Ed Davis an intriguing talent
Rookie big man Ed Davis made his debut for the Raptors on Wednesday night against the Wizards, and while the competition could have been stiffer, Davis had a pretty promising performance. He finished with 11 points (5-for-7 shooting from the floor) and six rebounds to go along with two blocks in 24 minutes. Considering the minutes Reggie Evans (out 4-8 weeks) had been logging this season, it stands to reason that Davis could be a major contributor as long as he's able to remain on the floor.
Remember, in addition to looking somewhat promising in summer league play, Davis was widely considered a lottery pick even during his freshman year at North Carolina; without question, he is an elite talent who just needs to put it all together, as they say. I'm certainly not suggesting that Davis is a lock to become a fantasy stalwart in the coming weeks, but it is not every day that a guy with the kind of talent Davis has flies under the radar. One more good game out of Davis, and your chance to pick him up might already be gone.
Even with the news that Joe Johnson will likely miss more than a month for the Hawks, new starter Maurice Evans still might not be a decent fantasy option. Instead, it appears the Hawks will rely -- offensively, that is -- on some combination of Jamal Crawford and Josh Smith, both of whom, of course, were already owned in just about all fantasy leagues. Although the numbers look big, there's not really much to take from the Thunder's triple-overtime win over the Nets, as most of the main characters played far more minutes than they usually do. Worth noting, I suppose, on the Nets' side of the ledger, is that Jordan Farmar looked legit subbing for the oft-injured Devin Harris (and looks like a good pickup if Harris misses more time with his strained knee), while Troy Murphy continued to hardly play at all. Mario Chalmers isn't doing quite as much as I'd hoped in the early days of his return to the Heat, but there are some encouraging signs. The most encouraging is the fact that he had three steals against the Pistons in his 24 minutes off the bench. I'm a believer in Chalmers (who, if you'll remember, was an extremely valuable fantasy option as a rookie), and think it can't be too long before he supplants Carlos Arroyo in the Heat's starting five. Pau Gasol left the Lakers' loss to the Rockets with some tightness in his hamstring, and while it looks like he'll remain in the lineup, it's worth noting that he has been playing, by his own admission, a whole lot of minutes this season, and that's probably a trend that needs to be reconsidered. J.R. Smith had been in George Karl's doghouse for a while, but after his second big game in a row (20 points and 10 rebounds in 32 minutes against the Bucks this time), it would appear that he's found his way out. Blake Griffin continues to put up amazing numbers in two fantasy categories, but his two steals and one block against the Spurs were out of the ordinary; that is, he doesn't usually do those things, and that's why -- as amazing as he's been as an actual basketball player -- he's only as valuable as his points and boards can carry him in fantasy.
By now, you know what to expect when the Warriors and Suns meet: There will be many points scored! Instead, let's focus on the more dramatic matchup between the Heat and the Cavaliers in Cleveland. Not surprisingly, power forwards have fared well against the Heat this season (even if no one else really has), and considering J.J. Hickson is, perhaps sadly, the future of the franchise, I'm expecting him to rise to the occasion. Beyond his having a good game, I'm just not sure how they compete with the Heat, and considering what the Heat have done to bad teams this season (take Wednesday night's destruction of the Pistons -- especially defensively -- as an example), this game has rout written all over it. That is, if the Heat's nerves don't get in the way. As such, if you need 3-pointers, it's a good night to give James Jones a go. I'd be surprised if he doesn't play 25-plus minutes and knock down two or three 3s at worst.
Seth Landman is a fantasy basketball analyst for ESPN.com.