Fantasy: Stock Up / Stock Down
With a number of different NBA rosters shaken up as a result of deadline deals, we have seen a handful a new faces emerge and must-start fantasy factors. We’ve also witnessed a couple of proven studs stepping up their game to elite levels. And, as always, the injury bug has bitten, and fantasy fates have been adjusted accordingly.
Klay Thompson – Golden State Warriors:
The majority of his rookie campaign, Klay Thompson was playing approximately 18-20 minutes a night a reserve off the Warriors bench, and posting decent numbers on a per-minute basis. However, he wasn’t given enough playing time to make a major impact in fantasy circles. All that changed the moment Golden State shipped Monta Ellis to the Bucks in exchange for Andre Bogut and Stephen Jackson prior to the trade deadline early last week. Klay played 42 minutes that first game with Monta, and Mr. Thompson has been rolling along nicely ever since. Golden State got blown out by the Rockets on Thursday night, so the starters didn’t play their usual allotment of minutes; however, over the Warriors previous five games, Thompson was averaging 21.2 ppg, 3.2 apg, 3.0 3PT’s and 1.2 steals. He is also 17-of-17 from the FT stripe during this stretch. With Ellis out of the picture, and the Warriors building towards the future, Coach Mark Jackson is obviously eager to see exactly what he has in Klay. Thus, there is no reason to assume Thompson’s PT (or corresponding) production will decrease anytime soon.
Josh Smith – Atlanta Hawks:
Smith had been having an excellent season this year, but has stepped it up to another level in March. Through 13 games this month, Josh is averaging 23.0 points, 10.1 rebounds, 4.9 assists, 1.4 steals, 1.5 blocks, 1.1 three-pointers. Just amazing all-around numbers. To help put that in context, for all games played in March, Smith is averaging more rebounds than Blake Griffin; more assists Dwayne Wade or Jrue Holliday; more points than Deron Williams or Monta Ellis; more 3’s than Carmelo Anthony; and more blocks than Marcin Gortat. You get my drift…
Andrew Bynum – Los Angels Lakers:
During the days and weeks leading up to fantasy drafts each year, the buzz on Bynum centers on his incredible upside – yet, is often followed by the caveat: “if he can just stay healthy…” Well, this season, Andrew Bynum has stayed healthy. And the results have been even better than expected. Prior to the Lakers loss to the Rockets on Monday night, Bynum had notched a double-double in 16 out of L.A.’s previous 17 games. During that 17-game stretch, Bynum was averaging a whopping 20.5 ppg, 13.4 rpg, and 2 blocks, while shooting 62.6% from the floor and 77% from the stripe. It seems the Bynum that Lakers fans and fantasy folks have been waiting for has finally emerged. How about this stat, courtesy of the Elias Sports Bureau: Prior to March 6th, Bynum had just one 30-point game in his entire seven-year career. He has now topped 30-points on three separate occasions over the last three weeks.
Goran Dragic – Houston Rockets:
Dragic is going to hit the open market as a free-agent this summer, and has recently been given an excellent opportunity to prove his value over the past few weeks. With Kyle Lowry sidelined by a mysterious bacterial infection, Dragic has been running the show in Houston. Dragic has now started a total of 10 games this season and is averaging 15.9 points (shooting 51.8 from the floor, 82.4% from the free-throw line, and 41.5% from behind-the-arc), 9.6 assists, 3.5 boards, 1.9 steals, and 1.7 three-balls. Goran is going to get paid this summer.
Marcus Thornton – Sacramento Kings:
Over the last two months, few players have been as consistently productive as Thornton. The Kings have played 26 games since February 1st, and during that stretch Marcus is averaging 20.2 ppg, 3.7 rpg, 2.3 three’s, and 1.5 steals. Over a particularly torrid three-ame span last week, Thornton poured in over 30 points per contest.
Nate Robinson – Golden State Warriors:
Just as the aforementioned Klay Thompson has taken advantage of an opportunity to start at SG in GoldenState, Nate Rob has excelled since being inserted as the team’s start point guard. With Steph Curry (ankle) sidelined for at least a month, Nate Rob will continue to draw starts and will provide points and assists.
Kyle Lowry and Kevin Martin – Houston Rockets:
Per an NBA.com report on Thursday night, both members of Houston’s starting backcourt are “out indefinitely.” Lowry is dealing with a bacterial infection and Martin has a strained right shoulder.
Derrick Rose – Chicago Bulls:
Per K.C. Johnson of the Chicago Tribune, Rose hasn’t even started running yet, and is “more week-to-week than day-to-day.” The report indicates that Rose is “shuffling along rather than walking purposefully.” This is obviously not promising news for the league’s reigning MVP. As the playoffs approach, fantasy owners may have to look elsewhere.
Tony Parker – San Antonio Spurs:
Per the San Antonio Express-News: “When Tony Parker felt a twinge in his left leg after sprinting back on defense during Wednesday’s second quarter, the All-Star point guard didn’t hesitate for even a moment. Walking straight to the Spurs’ bench, Parker told coach Gregg Popovich what he had felt and continued walking to the locker room. An examination by head athletic trainer Will Sevening and members of the team’s medical staff determined Parker’s injury as a strained left hamstring. “I think they said ‘mild hamstring,’?” Popovich said, expressing mild optimism. “We won’t know much until tomorrow.” — Safe to assume the Spurs and Coach Pop will err on the side of caution, understanding that the primary objective is making sure Parker is healthy come the postseason.