Wade quietly having fantastic season

March, 21, 2013
Dwyane Wade's recent play is getting overlooked a bit between the streak and the fact that everyone is realizing that LeBron James is playing better basketball than anyone we've seen in at least 15 years (and though it scares me to say it, maybe longer). There's a million things we could talk about with LeBron, and the fact that he pulled out a triple-double on a night when his shot wasn't falling and sparked a 27-point comeback is, of course, totally amazing.

I want to look at Wade a little, though, because while he was quiet Wednesday night in the Heat's big comeback win over the Cavs, his post-All-Star break numbers are almost as astonishing as LeBron's. He's now up to 23.0 points, 5.5 rebounds, 5.6 assists, 2.3 steals and 56.1 percent shooting from the floor, all significant improvements on his season averages. He's not blocking shots the way he used to, and he's becoming the sort of veteran player who, on a night like Wednesday when he doesn't have it going, is more and more willing to play facilitator and attack less on offense. That said, the Wade we've seen since the break is probably still a top-5 fantasy player overall.

Looking Back

Josh McRoberts continues to put up big numbers while starting for the Bobcats. The fantasy goodness will last only as long as his playing time remains high, but it's worth noting that McRoberts is averaging 12.2 points, 9.6 rebounds, 2.8 assists, 1.6 steals and 52.3 percent shooting from the floor over his past five games; those are valuable fantasy numbers from a big man.

Al Horford made all four free throws he attempted Wednesday night for the Hawks against the Bucks, and while that might seem like the most boring of all possible stats to quote here, it really isn't. A 73.6 percent free throw shooter for his career (with a couple of seasons just under 80 percent), Horford has been a disaster at the line this year, and it's hurting what has been his best ever fantasy season. On the bright side, he's now up to 66.7 percent since the break, which is at least digestible. It's the only thing keeping him from warranting a first-round fantasy pick next year, so it's something to keep an eye on down the stretch.

Jeremy Lin has now scored 20-plus points in three straight games for the Rockets after Wednesday night's dismantling of the Jazz. Lin is averaging 18.6 points on 56.5 percent shooting over his past five games, but the most exciting thing about him of late is the fact that he's shooting 41 percent on 3-pointers since the All-Star break. The Rockets need him to be a capable spot-up shooter, and he's going to have even bigger fantasy value next season if he can keep making 3s.

Wesley Johnson keeps putting up decent numbers every now and then for the Suns, but it's worth remembering that he's simply not very good. He averaged 16 points, 6.5 rebounds, 1.5 steals and 1.5 3s over the past two games, but he has needed 37.5 minutes per game to accumulate those numbers, and his percentages are all terrible. There's nothing worth seeing here in fantasy, so don't bother picking him up following last night's 18-point performance (in a nine-point loss at home to the Wizards).

Looking Ahead

• As always, when the Bulls have injuries in the backcourt, you want to make sure you play Nate Robinson. Robinson has a nice matchup against Damian Lillard and the Trail Blazers, and Lillard's defense isn't nearly as polished as his work on the other end. Last time out, Robinson had 34 points, with six 3-pointers, and racked up seven assists, albeit in an overtime game against the Nuggets. He should be good this time out, too.

• Denver's Wilson Chandler is doubtful for Thursday's matchup with the 76ers, which probably means you should have Corey Brewer in your lineup if he's not already there. Brewer is averaging 13.6 points and 2.4 steals over his past five games, and the steals are clearly the thing you'd be looking for if you started him.

Fastbreak Player of the Night

Ricky Rubio didn't look great his last time out (Monday night against the Grizzlies), playing 21 minutes and managing just two points, two rebounds and two assists, but he's also just a week or so removed from a monster triple-double in a blowout win over the Spurs. Rubio is listed as probable for Thursday night's game against the Kings because of a groin injury, and should he find his way into the lineup, the Kings' defense at the point of attack is so haphazard and bad that Rubio has to be my pick here. Another triple-double is possible.



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