"They" say the best thing to do to get your mind off something is to talk it out. So I'm goning to do just that. As hard as it is to admit it, I'm dead last in my legacy fantasy basketball league, the one I most care about winning. Yes, the same league I ran away with in 2007-08, thanks to a lot of help from Kobe Bryant, Allen Iverson, Carlos Boozer, Baron Davis and Danny Granger. Oh yeah, and my boy Kevin Durant.
Wow, that was great. I feel better already. And whaddya know; I just looked at my flailing team, and they absolutely blew up last night. We're in an eight-category, head-to-head league that scores each cat as a win or loss each week. Last I checked, I was down 3-5, but now, a shiny, happy 8-0. I'm outnumbered tonight since my opponent is streaming, but I should be good for five or six categories either way. Devin Harris has returned and proceeded to serve up more than 30 points in three of his last four games. Deron Williams made a brief cameo, and I'm anxiously awaiting his return to full health. LeBron James needs your help, Deron. Oh yeah, and my other secret weapon is the guy I've had on layaway since draft night. Which brings me to my first Methought ...
• Methinks you need to check your waiver/free agent wire for the availability of Manu Ginobili. STAT. Seriously, go look now. I'll be right here waiting for you to get back.
There, now don't you feel better? He is cutting, jumping and dunking. Tony Parker won't be any help for probably 10-12 more games, and this team can't afford to lose the majority of those games in a very tough Southwest Division. When Manu is ready, Manu will play.
• Methinks I like what I'm seeing from Ronnie Brewer of late, particularly his 3.6 assists/game. It doesn't appear to be flukey either, because he managed nine assists against Philadelphia on November 11 in a game where Deron Williams also dished nine dimes. As long as he continues to do well with his playing time, he is a lock to get minutes. Get your points from elsewhere, because he'll only give you low-teens there, but keep him for his improved perimeter game, abundant steals, and newfound passing ability.
• Methinks I had to rub my eyes in disbelief when I read that Kwame Brown would be taking over the starting PF position in Detroit. Sure, the other bigs haven't exactly run away with the gig, but I still wonder whether this is just a stopgap move until Antonio McDyess returns to platoon with him. Not to mention Kwame's penchant for injury. Or his inability to hit a free throw (except against the Lakers, apparently). In other words, do yourself a favor and stay away. Being picked first overall doesn't always predicate success.
• Methinks I've finally bought in on the Spencer Hawes bandwagon. My issue was whether he'd still play enough minutes off the bench, and he is averaging nearly 28 mpg in a relief role. Oh, and did I mention that his per-game averages are mostly better off the bench? Check this out:
In starts: 50.0 FG%, 77.8 FT%, 1.2 3PT, 12.6 PTS, 8.0 REB, 1.6 AST, 1.4 STL, 2.0 BLK
Off the bench: 56.0 FG%, 80.0 FT%, 0.6 3PT, 13.4 PTS, 8.0 REB, 1.2 AST, 0.4 STL, 2.4 BLK
I don't care that Kevin Martin and Francisco Garcia are due to come back and eat up minutes. Those minutes won't come out of Hawes, but they could finally start to take time from Mikki Moore and guys like Quincy Douby, Jason Thompson, and John Salmons. Believe me when I tell you the team doesn't want to be running Salmons and Brad Miller out there for roughly 50 minutes, like they had to against Phoenix over the weekend. If you fancy selling high on Hawes, make sure you get fair value for him. That's all I'm saying.
• Speaking of the Kings, Methinks I hope you listened to me about Beno Udrih being fine once he gets settled into the idea of running the offense. His last seven days of averages look like this: four games, 52.5 percent shooting, 75.0 percent from the line, 1.0 3PT, 18.5 points, 4.8 rebounds, 4.5 assists, 1.3 steals, 1.3 turnovers. Now, he will regress back to his typical scoring pace when the injured guys return, but he's still in line to hit projections.
• Methinks the jury is still out on Rafer Alston, who was showing signs of life before his two-game suspension for fighting Matt Barnes last week. But after watching Aaron Brooks fill in for Alston, I'm even more convinced of the rebound. Brooks did okay against the Spurs' B-team, but he looked like a high school student trying to cover Chris Paul on Saturday. Just like last year, Alston will prove he's better than anyone gives him credit for, as the best PG on this team.
• Methinks I'm extremely intrigued about why Toronto would hand Andrea Bargnani the starting gig over Jamario Moon on Sunday. Watch this situation if you're invested in either player. Bargs could be suddenly more valuable with SF/PF/C next to his name, and Moon's value would take a hit should he be relegated to 20 mpg.
• Methinks rookie Russell Westbrook has done enough already to prove to the team that a youth movement is imminent. The trade rumors surrounding veteran Earl Watson are swirling, but the team would do itself better to keep him around so long as he can provide a veteran presence at the position. Either way, stay the course with Westbrook in deep leagues and keeper formats, because his day is rapidly approaching.
• Methinks another rookie, Brook Lopez needs to be on your "watch" list. His upside is way beyond that of incumbent, Josh Boone. It might be a few more weeks before the team leans on him more heavily, but at some point, you have to figure they'll open their eyes and play the more talented big. In keeper leagues, your lead time to acquire his services for next year and beyond is running short.
• Methinks that, if you're struggling at the PG position and Luke Ridnour is sitting on the free agent wire, you need to claim him. Charlie Bell hasn't gained any confidence points with notoriously fickle head coach Scott Skiles during his stint starting for injured Michael Redd. That leaves a ton of minutes to split among Ridnour, Redd and breakout player Ramon Sessions, who will get his, even off the bench. Tell me you don't want 12 points, 5-6 assists, one trey, and elite free-throw shooting for your team. I dare you. But first know that Ridnour's boards will come down closer to 3.0 and the field-goal percentage will go up a few points. Not a bad in-season addition, particularly if you're employing a guy who isn't guaranteed consistent minutes for some reason.
• On another note, Methinks a certain Luc Richard Mbah a Moute, who has really won over Skiles with his work ethic, will be the man at PF in Milwaukee the rest of the way. He'll offer a good number of boards and great FG%, with occasional scoring spurts and defensive stats like steals/blocks. He was only good for 8.8 points and 6.0 boards in 29 mpg for UCLA last year, and he managed to hit just 68.9 percent of his free throws. My point? He is playing well, but that's with Charlie Villanueva and Redd injured, and Andrew Bogut yet to hit his stride. Good add in keeper formats and if you have a deep bench, but don't overinvest in him in smaller fantasy leagues.
• In closing, it's critical to remember that, in fantasy basketball, you need to know when to stand pat and when to make a move. My last-place team is pretty talented and just now getting its "sea legs." No need to panic. I've already dismissed some guys who I deemed expendable (including a stupid trade of Derrick Rose before the season started), and I now have a mix I feel can keep this team competitive (and yes, I kick myself regularly for that trade anyway). Take the same approach with your team. If a guy is getting minutes at the key times of the game, he'll normally step it up to career levels. But if someone is out of the rotation, out of favor, or injured, you need to make a decision and live with it.
As always, e-mail me with thoughts or questions, and good luck this week.