When the Warriors selected guard Klay Thompson with the 11th pick in the 2011 NBA Draft, they did so with the knowledge that he would likely work under the mentorship of Monta Ellis and Stephen Curry, backing up the off guard spot and learning the ways of the NBA.
The team stuck with that plan for all of 38 games before making a dramatic change last Tuesday, shipping Ellis to the Bucks in a forward-looking move that netted them injured big man Andrew Bogut and freed up Thompson to become more of a centerpiece.
Thompson has certainly shown flashes of productivity in his brief NBA career, and the Warriors' trade deadline deal was largely influenced by their confidence in his abilities to step up as a playmaking guard, and with Curry still out of the picture with an ankle injury, I've grown confident enough to bestow the title of Start of the Week for Week 13 (March 19-25) to Thompson.
With Ellis out of the way and Curry potentially out for the season the Warriors are going to lean on Thompson and live with his growing pains. A streaky shooter so far in his career, Thompson has shot just 38.6 percent from the field over his last five games, however the Warriors are going to keep giving him every opportunity to produce, and he has responded by scoring in double figures in each game, despite the shooting woes.
With five games on the schedule for Week 13, the Warriors have one of the most favorable schedules in the NBA, aided by the fact that they play just one of the NBA's top 10 defenses in New Orleans and only one other above-average defense, Portland, a team that has been slipping badly in recent weeks.
Thompson is going to have moments where he seems overwhelmed -- he just turned 22 a month ago, after all. However if the Warriors are serious about turning the reins over to him, Week 13 should be a great opportunity for him to breakout.
Jordan Crawford, Wizards (@NJ, IND, ATL, @BOS) Crawford was given the starting spot in the backcourt next to John Wall a few weeks back, and with the trade of Nick Young at the deadline, there is every reason to believe that Crawford's role in the offense is only going to continue to grow. The Wizards play against three of the league's top defenses in Week 13, which should suggest struggles ahead for Crawford. However Crawford is the type of player who isn't going to stop shooting just because the defense isn't giving him looks. While his style of play might not be particularly conducive to winning basketball or efficient shooting, it leads to more than its fair share of big scoring games, which is what Fantasy owners will like from Crawford.
|1.||Nate Robinson, Warriors||25|
|2.||Luc Richard Mbah a Moute, Bucks||4|
|3.||Courtney Lee, Rockets||2|
|4.||Gerald Green, Nets||4|
|5.||George Hill, Pacers||6|
|6.||Kirk Hinrich, Hawks||2|
|7.||Kawhi Leonard, Spurs||9|
|8.||DeJuan Blair, Spurs||22|
|9.||Gordon Hayward, Jazz||24|
|10.||John Salmons, Kings||8|
Wesley Matthews, Trail Blazers (MIL, MEM, @LAL, GS): The Trail Blazers decided to change just about everything about their team's immediate future at the deadline, opting to build for long-term. Matthews is a big part of that future, as he is signed long-term, so the team decided to move him back into the starting lineup for the last stretch of the season. Matthews disappointed in the starting role earlier this season, however Week 13 should provide an opportunity to begin to bounce back moving forward, as the Blazers take on just one of the NBA's top-10 defensive teams in four games. Matthews responded well to his re-insertion to the starting five on Friday, scoring 18 -- a good sign of things to come.
Sleeper Alert: Jerryd Bayless, Raptors (@NY, CHI, NY, @CHI): Bayless is currently enjoying arguably the best stretch of his season so far, averaging 18.2 points and 7.0 assists over his last five games. While that was largely a result of Jose Calderon's absence with an ankle injury, Bayless should be able to maintain most of his current minute totals moving forward, as the team moved Leandro Barbosa at the deadline. The Raptors have a peculiar schedule in Week 13, facing the strong defensive Bulls and the more ordinary Knicks twice each. Both teams feature strong front lines and suspect defensive backcourts, so as long as the Raptors continue to give Bayless his freedom on offense (a possibility, as Calderon could be rusty from his injury if he makes his return), he can remain a useful Fantasy option for Week 13.
Randy Foye, Clippers (@IND, @OKC, @NO, MEM): Foye made a last-minute effort to maintain his starting role on Saturday, scoring 15 points against the Rockets, however he remains just an undersized, low-efficiency scorer, miscast as a counterpart to Chris Paul. Newly-acquired guard Nick Young is a much more natural fit in Foye's role, meaning it is only a matter of time before Foye is pushed back to the bench. Whether that happens in Week 13 remains to be seen, however Foye's struggles should continue nonetheless, as the Clippers face a back-to-back-to-back in the scoring period with three above average defensive teams waiting for them.
Marshon Brooks, Nets (CLE, WAS, @ATL, CHA): Brooks has a world of offensive potential and a cupcake schedule in Week 13, however his recent struggles and more lineup shuffling should make owners weary of relying on him for this week. Brooks put up arguably the worst game of his young career on Friday, shooting 1 of 11 in 26 minutes, and his scoring is down to 10.3 per game in the month of March. With the acquisition of Gerald Wallace, the Nets have added one more dynamic scorer to their rotation, meaning they will likely continue to rely less on Brooks' still-developing abilities. The Nets don't have much talent, however what talent they do resides on the same perimeter Brooks calls home, making him a limited Fantasy option for Week 13 as they try to sort things out.
Bust Alert: Darren Collison, Pacers (LAC, @WAS, PHO, @MIL): The schedule for the Pacers lightens up considerably in Week 13, after a two-week gauntlet that saw them go 2-6. The schedule certainly favors Collison beginning to bounce back, however he is yet another player who could see his role change as the result of a roster move, as the Pacers have added Barbosa from Toronto, freeing them up to use George Hill more at point guard, potentially taking minutes from Collison. The weak schedule should provide a soft landing if they do decide to change the rotation up, however his recent play makes Collison a risky start even against a soft schedule, as Collison is averaging just 8.4 points and 3.4 assists per game in the month of March.
Kenneth Faried, Nuggets (DAL, DET, @UTA, @MIN) Faried has been one of the best rookies in the league this season, even if his raw numbers don't show it due to a lack of playing time. He flirts with a double-double every night no matter how many minutes he plays, and his high-energy style of play translates against any opponent. In Week 13, Faried, who should be in the team's starting lineup moving forward, faces four teams that throw big front courts out every night. That would seem like a bad sign for the undersized forward, however these teams use their size mostly on offense, as only Dallas ranks among the top-10 in the league in defense. Faried showed his upside on Saturday as he has the best performance of his career, putting in a dominant 25 minutes, scoring 18 points on 5 of 5 shooting with 16 rebounds. With a small bump in minutes looming he should be able to challenge for a double-double every night.
Tristan Thompson, Cavaliers (@NJ, @ATL, @ORL, PHO): Normally a player who hasn't reached double digits in either rebounds or points since the beginning of the month isn't a great target for a starting role, however Thompson is an interesting case because he is about to see his role change in a pretty significant way. Beginning on Sunday against Atlanta, Thompson has been moved into the starting lineup for the first time, moving to the middle to play center for the Cavs as they continue to shuffle their roster. Thompson has been playing at that spot some as a reserve, but coach Byron Scott said Saturday “it was time to give him more minutes.” While Thompson will be playing center, he remains eligible at forward, and with Antawn Jamison creating space with his shooting, there should be room for the offensively limited Thompson to work as a cutter and finisher, especially against a couple of weak defensive frontcourts in New Jersey and Phoenix at the opposite ends of the week.
Sleeper Alert: Jason Maxiell, Pistons (@DEN, MIA, @NY): The Pistons play just three times in Week 13, however Maxiell has been playing well enough recently that he should be worthy sticking in the starting lineup anyways, especially in average-based leagues. Maxiell is averaging 11.4 points and 6.6 rebounds per game in the month of March, as he has been a consistent member of the front-court rotation. Maxiell is enjoying arguably the best month of his career right now, so Fantasy owners should look to pick him up and ride him in the short term.
Hedo Turkoglu, Magic (CHI, PHO, CLE): The Magic have finally managed to put the long-running Dwight Howard saga behind them for the rest of the season, which could have a positive effect on the team's outlook the rest of the way. Maybe Turkoglu can blame the distraction for his increasingly poor play, as the veteran point-forward is now working on his second straight month of failing to top 40 percent shooting from the field and 30 percent from three-point range. The Magic only play three times in Week 13, so while Turkoglu might be a decent mid-level Fantasy option most of the time, if you've got other guys playing four or five times this week, it is in your best interests to get them in the lineup instead.
Richard Jefferson, Warriors (MIN, @NO, @HOU, SAC, @POR): Jefferson cannot be too happy about the fact that, in the twilight of his career, when he reinvented himself specifically to fit into what the Spurs needed, they traded him to a team in all-out rebuild mode. Jefferson might move into the starting lineup, however early returns are not good, as he scored nine points on 2 of 14 shooting in his first appearance on Saturday. Jefferson had worked out a niche for himself as a floor spacer in the Spurs' exacting offense, but could find the Warriors' offense lacking in opportunities. Despite playing five times in Week 13, Jefferson could find the transition to his new team rough, so steer clear.
Bust Alert: Tim Duncan, Spurs (MIN, DAL, @NO, PHI): The Spurs have not been as careful with Duncan's playing time this year as one might have expected, as the 35-year old big man has missed only two games. However, with a back-to-back-to-back on the way in Week 13, it seems likely that Duncan will miss his third game of the season, likely the middle game at New Orleans. Seeing as that is the easiest game on the schedule, Duncan becomes a risky option, with just three games against sizable front lines. He may still get his, however you might want to avoid the possibility of him sitting for a night and then having another off night, so go with more trustworthy options for Week 13.
Zaza Pachulia, Hawks (BOS, CLE, NJ, @WAS, UTA) Pachulia is probably reaching the point where he is worth starting in most formats as a low-end option regardless of the opponent, as he is averaging 9.2 points and 10.3 rebounds per game over his last ten games after Friday's near triple-double. When you consider that, Pachulia becomes an extremely attractive Fantasy option for Week 13, as the Hawks play five times, with four of those games coming against teams in the bottom-10 of the NBA's defenses. Pachulia is never going to be a big producer, however the Hawks are more than satisfied with his play at this point, and they are relying on him heavily recently.
Sleeper Alert: Timofey Mozgov, Nuggets (DAL, DET, @UTA, @MIN): Denver is another team that was shaken up by the trade deadline, and Mozgov is likely to move into the starter's role at least for a few games as a result. The Nuggets acquired mercurial center Javale McGee from the Wizards, and while he will likely move into the starting lineup before long, Nuggets coach George Karl indicated that he would like to get him into at least one practice before joining the first unit. McGee is going from a chaotic offense in Washington to a precise, well-oiled unit in Denver, so there will be an adjustment period, and Mozgov should be able to take advantage of that time. Mozgov shouldn't see huge minutes, but he should have a few games with the first unit, making him a viable low-end option in Week 13.
Marcus Camby, Rockets (LAL, GS, DAL): Camby was both a winner and a loser at the deadline, as he made the jump from a team moving towards a rebuild to one that is surging, with its eyes on the playoffs; however he also moved from a starting role to a backup one with his new team. Camby should be able to make his debut with the Rockets during Week 13, however with Houston playing only three times in the week, the chances of him being able to even be a low-end Fantasy starter for the week are pretty remote, as he will spend his time backing up Sam Dalembert.
Bust Alert: Nene, Wizards (@NJ, IND, ATL, @BOS): Nobody can deny Nene's Fantasy impact when healthy, however health is not something he has enjoyed much this season. The veteran big man has dealt with various injuries all season, and while he is supposedly healthy at this point, the fact that the Nuggets traded him a few months after giving him a 5-year contract should give an indication of where they think his health is. If he is in shape and able to contribute, Nene is a high-end Fantasy center, however with his struggles this year, Fantasy owners will want to let Nene and his new Wizards teammates prove they have the chemistry to help him get back to his old levels of play before relying on him again.