Evil's Outlook goes around the league and examines which players are hot and cold and which players you should keep an eye on.
First, we take a look at the upcoming schedule and then our top-five pickups for medium to deep leagues. There's no team analysis this week, but there's plenty of useful reading material in my stretch run rankings.
Four games: ATL, CLE, DAL, DEN, GS, HOU, MEM, MIA, MIL, NJ, OKC, PHO, SA, WAS
Three games: BOS, CHA, CHI, DET, IND, LAC, MIN, NO, NY, ORL, PHI, POR, TOR, UTA
Two games: LAL, SAC
1. Sacramento Kings (2 games: Indiana, Denver)2. Boston Celtics (3 games: @New Jersey, Cleveland, Orlando)3. Toronto Raptors (3 games: @Houston, Miami, Utah)4. Phoenix Suns (4 games: @Orlando, @Miami, @Houston, @San Antonio)5. Cleveland Cavaliers (4 games: @Miami, Milwaukee, @Boston, Miami)
1. San Antonio Spurs (4 games: @LA Clippers, @Dallas, Washington, Phoenix)2. Milwaukee Bucks (4 games: New Jersey, @Cleveland, @Chicago, Golden State)3. Atlanta Hawks (4 games: @Washington, @New York, @Charlotte, Detroit)4. Detroit Pistons (3 games: Denver, Golden State, @Atlanta)5. Portland Trail Blazers (3 games: Indiana, @Denver, Minnesota)
1. Jason Terry, Mavericks
Terry made a surprise return on Sunday, so go pick him up NOW if he's available. He was dropped in several leagues after he fractured his hand and initial announcements said he might be out for a month and a half, but instead he missed just three weeks. JT scored just 8 points in 19 minutes on Sunday, but some rust was to be expected. He was putting up superb numbers before he got hurt, so it's only a matter of time before he starts helping out fantasy teams again.
2. Larry Hughes, Knicks
Hughes' last game for Chicago was on Jan. 12, so understandably, it took him a few games to get his shooting touch back. In his first three games for New York, he shot just 4-for-22 from the field and was booed mercilessly by Knicks fans. In two games since, he's scored 44 points on 16-31 shooting to go along with 7 assists, 6 steals and 7 threes. He started on Saturday and played 38 minutes, and was praised by coach Mike D'Antoni afterwards. He should thrive in Mike D's uptempo system, so it looks like he's a legit fantasy starter once again.
3. Thabo Sefolosha, Thunder
In my Trade Deadline Thoughts, I praised Oklahoma City for landing Sefolosha, saying that "the Swiss swingman has the athleticism to run with Durant & Co. and is a tenacious defender." He was quickly inserted into the Thunder's starting lineup, and he's racked up 27 points, 19 rebounds, 3 steals and 2 threes in his last two games. In 22 starts as a rookie, he averaged 5.7 rebounds, 1.4 steals and .7 blocks, so he can clearly help out in those categories. He isn't a great three-point shooter yet, but he'll have plenty of chances to score for OKC, especially with Durant sidelined.
4. Matt Barnes, Suns
Barnes was my No. 4 top pickup last week as well, but he's still available in most leagues. He had a monster game on Sunday, when he went for 26 points, 10 boards, 7 assists, 3 steals, 5 threes and 8-12 FG shooting. I had him in my starting lineup, and hopefully some of you did as well. Feel free to pick him up this time if you missed the boat, but beware that Phoenix has a really tough schedule this week.
5. James Singleton, Mavericks
In his last five games, Singleton is averaging 11.8 points, 11.6 boards, .8 steals and .8 blocks in just 27.6 minutes. While the sudden increase in minutes is surprising, the high rebound totals shouldn't be. He wasn't in the NBA last year (he won the ACB title with Tau Ceramica), but he used to be a rebounding machine for the Clippers. As a matter of fact, in his first two NBA games in '05-06, Singleton racked up 27 points, 23 rebounds (12 offensive) and 4 steals in just 54 total minutes. His defense and hustle on the glass reminds me of former Piston and Raptor Jerome Williams (a.k.a. the Junkyard Dog), except Singleton has a better jumpshot. If you need some boards, give this guy a look.