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NBA Barometer: Return of the King

Shannon McKeown

Shannon McKeown

Shannon McKeown is the VP of Advertising Sales and Basketball Editor for Rotowire.com. He's a two-time FSWA finalist for Fantasy Basketball writer of the year. He also covers the Pistons and Tigers for the site.

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 game every now and then - unless they are extreme or seem to indicate an underlying problem or injury. Instead, we'll be looking at changes in playing time, rotation role, or performance.

STOCK UP

Anthony Randolph, F/C, MIN – With Kevin Love out due to a groin injury, Randolph received extended playing time Thursday night and responded with a huge effort – 31 points and 11 rebounds in 35 minutes. He’ll get the start at power forward again Friday with Love out at least one more game. Minnesota hopes Love misses just the two games, but there’s a chance he could be out longer. Randolph’s production has been sporadic since he joined the Wolves, but he’s putting up averages of 19.0 points and 6.8 rebounds in the three games he has seen 20+ minutes of action. He will get at least that much run over the next couple games, so don’t hesitate to snap him up if he is still available in your league

Tiago Splitter, F/C, SA – Splitter made his first start of the season Wednesday, filling in for Tim Duncan, who is nursing an ankle injury. The 26-year-old Brazilian is making a late-season surge, averaging 7.3 points, 9.0 rebounds and 1.7 steals over the past three games. Duncan is expected to miss another week or two, so Splitter should see consistent playing time for the next handful of games. His production won’t hold much value in shallower formats, but he’s worth a look in deeper formats, especially as a streamer option.

Tony Allen, G/F, MEM – With Rudy Gay (shoulder) set to miss the rest of the season, Allen’s gig as a member of the starting five is safe for the Grizzlies’ final 10 games. Allen is averaging 13.2 points and 2.3 steals in 23 starts, but he remains a free agent in a majority of leagues. Any fantasy owner in need of steals should add him to the roster immediately.

Patrick Patterson, F, HOU – Each season it seems like a rookie breaks out as an unexpected source of fantasy production down the stretch. This year that rookie is Patterson. Over his past four games, Patterson is averaging 13.0 points, 11.0 rebounds and 2.0 blocks. He has usurped the role of Rockets’ No. 3 big man from Jordan Hill and shouldn’t have much problem holding on to the gig for the team’s final 10 games. Owners in need of big man stats should look in Patterson’s direction.

CHECK STATUS

Tyreke Evans, G, SAC – Evans, who has missed 19 consecutive games with plantar fasciitis, set to return for Friday’s game against the Pacers. He battled through plantar fasciitis for the majority of the season but still managed to post averages of 18.3 points, 6.1 rebounds and 5.5 assists. Needless to say, if Evans is active get him in your lineup.

Michael Redd, G, MIL – Redd, who has been sidelined all season while recovering from knee surgery, is expected to make his season debut Friday against the Knicks. Temper expectations since the former All-Star has not appeared in a game since January 10, 2010, but don’t be surprised if he becomes a source of points and threes in deep leagues for the last couple weeks if he is able to shake off the rust quickly.

Devin Harris, G, UTA – Harris missed Wednesday’s loss to the Thunder with a hamstring injury. He was considered a game-time decision and will be day-to-day going forward, so this doesn’t appear to be too serious. Still, owners will want to monitor this situation closely since the Jazz could fall out of playoff contention over the next week or so.

Kevin Love, F/C, MIN – Love suffered a groin injury earlier this week that will keep him out of action for at least another game. The team is hoping Love will be able to return to action Sunday against the Celtics, after which Minnesota will have only eight games remaining. Given their current status as cellar dwellers in the Western Conference standings, Minnesota could also choose not to risk playing their franchise player when he is less than full strength. Love is too productive to dump until a final decision is made, but owners should keep a close eye on the situation.

Andray Blatche, F, WAS – Blatche has been sidelined for the past seven games with a sprained right shoulder. The Wizards have frustrated fantasy owners by listing the big man as day-to-day since he suffered the injury. The team still doesn’t have a specific timetable for his return, but he could return as early as Friday against the Clippers. Continue to monitor the situation closely.

STOCK DOWN

Tim Duncan, F, SA – Duncan is expected to miss the next 4-to-5 games after suffering a sprained left ankle Monday against the Warriors. The Spurs have a comfy six-game lead for best record in the Western Conference with 11 games remaining, so it wouldn’t be all that surprising to see the team err on the side of caution and sit Duncan a few extra games to get him back to full strength for the playoffs. He’s still worth stashing if you have a deep bench, but owners fighting for their playoff lives shouldn’t be shy about picking up a healthier player who can help immediately.

Rudy Gay, F, MEM – Gay’s season officially ended this week when he opted to undergo surgery to repair his partially dislocated left shoulder. His recovery is expected to take up to six months, which would give him time to be ready for training camp next season. Tony Allen and Sam Young will continue seeing extra playing time with Gay on the shelf. The 24-year-old swingman finishes the season with averages of 19.8 points, 6.2 rebounds, 1.1 treys, 1.7 steals and 1.1 blocks.

Mario Chalmers, G, MIA – Chalmers is expected to miss two weeks after suffering a sprained right knee against the Nuggets on March 19. If his timetable remains the same, Chalmers will return for the final six or seven games of the regular season. Chalmers had already started losing minutes to Mike Bibby prior to his knee injury and will likely continue to do so upon his return, whether he’s the starter or not.

Andre Iguodala, G/F, PHI – Iguodala has been dealing with knee problems for the past few weeks, but he has still managed to play in 11 of 12 games this month. With Philly well on their way to locking up a playoff spot, the team will probably start giving Iggy the occasional day off to rest up for the playoffs. Owners should double-check his status on a nightly basis down the stretch.

Stephen Jackson, G/F, CHR – An MRI on Jackson’s injured hamstring came back clean Thursday, but there still remains a real chance his season will be cut short. The Bobcats were blown out by the Pacers on Wednesday night, falling three games behind Indiana for the eighth seed in the Eastern Conference; and if Charlotte falls out of contention altogether, one of the moves the team would likely make would be putting Jackson on the shelf. Jackson is unlikely to play Friday, and it does not sound like he will suit up Saturday either. Consider him day-to-day for the time being, but don’t be completely surprised if he does not see the court again this season.

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