Rick’s Tips: Fantasy Awards Are In

I’m back with seven awards for the fantasy season that was — and still is for the lucky and talented few who are still alive for their league’s title. James Harden, Rockets: Harden was drafted late in the first round or more likely in round two, but his 8-cat goodies rank behind only Kevin Durant and LeBron James. Harden has overtaken Chris Paul as the annual #3 guy.

Pickup of the YearNicola Vucevic, Magic: Coming into this season, Vucevic was in a position battle with Gustavo Ayon. Six months later, Vucevic is third in rebounding (11.5), and sixth in double-doubles (38), while Ayon was traded at the deadline.

Surprise of the YearLarry Sanders, Bucks: Sanders rose from a deep, deep sleeper entering the season to a candidate for the reality DPOY and MIP awards. He’s hovering around 10-10-3, vaulting him into the top-50 of the 8-cat rankings.

Disappointment of the YearKevin Love, Timberwolves: K-Love broke his shooting hand in the preseason doing knuckle-pushups and then re-broke it during the season, limiting him to 18 games and 35 percent shooting. He’ll never be worse.

DeterminatorStephen Curry, Warriors: Curry has re-injured his surgically repaired ankle multiple times this season, and yet he’s on pace to rank in the top 5 on the 8-cat chart and play close to 80 games.

Fantasy DPOYDwight Howard, Lakers: The best combination of blocks plus steals has been authored up by Dwight, who is averaging 2.5 blocks and 1.1 steals for a league-leading defensive total of 3.6. Dwight could have been the Determinator as well for playing through the torn labrum and returning early from back surgery.

Fantasy MOOP (Most Outstanding Offensive Player)Kevin Durant, Thunder: The MOOP award goes to the player with the best combination of scoring average, field goal percentage, free throw percentage, and threes made. This year, it’s Durant, who is leading the NBA in scoring (28.3) for a fourth straight year thanks to 51% FG, 91% FT, and 1.7 threes/game.

It’s been a great year. Thanks for the eyes, good luck in your games, and we’ll see you on the air…

Rick Kamla is an anchor on NBA TV. You can follow him on Twitter at @NBATVRick.

Rick’s Tips: Start-Sit For Playoffs


I’m back with five start-sit predictions before we all resume the fantasy playoffs tonight. Curry, Warriors: Curry re-injured his surgically-repaired right ankle on Saturday against Washington and although he walked through a portion of today’s shootaround, Curry is considered questionable to play against the Lakers. Problem is, it’s a three-game week for GSW, so if Curry sits tonight, you’re looking at a two-game week—at best. Given the recurring injures to the same ankle and the playoffs right around the corner, I think caution is going to win over competitiveness. Sit him.

Tim Duncan, Spurs: Typically, this is DNP season for Duncan, who frequently gets “maintenance” DNPs from Gregg Popovich to keep him fresh for the playoffs. However, this week sets up very nicely for Duncan’s Spurs, who host the Nuggets on Wednesday, the Clippers on Friday, and the Heat on Sunday. No back-to-backs, all three games at home, and all three games against elite teams should lead to Duncan starting all three games. Start him.

Dwyane Wade, Heat: D-Wade sat out Sunday’s blowout over Charlotte with a sore knee, planting doubt in the minds of his owners. The week brings four road games for the Heat: Monday in Orlando; Wednesday in Chicago; Friday in New Orleans; Sunday in San Antonio. My speculation is that Wade was given a night off against a bad team before a grueling roadie, where he will get back to work to help extend Miami’s 26-game winning streak. And given the way he was hamming it up after the Charlotte game, I’d say there’s very little to worry about with Wade. Start him.

Ty Lawson, Nuggets: After missing two games with a heel injury, Lawson returned to practice Sunday and is considered probable for Monday’s game. While that’s good news, it’s only a three-game week for the Nuggets. Plus, with Andre Miller and the bench playing so well, I don’t see a huge week from Lawson—even if he’s close to 100 percent. Sit him.

Joakim Noah, Bulls: Noah has missed the past two games to rest his oft-ailing foot, casting serious doubt on his upcoming three-game week. Noah took some time off to rest the foot in early February and he sat for seven days and three games. If Noah returns for Wednesday’s showdown with the Heat, he will have had five days (two games) of rest. Only the Bulls know if another 7-day mini-shutdown is in play here, but my guess is that Noah plays the warrior card and returns against the Heat. Start him.

Rick Kamla is an anchor on NBA TV. You can follow him on Twitter at @NBATVRick.

Rick’s Tips: Start-Or-Sit For Playoffs


The head-to-head fantasy playoffs are here, so we are back with start-or-sit advice on several big names.

Tim Duncan, Spurs: Duncan’s last two games were monstrous, so we know the knee is right. But will Gregg Popovich allow T.D. to play in all 3 games this week? There are no back-to-backs and all three games are against Western playoff hopefuls, so it looks like a DNP-free week. Start him.

Anthony Davis, Hornets: Like Duncan, Davis has 3 games this week, which should be plenty as long as he maintains his March averages of 17-11-2. Start him.

Tyreke Evans, Kings: Evans is healthy, hitting threes, and looking more and more like the stud who averaged 20-5-5 as a rookie. He has 20+ points in three of his last four games, with goodies, so start him.

Kyle Lowry, Raptors: Lowry has been so bad, I wouldn’t even start him in a four-game week. This former-fantasy monster failed to score Sunday against Miami and has 12 points in his last three games. The Raptors play three games this week. Sit him.

Dwight Howard, Lakers: Dwight is playing his best ball of the season, going about 20-15 for the past couple weeks. He’s the only Laker to play in a two-game week. Kobe Bryant is injured and ill, Steve Nash isn’t explosive enough to warrant a 2-game start, and Pau Gasol suffered a setback last week.

Carmelo Anthony, Knicks: When Melo was rollin, my League Freak team was borderline unstoppable. Now, I’m treading water and lucky to be in the postseason. Sadly, he didn’t return Sunday against the Clippers, making it impossible to start him sight-unseen in a playoff scenario–even in a four game week. Sit him.

Jeff Teague, Hawks: Don’t worry about his reserve status, it’s purely temporary. Teague looked like himself in racking up 15 assists on Sunday at Brooklyn. In a four-game week, its a no-brainer to start him.

Rick’s Tips: Hurting Over Kyrie


The hits just keep on coming from the injury bug. the weekend, we heard that Amar’e Stoudemire needs a procedure to fix his knee that will cost him 6-8 weeks. And here on Monday, we learn that Kyrie Irving’s season is likely over due to a left shoulder sprain that will sideline him for the next 3-4 weeks.

As a proud Irving owner in League Freak, let me just say that I am in fantasy mourning as I peck away at this article. My slim hopes of winning my first League Freak title just took a serious hit.

Unfortunately, this is a recurring theme for Kyrie, who missed significant time earlier this season with a broken hand, and more recently due to a knee injury. If the Cavs decide to shut him down to rest that pesky shoulder, Irving will finish this season with a measly 49 games. Last year, Irving appeared in 51 of 66 games due to a myriad of injuries. In his one-and-done year at Duke, Irving played only 11 games, starting eight of them, thanks to a toe injury.

Going forward, there are two ways to look at Irving the fantasy player. If you have not owned him in either of his two seasons, you will probably try to go bargain shopping for him in next year’s draft. And if you have owned him, then he may have scorned you to the point of passing on him for lesser talent due to the injury risk.

I have owned Irving in each of his two pro seasons, and while I believe in the player (huge fan, actually), I no longer believe in the body of the player. There aren’t too many guys who average 23 points, 5.7 assists, 1.9 threes, and 1.6 steals, with shooting percentages of 47-41-84. However, given the parade of injuries over the past three years, it appears those numbers may be Fool’s Gold.

Moving on, one of the main fantasy beneficiaries of Irving’s injury is Shaun Livingston. Yep, the same Shaun Livingston who survived one of the worst knee injuries in the history of sports a few years back. Livingston recently started three games for Irving, averaging 13.3 points on 50+ percent shooting in exactly 33 minutes each game. Buyer beware: Livingston doesn’t hit threes or steal the rock, so his upside is limited.

Look for Dion Waiters and C.J. Miles to play more minutes and jack up more shots without Irving in the lineup. Of the two, look for the biggest spike in fantasy value from Waiters, who averaged 21.7 points in 34 minutes in three recent games without Kyrie.

Miles is averaging 13.4 points, 2.4 threes, and 1.8 steals in 22.6 minutes in five games this month. Assuming his minutes creep toward 30, even if he comes off the bench, it’s not hard to see Miles scoring 15+ with plenty of goodies every night.

Rick Kamla is an anchor on NBA TV. You can follow him on Twitter at @NBATVRick.

Rick’s Tips: Winners, Losers At The Trade Deadline


I’m back with fantasy winners and losers from last week’s trade deadline.

Fantasy Winners

Josh Smith, Hawks: As good as Josh is, fantasy owners would much rather keep the status quo than suffer through the volatility of a mid-season change of scenery. J.Smoov is going to hand out lots of goodies down the stretch for three reasons. One, he’s in a playoff push. Two, he’s in a contract push. Three, don’t forget about his annual All-Star snub.

Thomas Robinson, Rockets: Robinson barely played for the Kings, who selected him 5th overall in the 2012 draft after leading the NCAA in double-doubles last year. Not sure why the Kings bailed on Robinson after 50 games, but his high-energy style should fit in perfectly with Kevin McHale’s run-and-gun Rockets. If he gets 30 minutes a night, he’ll average a double-double with solid defensive numbers. Harkless, Magic: When the Magic traded J.J. Redick to Milwaukee, my first thought was that Harkless is free to play all the minutes he wants in Orlando. In upwards of 35 minutes a night, look for 15 points and five rebounds, with 1+ and 1+ in the blocks and steals.

Tobias Harris, Magic: As long as Harkless and Aaron Afflalo stay healthy, Harris will have limited upside. But he is big fantasy winner from the trade deadline because he went from out of the rotation in Milwaukee to a rotation player in Orlando. Harris had 14 points, six rebounds and three blocks in 25 minutes in his Magic debut on Saturday, and similar lines would not surprise me going forward.

Fantasy Losers

J.J. Redick, Bucks: Redick was having a breakout season for the Magic, averaging 15.1 points, 4.4 assists, and 2.3 threes in 31.5 minutes. I realize Redick had 16 points and seven assists in 35 minutes in his Bucks’ debut on Saturday, but with Brandon Jennings and Monta Ellis hoarding most of the backcourt minutes and shots, that stat line was more aberration than trend.

Patrick Patterson, Kings: Patterson was having a hard time maintaining consistent minutes in Houston with Marcus Morris and Greg Smith behind him. Now, he has to battle for playing time with Jason Thompson and Chuck Hayes. I like Patterson, but he has been shipped to the Power Forward Abyss known as Sacramento.

Derrick Favors, Jazz: Paul Millsap, who is finishing out the last year of his contract, was the subject of trade rumors heading into to deadline. However, he’s still in Utah—and Favors is still on the bench. Had Millsap been traded, Favors would have been the poster child for fantasy winners of the deadline. At this point, I wouldn’t be mad at you for dropping Favors.

Kris Humphries, Nets: I picked up Hump and stashed him for two weeks leading into the deadline. When he wasn’t traded, I dumped Hump faster than Kim Kardashian.

Rick Kamla is an anchor on NBA TV. You can follow him on Twitter at @NBATVRick.

Rick’s Tips: 5 Players Whose Value Looks To Increase Soon



I don’t know about you guys, but my inbox is flooded with trade offers in my four leagues. It would be great if any of the deals were better than Goran Dragic and Klay Thompson for Carmelo Anthony. Yawn. Unfortunately, most of the offers are 2-for-1 deals where I’M the one giving up the best player. The idea is to consolidate depth into a better starter, so make sure you are getting the best player in any proposed deal.

In order to get out in front of the Feb. 21 trade deadline, I’m back with several players to pick up and stash with the hope that a deadline deal will improve their fantasy value.

Kris Humphries, Nets: With the Nets talking to the Hawks about Josh Smith, Humphries could be heading to Atlanta, where he would play starter’s minutes and get back to average a double-double. Suffice to say, if the Nets are going to reunite Josh with Joe Johnson in Brooklyn, the Hawks better get a lot more than Humphries in return.

Derrick Williams, Timberwolves: When you see Williams soaring through the air for alley oop dunks and stopping on a dime for long threes, you think he might be about to realize the potential that made him a #2 overall pick. Problem is, the more you watch Williams, the more you see how weak his motor is. There’s a reason why he can’t stay on the floor even when Kevin Love is out. That said, I want to give Williams one change of scenery before I label him a bust. Not sure where he’s going, but my guess is that Williams will be dealt in the next 7-10 days.

Marcus Thornton, Kings: After his trade from New Orleans to Sacramento in 2010-11, Thornton averaged 21.3 points in his first 27 games as a King. Last year, he averaged 18.7 points in 35 minutes. This year, Thornton barely plays, averaging 11.4 points in 24 minutes. I realize he’s shooting only 40 percent from the field, but I’m confident that percentage would rise with more consistent playing time—right along with his threes and steals. The Kings are usually good for a deadline deal or two, which could increase Thornton’s fantasy value.

Enes Kanter, Jazz: Speculation entering the season was that the Jazz were going to trade Paul Millsap or Al Jefferson to open up playing time for Kanter and Derrick Favors. As we approach the trade deadline, I am even more confident that one of Utah’s veteran bigs will be dealt. As such, beat the rush and pick up Kanter now because he may be playable as early as next week.

Moe Harkless, Magic: If the Magic decide to trade JJ Redick, then the rookie out of St. John’s will play more minutes and take more shots. Redick recently missed three games with a shoulder injury and Harkless averaged 41+ minutes during that stretch. Then Redick returned on Sunday against Portland and Harkless played only 30 minutes, racking up 4 points and 4 rebounds. If Redick goes to Chicago or anywhere else, the Magic will take a longer look at their potential small forward of the future. Harkless is a defensive stat stuffer, going for at least one steal in 6 of the last 7 games, and at least one block in 4 of the last 5.

Rick’s Tips: Players Who Need Minutes


Ladies and Gentlemen, it’s time for the triumphant return of “More Minutes Please!”

Step right up as we list 10 players who simply need a little more burn to breakthrough in fantasy basketball.

Anthony Davis, Hornets: Can someone please explain to me why the Hornets are not playing the top overall pick 30+ minutes per game? Davis is clocking just 28.6 minutes and still managing to put up 13.1 points, 7.6 rebounds, 1.8 blocks, and 1.2 steals.

Andre Drummond, Pistons: In a measly 20.2 minutes per game, he is bagging 7.6 points, 7.7 rebounds, 1.7 blocks, and 0.9 steals. Not sure why Lawrence Frank is resistant to starting Drummond and Greg Monroe together, but I do know that Jason Maxiell shouldn’t be starting over the UConn rookie.

Kawhi Leonard, Spurs: I don’t understand limiting him to 28.8 minutes per game (9.4 points, 5.3 rebounds, 1.8 steals, and 1.3 threes). Why not run him out there for 33-36 minutes and let him blossom into a star that could help the Spurs win their first title since 2007?

JaVale McGee, Nuggets: The Nuggets gave McGee over $40 million in the offseason, then they mysteriously play him 18.7 minutes per game? Imagine what his stat line of 10.1 points, 4.8 rebounds, and 1.9 blocks would look like in even 28 minutes.

Derrick Favors, Jazz: I fully expect the Jazz to unload Paul Millsap before the trade deadline, freeing up starter’s minutes for Favors, who is averaging 9.3 points, 6.2 rebounds, 1.4 blocks, and 0.9 steals in 21.8 minutes.

Patrick Patterson, Rockets: In 25.4 minutes, Patterson is averaging 11.2 points, 4.6 rebounds, and 0.8 threes, while shooting 51 percent from the field and 77 percent from the line. Patterson is the perfect finesse 4 to Omer Asik’s dirty-work 5, but the Rockets are taking a long look at 2011 lottery pick Marcus Morris.

Markieff Morris, Suns: Marcus’ twin brother needs more minutes in Phoenix, as Markieff is averaging 7.5 points and 4.3 rebounds in 20.2 minutes. The Suns’ rebuild demands 28+ minutes from Morris, who has the potential to be a 1-1-1 guy in the blocks, steals, and threes.

Harrison Barnes, Warriors: The time has come for Mark Jackson to lengthen his leash on the prized rookie, who is averaging 25.7 minutes, 9.2 points, 4.4 rebounds, 0.7 threes, and 0.7 steals. In 30 minutes, Barnes could average 13 points and 6 rebounds, with 1+ and 1+ in the threes and steals.

Marcus Thornton, Kings: How did Lil Buckets go from the Kings’ closer to basically out of the rotation? I think it’s a joke that Thornton’s hustle and big-shot ability is left on the bench in most games. In 23.9 minutes, he’ still averaging 11.4 points, 1.7 threes, and 1.0 steal.

Nene, Wizards: Brace yourself, as what you are about to read may shock you. Nene is averaging – ehem – 25.6 minutes per game. 25.6!?! I leave you with this: Wizards coach Randy Wittman isn’t to blame here.

Rick’s Tips: Replacing Rondo

What a bummer about Rajon Rondo tearing his ACL. I have done it myself, and the thought of all that rehab just to get back to square one will drive you mad if you let it. Hopefully, Rondo takes Doc Rivers’ advice to call the great Adrian Peterson, who just pulled off the most impressive ACL recovery ever.’s no doubt in my mind that Rondo — one of the league’s top physical specimens — will be ready to lead the NBA in assists when he returns. But when will he return?

Per reports, he’s going to have surgery in a couple weeks after the swelling subsides. To be right by opening night next season, Rondo would have to return in a nine-month timeframe. Ricky Rubio returned from his torn ACL after nine months and Derrick Rose, who is getting close per reports, is nine months removed from ACL surgery last May.

Even if Rondo takes the long road to recovery, he figures to be running the green team again before the calendar hits 2014.

So now the question is, which Celtics are going to realize an increase in fantasy value due to Rondo’s absence?

Paul Pierce – This future Hall of Famer has made a habit of stepping up without Rondo, and he did it again in Sunday’s double overtime win over the Heat, posting a 17-13-10 triple double. In the Celtics previous game without Rondo, a win at New York on Jan. 7, Pierce had 23 points and six assists. Then there was Game 2 against Atlanta last year. With Celtics down 0-1 in the series and Rondo sitting out due to suspension, Pierce had 36 points and 14 rebounds in a series-shifting win. HUGE numbers are in store for The Truth, who already ranks 33rd across eight categories.

Kevin Garnett – When a Big Three gets downsized to a Dynamic Duo, the two men left standing reap the fantasy benefits. Whereas KG is averaging around 15 and 7 right now, I could see his points spiking to 18 with a slight — if any — bump in boards.

Jason Terry – The Jet still hasn’t found his way with his new team, but he showed signs of life with 13 points in 32 minutes against Miami. Terry has always thrived under pressure, taking big shots and making big shots, and the pressure is back on him without Rondo. Of the four guards who will pick up the fantasy slack for Rondo, I like Terry’s upside the best.

Leandro Barbosa / Avery Bradley / Courtney Lee  — Rondo’s replacement committee will take turns having decent games, but I doubt any of the three will emerge as a stat-sheet stuffer.

Rick Kamla is an anchor on NBA TV. You can follow him on Twitter at @NBATVRick.

Rick’s Tips: Fantasy All-Stars, Reserves

Our friends at TNT will announce the All-Star reserves on 7 p.m. eastern on Thursday before another tasty doubleheader, so I thought I’d get the ball rolling with the reserves lists according to the 8-cat fantasy rankings through Sunday.

Eastern Conference Fantasy All-Star Reserves Irving, Cavaliers: Obviously, Kyrie has very little chance of making the real-life All-Star team, but he’s eighth across 8 categories thanks to 23.1 points, 5.7 assists, 2.0 threes, and 1.7 steals.

Paul George, Pacers: Few players are better in the fantasy gold categories, as George is averaging 2.2 threes, 1.8 steals, and 0.7 blocks — good for 12th across 8 cats.

Jrue Holiday, 76ers: Holiday is 13th across 8 cats and quite possibly this year’s Most Improved Player with 19.4 points and 9.0 assists.

Joakim Noah, Bulls: After a sub-par lockout season, Noah is Noah again, averaging 12.4 points, 10.6 rebounds, and 2.0 blocks to rank 14th across 8 categories.

Brandon Jennings, Bucks: Young Buck’s points and assists are solid, at 18.6 and 5.8, respectively. That said, what vaults him to 16th across 8 categories is 2.0 steals and 1.9 threes.

Chris Bosh, Heat: Quietly, Bosh is 19th across 8 categories with 17.5 points, 7.1 rebounds, 1.4 blocks, 55 percent from the field, and 83 percent from the line.

Paul Pierce, Celtics: Don’t sleep on the great Paul Pierce, who still gets it done at 35 years young. The Truth is averaging 19.0 points, 5.7 rebounds, 3.8 assists, 1.9 threes, and 1.5 steals, keeping him in the top 25 across 8 categories.

Western Conference Fantasy All-Star Reserves

James Harden, Rockets: The Beard is third across 8 categories, behind only Kevin Durant and LeBron James, and ahead of Kobe Bryant, thanks in large part to 25.8 points, 1.9 threes, and 1.9 steals.

Stephen Curry, Warriors: Finally healthy, Curry is stuffing the stat sheet AND helping the Warriors win. Steph ranks seventh across 8 categories with 20.5 points, 4.1 rebounds, 6.6 assists, 3.1 threes, and 1.7 steals. 3.1 threes?!? Talk about the goodies!

Russell Westbrook, Thunder: Durant is first and Westbrook is ninth across 8 categories, making OKC the only team with 2 of the top 9 players in fantasy hoops. Westbrook’s scoring is down to 23.0 points, but his assists are up to a career-high 8.3 per game.

Tim Duncan, Spurs: Duncan is having a turn-back-the-clock season, averaging 17.3 points, 9.6 rebounds, and 2.8 blocks. Shooting 50 percent from the field and 82 percent from the line has helped Duncan rank 10th across 8 categories.

Nicolas Batum, Trail Blazers: Batum is the Paul George of the West, bringing the fantasy gold with 2.5 threes, 1.5 steals, and 1.0 blocks. Batum is currently 11th across 8 categories, and he’s been providing first-round value all season.

David Lee, Warriors: Lee may be the most underrated player in the NBA, what with his 19.8 points, 10.8 rebounds, 3.7 assists, 53 percent from the field, and 80 percent from the line. Lee ranks 17th across 8 categories and he may make his first appearance in the real-life All-Star game.

O.J. Mayo, Mavericks: Believe it or not, Mayo ranks 20th across 8 categories due mainly to his 18.2 points and 2.1 threes per game. After slumping a bit following Dirk Nowitzki’s return, it appears as if Mayo is back on track.

Rick Kamla is an anchor on NBA TV. You can follow him on Twitter at @NBATVRick.

Rick’s Tips: Buy The Brow Low Now

The time is now to trade for Hornets’ rookie Anthony Davis, who is averaging only 9.4 points, 5.9 rebounds, 1.3 blocks, and 25.3 minutes in seven games this month.

Has Davis hit the rookie wall? hasn’t admitted to that cliché and he probably never will, but the stats say otherwise. His points have declined from 15.0 to 14.0 to 9.4 in November, December, and January, respectively. And his blocks have declined from 2.4 to 1.8 to 1.3 in the same months.

Also contributing to Davis’ decline is the return of Eric Gordon, who made his season debut on Dec. 29, perfectly coinciding with Davis’ drop in numbers this January. Gordon, as expected, is taking 15.3 field goal attempts per game, causing Davis’ FGA’s to dip from 11.6 in November and December down to 8.6 in January.

I trust Hornets’ head coach Monty Williams to figure out a way to make it work, such that Gordon gets his, while Davis gets his. Also, I trust in the incredible talents of Davis, who is simply too gifted to average 9 and 6 for the rest of the season.

Davis’ best month was November, when he averaged 15 points, 8.9 rebounds, and 2.4 blocks in 28.2 minutes, and he should return to that level once he gets a second wind.

Sunday’s game against the Knicks at Madison Square Garden was a start, as Davis had 13 points and eight rebounds in 33 minutes.

You have to give to get in fantasy hoops, so here are a few big men you might want to dangle as trade bait for Davis: Kevin Garnett (14.8 points, 7.0 rebounds), Marcin Gortat (11.5 points, 8.9 rebounds, 1.9 blocks); Paul Millsap (14.9 points, 7.7 rebounds).

I realize the holidays are over and you’re all shopped out, but you don’t have to leave the house to go fantasy shopping. So what are you waiting for?

Rick Kamla is an anchor on NBA TV. You can follow him on Twitter at @NBATVRick.