Expect more from Michael Redd

January, 4, 2009

Group A has Dwyane Wade, Chris Paul, Danny Granger, Tim Duncan, Kevin Martin, Josh Smith and Joe Johnson.

Group B has Devin Harris, Tracy McGrady, Ron Artest, Elton Brand, Shawn Marion, Andrew Bogut and Mike Dunleavy.

Sure, Group A is superior -- especially right now. This group consists of star players who starred Saturday. But the second group, a pretty fair bunch itself, is a partial list of players who sat out Saturday.

Thanks to those healthy stars from the first list, NBA box scores are a particularly enjoyable read this morning, and I encourage you to partake. But first, an encouraging word for Harris owners: Your guy's hammy injury isn't nearly as bad as Brandon Roy's. In fact, Harris sounds like a decent bet to return Monday, when the Nets host the Kings.

Under the boards

Compared to the likes of Granger (35 points, including 13 of 16 from the line) and Martin (45 points and seven 3-pointers), Michael Redd's night in Charlotte was pedestrian: 17 points and a 3. Still, I think Redd, who dropped 31 points on the Bobcats on Friday, is headed for big things. In the next two weeks Milwaukee plays, among others, Toronto, New Jersey, Washington and Sacramento. The Nets, Raptors and Wizards are the league's three worst teams in 3-point defense, while the Kings allow the third-most points and the third-highest opponents' shooting percentage. … Deep-leaguers in search of treys could get a boost from Michael Finley, who drained four from downtown verses the Sixers. The veteran is averaging 2.4 3s over his past eight, and Monday's opposition, the Heat, allow the eighth-most baskets from beyond the arc. … Speaking of the Sixers, they surrendered a ridiculous 15 3s to the Spurs. It's ridiculous because it's the second time that's happened in the past five games: Philly yielded 15 3s to the Nuggets on Dec. 26. And yes, Redd gets a shot at the Sixers this week, too. … Let's just say that Kenny Natt and Beno Udrih are clashing. The Kings point guard played only 12 minutes at Indiana, and is averaging a mere 16 minutes over his past four. The interim coach says he's challenging Udrih to play with greater intensity and effort. While the Kings, who signed Udrih to a five-year deal over the summer, may not have an easy way out of this, owners in standard leagues can easily extricate themselves from this situation by, say, dropping Udrih for Russell Westbrook (a free agent in 56 percent of ESPN.com leagues), Mario Chalmers (74 percent), Steve Blake (82 percent) or Luke Ridnour (86 percent). … I've been hyping Tyrus Thomas -- still a free agent in 90 percent of leagues -- for a while, but Saturday's eight-block performance against Minnesota is also noteworthy because Timberwolves opponents lead the league in blocks by a goodly margin. So expect at least a couple of rejections from Marc Gasol when he goes up against the Wolves on Tuesday. … On the subject of free-agent finds, Dunleavy, who's available in 25 percent of leagues, could make his 2008-09 debut before the end of the Pacers' five-game road trip that ends Jan. 12. … And just because it's fun, let's talk about J-Smoov. With a 13-of-16 night verses the Rockets, Josh Smith is shooting 65.7 percent (46-for-70) in his past six. It will be interesting to see if he keeps that up with the Hawks heading into a back-to-back with Orlando this week. Magic opponents are 28th in the league in field goal percentage.



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