Wednesday, November 10, 2004


Last we checked, the year was 2004, but for some reason there are a couple of old folks out there who seem to think it's 1998. Who's for real? That's for them to know, and for us to take a wild stab at. Remember, no matter how the stats look one day, each game these guys play could be their last of the year. So tread carefully:

Alonzo Mourning
Key Stats
Age: 34
Number of original kidneys: 1
Average games played, last 4 years: 25
Blocks per game, career: 3
Last time he actually averaged three blocks: 1999
Rebounds per game, career: 9.7
Last time he actually averaged 9 rebounds: 1999
So far this year: 12.5 ppg, 7.3 rpg, 2.8 blocks
Hey, he got the start last night and played 37 minutes. He's a source of blocks which makes him startable. But really, if you expect him to play more than 50 games this year, you're either an optimist or an idiot. If he's on your free agent wire, pick him up, but don't give up anything of value for him in a trade unless you're desperate for blocks. He's a guy where no matter how tempting he looks, the second you get him on your roster, he's gone for his career. Plus he's been pushing for a real-life trade, which may mean he'll get moved somewhere that he can be a backup. Beware.

Grant Hill
Key Stats
Age: 32
Number of surgeries on left ankle: 4
Average games played, last 4 years: 11.75
PPG, 1994-1999: 21.5
PPG, 2000-present: 15.1
So far this year: 15.8 ppg, 4.5 rpg, 1.8 steals
OK, so no one is really gonna be fooled into thinking that Hill is 26 all over again, but just the fact that he's playing is nice to see. He's worth a roster spot, and usually a starting spot, while he's healthy, but the numbers you're seeing now are probably as good as it's gonna get this year. Maybe a small spike in boards and assists, but that's about all. Again, if you can get him on the real cheap, go for it, but don't give up anything of value. One slip and he's done.

Chris Webber
Key Stats
Age: 31
Number of good knees: Don't ask.
Average games played, last 3 years: 48
Last time he played 80 games in a year: Never.
So far this year: 20 ppg, 10.8 rpg, 5.8 apg, 1.5 blocks.
Webber might be the most tempting out of all these players. He certainly has the most value, which he showed last night picking up a triple-double, with great percentages, a steal, and three blocks. He's a walking double-double with great assist numbers for a big man, and he'll get you blocks and steals. His knees seem to be holding up OK so far, and he could be a buy-fake-high candidate like those mentioned in yesterday's column. Every game he stays healthy, the better his value gets. If he plays 70 games this year, he's worth an early 2nd round pick. But that's a huge if.

Reggie Miller
Key Stats
Age: 39
Projected weeks out with broken hand: 6-8
Last year he averaged 20 points: 1996
Last year he averaged over 5 free throw attempts: 1999
Number of players in front of him on depth chart when he gets back: 1 (Stephen Jackson)
So far this year: Hasn't played.
This could be it for Reggie. He held up very nicely through his mid-30's, but now he's a shadow of his former self. His stats, like his minutes, have been in a free fall since 2001, and there's no reason to think they'll turn around. He's still a top free throw shooter, but unless he consistently gets to the line, it's not enough to help. And now that he's out with a broken hand, the Pacers are learning that they can live without him. Even as a free agent, he's not really worth a spot on your roster.


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