Tyrus Thomas thriving under Paul Silas
In case you've missed it (and considering how boring most Charlotte Bobcats games have been this season, we'll excuse you if you did), the Bobcats have scored 95 or more points in every game since Larry Brown was fired, save for an 82-point performance against the league's second-best defense in the Miami Heat.
Ninety-five points wouldn't be much for most teams, but for the Bobcats, 95 marks a significant improvement from their average for the season. More importantly, the Bobcats seem to be undergoing a larger change in philosophy, and at the center of that philosophy has been more minutes for Tyrus Thomas.
Thomas has long been a tantalizing prospect for fantasy owners, a guy who scores and rebounds enough while racking up big numbers in steals and blocks. Unfortunately, through the years many coaches decided that he's better off on the bench. It would appear that Paul Silas has different ideas, as Thomas is averaging 12.5 points, 9.0 rebounds and 2.8 blocks in 28.5 minutes per game in his past four contests; he played fewer than 30 minutes in only one of those games, and that was because of foul trouble.
Considering the fact that Thomas is already on the fringe of being a top-100 player even playing just 21.3 minutes per game, it stands to reason that he's going to be a major force down the stretch (like he is most seasons). Now would be the time to trade for him if you can because the window is closing fast.
Marco Belinelli went down with an ankle injury after just one minute for the Hornets, but Marcus Thornton more than made up the difference with 22 points in 32 minutes off the bench in New Orleans' win over the Magic. If Belinelli misses significant time, Thornton is (again) a great pickup. After shooting 11-for-11 from the line, Steve Nash moved ahead of Mark Price as the best free throw shooter of all time. That might not change his fantasy value, but it's worth remembering that the guy just never misses from the line. It's unclear how much time Tyreke Evans will miss with his ankle injury, but there's no King fantasy-worthy to step in right now, so don't pay too much attention to the 41 minutes Pooh Jeter played against the Celtics. Serge Ibaka continues to improve as a shooter; he was 8-for-9 from the floor for 16 points against the Rockets and made all four of his jump shots outside of the paint. With a reliable mid-range jump shot, the sky is the limit for Ibaka. Mike D'Antoni is notorious for keeping a short bench, and it seems like Bill Walker and Shawne Williams are the beneficiaries of that right now, and both are good short-term pickups in most leagues until the rotation shifts again. Baron Davis is playing his best basketball of the season, which means he's probably someone you should hold onto if you own him in fantasy leagues.
LeBron James sprained his ankle during the Heat's loss to the Clippers but returned and looked good down the stretch; I'd be surprised if he can't go against Denver on Thursday, but it's worth keeping an eye on him moving forward. Richard Hamilton received a DNP-CD on Wednesday night, which will inevitably lead to speculation that there's a trade in the works. Obviously, you can't sit Carmelo Anthony unless you know something for sure, but it should be interesting to see if anyone ends up mysteriously benched during the Heat-Nuggets matchup. Kevin Love should be salivating at the prospect of going up against the Wizards because they are the third-worst rebounding team in the league. It's going to be a big night for him Thursday. The Thunder haven't matched up with the Magic since early last season, so it will be interesting to see what Kevin Durant, Russell Westbrook and Co. can do against one of the league's best defenses. In particular, though, I think Ibaka could have another big night going up against the Magic's subs when Dwight Howard is off the floor.
Seth Landman is a fantasy basketball analyst for ESPN.com.