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Week 5 Start 'Em and Sit 'Em

Fantasy Writer
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When Kyrie Irving initially went down with a finger injury that will likely cost him a month of playing time, Fantasy owners rushed to pick up Daniel Gibson, with the expectation that he would take Irving's spot in the rotation. While people were looking at Gibson, an unlikely contender stepped up to take his presumed role, as Jeremy Pargo essentially came out of nowhere to drop 28 points in the first game without Irving.

A year ago with the Grizzlies, Pargo was a non-factor. But his sudden ascension makes him an attractive option. While he may not score 28 points again, Pargo has enough going for him to make him the Start of the Week for Week 5 (Nov. 26- Dec. 2).

He followed that loud breakout up with 15 points in 30 minutes in the team's next game, and appears to have assumed the mantle as the Cavalier's primary playmaker in the first-team offense. While Pargo has not been asked to do much creating for other players, he has scored 43 points on 33 shots over the last two games, production Fantasy owners certainly will not argue with from a waiver-wire pickup.

Pargo's recent history does not suggest a breakout performance, as he was a 25-year-old rookie a year ago, after being unable to secure an NBA job after four mostly-unremarkable years at Gonzaga. He played in Europe for a couple seasons with two Israeli teams, before signing with the Grizzlies after the lockout ended. He scored just 146 points total over the course of 44 games with Memphis, though he was able to average 7.4 points per game in just 22 minutes in five starts.

Pargo's limited track record aside, he might actually end up being useful moving forward, with the Cavaliers in desperate need of some offensive spark. They take on Memphis, Phoenix, Atlanta and Portland in Week 5, and Pargo could continue scoring in double figures for the week. Phoenix and Portland have been the worst defenses in the league this season, so matchups against those two should prove particularly fruitful.

Guards

Start 'Em

Danny Green, Spurs (@WAS, @ORL, @MIA, MEM): I was all ready to call Green the Start of the Week, before Pargo went and put a wrench in those plans. Green has stepped in to the starting lineup this season, and he has subsequently enjoyed the best start to his career. He is averaging over 30 minutes per game, and has been one of the best three-point shooters in the league so far. The Spurs face three above-average defensive teams this week, however they also face a Miami team that has allowed more three-pointers than any team in basketball. That should help balance his performance out during the week, so Fantasy owners should feel comfortable relying on Green, especially in category-based formats.

Ramon Sessions, Bobcats (@OKC, @ATL, PHI): Sessions seems perpetually undervalued, as he finds himself on his fifth team in six years. He might have found a somewhat permanent home in Charlotte, given the way he has performed so far. Sessions has scored in double figures in each of the Bobcats' first 11 games, after pouring in 22 points Friday against the Hawks. He is averaging 17.8 points and 4.0 assists per game over the last five for Charlotte, and seems to be the second option on a surprisingly competitive team. Sessions' shooting may leave something to be desired, but his recent play should make him worth starting in more formats for Week 5; he has been consistently started in roughly 50 percent of CBSSports.com leagues this season despite his solid production.

Sleeper Alert: Jodie Meeks, Lakers (IND, DEN, ORL): Meeks has yet to see the increase in role some have expected with Mike D'Antoni taking the reins as the head coach, but he has the green light to shoot when he is on the floor. Meeks has made five three-pointers over the last two games, and that is probably something we're going to see a lot of with D'Antoni as the head coach. He started the season cold, but he has had more opportunities recently, and is shooting 38.9 percent over the last five. Week 5 does not provide tremendous matchups for Meeks, but owners in deeper category-based formats should get him active if they need three-point help.

Sit 'Em

Isaiah Thomas, Kings (MIN, IND, @LAC): The surprise rookie star of last season has seen a tremendous amount of regression so far in his second year, so much so that the Kings have removed him from the starting lineup. Thomas has struggled running the offense, averaging just 2.1 assists per game, so the team decided to start newly-signed Aaron Brooks at point guard instead. While Brooks has not done a better job in his few starts, it has meant significantly fewer minutes for Thomas; he is averaging 16.3 minutes per game over the last three, and didn't even see the floor Friday. Thomas is probably the best option for the Kings moving forward, but a change had to be made in the short term. We're hoping this can light a fire under him, however Week 5 does not look like a good opportunity for him turn things around; the Kings face two top-5 defenses to start the week, and the Clippers have been above-average as well.

Ray Allen, Heat (SAS, BKN): Allen has been incredible at home for the Heat, shooting 56.8 percent while scoring 16.6 points per game. His numbers are considerably worse on the road, and you have to wonder which side of the coin his overall play is going to land on when he finally regresses. He is scoring almost two points for every field goal he is taking at home, which should be good news with the Heat spending all of Week 5 at American Airlines Arena. However Miami plays just twice in the week, which could limit Allen's impact. Fantasy owners who start Allen are likely doing so in category-based formats, where his huge volume of three-pointers can make a bigger impact. Brooklyn and San Antonio have done a good job running opponents off the three-point line this season, as the both rank in the bottom-10 in threes allowed. Allen might not give you the numbers you are hoping for this week.

Bust Alert: E'Twaun Moore, Magic (SAS, BKN, @LAL): With Jameer Nelson's return to the floor, one of the early season's breakout Fantasy performers has come back down to earth. Moore has scored in double figures in just one of the last five games, and has played just 28 minutes over the last two games combined. Moore was one of the most-added players in the league after scoring in double figures in six of the first seven games, but he looks like a non-factor moving forward. Fantasy owners should not be relying on him, even with a handful of solid matchups on the way in Week 5.

Forwards

Start 'Em

Trevor Ariza, Wizards(SAS, POR, @NYK): Ariza's shooting numbers are beyond ugly this season, as he seems to have completely broken his shot. Despite that, he remains a pretty proficient stat-sheet stuffer, who is actually scoring 11.4 points per game over the last five. Ariza adds 7.6 rebounds, 1.4 assists and 1.8 steals per game in that stretch. The Wizards are a mess, and opposing defenses are practically begging Ariza to shoot. He seems happy to oblige, so if you can stomach the hit to your percentages in Rotisserie formats, Ariza can still provide help in enough areas. An opportunity to host the league-worst defense of the Trail Blazers should give Ariza a shot to pad his numbers.

Markieff Morris, Suns (@CLE, @DET, @TOR, @NYK): The Suns have grown more comfortable with the second-year forward, going so far as the open up a spot in the starting lineup for him, at Luis Scola's expense. Morris responded by scoring in double figures in each of his first two starts entering play Friday, on 15 of 24 shooting overall. It looks like the 23-year-old is going to be seeing minute totals in the mid-20's moving forward, which bodes well with a cupcake schedule looming. Among the Suns' Week 5 opponents, only the Knicks have been an above-average defensive unit this season. We like the chances of his sold play continuing.

Sleeper Alert: John Henson, Bucks (@CHI, NYK, @MIN, BOS): We don't have much of a track record to go on with Henson, who has played more than 20 minutes in a game just one time so far in his rookie season. But that one game was a special one, as the former Tar Heel grabbed 18 rebounds and scored 17 points in 27 minutes off the bench against the Heat last Wednesday. Henson earned a vote of confidence from his coach Friday, as Scott Skiles told reporters that Henson has earned more time. The Bucks face a brutal schedule in Week 5, but Henson could provide really solid production on the glass and in blocks if he gets solid minutes.

Sit 'Em

Derrick Williams, Timberwolves (@SAC, @LAC, MIL): Everyone hoped this season would go better for Williams, the No. 2 pick from last year's draft who struggled to find his place behind Kevin Love a year ago. With Love out, we hoped Williams would thrive as a stretch four with the ability to blow by slower defenders who closed out too hard on the perimeter. Williams upped his scoring to 10.3 per game in nine games without Love, but his efficiency still left a ton to be desired. Any lingering Fantasy value he might have had moving forward is likely shot at this point, as Love made a surprise return to the court. Williams did not even see the floor in Love's first two games, and he might struggle for playing time as the team tries to get Love comfortable in the offense again.

Ersan Ilyasova, Bucks (@CHI, NYK, @MIN, BOS): I'm not sure if there has been a bigger disappointment in the league than Ilyasova, as a Fantasy player and in his real-life role. The Bucks have been significantly better with Ilyasova off the floor this season, and his Fantasy owners have probably seen a similar trend when taking him out of the lineup. Ilyasova, who parlayed a career-year into a big contract this offseason, is shooting just 31.3 percent from the field, while scoring 6.3 points with 5.7 rebounds per game. His numbers are down in a huge way from a year ago. The Bucks seem to be going away from Ilyasova at this point, and a very tough slate of Week 5 games should be enough for Fantasy owners to steer clear of him.

Bust Alert: Gerald Wallace, Nets (@BOS, @ORL, @MIA): Wallace has been one of the best stat-sheet stuffers in the league in years past, and it is way too early to write him off this season. However, he is off to an incredibly slow start in Brooklyn, as he seems to be having difficulty finding a way to be comfortable as the fourth option in the offense. He has scored in double figures just once in four games, while missing seven with an ankle injury. The Nets are asking Wallace to do much of the heavy lifting on the defensive side of the ball, while relying on other options offensively. To compound his issues, the team has made it clear they do not want him playing on back-to-back nights, which means Wallace might end up sitting out either the Miami or Orlando games this week. Fantasy owners should steer clear of the former Fantasy stud this week, if better options present themselves.

Centers

Start 'Em

Jonas Valanciunas, Raptors (@HOU, @MEM, @PHO): As with all rookies, there are going to be growing pains for the talented 20-year-old from Lithuania. He has struggled at times this season to earn his coach's respect and the playing time that comes with that, but he has made progress in that area recently. Valanciunas is averaging 25.0 minutes per game over the last five contests, up from his season average, and he has even seen key minutes late in games for the first time. The Toronto Sun reported Friday that coach Dwane Casey thinks Valanciunas is close to being able to handle 30 minutes on a nightly basis, which is a great sign for the talented youngster. The Raptors face some tough frontlines this week, but Valanciunas should be able to provide solid rebound and block totals, if nothing else.

Sleeper Alert: Andray Blatche, Nets (@BOS, @ORL, @MIA): Blatche has been the subject of plenty of jokes over the last few years, and he seemed to do little for the Nets in the early part of the season. He has acquitted himself pretty nicely recently, however, and has made the Nets look pretty good for taking a chance on him. His production has been inconsistent on a game-to-game basis, but he is starting to show the scoring touch that made him a pretty decent Fantasy option in the past. He is averaging 11.7 points over the last five games, and should continue to see time as a primary focus on second units.

Sit 'Em

DeJuan Blair, Spurs (@WAS, @ORL, @MIA, MEM): Blair has found himself in the starting lineup recently, and his Fantasy star seems to be rising as a result. Blair was a pretty useful Fantasy option for most of the season a year ago, before he fell out of Gregg Popovich's rotation at the end of the season. He has scored in double figures in two of his last three games, but The Spurs don't like sticking with any one of their non-Tim Duncan big men for too long. The Spurs have some decent matchups this week, but Blair reached double figures in scoring in just two of eight games against these four opponents a year ago, so wait until he shows more consistent production before counting on him.

Bust Alert: Marcin Gortat, Suns (@CLE, @DET, @TOR, @NYK): Gortat has been a pretty big disappointment this season, and we should have seen it coming. The Suns went from an offense being led by Steve Nash to one that Goran Dragic is at the helm of. While Dragic is a fine offensive player who can run the pick and roll pretty well, he is not Nash. Gortat's scoring has fallen to 11.9 per game, as he is attempting two fewer shots and 1.8 fewer free throws per game than he did a year ago. In an interview translated for SI.com from a Polish publication, Przeglad Sportowy, Gortat express his frustration with his lack of involvement in the offense game. Entering play Friday, he has been held below double figures in three of his last six games, and it looks like consistent touches will be somewhat difficult to come by. Gortat is still a viable starter, given the weakness of the center position, but Fantasy owners would not be blamed for choosing to sit him. He recently told the Arizona Republic that he is still trying to work his way back into basketball shape. There you go.

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Player News
Nick Calathes hit with 20-game suspension prior to postseason
by Chris Towers | CBSSports.com
(4/18/2014) Grizzlies guard Nick Calathes will begin serving a 20-game suspension when the team's first-round playoff series begins against the Thunder Saturday, reports Yahoo.com.

Calathes was hit with the suspension for violating the league's Anti-Drug policy, though his failed test reportedly si not due to testosterone or PED use. According to the report, Calathes tested positive for Tamoxifen, part of an over-the-counter athletic supplement Calathes was using.

Calathes appeared in 71 games for the Grizzlies, and his loss will be felt, as he was the team's primary reserve at point guard. He finished his rookie season averaging 4.9 points, 1.9 rebounds and 2.9 assists in 16.5 minutes per game.  


Victor Oladipo will see time in summer league
by Chris Towers | CBSSports.com
(4/17/2014) Magic guard Victor Oladipo maybe be one of the frontrunners for Rookie of the Year, but that doesn't mean he doesn't have room to improve. Magic general manager Rob Hennigan told the Orlando Sentinel in Thursday's exit interview Oladipo will take part in the summer league yet again, but may not be used in every game this time around.

Oladipo ended up playing in 80 games for the Magic, and finished in the top-five in most major categories among rookies. He averaged 13.8 points, 4.1 rebounds and 4.1 assists per game. He also played the most minutes total among rookies. 


Danny Granger expects to play in first postseason game
by Chris Towers | CBSSports.com
(4/17/2014) Clippers forward Danny Granger took part in practice Thursday and plans to be available for the start of the team's first round playoff matchup against the Warriors Saturday.

Granger missed the final nine games of the regular season with a hamstring strain, and ended up playing just 41 regular season games. He averaged 8.0 points and 2.3 rebounds per game for the Clippers.  

 


Tyreke Evans could push Eric Gordon to bench
by Chris Towers | CBSSports.com
(4/17/2014) Pelicans guard Tyreke Evans closed his season out strong after a slow start, and the impetus was a move to the starting lineup March. After he found success as a starter, the team might make the move permanent next season.

From March 1 on, he averaged 20.0 points, 6.5 assists and 5.5 rebounds per game, while starting 21 of the team's final 22 games. His success could lead the team to consider a full-time switch next season, and coach Monty Williams told the team's official website that is something they will consider, especially with incumbent shooting guard Eric Gordon's inability to stay healthy yet again.

Evans ended up finishing fifth on the team in scoring at 14.5 points per game, while adding 4.7 rebounds and 5.0 assists, and appearing in the third-most games. 


Steve Nash plans to get healthy in offseason
by Chris Towers | CBSSports.com
(4/17/2014) Lakers guard Steve Nash was rarely healthy while appearing in just 15 games this season, but he told reporters in exit interviews Thursday he is in better shape than he was at this point a year ago.

Nash said he could be fully healthy in three-to-four weeks, after it took him five months last offseason. Despite this, he isn't sure if he will be able to maintain his health by the start of training camp. He plans to be at training camp, but will need to evaluate his health before the start of next season, after being extremely limited by ongoing nerve issues.

Nash finished the season averaging 6.8 points and 5.7 assists per game in his 15 appearances, but has maintained he is not planning to retire. He is under contract for one more season, and will be paid $9.7 million next year. 


Andre Drummond puts finishing touches on one-of-a-kind season
by Chris Towers | CBSSports.com
(4/17/2014) Pistons center Andre Drummond is a unique talent; anyone can see that. He finished one of the most unique seasons in modern league history Wednesday in typical fashion, as he snared his 57th double-double in a loss to the Thunder.

Drummond finished the game with 22 points and 13 rebounds, including eight offensive rebounds to push his league-leading total to 440. That represents the eighth-highest total since 1979-80, and it isn't the only place where Drummond's season stands out.

Though he shot 62.3 percent from the field, Drummond remained the league's worst free-throw shooter. He became just the third play since 1979-80 to play 2500 total minutes while shooting below 42.0 percent from the free-throw line, as his 4-for-8 performance Wednesday raised his average to 41.8 percent.

Drummond improved his production across the board in his second season, averaging 13.5 points, 13.2 rebounds, 1.2 steals and 1.6 blocks per game while appearing in 81 games.  


Andrew Bynum out for first round
by Chris Towers | CBSSports.com
(4/17/2014) Pacers center Andrew Bynum has not played since the middle of March, and even a month off has not given him enough time to recover from knee troubles. Pacers.com reports Thursday Bynum has already been ruled out for the first round of the playoffs against the Hawks.

Bynum ended up appearing in just two games for the Pacers and 26 games overall this season, averaging 8.7 points and 5.6 rebounds per game. 


Danilo Gallinari will be ready for training camp
by Chris Towers | CBSSports.com
(4/17/2014) Nuggets forward Danilo Gallinari was with the team over the last few games of the season, and he has reportedly made great strides in his recovery from ACL surgery.

Gallinari told the Denver Post he has already progressed to running and jumping as part of his recovery from January surgery. He has progressed so quickly he even dunked for the first time Tuesday, and said he will be fully recovered by the start of training camp.

Gallinari did not play all season after attempting to return from a partially torn ACL, which ultimately required surgery. 


Joel Freeland passes postseason test
by Chris Towers | CBSSports.com
(4/17/2014) Trail Blazers forward Joel Freeland proved himself ready for the playoffs Wednesday, as he returned from a two-month absence due to a knee injury. Freeland played 18 minutes in the game, scoring six points and adding seven rebounds and two assists in the 110-104 win.

After the game, coach Terry Stotts told NBA.SI.com he has no reservations about relying on Freeland in the team's upcoming playoff series against the Rockets, though he will have to play with a knee brace.

Freeland finished the regular season averaging 3.3 points and 3.9 rebounds in 52 games, appearing in one more contest than his rookie season. 


Mike Conley closes out regular season with overtime win
by Chris Towers | CBSSports.com
(4/17/2014) Grizzlies guard Mike Conley did not appear limited at all by a hamstring injury Wednesday, as he played 42 minutes in the last game of the regular season against the Mavericks.

Playing for playoff seeding, the Grizzlies held nothing back in a 106-105 overtime win. Conley scored 22 points on 8 of 16 shooting and added four rebounds, five assists and a steal, while turning the ball over three times in the win.

Conley ended up missing 10 games this season, his highest total since he was a rookie, but he played well when healthy. He averaged a career-high 17.1 points per game on 44.9 percent shooting, while adding 2.9 rebounds, 6.1 assists and 1.5 steals in 33.4 minutes per game. 


 
 
 
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