Friday, December 10, 2004

Weekend Preview (12/10-12/12)

It's All About Effort

Eventually, that's what it comes down to. I know, you've heard all the cliches, "giving 110%", "leaving yourself on the court," etc. etc. But it's true, and nowhere is this more true than on your fantasy basketball team. Now, don't get all worried that I'm going to suggest you need excercise. What I mean is, winning a fantasy basketball championship is all about the effort that your players put out on the court. That's right, you can keep sitting on the sofa. It's your PLAYERS that need to put forth the effort. Some can motivate themselves every night (Ben Wallace or Allen Iverson, for example). Some put up nice numbers even though you know they could really care less (Chris Webber). But often, the best fantasy gems are players that are more motivated now than ever, and thus putting up better numbers than ever.

Here's a great example. Larry Hughes is in a contract year. Last Saturday night, the Wizards are putting away the Bulls. There's no more than 2 seconds on the clock, and Andres Nocioni is shooting meaningless free throws. He hits the first. He misses the second. Antawn Jamison, waiting directly under the basket, puts his hands up to grab the loose ball. No one on the Bulls is even challenging him. All of a sudden, out of nowhere, Hughes comes dashing in from the wing to try and grab the ball before Jamison does. Why? Because another rebound is another rebound, regardless of when he gets it. It makes his numbers look better and his contract fatter. Now, he wasn't able to pull it off, but it was a telling moment. Hughes is out there to get numbers, and it's working - he's set career high in boards and assists this year, and his steals (3.3 per game) are just incredible. We'll discuss this more next week, but when watching your games this weekend, keep an eye on players who are a little more motivated (or 'selfish', even) than usual.

Who Wants To Play?

Boy, it just keeps getting worse for the worst teams in the NBA. The New Orleans Hornets are now playing without their big three (Davis, Mashburn and Magloire), and the injuries just keep coming. Now, David West, who we plugged earlier in the year, is out for a few weeks with a sprained knee. HIS replacement, Matt Freije, cracked his tailbone. So now, anyone and everyone is getting a shot. One guy to keep your eye on has already been discussed on these pages. Lee Nailon has gotten 34 mpg over the last 5 games, and has responded with 16.2/5.4/2.4, with over a steal per game and nice percentages. He should find a spot on a roster somewhere. The other guy to keep track of is Chris Anderson, who is an intriguing player. He's a great source of blocks (his 3.43 per 48 minutes is tied with Ben Wallace for 15th in the league), and he rebounds fairly well. He got a season-high 26 minutes Wednesday and responded with 10 points, 12 boards and 3 blocks. If he gets minutes, he's got pretty nice value.

Things are just as bad in New Jersey. Just as Jason Kidd returns to play out his last month or so with the team, Alonzo Mourning is complaining openly that he is sore, playing too many minutes, and needs to go on the IL. Here's my favorite quote on the situation, from Nets coach Lawrence Frank: "We have to be smart with him. We have to keep the big picture in mind." Listen coach, here's the big picture: Your team stinks. You're 5-13, and in last place in the worst division in basketball. Your biggest star doesn't want to be there. Your best inside player doesn't want to be there either, and is whining about it openly. So there. The one bright spot from the Mourning situation might be more playing time for Aaron Williams, as GM Rod Thorn predicted. He's one of those guys who, if he ever got 35 mpg, would be a marginal fantasy player. But as it is, he won't be getting those kind of minutes, so he has no value.

Needless to say, you're not gonna have much fun watching the game between the Hornets and Nets tonight.

Game of the Week(end)
Cavaliers at Spurs, Sat 8:30 pm EST
Well first of all, if you can't get excited about LeBron vs. Duncan, you shouldn't be playing fantasy basketball to begin with. But there are also some interesting fantasy subplots going on. Duncan has gone 22-28 from the stripe over the last 2 games, and his FT% is steadily climbing, now at 66% for the year. Not great, but a good sign and if he keeps it up, his value rises along with it. For Cleveland, Robert Traylor is out a month with a broken pinkie. If Drew Gooden sees more court time because of it (Traylor was averaging about 17 mpg, Gooden 30) his value could go through the roof. He's a nightly double-double with blocks and great percentages for a PF. Go get him.


Blogger Tim said...

Funny, I just traded Larry Hughes. I'm betting he won't maintain his performance so far this year. I'm also betting that my team ain't getting any better so I might as well trade the guy while his value his high.

12:45 PM  
Blogger bv said...

not a terrible idea, as his steals have got to come down eventually. plus, since he's a FA, Eddie Jordan might start trying to work the ball to Arenas and Jamison a little more since they're definite long-term fixtures on the Wiz.

4:38 PM  

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