The Wire Troll: Foster-ing Rebounds
Jeff Foster, Indiana Pacers: Following a slow start, Foster has really picked things up during his last four games, scoring in double figures in each of them and combining for 36 rebounds. Foster has been Australian for solid rebounding for the last four-plus seasons and could make himself a viable option in all leagues if he can pick up his scoring. Those looking for frontcourt help can make an immediate move.
Best of the rest…
Washington’s JaVale McGee has seen his minutes increase recently, playing better than 24 minutes in three of his last four games. He has posted two double-doubles and blocked five shots in that time, and with Brendan Haywood out indefinitely there’s a hole to be filled in the middle in the nation’s capital, and McGee is doing his best to be the man to fill it.
Jeff Green, Oklahoma City Thunder: The Thunder has lost nine of its 10 games this season, giving fans in Oklahoma City little to cheer about. However, perhaps the silver lining of the slow start has been the play of Green, who is averaging 15.2 points and 6.3 rebounds per game. One could make a pretty strong case that it has been Green, and not Kevin Durant, who has been the team’s best player this season. The 6-foot-9 forward is even shooting a robust 48 per cent from three-point range this year, making him someone to scoop up as soon as possible if he’s still available in your league.
Luc Mbah a Moute, Milwaukee Bucks: We mentioned the second-rounder in the first edition of the Troll, and Mbah a Moute has done nothing to temper our enthusiasm. The rookie has reached double figures in scoring in six of his last eight games and has emerged as a legitimate force on the glass. His 19-point, 17-rebound performance Friday surely opened some eyes, so you shouldn’t wait any longer to add the man with the insanely long name to your squad.
Best of the rest…
No, your eyes aren’t deceiving you, that’s former Gonzaga star Adam Morrison making a surprise appearance in the Troll. With J-Rich out of action following arthroscopic knee surgery, Morrison has seen his minutes jump over the past two games. He has responded by pouring in 31 points – no word if he broke down crying at the end of either contest…Jettisoned by the Bucks during the offseason, Yi Jianlian has been flashing some of the talent that made him sixth player taken in last year’s draft. The lanky 27-year-old, uh, I mean 21-year-old, had 24 points, 10 boards and four assists against the Heat on Wednesday, but he has posted just seven points in his last two games combined. He’s still hit or miss so acquire at your own discretion…Another repeat offender on the Troll is Trevor Ariza, who continues to establish himself as the Lakers’ top scoring option off the pine – in your face, Lamar Odom! Ariza has scored 10 or more points six times in eight games this season…With Leandro Barbosa currently away from the team for personal reasons and Steve Nash and Matt Barnes suspended, Grant Hill stepped up with 22 points and nine rebounds on Friday. His role has been reduced under Terry Porter, but Hill could be a short-term addition until Barbosa returns.
Ronnie Brewer, Utah Jazz: Long one of my favourite underrated shooting guards, Brewer has shown the ability to fill up the box score at times this season. He had 12 points, seven assists and seven steals on November 9 and followed that up with a 16-point, six-rebound and nine-assist effort two nights later. Sure, he’s getting some additional run because of Utah’s injury problems, but those searching for capable backcourt depth could do much worse.
Russell Westbrook, Oklahoma City Thunder: No wonder UCLA was in last year’s Final Four, given how well the likes of Westbrook, Mbah a Moute and Kevin Love have fared in the early stages of their rookie campaigns. The defensive-minded point guard has shown a surprising scoring touch this year, and following a slow start in the assist department has dropped at least four dimes in each of his last four games. Fantasy owners should start taking notice.
Beno Udrih, Sacramento Kings: Apparently angered because I mentioned him and Marko Jaric in the same sentence, Udrih has put up 66 points over his last three games. He has also done some nice work on the glass during that run, though his assist totals remain sub par for a point guard. I don’t expect him to keep up his current pace, but one encouraging sign is the team is giving little run to Bobby Jackson, which leaves most of the minutes for Udrih.
Best of the rest…
I made mention of Aaron Brooks last week, and I’m doing it again today. He has incredible speed and can reach the basket at will. He’s not contributing much more than points right now, but there’s enough there to consider stashing him…OK, I admit it, I giggled a little when Keyon Dooling said he felt disrespected by Orlando’s two-year, $4.1 million offer, but hey, maybe he was on to something. The ninth-year veteran has scored at least 10 points in five straight games and dished out four or more assists in four of them. That’s enough to cause a blip on the radar…With Michael Redd continuing to miss time, Charlie Bell was seeing a bump in both minutes and scoring. However, he has hit just three of his last 18 shots and played sparingly on Friday and Saturday. This is something to keep an eye on, but don’t add Bell just yet…San Antonio’s first-round draft pick, George Hill, had his best game as a pro on Friday, tallying 17 points, six rebounds and five assists in a low-scoring win over Houston. With few other scoring options on the Spurs, Hill could have some legit short-term value…Larry Hughes is back after missing Chicago’s first eight games. Now granted, we all know it’s just a matter of time before Hughes is injured again even if the Bulls start wearing helmets and contesting their games on a court made entirely of marshmallows. However, he has enough potential when healthy to deserve consideration in deeper leagues…We’re seeing plenty of D.J. Augustin and not so much Matt Carroll down in Charlotte recently – take note…It took a couple games, but Chris Duhon appears to be getting comfortable running Mike D’Antoni’s offense. He’s averaging 8.6 assists per game over his last five, making him someone to add for owners struggling to find assists…Hornet coach Byron Scott has indicated we’ll be seeing more minutes for Devin Brown going forward. That’s a little tidbit for owners in deep leagues to be aware of.
Although there has been no official alteration to Manu Ginobili’s official timeline for a return to the court – still in mid-December – the 31-year-old and his bald spot have started traveling with the Spurs and both are reportedly making good progress. Don’t be shocked if Manu is back a bit sooner than originally anticipated given the injury to Tony Parker, which means it could be time to consider picking him up and stashing him before someone beats you to the punch.
Monta Ellis, currently in the midst of a 30-game suspension for being a douche and then lying about it, is expected to begin working out on the court during the week of Thanksgiving. That being said, it’s still too early to make any type of move with Ellis…well, other than shaking your head while thinking of him and muttering the d-word mentioned above, of course.