What would it take a sane person to grab Tracy McGrady off waivers in a standard-size fantasy league? A month ago, the thought was unthinkable. I’m not sure what a thought is if one cannot think it. When you’re drunk and rambling to your friends at about 2:30 in the morning on New Years Day, discuss it and get back to me. Say you what you will about ol’ T-Mac, the guy has made the most of his scant minutes this season. He’s averaging 11.5/5.5/4.5 with 1.5 steals every 36 minutes and shooting a career-best .481 from the field. The sample-size is small, you say? Well, don’t tell my girlfriend. It’s the only size she’s ever seen. Ultimately, it is a small sample size. But much of fantasy managing is taking calculated risks. So try this on for size: five of T-Mac’s six best games this season have all come when he plays at least 24 minutes and he’s played that much in five of his last seven games. He’s started the season averaging 12.2 mpg, expanded to 17.8 in November and continued the upward trend in December with 19.5 mpg. He played over 30 minutes for the first time all season last night and responded with a 21/4/8 line with a trio of steals. Should we expect this every night? Should we even expect McGrady healthy from here on out. No. Never again. But this is the Pistons we’re talking about. As long as he’s healthy and producing anywhere near this, why wouldn’t he tap into Tayshaun Prince‘s minutes a bit, or outright take over if Prince is shipped elsewhere? Think about, throw up in your mouth a little from thinking about it, then think about it again. He’s a deep league option right now with the potential to drive sane standard leaguers crazy in the near future.
Here’s what else went down in a busy night in fantasy basketball:
Kevin Garnett – Cagey went down with what is now being called a simple muscle ailment. Soon after he went down, Garnett yelled at his leg, frightening it into only being a slight ailment. This is what Garnett also plans on doing every time he has a heart attack, thus ensuring he lives to be 320 year old. In the meantime, Glen Davis, Jermaine O’Neal and Semih Erden are your adds if Garnett misses a game or two.
Dorell Wright – Dropped 32/11 in all 48 minutes of last night’s game. Or as Zach Randolph would say, the whole game plus a six minute overtime.
Stephen Curry – 14.1/3.3/7.3 and shooting .416 in seven December games. And this is why you don’t pick sophomores in the first round of your draft.
Marvin Williams – Left last night’s game with a bruised back. Good thing it wasn’t a braised back. Right, Smoove? *wink, wink* #JoshSmithbehungry!
Roy Hibbert – Foul trouble, which begat fantasy trouble. If it feels like I’m writing about Hibbert every night, it’s because I am. And every night it’s usually bad news. Bench him until he produces well in consecutive games.
John Wall – 10/7/12 against the Pacers as he played almost 35 minutes. Kirk Hinrich exited the game early with a left thigh contusion. Last night will probably be the last time Wall comes off the bench from here on out.
Mo Williams – Missed Wednesday’s game with a hip flexor, but said he hopes he can play against the Bulls on Saturday anyway. Also hopeful of this? The Bulls. If Mo Whoa is a no-go, grab Ramon Sessions (22/5/4 in 31 minutes last night) and Manny Harris in that order.
Gerald Wallace – Returned after missing the last five games and shot the ball like someone who had played five fewer basketball games than everyone else (4-of-11). Still, the rest of his game looked fine.
Stephen Jackson – He’s averaging 3.5 threes along with 30.5/7.5/4 and two steals in the first two games of the Paul Silas era. He’d been averaging two treys along with 17.2/4.3/4.2 and 1.4 steals in the previous 27 games under Larry Brown. Jrue story.
D.J. Augustin – First game under Paul Silas, he scored a season-high 27 points. Two days later, he scored 28. If you own D.J.A., this will be your favorite blurb of the day.
Pau Gasol – Boom, Boom, Pau took just five shots last night. The game before, he only took eight. Thirteen combined shots for the team’s best player? In his previous 10 games, he took at least 13 shots in all but two of them.
Andrew Bynum – 18/6 in 30 starter’s minutes, as Lamar Odom was bumped to the bench. In other news, I’ve received – literally – seven trade requests offering my Lamar Odom for my best bigs.
David West – Rolled his ankle, but returned after halftime and saw that his ankle wasn’t the only part of the Hornets getting rolled last night.
Tyreke Evans – 21/4/4 with a couple steals. Um, yeah. He seems to be fine. Laser surgery on hold until at least after the All-Star Break when the kings should really look awful. Also, pausing fake basketball talk for a second to discuss real basketball … the end of that Memphis-Sacramento game last night: Was that shizz bananas or what?
DeMarcus Cousins – Played almost 37 minutes and ended with a 20/16/3 line. Paul Westphal’s doghouse is the nicest doghouse ever.
Nenad Krstic – He’s averaging 20 mpg since returning on Christmas Day. So is Serge Ibaka. If you hadn’t dropped Ibaka yet, might I introduce you to “right now?”
Kris Humphries – Speaking of timeshares, Murphy Brown is also in one with Derrick Favors. Deep leaguers hang on to both of them, but the rest of you stand down until something gives.
Chauncey Billups – Season-high 36 points. No ‘Melo, No Nene, No Martin, No Harrington. I’m pretty sure if I played the Wolves all by myself, I’d score a season-high too. Caveat: As I’ve not played in any official NBA capacity yet, scoring even one point would ensure the truth of my previous statement. I’m a genius! … Assuming, of course, that I could actually score in an NBA game, which I’d place only at about 5:1 odds.
Darko Milicic – Injured his hip, left early, came back, struggled. <– I’m gonna go ahead and copy/paste this into most of the future Darko blurbs.
Chuck Hayes – 13/8/3 in 25 minutes. He’s the de facto center to own on the Rockets. I’m sure I don’t need to tell you that “de facto” and “center” are never terms that fantasy owners should get too excited about.
Aaron Brooks – 20/9 as he played 30 minutes off the bench. Starter Kyle Lowry ended with 11/7 in 24 minutes. If Lowry is still starting two games from now, I’ll sleep in my car for the entire month of January.
Evan Turner – Scored a career-best 23 points. Now just do that every game for the rest of the season and you won’t be considered a bust come the summer.
Andres Nocioni – 22/12/2. Be honest. You completely forgot which team Nocioni even played for, didn’t you?
Jodie Meeks – Two points in 17 minutes and it’s still weird that Meeks has started every game this month. Hell, he’s averaging almost 31 mpg. Yeah. The Sixers are a long way away from being a successful basketball team.
Vince Carter – Vincanity’s sunbelt era started last night with an 8-for-20, 18 point performance in the loss. So, you know, he’s back. but he’s not really “back.”
Marcin Gortat – Since coming over from Orlando, Gortat has averaged almost 10 more mpg than starter Robin Lopez, while outperforming him in every relevant stat category except for free throw percentage. If you deep leaguers were on the fence about either of them before, you shouldn’t be now.
Gordon Hayward – 17/6/3 as he played 42 minutes in place of the injured Andrei Kirilenko. don’t get too excited. A) 17/6/3 in 42 minutes ain’t all that great and B) Kirilenko is targeting Utah’s next game to return.
Paul Millsap – As Al Jefferson goes, so goes Millsap. P.M. dawned this season averaging 22/9. Since then he’s trickled down to 17.5/8, while Jefferson has improved with each month.
Al-Farouq Aminu – Sank thre treys on his way to a 13/8 line. He’s played 30 minutes, grabbed eight boards and scored in double-digits in each of his last two games.