Friday, February 04, 2005

Weekend Preview

Playoffs? PLAYOFFS?

Can we just make that the official title for any playoff-related post? Anyhow, now that we’re done talking about the OC, let’s get back to what’s really important – the NBA. And this weekend could be bigger than you think. The NBA Trading deadline is but 20 days away, and this weekend could turn teams from buyers to sellers on the market. Let’s take a look at some of the teams who are deciding whether or not to throw in the towel:

Milwaukee Bucks – Ah, the East. Where else can you be 16-27 and just 4 games out of a playoff spot? The Bucks are in just that spot, and the odds are that they’ll be fairly active on the trade market once the playoffs move out of reach. With Michael Redd becoming a free agent in the offseason, he may become the biggest name to be moved this month. The Bucks play at home vs. the Clippers tonight, then at Washington on Saturday. A couple losses might expedite the trading process for the Bucks. The rumors have Redd going to Denver, which would likely cut into his value.

Toronto Raptors – Perhaps the most-discussed team when it comes to the trade market, the Raptors could be headed the other direction. In the pathetic Atlantic Division, the Raptors are only 3 games out of first, and only 2.5 out of a playoff spot in the East. And while their lineup doesn’t look too imposing, they did manage to go 8-6 in January, and started February with an impressive one-point win over Indiana. Wins against Washington tonight or Dallas on Sunday could pull Jalen Rose (19.2 ppg over his last 5) off the market.

Portland Trailblazers – No column would be complete here at fantasy basketblog without mentioning the Blazers. It used to be that the Blazers would all be getting in trouble, but they wouldn’t break up the team because at least they were winning. Not so anymore. After missing the playoffs last year for the first time since 1982 (!), the Blazers are nowhere near .500 this year and have really no reason to think they’ll be anywhere near the playoffs. They play Charlotte tonight and Sacramento tomorrow, and a couple of losses to an expansion team and a injury-laden Kings squad could push the Blazers brass to make some moves sooner rather than later. Remember, they dealt Rasheed Wallace last year, and he went on to win a title. Could Shareef Abdur-Rahim be this year’s Sheed?

Game of the Week(end)

Chicago Bulls at Miami Heat, Saturday, 7:30pm EST.
The two hottest teams in the East meet up here, and fantasy implications abound. The Bulls are playing off their rockers, undoubtedly forcing management to worry about re-signing Eddy Curry and Tyson Chandler to long-term deals that will kill the franchise. The real matchup here is between two second-year point guards, Dwayne Wade and Kirk Hinrich. Hinrich is looking like a classic point guard who will be worth a 3rd to 4th round pick for the next 10 years. Wade, on the other hand, plays more like a 2 guard, and helps in unconventional ways for a PG (FG%, blocks). Both, however, will be stars in this league for years to come.

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