Howard records first career triple-double

November, 13, 2008
11/13/08
9:48
AM ET
This is a fantasy column, and so I think we need to make special note of it when a player -- in this case Dwight Howard -- puts up a number that makes you take multiple glances at the box score to make sure you aren't seeing things. Howard put up an Hakeem Olajuwon Memorial Throwback triple-double line, going for 30 points (he was 12-for-21 from the floor), 19 rebounds and 10 (yes, ten!) blocks. Now, I'll admit, I didn't get to watch this game. Actually, wild horses couldn't have dragged me away from the other great games around the league to turn on this game in the first place, so it was inevitable I was going to miss it. Thunder point guard Russell Westbrook's horrendous 3-for-19 shooting performance makes me think that perhaps things were a little easier for Howard considering he was going up against a horrible, inexperienced team playing without its best player, Kevin Durant. Whatever. Ten blocks is 10 blocks.

WEDNESDAY, NOV. 12
HIGHLIGHTS
Brad Miller, Kings: 16 points, 11 rebounds, 8 assists (no turnovers) at the Clippers.
Chris Paul, Hornets: Seven games, seven straight 20-point, 10-assist games. Paul went for 30 points, 13 assists, 7 rebounds and shot 13 of 19 from the field against the Lakers.
Dwyane Wade, Heat: 36 points, 6 rebounds, 8 assists and 3 blocks versus Portland.
LOWLIGHTS
Ron Artest, Rockets: Missed 11 of his 12 shots, totaling just 4 points against the Suns.
Samuel Dalembert, 76ers: Fouled out in 20 minutes, scoring just 2 points and grabbing 2 rebounds at Toronto.
Andrei Kirilenko, Jazz: 3 points (1-7 FG), 2 rebounds, 3 assists at Washington.

Howard is averaging 4.38 blocks per game, a figure which would be the most significant fantasy number in the league if he kept it up for the entire season. It's enough that he is seventh overall right now on the Player Rater, even though his negative value in free throw percentage is the worst negative value in basketball. The question is: can he keep it up? The answer is probably no; he likely won't continue to average more than four blocks per game for the entire season. Marcus Camby was blocking shots like a maniac for 79 games last season and averaged 3.6 per game. It's a big leap to 4.4, and Howard is playing the same amount of minutes he played last season when he averaged a career-high 2.1 blocks per game. So logically, this is probably as high as Howard's value can get when you consider the fact that he is currently the most important fantasy force in two out of the eight categories charted by the Player Rater (blocks and field goal percentage), and would be the leader in rebounds, too, if Andris Biedrins hadn't played in more games so far.

On the other hand, isn't it possible that D-Ho is making another leap? He's an impossibly good athlete who seems to become more dominant every season. Watching a Magic game with a friend the other night, we started talking about how it seems impossible that Howard has games in which he doesn't get 10 rebounds. He just looks like a different kind of player at this point in his career. The guys who have been all-time great shot-blockers (since they started keeping the stat in 1973-74) have been a bit taller than the 6-foot-11 Howard. Mark Eaton was 7-foot-4, Manute Bol was 7-foot-7, and even Hakeem and Dikembe Mutombo were legit 7-footers. If Howard averages 4.4 blocks per game for 82 games (again, unlikely), it wouldl be the sixth-most blocks a player has ever had in a single season, and he'll be the best all-around player to have that many besides Hakeem. Yeah, Howard might be a good sell-high candidate right now in fantasy because he is playing out of his mind, but he's also an example of a player with no ceiling. The possibilities are endless. I wish I had ignored the free throws and drafted him.

Under the Boards

The Thunder's Jeff Green had, against the Magic, what appears to have been a good game: 25 points, 10 boards, three 3-pointers. Ignore it. He's not going to take 18 shots most nights, and compared to what he's been doing overall this season, 7-for-18 is actually a good shooting night. I need to see more out of him before I'm willing to use a roster spot on him. … In anticipation of the holiday season, the Knicks are the gift that keeps on giving. Nate Robinson scored 21 points and didn't miss a shot. Wilson Chandler had 27 on 11-for-12 from the floor to go along with four 3-pointers, 7 rebounds, 3 steals and a block. Jamal Crawford had 25 points and eight dimes. I know they were cleaning up against a bad Memphis defense, but still, these guys are proving that they can be a force on offense. If people are still skeptical about the Knicks as a fantasy force, I'm still buying. … Of course, the flip side to this is that the Knick everyone thought was going to be great with D'Antoni, David Lee, has been really bad. He's not as efficient on offense, and he's not rebounding, and as a result, he seems to be playing his way out of the rotation. If you drafted him high, I'm not sure you can give up on him yet, but I wouldn't play him until there is some evidence that he can contribute on a consistent basis; he still hasn't had two really good games in a row yet this season. … Rudy Fernandez continues to be an offensive force for the Trail Blazers. He went for 25 points in 29 minutes off the bench against the Heat. One would think that at some point, it will be impossible for Nate McMillan to keep Rudy out of the starting lineup. He's probably too popular to buy low on, but I think his value will go up as the season goes on. … People are still not picking up Sacramento rookie Jason Thompson, but he is now in the starting lineup even with Brad Miller back (Spencer Hawes came off the bench against the Clips last night) and has put up good numbers in points and rebounds two games in a row. … Also keep an eye on Washington rookie JaVale McGee. He was a force in the Wizards' win against the Jazz with 13 points, 11 rebounds and three blocks in just 27 minutes. Andray Blatche has been ineffective, Etan Thomas is not that good, and if the Wizards are as bad as they seem in the early going, they might as well let McGee play. If you need blocks, he could be worth a flier right now just in case he blows up.

Seth Landman is a fantasy basketball analyst for ESPN.com.

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