Cousins playing hard through trade rumors
DeMarcus Cousins certainly doesn't seem to be letting the trade rumors get the best of him. The Kings' embattled big man threw up another 18 points, 16 rebounds and 6 assists in a road win over the Cavaliers. You'd still like to see a little more efficiency out of him, but since sitting out of a home-and-home against the Trail Blazers on either side of Christmas day, Cousins has strung together four really good games in a row.
What makes Cousins so special, as has been pointed out roughly a billion times over the past few years, is his absurdly high skill level. He makes terrible decisions so often that it tends to cover it up, but he's a really good passer with a knack for rebounding who will always be around the top of the list of centers in points per minute as well. If he gets traded, it's going to be a big deal, and that should be true in fantasy leagues, as well, because if and when he turns a corner and becomes just a bit more efficient, he's going to be a monster, and he'll more than justify the top-20 pick it took to get him in most leagues coming into this season.
• Raptors rookie swingman Terrence Ross had a career-high 26 points in a win over the Trail Blazers in Toronto, which brings his averages for the past five games to 14.0 points, 3.0 rebounds, 2.8 3-pointers and 1.2 steals on 50-percent shooting from the floor. In general, however, Ross does not provide steals, and he never gets to the line (Wednesday night being a rare exception), so if he's not making 3s, he's basically worthless in fantasy leagues. He's got a lot of talent, so maybe his 3-point shooting is enough to help him carve out a role -- in deep and keeper leagues, he's definitely worth a roster spot after Wednesday night's big performance.
• In that same game, Jose Calderon had one of the strangest lines I've ever seen, with zeros across the board save one field goal attempt (missed), one rebound and 13 assists. I suppose this is sort of Calderon at his purest -- providing assists and not much else to his fantasy owners.
• Jameer Nelson returned to the Magic lineup after missing two games with a hip injury, and the point guard had 32 points, including six 3s, and played 40 minutes in a two-point loss to the Bulls; needless to say, Nelson belongs in your lineup moving forward.
• Avery Bradley's return to the Celtics' lineup didn't go quite as well as Nelson's return to the Magic's. Bradley managed just four points and a steal in 20 minutes, and the Celtics lost by 10 at home to the Grizzlies. Bradley, you'll remember, had a great April to end last season before getting hurt, but it's not a given he's going to provide much in fantasy leagues in the immediate future. He's worth hanging on to if you have the roster space, because he's got potential, but it might stay potential for a little while longer.
• Rookie big man John Henson found his way back into the Bucks' rotation with 20 points, 9 rebounds and 3 assists in a loss to the Spurs, but he hadn't played much at all leading up to Wednesday night's loss, and he's not going to go 10-for-11 from the floor every night. He's worth keeping an eye on, but I wouldn't give up anyone of value to pick him up quite yet.
• The last time the Spurs and Knicks faced off, Raymond Felton's 25 points carried the Knicks to a win, but with Felton out of the lineup, that won't be the case this time around. It should go without saying at this point, but it has been up to J.R. Smith to carry the load in Felton's absence, and he's been up to the task, averaging 25.4 points, 6.8 rebounds, 4.4 assists, 2.6 steals and 2.0 3s over his past five games. I'm expecting another big game Thursday night against the Spurs.
• It's likely neither the Timberwolves' Ricky Rubio or the Nuggets' Ty Lawson is going to play on Thursday night when their teams face off in Denver. Andre Miller had 12 points and 12 assists in the Nuggets' Tuesday night win over the Clippers, and he's a great option instead of Lawson. On the Wolves side, I'd look at Alexey Shved. Shved led the Wolves in minutes on Wednesday night, and is averaging 14.2 points, 4.2 rebounds, 6.2 assists, and 2.2 3s over his past five games.
Fastbreak Player of the Night
Until he throws up a dud, I'd be rolling with Carmelo Anthony, who -- though he has missed games here and there -- hasn't scored fewer than 29 points in a game in a few weeks. Kevin Love has been struggling quite a bit for the Timberwolves, especially with his shot, but he's going to get hot one of these days -- I get the feeling he's a little undervalued in fantasy leagues at the moment, but he's due for a big night, and he wouldn't be a bad choice against a Nuggets team that tends to give up big production to opposing front lines.