Fratello’s Fantasy Pick

Copyright 2013 NBAE - Photo by Gary Dineen/NBAE via Getty ImagesAs the 2013-2014 NBA season winds down, many teams are scrambling to make the postseason or to improve their playoff seeding. The 42-28 Memphis Grizzlies, currently slotted 7th in the uber-competitive Western Conference, are among a handful of teams who are battling on the bubble.

With just a dozen 48’s left to play, the Griz will rely on their starters and core unit now more than ever. So adding sixth-year C Marc Gasol to your fantasy squad down the backstretch is a savvy move.

The 29-year-old bigger little brother of LAL’s Pau Gasol was the 2013 Defensive Player of the Year. He scores, boards and blocks shots. And he gets almost 4 dimes a contest, impressive for a 7’1” big.

For the season, the Barcelona native is averaging 13.8 ppg, 6.9 rpg and 1.4 bpg. However, during the month of March Gasol has averaged 14.8 ppg, 7.9 rpg and 1.8 bpg. Throw in nearly 1 steal a night, and Gasol can fill up a stat sheet left to right.

The 2008 Spanish League MVP has season highs of 23 points (2X), 12 boards (2X), 9 assists, 4 blocks (6X) and 3 steals (6X). He shoots 80% from the charity stripe, which is rare for a legit 7-footer.

Gasol should have plenty in the tank after missing 23 games with a left knee issue earlier in the year. He’s a seasoned veteran with loads of playoff experience and can be counted on to put up solid numbers against any team or defensive scheme.

So for Fantasy GMs looking to finish out the schedule strong, Gasol is the right player in the right situation.

Fratello Telestrator

WEB-Telestrator-Back Pick-17MAY2013

Gameday Dish: Grizzlies vs. Thunder

Copyright 2013 NBAE - Photo by Joe Murphy/NBAE via Getty ImagesTonight’s contest in The Sooner State will feature the league’s highest scoring team, the Thunder, at 105.7 ppg versus the NBA’s stingiest team defense, the Grizzlies, at 89.5 ppg allowed.

The Grizzlies come to Oklahoma City without their leading scorer Rudy Gay. The 7th-year, 6’8” SF was traded along with reserve C Hamed Haddadi (1.2 ppg) to the Toronto Raptors after spending his entire career with Memphis.

In return, the Griz got PG Jose Calderon and 3rd-year, 6’10” PF Ed Davis from north of the border. Memphis GM Chris Wallace then shipped Calderon to Detroit for 11th-year SF Tayshaun Prince and 4th-year, 6’11” F Austin Daye.

New owner Robert Pera didn’t want to pay the steep luxury taxes the next two seasons, so Memphis cut salary while acquiring three quality forwards in exchange for one exceptional forward.

The 29-15 Memphis squad has won five of their past seven games including a 103-100 victory at Philly on Monday. Rudy Gay scored the winning basket off his own rebound with 13.3 seconds left. He went for 26 points, 7 boards and 5 dimes in his last 48 as a Grizzly.

Copyright 2012 NBAE - Photo by Layne Murdoch Jr./NBAE via Getty Images

Memphis’s starting 6th-year PG Mike Conley sat out the Philadelphia game with an ankle sprain. The ultra-quick Conley and his 13 ppg, 5.8 apg and 2.3 spg will be a game time decision tonight.

The Thunder at 34-11 own the NBA’s second best record and are 19-3 in their own building.

The league’s top scorer and MVP-frontrunner Kevin Durant and cast return home after a 3-3 road trip that ended on Sunday with a 105-96  loss to the Lakers. KD poured in 35, and PG Russell Westbrook had 17 points and 13 dimes on 6 for 22 shooting in the defeat.

On November 14th, Memphis beat the Thunder in OKC 107-97. Gay had 28 points, 6 boards and 5 assists, while 2X All-Star  Zach Randolph went for 20 points and 11 rebounds. The Griz outscored the 2012 Western Conference Champs 36 to 15 in the pivotal second quarter.

Tune in to TNT at 8:00 PM ET to see who will win the battle between the Thunder’s prolific offense and the Grizzlies’ shutdown defense.

Czar’s Midseason Review

WEB-Midseason-All-Star-28JAN2013

Gameday Dish: Nets vs. Grizzlies

Copyright 2013 NBAE - Photo by Nathaniel S. Butler/NBAE via Getty ImagesThe 26-16 Brooklyn Nets come to The Home of the Blues tonight to battle the 27-14 Grizzlies. Jay-Z’s reenergized squad has gone 12-2 since Head Coach P.J. Carlesimo took the reins last month.

Carlesimo inserted 11th-year, rugged PF Reggie Evans into the first 5 in place of PF Kris Humphries. This new starting group of PG Williams, SG Johnson, SF Wallace, C Lopez and Evans has gone 9-1. Brooklyn currently sits just one game in back of their city rival Knicks in the Atlantic Division.

After being the topic of trade chatter for more than a year, 5th-year Brook Lopez is the highest scoring 5 in the league at 18.6 ppg to go along with 7.4 rpg and 2.1 bpg. With a PER of 25.45, many find it ludicrous that he was left off of the East’s All-Star roster. Many residents of the Nets’ borough think Lopez puts the Brook in Brooklyn.

Memphis has an All-Star snub as well according to Griz fans – 5th-year, 7’1” C Marc Gasol. The Spaniard has played in and started all 41 games this season and can fill up the stat sheet. He is averaging 13.2 ppg, 7.4 rpg, 3.5 apg, 1.8 bpg and 1 spg while shooting close to 50% from the field and 88% from the line.

Copyright 2012 NBAE - Photo by Garrett W. Ellwood/NBAE via Getty Images
Both sides play defense well and statistically rank high in points allowed per game. The Nets at 94.1 are 5th and the Grizzlies at 89.5 are 2nd. Memphis PG Mike Conley is 2nd in the league in steals at 2.35 per game. Nets Lopez, Evans and the high-energy Wallace may be the most for formidable defensive front court in the Eastern Conference.

Brooklyn last played on Wednesday at Minnesota where they were victorious, 91-83. Deron Williams led the team with 18 points, 6 boards, 8 dimes and 3 steals.

Memphis also added to their win column on Wednesday, hosting and beating the flailing Los Angeles Lakers, 106-93, to improve their home record to 16-6. They outscored LA in all 4 quarters with 6 players reaching double figure points. The Grizzlies’ top performance on Wed. belonged to back-up PF Darrell Arthur. Arthur had 20 points, 9 boards and 3 dimes in 28 minutes of run.

Tune in tonight at 8PM ET to the YES Network to see if Brooklyn can continue their winning ways against a formidable Western Conference foe.

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