Monday, February 21, 2005

As the Point Guard Turns

Not too much to cover with the short week, but here’s the rundown nonetheless.

The entire Atlantic division is pretty ho-hum when it comes to point guards. You know what to expect from Gary Payton, Allen Iverson, Jason Kidd, Rafer Alston and Stephon Marbury. I can’t see Kidd getting traded this week, but that’s just me. Both him and Iverson are injury concerns the rest of the way, but with their teams fighting for playoff spots, expect them to tough it out.

The Pistons are really clicking right now, having won each of their past four games by at least 18 points. That’s why Chauncey Billups PT is slightly down. He’s hit 15 3s in those four games and is really on fire. He’s above Ray Allen on the Player Rater. The only people higher than LeBron in assists on the Rater are Steve Nash and Marbury. Damn. It was good to see Kirk Hinrich participate in the Rookie/Soph game. The fact that he played far outweighs the fact that he missed all of his shots. He always misses all of his shots. He should be good to go for the stretch run, and I wouldn’t be surprised to see him average 40 mpg. I’d still avoid Chris Duhon, just like I’d avoid most other players getting 25 mpg. Will Jamaal Tinsley be back tomorrow night? Who the hell knows? He’s definitely at the point of “believe it when I see it.” It would be nice to think he’ll be back to his productive self for the final 31 games, but there’s just not much to support it. That said, I’d avoid selling low. The Milwaukee situation looks like it won’t change this year. If you grabbed Mike James during his hot stretch, it’s probably safe to let go now.

Damon Jones owners sure hope the all-star break didn’t cool him down. You have to think that his being snubbed for the 3-point contest helped contribute to the 23 3s he put in during the team’s last four games. Keep an eye on Gilbert Arenas once Larry Hughes comes back. It was when Hughes went down that Gilbert really turned things on, so it will be interesting to see how Hughes’s return affects his numbers. I would expect a slight hit, but he’s still a top-15 player. Steve Francis finds himself at #17 on the Player Rater now, but at #23 when taking it by averages. He’s clearly not a first-rounder anymore. Jason Hart got the start, but Brevin Knight got the minutes and the production on Wednesday. It looks like he’s fine and will probably be back starting and worth using. Keep Hart on speed dial, though. The Hawks will be a team to watch. Whoa, that looks weird in print. Just for fantasy purposes of course, although now that everyone – not just NBA Fastbreak regulars – know about Josh Smith, they probably have more buzz than in many years. J-Smooth was seeing some time at the point earlier this year, and since Josh Childress certainly doesn’t deserve to lose any PT with Al Harrington coming back, it will be interesting to see if the Hawks go back to that with Tyronn Lue still out. Nobody will be racking up too many assists, either way.

Tony Parker is at #47 on the Player Rater. It’s looking like he’ll be a top-4 round pick for many years. Just when we all thought Jason Terry was safe, Don Nelson strikes again. Terry saw just 24 and 25 minutes in the last two games, while Darrell Armstrong saw 23 and 20 and Devin Harris saw 31 and 18, just for good measure. Ugh. Stick with Terry and hope for the best. Might be a decent time to sell high on Bob Sura. It looks he’s past his injury problems, which is good for his trade value, and if you need the help in 3s and steals you might be able to get a PG that will help more in those categories. Jason Williams was healthy enough to play in the last game of the break, so he’s fine. Earl Watson still saw 30 minutes, but he has no value right now. Who the hell knows with Baron Davis? Same as Tinsley, we’ll believe it when we see it. It goes without saying that I’m stuck with both of these guys. It certainly doesn’t seem like the Hornets or Davis are in any rush for him to return. As long as he's out, Dan Dickau is more than solid.

Luke Ridnour owners hated seeing him put up 2/2/3 in 24 minutes while Antonio Daniels went for 19/4/4 Wednesday. No more than 31 minutes for Ridnour in his last four. Prior to that he saw at least 33 minuets in 11 straight. Interesting. OK, so Troy Hudson’s got nothing. Sam Cassell and his hamstring better be back in there soon. I maintain he’ll be solid from here on out. Don’t ask me why I feel that way. Andre Miller is in a major, major funk right now, hitting rock bottom with a 2/1/1 in the last game before the break. He just doesn’t play as well with Earl Boykins in the lineup. Damon Stoudamire looks to be on his way to a second consecutive top 40 Player Rater finish. He might even sneak into the top 30. It’ll be interesting to see where he ends up this offseason and it what type of role. Supposedly Raul Lopez will be ready to go after the break. We’ll see. Keith McLeod should be back soon, too. We’ll see. I’d rather use Chris Duhon than any of the Jazz PGs.

Steve Nash and Gilbert Arenas are exactly tied on the Player Rater. I say Gilbert edges him out. But then again, Gilbert is my hero. Mike Bibby is just below AI and right above Steve Francis on the Rater. I say good things about him all the time and he deserves them. What’s with his 75% free throw shooting this year, though? He was at 82, 86 and 80 the last three years. Chucky Atkins has averaged 41 minutes in the two games since Kobe Bryant has been back. This is fantastic news for his owners, as he’s attempted 19 3s in those two games. Ah, Rick Brunson, back in effect. He’s surely been grabbed by now, and with good reason, as the Clippers have no one to even back him up. They’ll sign someone, and even if (when) it’s no one you’ve heard of, remember that when Darrick Martin came aboard earlier when Marko Jaric and Shaun Livingston were out, he took some time away from Brunson. Brunson will get plenty of assists, and you just have to hope he throws in some 3s and steals. The Warriors would be silly to take either Derek Fisher or Speedy Claxton out of the lineup when Troy Murphy returns. Silly, I tell you. Hopefully Mike Montgomery will do the right thing.

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