Thursday, February 03, 2005

Got a Boo-boo?

"I hate my team. Constant annoying injuries."
- Actual post on my league’s message board this morning.

Well I hate to break it to you, but just about everyone’s team is dealing with injuries. This is the time of year where the players start to wear down. They’ve been playing ball for over 3 months straight, and the all-star break is in sight, but not quite here yet. But it’s true, this year has been particularly bad for injuries. Look at ESPN’s Live Draft Results and the first few rounds are pretty scary. Let’s break it down round-by-round (assuming a 12-team league)

Round 1
3. Kobe Bryant – When all is said and done, he’ll have missed a month.
6. Andrei Kirilenko – Sure he’s back now, but he missed 2 months.
7. Peja Stojakovic – He’s missed 5 straight with back spasms.
12. Ray Allen – Missed 2 games with the flu.

Round 2
13. Baron Davis – Surprise.
14. LeBron James – Missed 2 games with a bad ankle last week.
20. Zach Randolph – Missed 2 weeks with a knee injury, and is finally getting back.
21. Allen Iverson – Missed 3 games last week with a myriad of injuries.
22. Sam Cassell – Not that he’s been any good on the court anyway, but now he’s hurt his shoulder, too.
23. Pau Gasol – On the IL with plantar fasciitis.

OK, I’m gonna stop there, I think. Have I made my point? 10 of the top 24 players (42%) are dealing with injuries. They’re part of the game. Next week, we’re going to look at a couple of strategies of how to deal injuries to your top players.

Movie Makin’, Movie Movie Makin’…

OK, so Rudy Tomjanovich is out as the Lakers coach. And now the big rumor is that Phil Jackson is on his way back to the Lakers. Now in all honesty, I can’t see this happening, but rumors and predictions are what fantasy sports are all about, so let’s take a quick second and think about how this would work. Phil comes back, and he’s got a team that is VERY reminiscent of the first round of the 3-peat Bulls. Think about it. If you were to make a movie about the ‘90-’93 Bulls, what current NBA team would be a better cast? Starring…

Kobe Bryant as Michael Jordan
He’s gotten all the comparisons, he’s gotten the rings, he’s got his own team now. He can score 30 points a night when he wants to, and takes over games like no other player in the league. Nobody will ever be as good as MJ, but Kobe is damn close.

Lamar Odom as Scottie Pippen
Scottie was a near triple-double threat with the Bulls at this point, scoring about 20 points, and grabbing around 7 boards and dishing 7 assists a night. Odom doesn’t provide the defense that Pippen does, but he’s also a much better rebounder (particularly this year) and a better deep threat on offense. He’s an excellent passer for a man his size, as well.

Chucky Atkins as BJ Armstrong
BJ, well, he knew his place. Get the ball to Jordan or Pippen, and get out of the way, and occasionally shoot a 3. Atkins can fill that role. The triangle might cost him a few assists a game since he won’t have the ball in his hands as much.

Chris Mihm as Horace Grant
Chris Mihm/Horace Grant, you just stay under the basket and grab rebounds. Is that so hard? Of course not.

Caron Butler as The New Wrinkle
Obviously, Kobe isn’t as good as Michael, Odom isn’t all that close to Pippen, Mihm isn’t quite Grant, and Atkins and Armstrong are kind of a wash. The X-factor is Caron Butler, who is a better 3rd option scoring than the Bulls had until they found Toni Kukoc.

So there you have it. What does this all have to do with fantasy basketball? Well, if Phil comes back to LA (I still think that the idea itself is absurd), you can kinda get an idea of what his triangle offense would mean to the players on the team. Plus, it’s not like Phil is the only one who can implement the triangle. If Tex Winters returns to the staff in some capacity, you might see the triangle offense being run regardless of who the head coach is.

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