Shouldn't the Sixers be winning?
Chris Webber needs time to adjust. He is an all star talent, and his arrival to the Sixers was supposed to bring great things. In all the overjoyed reactions to bringing him in to be Allen Iverson's 2nd in command, people failed to realize that Webber was leaving a system that had been geared for the last 6 years to his particular talents. But the one thing that the Sixers are short on right now is time. So what are the problems and what can be done about it?
Two ESPN Page 2 writers have come out proclaiming Webber to be a loser. Skip Bayless writes that Webber brings only "loser intangibles" to every team he plays for. Jason Whitlock says that Webber doesn't want to be the star that everyone knows he can be. I don't buy it. The tag "loser" is too easily thrown around by sportwriters these days. And while even I know that I don't want Webber taking the final shot with a game on the line, to proclaim him a loser for that is silly. He has only been the leader of a highly regarded playoff team for the last 6 years. He has been an all star. He holds averages of 20-10-5. These are not loser numbers. So if that's not causing Webber to have his self proclaimed worst game ever, then what is?
John Hollinger of ESPN NBA Insider's last article took a look at True Shooting Percentage (TS%) and what he calls a "Brick Index" (BI). These statistics accurately reflect "pts/shot" and "number of points a player's shooting can cost his team/40 minutes" respectively. Both are incredibly interesting reflections of the impact a player's shooting has on his team. Chris Webber has a TS% of 48.4% and a BI of 1.05 on the season.
The league average TS% is 52.8%, which leaves Webber almost 4% pts behind. But Webber is seen as a more than adequate jump shooter, so why is his TS% so low? Well, TS% doesn't just take into account FGA, it also adds in 0.44(FTA). (Every Free Throw is equal to 0.44 times every FGA). Looking at his numbers on the season, Webber has shot only 186 free throws. To put that in perspective, Marc Jackson (54% TS, -0.21 BI) has shot 243. This stat doesn't exactly help Webber's reputation as a soft player who fears contact. But still, this is a guy who averaged 20 pts/game for a winning team so there has to be something more. In terms of his Brick Index, we see that Webber, on the season, costs his team 1.05 pts/40 minutes with his errant shooting. But this also warrants further looking into. Webber's shooting may cost his team, but his offensive skill set should be an obvious compliment to any group of players. So let's make some adjustments to Hollinger's data set and see how a player with skills like Webber helps his team.
Hollinger's data simply talks about the player's shooting numbers. So what if we add in the rest of their offensive contributions. Continuing with John's theme, we will work from 40 minute intervals. (You'll have to ask John why 40 minutes, I'm just contributing to his work so I'll continue to use it.) The 2 stats that we can find that contribute directly to offensive production are assists and turnovers. So, to add these stats to the BI to find a more complete "Direct Offensive Influence", let's take the Assist totals, multiply them by 2, and divide that by total minutes/40. We'll then take the Turnover totals, multiply them by 1.032 (from Hollinger's article on Pace and Possessions, we learned that each possession is worth 1.032 pts.), and once again, divide by minutes/40. We then take these numbers, and to the BI, add the Turnover Influence, and subtract the Assist influence. (Remember, BI measures points lost per 40 minutes in positive numbers, therefore to properly include these numbers the negative affects [TOs] must be added while the postive impact [Assists] must be subtracted.) Webber's "Direct Offenxive Influence" (DOI) then becomes -7.3, meaning he gains his team 7.3 pts/40 minutes on the offensive end. So Webber is a help.
So what do his numbers for the Sixers look like? Well, they aren't so good. In 3 games he has a 35.9% TS, a BI of 3.93, and a DOI of 3.22. Ouch. His shooting is way down, but more importantly, he has not made up for it with his assist vs turnover influence. This has to change. The team needs to run more sets where Webber can control the ball. This should be easier than expected. For the last several years, Iverson has been used mainly as a SG, running off of screens to get in better position to make plays. Can't the Sixers use Webber as the point man in the post and run a few more plays a game with Iverson reclaiming his SG role? Seems like an easy enough transition for him to make, considering Webber will be more confortable, and it isn't as if Iverson will have trouble doing that. This will make much better use of a player who has a +/- of +3.9 and a net "On vs. Off the Court" rating of +5.6.
We all know that offensive is only half of the game though. And Webber has never been known as a great defender. This is the real problem that Webber creates on the floor. Adding Webber to the starting lineup has created a void of players who excel at Man-to-Man defense. In fact, on the Sixers now, only Iverson and Iguodala can be counted as above average on the ball defenders. Kyle Korver lacks overall speed, but does have some initial quickness that helps him get in the passing lanes. Samuel Dalembert is most effective when coming over from the weak side to block shots. And Webber is most effective playing defense with a red piece of cloth screaming "Ole!" Because of these defensive deficiencies, it is obvious the Sixers need to more more towards a Zone defense. The lack the overall speed and skills to play an effective man defense. These defensive problems have caused the team to force the issue a bit on offense, as their TOs have seen a slight increase. But it also has created a bit of a problem for Webber as he and the team adjust. Webber has not had a game with less than 4 fouls. He is averaging 4.7 for his 3 games in Philly. He has already fouled out once. To put that in perspective, he fouled out only twice in 46 games for the Kings.
What does this all mean? Well, from his DOI, we know that Webber can help teams tremendously with his skill set. Aside from making more of his shots, he needs Iverson and the coaching staff to trust him enough to allow him to become the focal point on the offensive side for a few more possessions a game. He's too talented not be allowed to control the ball from time to time. And on defense, it is up to Coach O'Brien to find more ways to hide the defensive deficiencies of his players. And the way to do that is NOT to have Kyle Korver man up on Vince Carter. The Sixers have approximately 25 more games this season. Let's hope they can make these adjustments fast.
Some insight for tonight's games...
Carlos Boozer is finally on the IL. For those that have held onto him while he has been out, this is a great bit of news. Hopefully his absence from your lineup hasn't cost too much as you can now find a replacement on the waiver wire.
Shaq is expected to play tonight for the Heat. This is great news for Shaq owners who thought he would be out an extended period of time. But don't expect him to get tons of minutes. He's still recovering from the knee injury, plus, tonight marks Alonzo Mourning's return to a Heat uniform.
Shawn Livingston is going for another MRI on his shoulder. If he receives bad news and has to opt for surgery he will miss the rest of the season. People may have been hoping that he could get healthy and provide some late season fantasy usefullness should look elsewhere. Right now the Clippers starting PG is Rick Brunson. But this news is better for Marko Jaric watchers as if/when he returns he will regain the bulk of the minutes and not have to share with Livingston.
Luol Deng is going to miss the next few games, most likely landing on the IL with his ankle injury suffered against the Rockets. Andres Nocioni will start in his place and is a short term add for as long as Deng is out.
Kareem Rush will be out 4-6 weeks with a left knee sprain. Rush has been on and off fantasy rosters this year as people expected some scoring and 3 pointers out of him in Charlotte. He has not been a consistent source of them while playing and now people can give up hope that he will be at some point this year.
No Mo Cheeks...
Let this be said. It was obvious Mo Cheeks was not going to be the Blazers coach next year. This is a team headed for its first losing season in 16 years. It is a team in disarray. There has been constant infighting since Cheeks took over, highlighted by Zach Randolph punching Reuben Patterson in a practice and Darius Miles chasing Cheeks from a film session by screaming racial epitethes at him. It was obvious from the beginning of the year that Cheeks just couldn't do anything right. There was a logjam at the forward positions. He was asked to figure out how to get Shareef Abdur Rahim minutes in order to make him attractive in a trade, while handing the team over to Randolph, Darius Miles, and Theo Ratliff (all who signed extensions recently), not to mention keeping Patterson himself in the loop. Then there came problems in the backcourt as Derek Anderson went from productive starter to disinterested benchwarmer. His lack of guard depth has led to the starting backcourt tandem of Damon Stoudamire and Nick Van Exel and start developing lottery pick PG Sebastian Telfair. And while Cheeks himself was a great NBA PG, it might not have been the best choice of players for Telfair to learn under. So now Cheeks is gone.
As a Philly guy, I will always have a great deal of respect and love for Maurice Cheeks. He brought a lot to Philadelphia as the floor leader of the great Sixers teams of the early 80's. When the Sixers job opened up last year, I had hoped that they could pry him away from Portland. He was groomed as a coach under Larry Brown and is well respected within the NBA. While most experts didn't expect him to last through this season, all agree that he handled the situation in Portland as best he could, and that he will have no trouble finding another coaching job in the NBA. Let's just hope that the next position comes with a little more stability than the one in Portland. A few less headcases and headaches would make Cheeks a much happier (and probably more effective) coach. Best of luck Mo. A Fantasy Life commends you.
Now, what does this mean for the Blazers and fantasy owners in general. Kevin Pritchard, the team's director of player personnel, takes over as the interim coach. It is highly unlikely that he remains the coach next season. But in the meantime, there are a few things he will most likely do. First, because of the lengthy (and pricey) extensions they signed, expect Randolph and Miles to be starting in the frontcourt. These are the 2 young players the Blazers had hoped to build around. It is their turn to show they can do it. This means the end of Patterson in the starting lineup. Also, since the trade deadline has come and gone and Rahim in still a Blazer, expect his minutes to take a hit. His contract is up at season's end and with Randolph playing the PF, Rahim is not a good fit on the team. Patterson and Rahim now become the second unit. The center position is a little more iffy. Theo Ratliff also signed a large extension this past summer. However, his play this year has been horrendeous. He's barely held averages of 5 pts and 5 rebounds this year. His blocks have remained steady around 2.5 (which is why he remains on fantasy rosters). However, while Ratliff was out with injury, Joel Przybilla became the starter and has responded with good numbers. He is a constant double double threat and blocks shots at a similar rate as Ratliff (2.8 in the last month). Pryzbilla's contract expires in 2006, Ratliff's extension goes to 2008. Based on that it would seem that they want Ratliff to be the man patroling the middle of the lane, but it will be hard to take Przybilla out of the lineup. Here I see Ratliff moving to the bench but getting a few more minutes. Ratliff's value is solely tied to his blocks at this point and even in limited minutes he should still be able to get them. Hopefully Przybilla will continute to see enough time to remain as productive as he has been.
In terms of their backcourt, well the depth isn't there to make many changes. Derek Anderson still shouldn't see much time on the court. But Sebastian Telfair will certainly start to get minutes. He is the heir apparent to the PG duties in Portland. Both Damon Stoudamire and Nick Van Exel's contracts expire this year. Van Exel has made noises about retiring and has no intention of returning to Portland. Stoudamire is a Portland native who signed a max deal to play there and has not lived up to expectation. Recently, being paired with Van Exel in the backcourt has greatly improved his productivity. It remains to be seen what will happen, but i do think that both Van Exel and Stoudamire will eventually be losing minutes to Telfair, but most of those will come from Van Exel. Stoudamire and Van Exel should remain viable fantasy options. Unless Telfair begins getting 30+ minutes a night he will remain an afterthought fantasy-wise.
(Sorry for the lack of links, if I have the opportunity later I will edit them in. Expect an update on the Chris Webber situation along with interesting analysis based on John Hollinger's latest article later today.)
PWGML (Baseball Edition)
I will comment on the Portland Trailblazers' firing of Maurice Cheeks (most likely tomorrow), but did want to have a chance to look at how it affects Cheeks, the Blazers organization, and of course, fantasy implications.
But for now, in honor of my first Fantasy Baseball draft of the year, I am unveiling my first list of Players Who Get Manlove (PWGML) Baseball Edition.
- Sean Casey 1B Cincinatti Reds - Last year, in an NL only league, I was able to draft Sean Casey in the last round. Seriously. The Last Round. NL only league. All he did for me was hit .324 with 24 HRs, 99 RBIs, and 104 Runs. He also had an OBP of .381 and a Slugging Percentage of .581. He singlehandedly kept me afloat in the league throughout the season and saved me from having to start the likes of Shea Hillenbrand and/or Ty Wiggington at 1B. I loved him so much, that I even traded for him in another league (which I won - thanks Joel). The guy isn't flashy, but boy does he produce. Sadly, his production last year will probably make him a higher pick than 155. I'll have to be sure to act early with him.
- Jeremy Bonderman SP Detroit Tigers - This could easily have been John Lackey. Picture this, the finals of a fantasy baseball league. You're making shrewd GM moves to maximize your pitching numbers. Coming up on the 2nd to last day of the finals you see both Bonderman and Lackey starting for their respective teams. Both are ranked in the top 30 in the last month. In fact, if memory serves, they were ranked consecutively with Lackey one ranking higher. You rack your brain to make a decision and can't come up with anything. You call someone who knows baseball. They tell you to go with Bonderman. You think, isn't that the same guy that almost lost 20 games the year before? But you do it. You make the move. You take Bonderman over Lackey. Lackey got shelled that day. Didn't make it to the 5th inning. Bonderman meanwhile, pitches a complete game shutout with 4 hits, 1 walk, and 9 Ks. You win the championship. Jeremy Bonderman gets manlove.
- David Wright 3B NY Mets - Well, in my NL only league, Sean Casey may have saved me at 1B, but no one seemed to work at 3B. Early in the year I included Vinny Castilla in a deal that netted me Eric Gagne, but left me with a gaping hole at 3B that Morgan Ensberg never could fill. So all year I waited for David Wright. Patiently biding my time. Of course, I missed his callup. But somehow, in an NL-only Keeper league, no one saw fit to grab him. Not a soul. So I thanked my God, and grabbed him. In only 69 games, he batted .293 with 14 HRs, 40RBIs, 41Runs, and even 6SBs. Now I should have a 3rd Baseman for as long as I am in this league.
2 More Bits of Information...
Peja Stojakovic may play tonight. He was seen as the main beneficiary of Webber's trade to Philly, as last year, the Kings became Stojakivic's team and he was an MVP candidate. Peja has been out with injury and has yet to play without C-Webb on his team. Fantasy owners must be very excited for this, Peja could easily be back as a top 10 player for the rest of the year.
Matt Harpring stinks. Well, that and he's injured again. Harpring banged up his right knee while chasing down a rebound in his last game. Harpring has made a few runs at fantasy relevance this year, normally when someone else was injured, and had been getting Carlos Boozer's minutes while he was out. However, Harpring isn't exactly known for his durability, and this "knee irritation" could easily keep him out of the Jazz lineup for a week or so. Find someone else on the free agent list to rely on instead.
Injuries of note...
Last night's games provided 3 injuries with fantasy implications:
- Kenyon Martin felt good enough to start the game last night in Denver, but not good enough to come back after the first quarter. He is questionable for his next game on Thursday with knee tendinitis. Even if he does play, I would not expect anything productive from him in the stat sheet.
- Brad Miller, whose owners were salivating after the Webber trade took one on the shin last night as Miller sat out with a bruised right calf. He is considered "Day to Day" (there are those words again). Miller is undroppable, but I wouldn't expect anything from him the rest of the week.
- Luol Deng sprained his ankle in the first quarter of the Bulls/Rockets game. He could not walk and was carried off the court. His status is unknown. Deng can contribute in a few categories, but despite his great athleticism, should not have been an all important cog on your fantasy team. Cut him and find someone else on the waiver wire.
Big Men, 1 Coming, 1 Going...
Some big men news to share:
- Pau Gasol may not be able to play the rest of the season. He is scheduled for tests this Wednesday (3/2) and the initial optimism that he could have returned this year seems to be fading. He should already be stashed on your IL, so this doesn't warrant any roster shakeup. But just in case you were hoping he would be back soon at least now you can really prepare for the worst. With Stromile Swift still in a cast as well Brain Cardinal's value remains high longer than initially expected. Add him now. (Updated - Swift has been upgraded by Memphis, his status is now "Day to Day". Readers of A Fantasy Life (there has to be a few of you) know my stance on this, but Memphis is hopeful that he will return to the court sometime next week.)
- Alonzo Mourning has finally signed with the Miami Heat. This was expected to happen for the last few weeks as Miami attempted to buy out the rest of Wesley Person's contract to open up the roster space. With Shaq still nursing his sprained knee, this move could not come at a better time for Miami. Mourning adds depth at the 4/5 positions and gives the Heat the opportunity to rest Shaq without relying on Michael Doleac. Don't expect Mourning to take over games and categories for your fantasy team, but if you need a 3rd or 4th big man, add him now. In 18 games this year, Mourning has held averages of 25 minutes, 10 pts, 7 boards, and 2.3 blks. I wouldn't expect his minutes to go up (he's only broken 35 minutes in 4 games this year), but if he hovers around 20-25 minutes a game, those numbers can certainly help a team. Udonis Haslem owners take note of how this affects his minutes. Udonis has been playing well this year, but he could lose 5-10 minutes a game to Mourning. (Special note on this deal - The Heat now have Shaq, Mourning and Christian Laettner which gives them the top 3 picks from the 1992 draft. This is the first time anyteam has had the top 3 picks from any draft on their roster at once. The funniest part is that they didn't draft any of them; they selected Harold Miner from USC with the 12th pick.)
Some very good basketball links to share...
With very few games taking place last night, there was nothing serious of note. Sure I could point out Michael Sweetney's good game, or the fact that Sam Cassell can't seem to recover from his hamstring injury, but those are continuing storylines with nothing new to add. Instead I will take this time to plug a few invaluable links for basketball lovers out there. (note - As soon as I learn HTML and can post these links on the sidebar I will.)
The first is NBA.com's Click and Roll. A weblog updated once a week, Click and Roll scours the local papers of all the NBA teams and provides a short recap and links to all interesting articles. It provides some funny commentary, and even offers the chance for fans to email feedback on questions raised. Click and Roll also will let you know if registration is required to read any of the sites. Some newspaper sites require readers to register. It takes 2 minutes tops and you can sort through and ask for no junk mail. Well worth it.
The second link is similar to the Click and Roll. It is InsideHoops.com's daily rumors page. While the Click and Roll is updated weekly, Inside Hoops scours the papers on a daily basis to provide local insight into the goings on of the NBA. Unlike the Click and Roll, Inside Hoops daily rumors will not tell you which sites need registration, but that becomes obvious upon clicking the link. Inside Hoops also provides valuable information on NBA player salaries, that were helpful when sorting out all the implications from the deadline deals.
For those who love statistical analysis and feel that Baseball has been way ahead of the curve. Here are some Billy Beane type analysts for your enjoyment:
82Games.com, has taken the charge in terms of analysis of basketball stats. They are easily the frontfunner in terms of Basketball +/- and other interesting ways to determine the value of a player to their team. They even have an interesting segment detailing each team's best 5 players to have on the floor.
Espn has even gotten into the game of statistical analysis. John Hollinger has recently joined ESPN's Insider (which costs money but is well worth it) and has already written some interesting articles, one in particular that dissects defensive numbers in comparison to the number of possessions per team per game. Very interesting stuff and more team oriented analysis than 82games.com.
If you like to compare today's players with those of the past. Basketball Reference.com is the place to go. They have the stats of every player to set foot on an NBA court. Basketbal lovers can peruse these stats for hours.
Eventually, during the NBA offseason, I will take some time to write about other (fantasy) sports. The NBA will always hold priority, but sometimes the offseason can get a little slow. But, in the meantime, if you enjoy reading some interesting views on baseball (and the Philadelphia Phillies), check out Jason Weitzel's Berks Phillies Fans site. A very well done blog that contains some funny insights into the life of a Phillies fan and complete lover of baseball. Some of the stats he talks about confuse me a little, but the articles are always interesting.
From ESPN's wire services in their NBA Monday Roundup:
"Yeah, I'm anxious to come to practice," a grinning Iverson told the Philadelphia Inquirer. "And that let me know that my career is definitely turning for the better."
It's about time. Allen, on behalf of all of Philadelphia and Sixers fans everywhere I thank you.
Injuries and how long to wait...
This year, Jamaal Tinsley owners enjoyed quite a hot streak from the Pacers PG. He had been averaging 15 pts, 6 assists, 4 boards, and 2 steals, which is quite the contribution from someone who was either a last round pick or grabbed from the waiver wire early in the year. However, recent injury problems have sidelined Tinsley for almost all of February. Not only that, but his injury status hasn't even gotten him on the IL yet, so owners who fell in love with him early have kept him on their roster, even though he hasn't played. Well, here's some advice. Cut Jamal Tinsley now. Even if he could come back and be in perfect health, his stats this year were inflated while Jermaine O'Neal and Stephen Jackson were out with suspensions. (Note - statistical comparison with his play when Jackson was out are impossible as Tinsley has only been in 3 games since Jackson's return on Jan 26.) While he may come back at some point this year and contribue to both the Pacers and your fantasy team, right now he is dead weight and unlikely to be picked up by anyone. So, before someone else goes out and grabs them all, drop Tinsley for one of the new starting PGs out there: Nelson (Orlando), West (Boston), Williams (Milwaukee), or James (Houston). You can always keep a close eye on Tinsley for his return, but better to get some production now than sit on the dead weight.
Also, a special note - while making this move, you may want to consider stashing Shaun Livingston on your IL. He's been hurt twice but could very well end up taking over the PG duties for the Clippers by year's end.
Chastizing a legend...
OK, so this has little to do with fantasy sports, but being from Philly, something must be said.
Last Tuesday, Temple and St. Joseph's played a NCAA men's basketball game. Some of you may have heard about it. During the game, Temple Coach John Chaney became upset at the referees' failure to call (what he perceived as) illegal moving screens, enough so that he sent in seldom used big man, Nehemiah Ingram to play the role of "goon". Ingram entered the game with the sole purpose of delivering hard fouls, and did his job well. He fouled out of the game in 4 minutes and sent St. Joe's John Bryant hard to the floor on one foul. While it may have been obvious at the time that Ingram's sole reason for being on the floor was to foul; until Chaney himself came out a day later and apologized for sending Ingram in as his "goon" there was no mention of it. Chaney suspended himself for 1 game, and while many pundits and experts came out claiming it was not stiff enough, it was all that was done. Then news came out that John Bryant had a broken arm and would miss the rest of the season. Now these pundits and experts are calling for Chaney's head, saying he should be suspended for the postseason tournaments and possibly even asked to resign. Temple and the A-10 have suspended Chaney for the rest of the regular season.
Now, I didn't want to comment on this incident until actually seeing what happened in the game. I have since seen segments of the game and can now comment.
It's a shame that Bryant will miss the rest of the season. This is his senior year. He'll miss his final few games as a Hawk, his own senior day, his final A-10 tourney, and possibly either the NIT or NCAA tourney of his senior season. But this outcry that he was an invaluable member of the team is ridiculous. If St. Joe's can't replace his 3.1 pts or 2.7 rebounds per game, and if they were so important to them making a post season tournament then they are not a good team anyway. Besides, after watching parts of the game, I can tell you what John Bryant's major contributions were... ILLEGAL MOVING SCREENS!!!
Yes, Bryant was setting illegal moving screens, no matter what the referees saw. On one particular play, while attempting to screen Temple star Mardy Collins, Bryant not only shifted his entire body into Collins as Mardy attempted to make his way around the screen (inserting his elbow and shoulder into Collins), but also rotated his body completely around with Collins attached to him at the hip. I always thought that when setting a screen, any movement at all constituted a foul. Bryant was constantly setting these "screens". Moving his entire body, changing directions, and in some cases following the player while still screening him. Now what Chaney did is not unheard of in basketball. Often times on teams there is a designated "tough guy" who will come into the game to protect his teammates. That's what Ingram did. And the hard foul that caused Bryant's broken arm... well, I've seen fouls like that in almost every basketball game. It was an instance of 2 big men colliding near the basket. John Bryant came down hard (and on his arm - does no one know how to fall?). Damn shame. But here's a better point, what would have happened if Mardy Collins was injured on one of those moving screens? Collins is much more valuable to Temple than Bryant was to St. Joe's. If Collins was injured would anyone have even made a stink about the screens? Would Phil Martelli have had a press conference to say that his players were using illegal moving screens and suspended himself for one game? Would these media pundits and experts be calling for his head? Doubtful, even though a moving screen is an illegal play in basketball.
So, it's time for everyone to ease up. John Chaney has been suspended for 4 games. John Bryant will not be able to set anymore illegal screens to free up Pat Carrol. In the end I call it even.
Amazingly, in all of this, the most recent person to take a stand was Memphis coach John Calipari, who, surprisingly, came out, not in defense of Chaney per se (or the closet), but in saying that the punishment did fit the crime and that no more need be done about it.
Information for this post was mostly gained from ESPN's Men's Basketball page. You can sort through the articles yourself if you're interested. There are tons of them.
Sorting out Sacto's New Depth...
In their 2 games since the trade, Sacramento has gone with a starting forward tandem of Corliss Williamson and Darius Songaila. Songaila has been starting since Peja is still out and he can play both the 3 and 4. It was expected that Williamson make the inital impact since he has played for Rick Adelmen in Sacramento before and knew the system. However, it has been the strong play by Kenny Thomas off the bench that is noteworthy. Afantasylife expected Songaila to end up getting the minutes at the 4 once Stojakovic returned. He had played well with Webber out and was expected to step right into the role. But, with Webber gone and Peja hurt, he has failed to make his mark. Williamson has played well but with the increased minutes can't seem to stay out of foul trouble. But the one thing that sets Thomas apart from the other two is his skill as a rebounder. He has posted double digit rebound games in both games for Sacramento. When Peja returns, that is the exact skill that The Kings will need. Luckily, Thomas is probably available in most leagues and can remain a wait and see. But if you want to get the jump on people, grab him now and wait. The worst you'll get is someone who can come off the bench and average 8-8. The best you'll get is the starting PF for the Kings who can get you 14-14.