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Courtside Seat: Working out the kinks

Senior Fantasy Writer
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MIAMI -- The Lakers had just lost to the Heat 98-87, and coach Mike Brown was looking at the box score. He was fine with the production he got from Kobe Bryant, Pau Gasol and Andrew Bynum, but he couldn't find much else to be happy about.

The rest of the Lakers combined for just 22 points, and an offense that used to rely on the triangle is now just three players trying to carry the load. The offensive woes in Los Angeles are a big reason the Lakers have lost three in a row prior to Wednesday night's win over the Clippers, and Fantasy owners can't find anyone outside of Bryant, Gasol or Bynum to start in the majority of leagues.

"We just have to have some other guys step up to help Gasol and Bynum and Kobe out in certain situations," Brown said. "When they're open, knock down shots. Or make some plays."

Over the past several years Fantasy owners have gotten more from the Lakers then just three players, mainly from Lamar Odom, who is now in Dallas. Metta World Peace, the artist formerly known as Ron Artest, is now coming off the bench and struggling to produce at a high level.

Matt Barnes has been the best fourth option this season, but he doesn't play at a consistent level. And don't be fooled by Josh McRoberts, Steve Blake or Derek Fisher since they shouldn't be owned in the majority of leagues.

"The help will come from different people on any given night," Bryant said. "We're still experimenting. We're experimenting on the fly. This is what we have to do. It's a process, and we just have to stick with it."

Bryant said the offense is "under construction," and "we're still working on the blueprint." We know Bryant has been awesome as the No. 1 guard in head-to-head leagues despite playing with a significant wrist injury, Gasol is a Top 5 center in category-based formats despite a career-low scoring average (15.8 points) and Bynum has 10 double-doubles in 14 games. But it would be nice if other players on the team could offer significant contributions.

Typically you don't get more than three Fantasy options from a given team, but the drop-off for the Lakers after Bryant, Gasol and Bynum is staggering.

"It has to come a long way," Barnes said. "We have some more work to do. It's new. Most of the guys have been in the triangle for six, seven, eight years. This is a new offense, and we're still working out the kinks and finding our spots."

Until they work out those kinks, Fantasy owners should stay away from all of the Lakers not named Bryant, Gasol or Bynum.

Each week we will take a look at a variety of topics around the NBA. We will look at guys to trade, trade for, add off the waiver wire and also answer some of your social media questions, among other things. It's our CBSSports.com potpourri look at Fantasy Basketball.

More on Kobe

Bryant is enjoying life without the triangle and Phil Jackson since his minutes and shot attempts are up, but you have to be concerned if he can sustain this level of play given his age (33) and wear and tear, especially with the wrist injury. He is averaging 30.5 points, which is his best production since 2005-06.

"As a team we have to pick him up," Barnes said. "He can't carry the load every single night. We have to help."

Fantasy owners might want to sell high on Bryant since he could bring back quite a haul in return. Some recent trades for Bryant include Paul Millsap and Rajon Rondo in a rotisserie league and Bynum and Brandon Jennings in a head-to-head format. (You can see more trades on Bryant's player page).

Obviously the hope is Bryant can continue to stay healthy and play at a high level all season, but don't be afraid to shop him around and see what's out there.

Injury updates

Here are five significant injuries affecting Fantasy owners:

D.J. Augustin, PG, Bobcats
What's the deal: Augustin is out for the rest of Week 5 with a toe injury, and he could miss time in Week 6. That has opened the door for Kemba Walker to become a must-start Fantasy guard. Walker had 22 points, five rebounds and two assists against New York on Tuesday as the starting point guard, but his production should remain high with Augustin out. Derrick Brown (2 percent ownership on CBSSports.com) is worth a look in deeper leagues since he moved into the starting lineup, and he had 15 points, four rebounds and two steals against the Knicks.

Baron Davis, PG, Knicks
What's the deal: Davis could make his season debut very soon after dealing with a back injury, and we're excited to see how he plays. He should not be used in most daily leagues for the remainder of Week 5, but if he plays against the Heat on Friday or Rockets on Saturday -- and performs well -- then he might be worth starting in Week 6 as a No. 3 guard. Davis will likely hurt the value of rookie guard Iman Shumpert, and he could be worth dropping in the majority of leagues if Davis can start off playing at a high level.

Luol Deng, SF, Bulls
What's the deal: Deng is expected to miss a couple of weeks with an injured left wrist, which should allow Richard Hamilton and Ronnie Brewer to benefit. Hamilton (71 percent ownership) has scored in double figures in four games in a row, but he played great Monday with Deng out against New Jersey with 22 points, 10 assists and four rebounds. He should be considered a must-start option with Deng out. Brewer, who is owned in 8 percent of leagues, will start in place of Deng and is worth adding in deeper leagues. He had 11 points and five rebounds against the Nets.

Dirk Nowitzki, PF, Mavericks
What's the deal: Nowitzki (knee) is expected to miss the rest of Week 5, and he could miss time in Week 6 as well. We hope the rest can help him return at 100 percent, but several Mavericks should benefit in his absence. Shawn Marion had a standout game against Phoenix on Monday with 29 points, four rebounds and two assists. He also has two double-doubles in his past four games prior to Wednesday, and he should be considered a must-start forward with Nowitzki out. Odom also has shown signs of life with double digits in points in his past three games, and he had 11 points, five assists and three rebounds against the Suns. We hope this recent surge can wake him up for the rest of the year. One free agent to monitor is Ian Mahinmi (19 percent ownership), who had 17 points, nine rebounds and three blocks against the Suns. Another game like that and he could be worth adding in all leagues.

Chris Paul, PG, Clippers
What's the deal: We hope Paul (hamstring) can return Wednesday against the Lakers after missing the past five games. Once he does come back at 100 percent, Mo Williams should return to the bench in the majority of leagues. He has been great with Paul out, but he won't continue to play at a high level when he's coming off the bench. He is averaging 25.7 points, 3.7 assists and has eight 3-pointers in his past three games. But he failed to score 15 points in any of his first eight games this season when Paul was healthy, and that's what Fantasy owners should expect going forward.

Free agent watch

Here are five guys I am looking at in my leagues:

O.J. Mayo, SG, Grizzlies
Owned: 62 percent of leagues

Anthony Morrow, SG, Nets
Owned: 50 percent of leagues

Zaza Pachulia, C, Hawks
Owned: 43 percent of leagues

James Johnson, PF, Raptors
Owned: 41 percent of leagues

Jason Thompson, PF, Kings
Owned: 30 percent of leagues

Mayo has scored 20 points in two of his past three games and could be finding his groove a little. Morrow is averaging 17 points in his past two outings and could benefit if MarShon Brooks (Achilles tendon) is out for an extended period of time. Pachulia started Monday against Milwaukee and had nine points and 14 rebounds in 38 minutes. If he starts he's worth owning with Al Horford (pectoral) out, but he has been in and out of the starting lineup. Johnson started Tuesday against Phoenix and had a double-double with 18 points and 10 rebounds, and hopefully this is a sign of things to come. And Thompson has done a nice job filling in for the injured Chuck Hayes (shoulder), but his value is short-lived once Hayes returns.

Social media corner

@NELaker on Twitter wants to know: Is Eric Gordon a buy-low candidate?

Yes, but buy very low. His knee injury could linger all season, but if he's able to return at 100 percent you're looking at a player who is capable of averaging 22.2 points, 4.3 assists and 2.9 rebounds like he did last year with the Clippers. For the right price he could be a great addition.

@SeductionCity on Twitter wants to know: Should I drop Shumpert for Davis?

Yes, that is a good move to make. Shumpert is likely headed to the bench once Davis gets up to speed with his back injury. Shumpert has had some nice moments this season, but he is averaging just 11.4 points, 3.6 assists and 3.6 rebounds in his past five games. Davis should eclipse those stats when healthy.

Stay in touch with the most passionate Fantasy staff in the business by following us via Twitter @CBSFantasyNews . You can also follow Jamey at @JameyEisenberg and on Facebook .

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Player News
Warriors recall Ognjen Kuzmic, James McAdoo
by R.J. White | CBSSports.com
(2:45 pm ET) The Warriors have recalled center Ognjen Kuzmic and forward James McAdoo from Santa Cruz of the NBA Development League, the team announced Monday.

The two players combined to score 31 points in Game 2 of the NBA D-League Finals Sunday, capturing a sweep in the best-of-three series to lead the Santa Cruz team to its first title. Both should be available for Game 1 of the Western Conference Semifinals.


Report: Kevin Love getting second opinion on shoulder
by Elliott Smith | Staff Writer
(2:23 pm ET) The status of Cavaliers forward Kevin Love's injured shoulder may be delayed as the player seeks a second opinion on the severity of the injury, according to ESPN's Brian Windhorst. 

Love, who dislocated his shoulder as he was tangled up with the Celtics' Kelly Olynyk in Sunday's game 4 victory, will be a free agent after the season and ensuring the shoulder will remain structurally sound is a critical bit of information for prospective suitors. 

Love was scheduled to undergo an MRI on Monday and initial reports suggested he may miss two weeks of action. 


Raptors' Casey: Kyle Lowry needs to reduce weight this summer
by R.J. White | CBSSports.com
(2:21 pm ET) Raptors coach Dwane Casey said Monday that guard Kyle Lowry has to get his weight back down this summer, TSN reports.

Casey added that Lowry came into camp in great shape but that the guard had trouble after returning from his injuries. Lowry delivered his second straight quality scoring season this year, finishing with an average of 17.8 points, 6.8 assists and 4.7 rebounds.


Report: Celtics looking to deal first-round pick to dump Wallace
by Elliott Smith | Staff Writer
(1:51 pm ET) The Celtics have stockpiled draft picks over the years, and they are hoping to use one of their first-round picks to sweeten a deal that would allow them to get veteran Gerald Wallace off their roster, per ProBasketballTalk.com.

Wallace is owed $10.1 million next season and the 33-year-old wasn't much more than a deep bench option this season for the Celtics. Boston, meanwhile, has up to 10 first-round picks in the next four drafts, making it worth the cost of taking on Wallace's salary. 


Grizzlies PG Mike Conley undergoes successful facial surgery
by Elliott Smith | Staff Writer
(1:33 pm ET) Mike Conley underwent successful facial surgery to repair a fracture near his left eye on Monday in Memphis, per The Commercial Appeal

The injury occured when the Grizzlies point guard took an inadvertent elbow he took to his face in Game 3 of the team's series against Portland. 

Conley was already ruled out of Monday's Game 4, and team officials do not have a timetable for his return to the court, which could take several weeks depending on the severity of the injury. If he does return this season, he will have to wear a mask to protect the area around his eye.

Yahoo! Sports reports that once the swelling goes down in the next 48 hours, Grizzlies officials will have a better idea of a timeframe for a possible playoff return.  


Raptors' Patrick Patterson wants to start, accepts any role
by R.J. White | CBSSports.com
(1:03 pm ET) Raptors forward Patrick Patterson indicated Monday that while he'd rather be a starter, he's OK with whatever role the team assigns him as long as he's playing, TSN reports.

"Of course I'd love to start," Patterson said. "What NBA player wouldn't want to start?"

Patterson played 81 games this season but made just four starts, averaging 8.0 points, 5.3 rebounds and 26.6 minutes per game. He scored 10.3 points per game while shooting 55.6 percent from the field during the playoffs as the Raptors suffered a first-round sweep at the hands of the Wizards.


Celtics' Jae Crowder diagnosed with ACL sprain
by R.J. White | CBSSports.com
(12:08 pm ET) Celtics forward Jae Crowder has been diagnosed with a left ACL sprain, the team announced Monday.

Crowder went for an MRI Sunday and met with a team doctor to discuss the results of the test Monday morning. He injured the knee during Sunday's Game 4 loss to the Cavaliers on a hard foul by Cleveland guard J.R. Smith, who was ejected for the play.

Crowder appears to be on track for a normal offseason after avoiding a more serious knee injury, as he told the Boston Globe Monday that the injury will sideline him for only a few weeks. He averaged 7.7 points and 3.6 rebounds in 82 games between the Mavericks and Celtics during the regular season.


Jonas Jerebko considering return to Celtics, Brad Stevens
by R.J. White | CBSSports.com
(11:35 am ET) Celtics forward Jonas Jerebko said after the team's Game 4 loss to the Cavaliers that a potential return to Boston to continue playing under coach Brad Stevens will weigh heavily on the impending free agent's thought process this offseason, MassLive.com reports.

"He's been the best coach I've had in the NBA," Jerebko said. "He leads this team very well, and he's a great coach, so he definitely weighs in a lot."

Jerebko played under four coaches with the Pistons in five-plus years before being dealt to the Celtics this season. He was able to play in the postseason for the first time in his career, and though the Celtics were swept, he indicated that the playoff experience meant a big deal for the young team.

"For a lot of guys being in the playoffs for the first time, now we know during the season where we want to be at," Jerebko said. "You don't want to be outside the playoffs when the season's over, because we want to be in this next year, and we want to take it further than we did last year. It makes the season important. Sometimes, you forget that every game matters. We want to do this again. I haven't felt like this in all my years in the league. I've had my ups and downs in this league, and making the playoffs with this team really gave me some motivation, and I just want to get back and get there again."

Jerebko averaged 7.1 points, 4.8 rebounds and 18.2 minutes in 29 games with the Celtics.


Brandon Bass would welcome return to Celtics
by R.J. White | CBSSports.com
(11:01 am ET) Celtics forward Brandon Bass is set to become a free agent this summer, but he said after Sunday's season-ending loss to the Cavaliers that he would welcome a return to Boston, Basketball Insiders reports.

"I don’t know what the future holds," Bass said. "That’s up to (President of Basketball Operations) Danny (Ainge). But Boston’s been great to me over the last couple years, so it’ll be great for me to come back."

Bass averaged 10.6 points and 4.9 rebounds while playing 82 games for a second straight season.

"I thought I had a pretty good season. Based on how I started, I didn’t finish it anywhere near where I wanted to as far as the playoffs,” Bass said. "But it gives me great motivation to go back to the gym and improve my skills mentally and physically."

Bass averaged just five points and two rebounds as the Celtics were swept by the Cavaliers.

"It was a mental thing this playoff series," Bass said. "I just didn’t play well. I don’t have really any excuses. I prepared well, I just wasn’t able to perform in the playoffs like I wanted to."


Celtics' Kelly Olynyk denies trying to injure Cavaliers' Kevin Love
by R.J. White | CBSSports.com
(10:51 am ET) Celtics center Kelly Olynyk was stunned that Cavaliers forward Kevin Love said he intentionally tried to injure Love on the play in which the forward suffered a dislocated shoulder Sunday, the Boston Herald reports.

"I thought it was a bush league play," Love said. "Olynyk was in a compromising position, had no chance to get the ball and it’s just too bad that he would go to those lengths to take somebody out of the game and do that to someone. I have no doubt in my mind that he did that on purpose."

Olynyk's opinion of what happened on the first-quarter play was in stark contrast to Love's words.

"That’s ridiculous," Olynyk said after Sunday's game. "I would never intentionally hurt Kevin or anyone else. He locked my arm up, I locked up his as we were fighting for a loose ball. You lock up arms all the time in this league."

Love is set to undergo an MRI Monday but is expected to miss a minimum of two weeks, which could keep him sidelined through the team's second-round matchup if not longer.

"I was definitely surprised (by what Love said)," Olynyk said. "In basketball, I don’t think anyone is trying to hurt anyone. For (Love), it’s very unfortunate. I know they’re trying to make a run right now."


 
 
 
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