Avery Bradley producing helpful numbers
When a player returns from a long-term injury, he generally needs time -- sometimes weeks, sometimes an entire season -- to regain his form. Fantasy owners saw this with David West last season, and with Ricky Rubio earlier this season. We're seeing it now with Andrew Bogut and Danny Granger. And really, we continue to see it with Dwight Howard, who's less than a year removed from back surgery.
Avery Bradley, of course, isn't a big name like those five, but he did achieve fantasy relevance with his strong finish to 2011-12. This past offseason, Bradley had surgeries on both of his shoulders, which caused him to miss the first two months of the 2012-13 season.
In seven games since the All-Star break, the third-year pro is averaging 13.1 points, 1.6 steals and 1.0 3-pointers while shooting 51.9 percent from the field. On Tuesday, Bradley had his best statistical performance of the season with 22 points, 7 rebounds and 5 assists (all season bests) against the Philadelphia 76ers.
While Bradley isn't a difference-maker in any category (save perhaps for steals, where he's improved markedly from 2011-12), he'll see plenty of minutes for the Celtics, whose remaining schedule looks pretty decent.
As of Wednesday morning, Bradley was available in 93.8 percent of ESPN.com leagues. I'd strongly consider adding him in leagues of at least 12 teams.
• Everyone knows what Serge Ibaka did on Sunday. (And in case you missed it, Blake Griffin put down the ice pack and issued this wonderful Twitter response.) But on Tuesday, the somehow-not-suspended Ibaka contributed a timely 3-pointer as the Oklahoma City Thunder pulled away from the Los Angeles Lakers. So let's talk about that. After making all of two 3s in his first three NBA seasons, Ibaka now has 15 in 2012-13, and in his past 13 games, he's 7-for-10 from downtown. None of that really means much for fantasy purposes, but it got me wondering about shot-blockers who were also a factor from distance. The only player I could find who averaged 3.0 blocks and at least 1.0 3-pointer in the same season was Raef LaFrentz, who produced 3.0 blocks and 1.5 3s while appearing in 51 games for the Denver Nuggets in 2001-02. In a full season, Andrei Kirilenko came very close in 2003-04, when he averaged 2.8 blocks and 0.9 3s for the Utah Jazz. I'm honestly not sure making a 3 per game would do much for Ibaka's fantasy value. As I've said, 3s aren't that tough to come by. Still, it's fun to imagine.
• Al Jefferson (ankle) likely will miss his third straight game, meaning Derrick Favors and Enes Kanter are again strong fill-in options when the Jazz face the Cleveland Cavaliers. Apparently Mo Williams (thumb) will play only if he doesn't experience any lingering soreness following Tuesday's practice. Refer to what I said above about players needing time to come back from major injuries. Keep Williams reserved for now.
• Ed Davis is coming off his best game with the Memphis Grizzlies, and he's another excellent temporary fix should Zach Randolph (ankle) sit out again. With both Randolph and Darrell Arthur (neck) sidelined, Davis had 10 points, 10 rebounds and 3 blocks against the Orlando Magic on Sunday. The Grizzlies host the Portland Trail Blazers on Wednesday.
• Bradley Beal (ankle) didn't practice on Tuesday and is doubtful for the Washington Wizards, who visit the Minnesota Timberwolves. The Wolves said that Nikola Pekovic (abdominal strain) and Kirilenko (calf) will both miss Wednesday's game and at least two more after that.