Saturday, February 26, 2005

A special 24 hours for St. Joe's Fans

Fans of last year's St. Joe's team take note. In less than 24 hours, both 1st Round Draft picks made their first starts of the year. Delonte West's appearance in last night's starting lineup was seconded today by Jameer Nelson's 1st Start of the season. While West's minutes may have been augmented by his team's foul trouble, it appears from first glance at the box score that Jameer will be asked to take over the starting PG duties in Orlando, shifting Steve Francis over to the SG. Meanwhile, Doug Christie falls further and further into Mike Tyson's realm of Bolivian, failing to even register double digit minutes.

In case you were wondering, Jameer put up 13pts, 8boards, and 7 dimes in his first start.

Back to Business as Usual...

Here are some notes from Friday's game:
  1. Shaq remians "Day-to-Day". Easily the worst 3 words that fantasy owners can hear, it means no "IL" but also not assurances on when he will play next. Sorry Shaq owners, but at least he's not out for the year.
  2. Antoine Walker's first game back as a Celtic was a success. However, against what was speculated at this site earlier, Tony Allen was not moved to the PG, instead Delonte West was inserted into the starting lineup and got 38 mintes of play. The Celtics were in foul trouble most of the night (esp. Paul Pierce), so expecting 35+ from Delonte may be a bit much, but if he maintains a 30 minutes/game average the rest of the way he is a definite add. (note - He will need to improve his assist numbers though, in those 38 minutes he only got 3 of them.) Walker's main impact though was on the fantasy relevance of the Celtics other starting big men: Mark Blount and Raef Lafrentz. Lafrentz was moved over to center as Blount was ousted from the starting lineup to make room for 'Toine at the 4. Blount has not had any reason to be on a fantasy team this late in the season, Lafrentz owners will want to pay special attention to what happens to his numbers now. Hopefully the Celtics next few games will not be as foul riddled so we can all get a more realistic glimpse of how this team shakes out.
  3. In only 5 minutes of game time, Jiri Welsch managed to go 0-1, with 1 TO and 3 fouls. Way to get those fans in Cleveland excited Jiri. The game is also of note as Jeff Foster sat out with back spasms.
  4. Brain Cardinal had a nice game filling in for Stromile Swift in the Memphis starting lineup. But with James Posey back, and Swift eventually returning, one wonders where all the minutes are going to go.
  5. If only Brendan Haywood could get 33 minutes a night more consistently.
  6. In his first game not sharing time with Mike James, Mo Williams got 36 minutes, with 21pts and 7 assists.

Friday, February 25, 2005

Manlove candidate...

An article in USA Today provided this great bit of information...

"The Wizards were shocker to learn in a story in The Washington Post Magazine that early in [Kwame] Brown's rookie season he was eating Popeye's fried chicked for every meal because he didn't know how to grocery shop."

Kwame, you're now in the Top 10 of players who deserve Manlove. Congrats.

Reasons to love Obie and the return of a sleeper pick...

I knew I liked Jim O'Brien. Here are 2 reasons:
  1. His words of advice to Rodney Rogers before Roger's first game as a Sixer, "On offense, stay out of Iverson's way, hit some 3's, and on defense cover your man." Simple and to the point.
  2. If Rogers didn't make it to yesterday's game on time, the Sixers would have had only 7 players dressed. The league requires 8 or the team is forced to pay a large fine. The backup plan for the Sixers was to sign someone to a 10 day contract. That person would have been Philadelphia Public League Legend Jason Lawson, formerly of Olney High School, Villanova University, and the Orlando Magic. While Lawson would likely not have seen any playing time, it would have been nice to see the local boy get a 10 day contract and get to wear his hometown team's jersey. Remember, at one point, Lawson was the 2nd best big man prospect in Philadelphia (the first being some guy named Rasheed Wallace) and was a key piece to Villanova's NIT championship team with Kerry Kittles and Alvin Williams.
Another thing of note in last night's contest was Marquis Daniels. Considered a sleeper on draft night, many people looked at his playoff run last year as a sign of things to come. Yet this year he was saddled by an assortment of injuries and has not been consistently on the floor all year. Last night, in his second game back, he reminded everyone of his potential with a huge game. Now, Dallas was shorthanded, without the injured Erick Dampier and Jerry Stackhouse, while still waiting on the arrival of Keith Van Horn. It remains to be seen what his minutes will look like if/when Dallas gets back their full compliment of players, but if he gets anywhere near 30 minutes a night, he is definitely worthy of a fantasy roster. Add him now, but be prepared for the worst.

The Aftermath

ESPN's Marc Stein has released his views on all of yesterday's trades. His views on the impact of the players isn't the same as the potential fantasy impact, but a few things stand out.
  1. Charles Barkley, Doug Collins, and now Marc Stein all have commended the Spurs on their pickup of Nazr Mohammed. I'm still trying to figure out why. Mohammed had a nice productive run at the beginning of the season, but for all intents and purposes he's been useless since January 4th. He has had only 3 double doubles since, and only once cracked 30 minutes in February. He might be able to do some damage if he got 30 minutes a night, but he won't. With Duncan, Rasho, and Robert Horry ahead of him in the big man rotation. Sure he's a nice 4th big man to have, but Barkley must have been smoking something real good to proclaim that he's their answer to Miami signing Alonzo Mourning.
  2. Steve Smith was sent to from Charlotte to Miami for Malik Allen. Smith will provide some depth at the 2 for Miami and basically come in and shoot 3 pointers. He won't get minutes. Most likely Malik Allen won't either, but this is Charlotte, in their first year, so if they see something they like, he may very well end up collecting some minutes. Most likely he'll remain useless as he sits behind Emeka, Melvin Ely, and Primoz.
  3. Denver has finally given up on Nikoloz Tskitishvili. They sent he and Rodney White to the Warriors for Eduardo Najera and Luis Flores. Skita was once seen as the next Dirk Nowitski. I hope he gets some minutes in Golden State, otherwise he could play through his entire rookie contract having gotten at most 16 minutes a game (his rookie year). Najera will play a similar role in Denver as Greg Buckner. None of these guys deserves a spot on your fantasy team.
  4. As predicted here at "A Fantasy Life," Gary Payton is not expected to report to Atlanta. Owners of Payton should hope for a quick buyout, because if the Hawks don't release him from his contract, they will have to release him from their fantasy teams. You guys can form a support group with Alonzo Mourning and Jimmy Jackson owners.

Thursday, February 24, 2005

Wow, the Deals Don't Stop Coming...

More and more trades are announced. Isiah continues to wheel and deal, an old face resurfaces in Boston, and Baron goes from the West's worst to the West's 2nd worst. Let's tackle these in the order I saw them

Milwaukee made this trade so that they have some money to re-sign Michael Redd in the offseason. Keith Van Horn was limited to 20 minutes a night since returning from injury. He'll get the same amount of minutes in Dallas and remain irrelevant fantasy-wise. Alan Henderson was the only player in Dallas to play every game. He might not see the floor at all for the Bucks. Booth may get some minutes as a backup center, but he remains useless in fantasy as well.
Baron Davis had a hard time staying healthy and being motivated for the worst team in the West. What should lead anyone to believe that he'll be more motivated now that he's on a team with a whopping 2 more wins? Well, there are pieces in Golden State that could motivate Baron, namely Jason Richardson and Troy Murphy. Both Baron and Murphy made their returns from injury last night. Perhaps they could use the rest of the season to try and prove that this team can make some noise next year. Perhaps they'll be lazy. If they both stay healthy and motivated, then this team could really wake up. In terms of impact, Richardson should lose some points per game, he's been averaging around 28, but with shot chucker Baron in town and Murphy back from injury that could easily fall to 24-25. His other numbers should remain constant, although a slight increase in his assists and percentage could happen. Likewise, Baron's numbers will change a bit. He'll lose 2-3 points a game, but his FG% should improve with better players around him and his assists should go up as he's liable to throw 2-3 alley-oops to JR per game. Murphy is the only one who's fantasy numbers should remain consistent across the board. He's a rebounder and their only post presence. He stays that way. The only thing he'll stop doing now is shooting 3's, which is a shame because he just added that to his repetoire this year. As for the other players, say goodbye to Mike Dunleavy's fantasy relevance. No longer will he get 18-7, instead he's back to 13-5. Derek Fisher likewise could be back in the realm of fantasy uselessness. This depends on how Mike Montgomery sets his starting lineup. It was rumored that he liked the small lineup of Claxton, Fisher, Richardson, Dunleavy, and Adonal Foyle that he employed while Murphy was out, and that he was going to insert Murphy in at center and move Foyle to the bench. He could just use that lineup and insert Baron where Speedy used to be, or now that he has another All Star caliber player, he could move Fisher to the bench, and move JR back to the 2, Dunleavy to the 3, insert Murphy at (his natural position) the 4, and leave Adonal at the 5. This is a wait and see for Fisher. Adonal is useless no matter what.
For the Hornets, this trade makes very little sense other than acquiring Dale Davis so his contract can expire. It was rumored that they were holding out for Dunleavy instead of Speedy Claxton, but must have caved somewhere. The problem here is that people were counting on a trade of Baron to signify that the Hornets liked Dan Dickau. This basically takes Baron out of the mix at PG, but instead places Speedy Claxton there. In an instance like this, it's usually easiest to tell who will be starting by looking at the length of their contracts. Speedy is signed for one more year, Dickau becomes a free agent after this season. That usually would lead one to believe that Speedy will be starting over Dickau. Either way, it probably spells impending doom for both Speedy and Dickau owners. Neither is a "must keep" for the Hornets long term plans (even though it seemed that Dickau could be), and they will most likely split the minutes at PG, unless Byron Scott decides to trot out his "Mini-Lineup" and uses both Dickau and Speedy at the guards, puts J.R. Smith and Lee Nailon at the forward positions, with PJ Brown at center. This could become even more muddled when Jamaal Magloire comes back (if that ever happens). This trade could make the Hornets the most irrelevant team in the NBA, both in the actual standings and (more importantly) in terms of fantasy contributors. I'll keep checking the box scores to see what the lineup is. If you have Speedy or Dickau, don't cut them yet, but be ready to.

(Yes, I realize I just wrote 2 long paragraphs about the fantasy implications between the 2 worst teams in the Western Conference.)
Isiah Thomas can't go through a trade deadline without making any deals. So what did this trade do for the Knicks? Well, it's obvious that it wasn't done to get the game changing skills of Malik Rose or Mo Taylor. In fact, it was done to allow Mike Sweetney into the starting lineup. That's it. That's the impact. Rose and Taylor will fight for backup minutes behind both Sweetney and Kurt Thomas. But watch Mike Sweetney. Remember last year when Mark Blount got into the starting lineup and turned into a fantasy machine at the end of the season. Mike Sweetney is this year's Mark Blount. On the season, in 18 minutes, he's averaging 8 pts, 5 boards. He could see his minutes double. He could likewise see his stats double with it. Are you gonna be the guy who passes on someone who could put up 16-10 and hits his free throws? He might even get you a block a game. PICK UP MIKE SWEETNEY NOW!!!
For the Spurs, Nazr Mohammed picks up Rose's backup minutes at the 4/5, He was a nice fantasy contributor early in the year, but has since become useless. He remains useless. Neither player coming to the Rockets has any use either. If he can stay sober, Vin Baker can have Mo Taylor's numbers, but he probably won't do anything with them. And Moochie Norris returns to Houston to fill out, what has become a deep backcourt. Anyone who jumped on Mike James as soon as that trade was announced can go ahead and cut him again. Moochie will take his minutes and now neither will get enough to make an impact in fantasy.

and now for the big one...
Danny Ainge has a plan. He is following it through to the letter. It's just that no one can understand any move he makes. The first thing he did when he took over the Celtics was trade Antoine Walker. Less than 2 years later, he has now traded for him back. I'm still confused. One thing of note, all 4 player involved in the trade are free agents at season's end. Walker at least will be happy to be back in Boston. That might mean an increase in FT%, but I wouldn't count on it. The biggest question for Boston is what their lineup will look like now. Does Tony Allen move over to the point with Paul Pierce back at the 2, do they slide 'Toine in at the 3, and leave their other bigmen (Lafrentz and Blount) as is? This seems most likely, and while it does put Allen at the controls, both Walker and Pierce can handle the ball handling duties. What does this do to their stats? Well, anyone expecting the days when Walker and Pierce both averaged over 25 a game is not thinking clearly. Walker may not even be in the plans for the Celtics past this year. He will most likely bring the same stats he had in Atlanta. You may see a drop in points and boards, but his assists should improve enough to counter that. his percentages should still stink. Let's not forget that Antoine is going to be very happy to be home, that will do wonders for him. Pierce, likewise will be happy again. He will see the same affect that happens to Walker's stats on his as well. How does this affect the others? Well, Allen will have two players around who like to have the ball in their hand, he's going to have to learn how to play with them, something he has had trouble with this year. He shouldn't be on fantasy team anyway. Lafrentz is a spot up shooter, who moves well without the ball. His numbers should remain constant as he finds ways to get open on the perimeter. Mark Blount should actually have the most positive impact on his numbers as he now has lot's of bricks to clean off the glass. Blount may actually be worth a second look in deeper leagues. As for Ricky Davis off the bench, his role shouldn't change. But he needs to play nice with Walker the same way he has with Pierce. He could see a slight dip in his scoring.
As for the Hawks, they traded 1 expiring contracts for 3. None of the players they are getting will be in their future plans, and I wouldn't be surprised if Gary Payton pulls a Jim Jackson and doesn't even report. If he does report, look for him to take over the PG duties and post the same stats he had in Boston, if even those. But the other Hawks should see major improvement. Josh Childress, Josh Smith, and Al Harrington all should see their numbers improve without Walker around. You're probably going to take a hit in the FG% category with the 2 Joshes as they now throw up approx. 5 more shots a game, but they will be scoring more. Harrington goes back on the block as the only post threat and could see his rebound numbers go to 10 a game the rest of the way.

Whew.


White Worm Update...

In wondering why Jeff Foster only played 9 minutes last night, I came across this bit of news, "...Indiana center Jeff Foster left the game late in the first quarter with back spasms and did not return." Foster has been pretty durable this year, it's doubtful this will cause him to miss significant time. A Fantasy Life will keep you updated on his status.

Deadline Deals Aplenty...

3 more trades have been made as of 1:03 PM EST.

  1. The Cavaliers have acquired Jiri Welsch from the Boston Celtics for a 2007 1st Round Pick
  2. The Rockets have acquired Mike James from Milwaukee for Reece Gaines and 2 future 2nd Rd Picks.
  3. The Sixers have moved Big Dog's expiring contract to New Orleans for Jamal Mashburn and Rodney Rogers.
Here's the potential impact from those deals:

  • Boston - None, Welsch had been bumped from the lineup and was getting less and less minutes. The writing was on the wall when he only picked up 5 minutes of playing time in what would be his last game for the Celtics.
  • Cleveland - All those who have Ira Newble on their fantasy teams raise your hands. (Whoever raised their hand is personally invited to my league next year.) While Welsch most likely will not supplant Newble in the starting lineup, he is now the player with the most fantasy relevance. Welsch has a few things going for him that may make him valuable to the Cavs. He can play 3 positions (pg, sg, and sf); and he is a good shooter. The latter part is what he will be asked to do in Cleveland. Shoot. They are desperate for a consistent outside shooter. The former part of the equation means that they can insert him into many different lineups that Paul Silas may choose to run at any given time. If he hits his shots (he hit 38% from downtown last year, down this year to 32%), then he can get 25 minutes of playing time, maybe more. If you need 3 pointers, take a chance on Welsch.
  • Rockets - Mike James continues his quest to become the NBA's team bicycle. This is his 4th team in 2 years. Last year while with Boston, James was a solid (but not spectacular) fantasy performer. In Houston, he joins what is starting to look like a serviceable backcourt. The Rockets can now run any combination of: Bobby Sura, David Wesley, Mike James, and John Barry. Sura and Wesley have been the only 2 worthy of fantasy teams thus far, but Sura has been battling knee injuries all year. Look for his minutes to take the biggest hit as the Rockets give him more rest to be ready for the playoffs, and for Mike James to take the majority of those minutes. He may not be worth an immediate add, but keep an eye on James, if Sura goes out with injury, he is certainly worth a pickup. (edited to add) Zendon Hamilton was also included in the deal, but he stinks and won't get minutes.
  • Milwaukee - Reece Gaines stinks. He always has. It is very doubtful he gets any minutes in Milwaukee, and definitely not enough to make any impact. The big winner here is the man who was sharing time with James in Milwaukee's backcourt, Mo Williams. Thus far this year, Williams has been averaging 9 pts and 6 assists in 25.5 minutes per game. He could see a spike of 10 minutes to his averages. If his minutes/game goes up to 35, his assists could spike up to 8.4. He doesn't hit the 3 pointer, but if you need assists, add him now.
  • New Orleans - No impact. Robinson was acquired as a salary dump. He hasn't played all year and still won't. Rogers was a starter on New Orleans and was averaging about 30 minutes a night. Those will most likely be split between: Lee Nailon and Chris Anderson, but personally, I'm hoping they go to Maciej Lampe (as he's easily someone who could jump into the Manlove list). If Nailon or Anderson picks up the majority of those minutes, Anderson could get 2+ blks a game or Nailon could put up some decent scoring numbers, but offer little help anywhere else.
  • Philadelphia - Billy King makes 2 moves I like in less than 24 hours. I take back all those bad things I said about him. However, as much as I like this trade for the Sixers as a team, it should have little fantasy impact. Rodney Rogers has played for Coach Obie before. He's a big man who will be given free reign to fire away from downtown. But he's here mostly to add some variety and depth. When they traded away Skinner, Thomas, and Williamson, it left them with only Mark Jackson as a viable bigman off the bench. This adds someone else to that mix. Anyone who was hoping Jackson would get all the backup minutes at the 4 & 5 is disappointed. Now neither he nor Rogers will get enough minutes behind Webber and Dalembert to make any fantasy noise. But Rogers will be fun to watch.
If there are any more deals I will be back to post their fantasy impacts.

Point Guard Problems In Utah

They went into the season with Carlos Arroyo starting, but he quickly fell out of favor. Then they moved to Keith McLeod. When he got hurt they moved to Raul Lopez. Well now Lopez is hurt. Most likely, he will be out for the year. At least McLeod is back, but this does leave only 2 point guards on the Utah roster: McLeod and Howard Eisley. People were touting this as McLeod's breakout year. I have yet to see it. He's not good, Eisley's too old. Unless you're in dire need of a point guard and can live with minimal production in the hope of a good game here and there, stay away from these players.

Webber to the Sixers!!!

At 11:54 PM EST, ESPN Insider Chad Ford reported to espn.com that the Sacramento Kings have completed a deal to send Chris Webber, Matt Barnes, and Michael Bradley to the Philadelphia 76ers for Kenny Thomas, Brian Skinner, and Corliss Williamson.

On a personal note this is great for 2 reasons:
  1. I have asked every "basketball expert" on espn.com why the Sixers could not put together a deal for Chris Webber if the Kings were actively shopping him. Not one answered. Usually that means they don't think it is a smart question. Now granted, I thought they would be including Big Dog's expiring contract, but who looks smart now. If only I had a link.
  2. I'm from Philly. I like the Sixers. This is good.
Fantasy Impact on the Sixers
  • Chris Webber - This guy was already a fantasy machine. Averaging 20/10/5 on the year, plus 1.5 steals. In fact, the only thing he was short of KG in was 1 blk/gm. What'll happen with his numbers? Well, there are no other big men in the East. His rebounding numbers may improve by 2 or 3 a game. Playing with Iverson should get him easier shots, so his FG% should improve a bit. He had overall better shooters around him in Sacramento, so his assists may or may not drop, depending on how many times he finds Kyle Korver.
  • The other two players won't see enough playing time to make an impact. Although since Bradley went to Villanova I guess that's a nice story.
  • Allen Iverson - Well, he has no more excuses, he has a superstar next to him. Chris Webber should make it much easier for him to move around on the floor and get into the lane. His scoring may drop 1 - 2 points, but his FG% should go up, and he may very well get up to 9 assists a game. We may be looking at "Tiny" Archibald numbers here.
  • Kyle Korver - Just what he needed. Another player that teams have to double on to pass him the ball. He could end up shooting 10 3's a game. And making 4 or 5. Anything that he got on top of his 3's was already a bonus, it still is.
  • Andre Iguodala - He'll get less shots but better looks. Then again, if he's on your team it's because of all the other categories he helps out in. That continues.
  • Samuel Dalembert - Well, it looks like he's staying in town. He's got another star player to take the pressure off him. But his fantasy impact has been whether or not he ever decides to consistently play up to his potential. Maybe Webber can get that out of him. Hope he turns back into a double double machine with 2.5 blks. But he could remain his old inconsistent self.
  • Mark Jackson and Josh Davis - They are the only backup bigmen on the team. Jackson could see backup minutes at both the 4 & 5, maybe even upwards of 30 a night (I said "maybe") and if Davis shoots well he could get some minutes, but not enough to help. He'd have to turn into a taller Kyle Korver to do that.
  • Note - The could all go the other way as Chris Webber turns back into his old whiney brittle self. Let's hope that doesn't happen.
Fantasy Impact on the Kings:
  • Kenny Thomas, Corliss Williamson, Brian Skinner - These guys get packaged together in the fantasy spin too. They all play the same position. The same position that Webber played. Skinner is the only one who can play center, so he may get some decent backup center minutes on the Kings, still not enough for fantasy impact, but at least he's off the bench. Kenny Thomas and Corliss Williamson take the same rotation they had in Philly to Sacramento, only this time they add Darius Songaila. If this was a salary dump with the new players' contracts expiring soon, it would be easy to say this is Songaila's position to lose, but they're all under contract for at least 2 more years. Williamson has played in Sacramento before and was popular, but I still don't see any of these guys emerging as a fantasy option. You may be able to take a chance on whoever starts, but I would give it a few games.
  • Peja Stojakovic - If he gets healthy again, and if he really was just mad that Webber was playing there, and if he and the rest of the team remembers that he was an MVP candidate without Webber last year; well, the sky's the limit. His scoring goes up close to 5 points. His rebounds improve 2 -3. Basically, Peja is a top 10 fantasy player again. If he wants to be.
  • Brad Miller, Mike Bibby, and Cuttino Mobley - During a recent stretch where both Webber and Peja were missing, both these guys stepped up big. Brad Miller even took home player of the week honors. Peja wil get the most impact, but these guys remain as hot as they have been. Owners of these players must be happy.

Wednesday, February 23, 2005

Scary Moment for Shaq Owners...

For 1 Hr and 37 Minutes, Shaq owners, who are doing well in their leagues (so that eliminates Yorkis), were crying today.

At 2:57 PM EST, Yahoo posted this message from "Rotowire.com Staff," that said Shaq was done for the season.

At 4:34 PM EST, Yahoo posted a reprieve message, also from the "Rotowire.com Staff," that said he may still be playing.

This Whole Blogging Thing...

Since Yorkis has been very weak with his Fantasy Hoops Blog, I have decided to provide my own personal expertise. Basically, since I scour every boxscore out there, I will be able to point out who's hot, who needs to be cut, and where to find help for any particular category.

But, as a first post, I have decided to unveil my own personal feature:

Players Who Get Manlove
  1. Eddy Curry - I must confess, this is a personal thing. I grabbed Eddy 2 years ago when I had an open roster spot going into the Finals. I then watched his next game, as he put up a career high 45 points. For that reason, like Spooge's hold on the top spot in the infamous "Jackass List", Eddy Curry will always be first in line for Manlove. Most recently though, Eddy did come through with his first double double since Dec 18th and has been a consistent source of double digit points all year. Now if he could only learn to rebound...
  2. Jeff Foster - When he came back from injury Indiana was dealing with all the suspensions. I casually mentioned to someone that he would be well worth an addition to a fantasy roster since he was going to get minutes and have to play the role of veteran leader. I was laughed at, but later got the last laugh as that person saw his run of double doubles and added him to their roster. He slowed down a bit in the middle of the season as the players began to return to Indi, but has recently shown back up with a pair of 17 rebound games (2/13 & 2/16). He'll never give you more than 15 points (averaging under 10 for the year) and doesn't block shots for a center, but man those rebounding numbers are nice.
  3. Damon Stoudamire - For years the man known as "Mighty Mouse" was high on a list of players worth killing. But for right now, he has been one of the hottest performers in the NBA. People who cut him when he was benched are probably hating me right now, but hey, that's too bad. You should have jumped back on the bandwagon. Here are his stats for the last month: .960 from the FT line, 3.2 3's, 22 pts, 6 assists, and 1.3 steals a game. He went over a month without missing a free throw. He had back to back 30 point games. I can only hope that his recent string of average games isn't a sign he's cooled off. He missed 2 free throws and has recently had games of 7 and 5 turnovers. Either way, he gets mucho manlove for his last month.
I think a Top 3 is enough for now. Later renditions of this list should include more (and I am open to suggestions) and since I love him so much, I just might make a regular "Reasons to Love Eddy Curry" a once a week feature.

I'll be back later with more fantasy hoops insight.

Dearth of Big Men

One of the biggest (no pun intended) problems people face with their fantasy rosters is the lack of depth at the center position. Fantasy Owners often find themselves scrambling around trying to add that 3rd or 4th center and get a little extra production from that roster spot. To be honest, most times if you already carry 3 centers on your team, that's all you need. Use the roster spot for someone who will actually provide help, as there are usually a few solid contributors to be found on the waiver wire. But if you are in dire need of a Center, here are some that are available in most leagues and will give you good production.
  1. Jeff Foster - I've already extolled his virtues in the previous post. The man is a double double machine. Thus far this year he's been good for a few 2 week runs of fantasy contributions, but if you're digging this far, you can do far worse than a guy who can get you 15 boards a game.
  2. Joel Przybilla - According to Yahoo Rankings, in the standard 9 category league Przybilla is ranked 39th in the last month. 39th!!!! Why is that you ask? Because he's only shooting over .650 from the field, averaging 9.5 pts, 11.7 boards, and 3 blks a game. Check out the game log, the man has 7 double doubles in his past 15 games, including games of 16, 17 (twice), and 22 boards. His last 3 games were 14-11 w/5blks, 19-17 w/3blks, and 18-17 w/6blks. There are 2 caveats that come with recommending Przybilla: 1) His FT% stinks, .381 for the last month. 2) He's been getting so many minutes lately because of injuries to the Portland big men. Sooner or later they'll be back and he may be back on the bench.
  3. Dan Gadzuric - Here's the problem with Gad-Zilla; he fouls way too much. Yes, I know this is not a fantasy category; however, it really hinders his minutes on the floor. Only twice since the New Year has he gone over 30 minutes in a game and both of those instances were in January (1/19 & 1/28). Yet somehow, he has still managed 4 double digit board games (and 3 double doubles) in February. His averages for the last month reflect that: 9-9-1.6blks. He doesn't shoot much but he hits a high percentage from the field .580, and won't kill you at the free throw line like other big men. If you can live with the occasional 3-4 clunker and realize that he won't get more than 30 minutes a night then Gad-zilla is your man.
  4. Rasho Nesterovic - Yes, I said Rasho Nesterovic. I can't believe I wrote it either. But look at the last month: 8 pts, 8 boards, and 1.5 blks a game. Plus a decent percentage from the field (.480). His FT% doesn't count since he's only shot one in the past month and he's under .500 for the season in that category. Like Gadzuric his minutes will fluctuate tremendously. But he has been putting up 8 rebound games since returning from injury, blocks some shots, and is bound to get some garbage points just for being big and standing near the rim. Probably more frustrating than having Gadzuric (as noted by this 2-4 stinker), but has the same ability to post some helpful numbers.
There are other players who I want to recommend but just can't do it.
  • Kelvin Cato has been injured all year. Everytime you think he's ready to play, he sits out 2 more games.
  • Do you want to be the next person to believe Michael Olowokandi has turned a corner? Go ahead and get burned.
  • Adonal Foyle has been starting in Golden State, can get 2 blks/game, and just 2 years ago sat above Eddy Curry in the "Players Who Get Manlove" list, but even I can't recommend picking him up.
  • Likewise, Chris Anderson can get about 2 blks a game, but he comes off the bench with inconsistent minutes and after his recent Slam Dunk Contest "performance" nobody wants anything to do with him.
  • At this point, even Dikembe Mutombo is a better option than the other 3.
Here are 2 players that are center eligible to keep an eye on:
  1. Alonzo Mourning - He should be signing with the Heat anyday now. Before Shaq's injury, Alonzo was probably in line for 20 minutes a night, where, even at his age and with only 1 kidney, he could get 10-6 w/1blk. Without even knowing the extent of Shaq's injury, it's obvious Alonzo could see that projected minutes per game rise to 25-30 a night. In which case, he could be putting up 14-10 w/2 blks.
  2. Mark Jackson - Coach Obie loves Mark Jackson. He isn't flashy and doesn't jump high, but he knows where to be on the floor both on the offensive and defensive ends. Billy King seemingly forced Obie to put Sam Dalembert into the starting lineup and give him minutes, but Dalembert, although incredibly talented, is too inconsistent for Obie's liking. Sooner or later, either Obie or King will win out. My guess is Obie wins, and the Sixers ship Dalembert off somewhere, either by himself or in a package with Big Dog's expiring contract. This moves Mark Jackson directly back into the starting lineup. He won't block any shots, but he can certainly put up 15-8 a night, and he hits his free throws.