Chuck Hayes stuffs stat sheet again
Chuck Hayes is still available in most leagues, but the Rockets' undersized man in the middle is playing great basketball of late and put up a triple-double in a victory against the Warriors. In his past five, he's averaging 12.2 points, 11.2 rebounds, 5.2 assists, 1.6 steals and 1.0 blocks -- pretty good numbers for a guy who nobody thinks can score.
Actually, Hayes might not be such a bad offensive player after all. His PER is up to 16.22 this season, and that's the highest it's been since his rookie year. That's because he's maintaining his unique ability to rack up assists at a high rate for a guy who plays center most of the time, but it's also because he's doing a much better job finishing around the basket. According to hoopdata.com, he's still getting a high percentage of his shots blocked (because he's only 6-foot-6) but has improved his field goal percentage on shots at the rim from 52 percent last season to 62 percent this season. That's enough to make him fantasy-worthy as long as he's getting minutes, given his ability to create steals and grab rebounds. For the time being, he definitely belongs on a roster in just about all leagues.
The Clippers and Wizards, despite their perpetual mediocrity, played a tremendous double-overtime extravaganza Wednesday night. Happily, among the many fantastic fantasy performances (due to the plentiful minutes), Blake Griffin recorded the first of what could be many more triple-doubles in his career in the Clips' win. In case you hadn't heard, the kid is really good at basketball. Shaun Livingston has been getting some extra playing time of late for the Bobcats, and after finishing with 15 points and four assists Wednesday night, he's averaging 12.5 points, 6.0 assists and 1.5 steals in his past two games. He's not going to start playing All-Star caliber ball anytime soon, but he could be a decent source of assists for the rest of the season if he can keep getting 20-plus minutes per game. For those keeping track, Marcus Thornton had another huge night for the Kings, putting up 27 points, six rebounds and four assists in a win on the road against the Bucks. Clearly, he continues to belong on all rosters for all games down the stretch. So, by the way, does Toney Douglas, who was one of the only bright spots for the Knicks in their home loss to the Magic. Douglas had 17 points, knocked down three 3-pointers and snapped out of the slump in which he had two off-nights in a row. The Suns' bench players got a lot of playing time Wednesday night, but it's probably not a pattern, just the result of a triple-overtime game on the other end of a back-to-back. Boris Diaw always seems to do just enough to stay relevant in fantasy, but he did something pretty crazy against the Pacers: he didn't take a single shot. It's not like he didn't play, either. He played 24 minutes and racked up seven assists. Just goes to show that you can only hope someone will be good every night, even if they've scored in double-figures for four games in a row.
There are only two games Thursday night: Timberwolves at Mavericks and Hornets at Jazz. The latter used to be a marquee point guard matchup, but has lost a bit of its luster since Deron Williams was shipped to New Jersey. It should, on the other hand, be a great night for Mavs point guard Rodrigue Beaubois, who is available, absurdly, in nearly all fantasy leagues despite putting up well-rounded, fantasy-worthy numbers. He'll feast on the Wolves' atrocious perimeter defense and should be a great source of steals and 3s. As for the Hornets, it will be interesting to see who plays the majority of minutes at shooting guard. Marco Belinelli put up 23 points against the Celtics on Saturday, but Willie Green had been getting nearly all the minutes prior to that.
Seth Landman is a fantasy basketball analyst for ESPN.com.