Ricky Rubio carrying fantasy teams
Ricky Rubio had a truly phenomenal fantasy line in the Timberwolves' win over the Bucks on Wednesday night, finishing with 19 points, 12 assists, 8 steals and 5 3-pointers. Obviously, with Rubio, the 3s are the big thing, because shooting is -- to put it politely -- not one of his strengths. Still, he's so good in just about every other facet of the game that you can forgive his offense; plus, he certainly has his ways of scoring. Among players averaging at least 25 minutes per game, Rubio leads the league in percentage of points derived from free throws, which means he's living in the lane, which is what makes the whole rest of his game work.
Rubio would currently rank 73rd on the Player Rater based on per-game numbers, but in the 24 games since the All-Star break, he's averaging 13.5 points, 5.6 rebounds, 8.5 assists and 3.0 steals. It could probably go without saying that there's no one else putting up numbers exactly like that. If he's healthy heading into next season with a healthy Kevin Love alongside him, he might wind up being as high as a second-round pick in many fantasy leagues.
• Jonas Valanciunas continued his stellar play for the Raptors, managing 24 points and 10 rebounds in 41 minutes in a win over the Wizards. Most impressively, he scored his 24 points on just seven attempted field goals while going 16-for-18 from the foul line. In his past five games, Valanciunas is averaging 18.4 points, 9.4 rebounds and 2.8 blocks, while shooting 61.5 percent from the floor and 82.4 percent from the line. Those are pretty good numbers, and if he can finish the season posting numbers anywhere close to those, he'll be a very high draft pick next season.
• Jrue Holiday had an unimaginably bad shooting night, making just 2 of his 24 shots in a loss to a terrible Bobcats team. What's worse, it's part of a trend, as Holiday's numbers are down across the board in the 23 games since the All-Star break. It's almost amazing right now to consider that he was a legitimate All-Star this season. He's still 24th on the Player Rater today, but it will be very interesting, given his struggles, to see where he gets drafted next season. In particular, would you rather have Holiday or someone like Kemba Walker or Jeff Teague? There was a clear answer to that question a few months ago, and now there really isn't.
• MarShon Brooks had a big night for the Nets, scoring 27 points in a win over the Cavaliers, but he went 12-for-16 from the floor against a bad defense, and seeing him shoot that well is probably something of a mirage. I don't see anything there that would incline me to play him in fantasy leagues, especially if news comes out that Joe Johnson and Gerald Wallace are due back soon.
• Terrence Jones got into a game for the Rockets for the first time in more than three months and was really good in their win over the Kings, finishing with 14 points and 12 rebounds in 29 minutes off the bench. Donatas Motiejunas and Greg Smith both played far fewer minutes, and there's a real opportunity here for Jones if he can establish himself as a power forward with the kind of perimeter game that fits into the Rockets' scheme. He's got a ton of talent and is worth picking up in most leagues.
• With Taj Gibson out and Joakim Noah questionable for the Bulls in Thursday night's game against the Nets, it should be a great night to play Reggie Evans. The Nets forward had 18 rebounds on Wednesday night against the Cavs and is averaging a ridiculous 17.2 boards over his past five games. Sure, he's terrible at everything else, but if you need rebounds, this is a cash grab.
• Ty Lawson continues to miss time for the Nuggets, but they have done a good job of spreading around the minutes. Andre Miller started at point guard again but played just 27 minutes in the win, and Andre Iguodala is capable of handling some of the point guard duties as well. If you weren't playing Miller before, I don't see any reason to do so now (though he does have his value depending on your needs). Iguodala, however, is averaging 6.6 assists over his past five games and should keep that up against the Mavericks on Thursday night.
• It's hard to know who will play for the Spurs on any given night, but seeing as they're only one game ahead of the Thunder in the loss column, I have a feeling their key guys will go in this one.
Fastbreak Player of the Night
It's tough to ever advocate playing anyone against the Bulls, but I have a tough time believing they'll be able to defend Brook Lopez with all the injuries they have. Lopez is averaging 20 points per game in his past five games and could easily go for 30 here.