Everyone should become fans of Goran Dragic, the Euro version of Steve Nash, this week because if history proves anything, he’ll be doing some big things. This week, I also did something I never thought I would do, but had to remember separation of reality and fantasy. Sort of like accepting I have zero chance of getting Kate Upton to teach me how to Dougie.
Waiver Wire Considerations
Goran Dragic, PG/SG, Houston Rockets (33% owned in Yahoo! leagues)
Kyle Lowry will be out 2-4 weeks with a bacterial infection, which opens the door for Dragic to get some major burn unless a trade for a point guard goes down. In the past two Rockets games, which Dragic started, he averaged 21.5 points on 60.0 percent shooting from the floor and 100 percent on the charity stripe (2.5 FTA), 8.0 assists, 4.0 3PTM and 1.0 steals. For the season in four starts, he averaged 18.3 points, 57.8 FG%, 90.9 FT%, 8.8 dimess, 2.8 triples and 1.3 rock rips. Yes, the boy does work when given an opportunity. If you need point guard help or have Lowry on your squad, stop reading and grab Dragic.
Ekpe Udoh, PF/C, Golden State Warriors (27%)
The 2010 sixth overall pick in the NBA Draft was considered a bust for the most part after his rookie season, but lately, Udoh has been coming around. Not enough to justify the early pick in the draft, but he’s at least showing signs. He’s started the last five games for the Warriors and as a starter this season (six games), Udoh averages 12.0 points, 52.8 FG%, 84.2 FT% (3.2 FTA), 5.5 rebounds and 2.0 rejections. Dwight Howard who? Of course I’m kidding, but it doesn’t seem like any trade of D12 will be happening to any team, let alone the enthusiastic/crazy Joe Lacob and his Warriors. So Udoh will get his chances on the court and should continue to at least contribute in the blocks category and he can also hit from the stripe at a good clip, which is not usual for a big. Grab him if you need a five or rejections.
Randy Foye, PG/SG, Los Angeles Clippers (19%)
Foye is undoubtedly having his best month of this shortened season and could turn out to be a great late season pick-up. In seven March games thus far, Foye is averaging 13.3 points, 42.9 FG%, 90.0 FT%, 2.6 3PTM on 45 percent shooting from behind the arc and 2.1 assists in about 27 minutes of play. Foye has been improving from month-to-month and is part of a solid trio of guards in the Clippers backcourt with Chris Paul and Mo Williams.
Marreese Speights, PF/C, Memphis Grizzlies (19%)
In limited time (24.5 minutes), Speights is doing well in the past week (three games), averaging 12.0 points, 50.0 FG%, 7.0 rebounds and 1.0 blocks per game. March is Speights’ strongest month of production and he has shown improvement from month-to-month this season. Zach Randolph is due to return soon, perhaps as soon as this week, but with Speights doing relatively well, the Grizzlies will probably ease Z-Bo back into the lineup.
Shelden Williams, PF/C, New Jersey Nets (PF/C%)
In deep leagues, Williams could be a solid add at the five spot, unless the Nets and Magic actually agree to a trade that sends Dwight Howard to New Jersey/Brooklyn. However, that situation has been the epitome of pendulous, so let’s move on from that. In the past week (four games), Williams has shot very well from both the floor (69.2 percent) and free throw line (86.7 percent), scoring 7.7 points per contest. He also grabbed 7.2 boards, averaged a steal and almost a block (0.8) per game in about 31 minutes of burn. Williams may have hands of stone, but he’s pretty much been rock steady lately and having his best month of the season. With Brook Lopez on the shelf, Williams should continue to get PT.
Klay Thompson, SG/SF, Golden State Warriors (5%)
I suggested Thompson previously when he was only 4 percent owned, so I guess my word means as much as what NBA GMs say around this time of the season. In any case, I said that Thompson’s ceiling would be as a 20-minute instant offense type of player off the bench and that’s what he’s been. In the past week (four games), Thompson averaged 14.5 points, 2.5 treys, 2.7 boards and 2.0 assists in about 22 minutes of play. He’s a major reason as to why the Warriors would be relatively fine if Monta Ellis is traded. Grab him in deep leagues and consider him in standard-sized leagues for his ability to score and hit the three.
I Traded For A Player I Hate!
In one league I’m in, I recently traded away Dwight Howard and Caron Butler for Marcin Gortat and Carmelo Anthony, a player that I’m not a big fan of. Saying I hate him in the title is a bit hyperbole, but I do think he’s overrated. However, in fantasy, particular at this point, he fits my needs. So, personal feelings aside, I had to make this trade.
I usually don’t like trading away the best player in a deal (Howard), but getting back Gortat to fill my center position was a solid return. Let’s take a look at their current March production and you’ll see that even losing the best player isn’t such a bad thing if his replacement is relatively good.
Howard: 6 G; 28.5 PPG; 67.0 FG%; 50.0 FT% (11.0 FTA); 14.0 RPG; 1.2 APG; 2.0 SPG; 1.7 BPG
Gortat: 6 G; 18.0 PPG; 55.4 FG%; 72.2 FT% (6.0 FTA); 11.5 RPG; 1.2 APG; 0.8 SPG; 1.7 BPG
Undoubtedly, Howard is the better player. In fact, he’s the best center in the game. But with Gortat, I’m still getting a significant double-double with a high field goal percentage and a much better free throw percentage, where Howard actually had me in last place for most of the season in this roto league. The trade has already made a difference since all those chances D12 was getting no longer negatively impacts my squad and Gortat gets to the stripe enough times to pump up my charity percentage. I’ve actually moved out of the cellar on this category now. Plus the blocks are even at this point and while I expect D12’s number to go up, I’m not sneezing at the 1.7 Gortat gives me.
Now, the real reason I made this trade — I wanted to get rid of Butler. He was doing absolutely nothing for me and SF was my weakest position in regards to depth, which is pretty obvious since Butler was my starter. Something I noticed this season when combing through the waiver wire is that there is a dearth of SF talent available compared to other positions. It might actually make me re-consider my draft strategy next season. In any case, let’s take a look at what Butler and Melo have done in March thus far:
Butler: 7 G; 7.6 PPG; 30.7 FG%; 92.3 FT% (1.9 FTA); 0.4 3PTM; 2.7 RPG; 0.7 APG; 0.4 SPG; 0.1 BPG
Anthony: 5 G; 20.4 PPG; 39.1 FG%; 78.4 FT% (7.4 FTA); 1.0 3PTM; 6.2 RPG; 2.2 APG; 0.6 SPG; 0.4 BPG
Anthony easily wins here. Sure both of them have horrible field goal percentages, but at least Melo’s is better. Also, his free throw attempts will make more of an impact than Butler’s, so I’ll take the near 80 percent. More rebounds and assists from Anthony are the norm as well. Another factor that had me doing this deal is that I know Melo won’t give a damn about Linsanity and will eventually tunnel-vision his game and get his numbers. Bad if you’re a Knicks fan. Good if you’re a Melo owner in fantasy. However, now I’m conflicted living these two different lives. Eh, I’ll live.
Fantasy Thoughts To Jump Off From
- As mentioned above, Zach Randolph will be activated this week, so what to expect? Probably not much to start with. You should pick him up only if you really need PF help or have a bench spot available. I wouldn’t expect any 20/10 games right off the bat and probably not consistently the rest of the season. However, after some time on the hardwood, I can see Z-Bo doing some damage just as fantasy leagues go into playoffs mode.
- In the past week, Ersan Ilyasova is ranked as the top player in fantasy hoops after averaging 25.0 points, 63.8 FG%, 90.0 FT%, 2.0 3PTM; 10.8 rebounds and 0.8 steals and blocks each. What’s crazy is that the Bucks are shopping him due to not being able to give Ilyasove the dollars he’ll be asking for during the offseason. So, it’ll be interesting if he is traded and to which team. Fantasy players will want to know.
Number of Team Games in Week 12
Five Games: LAC, PHO, UTA, WAS
Four Games: ATL, BOS, CHA, CHI, DET, GSW, HOU, IND, LAL, MIA, MIN, NJN, NOR, NYK, OKC, ORL, POR, SAC, SAS, TOR
Three Games: CLE, DAL, DEN, MEM, MIL, PHI
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