Andrew Bynum on major roll

March, 17, 2010

Andrew Bynum took the Sacramento Kings for 21 points (9-of-14 field goal shooting), 12 boards and two blocks Tuesday. It was his fourth double-double in eight games in March and the fourth straight game in which he scored at least 18 points. For the month, Bynum is averaging 15.9 points, 9.4 rebounds and 1.8 blocks per game. Interestingly, his minutes and shots per game have remained about the same the past couple of months, but his free throw attempts are at a season high of 5.9 per game.

LeBron James, Cavaliers: 29 points (10-22 FG), 12 assists and 12 rebounds against the Pistons.
Tyreke Evans, Kings: 25 points (7-19 FG), 9 assists and 11 rebounds against the Lakers.
Al Horford, Hawks: 15 points (6-9 FG), 7 assists and 11 boards against the Nets.
Michael Beasley, Heat: 6 points (3-10 FG), 5 rebounds and 1 steal against the Spurs.
Mike Miller, Wizards: 5 points (2-8 FG), 4 assists, 8 boards and 3 turnovers against the Nuggets.
Chauncey Billups, Nuggets: 10 points (2-9 FG, 0-6 3-pointers), 2 assists, 0 rebounds and 2 turnovers against the Wizards.

Surely, he's taking advantage of some weaker frontcourt competition of late, like the Kings, Golden State Warriors, Phoenix Suns and Toronto Raptors his past four games. But we might be seeing more than that. We might be seeing the genuine development of a top-end fantasy big man. Bynum has missed just four games this season, and he's just 22 years old. If he can overcome the injury problems that plagued him early in his career, as he matures as a baller, he could be one of the top fantasy centers for years to come.

Bynum's recent play hasn't slowed Pau Gasol any (Lamar Odom's stats have suffered instead), which shows it is possible for both Bynum and Gasol to be individual fantasy forces at the same time. That's great news for next season. In the short term, though, we could see a dinged-up Gasol getting some extra rest late in the season, which would open up Bynum for a big finish. Regardless, it's safe to assume Bynum can average 15-plus points, 9-plus rebounds and 1.5-plus blocks down the stretch.

Looking Back

Kevin Love returned Tuesday from a two-game absence due to a mid-foot sprain. However, it wasn't pretty, as he failed to knock down any of his seven field goal attempts and finished with just three points. On the upside, he managed to pull down seven boards and hand out three assists in 26 minutes off the bench. I don't know Minnesota Timberwolves coach Kurt Rambis, but I can guarantee he doesn't play fantasy hoops. No fantasy hoopster could limit his best player's minutes on a bad team late in the season like Rambis has been doing. Despite the limited action Love sees as a reserve, when healthy, he's still a double-double waiting to happen, so get him back into your lineups.

• The Phoenix Suns got Leandro Barbosa back in the mix Tuesday. While the Suns were busy humiliating the Wolves 152-114, Barbosa tested his injured wrist with 15 minutes of action, scoring seven points with three dimes. He's worth keeping an eye on in deeper leagues, but his production has been spotty this season, even when he's been healthy.

• We don't talk about LeBron James too often in fantasy coverage, because there isn't much need to. It's like talking about the sun; we all know it's there and we all know it's always hot. But since he messed around and got a triple-double Tuesday, it's worth noting his 29-point, 12-dime, 12-board performance. The NBA almost had a second trip-dub Tuesday, as rookie Tyreke Evans piled up 25 points, nine assists and 11 rebounds in a loss to the Lakers. It's a nice response to Stephen Curry's big Monday night (29 points, five 3-pointers, nine assists and five boards) in the race for rookie of the year.

Looking Ahead

Danny Granger took an elbow to his cheek late in Tuesday's game with the Charlotte Bobcats that left him wobbly enough to head to the locker room with some assistance. It's not clear what the injury is -- one report said he was grabbing his groin after being elbowed -- but he's expected to sit out Wednesday's game, regardless.

Joe Johnson skipped Tuesday's game due to a strained Achilles tendon. The Atlanta Hawks expect him to sit out Wednesday night's game with the Toronto Raptors, and his status for Friday is up in the air. This is a tough hit for anyone who has Johnson on his or her roster this late in the season, but it could be a boon for Jamal Crawford (25 points Tuesday) and Marvin Williams (15 points) if Johnson misses an extended stretch.



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