Tyreke Evans rising in latest rankings
In an effort to avoid overreacting to small sample sizes, I try to make most of my major rankings updates at the end of each month. With that said, you will notice a lot of player movement in this week's edition of the top 130. Let's take a look at some of the big movers in this week's update.
The Top 130Note: Brian McKitish's top 130 players are ranked for their fantasy value from this point forward in the 2010-11 NBA season. Previous rank is indicated in parentheses.
1. Kevin Durant, SF, OKC (1)
2. Chris Paul, PG, NO (2)
3. Deron Williams, PG, UTA (3)
4. Amare Stoudemire, C/PF, NY (4)
5. LeBron James, SF, MIA (5)
6. Pau Gasol, PF/C, LAL (6)
7. Dwight Howard, C, ORL (7)
8. Stephen Curry, PG/SG, GS (8)
9. Dirk Nowitzki, PF, DAL (9)
10. Monta Ellis, PG/SG, GS (10)
11. Russell Westbrook, PG, OKC (12)
12. Kobe Bryant, SG, LAL (11)
13. Derrick Rose, PG, CHI (13)
14. Kevin Love, PF, MIN (15)
15. Dwyane Wade, SG, MIA (14)
16. Josh Smith, PF/SF, ATL (16)
17. Raymond Felton, PG, NY (17)
18. Carmelo Anthony, SF, DEN (20)
19. Rajon Rondo, PG, BOS (18)
20. Blake Griffin, PF, LAC (21)
21. Danny Granger, SF, IND (19)
22. Steve Nash, PG, PHO (23)
23. Al Horford, C/PF, ATL (22)
24. Zach Randolph, PF, MEM (27)
25. LaMarcus Aldridge, PF, POR (32)
26. John Wall, PG, WAS (26)
27. Rudy Gay, SF, MEM (25)
28. Joe Johnson, SG/SF, ATL (30)
29. Paul Pierce, SF/SG, BOS (28)
30. Carlos Boozer, PF, CHI (29)
31. Manu Ginobili, SG, SA (24)
32. Stephen Jackson, SG/SF, CHA (31)
33. Tyreke Evans, PG/SG, SAC (42)
34. Gerald Wallace, SF/PF, CHA (34)
35. Andrea Bargnani, C/PF, TOR (36)
36. Brook Lopez, C, NJ (38)
37. David Lee, PF/C, GS (44)
38. Jason Kidd, PG, DAL (35)
39. Al Jefferson, C/PF, UTA (41)
40. Dorell Wright, SF, GS (47)
41. Wilson Chandler, SF/SG, NY (37)
42. Andre Iguodala, SG/SF, PHI (39)
43. Andrew Bogut, C, MIL (43)
44. Tim Duncan, C/PF, SA (33)
45. Luis Scola, PF/C, HOU (46)
46. David West, PF, NO (48)
47. Nene, C/PF, DEN (45)
48. Chris Bosh, PF/C, MIA (50)
49. Marc Gasol, C, MEM (53)
50. Kevin Martin, SG, HOU (51)
51. D.J. Augustin, PG, CHA (60)
52. Michael Beasley, SF/PF, MIN (52)
53. Kevin Garnett, PF, BOS (49)
54. Jrue Holiday, PG, PHI (54)
55. Devin Harris, PG, NJ (55)
56. Brandon Jennings, PG, MIL (72)
57. Paul Millsap, PF, UTA (56)
58. Andray Blatche, PF/C, WAS (57)
59. Wesley Matthews, SG/SF, POR (58)
60. Lamar Odom, PF/SF, LAL (61)
61. Andrew Bynum, C, LAL (64)
62. Luol Deng, SF, CHI (62)
63. Andre Miller, PG, POR (63)
64. Baron Davis, PG, LAC (68)
65. Chauncey Billups, PG, DEN (59)
66. Ray Allen, SG, BOS (65)
67. Antawn Jamison, PF, CLE (75)
68. Elton Brand, PF, PHI (69)
69. Emeka Okafor, C, NO (70)
70. Danilo Gallinari, SF/PF, NY (71)
71. Jose Calderon, PG, TOR (77)
72. Jason Richardson, SG, ORL (67)
73. Tony Parker, PG, SA (73)
74. Darren Collison, PG, IND (76)
75. DeMarcus Cousins, PF/C, SAC (91)
76. Eric Gordon, SG, LAC (40)
77. JaVale McGee, C/PF, WAS (78)
78. Jeff Green, PF/SF, OKC (84)
79. Hedo Turkoglu, SF/PF, ORL (74)
80. Jamal Crawford, SG/PG, ATL (82)
81. Rodney Stuckey, PG/SG, DET (66)
82. Tyson Chandler, C, DAL (88)
83. Joakim Noah, C/PF, CHI (81)
84. Rashard Lewis, PF/SF, WAS (83)
85. J.J. Hickson, PF/C, CLE (89)
86. Jason Terry, SG, DAL (80)
87. Mike Conley, PG, MEM (85)
88. Beno Udrih, PG, SAC (86)
89. Vince Carter, SG/SF, PHO (87)
90. Channing Frye, PF/C, PHO (90)
91. Andrei Kirilenko, SF/PF, UTA (93)
92. Serge Ibaka, C/PF, OKC (79)
93. Amir Johnson, PF, TOR (103)
94. Nick Young, SG, WAS (94)
95. Marcus Camby, C/PF, POR (95)
96. Boris Diaw, PF/SF, CHA (96)
97. Mo Williams, PG, CLE (97)
98. Landry Fields, SG, NY (98)
99. DeMar DeRozan, SG, TOR (105)
100. Arron Afflalo, SG, DEN (111)
101. Trevor Ariza, SF/SG, NO (106)
102. Jameer Nelson, PG, ORL (100)
103. Daniel Gibson, PG/SG, CLE (109)
104. Shawn Marion, SF/PF, DAL (102)
105. John Salmons, SG/SF, MIL (92)
106. Nicolas Batum, SF, POR (118)
107. Greg Monroe, PF/C, DET (104)
108. Roy Hibbert, C, IND (108)
109. Kyle Lowry, PG, HOU (121)
110. Ryan Anderson, PF, ORL (116)
111. C.J. Miles, SF, UTA (110)
112. DeAndre Jordan, C, LAC (114)
113. Tayshaun Prince, SF, DET (119)
114. Aaron Brooks, PG, HOU (101)
115. Darko Milicic, C, MIN (112)
116. Chris Kaman, C, LAC (113)
117. J.R. Smith, SG, DEN (99)
118. Al Harrington, PF, DEN (120)
119. Marcin Gortat, C, PHO (128)
120. Ramon Sessions, PG, CLE (126)
121. Corey Maggette, SF, MIL (123)
122. Rudy Fernandez, SG, POR (124)
123. Kirk Hinrich, SG/PG, WAS (125)
124. Tracy McGrady, SG/PG, DET (NR)
125. Grant Hill, SF, PHO (117)
126. Chuck Hayes, SF/PF, HOU (NR)
127. Shane Battier, SF, HOU (129)
128. Kris Humphries, PF, NJ (122)
129. Randy Foye, SG/PG, LAC (NR)
130. Carlos Delfino, SF/SG, MIL (NR)
Tyreke Evans, PG/SG, Sacramento Kings (33): If there were any questions about Tyreke's health, he sure put them rest with averages of 19.3 points, 4.8 rebounds, 6.3 assists, 2.5 steals, 0.7 blocks and 0.8 3-pointers in 13 games this month. These are the kind of numbers I expected when I ranked him 17th overall at the start of the season. Granted, I was probably a little optimistic in my projections for the second-year guard, but it is clear that injuries played a major role in his slow start. Now healthy and looking more and more like the player we fell in love with last season, Evans seems primed for a big second half.
David Lee, PF/C, Golden State Warriors (37): With 17.8 points, 9.5 rebounds, 0.9 steals and his typical fantastic percentages during the past 13 games, it has become obvious that Lee is healthy and ready to put his slow start in the rearview mirror. It's not quite the 20/11 we became accustomed to last season, but those numbers are still good enough to make him a top-40 player in fantasy leagues.
DeMarcus Cousins, PF/C, Kings (75): Though he is still inconsistent on a night-to-night basis, it's hard to argue with the body of work turned in by Cousins this month. With 17.2 points, 7.8 rebounds, 1.1 steals and 1.0 blocks in his past 16 contests, Cousins has arrived on the fantasy scene in a big way. His rebounds and blocks are a bit underwhelming for a guy his size, and we'd like to see him shoot it better from the floor, but that will come with time as the 20-year-old continues to mature.
Jeff Green, PF/SF, Oklahoma City Thunder (78): Much has been made of Green's struggles this season, so much that I've even fielded some questions about owners potentially dropping the third-year forward. Hopefully that kind of talk will die down now that Green has exploded for 16.2 points, 8.6 rebounds and 1.0 3-pointers in his past five contests. I don't think we're completely out of the woods yet with Green's slump, but all signs indicate that he's almost ready to start playing like the Jeff Green we once knew and loved.
Amir Johnson, PF, Toronto Raptors (93): When I identified my second-half breakout candidates a few weeks ago, I was least confident including Johnson on the list due to the lack of refinement in his game. But Johnson has matured quickly this season and looks to be coming into his own after posting 14.8 points, 7.0 rebounds and 1.2 blocks in his past five games. The fact that this guy is owned in just 25.5 percent of ESPN.com leagues is shocking considering his upside and terrific shooting percentages.
Nicolas Batum, SF, Trail Blazers (106): Batum has had an up-and-down type of season, which is why he's stayed mostly in the 100-130 range in the rankings, but with injuries piling up in Portland, it's hard to imagine him not having consistent value from this point forward. I'm not terribly worried about his recent knee injury, and Batum has the ability to be the kind of player that can produce in categories across the board. He's averaged 14.9 points, 5.4 rebounds, 0.6 steals, 0.6 blocks and 1.6 3-pointers with solid percentages this month.
Manu Ginobili, SG, San Antonio Spurs (31): As hard as it is to move a player who is averaging 18.1 points, 4.4 rebounds, 5.2 assists, 1.8 steals and 1.6 3-pointers this month down in the rankings, I just can't ignore the fact that Gregg Popovich has a history of shutting his players down in the second half of the season. At 40-7, the Spurs hold a seven-game lead over the Lakers for the top spot in the Western Conference, and Pop has proven time and time again that he'll limit Manu's minutes in the second half, provided that the Spurs are locked into the playoffs. Ginobili is the kind of player who can produce in limited minutes, so don't expect him to fall off a cliff, but do temper your expectations as we get closer to the All-Star break.
Tim Duncan, C/PF, Spurs (44): Duncan falls into the same boat as Manu, probably to an even bigger extent given his age (34) and mileage (13 seasons). He's done a great job at remaining productive despite seeing just 29.3 minutes per game this season, but it will be hard for him to sustain that value once his minutes are slashed. Duncan and Ginobili should continue to see solid minutes for the next few weeks, and savvy owners will use that time to seek out potential trade partners.
Serge Ibaka, C/PF, Thunder (92): After losing playing time to Nenad Krstic and Nick Collison in recent action, Serge has averaged just 6.2 points, 6.6 rebounds and 1.4 blocks in 18.8 minutes in his past five games. At the same time, he is still averaging 10.3 points, 7.8 rebounds and 1.5 blocks this month, so don't get too frustrated and write him off just yet. Be patient with Ibaka, his minutes may fluctuate, but he's too talented to keep off the court for too long.
John Salmons, SG/SF, Milwaukee Bucks (105): Salmons had a great run while Brandon Jennings and Carlos Delfino were on the shelf, averaging 14.6 points, 1.3 steals and 1.8 3-pointers in eight games this month before suffering a hip injury. The injury could not have come at a worse time for Salmons. Not only has Corey Maggette gotten himself more involved in the offense, but both Jennings and Delfino returned to action this week. Things are about to get awfully crowded in Milwaukee, and I wouldn't be surprised if I'm forced to drop Salmons even further in the rankings next week depending on how Scott Skiles decides to divvy up the minutes.
Aaron Brooks, PG, Houston Rockets (114): All right, I finally concede on the Aaron Brooks versus Kyle Lowry argument. Brooks just hasn't done enough to win back his starting job, and it's beginning to look like he may never get it back this season unless an injury strikes. With two injury-prone players like Lowry and Kevin Martin in the backcourt, that is a scenario that could easily play out, but for now Brooks owners need to decide if they want to stay the course or cut ties. Personally, I'd have a hard time dropping a guy who averaged 19.6 points, 5.3 assists and 2.5 3-pointers last season, but I couldn't argue much if others disagree.
J.R. Smith, SG, Denver Nuggets (117): Here we go again. I'm sure J.R. will have value again at some point this season, but he's barely worth owning at the moment. Before Sunday night's 23-point effort, he was averaging just 7.8 points in 22.3 minutes per game in his previous five. Smith has always been a highly volatile fantasy player, and I wouldn't argue with anyone wanting to drop him, just as long as you are aware that Smith can be extremely valuable when he goes on one of his patented hot streaks.
News and Notes
• Dirk Nowitzki has had a rough go at it since returning from a knee injury, shooting just 42.1 percent this month and averaging a pedestrian (for him) 19.0 points, 5.0 rebounds, 0.5 steals, 0.5 blocks and 1.4 3-pointers in his past eight games. Now might not be a bad time to see if his current owner will let him go at less than market price.
• Raymond Felton is struggling with his shot, shooting just 37.2 percent through 14 games in January. The shooting slump has affected his scoring and 3-point shooting, but the rest of his numbers have remained solid, which leads me to believe that he'll be putting up huge lines again as soon as he breaks out of this mini shooting funk.
• Some may be surprised that Wilson Chandler dropped only four spots in the rankings after he's put up just 10.8 points, 4.3 rebounds, 1.0 blocks and 1.2 3-pointers in his past five games. Nagging calf and wrist injuries have played a big role in his recent slump, and I'm expecting him to pick up right where he left off once he's fully recovered.
• With 18.7 points, 3.0 assists, 1.7 steals and 2.7 3-pointers in three starts for the injured Eric Gordon, Randy Foye should have plenty of value while Gordon mends. Foye has been a productive fantasy player in the past whenever he's received minutes, so make sure you grab him as a short-term addition for the next few weeks.
• I'm not completely buying into all of the Chuck Hayes hype, but I won't deny that he's been playing well enough to be owned in most fantasy formats at the moment. Hayes has a history of being a more useful player in real life than fantasy, but he's closed that gap as of late with 9.5 points, 8.2 rebounds, 1.6 steals and 1.0 blocks in 10 games this month. I still don't believe that he can keep this up in the long term, but that doesn't mean you can't use him now while he's putting up big numbers.
Brian McKitish is a fantasy basketball analyst for ESPN.com. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow him on Twitter @bmckitish.