The Outlook goes around the league, team by team, and examines which players are hot and cold, and which players you should keep an eye on. The outlook for Week 7 suggests 96 players who are safe starts and 47 players who are borderline, so if your league is much smaller or larger, adjust accordingly. As always, let's start with a look at the schedules for the coming week. Listed first are the number of games played for each team, followed by five teams with poor and favorable schedules.
After that are my three top pickups for deep leagues and my top five fill-ins for short-term help. Lastly, all 30 NBA teams are listed in alphabetical order. Ideally, you'll be able to get a good feel of what's going on around the league just by reading this, even if you didn't watch a single game or look at any boxscores last week.
1. Los Angeles Clippers (3 games: Orlando, @Portland, Houston)
1. Houston Rockets (4 games: @Memphis, Atlanta, @Golden State, @LA Clippers)
I cited Stuckey as a top "fill-in" pickup last week, but he could be moving into the starting lineup after Sunday's debacle in New York. Not only did Detroit lose to a depleted Knicks team, but they were outscored 29-12 in the first quarter. As a result,
Garcia is still still working himself into shape, but if he's available in your league, now is the time to pick him up. His minutes have been limited thus far, but he's picked up a steal or block in every game, and more points will come once his three-point shot starts falling. It looks like
Barea has started the past two games for Dallas, and averaged 20 points and 4 assists in two victories. He's been a major sparkplug for the Mavs, and he's clearly earned more minutes going forward. His solid play has probably surprised many people around the league, but Barea has excelled at every level. As a college senior, he was third in the nation in assists and was named an Honorable Mention All-American. In the 2007 Vegas Summer League, Barea dominated to the tune of 14.4 points, 6.2 assists and just 1.4 turnovers in 25.6 minutes per game. And in only seven games in the D-League last season, he dropped back-to-back 40-point games and had his number retired! Barea is also a key member of the Puerto Rican national team, and the guy can clearly play. However, I'm a little concerned about his long-term value, because I don't think he'll get as many minutes and shot attempts once
Even in deep leagues, most of these players will usually fly under the radar, but they could fill-in quite nicely.
Since returning from his rib injury, Andersen has averaged 5.3 boards and 2.7 blocks in just 16.8 minutes per game. While it's tough to rely on anyone playing less than 20 minutes per game, Andersen makes the most of his minutes. And since
Blatche was a major disappointment to start the season, but the coaching change in Washington seems to have rejuvenated him. The talented big man flashed his abilities on Friday night, when he scored 18 points, grabbed 12 rebounds (5 offensive), made 2 steals, and one three vs. the Lakers. He followed that up with 14 points, 4 boards and a three on Saturday, and seems to be earning more minutes. He'll likely be inconsistent all season long, but now is a good time to pick him up.
Bonner was recently moved into the Spurs' starting lineup, and he's responded by averaging 12.5 points, 7 rebounds and 1.8 threes on 20-for-32 FG shooting in his last four games. While he can't maintain that excellent field-goal shooting, he is a very good three-point shooter, and San Antonio likes his ability to lure opposing defenses away from the basket a la
In 15 November games, Gibson shot just 33 percent field and 23 percent from beyond the arc. However,
Lowry has replaced
The Celtics narrowly escaped with a win in Indiana on Sunday, and have now won 12 in a row. They only have two games this week, so all of their guys are borderline starters.
In four games last week,
The Cavs have won 16 of their last 17 games and limited five of their last six opponents to 85 points or less. Let's hope that teams give them more of a challenge so
After a slow start, the Mavs have suddenly won nine of their last 10 games. Did you know that
True to his word, Carmelo Anthony didn't miss a game, but his elbow injury continues to bother him.
The Pistons have lost six of their last 10 games, and
The struggling Warriors have lost nine games in a row, allowing an average of 125.3 points to their last seven opponents.
The Clippers have a very tough schedule this week, so I suggest erring on the side of caution with
The Lakers have a favorable schedule again this week, so consider starting most of them.
I'm not sure how long it will last, but
The only guard to average two-plus steals and 1.5-plus blocks for a full season was
The Bucks got destroyed by the Lakers on Sunday, and
The Nets have won 7 of their last 10 games and are now ranked sixth in the East.
Way back in July, I claimed that
Hopefully you picked up
Before edging past the Jazz on Saturday, the Suns had lost four games in a row. They have tough matchups this week vs. the Lakers and Magic, and it will be especially interesting to see how
How solid has
The Kings have lost eight games in a row and have upcoming back-to-back games with the Lakers.
You want to see an efficient line?
After making just 19 threes in his first 14 games,
Things don't get any easier for the Wizards this week, as they have to face both the Celtics and Pistons.