Do I even have to tell you guys to pick up D.J. Augustin at this point? The answer is “no” as he moves into a starting role and a viable point guard option in all formats. If owners were to search for the Pistons depth chart, they will find Spencer Dinwiddie as the backup to Augustin. No disrespect to Dinwiddie, but Augustin is the Pistons only option at point and will receive minutes in heavy doses. There have been rumors of the organization inquiring on Norris Cole, however, so that’s something to keep in mind.
Fantasy Sports is really wacky, let me tell you. This situation with LaMarcus Aldridge isn’t the first of its kind and definitely won’t be the last. The funny part is that it doesn’t only happen in basketball. In baseball, owners hear this player might need Tommy John surgery, next thing you know he’s out there on the mound. That’s why you should never jump to drop/trade a speculated injured player right away until it’s a sealed deal, even if Roto Frank tells you to pick up Dorell Wright (ugh).
Much like the New York Knickerbockers, the Los Angeles Lakers find themselves in a crapshoot of a season, basically holding auditions for next year’s team. Many players who likely wouldn’t get the chance to play on a contending team are trying to make the most of their time with the Lakers. Among those players is rookie point guard Jordan Clarkson. It’s clear head coach Byron Scott wants nothing to do with Jeremy Lin and opts to start Clarkson instead. In his first three NBA starts, he’s averaging 12.3 points per game to go along with three assists in each contest. The minutes are going to be there, as he picked up at least 27 minutes since starting. If there is one thing Clarkson can do efficiently, it’s score. He put up 17.5 points per game on 45-percent shooting while adding an 83-percent free-throw percentage last year at the University of Missouri. If he earns Scott’s trust, he can become a viable Fantasy option, providing help in the scoring categories to go along with some assists and steals.
Looking Deeper: The Charlotte Hornets find themselves in the eighth spot in the Eastern Conference, which would be just enough to make the playoffs had the season ended today. The challenge becomes finding a way to maintain that spot following the injury to Kemba Walker, keeping him out for six weeks. Now this is a speculative add Ramon Sessions has been linked to the Hornets via trade rumors. Sessions is a wily veteran, who enjoyed one of his best statistical years with the (then) Bobcats in the 2012-13 season. He has history with the team and chances are they don’t trust Brian Roberts to man the load until Walker’s return. Sessions would be able to provide some scoring, three pointers, and assists should he be shipped to Charlotte.
Scout: Norris Cole, Nik Stauskas, Dante Exum, Austin Rivers, Shabazz Napier
It’s official. The Knicks have signed both Lance Thomas and Lou Amundson for the rest of this season. There is something about journeymen in the NBA that earn an opportunity. Most, not all, play with a chip on their shoulder, a rugged nastiness to them. That’s exactly what fans are seeing with these two gents. Of the two, Thomas has more Fantasy upside while Amundson can provide those gritty rebounds and blocks categories. Thomas has been on four teams in four years, and is hitting a stride in New York. Over the past four games, Thomas has played at least 24 minutes, scoring 16 points or more in each of them. Over that span, he is shooting 64-percent and has grabbed 17 total rebounds. He is a career 44-percent shooter from the field, but perhaps the Garden is what he needed to jumpstart his talent. Before you go and accuse me of being a homer for suggesting Knicks pickups each week, they legitimately keep bringing new guys in. Hopefully they’re done for now so Galloway and Thomas continue to flourish.
Looking Deeper: Perhaps the best name to say in the NBA is Luc Mbah a Moute. A native of Cameroon, Mbah a Moute is another one of those gritty veterans who knows how to fill up the stat sheet. He doesn’t excel in any one particular category but he grinds out some points, rebounds, assists and steals. Mbah a Moute’s hardnosed defense makes the 76ers better when he is on the court, as his +/- of +33 from last night would indicate. He has five double-digit scoring performances in his last six games, and if he continues to get the minutes, he will continue to do the dirty work.
Scout: Carl Landry, Jason Smith, Jerami Grant, Aaron Gordon
Both of these suggestions are actually “looking deeper” options since most of the valuable options at center are owned already. Alex Len is enjoying a fine sophomore campaign, but there are a few reasons to be concerned with him. He is just 21 years at stands at 7’1. With mammoth size, there’s always that possibility for foot injuries. Apparently Len has been dealing with a sore foot. Remember foot injuries are the ones that ended both Yao Ming’s and Zydrunas Ilgauskas’ careers. Given that Len is so young and has so much upside, the Suns will likely proceed with caution. There is a reason they traded for Brandan Wright. Wright is a capable big man who can also rebound and block shots. As Len’s minutes continue to dwindle and Miles Plumlee potentially leaving town, Wright could end up seeing some big minutes down the stretch. Continue to monitor this situation going forward, although you might want to scoop him off the waiver wire before disaster strikes in Phoenix.
In Dewayne Dedmon’s first game seeing 30 minutes this season for the Orlando Magic, he managed to collect a double-double even with the rebounding machine Nik Vucevic in the lineup. Dedmon started the second half of Channing Frye in the Magic’s most recent game, due to his energy and defensive effort. The minutes are really going to determine how much Dedmon can help Fantasy teams but if there is a chance he could start, he should be worth owning. He’s a legitimate big man at 7’0 and coupling him with Vucevic would mean disaster in the post for opposing teams.
Scout: Lou Amundson, Robin Lopez