Who will pick up the pieces in Houston?

January, 11, 2009
I can't say I feel sorry for Tracy McGrady and Ron Artest owners. You had to know what you could be in for on draft day. Ironically, both of these injury-prone stars have averaged 61 games played over the previous three seasons. And right now, it appears either will be lucky to log that many games in 2008-09.

Luis ScolaJesse D. Garrabrant/Getty ImagesLuis Scola should get more shots with Ron Artest and Tracy McGrady either out or banged up.
McGrady's sore left knee will prevent him from playing consecutive days, while Artest has missed four of the past five games (and eight of the past 19) because of a right ankle problem. While they have battled to get on the court, reality is setting in. According to Saturday's Houston Chronicle, both are now saying it might be best to stay on the sidelines for the time being.

That brings me to Luis Scola. Given the ongoing health issues with T-Mac and Artest, Scola has to be one of the most underowned players in ESPN.com leagues. Even after Saturday's 18-point, 11-rebound performance versus New York, Scola remains a free agent in more than 70 percent of leagues. With Houston playing just twice in the next eight days, Scola won't help you much in the short term. But add him now. In most leagues, his 11.5 points, 8.0 rebounds and center eligibility offers ample fantasy value.

Under the boards

Kevin Durant, Thunder: 28 points, 12 rebounds, 4 steals at Chicago.
LaMarcus Aldridge, Blazers: 26 points (11-for-18 from the field), 7 rebounds, 5 assists, 2 blocks versus Warriors.
Andrei Kirilenko, Jazz: 11 points, 7 rebounds, 7 assists, 2 steals, 2 blocks versus Detroit.
Gerald Wallace, Bobcats: Zero points (no shot attempts) in 20 minutes at Washington.
Al Harrington, Knicks: 3 points (1-for-10 from the field, 1-for-4 from the line), 5 rebounds at Houston.
Paul Millsap, Jazz: 9 points, 7 rebounds (double-double streak ends at 19) versus the Pistons.

Nenad Krstic made his Oklahoma City Thunder debut three games ago. It's probably just a coincidence, but that's precisely when Nick Collison started his resurgence. After missing most of seven games because of a broken thumb, Collison is averaging 15.3 points and 9.7 boards in his past three games. Saturday in Chicago, he drained 9-of-12 from the field for a season-high 21 points in an overtime win. … While the 6-32 Thunder prevailed on the road, the 11-25 Timberwolves claimed their fifth straight victory. Suddenly, there's fantasy value in Minny beyond Al Jefferson and Randy Foye. Ryan Gomes, a free agent in 94 percent of ESPN.com leagues, is averaging 16.5 points and 2.0 3s in his past six games. In deeper leagues, Sebastian Telfair (12.0 points, 5.4 assists and 1.8 steals in his past 10 games) merits serious consideration, and Rodney Carney (22 points and four 3s versus Milwaukee) is worth watching. On the flip side, with Telfair starting next to Foye, Mike Miller (eight points, five boards, two 3-pointers) looks like a reserve, if not a drop candidate, for standard leagues. … More injury news: After missing four games because of a bad hammy, Brandon Roy (19 points, six rebounds, five assists, two steals) returned to Portland's lineup just in time to face the defenseless Warriors. Meanwhile, Shane Battier (foot) played for the first time since Dec. 29. He was only 3-of-10 versus the Knicks but did contribute nine boards and three blocks. And an abdominal problem limited D.J. Augustin to four minutes of action at Washington. He's day-to-day. … Speaking of the Wizards, I'll be interested to see how Javaris Crittenton fares over the next 10 days. While the 21-year-old hasn't shown much since being dealt to D.C., Crittenton has played 20-plus minutes in three straight games, and after hosting Milwaukee on Monday, Washington starts a four-game stretch against three of the league's worst defensive teams: New York, Sacramento and Golden State. … In the current Fantasy Forecaster, I stressed patience with Nate Robinson. Now for the back-pat: Nate broke out of his slump with 17 points, six rebounds and two steals at Houston. Keep him active the next two weeks with the Knicks facing the likes of the Wizards, Suns and Sixers.



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