Heat GM Pat Riley was undoubtedly pursuing Erick Dampier ever since it was apparent than Joel Anthony was going to spend the season getting tossed around by the opposition like the losing rooster in a cock fight. I mean, this old man has been wooed harder than the 70-year-old billionaires with profiles on eHarmony. With the loss of Udonis Haslem until February, the Heat are throwing everything from money to multiple Kardashian sisters in Damp’s direction hoping he takes the bait. And who wouldn’t want a 35-year-old man averaging 6/7 over his last three seasons? For the Heat, that’s like gold or like participating in the Olympics at all if you’re the North Korean soccer team. Riley’s as desperate as any fantasy GM put in the same position. You drafted David Lee in your 20-team league. Then you drafted Troy Murphy and Haslem as back-ups. “Even if one of ’em works out,” you said out loud to yourself on a crowded bus at some point in October, “I’ll be fine. And if they all work out, I’ll run away with the league.” So here you are with three different versions of the same problem and all of them lead to one solution: you need a starting center who isn’t Luke Harangody. First off, congratulations on identifying that Harangody is not for you. Second off, someone may have put a voodoo curse on your centers. Third off, Erick Dampier will not make up for what you’ve lost. Fourth off, I’ve never gone far enough to have a fourth off, but I’m doing all right. Fifth off, If you’re in a deep league and you need a center, he’ll do. He’ll enter a time share with Zydrunas Ilgauskas and they’ll both average somewhere around 6/6 with a block. One will have a big game and everyone will rush to pick him up, then he’ll flop for the next five, just in time for the other guy to string together a few solid games. You’ll own one of these guys no less than twice this season. Like the Animals said, it’s a hard world to get a break in, all the good centers have been taken.
Here’s what else went down in fantasy basketball on Monday:
Brandon Rush – Went 20/7/4 after replacing Mike Dunleavy in the starting lineup Monday. It might have been due to Rush’s defense or we might have the making’s of a time-share that peeves everybody.
Darren Collison – Returned after missing a week of games to play almost 22 starter’s minutes and produce a 4/2/3 line. T.J. Ford came off the bench, played more minutes and ended with 13/6/5. So, you know, everything is back to normal!
Dwyane Wade – Shot 1-for-13 from the floor and 1-for-5 from the line. Yeah. That wrist ain’t right. Say that 10 times fast with a mouth full of marshmallows. He probably should have taken that powder against the Pacers I mentioned yesterday. Instead, the Heat just got dusted.
Nate Robinson – Started for the second time in place of Rondo and dropped a 16/10 dub-dub on the Hawks in three quarters. It was his first double-double since February 17, 2009 and the most assists he’s had since a 33/9/15 performance on February 11, 2009. Or as Robinson referred to that week: The Nate Aggression.
Shaquille O’Neal – 13/11 in 21 minutes. He’s averaged just below 13/7 with a block in about 23 minutes in his last five and realistically, when he’s healthy, he ought to be owned in more than 30 percent of leagues. He’s healthy now. Do what it do.
DeMarcus Cousins – Scored a career-high 18 points along with nine boards and only earned three fouls. He’s only fouled out in one of his last five games. Progress!
C.J. Miles – 20/4/4 in 24 minutes. He’s averaged 22.5/4.5/2.5 in his last two games and I like this sixth man role Jerry Sloan is developing for him. He’s not starting, but he’s getting a ton of burn on a talented team. If you’re in a medium-sized league and he’s available – put an end to that right away.
John Wall – Removed from the inactive list, practiced on Monday, came out of practice with a sore foot. Depressing. Know what else is sore? My hand after slamming it in a car door just to feel something – anything – again.
Darko Milicic – Followed up Friday’s 23/16 performance with a 21/5 number. Hey, Milicic! I’m only going to say this once and I’m going to do it using hyper-annoying capitalized, one-word sentences. STOP. MAKING. ME. WRITE. NICE. THINGS. ABOUT. YOU.
Michael Beasley – 15/7/3 with five tovs. This seems more right than his last five games have.
Wesley Johnson – Despite averaging over 27 minutes per game, the crappier of the NBA Wesleys is averaging 5/1.8/2.3. Tiny Johnson!
Serge Ibaka – Jeff Green returned to the starting rotation, played 39 minutes and left Serge with 19. He scored 10 points, blocked no shots and had a rebound and a block apiece. He won’t be this bad from now on, but he will be more Scourge Ibaka than Surge Ibaka.
Kevin Durant – 28/8/5 with three blocks and a steal. He still didn’t seem to be totally healthy because he missed one of his 17 free throw attempts.
Tim Duncan – 15/4/2 with three steals and a pair of blocks. I peeked at Friday Adam’s Add/Drop list. Tim’s on it. Then again, toothpaste and eggs were also on the list, so perhaps I wasn’t looking at what I thought I was looking at.
Matt Bonner – Has made 18 threes in his last six games, in addition to his 21 mpg/10.3 ppg averages. He’s like a tall, ginger, mild-mannered Eddie House. I’m not sure if that was a recommendation or not. It’s also worth noting that DeJuan Blair has averaged 19 mpg/7.7 ppg over that same period despite starting.
Vince Carter – Limped off the court with either an ankle injury or a case of the we’re-not-beating-these-Spurs-and-I-can-still-catch-the-end-of-‘Skating with the Stars.’ More to come as Carter decides how he feels. Yeah, I said it!
Chuck Hayes – Started for the Rockets, played 24 minutes and ended with an 8/8/4 line. Waiver alert! Not so fast. Brad Miller played 21 minutes and dropped a 12/6/4 line. Oh, uh … okay. Waiver alert²! Well, now, wait a second, brah. Jordan Hill played 22 minutes and went 14/10. Rejectsplosion! Own Miller, Hayes, Hill in that order and expect little from all of them.
Jason Richardson – Was perfect from the line, shot 7-for-11 from the floor and ended with 26 points! Benchslapped! And what’s worse, I knew it was gonna happen.
Steve Nash – Returned and did his Nash thing. Which is way better than doing his nashing.
Al-Farouq Aminu – Admit it, you were so jazzed at halftime when Aminu had 16 points that you called your cousin, told him to forget the money he owes you; called your mom, told her you’d be happy to spend Thanksgiving helping her fix the stuffing; called your girlfriend and proposed to her. You lost your head, and when he went 0-for-4 and didn’t score a single point in the second half, well … hope you enjoy stuffing.
Ty Lawson – Started. Ended with 14/4/5. It’s better than Billups would have done.
Chris Andersen – Made his season debut, earning a 7/3/1 stl line in 18 minutes. If you grabbed him, you grabbed him for rebounds, blocks and FG%. Bird’s gotta jump before he can fly.
Reggie Williams – Scored 16 points relieving Dorrell Wright, who was non-existent due to foul trouble. Congratulations world, this is what you would look like if Williams was a starter in the Bay Area. It’s just like ‘It’s A Wonderful Life.’ The banks have ruined almost everyone’s life, Jimmy Stewart is in Heaven and it’s super bleak outside. Every time a bell rings, Monta Ellis misses another long two!