By Shannon McKeown
RotoWire Staff Writer
Around the League
Every week, we'll use this space to track players whose fantasy value is improving, declining or uncertain. We're not particularly concerned with hot or cold streaks - all players toss up a 2-for-10 every now and again - unless they're extreme or seem to indicate an underlying problem or injury. Instead, we'll be looking at changes in playing time or role or skill level.
George Hill, G, SAN - With Tony Parker (see below) set to miss the remainder of the regular season, Hill will take over the starting point guard duties for the Spurs. Hill has already been a solid fantasy play as the team's starting shooting guard, but Parker's absence means more ball handling for Hill and will result in better overall production.
Emmanuel Ginobili, G, SAN - Ginobili is the other Spur who will benefit from Parker's absence. With Hill sliding to point guard, Manu will take over the starting shooting guard job. The promotion will lead to more minutes for Ginobili, who has averaged just 28 per game this season. His per-36 minute averages are at 19 points, 4.9 rebounds and 6.2 assists this season, so look for a big boost in production from the Argentinean guard.
Will Bynum, G, DET - Bynum was inserted into the starting lineup in place of the injured Rodney Stuckey (see below) on Sunday. The diminutive guard responded with his first double-double of the season, racking up 12 points and 11 assists in an overtime win against the Rockets. It's uncertain how long Stuckey will be sidelined, but Bynum will be a solid play while the Pistons backcourt is short handed.
Courtney Lee, G, NJ - Lee has been filling it up since returning from an ankle injury, pouring in 25 and 30 points in his first two games back. He was on his best stretch of the season before the injury and appears headed for a strong finish. If an impatient owner dumped him during his three-game absence, go scoop him off waivers before someone else does.
Rodrigue Beaubois, G, DAL - Beaubois has stepped up in Jason Terry's absence (see below), averaging 18.5 points and 1.8 threes in the past four games. Terry is expected to miss at least another week, and Jose Barea is dealing with an ankle injury, so the French rookie will continue to see a boost in playing time in the short term.
JaVale McGee, F/C, WAS - McGee is one of the many Wizards who has seen a big boost in value since the trade deadline. He's averaging 13.3 points, 6.3 rebounds and four blocks in three March contests. The young big man's scoring and rebounding may be inconsistent, but he'll be one of the top sources of blocks in the league as long as he continues to play close to 30 minutes per game.
Rodney Stuckey, G, DET - Stuckey collapsed during a timeout in last week's game against the Cavaliers. He was rushed over to a Cleveland-area hospital and held over night, but was in stable condition soon after the collapse. It's still uncertain what caused the collapse, but Pistons coach John Kuester said Stuckey is "on the right path" to recovery. A concrete timetable won't surface until all the test results come in.
Ben Wallace, F/C, DET - Wallace has sat out three straight games with a sore right knee. His status for this week's set of games is still unknown. Look for an update following Tuesday's practice. Jason Maxiell will continue to start at center for the Pistons if Wallace misses more time.
Zach Randolph, F, MEM - Randolph was a late scratch Monday with lower back tightness. Monday marked the first game Randolph has missed this season. Consider him day-to-day going forward.
Antawn Jamison, F, CLE - Jamison left Monday's game against the Spurs with stiffness in his left knee. An MRI on Monday revealed no serious injuries. He experienced a similar problem while with the Wizards earlier this season but didn't miss any time, so owners can breathe easy.
LeBron James, F, CLE - James has sat out back-to-back games with an ankle injury. He originally tweaked the injury against the Pistons last week. It looks like he'll be making a return Friday against the Sixers, but owners will want to keep a close eye on LeBron going forward. The Cavaliers are running away with the best record in the league and will be able to afford giving him the occasional night off down the stretch to keep him rested for the playoffs.
Jason Terry, G, DAL - After scaring owners with a potential long layoff due to the orbital fracture he suffered last week, it looks like Terry will make a quick recovery. He should be back on the court sporting a facemask by mid-to-late March.
Tony Parker, G, SAN - Parker suffered a broken right hand over the weekend. While surgery has been ruled out, he'll still need six weeks to recover, essentially ending his regular season. As previously mentioned, George Hill and Manu Ginobili will be the Spurs who benefit the most in Parker's absence.
Andris Biedrins, C, GS - Biedrins is scheduled to undergo season-ending surgery to repair a torn abdominal muscle on Tuesday. This officially puts an end to one of the biggest disappointments in fantasy this year. If you're an owner who was holding out hope Biedrins would revert back to form at some point this year, you can finally cut him loose.
Kenyon Martin, F, DEN - Martin has missed back-to-back games with a left knee injury. Surgery has been ruled out, and he started undergoing platelet rich plasma therapy on Monday. It looks like he'll make a return this season, but it might not be until the playoffs. With the fantasy playoffs rapidly approaching, the uncertainty around Martin's return date makes him too risky to own in shallow formats.
Baron Davis, G, LAC - Once one of the best scoring point guards in the Association, Davis has struggled to fill it up this year. Since the first of February, Davis is averaging just 10.5 points in 14 games. His errant shooting touch (55-of-164 FG) has been the main culprit to his drop in scoring. Given the extended period he's been chucking up bricks, it's hard to write this off as a shooting slump. It wouldn't surprise us if the veteran guard were playing with some sort of injury.
Ben Gordon, G, DET - Gordon's first season with the Pistons has been a disaster. After a hot start with his new squad, injuries and limited minutes have led to a career-worst scoring average of 13.7 points. Despite being healthy now, Gordon's play has only gotten worse as the season has progressed. In 12 games since the All-Star break, he has averaged just 8.7 points in 24 minutes per game. Pistons coach John Kuester opted to keep Gordon on the bench after Rodney Stuckey's injury last week, so it doesn't look like Gordon's situation will be changing anytime soon.
Spencer Hawes, C, SAC - Hawes was promoted into the starting lineup on Feb. 26 when Jason Thompson went down with a back injury. In six starts since, Hawes has failed to take advantage of the opportunity, averaging just nine points, 7.5 rebounds and one block. While respectable, those numbers are hardly enough to take away minutes from a now healthy Thompson. Look for Hawes' role on the team to start shrinking.
Article first appeared on 3/9/10