2014-15 Fantasy Basketball: Box Score Browsing – Redickulous!

JJ Redick

I know I’ve used this before as have countless others, but JJ has been redickulous lately.

Sure, Blake Griffin has returned which has helped open the perimeter up for Redick, while Chris Paul has been playing insanely good lately, but Redick has been the unsung hero in the absence of the injured Jamal Crawford.

On the season it looks like another ‘ho hum’ Redick year – a few threes a night, elite free throw percentage and below average rebound, assist and steal numbers for a shooting guard.

Delve deeper into his stat-line and you’ll see the elite turnover rate of just 1.2 per night in 31 minutes per – good for a top four mark across the entire NBA for those that qualify. His career high field goal percentage of 46.8% also can’t be overlooked, as it marks the third consecutive increase in that category for him – not bad for a player who’s sole purpose is to shoot the ball from the outside.

Just look at his last dozen games, they’re actually kind of a big deal. He’s scored at least 15 points in every game and hasn’t missed a free throw. The elite 50% shooting from the floor and 100% from the line is accompanied by 3.1 threes and an absurd 21.5 points a night. Be honest, did you know Redick had been averaging over 20 points a night in March?

He’s been even better as of late, which is what prompted him to lead this week’s scribble – even factoring in his last ‘quiet’ game after the Clips flogged the Knicks.

Over his last four games he’s averaged 22.6 points, 2.6 assists, 3.2 threes and just 0.4 turnovers a night while going Duke Nukem on the league to the tune of 56% (on 15.0 attempts) from the field, 49% from deep, and predictably, 100% from the line.

Redick’s missed just one free throw since January 5th, going 68 from 69 in that span. That’s ridiculous. In that same time-frame Hassan Whiteside has registered three total assists (an equally ridiculous stat!). [Read more…]

2014-15 Fantasy Basketball: Week 2 Playoffs, March 23-29

jackson

Source: Driller Photography

 

On Fire

Reggie Jackson seems to be finding his role for the Pistons lately, recording double-digit assists in his previous four games and five of the last six. Jackson had 23 points and 20 assists on St. Patrick’s Day against the Grizzlies, and then followed it up the next night with a triple-double. Jackson is no Russell Westbrook when it comes to fantasy numbers in the last few weeks, but he’s sure worth the value in DFS leagues at his current price. I’m sure that price will go up, but I would take advantage of this hot streak while it lasts.

The last three games, Chris Paul has been playing at the level of an NBA MVP. He’s had double-digit assists the past three games while scoring in bunches as well. He’s been carrying the Clippers, who recently got Blake Griffin back in the lineup, which makes it look like this success is here to stay, at least in the assists category. He’s one of the higher priced point guards in DFS leagues, and with play like this, that price will continue to go up. [Read more…]

2014-15 Fantasy Basketball: Box Score Browsing – Kyrie, Kanter, Khris and Kenneth

Kyrie Irving

In case you’ve been sleeping under a rock or you’re hibernating til the Rugby World Cup (just me?) starts in September, you may have missed Irving’s otherworldly shooting performances.

If you haven’t seen the Cavs-Spurs thriller in San Antonio, do yourself a favor and watch it, or as much of it as you can. The duel between Kawhi Leonard and LeBron James was enough in itself, but Irving’s ridiculous shooting would have merited a slow clap from even the most skeptical Irving critic – he was that hot.

We know he makes his free throws (10-10 against the Spurs), but his three point prowess always seemed to play second fiddle to his impressive ball-handling and driving ability, as he finishes at the rim with either hand, with equal success. Making seven threes in a game is a rare thing, but hitting that mark and missing none is even rarer (seriously, Ben Gordon went 9-9 from deep…TWICE), let alone on a nationally televised game against an equally hot Spurs team, at home. [Read more…]

2014-15 Fantasy Basketball: March 16-22 Playoff Preview

boogie

Credit: Sacramento Press Media

 

For many of you, the playoffs begin now. This week, as usual, I’ll fill you in with players to watch out for, players to add, an injury report, and I’ll fill you in on some superstars around the league to keep an eye on that might possibly start sitting games down the stretch to rest. [Read more…]

2014-15 Fantasy Basketball: Box Score Browsing — A Walk Among the Batumstones

Nicolas Batum

There are very few players in basketball capable of putting up the variety of stats this fantasy friendly Frenchman frequently produces.

When healthy and involved with the offense, he is truly a unique fantasy contributor because of his combination of rebounds, assists, steals, threes and free throw percentage – along with his generally low turnovers (just 1.6 per game for his career, in over 460 games at 30 minutes a night).

With Wes Matthews’ horrendous Achilles’ injury potentially derailing the Blazers’ season, Arron Afflalo steps right in at starting shooting guard, but it’s been Batum who has seen his production increase over the last week or so.

Earlier in his career he was known more for his explosive athleticism and defensive prowess, but a ‘growth spurt’ of sorts (i.e. expanded play-making role) saw him begin to handle the ball a lot more from the small forward spot for Portland. It wasn’t a new role for him as he plays a large chunk of minutes for the French national team at point guard and his fantasy game has subsequently rounded into one that had never been seen before in the NBA. [Read more…]

2014-15 Fantasy Basketball: Week 19 Update

schroder

Source: Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images North America

On Fire

It’s hard to write a segment about players who are currently on fire without the main point of focus being Russell Westbrook. There hasn’t been a guy who has played as well as Westbrook over the last 15 days. In that span, Westbrook is averaging 34.6 points, 11.9 assists and 11.4 rebounds per game. He is only shooting 43% during that span, but James Harden is shooting 44% on the season and is in talks for league MVP. Russell is the MVP of the NBA in my opinion as he is having a better season this year than Kevin Durant was last year when he had his MVP season because of the slack he had to pick up for Westbrook missing time due to his injury. He likely won’t win MVP because of the time he’s missed with multiple injuries, however, he is clearly the best fantasy player in the league right now. [Read more…]

Fantasy Basketball 2014-15 – Box Score Browsing: It’s fun to stay at KawhiMCA

Kawhi Leonard

Was there a more hyped young player coming into fantasy basketball this season?

Anthony Davis, maybe? But Leonard, fresh off a Finals MVP performance to end 2013-14, was being talked about as taking ‘the leap’ in fantasy circles, whereas you could argue Davis had already made that ascension to the fantasy elite last year (2nd in per game value last season).

Leonard’s coming out party hasn’t quite hit the lofty expectations many were hoping for, but his gradual climb in production this year sees him as a fantasy asset in nearly every category for any format of the game.

Yes, his field goal percentage this year has taken a hit (44%, down from 51% through his first three seasons), mainly due to playing a career high 31.6 minutes per game and taking a career high 12.3 shots per night. The extra double teams and national exposure provided by his showing on the big Finals stage in 2014 has meant more scouting to counter his activity on the offensive end.

Leonard’s hitting career highs in nearly every category; he’s upped his points, rebounds, assists and steals per game for the third consecutive season – quite an accomplishment for a the guy being touted as the next franchise guy for the hugely successful Spurs.

Over his last four games he’s averaged 18.5 points, 7.5 rebounds, 2.3 assists, a whopping 2.8 steals, 1.5 blocks, 1.0 three pointer per, along with 54% from the field and 77% from the line.

Leonard is in line for big minutes as the Spurs march towards the playoffs, hoping to attain the one elusive NBA accomplishment they’ve yet to achieve – back-to-back titles. He’s was the number seven ranked player over the past week according to Yahoo, so his trajectory continues to point up as the Spurs sputter with a banged up Tony Parker and 52 year old Tim Duncan.

Hassan Whiteside

This is one of those ‘what do we have here?’ fantasy explosions that seem to happen every year, and just in time for the banged up Heat.

The NBA is littered with these ‘WTFantasy’ storylines, like Larry Sanders in 2012-13, Linsanity in 2011-12, Dorrell Wright in 2010-11, Andray Blatche in 2009-10 and one of my favorites for you old-time fantasy players from way back when (he won me multiple leagues), Marc Jackson in 2000-01. Players like Whiteside can go either way – do they continue to develop after their breakout year – like Nikola Vucevic for example, or do teams adjust to the now ‘in the limelight’ player, like the aforementioned Lin?

The Heat lost Chris Bosh to a terrible blood clot on the lungs issue but Whiteside has done everything he can to replace what the team is missing – rim protection, inside scoring and double figure rebounds.

The blocked shots and rebound numbers have been real eye openers. One player has had three 24 rebound games this season – not DeAndre Jordan, not Kevin Love, nor Andre Drummond. Whiteside has three such games in his last 14 games – as he rampages his way into the discussion for most improved player this season.

There may not be a better waiver wire grab this year, Robert Covington was the darling for a while and Rudy Gobert has potentially more upside than Whiteside – but his 2014-15 stretch of domination will be remembered for a long time in fantasy circles.

Over his last seven games he’s averaged 14.7 points, 15.6 rebounds, 2.9 blocks, just 1.3 turnovers and an awesome 61% from the field. There’s some bad news, however, as he has registered just FOUR total assists in 728 minutes this season, while his free throw shooting needs some work at 54% on the year.

Terrence Jones

Tip of the cap to those managers who kept Jones amidst his serious nerve injury, as you’re now seeing the fruits of your fantasy labors coming into season.

Jones was a big surprise to fantasy last season, proving to be a real asset whilst being eligible at both forward spots, adding 54% shooting from the floor and 1.3 blocks to the solid scoring (12.1 points) and rebounding (6.9) numbers.

This season, that damn injury side-lined him for what seemed like – actually it was – months, but it didn’t slow him down when it comes to producing in the business end of the season. Dwight Howard has been out for weeks, with seemingly no end in sight, but as Jones has combined up front with Donatas Motiejunas, the Rockets haven’t skipped a beat.

It doesn’t hurt that James Harden has also been destroying players and opposing teams alike, well on his way to garnering a large chunk of MVP votes.

Since re-entering the starting line-up, Jones has dominated to the tune of 18.8 points, 9.8 rebounds and 2.2 blocks a night over six games. The 64% shooting from the floor is fantasy gold as is the 1.0 turnover a night, and the 36 minutes a night average is very encouraging as the season goes into the business end.

Layups

Jeremy Lin

Byron Scott is as confused as a baby in a topless bar.

Completely clueless where to go with his rotation and buggered if he knows what to do when he does hit the right combo. Wes Johnson performing? Keep him on the bench! Carlos Boozer crapping the fantasy bed? Start him! Jeremy Lin thriving while the team goes 3-1? Keep him on the bench.

There’s being a tank commander then there’s getting out and spit shining the tracks along the way.

Lin’s not the Linsanity fantasy beast mentioned earlier in this piece, but he doesn’t deserve to be playing behind the likes of Wayne Ellington or Ronnie Price, as he did earlier this season. Jordan Clarkson is the future – until a bigger name (Rajon Rondo? Reggie Jackson?) comes along, but Lin is big enough to play some shooting guard alongside him.

He dropped back-to-back 20+ point games last week, while he’s averaging 17.1 points, 6.0 assists and 1.7 steals in just 28 minutes a night over his last seven games, along with just 1.0 turnover a game during that stretch.

Alexey Shved

The Shved has officially hit the fan in New York.

Ron Harper, Brian Shaw and Sasha Vujacic. Three combo guards with limited athleticism, spotty shooting range and problems with consistency. Also for some reason the prototype lead guard to put in the triangle offense, alongside a star scorer.

Ok so Tim Hardaway Jr. isn’t MJ or Kobe, but Shved has nearly supplanted the masses of mediocrity off the Knicks’ bench (Lance Thomas, Shane Larkin etc) in the depth chart due to his play-making and ball-handling.

Admittedly, I haven’t seen much of the Knicks over the last week (I have other things to do than watch Knicks games this year, i.e say anything short of watching a vasectomy), but Langston Galloway is apparently starting at point guard and he has exactly TWO assists in 80 minutes played over his last three games. Louis Amundson has four assists and Andrea Bargnani (more on him next) has eight over that same three game stretch.

In his last five games he’s produced 12.0 points, 4.2 rebounds, 2.8 assists, 1.0 three and his real strength (this year at least) – 5.2 attempts at the line at an 89% clip. The 1.2 turnovers are gold in nine category leagues, though the 36% shooting from the field would make Antoine Walker blush.

Andrea Bargnani

Il Mago has been really nice over his last five games. Multiple scoring outbursts of 25 points, great free throw shooting from the center position, 2.6 assists and even 1.0 block per game.

Amazing what a contract year can do for a player isn’t it?

Someone needs to do a study on free agents over the past 10 years and see what their PER is for their walk year compared to the year(s) leading into their free agency. I’m looking at you Erick Dampier in 2003-04. And you too Zack – off-season article?

Ride the hot hand until it flames out like it invariably will – either through injury or through shooting his way towards some Knicks wins. Yes, wins. This is a glaringly obvious tank situation as well.

Tony Snell

I was quite high on Snell’s chances at landing the starting small forward spot going into the season, so much so I projected his stats as 10.1 points, 5.0 rebounds and 1.5 threes per game in the Fantasy Hoops Insider draft kit.

It took over three months and 58 Bulls’ injuries, but he’s finally delivering on that promise he showed in summer league. Mike Dunleavy is old as dirt and Doug McDermott isn’t ready to contribute on a playoff team with deep aspirations, while Nikola Mirotic is best suited as a stretch four/big small forward.

If you need threes en masse (2.8 over his last five games), solid shooting percentages (44% from the floor and 89% at the line) and the potential for steals upside, Snell is a guy to plug into your line-up until Jimmy Butler is back healthy.

 

As always we welcome your feedback, so feel free to hit me up on Twitter (@macetasticand I’ll do my best to reply to any comments.

Big ups to the amazing Basketball-Reference, for all the links and for de-railing me so often, all in the name of research.

2014-15 Fantasy Basketball: Waiver Wire Fix — Week 18

WWF Pic

Welcome to the week 18 Waiver Wire Fix. Be sure to check back here every week for the duration of the fantasy hoops season for more wire targets. I’ve begun breaking the column down according to player types. This should help you find the player that best fits your team’s specific needs. There will be different categories every week, so I hope you enjoy the new format. If you’re not sure if you should drop a certain player from your team for one of these targets, then shoot me a tweet and I’ll give my two cents. [Read more…]

2014-15 Fantasy Basketball: Week 18 Preview

Photo credit: Christian Petersen/Getty Images

Photo credit: Christian Petersen/Getty Images

 

4 Games: BOS, BKN, CHA, CHI, CLE, DAL, DEN, GS, HOU, LAL, MEM, MIA, NO, PHI, PHO, SAC, TOR, UTA

3 Games: ATL, DET, IND, LAC, MIL, MIN, NY, OKC, ORL, POR, SA, WSH

 

On Fire:

Mo Williams – Since being traded to the Charlotte Hornets, Mo Williams has put up close to elite fantasy numbers as the Hornets starting point guard, filling in for the injured Kemba Walker. He’s averaging 23.4 points per game and has two double-doubles during that span. He’s been an absolute steal on DraftKings as of late, but his price is rising. He’s well worth the money spent in daily leagues and is well worth adding him in standard leagues as well. I would be skeptical of giving too much up in a trade, however, because Kemba Walker’s return will be detrimental to his value. Lean on him heavy and often in the meantime.

Isaiah Thomas – Another guard who’s benefiting from a trade deadline move is Isaiah Thomas. Thomas has scored at least 19 points in every game as a Celtic thus far, including 28 last Friday against the Hornets. Some would be concerned with his minutes while leaning heavy on him, eclipsing 30 minutes just one time in five games so far as a Celtic, but he’s been so productive that it doesn’t seem to matter. In fact, imagine the numbers he could be putting up if he was playing between 35-40 minutes a night?

Ice Cold:

Reggie Jackson – Jackson was traded to the Detroit Pistons at the NBA trade deadline and was almost brought to tears (according to his twitter account) because he was so happy to be given an opportunity to shine as a starting point guard. Since then, he has had a game where he shot 5/24 from the field, and was benched by head coach Stan Van Gundy. He’s relatively expensive on DraftKings considering that he has been a bench play for most of the season, and hasn’t produced the numbers so far to make me think he’s worth it in daily leagues.

Gordon Hayward - Hayward hasn’t been terrible by any stretch of the imagination, but he makes the ice cold list this week because of his production based on the amount he costs in daily leagues. Although SF can be a tough pool to pick from when you want consistency on nights where LeBron James isn’t playing, or if you don’t want to splurge for the 4-time MVP, I would look elsewhere and not lean on Hayward until the production picks back up, which I believe it will.

 

Stream options:

Jae Crowder – Crowder has made the most of his minutes increase in Boston and is worth a look in all leagues.

Terrence Jones – Jones is back to his big time production that he was giving before the injury, and with Dwight Howard out and James Harden suspended for one of the Rockets games this week, he could continue to post big time numbers.

Michael Kidd-Gilchrist – MKG has been spectacular since coming back from his short injury stint. On nights when he doesn’t do it with points, he does it with rebounds, steals, and/or blocks. MKG has been paying off big time in daily leagues and I would continue to use him until he proves otherwise.

Andrea Bargnani – That’s right…Add Bargs and, for now, party like it’s 2010! It will be short lived…

Will Barton – Will has been quite the surprise to me since Arron Afflalo was traded to Portland and he’s been an incredible find in daily leagues at his low cost. That cost, however, will likely continue to creep up the more productive that he continues to be, so get him now while you can.

Nikola Mirotic – Someone has to score for the Bulls without Rose and Butler in the lineup, and it will likely be Gasol and Mirotic, just be weary of that injury bug that’s floating around Chicago.

Rudy Gobert – Gobert is seeing big minutes with Enes Kanter gone to OKC, and so far he’s been well worth adding, just for the production he’s giving in blocked shots.

 

Injury report:

Anthony Davis is close to a return from his shoulder injury.

Kyrie Irving is day-to-day with a shoulder injury and should be close to a return.

Jimmy Butler is out 3-6 weeks with a hyper-extended elbow.

Jeff Teague (thigh) is day-t0-day after receiving an electric stimulant in his left thigh. Any time he is out Dennis Schroder is a nice play.

DeMarcus Cousins is day-to-day with an ankle injury and it doesn’t sound like he will miss much time.

Tyson Chandler is out with a hip injury, but shouldn’t miss a significant time. The Mavericks center has missed the last three games but will likely return to the lineup sooner rather than later.

Blake Griffin: No news on Griffin as he continues to rest his elbow injury, but he should be back in the next week or two.

Darren Collison is out with hip surgery to repair a core muscle injury. He will be re-evaluated in 3-6 weeks. I would be fine cutting him in standard leagues.

Kemba Walker will be re-evaluated Wednesday to see how far along his process is on his knee injury. He’s worth stashing at this point.

Taj Gibson is expected to miss around two weeks

Jose Calderon (achilles) is out at least two weeks. Langston Galloway is the primary beneficiary, Shved and Larkin will split backup point guard duties.

 

For more fantasy basketball analysis or to have your questions answered, Follow Max on Twitter @MaxHaldeman13.

2014-15 Fantasy Basketball: Box Score Browsing – Canaan Fodder

Isaiah Canaan

The Philadelphia 76ers are seemingly playing draft pick monopoly, accruing future firsts at an unheard of rate.

Out the door was counting stats guru but shooting averse (Rookie of the Year no less) Michael Carter-Williams, into the fire is Isaiah Canaan.

Coming out of the NBA hotbed of Murray State, he enjoyed a stellar four year career which included an All American team in 2012 and culminated with a senior year that saw him average 21.8 points, 3.5 rebounds, 4.3 assists, 1.5 steals and an impressive 3.0 threes per game.

A shoot first point guard with a penchant for the long ball, Canaan has come out firing in his first real gig as a consistent starter. As others have mentioned, he essentially played a shoot-point while starting alongside James Harden earlier in the season, but now he’s most definitely the primary ball-handler for a team who willingly traded for JaVale McGee.

Canaan isn’t a pass-first point guard like his predecessor MCW (sort of) was, nor is he particularly defensive or good at rebounding, but he can shoot and he can score and he’s been given the green light to do both on his new team.

From here on out, we expect Canaan to get the majority of minutes at point guard, which translates well when you see his game log in terms of playing at least 28 minutes a game. Average the very small sample size (six games) and he’s produced averages of 15.3 points, 3.5 rebounds, 3.2 assists, 1.5 steals, a respectable 48% clip from the floor and an amazing 3.7 threes per night (22-48, 46%).

He’s not going to be a top 40 guy the rest of the way, but he’s locked into a starting gig for a team that (externally at least) truly believes in his talent, and he could very well win you threes while helping in assists, steals and points.

P.J. Tucker

After the seemingly nuclear detonation of the Phoenix Suns’ core at the trade deadline, there are still some fantasy notables left standing.

Tucker is a hard-nosed, leave it all on the floor player who is no stranger to transactions, having played professional basketball in no less than seven different countries.

Once the dust was settled in the desert, he was still standing there as the starter at small forward. At times he’ll match up on defense with anyone from James Harden to Zach Randolph, such is his will and hunger for the game. Coach Jeff Hornacek knows he has a warrior on his hands who would hug a cactus if it meant his team got the win, so he’s continued to play him despite other options at small forward like Gerald Green, Marcus Morris and T.J. Warren.

Tucker played a lot of minutes last year, though he rarely contributed enough in any category to truly be a fantasy asset. Since the All Star break though, he’s picked up his game – perhaps seeing that Suns’ brass may want T.J Warren getting more burn at the 3 spot.

In his last four games, including the last one leading into the All Star break, Tucker has been ballin’. 15.3 points, 8.5 rebounds, 1.5 steals, 2.0 threes and 50/70 splits – while playing 32.0 minutes per night. Those are pretty solid stats for a guy who basically plays small-power forward, with shooting guard eligibility proving to be a real asset with those rebounding stats.

Rodney Stuckey

Stuckey is the sort of fantasy player I hate. Maybe hate is a strong word – more like he is the sort of player who frustrates the bejesus out of me.

I get that he dropped back-to-back 30 point monsters within the last week, but he’s just as likely to shoot 5-30 over the next two games combined. And of course after I pick him up (which I have), the latter will most certainly happen.

He’s one of those combo guards who doesn’t quite get enough assists or threes to warrant an immediate pick-up, which is a problem because there’s always a trigger (aka ‘ADD PLAYER NOW’) manager in every league and you can’t give him a week to see if it’s the typical flash in the pan (yes you C.J Miles).

Anyway, ranting aside, Stuckey has proven to be useful at times this season for a Pacers team mired in mediocrity but also promising a lot more with the potential return of Paul George. Stuckey’s an elite slashing guard, getting to the rim at will against bigger defenders and posting up smaller point guards. His issue has always been a lack of consistency and a hankering for taking long jumpers – not of the three point variety – but the worst kind.

*I’ve just woken up, checked the box scores and seen Stuckey’s latest ‘performance’ and couldn’t be happier about the second paragraph and for benching him in my money league. Whilst putting my socks on preparing for work, it leads me to compare him to putting socks on in the dark. You can never quite get the seams properly aligned and it doesn’t quite fit right until you’ve got the lights on and you see the error of your ways. You, Rodney Stuckey, are like putting socks on in the dark. Sure, you’re on my roster (feet) but at what cost?*

Nerlens Noel

Allow my colleague Zack and I some time to gloat about the 76ers defensive juggernaut, as we both touted him highly as a fantasy asset coming into the season.

Earlier in the season Noel had his growing pains, along with his shooting issues, strength issues and questions about what position he really was – but ultimately he has proved his supporter’s right by really putting it all together over the last month or so.

Steals and blocks are very difficult to find on your waiver wire, generally because they’re the hardest stats to accrue in reality and you need to play a lot of minutes to rack up consistent, rosterable numbers. James Johnson comes to mind, along with young bigs like Alex Len, Rudy Gobert and Jusuf Nurkic. Only Nurkic has a comparable steals rate since becoming a full-time starter and even then it pales compared to Noel’s.

In his last 11 games, Noel has had three games with at least four steals, as well as a six block effort against Minnesota and a nine block/four steal masterpiece against Indiana. The dude just racks up defensive stats, which has seen him rocket up the fantasy rankings. Sure, if you put his game under a fantasy nerlens you’re going to see flaws, but his defensive upside overrides any sub-par shooting percentages and absence of assists or threes.

Dating back to 7 February, Noel has averaged 12.6 points, 6.6 rebounds, 2.4 assists, 2.0 steals, 3.6 blocks and very respectable 54% shooting from the floor and 71% at the line. That five game stretch saw him as the ninth best player in fantasy in terms of total value, as per Basketball Monster, so he is delivering on the promise many NBA fans saw in his injury-plagued solo campaign at Kentucky.

If you hung onto him earlier in the season through his up and down rookie year, kudos to you. If you don’t have him in dynasty leagues, make a play for him with a more established name because the defensive stats he’s capable of putting up are right up there with Anthony Davis.

Layups

Elfrid Payton

Payton is doing his best Rajon Rondo/Ricky Rubio impression this year.

There’s the great rebounding, low threes and poor free throw shooting of Rondo, mixed with the great steals and solid scoring of Rubio.

The difference between the two vets and this Magic rookie is the beastly 51% he’s shot from the floor over the last five games, in which he’s averaged 10.6 points, 6.8 rebounds, 6.0 assists, 2.0 steals and just 2.0 turnovers per night.

He’s not going to rack up triple doubles or 20 point games, but Payton’s become the primary ball-handler, with eight games of at least seven assists in his last 16 games – compared to 12 through his first 42 games.

What’s more, the Magic are winning and they’re winning with Payton playing big minutes. They’re 3-1 in their last four games, with Elf playing at least 32 minutes in each. If you can absorb the lack of threes and the poor free throw percentage (just 13-22, 59% during that stretch), then he’s a viable asset in most fantasy formats.

Ricky Rubio

Ricky Rubio is on many of my fantasy teams.

If you graphed my team averages over the course of the season you’d see a smile in both assists and steals while he was out, such is the production he delivers in those two categories.

People forget he led the entire NBA in total steals last year at 191, while coming second in assists at 704. Basically what I’m saying is, when he’s healthy he’s a very good fantasy point guard.

He was averaging a robust 10.0 assists per game prior to his severe ankle injury, along with 1.2 steals and 5.6 rebounds. Since returning from said injury he’s been very solid, averaging 12.1 points, 5.4 rebounds, 7.0 assists, 1.0 three and 2.0 steals per night, in seven games.

The bad news?

He’s shot just 36% over that span, including 4-19 (26%) over his last two contests. Rubio’s got a myriad of athletes and score-first types on this young Wolves team, so you can expect close to double-double production, along with massive steal totals and above average free throw shooting.

As always we welcome your feedback, so feel free to hit me up on Twitter (@macetasticand I’ll do my best to reply to any comments.

Big ups to the amazing Basketball-Reference, for all the links and for de-railing me so often, all in the name of research.