Wednesday, December 15, 2004

Golden State of Mind

Don’t look now, but the Golden State Warriors are starting to play some good ball. They’ve won four of their past six games, coach Montgomery seems to finally be settling on a rotation, and most important to fantasy players, they are scoring some serious points. The team is averaging just over 93 ppg on the season, but in the past six contest they are just over 106 ppg. When there’s that much scoring going on, there are going to be plenty of players with value. And the best thing with the Warriors is that their recent success has come by shortening their bench. Derek Fisher is on the IL for the time being, Dale Davis and Adonal Foyle have become non-entities, and Calbert Cheaney is basically an afterthought. So that leaves only six players seeing serious time. Let’s take a look.

Speedy Claxton
He merits mentioning two days in a row, but if he’s still available in your league, you certainly don’t need this Web site to help you out. In the two games since Fisher went down, Speedy has gone off for 18 ppg, 5 rpg, 8 apg, 1 3pg, 3.5 spg and .5 bpg. But it’s also important to note that in the three games before Fisher went to the IL, Speedy was seeing more time and doing more with it. After four games in which he never saw 30 minutes, the three games prior to Fisher’s injury saw Speedy average about 32 mpg. And in those games he was good for 13.3/3.8/6. Basically, this is Speedy’s chance to take the starting PG gig and run with it. If he continues to be as effective as he’s been, there will be no reason for Fisher to cut into his PT as much when he comes back. Claxton won’t get 40 mpg, but he could stay around 32-33, which would be enough to make him a solid #3 PG for most teams.

Jason Richardson
There’s not much to say about Richardson. He’s the clear #1 option on this team and is a very solid fantasy contributor. But he’s not a stud. Studs help you dominate a category. The category Richardson is most helpful in is 3-pointers and there are 20 people better than him there. He won’t kill you anywhere (although his FT% sure is frustrating), but he’s a definite complementary piece, not someone to lead you to a championship.

Cliff Robinson
Don’t ask how, just enjoy it. Every year we want to write Uncle Cliffy off, but every year he manages to contribute. After four consecutive years of decreased scoring and no real role on the team, it looked like this would finally be the year that Cliff was worthless. But then Mike Montgomery realized that Dale Davis sucks and Adonal Foyle really sucks, and gave C-Rob the starting center job. Realize that if you start him at center, you will need to make up for the rebounds elsewhere. He’s never in his career averaged even 7 boards a game, and Richardson, Murphy and Dunleavy are all exceptionally good rebounders, so don’t except much more than 5-6 even with heavy minutes. He will get you blocks, though, as he’s racked up a very impressive 9 in his last 5 as a starter. And he will get you 3s, although not always 7 every two games. Over the past 15 days he’s 35th best player in the league. It’s a common refrain with a hot player on a hot team, but ride him while you can.

Troy Murphy
Murphy was a popular sleeper this year, based on the fact that he missed/was ineffective most of last season, but astute observers remembered his double-double average in 2002. And he hasn’t disappointed those people, as he’s back in double-double land, averaging 16 and 10. Still, if you have him on your team, he’s probably killing you. Besides marginal value in FT% (now that he’s past his early season yips) and points and negligible value in 3s, Murphy slaughters you everywhere else. He gets no steals, no assists and has his 41% from the field and .5 bpg are just unacceptable from the PF position. And this is all while he’s playing just about the best ball of his life. Find a team desperate for boards and ship him out.

Mike Dunleavy
We mentioned Dunleavy a while back as someone with just too much promise to give up on, and suggested grabbing him and stashing him away. We like it when we’re right. His last two games haven’t seen him scoring too much, but the most important thing is that he’s seen 38 and 41 minutes. In the last four he’s averaging 15.5/9.5/2.8 with 1.3 3s and 2.3 steals on 47% shooting. Now that’s more like it. Those are the kind of well-rounded numbers that people have been hoping for since he was drafted. Will he keep it up? It’s no sure thing, but in his third year, with his team hitting its stride, his chances are better than ever.

Michael Pietrus
Last night was the game that should make people really take notice of Pietrus. In just 20 minutes of play, he was good for 20 points, 6 boards, 2 3s, an assist and two blocks. That is good stuff. It seems that the Golden State front office is enamored with him, and if you were to believe Chad Ford, the Warriors would like to get rid of Dunleavy and give his minutes to Pietrus. Then again, if you were to believe Chad Ford, there would be 16 blockbuster trades made every day, with Tim Duncan and Kevin Garnett the only players not changing teams. Pietrus is still raw, but at 10 points and 1.1 3pg in 17 mpg, he’s shown he can score. He certainly needs to improve on his meager two steals the entire season, but since he averaged .6 in only 14 mpg last year, there’s reason to think that will happen. Even he gets a starting job, he’ll the team’s fifth option and of borderline value.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Great comments. I intended to get Murphy as one of my sleepers but I waited too damn long and someone else scooped him up. He's playing really well.

4:53 PM  

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