Westbrook responds to trade for Maynor

December, 23, 2009

In a relatively minor trade Tuesday, the Utah Jazz acquired 2002 second-round pick Peter Fehse from the Oklahoma City Thunder in exchange for Matt Harpring and Eric Maynor. Peter who?! Obviously, the Jazz were looking for some salary-cap relief, so pay no mind to Fehse. No need to pay attention to Harpring, either, as his banged-up body likely has seen its last playing days.

However, Maynor, the 20th overall pick in this year's draft, is worth monitoring in deep leagues. The rookie should have an easier time earning playing time behind Russell Westbrook than he did backing up Deron Williams. Keep in mind that he cranked out a couple of nice lines in two starts when Williams was down: 13 points, 11 assists in one game, and 24 points, four assists in another. Still, the odds of fantasy success are limited for Maynor, considering that this year's third overall pick, James Harden, has averaged just 26 minutes per game this month for the Thunder.

Speaking of Westbrook, knowing that he'll have some competition at the point may have sparked his best game of the season Tuesday, when he churned out 21 points, 13 dimes and seven boards. He's capable of posting stats like that on a nightly basis and really just has to overcome his ugly shooting woes (42 percent last night, 38.7 on the season) to become an outstanding fantasy threat. I expect to see his stats, including his field goal percentage, continue to improve in the second half. That makes him a great buy-low candidate.

A peripheral effect of the swap was that the Thunder released Shaun Livingston, who was making a comeback from one of the most horrific knee injuries in league history. He's bound to latch on somewhere else, but he still has a long road to recovery.

Looking Back

Zach Randolph, Grizzlies: 33 points (14-21 FG), 18 rebounds against the Warriors.
Gerald Wallace, Bobcats: 29 points (10-18 FG), 12 rebounds, 4 3-pointers, 4 blocks, 2 steals versus the Pistons.
Russell Westbrook, Thunder: 21 points, 7 rebounds, 13 assists, 2 turnovers against the Lakers.
Trevor Ariza, Rockets: 7 points (2-11 FG, 0-4 3-pointers, 3-6 FT) against the Clippers.
Danilo Gallinari, Knicks: 11 points (2-13 FG, 1-8 3-pointers) versus the Bulls.
Stephen Jackson, Bobcats: 13 points (5-15 FG), 5 turnovers against the Pistons.
• With Danny Granger out for the foreseeable future, there's plenty of opportunity for Pacers who are willing to step up and do something with the extra minutes. Earl Watson made the most if it Tuesday evening, as he scored 18 points, dropped three treys, dished out six dimes and pulled down seven rebounds in 36 minutes of action against the Boston Celtics. It was his third consecutive start, and the crafty veteran is capable of contributing to fantasy teams if he can stay healthy. On the flip side, T.J. Ford played only 12 minutes off the pine and will continue to have limited value as a reserve point guard.

• The hits just keep on coming for the Portland Trail Blazers, as Joel Przybilla suffered a ruptured patella tendon and dislocated patella Tuesday. He landed awkwardly and it looked pretty devastating as soon as he hit the ground. We've probably seen the last of Przybilla this season. As a result, Juwan Howard might have a little value for a while. He double-doubled in 34 minutes Tuesday.

Kevin Garnett was a late scratch Tuesday with a bruised thigh. Rasheed Wallace got the start in Garnett's stead and finished with nine points, 13 boards and three steals. Of course, that came on ugly 3-of-8 shooting, but you know how that goes with Sheed. Kendrick Perkins, on the other hand, made six of his 11 shots for 19 points, eight boards and five blocks. Should KG end up missing more action, look for Wallace and Perkins to continue seeing a nice boost in production. As it stands now, though, the Boston Herald reports that Garnett is expected to be back in the mix for the Celtics' Christmas Day matchup with the Orlando Magic.

Gerald Wallace missed Sunday's contest due to a migraine, but he came back with a vengeance Tuesday night. The forward scored 29 points on 10-of-18 shooting from the field and chipped in 12 boards, four 3-pointers, four blocks and two steals.

Looking Ahead

The NBA has a great matchup Wednesday night, when the Atlanta Hawks travel to Denver to take on the Nuggets in a battle of two up-and-coming teams. It's not clear whether Chauncey Billups will return from a two-game absence caused by a sore groin; he's probably questionable, at best. Regardless, I'm more interested in a great battle on the glass between two of the top shot-blockers in the Association, as the Hawks' Josh Smith (tied for league-best at 2.4 bpg) and the Nugs' Chris Andersen (1.8 bpg in just 23 minutes per game) face off. J-Smoove will be particularly motivated Wednesday after being limited to just 20 minutes of action Tuesday due to foul trouble.

Tom Carpenter is a fantasy basketball analyst for ESPN.com.



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