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Courtside Seat: Looking back to look forward

Senior Fantasy Writer
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We're seven weeks into the Fantasy Basketball season, and because of the lockout, we're almost at the halfway point in most leagues. This feels like a good time to look back on what went right and wrong on Draft Day.

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I play in three leagues -- an eight-category head-to-head league with 30 owners, a 12-team head-to-head league in total points and a 12-team average-based league -- with a variety of formats. We're going to compare the Top 12 players in those formats to the Average Draft Position on CBSSports.com.

For those owners looking to make trades, this should help you in judging players who are underperforming or might be playing over their heads. Ricky Rubio, for example, is a Top 12 guard in two leagues, and many owners want to know if he can keep this up. And that's among the things we're here to help you find out.

Here are the Top 12 players drafted this year in order:

1. LeBron James, SF, Heat
2. Kevin Durant, SF, Thunder
3. Derrick Rose, PG, Bulls
4. Dwight Howard, C, Magic
5. Chris Paul, PG, Clippers
6. Russell Westbrook, PG, Thunder
7. Blake Griffin, PF, Clippers
8. Dwyane Wade, SG, Heat
9. Deron Williams, PG, Nets
10. Kevin Love, PF, Timberwolves
11. Kobe Bryant, SG, Lakers
12. Amar'e Stoudemire, PF, Knicks

Here are the Top 12 players in an eight-category head-to-head league:

1. Dwight Howard, C, Magic
2. Kevin Durant, SF, Thunder
3. LeBron James, SF, Heat
4. Kevin Love, PF, Timberwolves
5. Kyle Lowry, PG, Rockets
6. Brandon Jennings, PG, Bucks
7. Marc Gasol, C, Grizzlies
8. Ricky Rubio, PG, Timberwolves
9. Josh Smith, PF, Hawks
10. Andre Iguodala, SF, Sixers
11. Kobe Bryant, SG, Lakers
12. Deron Williams, PG, Nets

Despite all the trade speculation, Howard is still having a monster year with a career-high in rebounds (15.1), assists (2.0) and steals (1.5). When you add in his scoring (20.1 points) and blocks (2.2), it overshadows his poor free-throw percentage (48 percent) and turnovers (3.2). Lowry has been a statistical beast, and he should remain hot all season. He is averaging 14.9 points, 8.0 assists, 6.0 rebounds, 2.0 steals and shoots 86 percent from the foul line with 39 3-pointers. Jennings is a sell-high candidate because his shooting percentage (43 percent) and assists (5.3) should begin to decline with Andrew Bogut (ankle) out. He's also averaging a career-high 19.2 points, which might not last. In his past two games, Jennings has scored 11 points combined against Chicago and Phoenix. Rubio has been the best surprise this season at 11.2 points, 9.1 assists, 4.5 rebounds and 2.4 steals. He has also made 19 3-pointers and is shooting 82 percent from the foul line. He should be able to keep this up barring an injury, so don't plan on trading him unless it's a great deal.

Here are the Top 12 players in a head-to-head standard total point league:

1. LeBron James, SF, Heat
2. Kobe Bryant, SG, Lakers
3. Kevin Durant, SF, Thunder
4. Dwight Howard, C, Magic
5. Kevin Love, PF, Timberwolves
6. Deron Williams, PG, Nets
7. LaMarcus Aldridge, PF, Trail Blazers
8. Russell Westbrook, PG, Thunder
9. Tony Parker, PG, Spurs
10. Derrick Rose, PG, Bulls
11. John Wall, PG, Wizards
12. Ricky Rubio, PG, Timberwolves

Aldridge was woefully undervalued coming into the season since he was drafted at No. 19 overall based on his ADP. He is a first-round talent and is averaging a career-high 23.7 points with 8.6 rebounds and 2.8 assists. By comparison, Stoudemire is averaging 18.2 points and 8.1 rebounds, and Aldridge should play better than Stoudemire the rest of the season. Parker is someone to sell high because his stats will decline once Manu Ginobili (hand) returns, which should be soon. Parker is averaging a career-high 7.7 assists, but his scoring average of 18.2 will go down with Ginobili healthy. He is averaging 26.3 points in his past four games, and he will struggle to keep that up going forward. Wall was someone I mentioned earlier this year to buy low on because his rough start to the season was not going to continue. He is averaging 16.4 points, 6.8 assists, 4.8 rebounds and 1.6 steals in his past five games, and he has 20-5-5 potential if he can score at a higher clip. Wall should only get better as the season goes on, so don't plan on trading him without a stellar offer in return.

Here are the Top 12 players in an average-based head-to-head league:

1. LeBron James, SF, Heat
2. Dwight Howard, C, Magic
3. Kevin Durant, SF, Thunder
4. Kobe Bryant, SG, Lakers
5. LaMarcus Aldridge, PF, Trail Blazers
6. Kevin Love, PF, Timberwolves
7. Andrew Bynum, C, Lakers
8. Blake Griffin, PF, Clippers
9. David Lee, PF, Warriors
10. Russell Westbrook, PG, Thunder
11. Monta Ellis, SG, Warriors
12. Pau Gasol, PF, Lakers

By the end of the season you will see Wade, Paul and Rose in the Top 12 of most formats, but injuries have hurt them to start the year. Paul, for example, is a Top 10 player in this league over the past 21 days, so his value is on the rise. The one player in this group to sell now is Bynum, and it's only because of his injury history. He has been awesome this season with 14 double-doubles, and he is averaging 20.8 points, 12.0 rebounds and 2.2 blocks in his past five games. But Bynum has played more than 65 games just once in his seven-year career, and you have to be concerned of a potential injury looming. That would help Gasol, who is still producing at a high level despite his scoring down two points last year from 18.8 to 16.4. Lee and Ellis will not remain as Top 12 options, but they won't slip far. They will just get passed by Wade, Paul, Rose, Williams or Marc Gasol, who has also been a solid Fantasy option this season with Zach Randolph (knee) out.

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.

Hornets trying to improve

The Hornets are a mess with the worst record in the Western Conference at 4-21, but coach Monty Williams is trying to get a feel for his roster for the rest of the season and the future. Along with injuries, Williams is getting to look at several players, which has impacted Fantasy owners.

"We are evaluating talent, and we're trying to figure out who can play," Williams said following a recent visit to Miami. "Any time you get a chance to play in the NBA, you better make the most of it. That's what we're looking for from our young guys."

Injuries to Eric Gordon (knee) and Jarrett Jack (knee) have allowed Greivis Vasquez to shine. He is averaging 16.2 points, 7.8 assists and 3.8 rebounds in his past five games. Jack is on the verge of coming back, but Vasquez should remain relevant until Gordon returns, which is likely by the end of the month.

Carl Landry (knee) is out until the end of February, which should give extended minutes to Jason Smith and Gustavo Ayon. Smith is dealing with a concussion, and Ayon started Monday against Sacramento. He finished with four points, nine rebounds and two blocks in 32 minutes, and he could be worth adding in deeper leagues depending on how long Smith is out.

Emeka Okafor is one of the few veterans getting extended minutes, and he's having a down year with a career-low 9.7 points and 7.8 rebounds. Still, Okafor remains confident in his game and expects to play well to close the season.

"I'm doing all right," Okafor said. "I'm just trying to get better. I just have to keep on working hard and wait for the opportunity to come."

Free agent watch

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

Arron Afflalo, SG, Nuggets
Owned: 37 percent of leagues

Reggie Williams, SG, Bobcats
Owned: 34 percent of leagues

Linas Kleiza, SF, Raptors
Owned: 29 percent of leagues

Randy Foye, SG, Clippers
Owned: 25 percent of leagues

Bill Walker, SG, Knicks
Owned: 3 percent of leagues

By now, Jeremy Lin (76 percent ownership) and Nikola Pekovic (72 percent) should be owned in most competitive leagues. If not, run out to grab them because they could be solid for the rest of the year. Williams would be the next player to add because he has played well with Gerald Henderson (hamstring), Corey Maggette (hamstring) and D.J. Augustin (toe) out. Williams has 42 points, 10 rebounds and 11 assists in his past two games. Afflalo and Foye should also be solid for the foreseeable future due to injuries as well. Danilo Gallinari is out with a fractured ankle, which should give Afflalo more scoring chances. And Chauncey Billups (Achilles' tendon) is out for the season, which will help Foye. Walker is a short-term add with Carmelo Anthony (groin) out for two weeks, and Kleiza also is taking advantage of Andrea Bargnani (calf) being out. Kleiza has scored 62 points in his past three games with 13 rebounds.

Social media corner

@NELaker on Twitter wants to know: Should I give up Jrue Holiday and Hedo Turkoglu to get Mo Williams and Stephen Jackson?

There is definitely more upside in Williams and Jackson, so yes make the deal. Holiday has struggled this season, and Turkoglu is no longer a must-start Fantasy option. Williams should see an increase in production with Billups out, and Jackson finally escaped the doghouse in Milwaukee with 30 minutes against Phoenix on Tuesday. Hopefully he will continue to see increased minutes or get traded away from the Bucks.

@jordaneisner on Twitter wants to know: Anthony Morrow or Trevor Ariza for the rest of the year?

It depends on what you need and in what format, but Ariza does more than Morrow, who is strictly a scorer. Ariza also has more job security since Morrow will lose minutes once MarShon Brooks (toe) returns. He could also lose production when Brook Lopez (foot) is back in action. The safer option is to stick with Ariza.

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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