Consider the curious case of Wesley Matthews.
An undrafted rookie guard out of Marquette, Matthews scored 16 points -- and shot 3-of-4 from long range -- in his first NBA start, helping the Jazz top Philly, 112-90 on Friday night.
How did Matthews ascend from "guy unlikely to win a roster spot" to starter?
The Jazz played that game without C.J. Miles, Ronnie Price or Deron Williams. That pushed fellow rookie Eric Maynor into the starting role at the point, leaving coach Jerry Sloan with no one to distribute the ball when the second unit was on the floor. So Sloan shifted Andrei Kirilenko -- an adept passer from the wing -- to the bench, moved regular two guard Ronnie Brewer to small forward and suddenly found himself with an all-rookie starting backcourt.
The alignment worked well enough that Sloan is going to keep Matthews in the starting five -- at least until C.J. Miles and/or Kyle Korver are ready to play again. (Miles is expected back in early December, Korver mid-next month.)
That makes Matthews a pretty decent play for the next two weeks and possibly beyond.
All "percent owned" stats are taken from ESPN NBA.com Fantasy Basketball - your mileage may vary.
Chris Douglas-Roberts (23.5% owned) - Finally back after a battle with the dreaded H1N1 virus, CDR is option 1a in New Jersey's offense -- at least until players like Devin Harris and Courtney Lee come back from injury. He scored 27 in Tuesday's loss to the Pacers.
Dahntay Jones (20.2% owned) - Jones arrived in Indiana as a defensive specialist, but he's been highly productive on the other end of late, scoring 17 or more in five of Indiana's last six games. His productivity may drop off when the Pacers get healthy, but who knows when that will be?
Jason Williams (3.1% owned) - As I mentioned above, interest in "White Chocolate" is high with the news that Jameer Nelson will miss four-to-six weeks after knee surgery. Even after missing all of last season due to premature retirement, Williams should be a good source of threes and assists.
Vladimir Radmanovic (0.3% owned) - See Corey Maggette, above. Radmanovic was thrown into the starting lineup (over highly-touted Anthony Randolph, by the way) in his first game as a Warrior and finished with 11 points despite missing five of his six attempts from long range. Even Mikki Moore (0.1% owned) might be worth a look if you're desperate for frontcourt help -- he'll get extended minutes until Andris Biedrins and Ronny Turiaf are healthy.
Marcus Thornton (0.2% owned) - One of the reasons given for Byron Scott's ouster in New Orleans was his hesitance to use young players like Thornton and Darren Collison. The rookie has averaged 14.6 points and 1.6 threes in three games since the coaching change.
Darren Collison (1.2% owned) - Speaking of Collison... obviously, there's no way to replace a player of Chris Paul's caliber. But Collison has been a credible fill-in so far, averaging 12.5 points and two steals per game in his last four.
Marco Belinelli (0.5% owned) - He's something of a specialist, but if you need threes you could do worse. He's scored in double-figures in three straight games, making three treys in each.
Toney Douglas (2.6% owned) - doesn't sound like the Knicks will sign Iverson... if you believe the New York Post, that is.
Brendan Haywood (40.2% owned) - Haywood's new contract drive is in full swing.
Article first appeared on 11/18/09