If you’re a frequent visitor to this website, chances are you’re aware that there’s a little module thingie (official term) near the middle of the NBA page that tells us the “Highest Searched Players” over the last seven days.
Today, as we begin a new year, we’ll try out a new topic for this column, as we highlight a few of the most-searched-for players over the last week — and consider why people have been searching for them…
Ish Smith, PG, PHI (No. 3 on the Rotoworld search list the last seven days): In case you’re wondering, concerned Stephen Curry owners have made Steph and his bruised leg the No. 1 search on the site the last week, and since I don’t have a ton to say about that situation other than A) He’ll be fine, and B) I’m still trying to wrap my mind around the fact that Curry is averaging 4.7 treys per game, we’ll start a few spots down the list.
As for Smith, in his first three games since rejoining the Sixers — all three starts — he has posted 18.0 ppg, 8.3 apg, 1.7 spg, 1.0 bpg and 0.7 3s (42.0 percent shooting on 16.7 FG attempts per game). Some of those numbers — namely points, blocks and FG attempts — don’t really look sustainable, but I don’t doubt this man’s ability to produce when he gets minutes. In six games as a starter this year (three for New Orleans and three for Philly), he’s at 16.2 ppg, 3.8 rpg, 8.0 apg, 1.3 spg, 0.7 bpg and 0.8 3s. Another set of numbers to consider, courtesy of my intern Bruce: When Ish has played 30-plus minutes this season (14 games), he has posted 15.5 ppg, 8.9 apg, 1.6 spg and 0.7 3s. Enjoy what may be the waiver wire pickup of the year*.
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Deron Williams, PG, DAL (No. 5 on Rotoworld search list): Just one man’s opinion, and quite possibly an obvious one, but I believe we’ve arrived at a crucial juncture of Deron Williams’ season. The reason: After looking pretty durable early on this year (only missing two of his first 28 games for the Mavs), Deron has now missed four straight heading into the weekend. He has certainly played well enough to warrant patience (14.8 ppg, 5.8 apg, 1.2 spg, 1.5 3s), but once he gets back from this injury and starts to put up good numbers again, personally I’d look to deal him. You probably don’t need a reminder, but just in case, here are Williams’ missed games the last five seasons: 17-11-4-18-14.
Eric Bledsoe, PG/SG, PHO (No. 6 on Rotoworld search list): You have my legitimate sympathy if Bledsoe’s knee gave out while it/he was on your fantasy roster, but since there’s not much else to say about Bledsoe other than ouch, I’d like to use this as an excuse to discuss… T.J. Warren. In three games since Bledsoe was lost for the season, the sometimes-electric swingman has posted 21.0 ppg, 5.3 rpg, 2.0 spg and 2.3 3s on 59.5 percent from the field, most recently uncorking 29 points, nine boards, four steals and three treys in a season-high 41 minutes on New Year’s Eve. We’ve certainly seen enough inconsistency from Warren (and inconsistent minutes from the Suns) to make us all a little bit wary, but if I’m looking for a lottery ticket in Phoenix in the wake of Bledsoe’s injury, this is it. Even more so than Devin Booker, who’s also intriguing in theory, but isn’t currently doing a lot with his increased playing time (last four games: 12.5 ppg, 2.5 rpg, 2.0 apg, 0.0 spg and 0.8 3s in 28 minutes per game).
Other Random Thoughts: Kevin Durant has just one 30-point game in his last twelve, is averaging 0.7 spg and 1.5 treys in his last six games, and is coming off a pretty quiet game (for him) on New Year’s Eve: 23 points, two boards, two assists, a block and two 3s. Barring injury, this may be as mildly annoyed as KD’s fantasy owners can possibly get, so if you want to try to deal for him, you might as well take a shot at it now. … Nerlens Noel, last six games: 13.8 ppg, 8.5 rpg, 2.3 spg, 1.7 bpg. Considering that Jahlil Okafor has played in four of those six, I’m confident saying it: Noel is back. … I’m very eager to see what Bobby Portis does on Friday against the Knicks after posting 14.0 ppg and 8.0 rpg in his last two (in an average of 27 minutes per game). Remember, it was against the Knicks that Portis had his breakout (albeit partially garbage time-fueled) game — 20 points, 11 boards, two steals and two treys in 23 minutes. … Marvin Williams, last 10 games: 6.5 ppg, 6.3 rpg, 1.3 bpg, 1.1 3s, 27.4 percent from the field. You could choose to be optimistic and say at least he’s still blocking shots and this is probably just a shooting slump, or you can be realistic and move on.
*Will Barton objects.