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Even though three weeks still remain in this fantasy hoops season, Ricky Rubio already has me looking forward to my next fantasy draft.
After Rubio recorded his first career triple-double on March 12, I dared dream of a world where he could maintain a decent field goal percentage. In eight games since, Rubio has averaged 13.3 points, 4.9 rebounds, 7.4 assists and 2.4 steals while shooting (drum roll) 43.2 percent.
I'll go out on a limb and say that fantasy owners will accept that last number, gleefully.
Of course the 22-year-old still has considerable room for improvement. On Tuesday, Rubio dropped a couple of 3-pointers on the largely defenseless Detroit Pistons -- this to go with 14 points on 6-of-9 shooting, nine assists and two steals -- but he'd been just 1-of-8 from downtown over his previous six games, and of course for the season he's an utterly dreadful 22.4 percent from distance.
Here's the thing to keep in mind, though: Rubio is already acknowledged as one of the NBA's premier playmakers, someone who makes his teammates better. But consider his teammates during this post-All-Star break surge. Nikola Pekovic and Andrei Kirilenko both missed several games earlier this month. And Kevin Love? Well, Love and Rubio have been simultaneously active for three games this season. Next season, Rubio should be making plays for better players, and that's perhaps the biggest reason to be excited about his future fantasy potential.
• With Courtney Lee (ankle) sidelined, Jordan Crawford made his first start for the Boston Celtics. Displaying both his passing skill (six assists) and limitations (six turnovers), Crawford finished with 14 points and a pair of 3s in 41 minutes against the New York Knicks. Expect better numbers on Wednesday when the C's visit the depleted Cleveland Cavaliers.
• Hard to believe in light of his 33-point performance against the Dallas Mavericks, but Chris Paul (knee) was a game-time decision for the Los Angeles Clippers on Tuesday. Despite experiencing swelling in his left knee, Paul logged 39 minutes in the overtime loss. While he figures to be ready to go against the New Orleans Hornets, Paul owners should check for updates later today.
• Joakim Noah (foot) will be a game-time decision for the Chicago Bulls, who host the Miami Heat. Dwyane Wade (knee) is expected to return for the Heat, who apparently will attempt to maintain a winning streak of some renown.
• Owners in need of big stats should consider Kyle O'Quinn, who continues to fill in for Nikola Vucevic (concussion). On Wednesday, the Orlando Magic visit the Charlotte Bobcats, who have been yielding to post players all season. In his past three games, O'Quinn is averaging 11.7 points and 9.7 rebounds, though the 6-foot-10 rookie has only one block in that span.
• More injury news, starting with the promising: Rudy Gay (back) practiced Monday and Tuesday and said he will play when the Toronto Raptors host the Atlanta Hawks. Meanwhile, David West (back) and George Hill (groin) could return for the Indiana Pacers, who visit the Houston Rockets.
• Still more injury news, concluding with the bleak. These players are either ruled out or considered unlikely to suit up on Wednesday: Tyson Chandler (bulging disk), Kevin Garnett (ankle), Marc Gasol (abdominal), Joe Johnson (thigh), Ty Lawson (heel), Jermaine O'Neal (calf) and Metta World Peace (knee).