Calderon holding Bayless down
I've been pushing Jerryd Bayless to the fantasy hoops masses all season as a sleeper. Some players "sleep" because they aren't ready to step their game up, but others -- like Bayless -- are left "sleeping" because their coach won't give them enough minutes to bust loose. Bayless is ready to be a fantasy stud, but for some reason, coach Dwane Casey is committed to Jose Calderon at the point, which has left Bayless "asleep" most of this season.
However, we've gotten a little taste of a fully freed Bayless recently, because Calderon was out of action with a sprained ankle. During that five-game stretch, Bayless ran the point and averaged 21.8 points, 7.6 assists, 1.8 steals, 2.4 3s and shot 54.2 percent from the field and 84.0 percent from the line.
Unfortunately for those of us on the Bayless bandwagon, Calderon returned to action Tuesday and started, while Bayless came off the pine and sustained a hip pointer that eventually forced him from the game. In the end, Calderon played 35 minutes and finished with 11 points (5-9 FG), 9 assists and 3 turnovers, while Bayless mustered just 7 points (2-4 FG), 4 dimes and 2 turnovers in 13 minutes of play.
The good news is that Casey featured both guards on the floor for a stretch in the first half. They didn't play particularly well together, but it gives hope to the idea that Casey could give Calderon and Bayless enough touches down the stretch that both might maintain respectable fantasy value.
It's not clear yet whether Bayless will be able to lace up to face the Chicago Bulls on Wednesday.
• After coming off the bench for the first two games since returning from knee surgery, Zach Randolph started Tuesday against the Sacramento Kings. He finished with just 13 points and 7 rebounds, but more importantly, he played 29 minutes and took 15 shots. It will take a little time to shake off the rust, but clearly the Memphis Grizzlies are confident in Z-Bo's knee or they wouldn't give him that much play or that many touches so soon after returning to action.
• Nick Young supplanted Randy Foye as the starting shooting guard for the Los Angeles Clippers on Tuesday evening. He ended up with just 13 points, 5 boards and 1 dime, but like Randolph, the more important numbers were 36 minutes played and 13 field goal attempts, six of which were from beyond the arc. Young can be streaky, but hopefully having one of the top point guards in Chris Paul dishing him passes will give Young some added consistency as the season winds down. He has tremendous upside in his new digs. We can all move on from Foye now; he was a DNP-CD.
• On the other side of the court Tuesday night, the Indiana Pacers debuted trade-deadline acquisition Leandro Barbosa, who came off the bench to score 12 points (5-10 FG) with 3 dimes and a 3-pointer. That's pretty much where he was at with the Raps and probably about where he'll stay in his new digs, which means he'll have some moderate value in deeper leagues.
• Josh Howard is expected to undergo season-ending knee surgery, though he reportedly will get a second opinion before undergoing the procedure. With Raja Bell also out Tuesday with a strained left adductor, Gordon Hayward started and finished with 11 points (3-10 FG), 8 boards, 2 assists, 3 turnovers, 2 steals and a 3-pointer. Hayward has been up and down this season, but he has the opportunity to start the rest of the season with Howard out, so keep an eye on him.
• Also in that game, Al Jefferson returned to action after skipping a couple of games to attend his grandmother's funeral. He 16 points, 6 boards and 4 assists in 30 minutes as the hot Jazz took the Oklahoma City Thunder down 97-90.
• Rick Bonnell at the Charlotte Observer reported Wednesday morning that the Charlotte Bobcats have agreed in principle to buy out the contract of Boris Diaw. Since he had trouble maintaining any fantasy relevance on an under-talented team like the Bobs, it's hard to imagine him being relevant in Fantasyland on another team. Still, he's worth keeping an eye on in deep leagues just in case he ends up in a perfect situation.
• We don't know when, or if, Danilo Gallinari will play again this season. What we do know is that the broken thumb on his non-shooting hand will keep him out of the mix Wednesday, so look for Wilson Chandler to makes his first start since rejoining the team. With Gallo, Andre Miller and Rudy Fernandez all battling injuries, Chandler could quickly develop into a fantasy force.