Derrick Rose showing more versatility
Derrick Rose has been a quality fantasy option since his rookie season, because he's scored well and posted decent assist totals and percentages. But his lack of steals (0.8 his first two seasons) and 3-point production (0.2 per game, less than one attempt per game) have kept him from being a real stud. This season, though, things have changed. Not only has his scoring and assist production gone up dramatically (24.7 ppg, 9.2 apg), but so have his steals per game (1.2) and 3-pointers per game (1.2).
Tuesday night, Rose dropped 33 points and dished out seven dimes, but more importantly in fantasy terms, he added four 3-pointers and three steals. I think Rose's increased effort on defense this season will keep his steals on the right side of one per game and maybe creep up toward 1.5. Is his 3-point production legit? He's already attempted 34 treys in just nine games this season after attempting just 60 in 78 games last season. That's a good sign in itself, but there is a catch: Rose is hitting just 32.4 percent from beyond the arc after knocking down just 26.7 percent last season. Despite the increase from last season, it's still a low percentage.
Rose just turned 22 and I think he is athletic enough to learn how to shoot the 3 at a decent rate eventually. For this season, it appears he's going to keep chucking 3s when he's open (at least two attempts in each game thus far), so he should be able to average between 1.0-1.5 for the season. Since his 3s are based more on feel than on form, I imagine he'll get hot for some stretches where he'll average close to 2.0 3s per game.
Now if he could just get his turnovers down to a respectable rate; he's averaging 4.0 per game and at least three turnovers in each of his past eight games)!
• Nine times out of 10, if you discuss Andrew Bogut there's good news and bad news. Like the good news is that Bogut played 42 minutes Tuesday night, scored 12 points, grabbed 18 rebounds and blocked 4 shots. The bad news is that he was 5-of-13 from the field and 2-of-10 from the free throw line. Just be happy that the bad news wasn't that he got hurt again, though he did manage to fall right on his troublesome elbow late in the game. Let's hope he didn't reinjure it.
• With Brandon Roy out for Tuesday's game due to his sore knee (MRI Wednesday, hopes to return Thursday), Wesley Matthews started and exploded for 30 points (11-19 FG, 5-10 3-pt FG, 3-4 FT), 3 dimes, 3 boards, 2 swipes and a block against the Grizzlies. Matthews isn't going to get 19 shots per game or chuck 10 treys very often, but if Roy's out for an extended time, he should become a fantasy starter. Nicolas Batum would benefit, too, though he had a quiet performance Tuesday: 11 points, 6 bounds, 2 assists, 2 steals and a trey.
• Landry Fields busted up the Denver Nuggets Tuesday for 21 points (10-15 FG), 17 boards and 2 steals. His fantasy game is a bit hollow, since he doesn't take many free throws, play much defense or pass the rock well. On the other hand, he starts, plays 30-plus minutes per game and has scored in double digits the past four games. Keep an eye on him.
• Lamar Odom played through his sore foot Tuesday, racking up 13 points (6-11 FG), 7 bounds, 6 dimes and no turnovers against the Milwaukee Bucks. An MRI Monday revealed no significant damage beyond a bone bruise. He played 36 minutes last night, so it appears he's good to go the rest of the week.
John Wall missed Tuesday's game due to his sprained ankle. It sounded like he was close to giving it a go, so there's hope we'll see him back on the hardwood for Wednesday's game. Unfortunately, it's about the worst possible situation to test out a bum joint, since the Wiz play the Boston Celtics in Boston. On Tuesday, Kirk Hinrich picked up the slack in the backcourt by dishing out 12 dimes, while Nick Young got some extra play off the pine to score 20 points. Expect both of them to see more play Wednesday if Wall is unable to lace 'em up.
Tom Carpenter is a fantasy basketball analyst for ESPN.com.