Monday, January 03, 2005

Weekend Review

Ah, a New Year. Filled with new hopes for your fantasy team, new players breaking out, and new injuries to worry about. Is there anything sweeter? No.

Stud-amire

We’ll admit, it’s taken us quite a while to get to talking about Amare Stoudamire, but after exploding for 50 points on Sunday against the Blazers, we can wait no longer. No one has benefited from the arrival of Canadian-in-disguise Steve Nash more than Amare. He’s scoring 26.4 ppg, good for 4th in the league, and he’s shooting an absolutely absurd 59.1% from the field. Only one other player – Shaquille O’Neal – is shooting better than 55% from the floor and scoring over 12 ppg. While his other big-man numbers – 8.6 rebounds and 1.7 blocks – are admittedly low for a top-flight fantasy center, Amare is undoubtedly a late-first or early-second round pick next year.

Net Gain

So far so good, eh Vince Carter? Air Canada’s taken flight in New Jersey, and seems to have found a nice niche as a 2nd scorer behind Richard Jefferson and a potent weapon for Jason Kidd. Carter has been rejuvenated in his new home, averaging more steals (2.0) and rebounds (6.0) than ever before in his career. Of course, he’s only played 4 games, but nonetheless his numbers have been very promising.

Still, one thing that jumps out at you has to be his 41 minutes per game, also a career-high. Given Carter’s history, you may want to try and unload him to someone hoping for this kind of production over the course of the year. He’s an injury waiting to happen, and playing so many minutes only increases the risk. Coach Lawrence Frank might realize that he needs to cut down on Carter’s PT, but until he does, Carter’s owners will be taking a deep breath before reading any Nets box scores.

While things might be going well for Carter, the Net’s other injury-plagued veteran all-star has been struggling to get into his offensive groove. Over his last 5 games, Jason Kidd has averaged only 5 ppg, despite playing nearly 35 minutes a night. While his rebound numbers have been better than ever, and his assists have been strong if not Kidd-esque, the lack of points (and 3’s) have been extremely frustrating for Kidd owners. However, if you’ve held on to him this long, you can’t afford to trade him. Just hope that Jason finds his shot relatively soon.

Pointers

One thing we saw this weekend was a couple of point guards at varying degrees of fantasy effectiveness, each playing better/more than they were earlier in the year. Let’s recap:

Rick Brunson, LAC –Undoubtedly one of the hottest pickups in fantasy basketball, Brunson has taken over the keys for the Clippers thanks to injuries to Marko Jaric and Shaun "Dr." Livingston. In 5 games as starter, Brunson has averaged 11 points, 8 assists, 1.7 3’s and 1.2 steals. He will be a very effective fantasy point guard while he’s starting, and should be starting in almost every league.

Tony Allen, BOS – Though this rookie is not really a point guard, after Gary Payton left the court Sunday with a sore hamstring, Allen went out and put up a season-best 18 points on 8 of 11 shooting. Allen will not give you much in the way of assists, but in the 5 games in which he’s gotten over 20 minutes, he’s averaged 14.4 points, 5.4 boards, 1.2 steals and shot 55% from the field. If Payton is going to miss much time (it’s still up in the air), and you need a temporary scorer, Allen might be the guy you’re looking for.

Jason Terry, DAL – Don’t look now, but there are signs of life from the Dallas point guards, particularly Terry. After lighting up his old team the Hawks for 23 points last week, he went out and dished 24 assists in his last 2 games. He’s only had two "complete" games this year where he scored double-digits and got more than 5 assists, but nonetheless you’ve got to get him on your radar screen just in case Don Nelson keeps starting him.

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