Friday, November 19, 2004

Weekend Preview (11/19-11/21)

Vinsane Trade Rumors
All the NBA talk in the last couple days has dealt with the rumors going around that Vince Carter has found his ticket out of Toronto. The rumor is that Portland is ready to make a move for the Raptors superstar, sending Shareef Abdur-Rahim, Vladimir Stepania, and Derek Anderson to Toronto in exchange for Carter, Jalen Rose and contract filler. If it goes down, what does this mean? Let's look at the most-affected players in the swap:

Carter - Is it possible to be over the hill at age 27? Carter has been setting career-lows in points, boards, blocks, FG%, 3's, and minutes this year. He's playing more tentatively, settling for jump shots instead of driving to the basket, and is really a shadow of his former self. He's still valuable to a fantasy team, but a change of scenery isn't going to help his knee problems. He might get more minutes, but that will mean more wear and tear. It might be a no-win situation for Carter at this point in his career.

Abdur-Rahim - By far the biggest benefactor of this deal, Reef will likely return to his former 20-9 self, as he becomes the unquestioned number one option on his team. His value skyrockets if this deal goes through.

Anderson - Derek will also benefit from this deal. He gets out of a crowded backcourt and will really only have to compete with Mo Pete for playing time, although it shouldn't be much of a competition. While he's getting 34 mpg in Portland, he's taking his fewest shots per game (10.4) since 2001. Look for him to bump up his points and 3's a little bit, and he'll be worth a Utility spot on your roster if he gets moved.

Rose - He's being moved more because of his contract than becuase he's needed in Portland. He'll enter a crowded backcourt, where Darius Miles and Ruben Patterson will take away his minutes. Rose is a borderline fantasy contributor this year as it is (his assists have fallen from 5.5 to 2.2), and might be worthless if the deal goes through.

Also Gaining Value:
Rafer Alston (TOR) - Moving Vince and Rose means Skip to My Lou will have the ball in his hands more, and that means more assists, 3's...an across the board improvement.
Ruben Patterson (POR) - He's the coach's favorite this year in Portland, and could get more time at the 3 if Cheeks isn't forced to play Rose like he was forced to play Reef.

Also Losing Value:
Darius Miles (POR) - If he was hoping to get all the minutes with Reef gone, Darius is in for a surprise. Now he actually has to earn playing time by outplaying Rose and Patterson, and he hasn't been able to earn time yet in this league.

40 Times
Take a look at the league leaders in minutes, and you'll see a lot of the usual suspects: LeBron, AI, and KG, for example, are all clearing the 40 minute per game mark. But there are 2 guys at the top of the list who you wouldn't expect to be there:

Keith Van Horn (MIL) - What is this, 1998? Van Horn has come out of the gates running hard this year, averaging 20.9 points, 9.3 boards, 2 3's, and playing 41.8 mpg. Now that Toni Kukoc is on the IL, Van Horn has the 3 spot all to himself, and he's taking advantage of it. After playing for 4 teams in 3 years, he might have found his spot in Milwaukee. Keep an eye on him - he might be a nice buy-fake-high player.

Jimmy Jackson (HOU) - It's no secret that Jackson is a favorite of Houston coach Jeff Van Gundy. Last year, at age 33, Jackson was on the court 39 minutes a game. 10 games into 2004, he's seeing over 40 minutes of court time a night. While we love to see our players get great minutes, Jackson doesn't do all that much with them - 12/4/3 with 1.8 3's and 1.3 steals is good, but not great - and he's bound to wear down eventually. Tread carefully with Jackson this year.

Game of the Week(end)
LA Lakers at Phoenix Suns (Tonight, 9pm EST)
Lots of feature story possibilities in this game. First, and most obviously, there's the Kobe drama, both with his foot injury, and the fact that he considered (maybe) signing with the Suns during the offseason. Then there's the incredible year Steve Nash is having, dishing out 17 and 18 assists in 2 games last week, and hitting 5 3's in another game. And of course you'll want to see if Amare Stoudamire will be able to keep up his incredible scoring pace, averaging over 27 ppg so far this year. This one could be a shootout, and should be very entertaining.

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