Ain’t no telling when Brandon Roy will return this season, but the Blazers announced it won’t be anytime soon. My guess is, if the franchise doesn’t shut him down for good, they’re only not doing so in case they need him to make a Willis Reed-like return at some desperate time late in the season, long after owners dropped him from their rosters. But what most people don’t remember about that classic moment from 1970 is that the Captain sank two field goals and sat the rest out. Fantasy-wise, performances like that only help out those around him. Even if Roy comes back, it won’t be to impact the game itself, but to impact his teammates. The play here is to cut out the middleman. See what you can get for Roy, or if no one in your league is biting (and make no mistake, no one in your league should be biting), drop him and move on. So far with Roy out, Rudy Fernandez and Wes Matthews have traded big games. Matthews is already heavily owned and the announcement that Roy will be out indefinitely served only to tighten the grip Matthews owners already had, but RuFer is still out there. Still unowned in over 80 percent of fantasy leagues. There isn’t a player in the NBA who wasn’t valuable last week that is more valuable this week than Fernandez. In the time that Portland has been without Roy, Fernandez has played nearly 30 mpg, shot .515/.882 and averaged 2 3ptm/14 pts /3 rbd /4 ast/1.5 stl. Start the New Year off right. Grab him.
Here’s what else I saw on the last Thursday of the year:
Wes Matthews – 30/3/3 with four steals and four threes. I still think Dorell Wright or Michael Beasley‘s got an edge on Most Improved Player, but I wouldn’t scoff like an Upper East Side Yuppie if Matthews got it.
Shawne Williams – Sank 15 points in 22 minutes along with a trio of threes. Unfortunately, he had 16 points total in the three games before that, so for now, I’m not recommending you pick up any Shawnes with e’s at the end of their name.
Landry Fields – After two straight 14/10 dub-dubs, Fields has hit a wall going 1.5/5.5 and shooting .111 in his last two.
Raymond Felton – Speaking of cold guards, being one of the Buckingham Palace guards on outdoor duty in January has to be one of the worst jobs in the world. Even in a down economy, I’m not sure that standing out in 15 degree weather while tourists pretend to hump my leg as I stand stone-faced and frozen in order to protect a queen that will almost certainly never actually die seems futile. Almost as futile as Felton’s attempts at shooting threes last night (1-for-6 from the arc). Add six turnovers to the total, you’ve got yourself Raymond Felton’s worst game of the season last night.
Ryan Anderson – Coach Stan Van Gundy is still monkeying with the Magic rotation, still trying to find the magic rotation and in his wake, he’s left Brandon Bass and Anderson in a pseudo timeshare. I say ‘pseudo’ because a) Bass has technically averaged about five minutes per game more than Anderson, b) Hedo Turkoglu has seen some of their minutes and c) I’m not completely sure what pseudo means, but it makes me sound smart. It’s close enough to a timeshare that if you have Bass and you need an uptick in threes, rebounds, assists and steals, Anderson has outplayed Bass for two weeks in those categories. If you own Anderson and his .410/.692 percentages are killing you, grab the .531/.889-shooting Bass.
Jason Richardson – After a few solid outings, J-Rich played poorly on Thursday (9/7/0). Although Richardson is one of the most streaky players in the league and will likely turn it on for an extended time at some point in the next 50 games, the pattern of Richardson, Arenas, Nelson and Turkoglu all rotating on and off nights is a disturbing – if not altogether surprising – trend that has developed in the last 10 days.
Kevin Garnett – Cagey will miss the next two weeks with a strained calf. Meanwhile, you can still see him on the bench ready to pounce on Jermaine O’Neal whenever it appears he’s about to fall asleep.
Mehmet Okur – DNP-CD with a sore back. Andrei Kirilenko also has a sore back, but I’m pretty sure the injuries are not related because I wouldn’t know how to explain that. Both are day-to-day.
Gary Neal – He’s averaging 2.8 threes and 16.5 points over his last six games including last night’s 21 points. Quiet points. For a Quiet Man. “Now I want all of yous to cheer like Protestants.”
Jason Kidd – 12/10/13 triple-double. The first of his season. He also played 38 minutes, which he’s only done three other times this year and each of the other three games were played with Dirk in the lineup, so enjoy this while it lasts, because it won’t last long. Yeah.I’m kind of a Kidd hater. No, that’s too harsh. I don’t hate the guy. I’m more of a Kidd H8R. There. That’s better.
Jason Terry – Staying with the Dallas Jason theme, dude shot 3-for-16 from the field and promptly threw himself on the mercy of the court, which literally involved himself splayed on the half court line, hoping DeJuan Blair wouldn’t step on him.
Caron Butler – Scored a season-high 30 points against the Spurs and has quietly put together a nifty back-half to the month, averaging 19.9/4.4 including 3 stl+3ptm. Might be the most quiet top 100 fantasy option of the season.