As you know if you’re a regular reader of this column, it normally ends with a paragraph or two of random (and sometimes coherent) basketball-related thoughts. This week, in the absence of any sort of focus from yours truly, we bring you Roundball Stew at its most scatterbrained (but hopefully still helpful), with an oversized edition of Random Thoughts, broken up into five parts. Let’s begin…
Random Thoughts, Part One: DeMarcus Cousins has at least 30 points and at least two 3s in six of his seven January games. And after a distressingly bad December shooting the ball (39.1 percent from the field), Cousins is at 49.4 percent so far in January. He is, of course, averaging 4.6 turnovers in his last five (including a 10-TO game last Tuesday), but by now we all know that’s part of the fun (and torment) of the whole Boogie experience. … Victor Oladipo, in five games since returning to the starting five: 20.4 ppg, 6.0 rpg, 4.2 apg, 1.8 spg, 0.6 bpg and 3.6 3s. Hopefully Scott Skiles will not figure out a way to ruin this. … I’m still not ready to trust Shane Larkin with a starting lineup spot, but I’m not quite giving up on him yet either. After Wednesday’s outing (17 points, five assists in 25 minutes), three of his last five games have included some useful stats. In the long run I would definitely bank on Larkin beating out Donald Sloan for the majority of the PG minutes in Brooklyn.
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Random Thoughts, Part Two: After posting 19 points, 10 boards, a steal and three blocks on Wednesday, Cody Zeller has now averaged 11.5 ppg, 8.6 rpg, 1.2 spg and 1.3 bpg in his last 11 games. … Meanwhile, Ian Mahinmi, in his last six, has put up a very Zeller-esque 11.8 ppg, 8.8 rpg, 1.0 spg and 1.2 bpg. … Even including a vomit-inducing outing on Tuesday (zero points, five assists in 30 minutes), Jose Calderon is still averaging 9.7 ppg, 3.8 rpg, 4.3 apg, 1.2 spg and 1.7 3s on 54.0 percent shooting in his last nine games. Try not to overreact the next time he does something wretched. … Jusuf Nurkic’s last five games: 9.6 ppg, 7.0 rpg, 1.8 bpg in just 17 minutes per game. Never mind that his percentages stink so far (39.1 / 54.5), or that he’s dealing with ankle (and apparently knee) issues at the moment – a little ways down the road, Nurkic could be a flat-out monster.
Random Thoughts, Part Three: Robin Lopez had a pretty awful month-long stretch from early November to early December (4.8 ppg, 5.4 rpg, 1.0 bpg in 16 games), but he has been a lot better lately, including 12.0 ppg, 7.2 rpg and 2.0 bpg in his last nine (and at least one block in 14 of his last 16 games). … I don’t doubt that Lou Williams can continue to be productive in the wasteland that is Lakers hoops, but if you’re not at least testing his trade value after his recent run (22.8 ppg, 3.9 rpg, 3.7 apg, 1.0 spg, 2.2 3s in his last nine games), you’re not being opportunistic enough. … Jabari Parker has hit double figures in scoring in eight consecutive games, but is posting just 14.1 ppg, 5.1 rpg, 1.3 apg, 1.1 spg and 0.3 bpg (53.8 percent from the field) during that stretch. Until he starts hitting 3s (he’s 0-of-5 on the season), or starts piling up a bunch of defensive stats, he’s just not an exciting – or very helpful – fantasy option.
Random Thoughts, Part Four: P.J. Tucker has somehow hit for exactly five points in five of his last seven games, which would be upsetting, except that he’s actually been pretty useful during that stretch: 8.1 ppg, 6.7 rpg, 2.6 apg, 1.9 spg, 0.6 bpg and 1.0 3s. … Jimmy Butler’s assists are up from last year (3.3 -> 4.2), and the spike in that category has all taken place over the last month. After posting 3.2 apg through mid-December (24 games), Butler has averaged 5.9 apg in his last 14 (and 6.8 apg in his last six, if you’re interested in that sort of thing).
Random Thoughts, Part Five: Jeff Teague’s numbers have been flat-out sad in January (10.6 ppg, 3.0 apg, 1.2 spg and 1.2 3s on 40.4 percent shooting in 24 minutes per game), but I still consider him a pretty good buy-low option. As ugly as it looks right now, Teague remains very capable of waking up one day and suddenly mauling box scores – especially if he can put some lingering ankle trouble behind him. … Since returning from an ankle injury of his own, Danilo Gallinari has posted 26.2 ppg 6.2 rpg, 0.8 spg and 1.7 3s in six games. … Larry Nance Jr. is far from a thrilling option, but he has notably averaged 9.6 ppg, 8.3 rpg and 1.7 spg on 60.8 percent shooting in his last 11 games. On a less positive note, he has only played more than 25 minutes four times in those 11 games, and doesn’t do much of anything in other categories (0.6 apg, 0.3 bpg). But if you’d prefer to end on a positive note, I can tell you this: Nance has two or more steals in five of his last six games, including six in just 23 minutes on Thursday.