The Hoops Lab
Situations to watch and Quick Hits
Playoff race update: The Cavs are still battling the Lakers for overall home-court advantage, the Spurs/Rockets/Trailblazers are fighting for the 3rd - 5th seeds in the West, the Hornets/Jazz/Mavericks are fighting for 6th - 8th out West, the Celtics/Magic are fighting for 2nd in the East, the Heat /76ers are battling for 5th, and the Bulls/Pistons are fighting for 7th.
On the other hand, the Hawks and Nuggets are pretty firmly slotted into their postseason position while the Suns, Bobcats, Pacers, Nets and Bucks have all fallen out of the playoff race. When in doubt, I'm starting impact players from those battling for position over an impact player on a team that can afford to rest him.
Value in the lottery teams: The New Additions section below will be crammed full of lesser-known players that play for teams with little to prove, as they'll be playing big minutes for the last few games. On the other hand, vets on those teams are in my "only start if you absolutely have to" category, and I would be checking RotoWire.com constantly to make sure that those vets haven't been shut down before I'd start them on any given night. Players like Steve Nash, Vince Carter and Caron Butler make me extremely nervous right now.
Last game rests: It has become tradition in the NBA for many teams to rest their starters in the last game of the regular season unless they have something specific to play for. Keep this in mind if your league plays right up until the last day, as in some cases it might be smart to drop a big name guy that's likely to sit out the finale and replace them with a young unknown that may play 40 minutes.
Return of Bynum: Andrew Bynum returned to the court for the Lakers Thursday night with a solid 16-point/seven-rebound effort in only 21 minutes of play. He's likely to play only limited minutes over the last week, but if someone dropped him in your league he's worth a pick-up.
Ginobili is done: Manu Ginobili (ankle) will miss the remainder of the season and the playoffs with a stress fracture in his right ankle, officially ending any reason to keep him on your roster this season.
Value in Golden State: With Monta Ellis (ankle) and Jamal Crawford (back) joining Stephen Jackson on the sidelines, the Warriors are short-handed. They also still happen to run the Don Nelson offense that makes its members fantasy studs. Thus, players like Anthony Randolph, Kalenna Azubuike, and Anthony Morrow look like good plays for this last week.
Williams back for the Hawks: Marvin Williams will return from a 16-game absence due to a back injury Friday night against the Pacers. Coach Mike Woodson will monitor Williams' minutes for the remainder of the regular season. Keep him on the bench for the first game or two as he's sure to be rusty.
Jason Thompson (58% owned): 17.8 points and 9.5 boards per over his last four games.
Chris Anderson (50% owned): Still second in the NBA in blocked shots.
Andres Nocioni (49% owned): 12.8 points, 8.3 boards, 2.8 assists, 2.0 treys, 1.8 blocks per over his last four games.
Drew Gooden (48% owned): 15.3 points, 54.8% FG, 93.8% FT over last week. Is playing more and more minutes as he adjusts to the Spurs, and playing a bigger role with Duncan in and out of the line-up.
Kirk Hinrich (44% owned): Has found a productive comfort zone for the Bulls, averaging 13.7 points, 3.0 assists, 2.7 boards, 1.3 steals and 1.3 treys in his last four games.
Anthony Randolph (38% owned): 13 rebounds, 12.7 points, 2.0 blocks, 1.7 steals per in his last four games.
Louis Williams (33% owned): 16.3 points, 2.0 steals, 1.5 treys per over the last week. Williams is also likely to play a bigger role for Philly if they rest Andre Iguodala and/or Andre Miller at all in the last game.
Kyle Korver (27% owned) and Eddie House (11% owned): Nice 3-point role players to have. House, especially, could go on five-trey binges at any time.
Anthony Morrow (26% owned): 16 points, 3.0 treys, 3.0 boards, 2.7 assists, 1.0 steals per over last week and likely to play a larger role in the Warriors' offense with both Monta Ellis and Jamal Crawford injured.
Quentin Richardson (20% owned): 12.8 points, 4.0 boards, 2.0 treys per over his last week.
Keyon Dooling (15% owned): 13.3 points, 5.7 assists, 1.3 treys, 1.0 steals per over last week and likely to play a larger role for the Nets with Vince Carter a potential shut-down candidate.
Will Bynum (8 % owned): Just set the Pistons' single quarter scoring record in his last game, and likely to play a big part in the offense in the season's final game if the veteran Pistons starters sit.
Charlie Bell (7%): 14 points, 4.5 boards, 3.5 assists and 3.0 treys per over his last week.
Jose Juan Barea (6%): 13.3 points, 5.0 assists, 2.7 boards, 1.3 treys, 65.2% FG over last week.
DeAndre Jordan (2% owned): The Clippers' frontline is either old (Marcus Camby), injured (Chris Kaman), in trouble with the law (Zach Randolph), or some combo of the above. As such, Jordan is likely to get more minutes this last week, and when he has gotten the minutes he has produced this year.
Shelden Williams (1% owned): Finally getting some PT for the downtrodden Wolves, responding by averaging a near double-double (9.0 points, 8.5 boards) over his last week of play.
Article first appeared 4/10/09