Monday, December 13, 2004

Weekend Review

Team Chemistry
... and why it often doesn't matter when it comes to fantasy basketball.

In the latest episode of "As The Kobe Turns" ("Kobes of our Lives"? "General Kobe"?) Kobe Bryant is now crying about how Karl Malone was hitting on his wife. Meanwhile, he refers to his teammates work as playing for "me", and word around town is that said teammates aren't too thrilled with Kobe at all. What does this mean for you, the fantasy basketball enthusiast?

Absolutely nothing.

Listen, as much as Kobe might be a terrible teammate in real life, he's still a Top-5 talent when it comes to fantasy basketball. His numbers - other than FG% - are up across the board this year, averaging 26.8/7.5/6.9, with over a 3, a steal and a block. He's getting to the line 11.2 times per game and knocking down 81% of his shots from the stripe. His shooting percentage has taken a major hit (now at 39% following his 6-of-23 performance Sunday night), but he's still one of the best fantasy players on the planet. You have to be worried about his plantar fasciitis, but right now, with all the controversy surrounding him you may be able to get him at a little cheaper than his actual value.

Shopping Big and Tall

Centers. You need 'em. We've got 'em. While there have been the usual number of fantasy busts at center this year, there have been a few guys stepping it up lately that you might be able to find on your waiver wire. The following centers had standout (for them) weekends, so we'll bring them up now. Most of these guys should already have been picked up, but if not, go ahead and grab 'em.

Clifford Robinson, GSW
How much upside can there be for a 38-year old center who's best year was 1995 and hasn't averaged 5 rebounds since 1997? Not much. But nonetheless, he's one of the few centers who has the ability to help your team's 3-point production. Over his last 5 games he's started to get more minutes (30 per game, up from about 20), and in December he's averaged 1 3-pointer, 1.6 steals and 1.6 blocks. His 11.1 points won't help you, and his 3.7 boards from the center spot will definitely hurt, but there are certainly worse options. His 4 3's, 3 steals, 2 blocks and 21 points on Sunday are about as good as you'll get from Robinson, but that's pretty damn good.

Brendan Haywood, WAS
A fantasy basketblog favorite. Haywood is slowly becoming a very dependable center, both in real life and in fantasy. Haywood is among the league leaders in blocks, which means he definitely won't be your waiver wires, but his strong play of late has gotten him more crunch-time minutes and may have solidified his spot as the go-to center once Etan Thomas comes back from injury. His stats so far in December (10.3/9.2 with 2.8 blocks on 56.8% shooting) would look good on just about any team as a second center. A better option than Clifford Robinson, to be sure, he had back-to-back 17 point efforts this weekend.

Nazr Mohammad, NYK
Here's a classic case of a guy who just really needs minutes, and he can be an asset for your fantasy squad. While his per-minute averaged have hardly changed at all, his 29 mpg are a career-high, and as a result, his numbers are at a career high as well. 12.8/9.5 with a block, a steal, 56.6% from the field? That's a nice looking second center. Not as much upside has Haywood, but a fantasy asset, definitely. His 20-point, 11-rebound night on Friday is a sign of things to come, and he should have a few more of those nights this year, though they will be sporadic.

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