Magic full of fantasy goodness
Sure, there were some struggles immediately after their recent big trades, but if you haven't been paying attention, the Orlando Magic have put together a pretty impressive five-game winning streak. After starting the hard way with wins over the San Antonio Spurs and Boston Celtics, they've feasted on the New Jersey Nets, Cleveland Cavaliers, and New York Knicks, and they're scoring a whole lot of points in the process.
To be exact, the Magic are averaging 107 points over the five wins (that includes the 86 points they scored against the league's best defense in the Celtics), nearly a full 10 points per game higher than they've averaged on the season.
Clearly, the acquisitions of Gilbert Arenas, Jason Richardson, and Hedo Turkoglu have had something to do with the team's recent success -- especially on the offensive end -- but what is most impressive is the fact that the Magic now have eight players that we have to pay attention to in fantasy leagues. Even Ryan Anderson managed to put up 14 points (including three 3-pointers), five rebounds, and two steals against the Knicks on Thursday night.
Obviously, 112 points against the Knicks' defense is nothing to start throwing parties over, but the point stands that the Magic are coming together a lot more smoothly than it looked like they might when they were losing by 10 points to the Atlanta Hawks just 10 days ago. Dwight Howard may be the only superstar they have, but everyone else in the rotation needs to be on your fantasy radar going forward.
Shawne Williams has been making a play for more minutes in the Knicks' rotation, but that's bound to end once he stops making over 60 percent of his 3s (which should be any day now); I don't think he's worth wasting a roster spot on in most leagues unless you're extremely desperate for the 1.8 3s per game he's been knocking down over his past five games. Gary Neal has been showing that he can score of late for the Spurs (21 points in 22 minutes against the Dallas Mavericks on Thursday night), and he's a great find for their bench, but he doesn't do enough in the other categories to be seriously considered for fantasy unless he starts playing 30-plus minutes per game. Marcus Camby shook off his sprained right ankle to post 20 rebounds, two steals, and two blocks for the Portland Trail Blazers against the Utah Jazz; he should be fine in the days ahead.
Rajon Rondo is listed as questionable for the Celtics' Friday night game against the New Orleans Hornets, but even if Nate Robinson has all the minutes to himself at point guard, Chris Paul is a nightmare of a matchup for the little guy; I'd keep him on your bench for this one. Last time the Philadelphia 76ers faced the Los Angeles Lakers, they lost largely because they had no answer for Lamar Odom; this time, Odom will start on the bench, but don't let that keep him out of your lineup; he's still a great player, and this is still a good matchup for him. With Andris Biedrins and Dan Gadzuric still listed as questionable for the Golden State Warriors, it should be another great night to get Dorell Wright into your lineup since they'll have to go small. Tracy McGrady has been playing well of late for the Detroit Pistons -- he's struggled only once over his past four games, and that was on the second night of a back-to-back. He should be fresh for a nice matchup against the Suns on Friday, and is worth playing if you have room for his inconsistency on your roster.