Could T-Mac still have long-term value?

December, 28, 2009
12/28/09
10:59
AM ET

For those of who snared Tracy McGrady in a later round expecting the production of a top-50 player once he returned, your journey took an interesting turn this weekend when Houston Rockets coach Rick Adelman denied T-Mac's request for more playing time. Now, McGrady is away from the team and at home to '"spend time with his son." This obviously hurts his short-term value, what little he had anyway. But it could be a blessing in disguise, as Adelman has made it clear that McGrady won't be the focus of the Rockets' offense, which has had success with the combination of players they've used for most of the season.

If McGrady is traded, he likely will find himself on more statistically fertile ground, where he can actually flex fantasy value. The fact McGrady told Adelman that he feels ready for the minutes is a sign he might have some fantasy game left this season, so I wouldn't see the issue with the Rockets as reason to suddenly drop him. A new team could be just what he needs to breathe some life into his game. Although he won't have any fantasy impact until he does earn minutes, whether in Houston or elsewhere, McGrady at 70 percent of his former self is still a pretty solid fantasy player.

SUNDAY, DEC. 27
HIGHLIGHTS
David Lee, Knicks: 28 points (11-for-13 FG, 6-for-6 FT), 10 rebounds, two steals and a block in Sunday's loss to the Spurs.
Baron Davis, Clippers: 24 points (9-for-9 FT), 13 assists, three steals, one 3 in Sunday's win over the Celtics
Chris Bosh, Raptors: 25 points, 16 rebounds, three blocks in Sunday's win over the Pistons.
LOWLIGHTS
Al Thornton, Clippers: Two points, three rebounds in Sunday's win over the Celtics.
Earl Watson, Pacers: Zero points, three assists in Sunday's loss to the Heat.
Dahntay Jones, Pacers: Zero points, one rebound in Sunday's loss to the Heat.

Looking back

• It's uncertain how many games Marcus Camby will miss after aggravating his hyperextended left knee on Friday. I'd definitely bench him for now, although this is a scarier sign since Camby has missed at least 10 games in four of the past five seasons. Camby owners should be worried, not that he'll miss the remainder of the season or anything, but that this next month will be a struggle and he won't provide the type of production he has all season. The good thing about Camby going down is it finally opened up some playing time for DeAndre Jordan, who had eight boards and three blocks starting in place of Camby on Sunday night. Jordan had a 20-rebound game last season, and has played nicely on a per-minute basis since entering the league, but he has been stuck behind the logjam in the L.A. post this season. Depending on how much time Camby misses, Jordan will have value in the rebounds and blocks department. He is a nice short-term fill-in and provides long-term insurance for Camby, should his injury causes him to miss serious time.

David West had just 12 points and four boards Saturday night, and these types of games are becoming commonplace for him. His scoring average is down by five points compared to last season (from 21 to 16), and he seems to rebound well only when he's scoring and vice-versa. In West's three top scoring totals in December (24, 42, 21 points), he snared 12 boards in each contest, but he's failed to grab more than eight boards in any of the other six games this month. Even though I don't see a huge bounce-back on the horizon, I don't believe that West's end-of-season numbers will be quite this bad. He won't average more than 20 points for the season, though, and once West puts up a couple of good weeks and raises his value, I'd feel free to trade him. For now, however, hold on to him because there's nowhere for his value to go but up, barring injury.

Randy Foye is back on the radar, as the ineffective DeShawn Stevenson has been relegated to the bench. Foye is sharing the backcourt with Gilbert Arenas, Nick Young and Earl Boykins, and has averaged 14 points, a steal and two 3-pointers in 27 minutes over the past two contests. Do not hesitate to add Foye immediately, if only as a speculative add, since he's demonstrated in past seasons that he has the ability to be a start-worthy fantasy player, and his chance to put up stats just improved dramatically. Historically, Foye provides scoring, assists, 3s and steals, with terrible field-goal percentage but excellence from the stripe.

What you might have missed

Tony Allen started rounding into form at the right moment, as he's now in the Boston Celtics' starting lineup while Paul Pierce misses a couple weeks with a bum knee. Allen responded by scoring 16 points in 21 minutes on Friday, then flashed some nice all-around game, dropping 10 points with 10 boards, four steals and four assists in 39 minutes. I was touting him as a deep-league option before Pierce's injury, but now that he's starting, I'm upgrading his value for the next couple of weeks and targeting Allen for some short-term value.

Jonas Jerebko and his quiet consistency just won't go away, and Sunday night's outing with 14 points, seven rebounds, two 3s, two steals and one block is the perfect example of how he isn't dominant in any one category but is able to fill up the stat sheet across the board, along with decent percentages (48 percent from the floor, 70 percent from the stripe) and low turnovers (1.5 per game). His performance Sunday came in only 30 minutes before fouling out, but Jerebko has made a believer out of me that he is a glue guy in fantasy, even though I was convinced he'd flounder, being a rookie second-rounder and fighting with Charlie Villanueva for minutes. Jerebko is a valid deep-league add if all your roster needs some stability.

• The Indiana Pacers' starting backcourt of Earl Watson and Dahntay Jones scored zero points Sunday. Watson's value is slipping as T.J. Ford has been more effective over the past couple weeks. I actually still like Ford's chances to improve significantly from his current season averages, and see him as a good buy-low option in deep leagues or somebody to watch on the waiver wire.

Josh Whitling

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

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