Thursday Night Recap
Cory Joseph, PG, San Antonio – In typical Gregg Popovich fashion, four players sat during a nationally televised Thursday night game. Of the four, two guards sat: Manu Ginobili and Marco Belinelli. According to a report from Spurs beat writer Jeff McDonald, Belinelli should be out a week to 10 days with a groin strain. Ginobili’s day off was just for rest. Joseph will continue to be a sneaky play on nights a guard or two misses a game, and with Popovich as the coach, those nights should be plentiful. Tony Parker will get his fair share of rest nights as well, and his true backup (Patty Mills) is out until at least January. For his career, Joseph averages 12.4 points per 36 minutes (PP36), 4.2 rebounds per 36 minutes (RP36) and 4.4 assists per 36 minutes (4.4) which combined makes for a usable Fantasy line. His averages are way up this season because he’s playing with confidence as the next-in-line point guard. With no competition for the role in the foreseeable future, Joseph is a nice stash in daily Fantasy Hoops leagues where you can plug him as soon as the inactives are released.
Boris Diaw, PF/C, San Antonio – Diaw’s situation resembles Joseph’s except replace Ginobili and Belinelli with Tiago Splitter and Tim Duncan. Similar to the guard situation, one of the two sat out due to a “true” injury and the other (Duncan) was rested. Splitter is seeing a specialist about a nerve issue, so it appears his absence could be extended. Diaw is one of those guys who does just enough to stay relevant in most formats. In points formats, and this is based on Draftkings scoring, Thursday was the first day he produced less than 23.75 Fantasy points. What he lacks in scoring, he makes up for in assists and rebounds. The Spurs really are not recommended for Fantasy Hoops play, aside from Kawhi Leonard, but Diaw is also better suited for daily leagues. The Popovich inactives are frustrating, but Diaw will fill up the stat sheet in games that sees the big minutes. Diaw should return to around 20-22 minutes when the team is at full strength.
Donatas Motiejunas, PF, Houston – With the absence of Terrence Jones, Donatas “Donuts” Motiejunas drew a rare start. He played a season-high in minutes (25) but laid a goose egg in the scoring department. Four November games are in the books and Donuts is averaging 20 minutes per game (MPG) but he’s done little with them. He hasn’t scored more than six points in any game this season. Against the 76ers he registered eight rebounds, but c’mon, they’re the 76ers. There’s nothing to see here. When Jones returns, Donuts will not present a threat to his minutes. Jones remains a Top 75 overall option in Fantasy Hoops.
Chris Kaman, C, Portland – At the ripe young age of 32, Chris Kaman still finds ways to look like a force to be reckoned with. Kaman made all six of his field goal attempts in 18 minutes last night en route to 12 points, five rebounds and a block. He showed he still had the ability to score last season with the Lakers, and that isn’t changing anytime soon. Kaman has stayed between 17 and 22 minutes in all five games thus far. Against weaker, small opponents he should put up double-digit points. That’s worth something in 14-plus team leagues but it will take a Robin Lopez injury for him to truly flourish. Expect his minutes to settle down on the higher end (around 22 minutes) of what they’ve been so far. He could average 10 PTS, 6.5 REB for the year if things go right.
Tony Wroten/Michael Carter-Williams, PG, Philadelphia – Ugh. Wroten owners enjoying the ride now must pump the brakes. Michael Carter-Williams, whose return was speculated to be any time between Nov. 13 and February,
looks like he will be returning on the early end of that estimate. Therefore, Wroten owners should expect some kind of natural regression. All indications are the two of them may both start next to each other, which is clearly good news for Wroten’s minutes. The team needs his offense and he has been nothing short of dynamic thus far. When Carter-Williams makes it back on the court, he will take over a majority of the ball-handling duties, partially because Wroten leads the NBA in turnovers by one overall (27 to James Harden’s 26) and ranks second in turnovers per game (5.4 compared to Reggie Jackson’s league-leading 5.5). Wroten should still lead the league in scoring, so if someone is looking to “sell high” on him, the only regression expected should be in assists (and turnovers….but that’s a good thing). Try and target him in a trade if owners are panicking with the MCW news because he should prove to be usable all season whether starting or not. The team needs him.
Channing Frye, PF/C, Orlando – The guy has never produced flashy numbers, which is why he has largely flown under the radar throughout his whole NBA career. He missed all of the preseason with a knee injury but is proving the issue is behind him. In four games, Frye is averaging 32 MPG including playing 36 minutes in each game of a Nov.4/5 back-to-back (at Chicago and at Philadelphia). Frye’s 13 and 11 double-double on Nov. 5 proves he’s doing just fine. The eight three point attempts in his last contest were also a season high. Without Victor Oladipo, the team is looking for offense wherever it can find any, and Frye should be part of the solution. The team desperately needed a shooter, which is why they went out and signed Frye, so look for solid numbers in the near future. Frye should increase his numbers to around his career average of 9.9 PPG and 5.3 REB. He averaged 2.0 3PM last season and look for him to come close to that yet again in 2014-15.
Jeremy Lamb, SG, Oklahoma City – Lamb will return to the lineup tonight against Minnesota “barring any unforeseen setback.” No Russell Westbrook or Kevin Durant in the lineup leaves much of the offense open to interpretation. Lamb should contribute immediately and should challenge Reggie Jackson and (a healthy) Perry Jones for leading scorer until the two superstars return. For his career, Lamb averages 15.7 PP36 and that’s mostly with the superstars in the lineup. With a full allotment of minutes, he could legitimately push 20 PPG, so he’s worth a speculative add.
Gerald Henderson, SG/SF, Charlotte – I thought he was worth addressing because he saw 32 minutes in a start at New Orleans Nov. 4, and started the game afterwards as well. It doesn’t matter where he’s playing as long as Lance Stephenson is in town (and healthy) because Henderson isn’t producing. Do not be fooled looking into past production because the situation has changed, and Michael Kidd-Gilchrist is even outplaying him to this point. The minute uptick has been due to Kidd-Gilchrist’s injury and MKG is probable tonight. Leave Henderson on waivers.