Roy Hibbert, the giraffe-half of Indy’s starting front court earned his ninth double-double of the season (18/14, with four blocks). After his first 20 games last season, Hibbs only had seven dub-dubs. What’s that suggest? Nothing special. Why mention it, then? Because I needed a reason to callback my preseason projections. So there. I didn’t want to pull back the curtain, but you forced my hand. There just isn’t the magic and wonder left in fantasy basketball writing the way there used to be. Everyone’s got to know how the sausage is made. What I knew in the preseason was that Roy was going to make incremental-but-important improvements this season. What I didn’t know was how. Watching him now, he’s becoming more of a traditional big man. He’s moving away from the finesse game that, frankly, hurt him last season. He’s still not a banger like Nene or Al Jefferson, but he’s taking shots closer to the basket, posting up more often and holding it longer down in the block waiting patiently. I predicted his assists and free throw percentage to be what set him apart from other bigs, while his field-goal percentage, rebounds and points would keep him from one of the top tiers. So far it hasn’t worked out that way. His point, rebound and field-goal averages are all career-highs, while Indy’s offense hasn’t flowed through him as it did last season, so his assists are a career-low. He’s still not as physical as owners would like him to be. He doesn’t have a great body type to successfully bang down low. He doesn’t have a great shot from the outside. In short, his game is still limited and those limitations will always keep him from being an elite big. The good news is, he’s vastly improved the game he’s limited to playing, and still easily falls in as a top 10 center. Here’s what else I saw last night in fantasy basketball.
George Hill – Landed funky and fractured his ankle. The replay showed Hill saluting, then winking in Darren Collison‘s direction as he crumpled to the floor in agony. No lie. DarCo hot streak up ahead! Also, Lance Stephenson might be a good add for the next couple games.
Anthony Morrow – Sank 28 points, drained 5 threes, and flushed 10-of-18 from the floor. I won’t mind you putting Morrow in your lineups if you don’t mind me disparaging the Nets with an unsubtle use of verbs.
Avery Bradley – 8/2/1, in 37 minutes. Thirty. Seven. On a note completely unrelated to Avery Bradley’s shockingly ineffective performance Tuesday, Rajon Rondo is aiming to return Friday.
Tristan Thompson – Left with an ankle sprain, but not before earning owners a rebound. Hey, it’s better than not having gotten that rebound. I’m a glass-is-at-least-1/35th-full kind of guy.
Mychel Thompson – Got the start over Alonzo Gee (in the absence of both Anthony Parker and Daniel Gibson). He went 8/1/4, with a steal, a block and two threes. He does this twice more, I’ll consider him.
Anderson Varejao – 20/20 last night. He’s like the most springy-haired of all angels! I wouldn’t drop your best center for him, but if he’s available, he’s worth more than a used whiffle ball bat and a twin-pack of halogen bulbs.
Iman Shumpert – Tuesday afternoon: “[Shumpert] is learning the league. We’re learning where to play him. The 1 spot is not a natural one. It’s too much.” – Mike D’Antoni. Tuesday evening: Shumpert starts, Douglas comes off the bench for the first time in three games. Tuesday night: 6/4/6, for Shumpert, with 2 stl in 35 minutes. Trust no one. But also, start shopping Shump. Trust me.
Jeremy Lin – 4/1/4, with a steal in 6 minutes > Mike Bibby, like, ever. It had to be said in some official capacity.
Landry Fields – 18/5/3, with 4 threes and 5 steals. He’s been quietly very solid in six of his last eight. He’s scored 18 in three of his last six and is good for at least one steal every time out.
Marvin Williams – Played two of his best three games coming into last night before ending with 10/4/3, with 2 threes, a steal and a block. He was cold before facing Detroit, New Orleans and Toronto and those teams have a way of heating a fella up. Unfortunately, Atlanta plays Memphis, Philly and Indy in the next week and I expect Williams to slow down a bit. If you’re in a bind or a deep league with an open spot and Williams is available, you could do worse. You could also probably do better. ANALYSIS!
Kirk Hinrich – 4/1.8/3.5 in 19 mpg in his first four games of the season. I wasn’t blurbing him so’s you’d pick him up. I was blurbing him so you’d know not to.
Amir Johnson – Since his last double-double eight games ago, Johnson has averaged a mere (wink!) 3.1 pts/2.4 rbd/2.4 fouls in 15.1 mpg. If you’re considering someone else, let this blurb tip you in that other guy’s favor.
Ed Davis – Ed Canadian earned his season’s only double-double (11/11, with a block) in 26 garbage time minutes. Should you pick him up? Let’s review the highlights from this blurb’s first sentence: his, season’s, only, double-double, garbage time.
Ty Lawson – Returned after a short layoff to play 35 minutes. That’s the good news. The bad news is that he was relatively unsuccessful in that time.
Danilo Gallinari – Shot 1-for-10. This was the Rooster’s worst shooting performance as a member of Earth.
Andrew Goudelock – He’s seen a significant bump in minutes over the last four games. He’s averaging 11+ points and a pair of threes in each of his last four games. He’s the second best NBA Andrew … on the Lakers.
Tyreke Evans – 16/4/3, with a steal and a three before halftime. ‘Reke has strung together a handful of solid games including two stellar ones in his last two. Perhaps February 1 is when the former Rookie of the Year will finally have his his coming out party. Not the kind that my Aunt George invited me to when I was younger, the kind where Evans earns being picked in the second or third round in most fantasy drafts.