Welcome back, fans of guys putting an orange ball through an eerily similar shaped rim! The Day Before Tomorrow is back in action this season to give you all the news and notes from around the NBA the day before… well… tomorrow. That’s actually today if you are calendar impaired or just don’t like to think. Let’s dive in…
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–Blake Griffin is the latest to have his first breakout game of the season as he dismantled the Jazz frontline to the tune of 30 points, 11 rebounds and a steal. Griffin had been struggling due to a some of the new faces on the team and an elbow injury, but really snapped out of his funk in this one. His season averages are now up to 17.5 PPG and 8.9 RPG and should continue to rise with play like this. The Clippers have some of the worst front court depth in the league and his minutes should continue to be in the high 30s unless they make a move.
–Larry Sanders continues to impress both fantasy owners and Scott Skiles. Sanders finally cut down on his fouling a little bit with just 2 last night on his way to blocking 7 shots with 8 points, 7 rebounds and 2 steals in 26 minutes. The minutes are going to continue to be frustrating, but Scott Skiles has admitted he has too many good big men to commit to a consistent rotation. However, Sanders is forcing his hand right now and should be owned and started in all leagues.
–JJ Redick (22 points, 5 rebounds, 7 assists) was back to his smooth shooting ways last night as he torched the Warriors wings along with Aaron Afflalo (24 points) all game long. The Magic are one of the better coached teams in the league right now under Jacque Vaughn and he knows that using Redick and Afflalo together at the wings gives him his best 5 players on the court. While there will be games where the matchups don’t allow him to do so, Redick should maintain mid-to-late round value from here on out. With 24 points each, Glen Davis and Aaron Afflalo continue to use volume to maintain the solid value we expected them to have this season.
–Alexsey Shved has been very solid in his last few games, yet still flying well under the radar. Even with JJ Barea and Luke Ridnour healthy Shved has averaged 30 mpg, 12.3 ppg, 2.5 apg and 2.5 threes. Those are some pretty impressive numbers in any format outside of maybe a scoring heavy points league. The key with Shved is to be patient, he is a young player playing under a coach notorious for riding veterans. The fact that he is this involved this early is impressive in itself and he should only get easier shots when Ricky Rubio comes back even if it costs him some playing time. As one of our writers @Mahiko pointed out to me today; Shved is averaging 17.8 ppg, 3 rpg, 4 apg and 2.8 3pg in games where he plays 30+ minutes.
-It is sounding more and more like Mike D’Antoni is going to rest Pau Gasol a bit to get his knees back to solid health. He is clearly hurting enough that it is affecting his game, especially in the uptempo offense that the Lakers are now running. I think this will be a good thing for Pau. Many owners are complaining about him, but you really aren’t doing too much worse than expected. The only real place he has taken a hit to his numbers is scoring. Gasol is still providing solid value due to his averages of 12.6 ppg, 8.8 rpg, 3.5 apg and 1.5 bpg. Those are nothing to scoff at and proves just how spoiled we have been with Gasol in the past. If Gasol does sit, Antawn Jamison becomes one of the best fantasy plays in the league for as long as he’s out.
–Derrick Rose is inching closer to a return for the Bulls. He appears to be still 3-4 weeks away from practicing and his target return date remains after the All-Star Break in February though. There are questions about how he will be eased back in and if he will even get up to a full slate of minutes before the playoffs, but around Christmas would be the time I would really start stashing him in shallow daily lineup leagues.
–Derrick Favors appears to have come down with Plantar Faciitis and while it’s always hard to tell how long that will sideline a player for, it looks like the time is right to buy Paul Millsap and maybe even add Enes Kanter in deeper leagues. Favors is a guy I would hold for a week or so to see if he can get over this, but if it lingers, I have no problem cutting him in most leagues.
Top Lines to Target:
(Those who target the night’s highest over/unders should reap fantasy success)
LAL @ HOU
Value Play: Chris Duhon
Conley has gone off the last two games and faces the Suns horrendous defense. Holiday has been as good as they come so far and he should be able to take advantage of the TWolves offensive minded backcourt. Dragic has struggled a bit lately, but is one of the better values at point guard tonight. Duhon may get a chance to start for the Lakers tonight.
Value Play: Nate Robinson
Kobe and Harden square off in what should be easily the highest scoring game of the night between two of the leagues fastest paced teams. Turner has been solid and seems to finally be finding his niche for the Sixers as they take on the Wolves without their lockdown defender in AK47. Robinson has boom or bust potential with Rip Hamilton out of the lineup for the Bulls.
Value Play: Jimmy Butler
Durant should bounce back form consecutive slow games in what should be a competitive game with the Nets. Gay should dominate Michael Beasley on both ends of the court, even if he is slowed a little by his back problem. MWP bounced back from two slow games on Sunday and his price still makes him a great value. Butler is another Bull who stands to benefit form Rip Hamilton’s absence.
Value Play: Antawn Jamison
Love continues to struggle with his shot, but not his fantasy production and has a solid matchup tonight. Blatche gets yet another start for the injured Brook Lopez and has been playing well in them. PatPat has been on fire and is lined up for another big game whether he is facing Gasol or Jamison. Jamison is a solid value as it stands, but becomes a must-start if Pau Gasol is rested.
Value Play: LaVoy Allen
Howard still isn’t himself (expect for the horrid free throw shooting), but tonight’s matchup with the Rockets screams a big night for Dwight. Ibaka didn’t do much like most of the Thunder recently due to blowouts and limited minutes, but his price is no longer factoring in his immense upside, making him a great play. Bosh should torch the easily overmatched Wizards frontcourt. LaVoy Allen has been solid as the starting center for the Sixers and should continue that tonight.