Evil's Outlook goes around the league and examines which players are hot and cold and which players you should keep an eye on. Listed first are the numbers of games played by each team, followed by five teams with difficult and favorable schedules.
Next up are 20 players you should consider picking up, followed by analysis for all 30 teams. The outlook for week 22 suggests 100 players who are safe starts and 62 who are borderline, so adjust accordingly if your league is much smaller or larger.
1. Houston Rockets (2 games: @Utah, LA Clippers)
1. Chicago Bulls (5 games: @Washington, Detroit, Miami, Indiana, @Toronto)
Even though I needed steals and blocks, I was foolish enough to bench Tyrus last week because it looked like
Ariza was moved back into the starting lineup on March 11, and he's been nothing short of spectacular since then. The athletic small forward is averaging 30.8 minutes, 16.6 points, 5 rebounds, 2.8 steals, and even two
The bad: Barnes has made just five of his past 25 shots from beyond the arc. The good: he's racking up rebounds and assists, and he helps out in steals and blocks as well. With five games this week he's a solid play in most leagues, and if he finds his stroke from outside, it will be icing on the cake.
Turiaf is still available in many leagues, which is quite ridiculous. In his last eight games, the former Gonzaga star is averaging 7.4 points, 6.6 rebounds, 3.0 assists and 2.6 blocks in 26.5 minutes. Forget the fact that he's one of the leading big men in assists and FT% ... the guy is rejecting 2.5 shots per game! With Biedrins still sidelined, Ronny is an excellent play.
Much like Turiaf, Andersen is worth owning for his 2.3 blocks alone. But in the month of March, Birdman is also pulling down 7.4 boards per game while shooting 83% from the line! With
It's hard to imagine that it was 20 weeks ago that I named Azubuike my No. 1 pickup for Week 2, but the NBA season is a marathon where players rise and fall. After Kelenna averaged just 12.3 points in 26 minutes in February and then was injured in early March, he was likely dropped in many leagues. However, with
The sharpshooting Novak is at it again, averaging 13.7 points and a whopping 4 threes on 58% FG shooting over his past six games. Surprisingly, he's still getting decent playing time with Randolph, Camby, and Kaman all healthy. I don't know about you, but Novak has proven to me that he'll drain threes all night long if he gets enough playing time. Need proof? In the 18 games where he's gotten 24+ minutes, he's averaging 14.8 points and 3.78 treys in 28.3 minutes, which translates to an unbelievable 5.3 treys per 40 minutes. There's no guarantee that he'll stay hot, but if you need threes, you've got to consider him.
If you miss out on Novak (or don't trust him), then see if Peja is available in your league. He hasn't played since March 2 due to back spasms, so some people have forgotten about him completely. Their loss is your gain, because anyone who makes 2.5 threes per game is worth owning. Stojakovic could return as early as Wednesday, so the key is picking him up before everyone else notices. Even though I probably won't start him this week, I picked up Peja anyway. How come? Well, only five teams play a full 10-game schedule from Week 23 on, and New Orleans is one of them. Since
Hinrich hasn't been very reliable lately, but with five games this week, he should be considered in deep leagues. In his past five games, the veteran has totaled 13 assists, six threes, six steals, and even six blocks. The Bulls get to face the Wizards, Pacers, and Raptors this week (in addition to the Pistons and Heat), so look for Kirk to make more treys than usual. If you need guard help, he's a decent option.
With 47 points, 27 boards and eight blocks in his past four games, Wright has definitely turned some heads.
Songaila has flown under the radar in most leagues, but he's been surprisingly solid in March, averaging 11 points, 4.1 rebounds, 1.9 assists and 1.4 steals in 25.1 minutes. Those numbers aren't that special, but he's shooting 53.9% FG and 95.7% FT for the month, and 52.9% FG and 88.6% FT for the season. If you're looking for someone who can help stabilize your shooting percentages, give the Lithuanian a look. McGee has teased us before, but with the season winding down, the rookie is worth a look. He recently had 13 points and 11 boards in just 24 minutes vs. Denver, and has blocked four shots in his past three games. Just keep in mind that
With Barbosa nursing a knee injury, Dudley is the new sixth man in Phoenix. In his past four games, the versatile forward is averaging 22.5 minutes, 10 points, 4.8 rebounds, 2.3 assists, 1.8 steals and 0.8 threes. Those aren't exceptional numbers, but with five games this week, he might help you out more than most people think.
In his past four games, Jeffries has racked up 20 rebounds, nine steals and two blocks. He's averaging just 22.3 mpg for the season, but he got 32 minutes on Saturday because
After an impressive seven-game win streak, the Hawks finally lost to Cleveland on Saturday.
START: J. Johnson, J-Smoov, Bibby, Horford
The big news in Boston is that
START: Garnett, Pierce, Rondo, R. Allen, Perkins
Charlotte has only three games this week, but contests against the Wizards, 76ers and Knicks are very favorable. They're still in the playoff hunt, so expect their starters to continue logging heavy minutes.
START: G. Wallace, Okafor, Diaw, Felton
Chicago is six games under .500, but they're still hanging onto the No. 8 spot in the East. Deng is still hurting, so it's time to drop him if you haven't already. Meanwhile, Salmons continues to be a stud in his absence.
START: Salmons, D. Rose, B. Gordon, Ty Thomas, B. Miller, Noah
After shooting over 78% from the line for most of the season, LeBron has reverted to his old ways, making just 74.3% of his freebies in March.
START: LeBron, Mo Williams, Big Z
With Dallas trying not to fall apart at the end of the season,
START: Dirk, Kidd, Terry
Denver opens the week at Phoenix and closes the week at home vs. the Warriors, so expect plenty of scoring. Anthony has been putting up solid numbers, but he still hasn't been the top-15 player I expected him to be.
START: Billups, Anthony, Nene, JR Smith, Andersen
Detroit is struggling again, with just one win in their past five games. Both
START: Stuckey, Prince, McDyess
OK, the situation between Nellie and Crawford has gotten ridiculous. For that matter, the situation between the owner, the team president, the GM, the coaches, the players, the media and the fans has gotten ridiculous. They're still a fun team to watch, but it's quite clear that Golden State won't be a successful organization until new ownership takes over. At least
START: S. Jackson, Ellis, Turiaf, Azubuike
The Rockets have won four in a row and now have the second-best record in the West. Yao has gotten to the line just nine times in his past four games, so hopefully he gets more aggressive this week. Artest has been putting up great numbers, but he and Ming are the only safe starts this week. Scola has been a double-double machine lately, but I suggest benching him with only two games.
START: Yao, Artest
Interesting happenings in Indiana, as T.J. Ford and
START: Granger, Murphy, Jack
Baron dropped 20 assists last Wednesday, but he's still not performing like a top-20 player. As we all feared, Camby and Kaman have been limiting each other's value lately. Over their last 5 games, Camby is averaging just 27.3 minutes and Kaman is playing just 22.6, making both guys borderline options. Meanwhile, Thornton missed Sunday's game with a shoulder injury, so check his status before setting your lineup. Novak is going to be a hot pickup, but remember that the Clippers have four very tough road games this week.
START: B. Davis, E. Gordon, Z. Randolph
START: Kobe, P. Gasol, Odom, Ariza
Memphis has lost 16 of their past 18 games and appear to be making a serious run at the worst record in the league.
START: Gay, Mayo
After missing his first game of the season last Wednesday, Wade had another monster game on Sunday, logging 39 points, six assists, two steals, four blocks and a pair of treys in a win over Detroit. Moon had his best game in awhile on Sunday -- 17 points, three blocks, three treys -- but he's still just a borderline starter. Likewise, Beasley continues to get inconsistent playing time and can't be relied on.
START: Wade, J. O'Neal, Haslem, Chalmers
Milwaukee has seven losses in their past 10 games and are dangerously close to falling out of the playoff race. And with three road games at Toronto, Orlando, and Miami, they don't have the easiest schedule this week. Sessions is still a solid source of assists, but he's averaging just 6.3 points on 30% shooting in his past four games, making him a so-so option for the week ahead. It's looking less and less likely that
START: R. Jefferson, Villanueva
The T-Wolves are struggling to put points on the board these days.
START: Foye, Love, M. Miller
New Jersey fell to two games back from the No. 8 spot on Sunday, but you can't blame
START: V. Carter, B. Lopez, Dooling
START: Paul, D. West
START: D. Lee, Harrington, N. Robinson, W. Chandler
Durant posted another stellar line on Sunday, so he's a must-start the rest of the way. Westbrook dropped 10+ dimes for the sixth time on Sunday, but he's still commiting a lot of turnovers. Sefolosha continues to rack up steals and blocks, but he's a borderline start with only three games this week. Krstic and Collison continue to limit each other's value, so I suggest benching them this week. I'm not sure why
START: Durant, Green, Westbrook
Where did the increase in
START: D. Howard, Lewis, Turkoglu, Alston
After hitting a game-winning three at the buzzer to stun the Lakers last Tuesday, Iguodala nailed 3 more treys on Sunday. With three straight 20+ point games,
START: Iguodala, A. Miller, T. Young, Dalembert, L. Williams
With four straight wins, Phoenix is still in the playoff hunt, albeit barely. Shaq just passed
START: Nash, Shaq, J-Rich, Barnes, Hill
After shooting 11-for-19 on Saturday,
START: Roy, Aldridge, Blake
It sounds like Ginobili is getting close to returning, but you've gotta bench him at least one more week. Coach Popovich might rest Duncan on the second half of back-to-backs the rest of the way, which is something you need to know about. If it happens, that means he'll sit out games on Mar. 25, Apr. 8, and Apr. 13. Even with four games this week, it's hard to rely on San Antonio's role players.
START: Duncan, T. Parker
Even though Toronto is out of the playoff race, Bosh is still putting up excellent numbers (22.2 points and 11.4 boards over his past five). After playing in 130 straight games, Bargnani sat out Sunday with a heel injury, making him a risky play for the week ahead. Will Toronto start playing Calderon less and
START: Bosh, Calderon, Marion
It's hard to argue with Deron's play, but he's shooting just 20% from beyond the arc in March and is at just 30.5% 3P for the season. Okur left Friday's game after being poked in the eye, but he should be okay for the week ahead. Boozer has been putting up strong numbers lately, so he looks like a must-start the rest of the way. Meanwhile, AK-47 continues to get limited playing time and put up mediocre numbers.
START: D. Williams, Okur, Boozer, R. Brewer