I can’t believe that my main man Tom Lorenzo stole my thunder with this whole Tony Allen/O.J. Mayo thing. I really can’t blame him, and this is such a great story that I’m still going to run with it instead of talking about last night’s incredible Boston/San Antonio brouhaha. I mean, how much is there to say? Rajon Rondo is a freak, Big Baby is the most underrated player in the league, Tim Duncan is feeling the effects of turning 50, and the Spurs need to get their act together defensively if they are going to win a championship.
I love this latest trend in which teammates wager a few milkshakes while playing cards on their charter flights from NBA city to NBA city. The other night, Allen and Mayo had to be separated over a game of Go Fish as Mayo appears to have lost and proceeded to welsh on their bet. Allen retaliated by calling Mayo a dirty word (I believe stinker was the ugly term used) and it escalated from there.
What makes this all the more interesting and entertaining is the fact that the two are officially competing with each other for minutes in the Grizz backcourt. Allen, who has suffered myriad foot and leg issues over the years, appears healthy and is averaging 10.6 points, 4.2 rebounds and a freakish 3.4 steals and is a perfect 13-for-13 from the line in 26.4 minutes over his last five games. Mayo appears to have fallen out of favor with head coach Lionel Hollins. But as my colleague Mr. Lorenzo will tell you, he (Mayo, not Lorenzo) is still very young (23) and talented and bait should not be cut just yet. I do recommend hopping on Allen like a cheap suit at this point as he could carry your team in steals, at least until Xavier Henry returns from a sore knee.
Hollins has since banned all card games during team travel, putting a sad end to the Old Maid wars between Zach Randolph and Hamed Haddadi. And speaking of wars, fantasy basketball is a game of attrition. Let’s find a few guys who are bound to turn it around as we near the midway point of the season.
Joe Johnson , G, ATL (18.4 ppg, 4.1 rpg, 5.4 apg, 0.7 spg, .416 FG) – To Johnson’s credit, he did return from funny bone surgery much earlier than expected. I don’t know if it’s the guilt of being absurdly signed to a max contract last summer or what, but he has not put up Joe Johnson-type numbers until recently. In the past three games he has averaged 28.7 points and is shooting 29-for-55 from the floor. Take a deep breath, hang tight and he’ll give you that third-round value you were looking for.
Gerald Wallace, F, CHA (16.5 ppg, 8.2 rpg, .422 fg) – A top 20 pick in many drafts, Crash has burned his owners by falling in nearly every category from a year ago. His scoring and rebounding numbers are well below last year, and as for his field goal percentage, let me suggest a few hallucinogens before taking a look. Currently out with a sprained ankle, he should return in about a week and should be targeted in trades.
Stephen Curry, G, GS ( 18.8 ppg, 6.0 apg, 1.7 3-pt fg) – I know we don’t have much of a sample to go by career-wise, but there is no way that Curry will continue producing pedestrian numbers, is there? Late last year, it seemed as if could put up 19 and 6 in a good 10-minute stretch. A healthy ankle might help. It seems as if every other game he is hobbling off the court. Throw in the notion that long lost Wallenda son Monta Ellis will injure himself with his own high-wire act and Curry could be in store for a big second half.
David Lee, F/C, GS (15.0 ppg, 9.8 rpg, .467 fg, .750 ft) – Lee has had a rough first half with his new team, primarily due of a vicious shark attack inflicted by former Knick teammate Wilson Chandler that left a crater the size of a waffle iron in his elbow. His numbers have also been gobbled up by current teammate Dorell Wright, who can’t seem to do much wrong thus far. Things will change for Lee in the second half as he will play big minutes and get things sorted out. He may not get to 2009-10 levels ever again, but 18 and 11 with much better percentages are within reason.
Andrew Bynum, C, LAL (9.4 ppg, 6.7 rpg, 1.4 bpg) – The big feller is beginning to get his feet under him again and could soon establish himself as a top-flight option at the center position. The Lakers seem bored and Paul Gasol and Lamar Odom are in need of an extended rest, so a hungry Bynum could earn himself about 30 minutes a night. I don’t think it’s crazy to expect a 14 and 8 with 1.5 blocks and terrific percentages the rest of the way.
Brook Lopez, C, NJN (18.7 ppg, 6.1 rpg, 1.5 bpg, .452 fg) – The butt of many jokes because of his rebounding, or lack thereof, Lopez is a terrific talent who needs to be more aggressive on the defensive end as well as on the backboards. Even if rebounding ain’t his thang, you’ve got to expect him to haul in eight or so per game in the second half. The scoring will be there, the field goal percentage will rise, and he is already an outstanding free throw shooter. Getting on the same page as Avery Johnson also wouldn’t hurt.
Andre Iguodala, G/F, PHI (14.2 ppg, 1.3 spg, .438 fg, .664 ft) – As the Sixers are beginning to play better ball under Doug Collins, doesn’t it seem as if Iguodala has become a forgotten man? This is an incredible athletic talent and a strong defender who will still be the focal point of this team. His scoring, steals and free throw percentage are dragging down his draft value, and his achilles injury has put a grin on the face of Hector. He should also be back in about a week, but that is a tricky injury. If there is a return to good health, quietly go about thieving him from his current owner.
Unless he is stricken with Beriberi, Fox Unbalanced will typically appear in these pages every Thursday. If you or someone you know views a Grizzlies/Raptors game as a religious experience, this could be the perfect destination for you. Feel free to chime in with some feedback.