Friday, January 21, 2005

Take This to Hart

I hope you picked up Jason Hart last night. I know I did. Once I saw that Juan Dixon was being removed from the starting lineup in favor of Jarvis Hayes, I sent him packing and went with the young Bobcat. This was a rather easy decision. Juan gets sent to the bench, where he will be lucky to see 30 minutes per game. Jason Hart will be in the starting lineup for at least two games this week, as Brevin Knight is nursing a sprained ankle. While he’s definitely out tonight and is listed as questionable for Sunday, Kobe Bryant and Jason Richardson owners know that sprained ankles are the easiest injuries to overcome, so Hart could find himself anywhere from two to five games.

As all of you regular readers know, this is just more of my point guard rotating that I love to do. Some of you may think I spend too much time talking about this, but besides drafting the best players, this is how you win. Sometimes people are hesitant to pick up a player because he’ll only be in the lineup for a few games, or they want to save up their games for later in the season. And we like that they do this. What’s the difference if a 20-point, 10-assist game comes in January or in April. The prevailing notion behind saving up games is that it will help you figure out where you are in the standings and you can then find players that will help you in the necessary categories. This is all well and good, but it doesn’t mean you should be passing up great games when you can get your hands on them. It takes just a small amount of research to figure out that Jason Hart is going to have a mighty productive weekend. Or rather, all signs point that way. Players aren’t machines, and it’s possible he could have a couple of duds. But let’s take a look and see how likely that is.

Brevin Knight has missed six games due to injury this year. Jason Hart also missed one of those games, and another one he left early. Still, that means there were four games that Knight missed that Hart played. His stats in those four games: 37.8 mpg, 11.5 ppg, 3.5 rpg, 9.5 apg, 1.5 spg. The most important number there is obviously the minutes. If the guy who is 4th in the league in assists per 48 minutes and 5th in the league in steals per 48 minutes is going to get a starting gig, even if it’s just for a few games, it is your DUTY as an intelligent fantasy player to pick him up. These are the kinds of little moves that will help win you championships. I can guarantee you that people saving up their games for the end of the season will not find people on the free agent list as productive as Hart has the chance to be over the next few games. It’s all about the opportunity.

Speaking of opportunity, it doesn’t look like Carlos Arroyo will be getting much of one. What an amazingly fast fall from almost grace for him. From the talk of the town after the Olympics to a DNP-Coach’s Decision in favor of some dude named Keith McLeod. I won’t pretend to know what went down between him and Jerry Sloan, but I will say this: With Hubie Brown out of Memphis, Jerry Sloan has taken over as most frustrating coach for fantasy players. We don’t ask for much. Ideally, we’d like NBA coaches to know who their best players are, and to play them the most. Jerry Sloan doesn’t seem to like this idea. Until Andrei Kirilenko shows that he’s at full strength, Carlos Boozer is the only player you can start on the Jazz. Matt Harpring’s minutes will likely be cut just enough with AK47’s return to render him useless, not that he was that useful anyway. Even getting in excess of 35 mpg in the past month he still checks in outside the top 100 on the 30 Day Rater. Arroyo in Detroit should do wonders for their bench. Remember what I said recently about Detroit and their smaller rotation, giving their starters extra value? Don’t rule that out, but once Arroyo gets into the swing of things he should provide 15-20 minutes of solid bench play. A very frustrating season for Arroyo owners, but then again, you shouldn’t have drafted him in the first place. Easy for me to say now, but here’s what I said before the season:

Did his Olympic exposure turn him from a sleeper to a bust? Quite possibly. Arroyo is a nice little player, but he doesn't do two things that you want a good fantasy PG to do, and that's shoot the 3 and get steals. In 28 mpg last year he averaged just 0.5 3pg and 0.9 spg. He's young and can surely improve, and he probably will, but if he goes in the 6th round, it’s probably a round or two too early.

Yes, I’m a genius. As for the Utah PG situation now … well, nothing has changed. Arroyo hasn’t been a factor for a couple of weeks, so it’s still “Keith McLeod” and Raul Lopez splitting time. As long as they both stay below 35 minutes, they aren’t worth your time. Lopez is intriguing as he’s upped his 3pg from 0.3 last year to 0.6 this year, despite seeing his minutes drop by more than 6 per game. His steals have also stayed pretty constant. He’s the one to keep an eye on here, but with Jerry Sloan running the ship, don’t get too excited. Especially since Howard Eisley’s also hanging around to make things even murkier.

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