The boys at Damn Lies and Statsitics have been saying all along that Carl Landry is a terrific young player and that Sacramento stole him from Houston, albeit for the talented Kevin Martin. But least we forget that the Rockettes still have in their possession one Luis Scola, who has been putting on a display not seen in those parts since Akeem Olajuwon added an H to his first name.
My power was out all weekend and Saturday night I had to resort to checking stats on my blackberry. My eyes were getting a little fuzzy, and when I saw 20-for-25 from the field for 44 points out of the Houston big man I thought there had to be some mistake. Did Bill Walton, circa 1973 just re-appear?
In his last five games, the Argentinean has averaged 26.2 points, 15.2 rebounds, 3.0 assists and has shot 58 percent from the floor (55-94) and 87 percent (21-24) from the line. He doesn’t offer much in terms of shot-blocking, but Scola owners are probably swimming in pools of their own drool right now.
Let’s look at some of the weekend’s other heroes.
Jason Maxiell has taken full advantage of Ben Wallace‘s injury woes and has played like a man possessed. On Friday he posted 12 points and 10 rebound as the Pistons defeated the lowly Wizards. He followed that up with a 19-point (6-9 fg), 12-rebound binge in a loss to Atlanta. The Pistons stink, Wallace has applied for AARP, and Maxiell has posted three straight double-doubles and four consecutive double-digit rebounding games. If your league still allows pickups and you need boards and field goal percentage, Maxiell could be your man.
Richard Jefferson has mauled his owners this year as he has pretty much been unstartable throughout. But something funny happened on the way to the Alamodome and on Friday he registered 19 points (8-13 fg), nine rebounds and three assists in a win over Minnesota, and on Saturday recorded 18 points and nine boards in a victory over the Clippers. Now mind you Carver High’s Salami and Goldstein just double-doubled against the T’Wolves and Clips, but this could be the start of something good.
I don’t know why I find Bill Walker‘s name so dang funny, but I do. For those of you who like me have five weeks left in the season and nothing to lose, Walker may be a guy to take a shot with. There is no middle ground with him. You’re either looking at 20+ points and a host of threes or a 2 and 1 in eight minutes. This past weekend was the former as he erupted for 21 points (8-13 fg), four rebounds and four assists in the Knicks’ loss at Memphis and then exploded for 23 points (9-12 fg, 5-8 3-pt fg) in New York’s shocking blowout of the Mavs in Dallas. Let me ask Bill Wennington what he thinks.
It is again Toney Douglas‘ turn to prove his worth as the primary point guard for the Knicks. On Friday he posted 19 points (8-13 fg, 24 3-pt fg) and followed that with 21 points (8-10 fg, 4-4 3-pt fg) and eight assists in their win at Dallas. Tonight could be Sergio Rodriguez‘s turn to shine, but it’s looking more and more likely that the gimpy Tracy McGrady will not be eating into their numbers too much.
I make no bones about the fact that I love Jose Calderon‘s game. He was the Raptor starting point guard until sidelined by injury in December. Jarrett Jack claimed the starting role during this period and has maintained it the past three months. Nothing against the talented Sourdough Jack, but Calderon is the type of cerebral and efficient point guard that organizations now tend to overlook. Somewhere along the way, he was labeled a defensive liability, probably an unfair assessment as he seems all about winning. In two games over the weekend he averaged 17.5 points and 9.5 assists, and at Golden St. on Saturday drilled 7-of-8 from 3-point range. I do make bones about him still being the backup, but that could change in a hurry.
Troy Murphy has remained steady despite a season not for the feint of heart in Indiana. He is averaging a disappointing 13.9 points and 9.8 rebounds, but throw in his 1.7 threes per contest and you have yourself one of the top fantasy big men in the game. The Pacers have a smell to them, reminiscent of a muggy summer evening in a New York subway, but Murphy will be a big part of the rotation the rest of the way and double-double his way into his owners’ hearts.
It’s tough to recommend a Miami point guard while Dwyane Wade monopolizes the ball the entire game, but don’t get me wrong as I love Wade. But with Rafer Alston skipping to his Lou somewhere in America, Carlos Arroyo‘s role as the starter is clear. On Sunday, he posted a double-double with 12 points (6-9 fg) and 10 assists against the Sixers. It may be a stretch to expect this on a consistent basis, but decent assist numbers await.
Julian Wright has taken over as the starter at small forward in New Orleans with Peja Stojakovic out and has looked solid in three games (38.3 mpg). Against Denver on Friday he erupted for 13 points, eight rebounds, four assists and five steals as owners were involved in a Wal Mart shoppers-style rush to waiver wires to claim him. Enthusiasm on Wright should be tempered, but with the exception of threes, he can offer a smorgasbord of categories at a bargain bin price.
Six games on tonight’s card, including tasty matchups for the Lakers at Golden St. and for the Jazz at home against the Wizards.