Of all the crazy things that have happened this season already, from the emergence of rookies Brandon Jennings and Tyreke Evans, to the resurgance of Josh Smith, to the 3-9 start for the Wizards and 7-3 start for the Bucks, if I had to choose one thing that has thrown me for the biggest loop it’s been Dahntay Jones.
The Dahntay Jones who played for Denver last season and was barely allowed to shoot, ever. The Dahntay Jones who was nearly out of the league after five journeyman seasons between Memphis and Sacramento. The Dahntay Jones who joined an Indiana team flush with swing players, including Brandon Rush, who was eyeing the starting shooting guard spot.
An injury to Troy Murphy necessitated a switch early on to a small lineup, with Danny Granger at power forward, and Jones took advantage. The Pacers had some success with that lineup, and Jones is sticking there for now. His season averages are 17.5 points, 4.3 rebounds, 2.3 assists, 1.1 steals and 1.3 blocks, and he’s shooting 48.2 percent from the field and 78.1 from the line. He is ranked 78th in Yahoo! among all fantasy players.
It remains to be seen if Murphy will eventually be back in the starting lineup, and if so whether Rush or Jones stick. Mike Dunleavy is going to be back at some point to further complicate things. But Jones is putting up numbers regardless of everything thrown at him, and in both close games and blowouts. He’s played in 33 or more minutes in eight straight games and most impressively has more points than shots in 10 of his 11 contests this season.
And: he’s still only owned in just 43 percent of Yahoo! leagues.
I don’t really have a point, but that’s the point of this blog. I guess I’m saying: pick up Jones if you still can. He has good matchups coming up this week against Toronto, the Clippers and Dallas.
Some quick thoughts based on the games this weekend:
* Dwight Howard has just not been very good this year. His blocks are down to a disturbing 1.7 (from 2.9 last season) and he is averaging three less shots per game, while his free throw percentage continues to drag you down. He’ll put up plenty of monster lines going forwad but his owners have to be frustrated right now.
* The Lakers just aren’t fair with both Pau Gasol and Andrew Bynum playing well together. And Kobe Bryant hitting shots like this. They can throw both Ron Artest and Lamar Odom out there depending on the matchup, and are looking pretty unstoppable right now. The problem I see is if they keep blowing teams out, fantasy numbers will suffer. And thus I will suffer. And thus you, the reader, will have to read about that suffering.
* 24 points and 5-7 three for Marcus Thornton last night after 21 points on Saturday. It’s time to take him seriously and add him in deep leagues.
* Devin Harris returned for the Nets on Saturday and played 26 minutes off the bench. Get him back in your lineups. Chris Douglas-Roberts (24 points) continued to fill it up and should still provide offense as a third option with Harris healthy.
* Oh, have you been enjoying this mini Andrei Kirilenko resurgance? 14.5 points, 5.8 boards, 3.4 assists, 1.2 steals, 1.2 blocks is a far cry from his halcyon days, but that’s good production nonetheless. He went for 22 and 10 against the Pistons Saturday night.
* Sometimes what you leave out can be as helpful as what you keep in: In my waiver wire article this week, I stopped short of recommending James Harden, who torched me for 25 points that night. Then, on Sunday, he went 2-for-15 from the field. At least if you had him in your lineup and he cost you a head-to-head win, you can’t blame me. I’ll take credit for my Ersan Ilyasova call (18 pts, 12 reb Sat. at Memphis) and my plea to ignore Anthony Morrow‘s recent struggles (23 pts, 6 reb, 4 3s, 2 stl Friday vs. Portland).
* Four games on the docket tonight. Jennings takes on the Spurs in San Antonio, Chicago is at Portland, the Kings are at Memphis and the Timberwolves visit the Clippers in the equivalent of a meal full of empty calories. The Naismith Hall of Fame won’t be calling for the tape afterwords, but us fantasy owners know a fun box score is likely forthcoming.