Arenas not worth it for playoff teams

March, 24, 2009
03/24/09
9:04
AM ET
MONDAY, MARCH 23
HIGHLIGHTS
Dwight Howard, Magic: 29 points, 14 rebounds, 4 blocks at the Knicks.
Antawn Jamison, Wizards: 32 points, 12 rebounds, 3 3-pointers, 2 steals against Chicago.
Ronald Murray, Hawks: 30 points (12-18 FG), 5 assists, 5 3-pointers versus the Timberwolves.
LOWLIGHTS
Rudy Gay, Grizzlies: 8 points (2-9 FG), 4 turnovers at Miami.
Eric Gordon, Clippers: 8 points (3-12 FG), 5 turnovers against the Celtics.
Brandon Roy, Trail Blazers: 12 points (5-18 FG), 6 assists in overtime versus Philadelphia.

Ah, if it were only early February.

After weeks of ducking the media (at least by Agent Zero standards), Gilbert Arenas leaked he is supposedly, apparently, perhaps, just maybe coming back Saturday versus the Pistons. In fantasy, Arenas passed his sell-by date about a month ago; at this point, he's only a late-season afterthought. While I wouldn't (couldn't) recommend him to a playoff team this second, I think he's a perfect consolation bracket pickup.

One must apply a Jay Cutler-level of faith in Arenas' public statements, but his sheer unpredictability could make it fun for an owner playing for pride. What do you have to lose?

On the other hand, all of Arenas' accompanying red flags -- no back-to-backs, only one road game (and at stingy Cleveland), limited minutes, general kookiness -- should be enough to keep a responsible owner locked in a tight playoff battle into the Steve Blakes, Courtney Lees and Grant Hills of this world. (I repeat: do not pick up Arenas if you are in the playoffs this week, even if it's just for Saturday. Well, maybe for that Cleveland game.) But why not use Hibachi to provide some late-season sizzle to a lower division fantasy squad? Just think what a boost he'd provide in your imaginary locker room!

You can't say he's going to come back and average 30 points per game down the stretch, but I also don't think it's going to be an Elton Brand dip-your-toe-in-before-the-summer-and-proceed-to-destroy-the-hopes-and-dreams-of-Clipper-Nation type of comebacks. Arenas wouldn't come back just for that. By all accounts, he wants to make a Superman-esque splash. Arenas was already quoted that he won't stand for a few minutes here and there. He'll be gunning for "SportsCenter."

While the odds are against his having a big game Saturday, the odds are equally high he'll have a couple of big nights before the end of the regular season.

Or he might not play at all.

Under the Boards

Grant Hill had his first double-double in forever in the Suns' fantasy-friendly matchup versus the Nuggets. I really can't fathom how he's still parked on so many waiver wires, especially in a playoff situation. He's got a lot of hidden strength beyond the points -- strong percentages, nice assists and steals -- and is personally motivated to play all 82 games (a luxury at this point in the season). Phoenix is rolling, and somebody has to score all those points. … Courtney Lee (22 points, two 3s, three steals) keeps getting it done in the 3s and steals departments. … Javaris Crittenton had the best fantasy night of his Wizards career (18 points, 7 rebounds, 5 assists), but it looks as if his momentum might be blunted by Gilbert Arenas' comeback. … Randy Foye (19 points) put up his most encouraging line since his recent return from an ankle injury. More importantly, he shot 7-of-10 from the field and made it safe for his owners to plug him back into their lineups. … With Shaquille O'Neal inflicting some foul trouble on Nene (10 points, 4 rebounds, 5 fouls), Chris Andersen logged some extra minutes and finished with 12 points to go along with his customary two blocks. … Jamaal Magloire (10 points, 12 rebounds) got the start for Jermaine O'Neal, who took a one-game sabbatical to rest his hip. … Mike Bibby (20 points, 9 assists, 5 rebounds) is returning to his February form and should continue at this clip until the Southeast crown is decided. … Lots of great stat lines out of Philly-Portland. My favorite was Andre Iguodala playing like it was 2007 with 25 points, two 3s, 5 assists, 2 blocks and a steal. Andre Miller wasn't far behind with a frontcourt kind of double-double (27 points, 10 rebounds), but only three assists. … On the Portland side, LaMarcus Aldridge continued to be Bosh-like with 24 points, 12 rebounds, 2 blocks and 5 assists. … Greg Oden cracked 25 minutes and responded with 13 points and 8 rebounds. … Kevin Love (17 points, 6 rebounds) continues to put up points and rebounds, but needs to supplement those numbers with some blocks and/or steals if he wants to be a true fantasy force.

John Cregan is a fantasy basketball analyst for ESPN.com.

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