Jan 10, 2017; Houston, TX, USA; Houston Rockets guard James Harden (13) drives past Charlotte Hornets forward Michael Kidd-Gilchrist (14) during the first quarter at Toyota Center. Mandatory Credit: Erik Williams-USA TODAY Sports
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Analyzing our Houston Rockets and other players around the NBA to help make the most of your fantasy team for the week of Jan 16th
Red Nations Fantasy Summit
The Houston Rockets lost in back to back games for the first time this season. The losses exposed a number of things for our team, but mostly brought the Rockets back down to reality.
After a record setting December, in which Houston went 15-2, the victories became expected. We saw the Rockets make improbable comebacks and our team as whole made the wins look easy. The adoration grew from the media and the fans actually began to feel entitled to these victories. In one hand, I loved how with each triumph the culture was changing for our squad. Especially after last season’s struggles. But, a false sense of entitlement was rising through Red Nation.
Sometimes the record of a team doesn’t actually tell the whole story. A perfect example would be the Minnesota Timberwolves. In Houston’s loss, fans mocked Rubio and the young guns as if they didn’t deserve to be in the NBA. However, fantasy basketball offers an insight the casual fan misses and it’s in this clarity that one can see the value each NBA player possesses. Bottom line, those dudes can ball and are a scary bunch.
Now, despite these losses, James Harden had himself a heck of a week. “The Beard” became the fourth player in NBA history to record 40 point back to back triple-doubles in a season. Then to end the week he put up a casual triple double with 22,11, and 11.
The Rockets are on pace to win 60+ plus games this season and Harden has become an MVP front runner.
This week Houston will play in two separate back to back games and face off against some tough competition. The Heat and the Bucks and then the dreaded Warriors and Grizzlies. The games against Golden State and Memphis will go a long way in showing where we stand in this wild Western Conference. But, before looking to this week’s action, let’s take a quick glance at some standouts from the Rockets over their last few games…
Dec 27, 2016; Dallas, TX, USA; Houston Rockets forward Trevor Ariza (1) reacts after scoring during the first half against the Dallas Mavericks at American Airlines Center. Mandatory Credit: Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports
Run and Gun thriving in Houston
Trevor Ariza-Hou, SG/SF
Ariza is putting up top 40 value this year under coach Mike D’Antoni’s high octane offense. Trevor lit up the Nets and helped to end the Rockets losing streak. He finished with 23 points (6 triples), 8 rebounds, 2 dimes, and 2 steals. This man is doing everything and fills up the stat sheet in 9 category leagues. He is currently averaging 12.9 points (2.8 triples), 5.3 boards, 2.1 assists, 2 steals, and barely one turnover per game.
Eric Gordon-Hou, SG
The Rockets desperately needed Gordon back in the line up. After sitting with a toe injury, Gordon played against the Grizzlies and looked rusty. Only shooting 4/11, he finished with 13 points (3 triples), 1 board, and 1 assist. The rhythm just wasn’t there and he missed some wide open looks. One game later against the Nets, he looked comfortable again and didn’t seem to be hampered by the toe injury. “Splash” Gordon finished with 24 points (4 triples), 3 boards, and 3 dimes. For the season, he is averaging 17.9 points (3.7 triples), 2.7 boards, 2.9 dimes, and nearly 1 steal/block per game.
Like Ariza, the Rockets need Gordon and all that he brings to the table, for them to continue to be successful this season. Gordon’s ability to create off the dribble is what anchors the bench mob. As fans, we are glad to have him back.
As always, the success of your fantasy season depends on the utilization of the waiver wire. To that end, let’s review some options that may provide you with that spark on your roster needs.
Oct 29, 2016; San Antonio, TX, USA; San Antonio Spurs small forward Kawhi Leonard (2) knocks the ball loose from New Orleans Pelicans power forward Terrence Jones (9) during the first half at AT&T Center. Mandatory Credit: Soobum Im-USA TODAY Sports
Terrence Jones-NOP, SF/PF
Being a former Rocket, I write this piece with joy. T-Jones has played over thirty minutes in the last two games and has balled out in the process. As the case has been all season, when Jones is given the playing time, he has rewarded the Pelicans. In the loss against the Bulls, he finished with 9 points, 8 boards, 2 dimes, and 3 blocks. Prior to the loss, Jones lit up the Nets for 24 points (1 triple), 12 rebounds, 1 assist, and 1 steal.
The Pelicans are just one of the many teams fighting for the eighth seed in the West. Hopefully, coach Alvin Gentry has realized he needs to play Jones more for the Pelicans to have a chance. Only 45% owned, he should be picked up in hopes of his continuing trend upward.
Kyle Korver-Cle, SG/SF
When the Cavs acquired dead eye shooter Kyle Korver, we all knew it was only a matter of time before he heated up. Well, it happened sooner rather than later. After two duds of a game, the former Hawk came alive. Against the Kings, he finished with 18 points (4 triples), 5 boards, 2 dimes, and 2 steals.
Per the Cavs, they plan to run “Ray Allen” type plays for Korver and have him come off of screens for open looks.
As with any new place of employment, part of the struggle is getting assimilated to the new surroundings. Both parties are still learning one another, but make no mistake, adding Korver to the Cavs makes them more dangerous. If that is even possible.
May 7, 2016; Portland, OR, USA; Portland Trail Blazers forward Al-Farouq Aminu (8) reacts after making a three point shot against the Golden State Warriors in game three of the second round of the NBA Playoffs at Moda Center at the Rose Quarter. Mandatory Credit: Jaime Valdez-USA TODAY Sports
Al-Farouq Aminu-Por, SF/PF
The Portland Trailblazers are currently the eighth seed in the West and are 5-5 in their last ten games. Their record is partly due to injuries to some of their key players. Al-Farouq Aminu is one of those players. The forward previously missed 18 games with various injuries, but has seemed to found his groove as of late. He is currently getting about 30 minutes of run and pulled down double digit rebounds in the wins against Cleveland and LA. Against Orlando, Aminu finished with 8 points, 7 boards, 2 dimes, and 1 block. In the last week, he is actually averaging a double-double with 10.8 points (nearly 1 triple), 10.5 rebounds, 2.5 assists, and 1.3 blocks per game. At only 52% owned in the league he is worth a pick up as his game is coming along.
DeMarre Carroll-Tor, SF/PF
As I have made a mention here a few times before, from a fantasy perspective, there are certain players I don’t trust. Back when Carroll played for the Hawks he was solid, but would fade come the playoffs and his production would drop. After signing with the Raptors, the team expected big things from him. But, because of injuries the Raptors seemed to have signed a different player. That is until recently.
According to Carroll, his knee finally feels healthy again. Since lighting up our Rockets for six triples, he has finally regained his shooting touch. Against the Nets, Carroll recorded his first double-double as a Raptor and finished with 18 points (3 triples) and 11 boards. Over the last week he has averaged 16.3 points (2.3 triples), 5.7 rebounds, 1 steal, and nearly 1 assist/ block per game. At 72% owned, make sure he is not sitting on your waiver wire.
Since actuality doesn’t always translate into fantasy relevance, I wanted to highlight some players who should be kept an eye on. These guys are an injury, coaching change, or big game away from impacting on a regular basis. Mark them on your watch list.
Nov 12, 2016; Houston, TX, USA; Houston Rockets center Clint Capela (15) laments a foul call against the San Antonio Spurs during the second quarter at Toyota Center. Mandatory Credit: Erik Williams-USA TODAY Sports
Players on the cusp
Clint Capela-Hou, PF/C
His initial timetable was 4-6 weeks so he is right on schedule. Depending on how practice goes, he could play as early as Tuesday. Remember Capela was almost averaging a double-double so make sure he’s not sitting on your waivers.
Dennis Schroder has had his struggles this season and recently Delaney has started closing out games for the Hawks. Coach Mike Bud is trusting Malcolm more so his minutes may be on the rise. Especially, if Schroder’s funk continues. Against the Celtics, Delaney finished with 17 points (3 triples), 4 boards, and 6 dimes. Then against the Bucks, he put up 9 points (1 triple), 1 board, 9 dimes, and 1 steal. The guard situation in ATL is worth monitoring.
Kyle O’Quinn-NY, PF/C
Sometimes a player can double-double with minimal playing time, but obviously more run means more production. O’Quin was able to finish with 12 points, 11 boards, 3 dimes, and 4 blocks in a win against the Bulls. And this was just with 17 minutes of run. In the previous game against Philly, he dropped 10 points, 15 boards, 3 dimes, 2 steals, and 2 blocks. If Noah or Porzingis sit, Kyle should get the clock and production to go with it.
Cody Zeller-Cha, PF/C
The starting center spot is his for the taking, but Cody is super injury prone. However, when he plays he puts up big numbers. Against Philly, he finished with 16 points, 10 boards, 1 dime, 2 steals, and 1 block.