- Joe Kaiser, Fantasy, Insider
How Rondo's return impacts Bradley, Crawford and Bayless
Rajon Rondo's cryptic tweet hinting that he'll return Friday was great news for those who've been patiently stashing Rondo on their roster all season, but what about those with Jordan Crawford, Avery Bradley or even Jerryd Bayless on their roster?
For starters, ESPN Insider Kevin Pelton anticipates Bradley being the player who will be least affected by Rondo's return.
"Beyond that, it seems likely Rondo would take Bayless' minutes at first as part of what's primarily a three-guard rotation with Crawford and Bradley," Pelton said, "with Crawford getting squeezed as Rondo ramps up his minutes."
Pelton projects Rondo -- who will initially play under a minutes limit -- to shoot 44.1 percent from the field and average 12.1 points, 10.0 assists, 4.6 rebounds and 3.9 steals per 36 minutes over the rest of the season.
But what about the others?
Crawford has filled in surprisingly well as the team's primary point guard and averaged career-highs of 5.7 assists and 3.1 rebounds per game in the process. However, as Rondo starts to eat into his minutes, it's not unreasonable to think that Crawford's numbers could resemble the ones from last season in Boston, when he averaged 21.6 minutes and 9.1 points per game. As the backup point guard, though, you can expect him to continue to dish out more assists than he did with the Celtics in 2012-13 (2.5 APG).
As far as Bayless is concerned, it's safe to say that any fantasy value he might have had in deeper leagues without Rondo has vanished with Rondo.
Why you should pass on Kidd-Gilchrist
Charlotte's playoff chances will get a boost as Michael Kidd-Gilchrist returns to the court tonight against New York after missing six weeks with a broken left hand. The Bobcats (15-23) currently sit a half-game behind the red-hot Knicks (15-22) for the No. 8 spot in the Eastern Conference playoff race, and the presence of MKG should help improve the team's poor defense.
So should you race out and add Kidd-Gilchrist, who remains available in 92.8 percent of ESPN leagues, before someone else does?
In most cases, probably not. Consider that in his 18 games before the injury this season he was averaging 9.1 points, 5.3 rebounds and less than one assist, block and steal per game. On top of that, he was shooting just 66.7 percent from the free throw line, turning it over 1.7 times per game and a complete non-factor from 3-point land.
Bobcats coach Steve Clifford told the Charlotte Observer on Monday that he plans to use the Kidd-Gilchrist in 6-to-7 minute stints until he's back in rhythm.
"Play him segments of minutes so that he's able to function well, then get him out so he can regroup," Clifford told the newspaper. "I don't know yet what Mike can handle. We'll read it [from his performance] and go from there."
Moultrie could be worth a roster spot in deeper leagues
One player to keep a close eye on this week is Philadelphia's Arnett Moultrie, who could make his season debut as soon as Wednesday after a long recovery from ankle surgery.
Moultrie averaged just 11.5 minutes a game as a rookie last season under Doug Collins, so his numbers (3.7 PPG, 3.1 RPG) didn't exactly jump off the page. But with Philadelphia so thin in the frontcourt and Lavoy Allen nursing a sore right calf that has forced him to miss the last two games, expect the 23-year-old Moultrie to take Brandon Davies' minutes and play a big role as the primary backup at both the four and five.
“I think Arnett can definitely bring us some offense,” Michael Carter-Williams tells The Intelligencer. “He works real hard, defensively. He’s a great player. Him coming in gives us hustle, mid-range shooting and being able to face up is great for us.”
What he could also bring is rebounds and solid free throw shooting. In his final year of college at Mississippi State in 2011-12, Moultrie averaged 10.5 rebounds per game while shooting 78.0 percent from the charity stripe.
Bumps and bruises
Rising fantasy star Gordon Hayward (hip) missed each of Utah's last two games, but will travel with the team on their three-game road trip that begins on Wednesday in San Antonio.