Friday, November 12, 2004

Weekend Preview (11/12-11/14)

Well, we're almost 2 weeks into the NBA season, and it's almost like nothing's changed. The Kings are all fighting amongst themselves, Ron Artest is a lunatic, and the Mavericks have the most wins in the league, but no one thinks they have any shot at a title. Marcus Camby is injured again. But hey, if everything was so predictable, there wouldn't be any need for fantasy basketball, much less (gasp!) a fantasy basketblog. So let's see what's worth paying attention to this weekend:

Game Of The Week(end)
Detroit at Utah (Saturday, 9pm EST)
OK, so not everything is predictable in the NBA. Last night, the NBA's defending champions rolled over against a questionable-at-best Denver Nuggets, while "This Year's Pistons", the Jazz, got beat handily by the Raptors, who have already beaten the real Pistons and are now 4-1. But make no mistake about it. Both of these teams are in the NBA's elite, and they feature possibly the 2 best coaches in the league. They're built on suffocating defenses, strong fundamentals, and patience on offense. Meaning, yes, this game could be boring as all hell. But be sure to look at the box score the next day. Does Arroyo make it back to the court? How does he play? Does McDyess look strong filling in for Ben Wallace? (Quick sidenote: Wallace is out attending the funeral of his sixty-one year old brother. Read that again.) It might not be exciting, but these are two great teams.

Who Shot? JR!
Karma, dude. New Orleans Hornets owner George Shinn is getting exactly what was coming to him. Just a few years after ditching Charlotte, NC because they wouldn't build him a stadium (boo hoo!), things are going from bad to worse in N'awlins. First, he got caught up in the division realignment and got sent to the Southwest Division with Dallas, San Antonio, Houston, and Memphis. (Just a quick reminder, the new Charlotte franchise is in the Southeast with Washington, Orlando, Miami and Atlanta.) Then one star, Jamal Mashburn, is out before the year even starts. Then BOTH of his other studs, Baron Davis and Jamal Magloire, demand trades! Oh yeah, and attendance is second-lowest in the league. Oh, and Rodney Rogers is out 4-8 weeks. Shazam!
Sooner or later, the Hornets are going to realize it's time to start playing the young'uns. Maybe not now, when they're only 0-4, but eventually. 34-year old David Wesley, 35-year old PJ Brown and 36 year-old Darrell Armstrong aren't gonna get any better. But there is hope in the wings. JR Smith, the sharp-shooting high school rookie, could make a nice impact if he gets 25-30 minutes a game. One thing about the Hornets is they're not afraid to shoot 3's. As the season progresses, Smith could turn into a top 3-point shooter for your fantasy team. Keep an eye on the situation.
Also worth watching is David West, the former Xavier star now in his second season. For some reason, he's having trouble getting into the rotation, but when he gets minutes, he gets numbers. In the season opener, he got 20 minutes and chipped in 8 points, 7 boards, 2 assists and a steal. Of course, in the next 3 games he's gotten a total of 18 minutes, including the dreaded DNP-CD Tuesday night against the Lakers. It's a disaster in the Big Easy.

Injury Watch
Marcus Camby, DEN: Surprise! Of course, we're kidding. This isn't a surprise at all. Who knows how long he'll be out, but right now would be a good time to go out and grab Nene if he's available in your league - which he might be, since he's nursing a sore hamstring and hasn't played since opening night. If Camby is out any decent amount of time, Nene will be the biggest beneficiary.

Michael Finley, DAL: Ok, so we were all excited about Josh Howard earlier in the week, and down on Marquis Daniels. But now, we like Daniels all over again! Call us flip-floppers if you must, but flip-floppers win in fantasy worlds. Anyhow, Daniels has averaged 30.5 minutes since Finley got hurt, and over those games has averaged 19 points, 5 boards, 2 assists, and a steal. Go get this guy - Finley's already on the IL.

Jermaine O'Neal, IND: Uh-oh. He left early in a blowout loss on Wednesday night, and we were supposed to hear more yesterday, which we didn't. Of course, his foot doesn't prevent him from having some sort of impact on the team. As Ron Artest says, "Jermaine always sets me straight. I'm not the easiest teammate to play with. Jermaine's a leader on this team and he has to set me straight. J.O. told me to stop acting like a damn fool and I agreed." Check now to see if you can get "Getting Ron Artest to Stop Acting Like A Damn Fool" added as a category in your fantasy league.


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