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Wednesday, December 5, 2012
Jamison a capable fill-in for injured Gasol


Antawn Jamison is one of the most popular adds in ESPN leagues. In a related development, I'm calling Pau Gasol the most toxic player to have on a fantasy roster at the moment.

Pau Gasol
Pau Gasol, a career 51.9 percent shooter from the field, is shooting 42 percent this season.

First things first. With Tuesday's news that Gasol is out with tendinitis in both knees, Jamison becomes a must-add in all formats. In his first start with the Los Angeles Lakers, Jamison produced 15 points, 9 rebounds, 3 3-pointers and 3 blocks in 37 minutes against the Houston Rockets. While the stats won't always be that good, you should be able to count on the playing time, because in Gasol's absence, the Lakers' thin bench can be downgraded to nonexistent.

As for Gasol owners, you have my sympathies, because you're stuck. You not only have an injured player who apparently has had problems with both knees since training camp, you have an injured player who clearly doesn't fit into his new coach's system. So you're left with two unpleasant options: Either trade Gasol for what you can get (which of course wouldn't approach the value of the top-20 draft pick you spent on him) or relegate him to your bench, turn your attention to holiday shopping and hope that in a few weeks, a healthier Gasol has a new NBA home. And for as long as we've been enduring Pau Gasol trade rumors -- not to mention the actual Gasol deal that David Stern snuffed out -- given the Lakers' commitment to Mike D'Antoni, it seems like it could really happen this time.

Gasol is officially day-to-day, but figure on Jamison making at least three more starts, including Wednesday against the New Orleans Hornets. However, with the Lakers entering a dizzying part of the schedule -- Tuesday began a stretch of nine games in 15 days -- you'll see plenty of Jamison over the next two weeks, if not longer, regardless of Gasol's availability.

Looking Back

Andray Blatche (19 points, 11 rebounds, 3 steals) had another strong showing in place of Brook Lopez (foot), who missed his third straight game. The Brooklyn Nets are off until Friday when they host the Golden State Warriors, which begins a stretch of six games in nine days. With nothing definitive about Lopez's return, Blatche remains a nice fill-in play.

• Speaking of the Nets, Deron Williams' owners had to be relieved by his performance Tuesday (33 points, 7 assists, 5 3-pointers). Prior to going 10-of-20 against the Oklahoma City Thunder, D-Will had topped 35-percent shooting just once in his previous 10 games. For the season, Williams is still at just 39.2 percent from the field and 29.7 percent (27-of-91) from downtown.

• You'd think if the Rockets beat the Lakers, their fantasy stars would, um, star, but that wasn't the case on Tuesday. While James Harden, Jeremy Lin and Chandler Parsons combined to go 10-of-43, Omer Asik played just 24 minutes and Patrick Patterson had just six points. The bench, meanwhile, led the team to a come-from-behind victory. The showings of Toney Douglas (22 points, 3 3-pointers) and Greg Smith (21 points, 9 rebounds, 2 blocks) can be dismissed as outliers, but Carlos Delfino (15 points, 3 3s) should continue to see consistent reserve minutes, making him a consideration for leagues of at least 12 teams.

• After starting the previous five games, Kevin Seraphin (16 points, 10 rebounds) came off the bench Tuesday. Still, he saw 31 minutes and recorded his third straight double-double in the Washington Wizards' improbable victory over the Miami Heat. Seraphin could well start the next game, but of course his playing time is paramount. As long as he sees around 30 minutes, Seraphin is a solid deep-league option.

Looking Ahead

• Who is the most underowned player in ESPN leagues? My vote is for Alexey Shved. After a 17-point, 4-assist, 4-trey performance against the Philadelphia 76ers, the rookie is 11-of-19 from long range over his past three games. I'm not saying he's the next Ray Allen, but don't be misled by his current 40.3 percent field-goal percentage. He'll improve on that while helping you in assists and free throw shooting. Shved and the Minnesota Timberwolves visit the Boston Celtics on Wednesday.

• With Richard Hamilton (foot) out for at least a week, Nate Robinson is again fantasy-relevant. Marco Belinelli (6 points, 3 rebounds) started against the Indiana Pacers and Jimmy Butler (4 points, 9 rebounds) played 31 minutes, but Nate-Rob (19 points in 25 minutes) is clearly the top offensive option in this group. The Chicago Bulls visit the Cleveland Cavaliers on Wednesday, and Cavs opponents are shooting a league-best 48.5 percent from the field.

Nikola Vucevic is apparently out of his slump. He's averaging 15.5 points, 13.5 rebounds and 3.0 blocks over his past two games after averaging just 6.8 points over his previous six. The Orlando Magic visit the Utah Jazz on Wednesday. Jazz opponents total the 11th-most blocks per game.

Dion Waiters (ankle) is questionable for the Bulls-Cavs tilt. Derrick Favors (foot) and Danny Green (hamstring) are doubtful for their respective teams, while Raymond Felton (hand) and Tyreke Evans (knee) are expected to play for theirs. Rajon Rondo (suspension) is also set to return.