The Wire Troll: Boris the Bobcat
Boris Diaw, Charlotte Bobcats: A disappointment the past two-plus seasons, Diaw needed a change of scenery as he was never able to consistently co-exist with Amare Stoudemire in the Phoenix frontcourt. He started in his debut for the Bobcats, tallying seven points, nine rebounds and five assists. That’s not quite up to the 13.3 points, 6.9 rebounds and 6.2 assists he averaged per game in ’05-06, but his potential is quite enticing. Pick him up right away if he’s available.
Craig Smith, Minnesota Timberwolves: The Boston College product made his third straight start on Friday, and he has totaled 40 points and 15 rebounds in those games. He has shown the ability to score throughout his young career; now it’s all about improving his work on the glass – he averaged 5.1 RPG as a rookie, 4.6 last year and just 3.6 thus far in 2008-09. He’s a project, but one worth investing in if you’re shorthanded up front.
Best of the Rest…
Nick Collison has seen additional playing time recently and, with Chris Wilcox (finger) out of action until around Christmas, should continue getting the extra run. He has reached double figures in three of his last four games – those in deeper leagues should take notice…Rookie Roy Hibbert made his first career start on Saturday, finishing with eight points and two rebounds in 18 minutes of action. It’s nothing to be excited about just yet, but do take note…Question: who is fourth in the NBA in blocks this season? Amazingly, it’s Ronny Turiaf, who prior to missing two games with the flu had blocked eight shots in his past two contests. He’s not bringing much else to the table at this point, but if you’re looking to shore up your blocks then add Turiaf.
Hakim Warrick, Memphis Grizzlies: Warrick hit a lull in late November, but ever since the calendar switched to December he has been a different player. In six games this month, Warrick is averaging 15.3 points and 4.8 rebounds per game. He’s still not rebounding like a power forward, but he could bring some offensive punch to scoring-deprived frontcourts.
Matt Barnes, Phoenix Suns: The departures of Raja Bell and Diaw could create a windfall of minutes for Barnes, who should see plenty of time at the off guard and small forward positions. He has 39 points and 19 rebounds in two games since the deal – and while no one should expect him to average 19.5 PPG and 9.5 RPG the rest of the way, Barnes is a solid addition at both guard and forward.
Anderson Varejao, Cleveland Cavaliers: “Sideshow Bob” is getting extra burn with Zydrunas Ilgauskas out of action, playing north of 33 minutes in each of the last three games. He has responded with double-digit scoring and at least seven boards in each of those games and is averaging a respectable 9.0 PPG and 6.6 RPG this year. If you’re in the market for frontcourt help, look no further.
Best of the Rest…
Jamario Moon’s up and down season continues with his return to the starting lineup two games ago, bumping his value back up. There has been zero consistency to his game this year, however, so any move to bring him on board should be considered a flier and nothing more…Antonio McDyess is back in Motown and should be refreshed from his month off. He’s the type of guy that can chip in with solid points and rebounds (8.8 PPG, 8.5 RPG last year) but brings minimal upside to the equation…Jared Jeffries made his season debut on a week and a half ago and is seeing decent run, though not enough to warrant addition outside of deep leagues. Jeffries is watch list material…We all know Ben Wallace isn’t going to score many points, but he is back to contributing heavily in rebounds and blocks – he has two or more blocks in 11 of his last 15 games. If you can manage without the scoring, make a move.
Rodney Stuckey, Detroit Pistons: With the Pistons struggling, Stuckey has been moved into the starting backcourt, causing Richard Hamilton to move to small forward. It’s hard to say if this small lineup will stick over the long haul, but Stuckey was a borderline addition before the move. In his three starts, Stuckey is averaging 14.7 points, 9.7 assists and two steals per game. Pick him up post-haste.
Louis Williams, Philadelphia 76ers: A quick start from Williams swiftly gave way to a forgettable eight-game run in which he failed to reach double figures. However, he has picked things up since then, scoring 13 or more points in eight of his last 10 games and is the team’s No. 3 scorer this month at 14.3 PPG. The only downside is that outside of his scoring, Williams is doing little else.
Best of the Rest…
This week’s starting point guard in Washington is Juan Dixon, who has racked up 43 points and 19 assists in his last three games (two starts). It’s hard to be sold on his long-term value, but he could be a valuable temporary addition…Monta Ellis is nearing the end of his suspension and could be back on the floor by the end of the year – those with roster flexibility can think about scooping him up…Von Wafer played a couple nice games earlier this month but was M.I.A. in Saturday’s road loss to the Clippers, logging just a shade above seven minutes on the court. He’s a name to know if he finds a consistent spot in Houston’s rotation, but for now he’s not worth a roster spot… Jason Kapono has started the team’s last two games, pouring in 41 points (including seven three-pointers) and 13 rebounds under the tutelage of new coach Jay Triano. He’s an interesting option for those looking for scoring help.