I’m back with five random fantasy thoughts on our beloved NBA …
1. Gregg Popovich’s strategy of resting healthy players has been a fantasy headache for years. But after getting fined $250,000 by the league for resting the Spurs’ Big Three (plus Danny Green) for last Thursday’s TNT game against the Heat, Pop might actually give pause to doing it again. As for the other 29 teams, this fine will serve as a powerful precedent against resting healthy players — and that’s great news in the fantasy basketball world.
2. The Dwightmare morphed into Dwight’s Debacle in the first game against his former team on Sunday in Los Angeles. Dwight Howard made only 7-of-14 free-throw attempts in the fourth quarter (9-of-21 in the game) as the Magic deployed the Hack-a-Dwight strategy to perfection, winning the game by 10. Don Nelson must have been proud as he watched on NBA League Pass. Much to the chagrin of Dwight’s fantasy owners, he failed to record a block for the first time this year. Oh, the irony …
3. Welcome back, Andray Blatche. In the three games since Brook Lopez injured his foot, Blatche has averaged roughly 17 points and 10 rebounds. His weight is down, his activity is up, and so are his stats. Simply jump for your mouse and ride the wave until Lopez comes back, whenever that is.
4. My Pickup of the Week is Patrick Patterson, who has 20+ points in four of his last five games. I am totally sold on the Rockets’ power forward of the future, who has a superhero build with a Midas touch. Patterson is crushing the percentages across the board, shooting 51 percent from the field, 38 percent on threes (making 0.8 of 2.1 attempts), and 77 percent from the line. Not only is Patterson an early candidate for Fantasy Pickup of the Year, but he will also generate Most Improved buzz before the year is out.
5. If you were quick enough to pick up Larry Sanders, then the fantasy bills are paid for the rest of the season in boards and blocks. Sanders recorded a triple-double with blocks last Friday against the Wolves, and he backed it up with 18 points, 16 rebounds, and five more blocks the next night against the Celtics. UNC rookie John Henson looks good as well, but the Bucks’ center gig is Sanders to lose.
Rick Kamla is an anchor on NBA TV. You can follow him on Twitter at @NBATVRick.