Monday, January 31, 2005

What's the Point?

I think we’ll start using Monday as the day to take a look at the PG landscape, to see how you can best play the rotating PG game for the coming week. If you have any clever ideas for a title that are better than this one, please let me know. We like puns.

Brevin Knight finally returned from his ankle injury and promptly rendered Jason Hart useless. Hart still got the start last night but played only 25 minutes, finishing with 8/7/3, a steal and a block. Knight put up a similar 8/5/3. Hart managed a mighty impressive 9 apg in Knight’s absence, but owners had to be disappointed with just 3 total steals. He did put up nice 46 and 85 percentages, but his stint as a starter has to be considered a bit of a let down. Once Knight gets back in the starting lineup, he should continue to be a two-category stud, without many other contributions. If you need help in assists and steals, he’s worth using. Hart will have to wait until Brevin’s next injury to reappear in fantasy lineups.

If you want to really micro-manage, need assists, and have a roster spot to play with, then consider picking up Milt Palacio for Wednesday’s game against the Pacers. Rafer Alston had his seasonal outburst and got himself suspended for two games. Palacio hardly did anything besides contribute 9 assists yesterday in 35 minutes, but in the four game he’s played at least 30 minutes this year he’s averaged 7.5 assists. He might get you a couple of steals, you never know. Still, this is a one-game only thing. Rafer and Sam Mitchell certainly have issues, but after Rafer’s last outburst back in early December, he came back the next night with 20 and 10 and 4 steals. So he should be fine.

Might we change the name of this site to FantasyBrunsonBlog? Perhaps. It does have a nice ring to it. He gets a lot of mentions here and he gets one again. Just when it looked like his days as a useful fantasy contributor were over, Rick Brunson is back on the radar. Yes, Marko Jaric is back, but with Darrick Martin let go and Corey Maggette and Kerry Kittles ailing, the Clips are left with just Jaric, Brunson and someone named “Quentin Ross” in the backcourt. On Saturday, Jaric saw 39 minutes, but that didn’t stop Brunson from seeing 44 of his own and putting up an impressive 17/8/7 line with 5 3pointers. It doesn’t seem like Maggette will miss much time, but in the last two games that he’s missed, Brunson has seen 44 minutes in each, hitting a total of 9 3s and totaling 16 assists. It’s risky to plug him in not knowing Maggette’s status, but it could pay off.

Speedy Claxton has yet to return, and while he keeps saying “next game, next game” this is starting to look like one of those instances where he could just make a trip to the IL to get it completely taken care of. That’s just a hunch, based on no actual evidence. And it probably ensures that he’ll be back next game. In any case, Derek Fisher will continue to be worth using in his absence. Those hoping for more games like his 23-point, 7-assist outburst he put up in the first game Speedy missed have been disappointed, but he’s hit at least one 3, had at least one steal and dished at least 4 assists in each game. You could do worse. His five-game averages of 2 3pg, 1.2 spg and 6.2 apg are exactly Jason Williams’s stats on the year in those categories, for comparison’s sake.

If you scooped up Raul Lopez after his big game last Wednesday, you got one good one and one stinker. Foul trouble was to blame for his 2/2/2, 17-minute performance on Saturday, but even in his nice game before that he saw just 32 minutes. FBB favorite Howard Eisley wasn’t able to do too much in his 31 minutes on Saturday – 8/5/3 with no 3s – but never doubt Jerry Sloan’s ability to piss you off.

Remember the first half of January, when Sebastian Telfair saw double-digit minutes in seven straight games, including over 20 in a couple? Then Mo Cheeks realized he had a job to save, and Damon Stoudamire hasn’t played under 39 minutes since. Kudos to those of you that held on to him or traded for him while his value was low. He’s hit an astounding 36 3s in his last 8 games, putting up at least 20 points in all but one contest. No surprise to see him at #10 on the 15-Day Rater. He’d be the highest ranked Stoudamire on that list, but that 54-point performance was 17 days ago. So deal Damon while his value is sky high, right? Yeah, maybe. Or he could be a great fake buy high candidate. The Blazers are 6 games out of the last playoff spot right now. As long as it stays around 6 games, Damon should keep seeing serious time. If they slip, Telfair might get more time.

The Minnesota situation is a mess right now. I can’t imagine too many teams who spent a third-round pick on Sam Cassell are near the top of their league’s standings. Just hope he gets back into the starting lineup and Minnesota rights the ship in the second half. He’s still shooting 48% on the year, and rate his stats out to last year’s minutes and he’s down just a notch. He should be a solid contributor down the stretch as long as he can stay injury free … You may not have noticed, but Luke Ridnour averaged 34.6 mpg in January after only 28.5 in December. Despite this, his assists went down and his steals and 3s stayed exactly the same. He did increase his scoring by nearly 3.5 points, though. If he can keep the minutes up, the rest of the numbers will follow … And I’ll close with more praise of the one and only Gilbert Arenas, by using a favorite tool of my FBB cohort. This is Arenas’s 4th year.

Arenas January: 27.2/4.3/4.8 with 2.5 3s, 1.9 steals, 40% and 81%
Player B: 28.4/3.8/4.7 with 1.3 3s, 2.1 steals, 42% and 71%

That’s Allen Iverson’s 4th year line. Can Gilbert keep up his pace once Larry Hughes gets back? It’s not a given. But as someone who has watched just about every game he’s played this year, know that he is the REAL DEAL. If Steve Francis, Paul Pierce, Michael Redd or Stephon Marbury make the All-Star team instead of him, it’d be a damn shame.

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