Collison not only Hornet worth grabbing

February, 2, 2010

No one player can replace Chris Paul. Fantasy owners should take that to heart, because Darren Collison isn't the only New Orleans Hornets player worth pursuing right now.

First things first: Collison had another monster assist night, dishing out 14 helpers against the Phoenix Suns on Monday. In two games since replacing Paul, Collison has amassed 32 dimes. Against the Suns, he also had 16 points (on 7-of-18 shooting) and 4 rebounds. He'll be the starter for at least a month, and probably longer, given that Paul is expected to have surgery on his injured left knee. All of this makes Collison a must-add -- and, best of all, you may still have a shot at pulling him out of free agency. Even with Collison ownership soaring, as of this writing he was still available in nearly 70 percent of leagues.

So get Collison, but don't forget about Marcus Thornton. Thornton is the second-round draft pick who moved into the Hornets' starting lineup after the team dealt Devin Brown. After going for 25 points and 5 3-pointers against the Suns, the rookie is averaging 19.2 points and 2.8 treys as a starter. While Thornton's fantasy value is mostly limited to points and 3s, he apparently will continue to log some minutes at the point when Collison rests. So, as a bonus, you could see more nights like Monday's four-assist showing. Thornton is available in about 90 percent of leagues.

Looking Back

Kobe Bryant, Lakers: 44 points (16-28 FG), 4 3-pointers against the Grizzlies.
Paul Millsap, Jazz: 25 points (10-16 FG), 9 rebounds, 4 blocks versus the Mavericks.
Marcus Thornton, Hornets: 25 points, 5 3-pointers, 4 rebounds, 4 assists against the Suns.
Andrew Bynum, Lakers: 5 points (1-3 FG), 8 rebounds against the Grizzlies.
Randy Foye, Wizards: 2 points (0-3 FG), 4 assists in 18 minutes versus the Celtics.
Antawn Jamison, Wizards: 8 points (2-17 FG), 8 rebounds, 2 steals against the Celtics.
Randy Foye was once in Collison's position, shining after suddenly being thrust into the role of starting point guard. Actually, that was just three weeks ago. But the shine has quickly gone off Foye's fast start. Confounded by the playmaking and defensive force that is Rajon Rondo, Foye saw the court for just 18 minutes against the Celtics, and finished with just 2 points and 4 assists. With Foye being better suited for the 2-guard spot, and with Wizards coach Flip Saunders demanding his point guard play the prototypical role of distributor, this relationship was probably doomed from the start.

• On the bright side, perhaps the court is big enough for Robin Lopez and Channing Frye. At least they shared nicely against the Hornets. Lopez had 18 points, 6 boards and a couple of blocks, while Frye had 20 points, 6 boards and 3 triples against one of the league's weakest teams at defending the 3. And share is the operative word here -- Lopez and Frye each played 25:29 on Monday. This could be a sign of things to come if the Suns end up trading Amare Stoudemire.

• You already knew this, but with proper minutes, Paul Millsap is an animal. He racked up 25 points, 9 boards and 4 blocks against the Dallas Mavericks. Millsap should keep rolling, as Carlos Boozer is considered doubtful for Wednesday when the Utah Jazz host the Portland Trail Blazers.

• The Sacramento Kings-Denver Nuggets tilt was lacking in star power. Carmelo Anthony (ankle) missed his fifth straight game for the Nuggets, while the Kings' Tyreke Evans (hip) was a late scratch. Both teams play again on Wednesday. Melo, at least, is considered a good possibility to return then.

Jermaine O'Neal was on a pretty good run, averaging 15.8 points and 8.5 boards in his previous six games. But back spasms kept him out of Monday's game against the Milwaukee Bucks. Perhaps not coincidentally, Andrew Bogut went 10-for-13 in the Bucks' victory. Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said that O'Neal has been dealing with spasms the past few days. The Heat did get Michael Beasley (knee) back after a two-game absence.

Neil Tardy is a fantasy basketball analyst for



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