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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
Hawks guard Jeff Teague scores 30 points in losing effort
by Brandon Wise | CBSSports.com
(5/24/2015) Hawks guard Jeff Teague scored 30 points on 9 of 23 shooting from the field, including 3 of 8 from 3-point range, in Atlanta's 114-111 loss to the Cavaliers in overtime in Game 3.

Teague also dished out seven assists and pulled down six rebounds in the contest. His 30 points was a playoff career-high for Teague, who was a perfect 9 for 9 from the free throw line. He and the Hawks will look to stave off elimination on Tuesday against the Cavaliers.


Cavaliers' LeBron James posts highest triple-double in playoff history
by Brandon Wise | CBSSports.com
(5/24/2015) Cavaliers forward LeBron James scored 37 points on 14 of 37 shooting from the field, including 1 of 6 from 3-point range in Cleveland's 114-111 win over the Hawks in overtime in Game 3.

James also pulled down 18 rebounds and dished out 13 assists, recording his first triple-double in the playoffs since the 2012-2013 season. James is also recorded the highest totals for a triple-double in NBA playoff history with his performance. It was his 12th career triple-double.

James, who was noticeably banged up throughout the game, said after there was no chance at all of him missing Game 4. He and the Cavaliers will look to advance to the NBA Finals in Game 4 on Tuesday. 


Hawks F Al Horford ejected after Flagrant 2 foul
by Elliott Smith | Staff Writer
(5/24/2015) Hawks forward Al Horford was ejected in the second quarter of Game 3 of the Eastern Conference Finals on Sunday after committing a Flagrant 2 foul against the Cavaliers' Matthew Dellavedova

Horford, who was leading the Hawks with 14 points and four rebounds, was entangled with Dellavedova when he delivered an elbow to the Cleveland guard's head with 34.3 seconds remaining in the half. 

After the officials reviewed the foul, with Cleveland fans chanting Dellavedova's name, they decided to assess a Flagrant 2 to Horford, which results in an automatic ejection, and a technical foul to Dellavedova. 

A Flagrant 2 foul also warrants a one-game suspension, which could be huge for a Hawks team on the ropes and without guard Kyle Korver. 


Cavaliers guard Kyrie Irving officially out for Game 3
by Brandon Wise | CBSSports.com
(5/24/2015) Cavaliers point guard Kyrie Irving will not play in Game 3 against the Hawks on Sunday, the team announced.

Irving was considered a game-time decision for the contest while battling a foot injury. He was able to go through a pregame warm up and was hoping to give it a go. Irving also missed Game 2 because of the injury and is averaging 18.9 points and 3.6 assists per game in the playoffs this season.

The Cavaliers are currently 9-point favorites against Atlanta on Sunday.


Report: Cavs G Kyrie Irving not expected to play in Game 3
by Jason Butt | CBSSports.com
(5/24/2015) Cavaliers guard Kyrie Irving is unlikely to suit up for Sunday night's Game 3 matchup against the Hawks. 

According to a report from Yahoo! Sports, Irving has been working out prior to the game but is not expected to play. Irving has a knee injury that has sidelined him. 

With the Cavaliers up 2-0 over the Hawks, Irving could very well sit as a precaution. Matthew Delavedova has played well of late in Irving's absence, which gives the Cavs the option of being careful with their star point guard. 


Hawks F DeMarre Carroll: Basketball is 'bigger than money'
by Jason Butt | CBSSports.com
(5/24/2015) Hawks forward DeMarre Carroll is expected to play again in Game 3 against the Cavs despite having a severely sprained knee that isn't close to 100 percent. 

Carroll is hitting the free-agent market after this season and could be in line for a big contract. However, if he re-injures the knee, Carroll could see his pricetag drop this offseason. 

However, given that the Hawks are in the Eastern Conference finals, Carroll would rather fight the pain and go for a championship than worry about his contract championship. 

“I’ve been getting a million calls and emails about me, why am I there, this might be the biggest contract of my life," Carroll said, via the Atlanta Journal-Constitution's Jeff Schultz. "But at the end of the day this game isn’t promised to you. So whenever you’ve got an opportunity to play basketball, a lot of people say it’s bigger than money and it feels like that to me. I cherish this game and I want to be out there fighting, and if I have to fight on one leg, I’m gonna fight on one leg. I can’t let this opportunity pass me by. Eastern Conference finals, playing against LeBron James. I don’t care if I have to do it on one leg, I’ll hobble out there.”

The Hawks trail the Cavs in the series 0-2. 


Warriors PF Marreese Speights (calf) out for Game 4
by Jason Butt | CBSSports.com
(5/24/2015) Warriors power forward Marreese Speights will not play in Game 4 against the Rockets. 

Speights has been dealing with a moderate right calf strain, which has affected the rotation some. But it hasn't been too big of a deal because the Warriors lead the Rockets 3-0 in the series. 

Speights hasn't played since Game 3 of the Western Conference Semifinals. 


Rockets center Dwight Howard doubles up Warriors in losing effort
by Brandon Wise | CBSSports.com
(5/23/2015) Rockets center Dwight Howard scored 14 points on 6 of 10 shooting from the field and pulled down 14 rebounds in Houston's 115-80 loss to the Warriors on Saturday.

It was Howard's 11th double-double in the playoffs this season and fifth in his last six games. Howard is averaging 16.4 points and 14 rebounds per game in the postseason. He and the Rockets will look to stave off elimination on Monday in Houston.


Warriors point guard Stephen Curry scores 40 points in blowout win
by Brandon Wise | CBSSports.com
(5/23/2015) Warriors point guard Stephen Curry scored 40 points on 12 of 19 shooting from the field, including a blistering 7 of 9 from 3-point range, in Golden State's 115-80 win over the Rockets in Game 3 of the Western Conference Finals.

It was the second time this postseason Curry has scored at least 40 points and is averaging 29.9 points per game. Curry also dished out seven assists and grabbed five rebounds in the game. Curry and the Warriors will look to close out the series and advance to the NBA Finals on Monday in Houston.


Rockets C Dwight Howard (knee) starting in Game 3
by Jason Lempert | Staff Writer
(5/23/2015) Rockets forward Dwight Howard is listed as a starter for Saturday's Game 3 of the Western Conference Finals. Howard was able to play in Game 2 on Thursday, but was listed as probable due to a nagging knee injury heading into action on Saturday.


 
 
 
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