NBA Barometer: Rondo, Faried On the Way Up

NBA Barometer: Rondo, Faried On the Way Up

This article is part of our NBA Barometer series.

GUARDS

Gaining Value

Rajon Rondo, LAL: Rondo's return to health from a hand injury coincided almost perfectly with Lonzo Ball suffering what has been diagnosed as a Grade 3 left ankle sprain that will keep him out multiple weeks. That's vaulted Rondo into the starting point guard job for the foreseeable future, and any concerns about playing time restrictions were quickly eradicated when Rondo played 42 and 37 minutes over his first two games, respectively. Given his elite facilitating skills and ability to step up on offense and on the boards when necessary, Rondo is highly enticing in all formats in his current role. Moreover, the imminent Thursday return of LeBron James has the potential to give Rondo exponentially more opportunities for the assists he already often piles up at a prolific rate.

Shabazz Napier, BKN: Like Rondo on the opposite coast, Napier currently has an opportunity for extra minutes in the wake of a backcourt injury on his squad. Spencer Dinwiddie, who was averaging 28.6 minutes and 12.2 shot attempts per game, is gone for multiple weeks due to thumb surgery. Napier is already averaging 19.0 points, 14.5 shot attempts and 27.0 minutes over the first two games Dinwiddie has missed. The 2014 first-round pick was coming on prior to Dinwiddie's absence, as he'd generated double-digit scoring efforts in eight of the previous nine games.

Losing Value

Austin Rivers, HOU: Chris Paul made his long-awaited return from his hamstring injury on Sunday

GUARDS

Gaining Value

Rajon Rondo, LAL: Rondo's return to health from a hand injury coincided almost perfectly with Lonzo Ball suffering what has been diagnosed as a Grade 3 left ankle sprain that will keep him out multiple weeks. That's vaulted Rondo into the starting point guard job for the foreseeable future, and any concerns about playing time restrictions were quickly eradicated when Rondo played 42 and 37 minutes over his first two games, respectively. Given his elite facilitating skills and ability to step up on offense and on the boards when necessary, Rondo is highly enticing in all formats in his current role. Moreover, the imminent Thursday return of LeBron James has the potential to give Rondo exponentially more opportunities for the assists he already often piles up at a prolific rate.

Shabazz Napier, BKN: Like Rondo on the opposite coast, Napier currently has an opportunity for extra minutes in the wake of a backcourt injury on his squad. Spencer Dinwiddie, who was averaging 28.6 minutes and 12.2 shot attempts per game, is gone for multiple weeks due to thumb surgery. Napier is already averaging 19.0 points, 14.5 shot attempts and 27.0 minutes over the first two games Dinwiddie has missed. The 2014 first-round pick was coming on prior to Dinwiddie's absence, as he'd generated double-digit scoring efforts in eight of the previous nine games.

Losing Value

Austin Rivers, HOU: Chris Paul made his long-awaited return from his hamstring injury on Sunday versus the Magic and logged 25 minutes. His reinsertion into the starting five unsurprisingly equated to a significant playing time reduction for Rivers, who logged a modest 21 minutes against Orlando after he'd played 33 or more in 15 of the prior 17 contests. Moreover, Rivers' production was already on a bit of a downswing, as he's been held scoreless or scored in single digits in four of the previous five games. Rivers did see an uptick in minutes Tuesday against New Orleans (31), but he finished with only eight points on seven field goal attempts to go with three assists and two boards.

FORWARDS

Gaining Value

Josh Jackson, PHO: T.J. Warren is out until approximately mid-February at minimum due to his ankle issues, an absence that currently has Jackson holding down the starting power forward job. Jackson already has five double-digit scoring efforts in his last six games, including in the first three games Warren has missed. The 2017 first-round pick has also taken double-digit shot attempts in seven consecutive contests, and he sports a 26.4 percent usage rate without Warren on the floor this season. While Devin Booker naturally remains the focal point of the Suns' attack, Jackson has demonstrated an ability to offer strong complementary contributions across the stat sheet on multiple occasions over his first season-plus.

Cedi Osman, CLE: Osman unsurprisingly seems to be getting more productive and consistent the more he plays in his first NBA season as a starter. The second-year pro, who was selected for the Rising Stars game at All-Star Weekend, is now averaging a solid 12.7 points, 4.7 rebounds and 2.2 assists across 31.9 minutes over 50 games. He's logged 34.8 minutes per game over his last six contests, and he's scored at least 25 points in three of his last four.

ALSO TRENDING UP: Wayne Selden, CHI

Losing Value

Iman Shumpert, SAC: Shumpert surprised with his offensive contributions on multiple occasions earlier this season, but those instances are increasingly becoming fewer and farther between. The defensive-minded veteran most recently scored in single digits in six straight games before bouncing back with a 16-point tally versus the Clippers on Sunday. However, that was only Shumpert's second double-digit scoring effort in his last 11 games.

CENTERS

Gaining Value

Jahlil Okafor, NOP: With Anthony Davis out of the lineup, Okafor has suddenly re-emerged as a viable Fantasy contributor. Davis suffered a finger injury in a Jan. 18 contest against the Trail Blazers that has already cost him five games (he'll miss a sixth straight game Wednesday). Okafor has entered the starting lineup at center in Davis' absence and is putting up the kind of numbers the Sixers envisioned when they took him third overall in 2015: 21.2 points, 11.0 rebounds and 2.6 blocks blocks per game. He topped out with 27 points and 12 boards in Tuesday's win over Houston, and Okafor should remain a major factor so long as Davis is sidelined. And in the event Davis is dealt before the Feb. 7 deadline, Okafor's run could continue on the other side of the deadline, depending on what package the Pelicans would theoretically bring back.

Kenneth Faried, HOU: Faried has played a total of five games since joining the Rockets -- four as the starting center. He's averaging 15.2 points, 9.8 rebounds, 1.2 assists, 1.4 blocks and 1.2 steals across 30.6 minutes over that span, and he notched his third straight double-double Tuesday night against New Orleans. Like Okafor, Faried's run of success comes as a result of an injury, but Capela's absence is projected to extend into mid-February, at the earliest, giving Faried plenty of opportunity for similar production over the next few weeks.

Losing Value

Enes Kanter, NYK: Kanter was just in the opposite category a mere seven days ago, but matters have taken an unexpected turn in the Big Apple since then. The big man was originally slated to enter the first unit in the wake of Luke Kornet's ankle injury, an expectation fueled by coach David Fizdale's own comments. However, Fizdale pulled a 360 on both Kanter and Fantasy owners prior to a Jan. 23 matchup versus the Rockets, leaving Kanter out of the rotation altogether after proclaiming him the starter earlier in the day. The veteran has subsequently been a DNP-CD in four straight games, and his future with the Knicks is very much clouded as the deadline nears.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Juan Carlos Blanco
Winner of the FSWA 2016 Newcomer of the Year Award, Juan Carlos Blanco has been playing fantasy sports for over 20 years and covers NBA, MLB, NFL, CFL and Arena Football for Rotowire.com, including serving as the beat writer for teams in multiple sports. He has previously written for KFFL.com and remains an avid season-long and daily fantasy player in multiple sports as well.
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