Shaquille O’Neal, Phoenix Suns: With Shaq no longer sitting out a game in back-to-back situations, there’s no longer any reason for him not to be owned in all leagues. He’s probably on a roster in your league already, but just in case he’s not he should be added immediately.
Best of the Rest
After reaching double figures in scoring just twice in Chicago’s first 42 games, Joakim Noah has done it three times in the last four. His board work was rock solid in January (7.4 RPG) so if his scoring is coming around he would make a quality pickup especially while Drew Gooden remains out…Hilton Armstrong has started the Hornets’ last four contests – his numbers haven’t opened many eyes yet, but he’s at least worth watching in deeper leagues.
Kevin Love, Minnesota Timberwolves: The rookie wrapped up an excellent month of January (12.6 points, 10.0 rebounds per game) with his sixth consecutive double-digit point performance on Friday against the Lakers. His minutes are still fairly low, which should help him avoid the rookie wall, making him a potentially solid long-term investment for the rest of the season. It won’t hurt that since Love has picked it up, Minny has turned its season around.
Jason Thompson, Sacramento Kings: Sacramento has been a disaster this season, but the play of Thompson has to be considered a silver lining for the Kings. Over his last 11 games, the 12th overall pick of last year’s draft has scored at least 10 points and posted four double-doubles. At this point he’s a must own in all leagues.
Best of the Rest
In four games since returning from a brief absence, Brian Skinner has averaged 9.3 points and 7.0 rebounds per night – those aren’t numbers worthy of consideration in shallow leagues, but he holds value in deeper formats…Love isn’t the only player in Minnesota’s frontcourt producing fantasy-worthy numbers as Ryan Gomes totaled 13.2 points and 5.4 boards per game (both seasonal bests for a month) in January. Consider adding him if you’re shorthanded up front.
Mickael Pietrus, Orlando Magic: After missing most of the past two months due to injury, Pietrus returned with a vengeance on Tuesday, pouring in 27 points and 10 rebounds against the Pacers. Before he got hurt he was averaging 13.2 points and 3.8 boards per outing in December. Don’t wait too long to pull the trigger on Pietrus, who plays a solid all-around game and is a more than capable shooter from downtown.
Flip Murray, Atlanta Hawks: What has gotten into Murray in recent weeks? The journeyman has reached double figures in 10 of his last 11 games, including three outings of 20 or more in his last six. However, Murray contributes little outside of his scoring – he doesn’t dish out many assists or do much work on the boards and most of his points come from inside the three-point line.
Best of the Rest
Names we mentioned last week that have done nothing to diminish our enthusiasm: Milwaukee’s Ramon Sessions (15.5 PPG, 2.8 RPG and 4.5 APG in four games without Michael Redd), Toronto’s Anthony Parker (hit double digits in scoring in each of the final 10 games in January) and Charlotte’s Raja Bell (137 points in his last seven contests)…Another name we’ve mentioned numerous times in the past remains inexplicably available in some leagues – Daequan Cook knocked down 35 threes in January and averaged 11.1 points per game…Those looking for additional help from beyond the arc should consider Eddie House. The veteran knocked down an amazing 23 triples in his final five games of the month – get him while he’s hot.