Good-bye, Kendall Marshall: The Return of the Steve Squad

i (5)Well, it was good while it lasted. I ended up dropping Kendall Marshall for J.R. Smith last night. It looks as if the returns of Steve Nash, Steve Blake, and the impending return of Jordan Farmar have spelled devastation for a fantasy baller, who had been tearing it up all the way until last night, when the regular starters returned to action for the Los Angeles Lakers.

Kobe Bryant seems to still be a ways off from his return, but the comebacks of the Steve Squad, Nash and Blake, reduced Marshall’s usually great numbers to mediocre at best. The game before, Marshall had a double-double with 10 points and 12 assists. All the assists got eaten up last night, though, as Blake and Nash combined for 15, and Marshall was left with 3. Word is that Nash will be eased back into his playing role, sitting out back-to-back games until he is fully ready to go, but after last night’s performance (Marshall only getting 21 mins.), it’s no wonder why his ownership has already dropped 11.5%, one game into Nash’s return.

Kendall Marshall was a stud for me, but I just don’t see him getting any better of a run in the near future. Hell Blake played a whole half with a ruptured eardrum, so you know he has the will and desire to be a starter again. over the last month, Marshall averaged 11 points and 10 assists and 3 rebounds. It was fun while it lasted, but for now, I’ve gotta pass on Marshall and move on to another project player: J.R. Smith.

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On the Rise: Lakers B Squad

kobe hurt

Well, “Don’t call it a Comeback.” Kobe’s return to the floor was short-lived, after he jacked up his knee the other night. Word is he’s out at least six weeks.

Which is precisely why I just picked up Nick Young.

nick

It’s hard to pinpoint just who exactly is going to benefit the most from Kobe’s absence, but some guard is bout to get some serious minutes! And Young has been really good lately. He’s poured in at least 12 points in every contest since Nov. 26 and is averaging 2 assists per game during that span.

But there are also others on the bench who have had success with Kobe out of the lineup. Wesley Johnson, Xavier Henry, and Jodie Meeks have all had glimmers of success filling in for the future Hall of Famer.

Look, it may not be pretty, but the points and assists have to come from somewhere, and I’m assuming these guys on the bench are preparing to play as if they could earn a long-term starting role. Why not take a lottery ticket on someone you think may pop off this season. The Lakers have looked more explosive with Kobe out. So that’s why I’m taking a chance on Nick Young.

Kobe Bryant Continues To Get Better, Still Winless This Season

By Justin Becker, owner of FantasyBasketballMoneyLeagues.com. For more of his basketball insights, follow Fantasy Basketball Money Leagues at Google+

Kobe-Bryant-2013

After two games into the 2013-2014 and as many losses, Kobe Bryant can only be optimistic and satisfied with his output. Despite the losses, the 35-year old megastar proved to himself and to the rest of the NBA world that it’s only a matter of time before he gets it going once again. After a mediocre performance in his season debut, Sunday night against the Toronto Raptors, Kobe was slightly better on a Tuesday night game against the Phoenix Suns.This time, he didn’t commit eight turnovers. This time he used some of his signature moves to score, and he even threw down his first dunk of the year. Of course he was not at 100 percent. However, he was very energetic and very aggressive.

The Black Mamba finished the game with a team-high 20 points on a 6-for-11 shooting night. He also missed both of his shots from beyond the arc and made all eight of his shots from the charity stripe. The most important fact was that he reminded us a little of the prior-to-the-injury Kobe–the dominant superstar, who can score almost at will.

Bryant gave a “B” overall grade to his performance. He acknowledges the fact that he has much more work ahead. He needs to work on his conditioning, though it’s obvious that it gets better and better every day. So does his confidence, and that’s why we will most probably see him taking more shots and using more of his skills as the season progresses. We will most probably see him playing more minutes, too. During Tuesday’s game, Kobe stayed on the floor for 29 minutes.

The Lakers fell to the Suns eventually, with a final score 114-108, but that was a good game for them. In general, LA has shown very promising signs even during the time Kobe was sidelined. Several role players like Xavier Henry, Wesley Johnson, Jodie Meeks and Steve Blake stepped up and made Mike D’Antoni feel optimistic. Now, all the Head Coach has to do is to utilize Kobe’s strengths the best way and blend him with the rest of the productive supporting cast.

Kobe commented on his progress, saying that it’s a process. Each night he tries to take a step forward and play better. Given that he won’t experience any setbacks in his rehabilitation process, he is expected to return to his MVP-caliber performances within the next few weeks.

Certainly, the Lakers will need some time to adjust to Bryant’s presence. For a team that saw so many changes this year, it’s difficult to build chemistry within a month. Now, Kobe’s return only came to shake things up and force the Lakers to change their game again, especially on offense.

Bryant is still expected to be much of a facilitator and distributor for the Lakers this season, not just a scorer. He knows that especially this season, his team will need his full powers in every aspect of the game.

For more NBA news and basketball updates, visit www.FantasyBasketballMoneyLeagues.com

On the Rise: Blatche, Hill, and Anderson

Partner-PhotoThey may sound like a cheesy law firm partnership, but Blatche, Hill, and Anderson are actually my three latest pickups.

Ryan Anderson

ryan

He’s already owned in 100% of ESPN standard leagues, but only after a 16% jump this last week. He made his first appearance for the New Orleans Pelicans and knocked out 21 fantasy points, to then drop 22 the next game. He hits three’s like a madman, and I’m happy to finally make up for J.R. Smith, who I quickly dropped for Anderson.

Jordan Hill

hill

Hill is averaging 32 fantasy points per game the last four outings, behind three double-doubles, finishing with at least 18 points in each of those contests. Let’s face it, the Lakers suck…real hard. And Chris Kaman is pretty much a bump on a log. Hill got 36 minuets last game, though he’s still not technically a starter. I think that’ll be changing, seeing as how D’antoni has been giving young guys like Xavier Henry and Steve Blake a run at playing time as of late, with all the old fogies nursing old-man injuries. Jordan Hill, still available in in about 12% of leagues, after seeing a 67% increase this week.

Andray Blatche

blatche

When he’s not getting arrested, Blatche has a tendency to be a good player. This one is the furthest stretch by far, as he is only owned in 1.7% of leagues. He’s been paying well, since all of the Nets are hurt right now. But he has a criminal for a coach in Jason Kidd, so maybe he can convince him for more playing time over some drugs and hookers.