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.
Will Bynum (DET) - Bynum burst onto the scene when the Pistons were ravaged by injury, but his success was supposed to be short-lived. Well, the shutting down of Allen Iverson for the season has ensured that won't be the case. The Pistons will use Bynum as their primary guard off the pine, and if Sunday's 26-point fourth quarter showed us anything, it's that the diminutive guard can fill it up in limited action. He'll have the occasional stinker, but should be a solid play in deeper leagues.
Anthony Randolph (GS) - I mentioned Randolph last week, but his recent play deserves a bit more attention. The Warriors' first round draft choice is averaging 13.3 points, 12.5 boards, 1.3 steals and 1.5 blocks in the past four games. For reasons unbeknownst to me, he's still vastly under owned. Don't let that be the case in your league.
Mike Conley Jr. (MEM) - Conley is another familiar face on the Barometer. His play has been on a steady uptick since Memphis shipped Kyle Lowry to Houston before the trade deadline, culminating in April with averages of 21.3 points, 4.3 boards, 6.7 assists, 2.3 steals and four 3-pointers. The added touch from beyond the arc is bit surprising, but Conley has shown gradual improvement in his long-range game all season. He's starting to live up to his fourth overall selection in 2007 and should be universally owned at this point.
D.J. Augustine (CHA) - An abdomen injury in January derailed Augustine's rookie campaign a bit, but he's starting to show flashes of what made him a hot early season pickup. Raja Bell's (calf) absence on Sunday opened up more playing time for Augustine, and he responded by pouring in 22 points. Bell isn't expected to be sidelined for an extended period, but Augustine should remain a fixture in the rotation down the stretch.
Ramon Sessions (MIL) - Sessions is turning it on in April for the second straight season. Last year, he captivated fantasy owners by averaging 11.5 points and 11.3 assists in the final month of the season. He has one-upped himself this April, averaging 16.7 points and 12.3 assists in three games. There are still leagues where Sessions is floating around on the waiver wire - make sure yours isn't one of them.
DeAndre Jordan (LAC) - Jordan made an appearance over the weekend, scoring 26 points and grabbing 16 boards in two games. The extra run came courtesy of Marcus Camby (ankle) and Chris Kaman (flu) both being sidelined. And while Kaman's return is imminent, Zach Randolph's recent legal troubles (more below) should result in Jordan sticking in the rotation.
Kendrick Perkins (BOS) - The absence of Kevin Garnett (knee) has left a big void in the middle of Boston's defense, but Perkins has done his best to anchor the D, swatting 15 shots in the past three games. He doesn't offer much outside of blocks and rebounds, but Perkins is your man if you're trying to stream for some blocks in the last week and a half of the season.
Rodney Carney (MIN) - After averaging 16.7 points and 3.3 treys in the past six games, Carney was going to find himself in the "Stock Up" department, but he suffered a hip injury on Sunday and is now listed as questionable for Tuesday's tilt against the Clippers. If he's healthy enough to play, consider Carney a solid addition in all formats.
LaMarcus Aldridge and Brandon Roy (POR) - The Blazers' two superstars have been tearing up the hardwood lately,but both could be in line for some rest before the playoffs. Aldridge suffered a sprained right wrist in Sunday's loss to the Rockets, and while the X-rays were negative, there's little reason for Portland to risk furthering the injury. Same goes for Roy, who has been dealing with a sore left knee for the better part of the month. This is by no means a recommendation to drop either player, but make sure you're watching their status closely down the stretch.
Rajon Rondo (BOS) - Rondo is in the same boat as the pair of aforementioned Blazers after limping off the court during Monday's practice with a twisted ankle. The injury isn't considered serious, but the Celtics, like the Blazers, can afford to rest a star player for a few games if need be. He's still expected to be on the court Wednesday when New Jersey comes to town, so hopefully this is much ado about nothing.
Emmanuel Ginobili (SA) - News came out of San Antonio on Monday night that Ginobili would miss the remainder of the regular season and the playoffs after suffering an ankle injury in Sunday's loss to the Cavs. Tests showed he had an increased narrow edema and stress fracture in his right distal fibula. Ginobili will be 32-years old when the 2009-10 season tips off, coming off a season filled with injury problems, so you may want to devalue him a bit going forward.
Zach Randolph (LAC) - Following Sunday's loss to the Lakers, Randolph was arrested on suspicion of drunk driving. He was released on $5,000 bail, but his status for the remainder of the season is in question. It wouldn't surprise us if we've seen the last of him this season. Feel free to pick up a replacement if
you share our lack of confidence in Randolph.
Carlos Boozer (UTA) - Owners who held onto Boozer during his entire rehab have to be slightly disappointed that he's only averaging 16 points and 10.4 rebounds since returning. While those numbers aren't bad, he's not scoring the 20 a game you expected when you used an early-round pick on him. Now coach Jerry Sloan is contemplating moving Boozer to the bench in favor of Paul Millsap until Boozer rounds into shape. The move doesn't appear to be imminent, but Boozer's value will take a further hit if it happens.
Article first appeared on 4/6/09