Jeremy Lin the answer at point guard?

February, 7, 2012

So Mike D'Antoni has a new point guard. We're been here before. Will it be any different with Jeremy Lin than it was with Iman Shumpert? Or Toney Douglas? Can fantasy owners really win with Lin?

The quick answer? Quite possibly.

As a fantasy analyst, I've certainly been prone to making breathless pronouncements about guys D'Antoni has selected to run the point. So let me first say that Lin's performance on Monday -- 28 points, eight assists and two steals against the Utah Jazz -- is just one game, not to mention one game in which he led a severely shorthanded New York Knicks team. However, in contrast to Shumpert and Douglas, who are primarily shooting guards, Lin seems more capable of doing what D'Antoni wants his point guard to do. The quick explanation? Pick and roll. Lin's already shown he can handle that part of the job. For details, check out this excellent post from Tim Kawakami of the San Jose Mercury News.

Baron Davis now has an infection in his elbow and is expected to be out until at least the All-Star break, so the starting job apparently belongs to Lin at least for the time being. If you're a fantasy owner who's down a guard -- say, Chauncey Billups -- don't hesitate to grab Lin.

Looking back

• Of course there's injury news, and we'll go with the worst first: Billups may have ruptured his left Achilles tendon. He fell while chasing his 3-point miss in the fourth quarter against the Orlando Magic. Billups made no contact with another player. If a rupture is confirmed, he'll be lost for the season. Randy Foye, who's virtually unowned in leagues, may replace Billups in the starting lineup, but Mo Williams might see the biggest spike in fantasy value.

Danilo Gallinari, who left in the third quarter against the Houston Rockets, could also have a serious injury. X-rays revealed a chip fracture in his left foot. He'll have a CT scan on Tuesday. Denver Nuggets teammates Nene (heel) and Arron Afflalo (ankle/toe), who sat out Monday, may be able to return Wednesday. However, with all the Nuggets' health issues, fantasy owners might want to dig into this deep bench for potential free agents like Rudy Fernandez (14 points) or even Chris Andersen (10 points, nine rebounds, two blocks).

• By comparison, the news on Carmelo Anthony (groin) and Derrick Rose (back) seems far less dire. While both left their games on Monday, both are considered day-to-day. Rose, at least, says he expects to play in the Chicago Bulls' next game, though obviously C.J. Watson (14 points, 11 assists) is a must-add should Rose miss any time. Others who sat out Monday are also considered day-to-day: Amare Stoudemire (personal), Anthony Morrow (personal), Raymond Felton (foot) and Tony Allen (hip/knee).

• Interesting that the struggling Hedo Turkoglu (no points, four assists) is rostered in almost all leagues, while the surging Jason Richardson (20 points, three 3-pointers) is available in more than half of leagues. J-Rich did start this season poorly, but he's averaging 18.7 points and 3.0 treys in three games since returning from a knee injury.

• Speaking of the Magic, Jameer Nelson (concussion) returned after five games and produced one of his best lines of the season: 15 points and 12 assists. He was only 5-of-13 from the field, though.

• The Toronto Raptors got huge nights from Linas Kleiza (30 points, four 3s) and Jerryd Bayless (30 points, six 3s), but Bayless, who's now starting, is likely the better bet for long-term production.

• With Jason Smith (concussion) and Carl Landry (knee) out, Chris Kaman (10 points, 12 rebounds, two blocks) saw his first action since Jan. 23. Shorthanded as they are, the New Orleans Hornets may have to keep using Kaman, the player they're trying to trade. He's available in more than 50 percent of leagues.

• And if you missed out on Jeremy Lin, there's still Greivis Vasquez. Making another start for Jarrett Jack (knee), Vasquez put up 20 points and nine assists against the Sacramento Kings. In his past four games, Vasquez is averaging 17.5 points, 8.8 assists, 1.5 3s and 1.3 steals. He probably won't maintain those gaudy numbers once Jack returns, but Vasquez should play plenty going forward.

Looking ahead

• It will be interesting to see how Rick Adelman deals with Kevin Love's two-game suspension. Nikola Pekovic (14.1 points, 9.1 rebounds in his past seven) seems to be settling in as the Minnesota Timberwolves' starting center, making him a worthy add for Tuesday and beyond. Derrick Williams, who's fallen out of the rotation, should play more with Love out, but fantasy owners shouldn't forget about Michael Beasley, who himself has averaged only 19 minutes per game since his 34-point outburst against the Rockets on Jan. 30.

• Just as Jason Thompson was getting into the good graces of Kings head coach Keith Smart, he found himself on the bench for most of the first half Monday after getting three quick fouls. He drew his fourth foul after intermission, and then watched as the Kings used Chuck Hayes alongside DeMarcus Cousins while rallying past the Hornets. Despite Monday's disappointing four-point showing, Thompson is averaging 11.8 points and 9.0 rebounds in his past five. He faces the Love-less Wolves on Tuesday.

• Although Corey Maggette (hamstring) could start practicing next week, Gerald Henderson (hamstring) and D.J. Augustin (toe) are still sidelined, so Reggie Williams seems set as a Charlotte Bobcats starter for the near term. Williams was dazzling in his first start -- 21 points, seven boards and six assists in 39 minutes versus the Phoenix Suns on Feb. 4 -- but the Bobcats' February schedule has few games, and they're mostly tough matchups. Case in point is Tuesday, when Williams faces the Boston Celtics, who allow the second-fewest 3-pointers of any team. Williams is available in most leagues.



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