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News-Herald Assistant Sports Editor Kevin Kleps doesn’t just write headlines and stories. He also checks on his fantasy sports teams. A lot. See if the moves and news from the world of sports affect your fantasy teams.

Friday, February 26, 2010

Fantasy focus: Drew Gooden and Marcus Thornton

Drew Gooden is better than this.

Better than playing on eight teams in eight NBA seasons. Better than being on his fifth team since the Cavs traded him to the Bulls in 2008. Better than being an afterthought in another mega-trade — last week’s three-team deal that brought Antawn Jamison to the Cavaliers.

Better than being available in more than 92 percent of the fantasy leagues on

In two games since he was dealt to the wasteland that is Donald Sterling’s Clippers (you deserved better than this, too, Blake Griffin), Gooden has 30 points and 22 rebounds in 65 minutes. He is perfect on 10 free-throw attempts in two games, the latter of which was his first start.

Wednesday, Gooden had 20 points, 13 rebounds and four assists in 37 minutes.

With Marcus Camby dealt to Portland in another cost-cutting maneuver and Griffin’s rookie season done before it even started, Gooden should be a starter during his brief tenure in L.A. Our apologies go to the 0.4 percent of you who own Craig Smith and the 0.5 percent who have Clips teammate DeAndre Jordan.

If you’re keeping score at home, Gooden has played for the Bulls, Kings (one game), Spurs, Mavericks and Clippers since he was unloaded by the Cavs in the Ben Wallace, Wally Szczerbiak trade in 2008. In eight NBA seasons, he’s also played for the Magic and Grizzlies.

Gooden’s $4.5 millon salary will expire at the end of this season, which should mean nine teams in nine years by the summer.

Until then, give him a chance.

He is an asset in points, rebounds and the percentages.

He’s a fantasy bargain — Sterling’s type of player, if you will.

More bargain hunting

Marcus Thornton was a second-round pick by Miami who was traded to New Orleans last June for a pair of second-round selections.

The rookie shooting guard from LSU is a fantasy afterthought who is available in more than 85 percent of the ESPN leagues.

The latter number is as confusing as Gooden’s six-teams-in-two-years line.

In his last two games heading into Friday, Thornton had 62 points in 72 minutes. Starting with a 37-point effort against the Cavs on Tuesday, he is 20-for-43 from the field (46.5 percent), 6-for-12 from 3-point range and perfect in 10 free-throw attempts.

Thornton has scored in double figures in eight straight games, and when he gets consistent minutes, he’ll help you in points, 3-pointers, 3-point percentage (if that’s a category in your league) and free-throw percentage.

The bad news: He doesn’t do much else. Even during an outstanding February, in which he’s averaged 18.6 points and made 45 percent of his 3-point tries in eight games, Thornton has norms of only 3.3 rebounds, two assists and 0.9 steals.

If you’re in a daily league, Thornton is a part-time starter if you’re deep in the backcourt and a full-time starter if you’re not.

In weekly leagues, he should start if you’re weak in any of the aforementioned categories at which Thornton excels.

Coming attractions

Next week, we’ll start breaking down the fantasy baseball season with the first of our positional previews. We’ll begin with Lou Marson and the catchers.

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