Playoff races are happening. Rookies on teams competing for playoff positions will suffer, but young players on good teams will get a chance to step up, and a few fantasy gems may be revealed.
If your team needs a high risk/high reward pick, Maurice Harkless is your guy. The 20-year-old Harkless’ upside dwarfs anyone else on the list, and his path to playing time appears to have become unclogged with Glen Davis’ buyout and Moe’s promotion to the starting five. In the last two weeks, his 12.3 points and 1.6 3 pointers may not overwhelm, but the 1.7 steals and 0.9 blocks would help most teams. He could do even better than that down the stretch.
Don’t Pick Up:
Matt Barnes had been getting more shots with Jamal Crawford. In his last 7 games he’s averaging 17.3 points, 3.3 threes, over 6 boards, over a steal and over half a block per game. Having said all that, don’t pick him up. His hot streaks don’t last months and his stats the rest of the way will be close to his 8.9/4.4/1.8 season average. Crawford admitted last night to coming back too soon and won’t suit up Monday. That should mean more minutes for Darren Collison.
The arrival of Caron Butler will impact Reggie Jackson’s playing time, and owners are starting to cut bait on the marginal scoring point guard. He’s a talented player, but Jackson’s 10.7/2.8/3 average since Russell Westbrook returned may be his best case scenario the rest of the way.
On the Radar:
Caron Butler’s opportunity for minutes is much greater in the win-now situation in OKC, which also bodes well for open looks from three. He may well eat most of Jeremy Lamb’s minutes and shots down the stretch. If he gets near the 31+ minutes he has averaged as a starter this year, Butler could approach the 15/6 with 1.9 threes he has put up in those thirteen games.
If someone is young and not terrible, the Lakers must play him, and Kent Bazemore appears to fit the criteria. Bazemore averaged 16.5 points in 8 games after a return from the D-league, and then scored a meager 3 points in Denver on Friday night. That said with the Lakers crazy rotation, anything seems possible. Just stay tuned.