All-Star weekend kicked off with a bang on Friday night as Team Grant Hill defeated Team Chris Webber 142-136. The matchup featured the best rookie and sophomore superstars going at it in fast-paced affair. While these games usually don’t offer much fantasy information, it’s still interesting to see who shined the brightest. Without question the brightest star was Pistons big man Andre Drummond. The rebound machine racked up 25 boards to go along with 30 points as he locked up the MVP trophy for Team Hill. Interestingly, Drummond managed to go 6-8 from the free-throw line and if he ever gets that part of his game under control he’ll be a fantasy juggernaut.
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Dion Waiters also shined for the sophomore dominated Team Hill, adding 31 points, while Terrence Jones looked respectable with 14 points and six rebounds. Both players have had a rollercoaster of a first half and will hopefully find better consistency after the break. One player on Team Hill who didn’t shine was starting center Jonas Valanciunas, who could only muster four points and two rebounds. He missed a few easy buckets early one and wasn’t really a factor for most of the game. The Raptors big man went into the break a bit cold, going 1-9 on Wednesday, but had been very consistent since the New Year.
On the other side of the floor Tim Hardaway Jr. stole the show for Team Webber, knocking down seven three-pointers on his way to 36 points. The Knicks sharpshooter has been playing a bigger role off the bench as of late and should continue to be a cheap source of triples going forward. Anthony Davis did his thing, finishing with 16 points, eight rebounds, three steals, and two blocks. The Pelicans emerging star had a few impressive dunks and should continue to light it up for his squad going forward.
Sporadically used Nets power forward, Mason Plumlee broke out with 20 points and seven rebounds. Plumlee has had a few big games for the Nets but scored just three points in his final two games before the break. His place in the rotation severely limits his fantasy potential.
2014 Shooting Stars Competition – Team Curry, which includes the father and son tandem of Stephen and Dell Curry along with WNBA star Becky Hammon, will take home the trophy.
2014 NBA Skills Challenge – Damian Lillard, with his sick handle and long-range shooting, will take home the Skills Challenge title.
2014 NBA All-Star Game – The Western Conference All-Stars will get the win thanks to an MVP performance from Kevin Durant.
Three Players to Own in the Second Half
Kyrie Irving has been a disappointment in a sense that he was likely taken in the first round of your fantasy draft and yet, he’s producing just third round value in most leagues. His points, rebounds, steals, and shooting percentages are all down from last season but there is a silver lining. He averaged nearly 22 points and seven assists over his final four games before the break and dropped over two three-pointers per game during that stretch. The Cavaliers won all four of those contests as well, meaning having Irving score and direct the offense heavily is the key to their success. The franchise fired GM Chris Grant last week and replaced him with current VP of operations David Griffin. Since that time Irving and the squad as a whole have looked more focused. Irving is certainly a guy to target for the second half as he could drop close to 25 and seven the rest of the way.
Andre Iguodala started out the season scorching, grabbing top-50 value over the first few weeks. However, an injury forced him out of the lineup for nearly a month and upon his return the small forward just didn’t look right. Iggy has spent the better part of the last two months scraping by, barely able to hold top-150 value. While the Warriors have been hit with injuries to both Andrew Bogut and David Lee lately, Iguodala has been able to get into somewhat of a groove. Over his last four games he’s averaging 10 points, seven rebounds, four assists, and 1.5 steals per game. These numbers don’t jump off the page but over the last week or so, Iggy has jumped back into top-75 range thanks to his versatile game. With a little rest and a boost in confidence from his recent run, Iguodala should be much better in the second half.
Chris Kaman has been lighting it up for the Lakers over the last week and the ride may not be over just yet. With Pau Gasol nursing a groin injury and his name swirling in trade rumors, Kaman could be looking at a huge second half of the season. After averaging 22 and 10 over his last four games, Kaman has become a waiver wire gem. Obviously the status of Gasol is crucial in order for Kaman to truly break out consistently. Mike D’Antoni has already stated that Gasol and Kaman won’t play together, meaning Kaman’s playing time will be very limited if Gasol remains in Los Angeles. However, with the trade deadline approaching and the Lakers in the basement, Kaman is at the very least a must-hold player as his potential to post regular double-doubles is too great to not get excited about.
Three Players to Avoid in the Second Half
Reggie Jackson has had a great run as the starting point guard in Oklahoma City. As a starter, he’s averaging over 14 points, nearly five assists, and one triple per contest. He’s also chipping in 1.5 steals and in Russell Westbrook’s absence he’s done a commendable job. However, Westbrook is set to return shortly after the break and while Jackson will assume a sixth man role, his minutes will take a noticeable dip. Coming off the bench this season he’s averaging less than 13 points, three assists, and less than one triple and one steal per contest. The point is that while Jackson’s scoring won’t change too much, his supplemental stats will, meaning he’ll go from a top-80 player to a top-120 player. On top of the cut in minutes, Jackson will likely have to share the ball with Jeremy Lamb and Derek Fisher, who are also vying for shots in that second unit. Jackson will still be a very useful player and he won’t have a Darren Collison kind of dip but those who own Jackson should prepare for his eventual reduced role.
Rudy Gay was having a very productive fantasy season while in Toronto early on, averaging nearly 20 points, with a nice helping of boards, steals, and blocks. His move to Sacramento was initially very good, as he had a great January; however, his February numbers are his lowest this season as he’s scoring under 17 points per game while shooting just 40% from the field. The emergence of DeMarcus Cousins and Isiah Thomas have left Gay as the third option on most nights meaning his consistency may suffer going forward.
Dwyane Wade as a player to avoid may seem obvious but it’s relevant nonetheless. The interesting thing is that while Wade has missed a bunch of games this season he’s still a top-50 player in most leagues. The Heat are vying for a three-peat meaning Wade will likely sit even more games as he rests up for the playoffs. His numbers are actually really good on most nights that he plays so if you’re able to convince a willing owner to take Wade due to his big game potential, now is the time to do so as his DNP total will only increase.