Bobcats' frontcourt rotation unclear
In the wake of the Bobcats' big trade with the Suns in which they gave up arguably their best player, Jason Richardson, along with Jared Dudley and a 2010 second-round pick to get Boris Diaw, Raja Bell and Sean Singletary, the Cats had to play slightly undermanned last night against Dallas. Actually, they played pretty well; the game was tied heading into the fourth quarter, which is probably more than anyone expected. On a Thursday night in which the best stat line might have been Emeka Okafor's 27 points on 12-of-17 shooting, 17 rebounds and 3 blocks, I found myself more interested in Charlotte's big-man rotation.
Coach Larry Brown started Ryan Hollins at center alongside Okafor, and Hollins picked up five fouls in 21 minutes of action. Brown filled in for him with 15 minutes of Nazr Mohammed and 15 minutes of Sean May. I'm not just throwing these fantasy-irrelevant names at you for no reason; all of this is significant because Boris Diaw is coming to town. I'm talking the trade itself, as well as Brown's decision to start Hollins (before the trade happened, the kid hadn't played since the end of November) over more obvious options like May and Mohammed, to mean that Diaw is in line for some heavy minutes. A lineup of Okafor, Diaw, Gerald Wallace, Raymond Felton, and D.J. Augustin is at least an intriguing one, and if Diaw and Raja Bell are still the players the Bobcats must think they are, it just might translate to more wins. I'm skeptical, but this seems to be the plan.
Under the boards
Neither Felton nor Augustin put up astonishing numbers last night considering that each played more than 40 minutes, but in fantasy we don't care how many minutes it takes you to get three steals (Felton) or 10 assists (Augustin). Frankly, I'm concerned that because Larry Brown is the coach, and because the trade happened at all, Raja Bell is going to cut into their minutes. Logically, Bell should come off the bench and Felton and Augustin should each get at least 35 minutes, but logic might not rule the day here. Wait and see. Jason Terry is good at scoring points! Terry put up 26 of 'em in 33 minutes against the Bobcats, including his standard three 3-pointers. He's averaging 23.1 points per 40 minutes on the season; the highest scoring rate of his career. The Celtics put seven guys in double figures against the Wizards -- the starting five plus Eddie House and Tony Allen -- and all seven had what I would consider useful fantasy lines. Are all seven of them legit fantasy starters? No, you should probably just stick with the starters for now, but what the Celtics are doing right now, having won 13 straight, is pretty special to watch. It was an inauspicious start in Washington for Javaris Crittenton and Mike James, the point guards acquired by the Wizards in dealing Antonio Daniels. Crittenton had four turnovers in six minutes. Other than that, his line was empty. Mike James managed to jack up six shots in his 11 minutes of action but didn't hit a single one. For now, if you need some points and assists, you may need to take a look at Juan Dixon, who managed 17 points, seven assists and four steals in 34 minutes simply because there was no one else to do it. Take a look at Paul Millsap's recent game log for the Jazz if you like consistency. He's an automatic double-double at this point, and over his past five games he's even throwing in 3.2 assists, 1.6 steals, and 1.2 blocks. The dilemma remains: He's going back to the bench when Boozer is healthy, but the better Millsap plays, the more likely Boozer is to be traded at some point. Nice nights for Portland's Brandon Roy (33 points, 8 rebounds) and LaMarcus Aldridge (22 points, 6 rebounds) against the Jazz, but they didn't get enough help on the offensive end to compete.