Okay, I give up. I’m flabbergasted by what’s going on in New York. Just like the last rave I attended in which everyone wore furry animal suits, I don’t get it, it scares me, but here we are and I’m going to roll with it as best I can. With Carmelo Anthony and Amar’e Stoudemire out for various reasons last week and into this week, it seems like anyone and everyone wearing a Knicks uniform has turned into a viable fantasy option on the winningest ball club in the league. It’s like the last 30 minutes of Moneyball all of a sudden. Three weeks ago, Baron Davis was New York’s only hope for lurching into the playoffs on a .500 winning percentage. Hollywood montage-ahead three weeks and two of the three biggest performers in yesterday’s game against the defending world champs were Jeremy Lin and J.R. Smith, who were not even afterthoughts for this Knicks team just a short while ago. It’s weird, man. Two seasons ago, Jose Bautista started cracking home run after home run out of nowhere and very few people believed it was anything more than a blip in the averages. He’d eventually calm down. He ended up leading the league in home runs that year and the year after that. I kind of think that’s what we’re looking at in New York. Maybe this is just the first chapter in a long saga that we’ll be used to in a few years. Kind of like the hype surrounding the high school LeBron before he started his first game in Cleveland. Fair enough. Baron is likely going to see 10-20 minutes tonight, letting Lin play fewer than 40 (for once) and ‘Melo will return one of these days (maybe tonight). Not much more can be said about Lin. He’s owned in 100 percent of the leagues. What’s shocking about the Knicks is how guys like Steve Novak (14 points, 5 threes on Sunday) and Jared Jeffries (4/7/2, with a steal and a block) are suddenly fantasy options instead of punchlines. And J.R. Smith (15/3/2, with 3 threes)? Well, we knew he had this in him. He’ll do this. And January Adam really wants to tell you that he’ll fall on his face, get back up again, drink a whiskey drink, drink a vodka drink, get knocked down, then get up again for your fantasy team. But when it comes to New York, what do I know. Maybe Smith finishes the rest of this season like 2004 Ray Allen. Grab every last damn Knick and keep your eyes wide open. Anyway, here are some more explainable things elsewhere in fantasy basketball.
Iman Shumpert – 5 pts/2 rbd, with a steal and shot .222 from the field after moving into the starting SF position with Bill Walker (and Carmelo) out with injury. Just awful, awful shot selection from the floor. All day. And all season. What can’t you be more like Jeremy, Shumpert? Bee tee dubya, “Why Can’t You Be More Like Jeremy, Shumpert” is the name of an after school special script I wrote in the ’80s that dealt with inner-city gentrification.
J.J. Redick – Understudied Jason Richardson, who was having chest pains before the game. Along with poo-pooing Richardson for eating a pair of French-dip sandwiches a half-hour before tip-off, Redick responded by knocking down five threes. Redick’s a should-add as long as Richardson is out (though it doesn’t look his arteries will be clogged too much longer).
Hedo Turkoglu – Turk often follows a five games on, five games off pattern. He just finished up averaging 1.6 3pt/13.6 pts/6 rbd/4.6 ast/1 stl in his last five. At this point, that counts as “good” for Turk. Yesterday, he went 1/0/3. So, one down, four to go!
Chris Wilcox – Stepped in again for Kevin Garnett, who is dealing with a family issue, and ended with 14/6/2. This is what he does when he gets minutes. And it looks like he’ll get minutes in Boston’s next game, too. He’s a good add, unlike 3+6=10. That’s a bad add.
Rodney Stuckey – Been playing well lately and ended yesterday’s game with 16 points, despite going 2-for-10 from the field. Yesterday was a keen example of Stuckey’s Plan B: foul-baiting, head-first blitzes into the paint.
Ben Gordon – In 24 minutes, Air Gordon only managed 4 points from seven shots. Until he shapes up, I’m calling him Error Gordon.
Bismack Biyombo – 0/8/2, with 2 steals and 2 blocks last night. He’s been good for about 8 rebounds and a pair of blocks every game this month. That’s a very specific set of skills that deserves nothing more than a golf clap, but it DOES deserve that golf clap.
Willie Green – 23.5 mpg/.600/1.000/2.3 3ptm/15 pts/1.8 rbd/1.3 ast/1 stl/0 blk/1.3 tov in his last four games. Deep leaguers might want go pounce and ride the boat ’til it starts taking in water. All other leagues should wait and see if he plays 23+ minutes in his next one or two games before adding him, as it’s worth noting that two of Green’s big-minute performances last week came in blowouts.
Isaiah Thomas – 23/8/11, with 3 threes and a block as he started at the two for the second game in a row. Until John Salmons stops sucking, Thomas is a must-own. Considering Salmons hasn’t stopped sucking in almost three seasons, Salmons is a must-drop.
Tristan Thompson – Getting minutes lately and workin’ ‘em. Last night he went 15/12, with three blocks. In his last five games he’s played 25+ minute in three of them. With Varejao out, it’s not nutty to predict this type of game keeps poppin’ up.
Jrue Holiday – Cold lately, but played hot last night 20 pts/5 ast. That means he’s gonna have cool steam coming off him. That might help make him more attractive when you try to trade him. Yes, you should be trying to trade him. He’s good, but he’s not translating his on-court game to fantasy.
Ersan Ilyasova – Grabbed 25 boards last night and now has 113 in 10 February games. No one told me Ersan Ilyasova translates to “wily whiteboy board-grabber” in Turkish. I feel like it would have been helpful to know this before today.
Mike Dunleavy – Scored a pair of points in 17 minutes as the rostisserie keep a-turning. His value is almost non-existent. He’s done. Leavy him in the free agent pool.
Brook Lopez – Unfurl the banner! Start up the band! Loosen the confetti! BroPez is BACK and … he was okay. Slightly clunky. 9/2/2, with a block. Actually, he looked like he was playing in shoes that hadn’t been broken in yet.
Gordon Hayward – 4/3/4. Gordon Wayward has been off all week.
Patrick Patterson – 8/7/1 and replaced Samuel Dalembert at center in the starting lineup, the same way most substitute teachers replace the regular teacher in the classroom. PaPa’s gonna show a movie for the next two days, maybe hand out a worksheet, nothing more.
Serge Ibaka – 14 pts/15 rbd/11 blk. I’ve renamed three of my goldfish Serge and I’ve written several letters strongly urging Kia to name its new sports utility vehicle Ibaka.
Corey Brewer – 33.5 mpg/1.5 3pt/15.8 pts/5.5 rbd/1.5 ast/2.3 stl in four as a starter leading up to last night’s barn-burner against OKC. He didn’t have one of the better games among the Nuggs, but he did have three steals, which is good enough for an add. C’mon don’t be uppity.
Markieff Morris – Get over the 5.5 rebounds-per-game ‘Kieff has averaged over his last six games. He’s a small big, which Phoenix has grown accustomed to these last couple seasons. The 1.3 3pt/13.5 pts/1.7 stl/1.8 blk in last six is more than your team deserves.
Kobe Bryant – Double-troubled last night (32 pts/10 tov). Kobe had no intention of being outdone by Jeremy Lin in ANY facet of the game. Your move, Lin!