Phoenix's Giricek worth a look

March, 16, 2008
03/16/08
9:45
AM ET
The beat goes on for Hedo Turkoglu and the Magic. The team's victory last night clinched a playoff berth, and once again Turkoglu led the way. He put up 27 points and 6 assists and has averaged 22.0 points, 6.2 rebounds, 6.6 assists and 1.0 steals over his last five games. These are Tracy McGrady-like numbers. Turkoglu has been more than a fantasy sleeper this season, he has been one of the best small forward/shooting guards in the game. Draft accordingly next season.

Meanwhile, Dwight Howard, a far more hyped player, was in foul trouble for much of the game but still managed 18 points, 12 rebounds and 3 blocks. You take the bad with the good when owning Howard, however; his owners absorbed an 0-for-5 night at the free-throw line, as well as seven turnovers.

If you are looking for fantasy help under every dark stone, take a gander at Marquis Daniels. He had 14 points last night in 23 minutes. While he hasn't been seeing regular minutes, Marquis has been making the most of what he been getting. In his last five games, he has averaged 10.4 points and 1.2 steals in just 17.2 minutes per game.

It was Flip Murray starting at point guard for the Pacers, not Travis Diener. Diener still got more minutes (28 to Murray's 20), but clearly coach Jim O'Brien is not happy with his recent shooting: 26.7 percent from the field over his last five games. If this timeshare persists, neither Murray nor Diener will have much value.

Outside of Eric Karabell and those of you in Philadelphia, few fans realize that the 76ers have turned into a very solid team. They have eight of their last 10 games, and they even beat the Spurs on Saturday. I have written before about their great interior defense -- as Tim Duncan's 5-for-14 night might attest -- but another driving force has been Andre Miller. For a guy many of us assumed was trade bait back in December, he has turned in an excellent season. Last night he worked the Spurs for 32 points, 7 assists and 2 steals. I love Miller's prospects going forward. The Sixers will fight to keep from matching up against Detroit or Boston in the first round and are within reach of the five seed. Miller will log heavy minutes to achieve this goal, so don't expect a letdown in the weeks ahead.

Chris Kaman missed yet another game, again leaving the offense almost entirely in the hands of Corey Maggette (34 points, 6 3-pointers and 5 rebounds). There is another player who has also been picking it up in Kaman's absence, though: Tim Thomas (17 points, 1 3-pointer, 7 rebounds Saturday). Thomas has been getting dropped by ESPN league owners (his ownership is down 16.8 percent), but over his last three games he has averaged 31.6 minutes, 16.3 points, 1.7 3-pointers and 5.7 rebounds. I have to think some teams out there could use these numbers. Plus, keep in mind that coach Mike Dunleavy told the Associated Press that Kaman will "be out a while." While this is ugly for Kaman owners, it presents an opportunity for Thomas and those willing to pick him up. I mentioned this in Friday's Occupational Hazard, but Kaman owners must prepare for the inevitable shutdown. Indeed, we might be witnessing it right now.

Darius Songaila continues to confound Andray Blatche owners such as my colleague, Brian McKitish. Last night he logged 35 minutes and put up 14 points and 8 rebounds. Blatche, on the other hand, played just 19 minutes and had six points and seven rebounds. At this point, Blatche owners should give up the dream and pick up Songaila. It shouldn't be hard. Songaila is owned in only 1.1 percent of league, versus Blatche's 10.3 percent.

The Jazz are tough to figure out. One night after they toppled the team with the NBA's best record, the Jazz fell to the middling New Jersey Nets. A big part of the problem was their inability to stop Devin Harris, who is looking better and better each game he plays in a Nets uniform. He had a fantastic all-around line Saturday, with 19 points, 8 rebounds and 12 assists. Five of his dimes led to lay-ups or dunks by Josh Boone (21 points, 13 rebounds). In time, this could be a decent tandem. Carlos Boozer did his part to keep the Jazz in the game, matching his career high with 41 points, but it wasn't enough.

No Ray Allen, no problem for the Celtics last night. This one was a cruiser for the C's, which also means, unfortunately, that none of their players had big fantasy nights. It's hard for any single person to put up big numbers when no one plays more than 29 minutes -- and it was James Posey who had the game high. The defense was, as usual, stifling. Recent Man of the Hour, Charlie Villanueva, found the going a bit tougher against Kevin Garnett, putting up just 10 points and 8 rebounds on 4-of-15 shooting from the field. Mo Williams was rusty after missing five games because of a strained lower abdomen, and having a healthy Rajon Rondo guarding him didn't help him. Expect more minutes and production from Paul Pierce and Garnett next week as they face the Spurs, Rockets, Mavs and Hornets. No "cruisers" found in that bunch.

Maybe the Suns are getting the hang of playing with Shaquille O'Neal. After putting up 79 points in the first half, it seems like all engines are go. There were a couple interesting lines that came out of the 127-99 whooping the Suns laid on the Kings. First, Gordan Giricek scored 23 points with four 3-pointers. This is two games out of three in which he has gotten serious burn off the bench and put up good numbers. Deep leaguers should pay attention. Giricek could always shoot, and the Suns are a team that rewards good shooters. The last shooting guard from the Jazz to migrate to the Suns (Raja Bell) has done pretty well, I'd have to say. As an aside, Grant Hill sat out the second half to rest his sprained wrist.

Something is wrong with Brad Miller. How else can you explain his sudden plunge into the fantasy toilet? Last night Spencer Hawes again took minutes away from Miller. I could maybe understand this if it weren't for the fact that Hawes played so poorly. He played 25 minutes to Miller's 19 and racked up five turnovers and five fouls during that time, shooting 2-of-9 from the field. Miller, meanwhile, shot 5-of-6 from the field for 10 points and had but one turnover and three fouls. I have to think Miller is less than 100 percent, considering how this is playing out.

With each game he plays, Minnesota's Randy Foye is calling me out. Yes, it's gotten personal after I said he would never be a point guard in this league. Well, check the numbers over his last five games: 14.4 points, 5.4 rebounds, 6.8 assists, with just 1.4 turnovers. Um, those are solid point-guard numbers, and last night he did it again. He looked for teammates and ended up with a near triple-double with 9 points, 10 boards and 8 assists. Given the final score (the Blazers beat the Wolves 107-96), maybe this was a night that Foye should have looked for his shot more often.

Rudy Gay got his numbers (20 points, 11 rebounds, 2 steals and 2 blocks), but it took a lot of bricks to build that house. Gay shot an appalling 8-for-24 from the field and got worked by Stephen Jackson (21 points, 6 assists) to close the fourth quarter after Memphis had staged a big comeback. Jackson drew a couple key fouls on Gay to close out the Grizzlies.

Guy Lake is a fantasy basketball analyst for ESPN.com. You can e-mail him at guylake@talentedmrroto.com.

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