Wednesday, January 26, 2005

Action, Jackson

Thirty games later, he returns. Stephen Jackson, while never a premier player in the NBA, is now returning to the court tonight for the first time since the big throw-down in Detroit, so all eyes will be on him. How will the fans in Boston react? How will Jackson react to them? While those are interesting angles, the real story is going to be on the court. The Pacers are going to be settling into what should be their roster for the rest of the year, barring injuries. What can we expect from them upon Jackson’s return? Let’s check it out:

Jermaine O’Neal, PF – While you weren’t watching, Jermaine O’Neal has quietly been putting up the best numbers of his career by far. In January, he’s averaging a ridiculous 32 points a game, to go along with his solid 9.3 rebounds and 2.2 blocks. He has become the true focal point of this team without Jackson and Artest on the floor, and he’s stepped up into the role nicely. With Jackson back, however, you may see his numbers come down. I’d still expect him to average about 25 points a game (his previous career high was 20.8), and keep his other numbers about where they are.

Jamaal Tinsley, PG – Here’s some fun numbers for you:

Pre-brawl: 9.8 points, 8.3 assists, 1.4 3’s, 2.7 steals

Post-brawl: 19.96 points, 6.1 assists, 1.68 3’s, 2.1 steals

Tinsley has undoubtedly been the biggest benefactor of these suspensions. Even in his breakout (and best) year, 2001, he only scored 9.4 points per game. So his nearly 20 ppg output probably won’t last long. However, without Artest in the lineup, he’ll still get plenty of looks at the basket. I’d look for him to settle in at around 14-15 points, with 7 assists, a 3, and 2 steals.

Freddie Jones, SG – Well, it was fun while it lasted, Freddie. You haven’t really been worth owning for the last month or so, but we had a nice ride there at the end of November through the middle of December, didn’t we? Now that Jackson’s back you’ll probably fall totally off the radar, but I get the feeling we haven’t heard the last of you.

Reggie Miller, SG – He might have come back from injury on fire in early December, but now the old man is starting to show some age again. Despite getting 32 minutes a game, his January numbers – 9.2 points, 1.2 3’s, 0.6 steals – landed him on many a waiver wire. Now that Jackson will eat some of his minutes, he will have little to no value over the rest of the season.

Stephen Jackson, GF – Jackson is going to be an interesting pick over the rest of the year. Without Artest, he will easily see 30-35 mpg, and so he’ll definitely be worth owning for his 3’s and steals. It will be interesting to see how Coach Carlisle works him back into the offense, though. He could really score anywhere from 12-17 points a game from here on out.


Now that Pau Gasol is injured, it’s time for me to give me quarterly plea for Stromile Swift to get 30-35 minutes a game. Honestly, he could be a top-30 fantasy player if he got those kind of minutes. Look at these stats:

This year’s stats:
9.6 points, 5.0 rebounds, 1.8 blocks in 21.3 minutes

When getting 25 or more minutes per game (12 games):
16 points, 7.1 rebounds, 2.8 blocks.

When getting 30 or more minutes per game (4 games):
19 points, 8.3 rebounds, 2.5 blocks.

How Swift consistently loses minutes to guys like Lorenzen Wright is completely beyond me. Because every time – EVERY TIME – he get starter’s minutes he puts up fantastic numbers. Hopefully he’ll shine while Gasol is out and force his way into 30 minutes a night.


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