Working the Wire
By Charlie Zegers
RotoWire Hoops Editor
The Oklahoma City Thunder have won five of six games with Kevin Durant sidelined… leading to conjecture that the team is actually better without Durant on the floor.
Personally, I think the schedule maker has more to do with the Thunder's hot streak than Durant's injury -- three of the wins came against Sacramento, Washington and Memphis. But Nenad Krstic has also been a significant factor. In his last five games, Krstic is averaging over 16 points, five boards and an assist, while shooting 57 percent from the field and over 90 percent from the line.
Krstic, you may remember, started the year playing in Russia and joined the Thunder at mid-season. The injury to Durant -- and to Jeff Green -- may have been the opportunity he's needed to prove he can be a useful part in the Thunder's offense. But his season averages haven't caught up with his recent production -- and he's still just 24 percent owned.
His numbers may drop off a bit when Durant and Green return, but he'll probably be a lot more valuable than a lot of other center/power forward qualifiers down the stretch.
Andres Nocioni (SAC): In his first start with the Kings, Nocioni went off for 23 points, five boards, and three three-pointers. If he hangs on to the job, he could produce some solid numbers.
Julian Wright (NOR): Wright moves into New Orleans' starting five while Peja is out. He won't reproduce Stojakovic's outside shooting, but he can score a little and shoots a very good percentage from the floor.
Carl Landry (HOU): His ankle is still sore, but it didn't keep him from playing 29 minutes against Denver on Monday.
Article first appeared on 3/11/08