fourth in a tight one in Sacramento after posting a 0/6/0 line. He finished with 8/9/0. You knew it wasn’t going to be a good night when he showed up to practice yesterday still wheezing from the Laker game the night before. Here’s a fun game to play: “Who Hates Him More,” where we try to guess which coach hates which of their players more. Our contestants: George Karl and J.R. Smith, Avery Johnson and Brook Lopez and Rambis and Love. Karl and Smith go way back, there’s a lot of history there, Johnson and Lopez are still new and may become best frienemies soon enough. I’d like to go with Rambis, since this is technically Kevin Love’s blurb (though it hasn’t really been about Kevin Love for, like, 40 words now). No. I’m gonna hafta go with Karl and Smith. It’s like Mick and Keef with them two.
Rasual Butler – 18/5 in almost 40 minutes. If you think about it, this is a piss poor line for someone who played 40 minutes, but piss poor is about all you can hope for from the hobbled Clippers at this point. I’m sure you’re wondering if Aminu, Butler, Smith, Jordan and Gomes should be owned. In deep leagues that reward quantity over quality, go for them in the order they were listed. In shallow leagues just trying to make up for losses to Gordon, Kaman and Rick Ross, look elsewhere.
Tim Duncan – 6/6 in 22 minutes as Blake Griffin was also held to only 11/8. Remember the end of ‘Rocky 3’ when Rocky and Apollo are sparring and the film freezes on both heavyweights a split second before they knock each other out? Yeah, that’s what tonight was like. Only without the freeze frame.