New-look Raptors picture emerging

December, 15, 2008
12/15/08
11:44
AM ET

Spanish dynamo Jose Calderon, was, well, perfect Sunday. He shot 8-for-8 from the field with five 3s, and was 1-for-1 from the charity stripe. But his awesomeness is expected at this point, and the key thing to monitor in the Raptors' box scores is Jay Triano's utilization of players. Things to note from Sunday's game, which was shown on CBC (it's always delightful to watch Canadian commercials): Andrea Bargnani played just 11 minutes and came off the bench for the third straight game. Early indications are his value has taken a hit since Sam Mitchell was shown the door, as Bargnani's averaging just 6.7 points, 4.3 rebounds and 0.5 3-pointers per game in December. Jamario Moon started and got big minutes with mixed results (7 points, 8 rebounds, 2 blocks and a 3). He established unquestioned fantasy value last year, and could do it again if he continues to play 30-plus minutes. Chris Bosh scored 25 points with eight rebounds and six assists, his best game in a while with Jermaine O'Neal sharing the frontcourt glory with him. Bosh scored 30 or more points six times in November, and hasn't done so once this month. His best stretch of the season came with O'Neal sidelined, when Bosh was consistently playing more than 40 minutes per game. Now, with J.O. healthy and contributing, Bosh's minutes can be regulated; he's averaging fewer than 33 minutes per game in December after averaging 42 in November. Anthony Parker returned to the lineup after missing the past two games with a sprained ankle, but Triano stuck with the hot hand and left Jason Kapono in the starting lineup. Kapono floundered, and even though his 3-point prowess gives him fantasy legitimacy, Parker's presence in the lineup seriously hampers his value.

Under the Boards:

SUNDAY, DEC. 14
HIGHLIGHTS
OJ Mayo, Grizzlies: 28 points, 5 rebounds, 4 assists and 4-for-4 3-point shooting versus Heat.
James Posey, Hornets: 20 points, 10 rebounds, 6 3-pointers at Toronto.
Jeff Green, Thunder: 33 points (14-23 FG), 4 rebounds, 4 assists versus Spurs.
LOWLIGHTS
Lamar Odom, Lakers: 6 points, 10 rebounds, 1 assist in 24 minutes against the Bucks.
Shawn Marion, Heat: 7 points (3-12 FG), 13 rebounds, 1 assist at Memphis.

David West went off for 29 points on 10-for-16 shooting from the floor and 9-for-9 from the stripe, with nine rebounds. Early in the season, West frustrated owners who expected his numbers to continue improving as they had every year in the league, and after a strong month his numbers are inching closer to last season's marks. … Joel Anthony has been quietly starting and blocking shots at an insane rate for Miami, and Sunday he went off for 12 points, 13 rebounds and five blocks. Udonis Haslem missed the game to attend a funeral, so Anthony's opportunities were more plentiful than normal, although he's an option if you need blocks in deep leagues. … Darko Milicic played 30 minutes and blocked five shots, giving him 11 in his past three contests. He is averaging 24 minutes per game this month, compared to 18 per game in November. … Kyle Lowry scored just five points with five assists in 18 minutes, and has failed to capitalize on the chance to start over Mike Conley, who played 29 minutes off the bench. Once again these two continue to kill each other's value. … Kevin Durant had another big game, and has improved his stats since shifting to small forward. He's averaging 24.8 points, 1.2 steals, 1.1 blocks, 5.6 rebounds and 2 3s per game as a starting forward compared to 21.2 points, 0.9 steals, 0.5 blocks, 4.1 rebounds and 0.6 3s as a guard. After a slow start to the season, Durant is on fire and the buy low window for him is now closed. … Matt Bonner scored 17 points with eight rebounds, three 3s and two steals, and continues to pour in long balls from the center spot. His 34 minutes played was a season high, and Bonner has started every game in December. He won't provide the boards and blocks you typically want from your center, but he's in elite company with Rasheed Wallace, Troy Murphy and Al Harrington as center-eligible players who contribute from behind the arc.

Josh Whitling

Fantasy Basketball
Josh Whitling is a fantasy basketball analyst for ESPN.com.

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