By Charlie Zegers
RotoWire Staff Writer
Some news and notes to get you though the holiday week.
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 are 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. Comments and questions are always welcome - just post 'em on the message board at the bottom of this page.
Kobe Bryant (SG) LAL: There's nothing like a trip to Madison Square Garden to jump-start an underperforming superstar. Kobe bounced back from a couple of sub-par (for him) outings with a 39-point, 11-board, eight-assist effort on Sunday, becoming the youngest player ever to score 20,000 career points.
C. J. Miles (SG) UTA: With Gordan Giricek banished and Ronnie Brewer generally ineffective for the last couple of games, Miles has stepped in as the backup two guard. Miles scored a season-high 20 points (8-for-14 FG, 3-for-6 3pt) in 27 minutes Saturday night in Utah's loss to Miami.
Earl Barron (C) MIA: With Alonzo Mourning on the shelf – possibly permanently – it was Barron and not veteran Mark Blount playing productive minutes as Shaquille O'Neal's primary backup. After sitting out the first 25 games of the season, Barron played 14 minutes in Saturday's win over Utah, and had 13 points and three rebounds with one blocked shot.
Tony Parker (PG) SAN: Parker had 18 points and six assists in his first game back from a sprained ankle. Although his shot was a bit off – he was 6-of-17 from the floor – he certainly showed that it's safe to return him to your lineup.
Jason Williams (PG) MIA: Williams returned from a knee injury and played 33 minutes in Miami's win over Utah on Saturday. With Chris Quinn on the shelf (see below), Williams will have the point guard spot more or less to himself for another week or so.
Daequan Cook (G) MIA: With Chris Quinn hurting, Cook will be asked to take over the point guard duties at times. That'll mean more minutes for the rookie out of Ohio State.
Al Thornton (F) LAC: Thornton started in Tim Thomas' place on Saturday and scored a season and career-high 25 points. He might get extensive minutes for the next few games, as Corey Maggette (knee) was shelved with a sore knee and Tim Thomas sprained his knee during the game.
Nazr Mohammed (C) CHA: The move to Charlotte has been a big plus for Mohammed. The veteran center is averaging 17.0 points, 11.0 rebounds and 2.3 blocks over his last three games.
Pau Gasol (C) MEM: Gasol scored a season-high 31 points on Saturday, perhaps an indication that his toe injury, or his struggle to adjust to Marc Iavaroni's offense, or both, is over.
Vince Carter (SG) NJ: The Nets are talking about Carter's sore ankle – originally injured in a game against the Celtics in November -- as something that will linger all season. Now, even with the ankle, Carter was able to score 23 and grab 12 boards against the Warriors on Saturday. The bigger concern for fantasy owners is the possibility that, at some point, New Jersey will decide to shut him down and let him heal fully.
Predrag Stojakovic (F) NO: Just back from a groin injury, Peja's minutes will be limited until Byron Scott and Hornets' management are convinced he's back to full strength.
Caron Butler (F) WAS: Butler missed Saturday's loss to the Pacers due to sprains of both ankles. He's hoping to return to action on Wednesday.
Mike Bibby (PG) SAC: Bibby has set January 15 as the target date for his return. It remains to be seen which uniform he'll be wearing.
Darko Milicic (C) MEM: Milicic was yanked from the starting lineup for Saturday's game and played just 12 minutes. He'll have a hard time winning back his starting job unless and until he starts playing with more confidence on the offensive end.
Mehmet Okur (C) UTA: Okur's injured shoulder is taking much longer to heal than the Jazz originally anticipated.
Chris Quinn (PG) MIA: Quinn is expected to be sidelined for another week with a sprained left ankle.
Paul Davis (C) LAC: Davis will miss the remainder of the season after tearing his right ACL and lateral meniscus.
Craig Claxton (PG) ATL: Doctors have recommended the dreaded microfracture surgery for Claxton's troublesome knee. If Speedy goes ahead with the procedure, he'll be done for the season.
As always, thanks to all the RotoWire beat writers whose updates made their way into this column.
Merry Christmas to all, and to all a good night.
Article first appeared on 12/24/07