Tuesday, February 22, 2005

Big Questions

While all eyes right now are on the NBA trading deadline – at least they would be if the deadline was a tangible object – many players have their fantasy league trading deadlines coming up in the next few weeks. Last month saw a ton of players slipping on and off the "hot" and "not" lists, making it very difficult to gauge certain players’ value over the next few months. That’s why we’re here! Let’s take a look at some of the players with the biggest question marks hanging over their heads, and see what we can expect from them over the rest of the season:

Gilbert Arenas, PG – Gilbert was perhaps the best fantasy player in the league over the last month, averaging 28.8/4.6/6.5 with 2.9 3’s and 2.8 steals. However, with Larry Hughes returning to the Washington lineup, Gil will undoubtedly cool off at least a little bit as the Wiz prepare for the playoffs. However, don’t expect his stats to fall too much. This last month, Arenas has established himself as the leader of this team, and with Hughes an unrestricted FA after the season, Arenas will continue to contribute in the hustle categories as he tries to set an example for the rest of the young squad. Look for his steals numbers to stay high, with a slight drop-off in points and assists as the ball won’t be in his hands as much.

Vince Carter, GF – We talked a little bit about Vince last week, but that was before he played through an injury, something that I’m not sure he’s ever done before in his life. And he did pretty well, too, getting 21/6/5 with 2 steals on a bum ankle. Right now, though, the real question will be what the Nets do at the trading deadline. Should they move Jason Kidd and continue their "rebuilding" efforts, they might have a sulking Vince on their hands, and as we know from Toronto, that absolutely kills his value. Then again, if they hold on to Kidd, look for Vince to continue his tear. Odds are that they won’t make any deadline deals, so if you can get Carter at a slight discount right now, by all means, go for it.

Kevin Garnett, F – For the first time possibly in his career, there are some serious doubts about KG. Playing on a bum knee the Flip Saunders says should have him sidelined, Garnett’s stats have been suffering. February has been his worst month so far for points (19), boards (11.9), assists (4.7), and steals (1.1). While those are terrific numbers for any player, they are nonetheless a step down from KG’s norm. Plus, at some point he might have to sit out for a while to rest his knee. Dispite a huge game against the Cavs before the break, if you can find someone to give you #1 overall value for KG right now, I think you have to take it.

Baron Davis, PG – Here’s one name that I haven’t seen mentioned much in the trade rumor department, but you’d have to imagine that he’s "unhappy" in N.O. In fact, this article pretty much says just that. It’s clear that neither Coach Byron Scott or any of Davis’ teammates are too thrilled with him, and his owners have to be feeling the same way. You can probably get Davis for a song right now, and if you’re just barely out of contention and you’re willing to take that risk, trading for Davis might be a good place to go.

All of the Milwaukee Bucks – One of the names that keeps getting thrown around the rumor mill is Michael Redd. As we’ve learned in previous seasons, whenever a team trades away it’s leading scorer – particularly when they get "cap room" or "young players" in return – his remaining teammates take a bump in value. While Keith Van Horn is the obvious benefactor in this situation, he may be dealt along with Redd due to his contract situation. Desmond Mason, however, could top 20 ppg as the number one option on this team, and making a preemptive deal for Mason at this point may not be such a bad idea. Joe Smith, Mike James, and Dan Gadzuric could also see bumps in scoring.

All of the Portland Trail Blazers – Well, it’s a weekday, so that must mean we should talk a bit about the Blazers. I’m not going to pretend like I know what’s going to happen with this team over the next few days, but almost all of their players should be had at a bit of a discount because of the uncertainty facing them. Again, if you’re looking to take a risk, this is a good place to start.

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