Philadelphia, PA (Sports Network) -
We're about a week and a half from the mid-point of this shortened 2011-12 NBA fantasy season. This is a good time to take an overview of your roster, evaluate its strengths and weaknesses and make the necessary changes for a big second half and a shot at the league championship.
Paul Pierce, Boston - Pierce stepped up his game when Celtics guards Ray Allen and Rajon Rondo were sidelined by injury. Both have returned, but Pierce hasn't slowed down, averaging 22.3 ppg, 6.5 rpg, 6.3 apg over the last six games. He contributes to every fantasy category and the only concern is that he plays too many minutes and wears down, His 34-year-old body has logged almost 1,100 games and over 38,000 minutes during his 14-year, Hall of Fame quality career.
Drew Gooden, Milwaukee - Backing up Andrew Bogut, Gooden is a fantasy non- factor. But Bogut, a former No.1 overall pick in 2005, hasn't played a full schedule since his rookie season so a "handcuffing" strategy with Gooden has worked out well. In the 11 games Gooden has started he's averaging 16.6 ppg, 7.9 rpg and 2.1 apg. Bogut's latest injury is expected to keep him out 2-3 months, so Gooden should pay of handsomely.
Anderson Varejao, Cleveland - Varejao is playing some of the best ball of his career this season. He's on pace to set personal best marks in points (10.8), rebounds (11.9), assists (1.8) and steals (1.3). Over the past two weeks he's been even better, averaging 13.1 ppg, 13.9 rpg and 2.1 apg.
Tyreke Evans, Sacramento - After a slow start, Evans is rounding into form. He averaged 14.0 ppg in December, 17.6 ppg in January and is currently hitting for 22.0 ppg in February. He's turning into a bit of a ball hog, which isn't what you want on your "real" team, but it's exactly what you need from your fantasy starters.
Other hot players; Kevin Durant, Oklahoma City; Joakim Noah, Chicago; Jason Thompson, Sacramento.
Carmelo Anthony, New York - Anthony may have been voted onto the East's All- Star starting lineup, but his statistics are dropping with each passing month. He averaged 25.0 ppg in December, 23.3 ppg in January and 21.0 ppg, 4.0 rpg and 4.0 apg in February. During those three February games he's shot just 39.2% from the field and an ugly .167 from three-point range. He's too good a player to continue to slide, but beware that a possible coaching change could effect Anthony and the Knicks' up tempo style of play.
Monta Ellis, Golden State - Ellis has been consistently inconsistent this season. He's poured in 30 or more points five times, but also scored 15 points or less five times, including three of the past five games. He's averaging over three minutes less than he did in his breakout 2009 campaign which has also hurt him numbers. Ellis is shooting just 42.0% from the field and 25.6% from beyond the arc. If I could still get second-round value for him in a deal (Yahoo preseason ADP 14), I'd probably pull the trigger.
Ty Lawson, Denver - Lawson got the season off to a quick start, but has struggled over the past two weeks averaging just 14.2 ppg, 3.4 rpg and 5.0 apg. He's been dealing with an ankle injury that slowed him, but that is now behind him and he should return to earlier production levels. No need to panic here.
Other cold players; Stephen Jackson, Milwaukee; Jose Calderon, Toronto; Byron Mullens.