Nets Catch a Break in Week Seven
The Nets catch a bit of a break this week. They play four games -- three on the road -- with matchups against the 28th and 29th ranked team defenses over the past week -- Indiana and Golden State. The Pacers have let up 116.3 points over their last three games, while for the Warriors it's been business as usual, allowing 117.7 points over their last three. On the other hand they also have to play in Chicago and in Atlanta. Now while the Hawks are second in the league in blocked shots -- 6.5 per game -- they also happen to be 25th in the league in opponents three-point shooting percentage at 37.7-percent. Makes sense. If you're Courtney Lee would you be more inclined to take it to the basket up against Al Horford and Josh Smith, or settle for taking three-point shots against Jamal Crawford and Mike Bibby. I'm still trying to remember the last time Jamal Crawford and lock-down defender were mentioned in the same sentence.
I think it's a good week to be a New Jersey swingman. In my waiver wire piece I had Courtney Lee listed as my "legitimate" add of the week -- not counting Kevin Love or Allen Iverson. The same can be said about Chris Douglas-Roberts and even Terrence Williams, though his stock has dropped to deep-league only.
Below are the teams listed by the number of games they play. You'll find the home/away games listed as '(home, away)'.
Four-game teams: Bulls (3,1), Cavaliers (1,3), Nuggets (1,3), Warriors (0,4,), Timberwolves (1,3), Nets (1,3), Trail Blazers (0,4), Spurs (2,2), Raptors (3,1), Jazz (3,1)
Three-game teams: Hawks (2,1), Celtics (1,2), Bobcats (1,2), Mavericks (2,1), Pistons (2,1), Rockets (1,2), Pacers (2,1), Lakers (2,1), Grizzlies (2,1), Bucks (2,1), Hornets (2,1), Thunder (2,1), Magic (0,3), 76ers (3,0), Suns (1,2), Kings (1,2)
Two-game teams: Clippers (2, 0), Heat (2,0), Knicks (1,1), Wizards (2,0)
Portland has a nice four-game slate, though they're all on the road. The Knicks and Pacers games are, well, a given. While the Cavs and Bucks on the road aren't quite as favorable. The Bucks, however have lagged a bit in defense over their last five games allowing 102.2 points and a league worst 51.1 rebounds per game. In fact, on the season the Bucks are ranked 25th in the league in allowing 44.2 rebounds per game. The Cavs, as usual, are a tough matchup for any team, but if you're looking for one wrinkle in their defense it's that they've been a little vulnerable defending the three-point shot allowing teams to drop 45.1-percent of their attempts over their last three. The Blazers are 13th in the league in three-point makes, so I expect them to take advantage of spreading the floor. A few guys to look at this week as adds are Joel Przybilla, with Oden out for the season, and maybe Martell Webster in deep leagues.
The New Orleans Hornets got Chris Paul this weekend, and it couldn't have come at a better time for his owners. The Hornets play the Kings and Knicks at home, plus the Timberwolves on the road. Each one of these teams is allowing more than 104 points per game on the season. On the road, both the Knicks and Kings are giving up 106-plus points per game. Unfortunately, there aren't any real waiver adds on this team, unless you want to take a shot on Devin Brown, who could pose a nice value add for points and threes now that Paul is back. And now that Peja Stojakovic is back, James Posey doesn't have much value.
Detroit gets a favorable three-game slate this week. They play in Philadelphia and then at home to Denver and Golden State. The Nuggets are in the middle of the pack in road defense, allowing 101.3 points and 43.3 rebounds in nine games. The Warriors, on the other hand, are giving up more than 116 points on the road. And considering the Pistons are scoring just 92.4 points per game on the season, they could use a little helpful hand from a matchup like the Warriors. Ben Wallace could cash in against the Warriors, as could Jonas Jerebko. With Ben Gordon and Charlie Villanueva back, and Richard Hamilton and Tayshaun Prince looming, I think the only standard league add is Wallace -- given his center eligibility this week. Though Jerebko and Will Bynum are certainly deep league waiver options this week.
Toronto is another team with a healthy four-game schedule -- home to Minnesota, Atlanta and Houston, on the road against the Bucks. Toronto is 6th in the league in scoring at home with 106.8 points per game, so the three homes games should pay dividends. DeMar DeRozan is starting to realize his potential, scoring 37 points over his last two games. I still think Jarrett Jack is the safer pick, but that doesn't mean I'm not going to take a shot on DeRozan this week. It looks like Coach Triano might unleash the rookie and give him more than 20-22 minutes per game. Especially as his team won just one of their last six games.
The Clippers have an ugly schedule this week -- vs. Orlando and San Antonio. Baron Davis and Marcus Camby are the only two Clippers I'm looking to start in weekly leagues. The reason why I'd look to Davis is because sometimes a starting point guard is hard to replace -- mainly the assists and steals. Camby starts because even though he plays just twice, he could quite easily pull down 30 rebounds, six steals and six blocks in a two-game week. That's probably a bit optimistic, but those kind of numbers are tough to stomach when they're sitting on your bench.
The Knicks also play just twice this week with a road game in Portland and a home game against the Hornets. With Danilo Gallinari's forearm still bothering him, I'd wait and see how he responds against the Nets on Sunday -- if he plays at all -- before making my decision. With this kind of schedule I can only see starting David Lee in a weekly league. His 18 points, 10 rebounds and 1.5 steals cannot easily be replaced at the center position. Al Harrington is a fringe start, though the way he's scoring of late he might be tough to bench.
The Wizards play two home games this week against Boston and Indiana. It's one of those split weeks where you have a favorable matchup (the Pacers) and a "do we really have to play against them" matchup in Boston. With Gilbert Arenas dropping 26 points, six assists and three treys per game over his last three I would ride the high. I could see you starting Antawn Jamison if you're trying to shore up your points and rebounds or Brendan Haywood only if you need the blocks, but I might even go as far as sitting Caron Butler for a four-game option like CDR, if you had to choose. If you do;t have the luxury, there's no harm in starting Butler.
Miami also plays against the Mavs and Grizzles at home this week. Dwyane Wade is obviously a start, while Michael Beasley and Jermaine O'Neal are in the "start as needed" column. Other than that, I don't see another worthy weekly league start.
Milwaukee is another three-game team with an unfavorable schedule. They play at Boston and then they're home to Toronto and Portland. OK, the Toronto one is a favorable matchup, but Portland and Boston are 1st and 3rd in the league in frontcourt defense, respectively. Those fringe players like Hakim Warrick and Ersan Ilyasova may not get the stat-lines you'd like them to post. I would also be a bit concerned about Brandon Jennings going toe-to-toe with Rajon Rondo this week.