JaVale McGee playing his best ball
The Washington Wizards got John Wall back in the mix Tuesday, but his teammate JaVale McGee stole the fantasy headlines. The third-year big man abused the Philadelphia 76ers' frontcourt in an overtime victory for 24 points (9-15 FG, 6-8 FT), 18 boards, 2 dimes, 2 steals and 4 blocks. In the past five contests, McGee has seen his minutes per game rise steadily from 26 to 45 last night, and an increase in production has come with the boost in game action. He's pulled down at least nine rebounds in each of the past five games, blocked 15 shots during that stretch, double-doubled the past three games and preceded last night's line with 20 points and 16 boards on Sunday.
Of course, McGee saw a boost in action in part because Wall was sidelined for the first four of those games. So it was nice to see McGee perform well upon Wall's return. McGee established a nice on-court relationship with Wall during summer league play, when he averaged about 20 points and 9 boards, so this could be a sign of things to come. Consistency could be a problem for McGee, but the 7-footer has the physical tools and opportunity to be a reliable fantasy center this season, so make sure he isn't sitting on your waiver wire.
Meanwhile, Wall hit seven of his 15 shots and all eight of his free throw attempts Tuesday to finish with 25 points, 6 dimes and three 3-pointers in 35 minutes of action. His sore foot clearly wasn't 100 percent, which makes his rock-solid fantasy performance that much more impressive.
• On the other side of that game, the Sixers got Andre Iguodala back from a three-game absence. Iggy's sore achilles must have felt great, because he played a whopping 49 minutes in the overtime loss and just missed a triple-double with 23 points, 8 dimes and 11 rebounds. It will be interesting to see how his tendon responds to the heavy workload, since the Sixers turn right around and face the Toronto Raptors tonight.
• Brook Lopez got painfully close to his first double-dub of the season by scoring 32 points and pulling down 9 boards against the Hawks. He's averaging just 6.5 rebounds per game, but he's showing signs of life after pulling down at least eight boards in each of the past four games. Lopez will get things turned around eventually and remains a great buy-low candidate.
• Dirk Nowitzki had a renaissance performance against the Detroit Pistons last night. He took them for 42 points (13-22 FG, 13-16 FT), 12 boards, 3 triples and 2 blocks. The real throwback for Dirk was the 3-point and block production. He simply doesn't block shots (0.7 per game) or drain 3s (0.6 per game) anymore. He also doesn't dish out many dimes these days, as his 1.8 average is his lowest since his rookie season (1.0). Maybe he isn't the fantasy star he once was, but you can't complain about 25.8 ppg, 8.7 rpg and great percentages (.532 from the field, .828 from the line). He's still a stud.
• Nets head coach Avery Johnson suspended Terrence Williams for games on Tuesday and Wednesday. Johnson said he'd already fined Williams numerous times for disciplinary reasons and a suspension was the next step. From our perspective, it's the next step toward fantasy anonymity. Williams still has plenty of talent, but that means nothing when you get on the court for only 14 minutes in seven games before being suspended for a pair of games. Don't forget about Williams, but he's so far in Avery's doghouse it's safe to cut him for another player who is actually playing in basketball games.
Tom Carpenter is a fantasy basketball analyst for ESPN.com.