To review: Jones started this season with some dynamic numbers (14.0 ppg, 7.5 rpg, 1.0 spg, 1.8 bpg, 0.8 3s in his first four games), but missed the fifth game with what was initially called a bruised right leg. At the time, it seemed like nothing to worry about at all.
However, that injury – ultimately labeled a nerve issue – ended up costing Jones 12 weeks. So, if you drafted him, you certainly may have ended up dropping him during that long and bleak absence. Understandable. It also would have been understandable if you dropped Jones once he finally returned. After all, in his first six games back, he averaged just 6.2 ppg, 2.8 rpg and 1.3 bpg. And if you didn’t drop him then, odds are that you (and I) really got fed up when he missed the final two games before the All-Star break. It was then that one of our Rotoworld news blurbs referred to Jones as “one of the most frustrating guys to own in fantasy hoops this season.”
Then came the All-Star break, and Jones emerged after a week and a half off looking like an entirely different human. Specifically, he looked like the early-season version of himself, posting 12.3 ppg, 10.3 rpg and 3.5 bpg in his last four games heading into the weekend, with block totals of 4-3-2-5 during that stretch.
Did I mention that I dropped him in several leagues right before this latest run?
The worst thing about it for me (and the best thing for you, if you added him) is that there’s still room for more production. Most notably, Jones hasn’t hit a 3-pointer since he returned from injury (he’s 0-of-2 on 3s in his last four games), but we know that’s potentially in his arsenal from earlier this season, when he buried three treys in seven attempts in his first four games.
In total, Jones has played in just 14 games this season, and by my count exactly six of them have produced strong numbers. But the fact is, if you managed to add Jones recently, or somehow – through a remarkable display of patience or negligence – managed to not drop him at all, the explosive 23-year-old lefty could be a big factor in your fantasy title run.
Editor's Note: Rotoworld's partner FanDuel is hosting a one-day $350,000 Fantasy Basketball league for Friday's NBA games. It's $25 to join and first prize is $30,000. Starts at 7pm ET on Friday. Here's the FanDuel link.
In other hoops-related observations…
The Celtics have a crowded guard rotation. So naturally, all of them are thriving.
Here’s the breakdown of numbers and minutes for Boston’s top four guards since Isaiah Thomas joined the mix three games ago:
Thomas – 20.3 ppg, 4.0 rpg, 5.7 apg, 1.0 spg, 2.7 3s (27 minutes per game)
Avery Bradley – 18.3 ppg, 3.7 rpg, 2.3 apg, 3.7 spg, 2.7 3s (35 minutes per game)
Evan Turner – 10.7 ppg, 8.7 rpg, 8.7 apg, 1.0 spg, 0.3 3s (34 minutes per game)
Marcus Smart – 11.7 ppg, 3.0 rpg, 3.3 apg, 1.0 spg, 0.7 bpg, 1.3 3s (28 minutes per game)
It certainly helps that Turner, at 6-foot-7, can play some forward, but the fact that these four are all producing is still a pretty big surprise. In particular, I think it’s worth highlighting Turner, who now has six or more assists in seven of his last eight games, a stretch that has seen him average 8.9 ppg, 7.6 rpg, 8.0 apg and 1.4 spg. Even though he’s shooting badly from the field (33.7 percent) and not hitting 3s (0.4), getting those rebound/assist numbers from a guy you found on waivers is huge. Turner probably doesn’t have much trade value, and the recent numbers really don’t look sustainable, so if you can’t deal him, just stay quiet and hope he doesn’t wake up before April.
As for Bradley, the Celtics haven’t exactly torn through a gauntlet of the league’s most elite defensive teams lately (Kings, Lakers, Suns, Knicks in their last four), but the second-most famous Avery in NBA history has been on a hot streak much longer than that. In his last 10 games, Bradley has posted 18.2 ppg, 3.6 rpg, 2.3 apg, 2.0 spg and 2.0 3s, and if you expand that to his last 15, he’s at 16.7 ppg, 1.7 spg and 2.0 3s.
Lastly, on Smart: To be honest, I really thought Thomas’ arrival was going to ruin the rookie’s momentum, but he’s maintaining low-end value (and scoring a bit more) with less pressure to be the man at point guard.
Editor's Note: Need a little daily fantasy inspiration? Meet FanDuel user "pmiles." She's a 55-year-old woman who, despite having a full-time job and only a few months of experience playing daily fantasy, still found time to win the $100,000 grand prize at the FanDuel Playboy Championship earlier this month. See her amazing story here.
And speaking of point guards…
Brooks’ first start after Rose’s injury was kind of ugly (12 points, four assists, 4-of-12 from the field, 3-of-8 from the line in 28 minutes), but the number I want to focus on is the last one: 28 minutes. If we call that an average number of minutes for Brooks going forward, we can see that he has played 28-plus minutes six times this season. In those games, he has averaged 17.0 ppg, 5.3 apg, 0.6 spg and 2.3 3s. I’d probably take the under on the points (maybe closer to 15-16 ppg), but overall I think this is a pretty fair snapshot of what Brooks is going to get you while Rose is out.
For more on the Rose injury (and what it means for Joakim Noah, as well as Rose himself in keeper leagues), check out the video below:
Looking much deeper, Adreian Payne is officially on my watch list.
The No. 15 overall pick by the Hawks (since dealt to the Timberwolves) had a double-double sans Kevin Garnett on Monday (11 points, 10 boards, a block and a trey on 4-of-15 shooting), then had seven boards in just 17 minutes on Wednesday. I know Payne is still pretty raw, but his explosive ability combined with a potential opportunity have me thinking he could make a fantasy impact at some point down the stretch.
Other Random Thoughts: I’m not always interested in players who rarely break the 30-minute mark, but Ed Davis is one recent exception. In his last 12 games, he’s averaging 9.4 ppg, 9.3 rpg, 2.2 apg, 0.8 spg and 1.5 bpg despite topping 30 minutes just once during that stretch. … After back-to-back 29- and 21-point games this week, Luol Deng is now averaging 17.3 ppg, 5.3 rpg, 3.3 apg, 0.8 spg and 1.3 3s in four games since Chris Bosh’s season ended. … In three games since Thaddeus Young left Minnesota, Gorgui Dieng has posted 9.3 ppg, 11.0 rpg, 0.7 spg and 1.0 bpg in 30 minutes per game. … Ricky Rubio’s last four games: 12.0 ppg, 8.3 rpg, 8.5 apg, 3.3 spg, 0.8 3s. Yes, his FG shooting stinks (29.5 percent during this stretch), but overall things are looking lovely if you waited out his ankle injury, or bought low while he was out.
Random Thoughts, Part Two: We know Nerlens Noel has been a monster in steals and blocks lately (last 10 games: 10.7 ppg, 6.9 rpg, 1.7 spg, 3.0 bpg). Meanwhile, an underrated element of his hot streak has been improved percentages. Through his first 42 games, Noel shot 42.6 percent from the field and 52.6 percent from the line. In his last 11 games, he’s at 51.2 / 74.4. … It’s nice to see Michael Kidd-Gilchrist producing in real life, but it’s hard to really like him as a fantasy option when he’s barely doing anything outside of points and boards. Last 20 games: 12.1 ppg, 8.8 rpg, 1.8 apg, 0.6 spg, 0.2 bpg, 0.0 3s (he hasn’t attempted a 3-pointer this season). … We’re all aware that Russell Westbrook has been absurdly good lately, and puts up downright silly numbers when Kevin Durant sits. Lately though, it has barely mattered whether Durant is on the floor or not. Westbrook overall in February has averaged 30.4 ppg, 8.7 rpg, 10.2 apg, 1.6 spg and 1.4 3s in 11 games. And in five games playing with Durant in February, he’s at 30.2 ppg, 7.8 rpg, 8.8 apg, 1.6 spg and 1.6 3s.