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THREE UP, THREE DOWN

Posted by Ed Ryan February 19, 2009 05:53 AM

UP Tyrus Thomas, F, Chicago
Before the All-Star break, and perhaps for the first time ever, Thomas strung together four exceptional performances, averaging 18.5 points, 11.3 rebounds, and 2.0 blocks. His three-year career in Chicago has been inconsistent, and he's lived off his athleticism and the "potential" tag. Thomas has never been anything more than a backup fantasy player, but grab him now if you need forward depth.

UP D.J. Augustin, G, Charlotte
With Raja Bell injured, Augustin is starting regularly. In the three games before the All-Star break, he averaged just under 39 minutes per game and scored 27, 17, and 24. With Raymond Felton on the trading block, Augustin is poised for a bigger role and continued big minutes.

UP Monta Ellis, G, Golden State
Ellis played 44 minutes (and scored 20) in Golden State's final game before the break and appears to be over the ankle injury that kept him out during the first half of the season. Ellis, an explosive scorer who thrives in the Warriors' up-and-down system, is the future for this franchise. Expect him to break out after the All-Star break.

DOWN Tracy McGrady, G, Houston
McGrady sat out the final game before the break and seems at odds with the team brass over the state of his left knee. He's a total bust this season, and the solution is apparent: drop him. One night he's in the lineup, one night he plays three minutes, one night he doesn't play at all. He's not worth the aggravation.

DOWN Ray Allen, G, Boston
Allen was a worthy All-Star replacement and is having a fine season, but there is reason for concern. He averages 36.2 minutes per game -- good for second on the team -- and last season coach Doc Rivers limited his court time down the stretch to get him ready for the postseason. Is that going to happen again? Will this affect his production?

DOWN Rashard Lewis, F, Orlando
Another All-Star, Lewis has struggled since injury sidelined Jameer Nelson, possibly for the season. Lewis is shooting just 35.6 percent and averaging only 12.2 points with Nelson out. Those numbers are likely to improve, but without Nelson getting him the ball where he likes it, by how much?

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