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Mike Dunleavy, Corey BrewerNearly forgotten swingman Mike Dunleavy Jr. may be close to making a start for the Indiana Pacers.

After being sidelined for the entire season thus far with a knee injury, Dunleavy has started practicing and is up to a reported 20 minute sessions.  The next step is obviously going to be five-on-five contact drills, ensuring that the knee is alright and that Dunleavy himself is up to par from a conditioning standpoint.

Not that I expect a complete fall-off of the other Pacers, but this obviously means not-so-good things for other scoring options like Danny Granger and Marquis Daniels.  Daniels owners may want to start sticking some trade feelers out as he’s in line to take the biggest hit from the pending Dunleavy return.


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Monta Ellis, walking Though still recovering from his moped-turned-busted ankle, Monta Ellis has been activated by the Golden State Warriors after serving his 30-game suspension for violating “team policy.”  If you remember correctly, Ellis signed a six-year deal that will ultimately pay him a hefty chunk of change; one that he can now start collecting on.

The guard can now begin taking part in team activities and will likely do so when the Warriors return from their road trip.  Expect Ellis to start running some time after the Christmas holiday, and perhaps earning some playing time near the beginning of January.  With that said, the dual-eligible guard deserves a roster spot in nearly every league at this point.  Low risk, high reward, if you will. 


Russell Westbrook LayupIn one of my deeper leagues, I’m the proud owner of Oklahoma City’s Russell Westbrook.  Though I can rarely find a spot for him on my active roster, I’ve been a big fan of what the kid has been able to do thus far.  And while he’s not putting up OJ Mayo-like scoring numbers, SLAMOnline gets dirty with the numbers behind the scenes.

Through his first 14 games (this excludes the Thunder most recent game vs. Phoenix), Westbrook has been on the floor for 52 percent of the total minutes Oklahoma City has played. When comparing the team’s production per 100 possessions when the rookie is on the floor as opposed to when he is off the floor, the Thunder scored 10 more points and allowed 16 less points. That means for everyone 100 possessions that Westbrook was on the floor for those games the Thunder were at +25.9 when compared to the time that he was on the bench.

Factor in the point that this team is dreadful and Earl Watson isn’t exactly the point guard of the future, and I think this kid is going to have a huge second half for fantasy owners.  We could be looking at about 16/5/6 with about two steals a game.  If he can somehow increase those assist numbers even more, you’re looking at a Rajon Rondo with higher scoring.  We could all use something like that at the end of our bench.

Russell Westbrook: Playing Like The ROY? [SLAMOnline]


JaVale McGeeOkay, maybe not all, but if you can afford to stash a high-upside center on your bench…do it.

In a 12-team league where I have a considerably deep bench, last week, I added JaVale McGee with hopes of more double-double love.  I’m considering it in another league that is a bit more shallow, with the only hurdle being who to drop.  And now that we have the words Sports Illustrated and GMTR, it’s looking like the radar has officially received a new blip.  And that blip is a seven-foot tall kid with the wingspan of a pterodactyl. 

B-Ref shows his 36-minute numbers to provide a very solid 15 points, 10 rebounds and two blocks with 52.2 percent shooting.  Now, just like Nels mentioned, we can’t bank on 36 minutes.  However, once the Wiz brass gets restless, look for a lot more of McGee as the fans love him and (quite frankly!), what do they have to lose?  And why shouldn’t you benefit from that?


DeMarcus NelsonIn the fantasy basketball ring, one thing is for certain: the Golden State Warriors will score a lot of points.  For this reason, we had Monta Ellis going in the second or third round of most drafts until he injured himself in that now infamous moped accident.  When the accident happened, we tapped former New Jersey Net Marcus Williams as the man to flourish.

But not so fast.  Williams has disappointed big time, and has been shelved by Don Nelson as “third string.”  So who gets the playing time?  DeMarcus Neslon, that’s who.

Fig Cap: What do you get when you combine Marcus Williams with Don Nelson?

Click to continue reading Sleeper Alert: DeMarcus Nelson


Brendan Haywood The first preseason game for the Washington Wizards did not go as planned.  Not only is Gilbert Arenas slated to miss some crucial time, but injuries to forward Antawn Jamison and center Brendan Haywood added a little salt in the wound.  News today says that Jamison only has a bruised knee and should be good to go.  Haywood, however, is looking to miss the next four-to-six months with wrist surgery. 

“He’s really big for us back there in terms of communicating to the other guys about what is going on and where we need to be, so that’s going to be missed,” Jamison said. “We’re going to have to find a way for other guys to fill that role.”

 

Click to continue reading Jamison’s Okay.  Haywood, Not So Much.


While I would have liked it a lot more had he gone to Golden State as once rumored, the Philadelphia 76ers have extended the tweener guard for five more seasons. 

I was pretty big on Williams as a last-round type last season, and think I may do the same this year as he had shown several flashes of brilliance.  Perhaps he steals some time from Willie Green along with backing up the always-distributing Andre Miller.  Williams averaged double figures in only 23 minutes of play per game last year, so an increase in production is not far-fetched.  Plan accordingly.


Emeka Okafor...Will continue to be produced in Charlotte.

Not to be outdone by Andris Biedrins, the Charlotte Bobcats signed offense-less big man Emeka Okafor to a six year, $72 million deal.  There were a few rumors of a sign and trade, but one look at the rest of the low post players on the Bobcats’ roster, and there was a very slim chance that this would happen.  I can’t imagine that Larry Brown has a ton of faith in Sean May staying healthy this year, and the Ryan Hollins/Nazr Mohammed combo isn’t exactly the most prolific in the game.

Click to continue reading Emeka Okafor’s Blocks and Boards…


Andris BiedrinsThis may just be the skeptic in me, but I think I’ll be staying away from Andris Biedrins this year.  He could be my “contract year” guy of yesteryear, that simply won’t put up numbers worth the money he’ll be getting paid. 

After signing Monta Ellis to a new lucrative deal, the Warriors used up another $60 million on the Latvian big man with the crazy-spiked hair.  With Elton Brand going East, and Baron Davis going to L.A., the Warriors may have felt that they’re just going to roll on with a core group of guys; and $120 million of that will go towards the aforementioned pair.

Click to continue reading Andris Biedrins Makes Me Nervous


Monta Ellis, Rich ManFeel free to put Monta Ellis firmly in your early rounds for any cheatsheets you may be putting together.  If there was any doubt that Ellis could be playing elsewhere, the Golden State Warriors put the kibosh on it in the ways of a six-year, $66 million deal.

Ellis wanted to stay in the Bay Area, and he got his wish.  Oh, and he’ll be making a bit more money in the meantime.  The addition of Marcus Williams may worry a few people in terms of a time share, but after shelling out $11 million a year, you better believe that Ellis will get his burn.  He’s 22-years old, and could easily find himself in the late first round in keeper formats.  Redrafts can feel comfortable taking him any time after Steve Nash is off of the board - which is looking like the mid-to-late second round at this point. 

Warriors Give Ellis six-year contract [SJ Mercury News]


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