For everyone who is in the playoffs of their fantasy basketball league, you must realize that it is OK to drop a well-known player if he ultimately has been hurting your team. If you have such a player who is hurt and the timetable of when he will return is unclear, do not be afraid to drop him. Your team has taken you this far, but now it is about starting over and putting yourself in the best possible place to succeed. For all Derrick Rose owners, if there is a player who has produced statistics in multiple categories, you might have to drop Rose in order to win. You cannot be thinking about the championship until you are actually in the finals. Take a look at some of these players below and use your best judgment to win. You get no points or extra credibility for being the team that wins a championship with Derrick Rose on their bench for the full season.
Taj Gibson, forward-center, Chicago Bulls: This is not the first time I have brought Gibson to your attention. When he is producing, he is just as effective as any aggressive undersized big man. His full season averages are mediocre, as he has scored 7.8 points, grabbed 5.5 rebounds and swatted 1.4 shots per game. Last week, I talked about how this is the time when you must look at trends and even closer to the statistics. If you did the extra work required to win a fantasy basketball championship, you would see that Gibson has scored 14.0 points and grabbed 9.0 rebounds per game over the last two weeks.
Gibson's aggressiveness both on the perimeter and in the paint make him even more of a threat. He has stolen the ball twice per game and blocked a shot per contest over his last six games. He has shot 50 percent from the field during this stretch. Gibson is not even getting that much more playing time since this surge. He has been a yo-yo of a player all season long when it has come to fantasy productivity. Gibson is owned in just 11 percent of leagues polled. He has helped in at least three categories.
Steve Blake, guard, Los Angeles Lakers: Blake is used to playing 22.3 minutes per game for the season but has seen more minutes over the last two weeks (27.5 minutes). With point guard being arguably the scarcest position in fantasy basketball, Blake's value skyrockets. He has has dished 5.6 assists and grabbed 1.1 steals per game in his last seven games. Who knew Steve Nash's backup could be so productive?
Blake is owned in 6 percent of leagues polled, and I suggest that you pick him up. The Lakers are fighting to stay in the playoffs and are relying on their veterans to keep them in the eighth seed. If you look at Blake's last few games you would also see that he is a minor help in the rebounding category. For the season, he has grabbed 2.4 rebounds per game. Blake does not score much and will not hurt your field goal percentage, as he has shot 43.9 percent from the field this season.
Brandan Wright, forward-center, Dallas Mavericks: Wright has scored only 7.7 points per game this season but has nailed 61.8 percent from the field. I would much rather own a player with an extremely high shooting percentage and minimal scoring than the other way around. Points are important, but shot quality reigns supreme.
With the Mavericks on the outside looking in when it comes to the playoffs, Wright surely has been selling himself over his last six games. Wright has scored 11 points and grabbed 6.5 rebounds per outing. He has also blocked 1.4 shots per game during this stretch. Even scoring more points recently, he has still been shooting 59.7 percent from the field. Wright is owned in only 10 percent of leagues polled and has been able to start a few games lately for the Mavericks.
Josh McRoberts, forward-center, Charlotte Bobcats: The Bobcats have opened up their rotation and are enriched with fantasy potential. They will not be making the NBA playoffs this season. McRoberts has taken full advantage of the Bobcats lack of size and has scored 10 points and grabbed 7.4 rebounds per game over the last two weeks. McRoberts has seen a significant increase in playing time the last few weeks, as he has gone from playing 18.4 to 30 minutes per game.
McRoberts is a perfect example as to why you should always look in-depth at statistics in fantasy sports. If you just looked at the full-season stats you would see that he has scored 4.9 points and grabbed 4.0 rebounds per game. Over the most recent two-week stretch, McRoberts has shot 52.9 percent from the floor and grabbed 1.3 steals per game. He is owned in 16 percent of leagues polled. When McRoberts gets the ball around the three-point line, he is very effective at driving the lane and the Bobcats coaching staff has clearly taken notice.
Damien Wilkins, guard-forward, Philadelphia 76ers: Wilkins is another player who has seen a major increase in playing time over his last seven games. For the season, he has been playing 14.1 minutes per game and that number has blossomed to 30.3 minutes a night. Wilkins has been a big scoring threat since his playing time increased. He has scored 12.3 points per game and shot 53.3 percent from the field.
Wilkins is owned in only 3 percent of leagues polled. He has recorded a steal and a block per game over his last two weeks. Wilkins has not been on the fantasy radar at all this season, which should not stop you from picking him up. With the way Wilkins has played lately, he can very be your team MVP during the playoffs. Pick him up before the secret is out.