There is not a better time of year to be a hoops fan. Die-hards could be winning or losing a lot of money in the next few weeks with the tournament (I am already in trouble there) and fantasy playoffs going on.
Some of the more lackadaisical fantasy owners out there could potentially become distracted and miss out on important fantasy information in the next week or two. Try to take advantage if you can.
Carmelo Anthony is back, and in a big way too. Melo is averaging 28 points since his return and his confidence seems to be no worse for wear (he took an unconscious 31 shot attempts Friday night). Another Knick has forced his way into fantasy relevance .
It took Kenyon Martin over half a season (and a Rasheed Wallace season-ending injury) for any team to offer him a chance to play. The Knicks have been plagued with unfortunate injuries and management is looking wise with their mid-season acquisition. Much to my surprise (and Kent’s as well) Martin has been solid in his last few games. Although his minutes may take a hit when Tyson Chandler returns, he may just be worth a look in deeper leagues if you need rebounding.
Tony Parker came back earlier than expected and played Friday night and played a full 37 minutes against the Jazz. Any Parkerowners have to feel good about this positive sign. Be wary though, as Popovich is notorious for resting his stars at this time of year.
In other news, Stephen Curry owners have real reason to be concerned (myself included). Owning Curry is like having a poorly-made sports car. You are proud of its performance when it runs and love to show it off. However, the entire time you have it out you wonder when it will need to go back to the shop for repairs (or in Curry’s case, the surgeons for his ankle). Curry owners in weekly-lineup leagues are in a tough predicament right now; the only advice I can offer is to play it day by day.
Another elite player with recurring injury issues is Joakim Noah, again being held back by plantar fasciitis. Noah has already taken some time off earlier in the year in an attempt to help his foot mend. Unfortunately it was not enough and there is no telling exactly how long he will be out.
On Saturday night Nazr Mohammed saw 31 minutes of playing time in Noah’s place. Mohammed has not seen a lot of minutes this season, even when Noah has been out before. Only in deep leagues is he potentially worth a risk.
Unfortunately, another of my favorite point guards is taking time of to tend to some wounds. Ty Lawson has been on fire since the all-star break — perhaps in an attempt to show he belongs in the contest?
Lawson originally believed he would play on Friday but ultimately was held out of the contest. He should not miss much more time going forward. When he does return, Coach Karl might give him a precautionary minute reduction.
Right now is the most complicated time to be a fantasy owner. Not only is it important to keep up with player injuries but to know what teams are playing for.
Some are resting their stars for playoffs. A few teams are resting their best players in hopes of gaining better lottery positioning. Other teams have their stars playing 40 minutes a game hoping to get favorable playoff seeding. Some teams just play their stars 40 minutes a game regardless of the circumstances (Bulls fans might know something about that).