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NBA Barometer: Pass the Batum

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. With the trade deadline coming to pass Thursday, we’ll be focusing on ramifications from all the moves that went down these past couple days.

Stock Up

Klay Thompson, G/F, GS – Following Monta Ellis being shipped to Milwaukee on Tuesday, Thompson has been handed the starting shooting guard position in Golden State. The sharpshooting rookie has looked great in his first two starts, averaging 20.0 points, 4.5 assists and 1.5 treys. He’s already one of the best catch-and-shoot guards in the NBA and can be absolutely lethal from downtown. Thompson is worth an addition in almost any format.

Ramon Sessions, G, LAL – Sessions was sent from the Mistake by the Lake to the Lakers on Thursday. As a result, he’ll go from backing up a rookie point guard to running the show for one of the league’s better teams. In 89 career starts, Sessions has averaged 14.8 points, 7.5 assists, 4.0 rebounds and 1.1 steals while posting solid percentages (44.4 FG, 79.7 FT). Those numbers might be hard to come by with Kobe Bryant dominating the ball, but Sessions is still set to be a big contributor in fantasy down the stretch.

Luke Ridnour, G, MIN – Ridnour wasn’t involved in any of the trade deadline madness, but he still deserves a huge bump in value going forward. With Ricky Rubio (knee) out for the season, Ridnour has taken over as the Timberwolves’ primary point guard. In the three games since Rubio went down, Ridnour has averaged 14.0 points, 10.7 dimes, 1.3 seals and 1.0 treys. The Timberwolves didn’t bring in any additional guard help at the deadline, so Ridnour will be handling the reins in Minnesota for the remainder of the season. Consider him a top-20 point guard going forward.

Nate Robinson, G, GS – With Stephen Curry still bothered by ankle and foot problems, Robinson has taken over as the Warriors starting point guard. In his two starts, Robinson has averaged 18.5 points, 7.0 assists, 3.0 steals and 1.0 three-pointers. His value will be directly tied to Curry’s health going forward, but Robinson is worth a short-term add at the very least.

Chris Kaman, C, NOH – Kaman is the rare case of a player seeing a boost in value because he wasn’t moved at the deadline. Long thought to be on the move, New Orleans couldn’t find a suitable deal for Kaman’s expiring contract, so they held on to the big man. The team has no plans to buy him out, which means Kaman should continue to start at center and carry the offensive load for one of the league’s worst teams. If Kaman had been traded, he likely would have found himself as a backup on a contender. Going forward, value Kaman based on the 15.0 points and 9.0 rebounds he has posted in 23 starts with the Hornets.

Nene Hilario, F/C, WAS – In one of the more surprising deadline moves, Nene was traded from Denver to Washington. Nene was a consistent producer for the Nuggets over the years, averaging between 13-15 points and over seven rebounds per game over the past four seasons. The move to Washington gives him a bump in value because Nene will be playing for a shallower team, which should result in more playing time and a bigger role in the offense. Don’t be surprised if Nene starts posting numbers closer to his per-36 averages of 16.4 points, 9.1 rebounds, 1.6 steals and 1.1 blocks.

Nicolas Batum, F, POR – With averages of 1.7 treys, 1.1 blocks and 1.0 steals, Batum has already solidified himself as one of the most versatile players in fantasy, but his value is set for another slight boost with Gerald Wallace now in New Jersey. Batum should see his playing time increase from the current 29 mpg he’s averaging, possibly topping out in the 33-36 mpg range. He’s also locked in as one of the Blazers’ building blocks (along with LaMarcus Aldridge), so expect a bigger role in the offense. Grab him off waivers or send out a trade offer for Batum before he starts to reap the benefits of Wallace being out of town. Wes Mathews will also see a bump in value, as he’ll be re-inserted into the Blazers’ starting lineup.

Check Status

Kevin Love, F/C, MIN – Love suffered a sprained thumb during Thursday’s loss to the Jazz. X-rays showed no significant damage and he was able to play through the injury, finishing with 25 points and 16 rebounds in 41 minutes. He’s listed as probable for Friday’s game against the Lakers, but it wouldn’t hurt for owners to keep a close eye on the situation in the short term.

Derrick Rose, G, CHI – Rose sat out Wednesday’s win over the Heat with a groin injury. The Bulls are expected to err on the side of caution and keep their star point guard out as long as needed to get him back to full strength. Don’t be surprised if he sits out through the weekend. John Lucas and C.J. Watson will see extra run if Rose misses any more action.

Wilson Chandler, F, DEN – Chandler and the Nuggets finally appear to be nearing a deal. The latest reports have Chandler signing on the dotted line early next week. He may need some practice time to round into shape, but Chandler should have a sizable role in the Nuggets’ rotation shortly after he signs the deal.

Tyreke Evans, G, SAC – Evans left Wednesday’s loss to the Pistons with a sprained ankle. X-rays came back negative, but the Kings still don’t have a timetable for his return. He’s officially listed as day-to-day going forward.

Deron Williams, G, NJ – Nets coach Avery Johnson expects Williams to return from his calf injury this weekend. It’s still uncertain whether that will be Friday against the Magic or Saturday against the Bobcats, so keep a close eye on his status leading up to tip-off for both games.

Stock Down

Ekpe Udoh, F/C, MIL – Udoh was locked in as the Warriors’ starting center, but with a move to Milwaukee, his role becomes less certain. Milwaukee has been rolling out a starting frontcourt of Drew Gooden and Ersan Ilyasova, both of whom have had significant success. It seems unlikely Bucks coach Scott Skiles will plug Udoh into the starting lineup immediately, and even if Udoh does end up as a member of the starting five, his role won’t be as large as it was in Golden State due to more frontcourt depth on Milwaukee’s roster. He could still be a decent source of blocks in a limited role, but Udoh’s overall value has taken a sizable hit with his trade to Milwaukee.

Ricky Rubio, G, MIN – The aforementioned Rubio is sidelined for the remainder of the season with a torn ACL. This obviously squashes Rubio’s value for this season, but most pundits seem to think he’ll be able to make a full recovery. Since Rubio’s game relies more on guile and basketball IQ than athleticism, the common thought is his overall game won’t suffer much. Redraft leagues will want to toss him aside, but keeper formats should hold on to him and monitor his recovery.

Randy Foye, G, LAC – Foye has stepped up for the Clippers since Chauncey Billups went down for the season with a torn Achilles, but his time as a decent fantasy option could be nearing an end. With Nick Young arriving to Los Angeles in a deadline deal, Foye is expected to have a smaller role in the rotation. Young is eventually expected to replace Foye as the starter at two. That means Foye and Maurice Williams will be the Clippers two backups at the guard positions. In 16 games as a reserve, Foye has averaged just 6.1 points per game. Don’t be surprised if he returns to those levels of production once Young is fully integrated into the rotation.

Jeremy Lin, G, NY – Mike D’Antoni resigned from the Knicks on Wednesday, opening the door for Mike Woodson to take over as the team’s interim head coach. Woodson is planning to make changes to the team’s offensive attack, including shifting the focus more to his superstars: Carmelo Anthony and Amar’e Stoudemire. While this will likely mean “Linsanity” is officially over, Lin should retain the starting point guard job and be a decent source of production. Just don’t expect him to return to the level we saw when he initially broke out.

Darren Collison, G, IND – There have been rumblings that Collison could be in danger of losing his starting gig. With Leandro Barbosa brought in to give the Pacers a scoring option off the bench, the team is considering moving George Hill to the starting lineup. Collison’s playing time has already been shrinking, so even if he holds on to the starting job, Hill and Barbosa will probably eat into his playing too much for his current levels of production to remain.

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