Matchups for Saturday, Nov. 15
All times are ET.
Key: Opp. PPG = Points per game allowed to opponents. Opp. FGP = Field goal percentage allowed to opponents. RPG Diff. = The difference between team's rebounds per game and its opponents' rebounds per game.
Kevin Durant, SG/SF, Thunder (ankle)
Devin Harris, PG, Nets (ankle)
Troy Murphy, PF/C, Pacers (flu)
Mehmet Okur, C, Jazz (personal)
Zaza Pachulia, C, Hawks (shoulder)
Michael Redd, SG, Bucks (ankle)
Charlie Villanueva, SF/PF, Bucks (hamstring)
Chris Wilcox, PF/C, Thunder (knee)
Start 'em, sit 'em
Unless you're inexplicably weak in points, feel free to bench or even discard Al Thornton. The 25-year-old has shown regression, not growth, despite extended minutes this season, and he can't be expected to improve his game significantly. Thornton is averaging 28 minutes the past three games, and that has coincided with Marcus Camby's return to health, so soon even Thornton's one-dimensional scoring will be in flux. Speaking of Camby, don't be surprised to see bundles of extra rebounds and blocks as he takes advantage of the extra possessions the Warriors will offer. After a career-high 33 minutes per game last season, Samuel Dalembert has lost five minutes off that average early on. It's no coincidence that Dalembert is also averaging a would-be career-high of four fouls per contest, and those in roto leagues may want to aim higher and sit him until he irons out his problems. Since starting the season with three games of 31 minutes or more, Travis Outlaw has seen his minutes bounce up and down, with three games below the 30-minute threshold and two games above. His hot shooting from beyond the arc (58.3 percent) will end sometime soon (he was 1-for-4 from downtown Wednesday), and since he's attempting only 3.0 per game, there's really nowhere to go but down. Start looking for options elsewhere. After a slow start, Mike Miller has nailed 11 3s in his past four games, and the Trail Blazers are allowing opponents to convert a league-best 42 percent of their treys. That makes Miller a must-start no matter how shallow the league. With the return of both Drew Gooden and Larry Hughes, minutes will be hard to come by for Bulls sharpshooter Andres Nocioni. But if Nocioni is going to defy that logic, a game versus the Pacers -- currently seventh in possessions per game at 94.2, and within 0.2 of fifth -- would be the ideal time. Give him one last start or two before you toss him out on the scrap heap. So far the Rockets' defense has stifled the perimeter, allowing a league-low 27 percent shooting from beyond the arc on just 13.1 attempts per game. With that in mind, an off night can be expected from Peja Stojakovic, and considering his 3-point prowess is the only reason he belongs in lineups, benching him for a more useful player is reasonable.
Even with the return of Corey Maggette on Thursday, Kelenna Azubuike hauled in 44 minutes and chucked up 16 shots. Although Azubuike's minutes can't go much higher, Don Nelson is the type of coach who will play the six or seven players who give him the best shot at winning. It's also worth noting that Azubuike is averaging 3.1 3-pointers per game and has shot 43.0 and 36.4 percent from beyond the arc; his current 17.9 percent conversion clip will rise, buffering the inevitable fall. Toss in the fact that Maggette remains a constant injury risk, and Azubuike is worth picking up and playing in head-to-head leagues. Facing offensively inept power forwards Ben Wallace and Anderson Varejao may be the cure for Paul Millsap's plague of fouls (14 his past three games). With Mehmet Okur expected to miss another game, there's no harm in streaming Millsap and hoping he has a big game. Aaron Brooks has scored 20 and 19 points in his past two games and has nailed two-plus 3s in four of his seven games. The Hornets are one of four teams to allow more than 21 attempts from beyond the arc to opposing teams, and only the Nets are allowing a higher 3-point percentage than the Hornets' 39 percent. As a streaming option in deeper leagues, you could do worse.
Adam Madison is a fantasy basketball analyst for ESPN.com.