Tag Archives: marcus thornton

RotoExperts Draft Kit: Top 25 Shooting Guards

"Women, Dwyane, amirite?"

From the RotoExperts 2011-12 NBA Draft Kit

These rankings were written on Dec. 15 and published a day later. Stephen Jackson should probably be dropped as he’s dealing with a troublesome back issue. O.J. Mayo should be a few spots lower as well until his role is more clear. Feel free to reach a little higher for Tony Allen as long as he remains the starting shooting guard in Memphis. 

The following rankings are based on a nine-category, head-to-head league format (PTS, REB, AST, STL, BLK, 3FG, FG%, FT%, TO), using Yahoo!’s positional eligibility. We break down players into tiers as well to help you organize them within your overall cheat sheets. Finally: this is a list of true shooting guards expected to play the majority of their minutes at the position this season. There are several combo guards, such as Dwyane Wade, who are eligible at point guard in some leagues but ranked on the shooting guard list for our purposes.

These rankings take into account not just stat projections, but injury risk, competition for minutes and other intangibles.



1. Dwyane Wade, MIA

Projected Stats: 24.3 PPG, 5.8 RPG, 4.7 APG, 0.8 3FG, 1.6 SPG, 1.2 BPG, 3.2 TO, 49.6 FG%, 75.0 FT%

Yes, Wade is in a tier all by himself. In fact, of all the shooting guards on this list, he’s the only one worthy of a first-round draft pick. Sure, there’s always the injury concern when it comes to Wade, but when he’s healthy he’s all but a lock to be among the top 5-7 players in the game. Continue reading

2011-12 Damn Mock I: Seventh Round

I suppose we went on a bit of a point guard run in this round. Nearly half the picks were point guards, not including the combo guards who were also selected. The two picks which interested me the most in this round were the James Harden and Marcus Thornton ones. I went ahead and picked Harden, who still might end up coming off the bench for the Thunder, as talented as he is, while Greg went for Thornton. What interests me about Thornton is that he has tons of talent, but there’s still a bit of a logjam at the guard position in Sacramento. You have Tryeke Evans and Beno Udrih slotted to start, right? Not that room won’t be made for Thornton, but I would feel more comfortable if he had more playing time lined up. Should be interesting, though.

The rules: Jeff, Tom and Greg are taking four teams each in this 12-team league, which is a nine-category rotisserie league (FG%, FT%, PTS, REB, AST, STL, BLK, 3FG, TO) that will draft the following: 1 PG, 1 SG, 1 SF, 1 PF, 2 C, 1 F, 1 G, 2 U. We’ll be building each team ourselves based on this format. Hope you enjoy, and feel free to mock us in the Comments.



73. Team 1 (Greg) – Ray Allen – Like fine Manischewitz, Ray Allen just keeps getting better with age. Well, not really, but he is still damn effective, particularly from a fantasy perspective. In his age 35 season, Mr. Shuttlesworth managed to shoot a career best 49 percent from the field, knocked down 2.1 threes per game, and turned it over only 1.5 times. His free throw shooting did fall off to only 88 percent, his poorest percentage in a decade, but it was still good enough to rank among league leaders. The ageless wonder remains fantasy gold and is a nice get for Team 1, which is in need of 3-point shooting. Continue reading

Moving And Shaking: Playoffs, Yo!

This piece each week goes through the add-drops and trades in the 147 leagues that I’m in. Fortunately for you, hater, we’re into the first round of the playoffs and there has been little movement in most of my leagues. “Go with what got you here” seems to be the popular sentiment among fantasy basketballers these days.

So, this week, I figured I’d start off by talking about the schedule. Does that suit your needs? Sure it does.

The best place to look for a breakdown of the upcoming schedule over the final weeks of the season is BasketballMonster.com. Scary! You can get a good look at the weekly schedule grid as well as weekly player projections. It’s all in good fun.

Over the remainder of the season, only one team has a 2-game week, and that’s not counting the “final week” of the season. That team happens to be the Houston Rockets. With such a lousy schedule, you probably want nothing to do with an of the Rockets next week. I guess I could see you holding onto Kevin Martin or Kyle Lorwy, but that only depends on your needs in certain categories.

Other than that, you’re looking at a bunch of teams with three and four-game weeks. The best among the bunch are the Wizards, Kings, Suns, Nets and Celtics. Bingo… bang-o! Nenad Krstic, Jordan Crawford, Anthony Morrow and Marcin Gortat as playoff value picks? It depends on your needs.

Continue reading

I’ll Be Damned: Deadline Winners

It was a ridiculous trade deadline this year, one that will be analyzed for a while with ramifications still ramificating and stuff. We haven’t seen where all the bought out players will sign, nor have we even seen every traded player suit up for their new team. Folks have analyzed each deal extensively, so for this post I’m just going to concentrate on players who weren’t traded and whose values are rising based on last week’s upheavals.


Kris Humphries (PF, NJN) – Humphries is going to put up a lot of double-doubles the rest of the way, as I don’t see Brandan Wright making inroads into the rotation. Should be owned in all leagues.

Chase Budinger (SF, HOU) – A no-brainer pickup now that Shane Battier is gone. Budinger has had one great game and one bad game, and that might continue for a while. He’s very talented, though, and he’ll at least help you in three-pointers.

Gerald Henderson (SG, CHA) – With Gerald Wallace in Portland, Stephen Jackson shifts to small forward and Henderson is the team’s new ‘2’. He probably won’t make a huge impact in shallow leagues but is definitely worth a speculative add right now. Perhaps he can become a poor man’s DeMar DeRozan.

James Harden (SG, OKC) – Harden can’t help but pick up more playing time with Jeff Green traded away. He’s good for threes, steals and great percentages for a shooting guard. His teammate Serge Ibaka is another huge winner, but he’s still not a complete guarantee to receive the big minutes we all want him to play. If Ibaka played 35 minutes a game he’d be ridiculous. For now, we’ll have settle for really good. Continue reading

Damn Lies Fantasy Preview: New Orleans Hornets

The New Orleans Hornets are lean and predictable. Stacked at point guard this offseason, the Hornets shipped 2009-10 Fantasy Waiver Wire MVP Darren Collison to Indiana in a four-team trade that landed them small forward Trevor Ariza. Ariza joins a starting lineup of Chris Paul, Marcus Thornton, David West and Emeka Okafor. None should be challenged by a backup for playing time. We can probably write in 35-40 minutes for each starter and pretty sweet fantasy stats for each to varying degrees. Isn’t this easy?


"Dude, you are making me look bad. Flirt with a triple-double again and I'm having you exiled to Indiana or something."


Collison proved to be fantasy basketball’s Olandis Gary last year, a backup who stepped in for a superstar without missing a statistical beat. That superstar is back, and Paul immediately returns to his perch near the top of all cheat sheets. Two years ago, he was essentially the best guy, and there’s no reason to think he won’t challenge for that honor should he remain healthy. What excites us the most is the other Hornet who blew up last year in his absence: Thornton. If Collison was the No. 1 waiver wire pickup in ’09-10, Thornton was 1A, a long-range bomber who immediately became a stud fantasy two-guard. The end of the Mo Peterson era depresses exactly no one. New Orleans finally has a shooting guard.

Another aging veteran will be riding off into the sunset this season, as Ariza makes Peja Stojakovic expendable. Unfortunately, Peja is owed about $77 million this year, so he’ll stick around and provide a shooter off the bench. Ariza should thrive playing with Paul. He’ll be more efficient, concentrate on defense, and become the strong everyday fantasy play we couldn’t quite count on in Houston. West is also doing cartwheels that Paul is back to feed him the rock. While West’s perpetual scowl annoys me as a viewer, as a roto player I’m targeting him at the end of the third round in drafts with no hard feelings.

Okafor had a terrible season even by his mediocre standards, but with no real competition for minutes he just needs to stay healthy to be a serviceable big man. Can he pull down 10 rebounds and block two shots a game? If so, he’s got a place on the outskirts of my roster. Okafor’s backup is Aaron Gray, a decent player who poses no threat in even the deepest of leagues. Only Marco Belinelli is a potential option should injury strike Thornton. He could be the team’s sixth man. Darius Songaila is actually a perfect 12-minute-per-game backup power forward. Like I said, this team is lean and devoid of positional battles. Draft these starters with confidence. The rounds? Paul in the first (no later than the 3rd pick); West in the late third (roto), early fourth (H2H); Thornton and Ariza in the sixth (Ariza is higher in H2H than in roto); Okafor in the ninth or so.

PG – Chris Paul, Mustafa Shakur
SG – Marcus Thornton, Marco Belinelli
SF – Trevor Ariza, Peja Stojakovic
PF – David West, Darius Songaila
C – Emeka Okafor, Aaron Gray

Up Next: Utah Jazz

Full Schedule

Daily Lies & Statistics: Don won

Nellie finally got the record. Last night, Don Nelson broke the long-standing mark for most random fantasy stars created from nothing in one career, breaking Mike Shanahan’s heart. And on top of all that, Nellie is now the all-time wins leader in NBA history, a feat that necessitated a “champagne” bath with replacement beverages of Sprite and Mountain Dew, according to Anthony Tolliver. How fitting. Tolliver played 45 minutes and poured in 34 points in Golden State’s 116-107 win at Minnesota and is the latest of unlikely Nelson scrap-heap stars to carry fantasy owners in their time of need (April).

At various points during this year, Tolliver, Monta Ellis, Stephen Curry, C.J. Watson, Corey Maggette, Reggie Williams, Anthony Morrow and Leonard Zelig have been the best fantasy guy on the Warriors, and it’s a testament, I suppose, to Nellie’s ability to make the most out of his bizarre ingredients. It hasn’t always been chicken salad, but at times it’s been edible.

Nellie orders two more from the beer guy in Section 112 during a recent game.

From a fantasy standpoint, us roto geeks are ready to put Nelson on the Mount Rushmore of coaches, but we’d prefer to literally chisel his head into the side of the mountain. Owning Warriors in fantasy over the last several seasons has led to a boom in the psychiatric industry and caused advice pushers like myself to question our very place on this planet. Nellie keeps us humble.

As the lucky recipient of a Stephen Curry prize in the 14th round of the Damn Lies draft, I’m pouring Mountain Dew over myself this morning after Curry’s 27-8-14 last night that featured seven steals and three three-pointers. This is why we put up with Nellie, why we continue to start our Warriors every week. Of course, Maggette owners (8-2-2 in 17 minutes) are as frustrated as Tolliver owners are ecstatic (34-8, 14-22 FG). And Saturday night, when Golden State plays the Clippers, the roles could easily be reversed.

Many will now speculate that Nelson will retire after this year, leaving behind a legacy of frustration, bewilderment and fleeting joy in the fantasy community. One thing’s for sure: this game will get a lot more boring.

It was another huge slate of games in the NBA Wednesday night (13 to be exact), and Damn Lies is here to break it all down.

The Earl Barron Reunion Tour continued to roll through the U.S. as Barron put up a 15 & 9 at Indiana. Weird. Also, Chris Duhon continues to start at point guard, but Toney Douglas continues to out-play him. It’s a strange time to have to count on Knicks in fantasy, but at least David Lee (16 & 16) is doing his thing with consistency.

Chris Bosh will miss the rest of the season with a (cringing) broken face. A shame. Toronto fell to Boston last night unsurprisingly, 115-104. Sonny Weems had 21 points for the Raptors and that about sums things up.

Orlando yawned its way to a 121-94 win over Washington. Desperate fantasy owners could do a lot worse than Nick Young right now. Young is averaging 22 points over his last three. All Magic players other than Dwight Howard are risky plays as Orlando rests guys for the playoffs, but it was nice to see Rashard Lewis break out and have what seemed like his best night of the season with 10 points and three rebounds.

Sam Dalembert asked in to the fantasy playoff party with 19 points, 16 boards and four blocks in Philly’s 99-95 loss at Miami. Sammy contributed a 4 & 4 in his previous game. It seems like every time I open a Heat box score Dorell Wright is doing something interesting. He had 17 points and four threes last night.

The Bobcats – yes, the Bobcats – secured a playoff berth with a 104-103 nail-biter over New Orleans last night. I’d mention that Tyson Chandler had 16 points, 10 rebounds and five blocks last night but nobody’d believe me. Marcus Thornton, who by now has secured a spot on the All-Waiver Wire team for the whole season, was a monster with 36 points and four connections from beyond the NBA regulation three-point line (I’m tired of calling them threes and I refuse to call them “triples”).

Elsewhere: Kentucky teammates John Wall and DeMarcus Cousins put their names in the NBA Draft yesterday to nobody’s surprise. Does a LeBron-Wall-Brook Lopez trio intrigue you?… Manu Ginobili signed a four-year contract extension with the Spurs after proving over the last month or so that he has few peers at the shooting guard position… Chris Paul and Al Harrington join Bosh as stars shutting it down for the season… King James will be playing only intermittently the rest of the way. He will probably sit out Friday’s game.

Daily Lies & Statistics: Up Next: Jewish Singles Night at the Meadowlands

It was Jewish Family Night yesterday at the Meadowlands as the Nets secured win No. 8 of the young season by thrashing Sacramento, 93-79. New Jersey held Israeli rookie Omri Casspi to two points on 1-of-8 shooting from the field and fans celebrated the victory by heaving kasha varnishkes onto the Izod Center floor.

And what better way to celebrate the Nets’ orthodoxy than by holding this special occasion. For a mere $18, fans received a ticket to the game along with a Jewish Family Night tee-shirt.  This evening could rival another of the Nets marketing machine’s ingenious strategies of having Yi Jianlian, or any other Net for that matter, making an appearance at your son or daughter’s Bar or Bat Mitzvah with the purchase of a season ticket. Of the people who have done this, I’d love to know the percentage of those who didn’t choose Chairman Yi. Big mistake if they didn’t.

The Nets fan has replaced the Jew on the self-loathing scale.

As for the game, Brook Lopez erupted for 26 points, 13 rebounds and four blocked shots. Devin Harris added 24 points (2-5 3-pt-fg) and nine assists. The Kings, still playing without the concussed Tyreke Evans, were again led by Mark Price, again wearing his Beno Udrih costume, and finished with 19 points (8-13 fg), eight boards and five assists.

It was a busy night in the Ligg, as Hubie Brown would say. Let’s take a peek at some of the fantasy standouts.

Rajon Rondo – Rage On explained to his owners last night why he was drafted in third round following his 11-point, 11-rebound, 15-assist, four-steal beauty.

Paul Pierce – Pierce is apparently over whatever has been ailing him the past few months. Last night he torched the Nuggets for 27 points (10-16 fg), seven rebounds, two steals and a block and has averaged 24.4 points and is shooting 57 percent from the floor over his last five.

Dwight Howard – Superman put up some seriously crooked numbers (19 pts, 24 reb, 4 bk, 2 st) in a tough loss at Atlanta. He’s a free throw percentage killer, but if you’ve owned him all season, there’s no longer a need to worry about that category.

Jameer Nelson – Nelson has been brutal of late, but maybe he’s over his doldrums as last night’s 20-point, 8-assist performance will attest.

James Singleton – Even with Andray Blatche (21 pts) in the starting lineup despite bickering with Flip Saunders, Singleton exploded for 19 points, 21 rebounds and a block. The Wizards are probably the worst team in the NBA right now and Singleton should get the chance to prove his worth with 30+ minutes a night the rest of the way. If you can still make adds, look no further.

Josh McRoberts – He did post a double-double last night with 14 points, 12 caroms and two blocks. But don’t go running to your waiver wires as it did come against lowly Washington and Roy Hibbert was out with a sprain of his temporo mandibular joint. God, I’ve been waiting all my life to write that.

Deron Williams – Williams is a freak and proved why with his devastating 18-point, 16-assist, four-steal extravaganza in the blowout win over the fading Raptors.

Wesley Matthews – Matthews has been on the fringe of being a legit pickup and now may be his time following a 16-point (3-6 3-pt fg), 8-rebound effort. The son of blazing fast former NBA guard Wes Matthews has averaged just over 34 minutes per game over his last four.

Jose Calderon/Jarrett Jack – This situation stinks as they continue to split time at the point guard position. Both are unstartable right now.

Darko Milicic – This may be my only chance to write about Darko, who totaled 10 points, four caroms and two blocks in last night’s loss at Charlotte. He does not resemble an NBA player by any stretch of the imagination yet he has some pretty steep demands if he plans on returning to the league next season. Darko, do us a favor and don’t come back. As Branch Rickey once told the great Ralph Kiner, “we can finish in last without you.”

Gerald Wallace – It’s got to be fun to open a Bobcat boxscore when owning Wallace and knowing the team had a good night offensively. That is if one considers 23 points (9-16 fg), four assists, four steals and three blocks a quality night.

Stephen Jackson – Captain Jack bounced back from some subpar shooting nights with 37 points on 15-of-24 from the floor. He also got his owners high with five rebounds, three assists, four 3-pointers and two steals. If you can live with a low field goal percentage, Jackson is your man.

LeBron James – LeBron celebrated the return of his big li’l buddy Zydrunas Ilgauskas with a typical 38-6-9 on 15-of-22 from the field. The Cavs could have home court advantage throughout the playoffs locked up by the end of next week, so don’t be surprised to see the 2009-10 MVP’s minutes limited the last few games of the regular season.

Marcus Thornton – Somehow, Thornton is the big winner in the return of Chris Paul Sweepstakes. Now entrenched in the starting lineup, the rookie registered 20 points and five assists in 43 minutes of work. Paul (5-2-7) and Darren Collison (17-4-7) each saw 31 minutes of court time.

Jason Kapono – Kapono has done nothing to deserve his starting role in Philly, but it is what it is. In last night’s upset win in Milwaukee, he recorded only 10 points in 23 minutes, but he is a phenomenal 3-point shooter and could get hot from long range just in time to help fantasy owners.

Trevor Ariza – Ariza’s field goal percentage (39%) has been an atrocity for much of the season, but he remains a solid fantasy performer. Last night he actually converted 8-of-14 from the floor and 3-of-4 from beyond the arc and finished with 20 points, two blocks and two steals.

Jeff Green – If he would only change his name to Jeffer Green a la Brigham Young sharpshooter Jimmer Fredette, he would be a lot more recognizable. As it is, Green has put up strong numbers of late, averaging 19.6 points and 1.4 steals over his last seven. Last night he totaled 19 points (8-11 fg), five rebounds, five assists and two rejects in the Thunder’s blowout win over the Rockets.

Lamar Odom – Now starting with Andrew Bynum again on the shelf, Mr. Kardashian tallied 19 points and yanked down 13 boards in a statement win at San Antonio. As I’ve always said, if he gets the minutes, Kardashian will deliver.

Ralph Willoughby – Was led to the court from Section 246 by Don Nelson prior to tipoff and delivered 22 points, six assists and three blocks for the Warriors. Keep an eye on Willoughby as he may have supplanted Corey Maggette as the starting small forward.

Reggie Williams – Played 29 minutes off the Golden St. bench and contributed 23 points (8-14 fg) and five rebounds. There is no such thing as a D-Leaguer in Nellie’s system.

Stephen Curry – I still have no idea if Curry is even any good as this system or lack thereof masks myriad offensive deficiencies. But man, owning Curry must be the equivalent of a five-year old walking into Dylan’s Candy Shop. Last night, he erupted for 30 points (12-19 fg), five rebounds, 11 assists and four steals in the easy win over the Grizzlies.

Only three games on the slate tonight, but Mavs at Blazers should be a doozy.

Daily Lies & Statistics: Paging Mr. Paul, Paging Mr. Chris Paul

Monday night we witnessed the much anticipated return of Chris Paul, who had been out of the lineup since January 29 — we are all a witness (what up Nike!). CP3 was slotted into the starting lineup, however he played just eight minutes in the first half. Paul returned to the game late in third quarter, taking the place of Marcus Thornton as the two-guard, and it wasn’t until the 4th quarter that he scored his first bucket. He

Will the real Chris Paul please stand up?

finished the night with 11 points, three 3-pointers, three assists, and one steal in 21 minutes. Jeff Bower said he was going to hold him to 20 minutes and did just that. But boy did he look good in limited action. Nice to see one of the three best fantasy ballers back in action.

The big question surrounding Paul’s return mainly had to do with the value of the two rookie guards, Darren Collison and Thornton. Well, Thornton started alongside Paul and picked up his 17th 20-point performance of the season, going for a team-high 28 points in 37 minutes. Collison came off the bench to lead the Hornets on a 23-0 run in the second quarter. He finished the night with 16 points, eight assists, and two steals in 34 minutes. I think you can’t read into these lines because you expect to see Paul’s minutes increase over time, but as I suggested earlier, you need to hold onto both Thornton and Collison. They still have better value right now than anything you’ll likely find on the wires. Unless of course Chris Paul is on your wires.

Who else did what? Let’s have us a look-see!

Kevin Durant did his best to keep his team in Monday’s game against the Spurs. He scored nearly half of his team’s 96 points, dropping 45 all by himself on 14-of-25 shooting. Ladies and gentlemen, the second overall pick in next year’s draft.

Derrick Rose seems to be back at 100%. He nearly triple-doubled against the Rockets, going for 27 points, two 3-pointers, seven rebounds and eight assists in nearly 47 minutes. Somebody on that team has to do something right… right?

Beno Udrih continues to excel with Tyreke Evans out of the lineup — 18 points on 9-of-15 shooting, seven rebounds, 10 assists, and two steals in 43 minutes. Do yourself a favor and pick him up!

Elton Brand had one of his finest games of the season against the Magic on Monday (no, not on ESPN Classics). He scored 18 points in the first 15 minutes of this one, finishing the night with 23 points on 9-of-15 shooting, six rebounds, three assists, and three blocks in 38 minutes. Nothing like following up a two-point performance with a strong inside game against the game’s best defensive big man.

Rashard Lewis is making up for lost time. He had his second straight 24-point performance on Monday night. He also has 11 3-pointers over his last three games, which is essentially why you own Lewis.

Brook Lopez had a strange line, going for 26 points on 8-of-16 shooting with only one rebound. Credit Jermaine O’Neil and his tough inside play — 25 points and nine rebounds in 34 minutes. He made him look like Broke Lopez.

Taj Gibson is a much better option than Joakim Noah right now, for those of you wondering. Noah is still limited in his minutes, while Gibson continues to be a nice interior presence — 10 points, 12 rebounds, and five blocks in 33 minutes. Noah went for four points, six rebounds, and one block in 11 minutes.

The Jarrett Jack and Jose Calderon timeshare continues to frustrate fantasy hoops owners. Calderon and Jack split time at the point with each playing 24 minutes. Neither had notable lines. Too bad you can’t combine the two as one player. That would be… scientific.

Terrence Williams contributed a little to each category with his nine points, eight rebounds, seven assists, one 3-pointer and one steal in 23 minutes. That was before he left the game with an ankle sprain. Sigh. He was on pace to post a triple-double. You should give Chris Douglas-Roberts a peak if Williams is out.

Carlos Delfino is back to providing great value lines. He went for 23 points, three treys, nine rebounds, five assists and two steals in 43 minutes against the Hawks. The Bucks have three more games this week and eight over the next two weeks. Not a bad waiver add down the stretch. Fear the deer!

George Hill had an outstanding game from the field, scoring a team-high 27 points on 9-of-14 shooting. Interestingly enough, Richard Jefferson — who’s had the hot hand of late — scored just five points. It seems that it’s either one or the other. It’s been a rare occasion over the past three or four weeks to see both get into rhythm in the same game. Just something worth thinking about.

Anthony Tolliver had yet another fantastic game on Monday — 25 points on 8-of-14 shooting, two 3-pointers, 12 rebounds, five assists, two steals and three blocks. I said this three two weeks ago, but you need to add Tolliver. There’s only one player in this league who can match him in blocks and threes made — Andrea Bargnani.

Reggie Williams dropped a career-high 29 points on 10-of-16 shooting in 33 minutes. He’s definitely worth a flier. He’s essentially the new Anthony Morrow. Meaning, I have a new man-crush.

Daily Lies & Statistics: Nobody Puts J.J. in the Corner

The Cavaliers made it 1-0 without their effervescent big man last night, embarrassing the Knicks 124-93. The final score wasn’t even indicative of the hideousness of the New York effort. If the teams were wearing generic jerseys and I said that it was the ’92 Dream Team against Liechtenstein, it would have been believable.

Earlier in the year, I predicted that Boston would squeak by the Cavs on its way to the NBA Finals. With Shaq out for the rest of the regular season and hopefully limited in the playoffs I can again root for Cleveland to go the distance. And go the distance it will with the rugged Anderson Varejao (14 pts, 10 reb, 2 bk, 16 min last night) and the young and improving J.J. Hickson (17 pts, 9 reb, 6-7 fg, 2 bk) sharing the pivot. They remind me of the Davis boys in Indiana in the mid-90s and are both worthy of being picked up in fantasy leagues… Hickson and Varejao that is as the Davises are probably in their mid-40s.

"Put me in, Coach, I'm ready to play."

Why this organization thought Shaq was the answer in the offseason is beyond me. This team is winning with chemistry and defense, and they happen to be very well-coached by their 25-year old small forward.

I, for one, will be pulling for the Cadavers to win the whole enchilada. Though as a Knicks fan I know it will take every ounce of restraint from LeBron to not tell a throng of 1.5 million at their victory parade that they will be back next season to repeat.

Lately, I’ve been singing the praises of the upstart Milwaukee Bucks to anyone within earshot. This team has about as much talent as the Pittsburgh Pythons, but they are getting it done with toughness and defense and won’t be an easy out in the playoffs. Andrew Bogut has been a top 5 center both in fantasy and real-life this season and he is being supported by defensive stalwarts Luc Richard-whatever and Ersan Ilyasova. This team has not felt the effects of the crooked-shooting Brandon Jennings, nor the loss of the chucking Michael Redd.

Ok, enough preaching. On to the Damn performances:

Bill Walker (21 pts, 5 reb, 9-14 fg, 2-5 3-pt fg) – I just love this guy’s name. There were 37 Bills in the league in the 80s, but since Medical Bill Cartwright announced his retirement from swinging ‘bows, I believe Mr. Walker is the first to carry the Bill torch. Regardless, he’s got pretty good skills and could see a decent amount of run the rest of the way. An injury to, let’s say Damn Lies favorite Tracy McGrady, could open the door for Walker to help steal a few championships for his owners.

Jrue Holiday (23 pts, 6 ast, 9-13 fg, 5-6 3-pt fg, 2 st) – The intriguing Holiday has shared the spotlight with the equally intriguing Lou Wiliams (13 pts, 5 reb, 7 ast) of late and could be a fine addition for the final six weeks of the season. Holiday is more of a true point guard and should put up some decent assist numbers. With Allen Iverson done for the year, don’t forget about the Philly backcourt.

George Hill (23 pts, 9-13 fg, 3-4 3-pt fg, 2 bk) – Even with Tony Parker‘s perpetual day-to-day status, this blogger has been pushing owners to nab the talented Hill for weeks. Over his last five contests, he has averaged 18.2 points and 1.8 threes in nearly 40 minutes per game. He can play both the one and the two and Parker’s return shouldn’t affect him too much.

Marcus Thornton (30 pts, 7 reb, 12-19 fg, 6-7 3-pt fg) – I debated picking up Thornton or C.J. Watson yesterday and decided on the guy who didn’t erupt for 30 points and six threes. Thornton has been silly of late, averaging 26.2 points and 2.8 threes over his last five. He still comes off the bench but plays starter’s minutes. He should no longer be available.

Taj Gibson (11 pts, 13 reb, 3 ast, 1 bk) – Here’s another young player who should have been scooped up a few weeks ago. Gibson is as tough as they come and has made the most of Joakim Noah‘s absence. Noah will remain out or at least limited for a while, but regardless, Gibson seems to have solidified his position in the Bulls frontcourt. Solid rebounding and blocks digits await.

Nicolas Batum (21 pts, 7-11 fg, 4-7 3-pt fg, 1 bk) – Dare I even say that we have to keep a good eye on Batum? He tallied 31 points with five threes on Saturday and followed it up with a 21-point, four 3-pointer effort in last night’s win over the fading Grizzlies. He has stolen all of Martell Webster‘s minutes and may be worth a flyer.

Rasual Butler (13 pts, 3 reb, 2 ast) – Butler stunk up the clip joint last night, but he is starting and for some unknown reason is playing big minutes for the Clips, while the more talented Travis Outlaw languishes on the bench. For the time being, Butler is worth a look, but he should peak in the rearview mirror.

Drew Gooden (19 pts, 11 reb, 6-9 fg, 1 bk) – Gooden’s city-to-city tour can rival Madonna’s as he continues to get it done on the glass, regardless of his situation. He has found his way into the starting unit and will continue to post decent scoring and blocks totals along with big-time boards.

Only four games on the board tonight, including Warriors at Heat. These are two teams heading nowhere, but I’m excited to see what the combination of Stephen Curry and Watson will accomplish with four games this week. Considering the fact that I have Watson and Jeff has Curry, probably very little.

Daily Lies & Statistics: Not so nasty Nate

I don’t know about you, but I was excited about seeing Nate Robinson lace ’em up against his former team, the New York Knicks. It was time for some sweet, sweet revenge. Or at least it seemed like Robinson would like to get in there and show Mike D’Antoni what his doghouse looks like. Burn! Well, Robinson had a quiet four points, going 2-of-7 from the line in 16 minutes. Who is this guy? Stephon Marbury? Ho!!

Is there any other kind of chocolate?

The Knicks were happy to move on, especially now in hindsight as their new starting backcourt is beginning to look more like, well, starters for an NBA team. Out with Robinson and Chris Duhon, and in with Sergio Rodriguez and Tracy McGrady. Rodriguez took the opportunity on Tuesday night to nail in his role as the starting point guard for the Knicks. He dropped 18 points on 7-of-10 shooting with three treys, five rebounds, six assists, two steals and a block in 37 minutes. Muy bueno. T-Mac, wasn’t as effective, but I think many thought he wasn’t even going to play in this one after he injured himself on Monday. McGrady scored just six points in 26 minutes, but he did manage to dish out a team-high eight dimes. Both players have upped their value in D’Antoni’s system. Though it is worth noting, this is still David Lee’s team.

The line of the night belonged to Marcus Thornton, a guy who has a great knack for getting the ball in the basket — 37 points on 15-of-22 shooting and two 3-pointers in 31 minutes off the bench. Say goodbye to Morris Peterson. It should only be a matter of time before Thornton is in the starting lineup. He’s a nice bulk scorer who should get  look in most formats.

What else happened?

Minnesota 91, Miami 88: Dwyane Wade did not play, as expected, but boy what a surprise Dorrell Wright was — 26 points on 9-of-11 shooting, six 3-pointers, seven rebounds, two blocks, and three steals in 30 minutes off the bench. Somebody had to show up and play for the Heat!

Portland 102, New Jersey 93: It’s about time we finally got to see Brandon Roy take his game to that All-Star level we know he’s capable of (28 points in 36 minutes). The question is: should you sell high on Roy? I wouldn’t. You’re not going to get equal value. And who’s to say he’s not” back.” Speaking of injuries, Marcus Camby went down with a sprained ankle after just five minutes of action. The big man curse in Portland is alive! For the Nets, Courtney Lee dropped a team-high 28 points. Pick this guy up. He’s been one of my favorite waiver adds for some time now.

Lakers 99, Grizzlies 98: Look who else is back: Kobe Bryant! It didn’t take him long to get things going, as he dropped 32 points on 13-of-19 shooting, three treys, seven rebounds, six assists, three steals and two blocks in 40 minutes. Paul Gasol got the best of his younger brother by posting a double-double with 22 points, 13 rebounds, two steals and two blocks. Little brother Marc Gasol had a quiet eight points, 11 rebounds and three blocks in 36 minutes.

Suns 104, Thunder 102: The battle in the sky! No Steve Nash in this one, but no worries for Phoenix. Not as long as they have Goran Dragic in the lineup — 16 points on 7-of-11 shooting and 10 assists. I was just as surprised as you were to see him play so well against Russell Westbrook (or, don’t let me put words in your mouth). Westbrook has been the best fantasy point guard over the past week and he continued to show why with his third straight double-double — 21 points, 10 assists and three steals. Really, who’s been better than Westbrook? Same can be said for MVP candidate — yeah I went there — Kevin Durant. With his 36 points, Durant has kept his 25-plus point streak alive. It now sits at 29 games.

Pistons 101, Kings 89: The story in this one may have been the play of Tayshaun Prince. He scored 22 points in 36 minutes, which matched the total points the two big offseason acquisitions Ben Gordon and Charlie Villanueva combined. For the Kings it was a two-man show. Tyreke Evans (28 points) and Carl Landry (18 points)were the only two Kings to score in double-figures.

76ers  110, Warriors 102: Without Allen Iverson in the lineup (will he ever return?) Louis Williams took advantage of his role as the starting two-guard. He scored a game-high 26 points with five 3-pointers and 10 rebounds. Who needs Iverson? Remember too that this one was against the Warriors. Our very own Jeff Andriesse could score 26 points against the Warriors! Believe that.

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