Gooden continues strong play with Clippers

March, 10, 2010
03/10/10
11:00
AM ET

In nine games since joining the Los Angeles Clippers, Drew Gooden has shot 50 percent from the field (on 10.9 shots per game), and averaged 15.1 points and 10.3 rebounds. We've all seen the up-and-down fantasy career of Gooden, so it's no surprise he could have an upside of 15 and 10, and a downside of being tossed back on the waiver-wire heap. So the real question is whether Gooden can continue at this pace.

I think it's likely he will, at least as a rebounder.

As a rebounding specialist who has limited post skills and doesn't pass well or block shots, Gooden has a smaller skill set for NBA teams. So when a player like Gooden is on a good team like he was when he was with the Cleveland Cavaliers for most of five seasons, he is not going to be asked to score much and won't have the opportunity to hit double-digit boards.

With the Clippers, though, Gooden can play off center Chris Kaman, and collect easy baskets and rebounds. It plays right into his talents. I wouldn't be surprised to see his scoring tail off to 12 or 13 points per game, but I also wouldn't be surprised if he keeps up his recent pace on the glass. Gooden pulled down 14 rebounds Tuesday, the third time in four games that he has snagged at least 11 balls off the glass.

Gooden won't offer much more than a double-double, but if you're in a tight race in rebounds, he's worth a close look.

Looking Back

TUESDAY, MARCH 9
HIGHLIGHTS
Andrew Bogut, Bucks: 25 points (10-18 FG), 17 rebounds, 4 blocks versus Celtics.
Derrick Rose, Bulls: 25 points (10-19 FG), 13 assists against the Jazz.
Deron Williams, Jazz: 29 points (11-15 FG, 3-5 3-pointers), 17 assists, 1 turnover versus Bulls.
LOWLIGHTS
Ray Allen, Celtics: 3 points (0-3 FG), 4 rebounds, 3 assists against the Bucks.
Andre Iguodala, 76ers: 5 points (2-8 FG), 4 assists versus Pacers.
Paul Pierce, Celtics: 12 points (3-13 FG), 3 rebounds, 5 assists, 4 turnovers against the Bucks.
• In my eyes, Carlos Delfino is kind of the shooting guard version of Gooden. He has enough talent that when given heavy minutes, he can pop out some stats in short bursts, but he's not good enough to maintain that pace for long. So, usually you ride him for a week and drop him. Delfino has been relentless this month, averaging 16.8 points, 8.5 rebounds, 3.8 3s and 1.5 steals in four games. He popped off another 19 points and eight boards Tuesday night. Like Gooden now, Delfino is in a good spot and getting heavy minutes, so it's possible he could continue being valuable for the final month. Just don't count on it.

Roy Hibbert had been pretty quiet in March. How quiet? Let's put it this way: Hibbert had 19 fouls in his first four games this month compared to 19 rebounds. On Tuesday, though, Hibbert had double-digit boards (11) for the first time since pulling down 11 against the Detroit Pistons on Feb. 5. He also displayed his surprisingly decent passing skills with seven assists, while adding a dozen points. Keep in mind that Danny Granger sat out Tuesday due to a suspension, which opened things up for Hibbert. His inconsistency has made him difficult to use this season, but young guys on bad teams often get a boost in playing time late in the season, so we could see more nights like Tuesday from Hibbert down the stretch.

• On the other hand, an old guy on a team likely headed to the playoffs could see additional rest as the regular season winds down. That could be the case for Marcus Camby, who returned Tuesday from a one-game absence due to a sprained ankle. Camby played nearly 33 minutes and finished with six points, eight boards and five blocks. The Portland Trail Blazers need their old, frail center for the postseason, so while he should continue to hit the glass and block shots at a solid rate when he does play, it's safe to expect Camby's minutes and/or games to be limited in the final weeks.

Looking Ahead

The NBA suspended both Granger and Channing Frye one game for their roles in Saturday's ruckus between the Indiana Pacers and the Phoenix Suns. Granger skipped Tuesday's run with the Philadelphia 76ers and won't return until Friday's matchup with the Boston Celtics. It's a tough hit for head-to-head leagues, because Granger now will take part in only two games this week. It's even tougher if you were hoping to use Frye this week, because the Suns have only two games on their schedule. Frye will miss Friday's tilt with the Clippers before returning to face the New Orleans Hornets on Sunday.

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

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