Tuesday, March 22, 2005

As the Point Guard Turns

Apologies for this coming up a day late.

Gary Payton has to be one of the most boring players to own this year. The averages are respectable enough – 11.8/6.0/3.1 with 1.2 steals and 0.6 3s on 46% shooting – but he’s scored more than 20 points just five times and has reached double digit assists in just six. He’s dealing with back issues now, so Delonte West – who has become an afterthought in the last week – might see some value, but don’t count on it. Allen Iverson’s shooting in the two games since he injured his thumb? That would be 18-for-51, or 35%. That hurts. It’s tough to shoot with a bum thumb, but AI is on a mission to get the 76ers in the playoffs, so don’t expect any decrease in PT. He’s more likely to just miss a game or two then come back with 40+ minutes than to take time off during a game. He’s played at least 41 minutes in 17 of his last 18 games.

All this turmoil in the Eastern Conference is wonderful news for Jason Kidd owners. On the back of a four-game winning streak, the Nets are just 1.5 games out of the last playoff spot and that means there’s at least two more weeks of quality minutes for Kidd, who is at least a top 20 player when he’s playing. Stephon Marbury is taking advantage of the Knicks’ vacant backcourt and putting up nice numbers, but still isn’t a world beater. Also remember that he’s 28, so he’s not going to get any better. Despite all of his off-court issues, Rafer Alston has been rather consistent all year. Those issues might make him a bit of a bargain on draft day next year.

Holy moly, did Chauncey Billups have himself a week or what?! How does 25.5/4.3/6.3 with 3.3 3s on 58% shooting sound? Catapulted him to #12 on the 15DR, and he’s still one spot ahead of Ray Allen on the overall rater. This Cleveland situation is one to watch, for sure. I was in favor of dumping Jeff McInnis last week, and it looked like the right move, but with Paul Silas gone, McInnis could be worth using again. Whatever the case, Eric Snow certainly didn’t help himself by going for a nearly impossible 0/6/1 in 40 minutes on Sunday. Even with PT, he’s like a poor man’s Anthony Johnson. That’s pathetic. I’m a huge Kirk Hinrich fan, but he shot 38.6% last season and is right back at 38.6% again this year. He’s still 26th overall on the Rater, but that’s a big weight dragging your FG% down. In his senior year at Duke, Chris Duhon made 29 of 96 3s in 37 games, for 30%. This year he has made 68 of 201 in 56 games, for 34%. Sort of interesting. Gotta give Anthony Johnson credit. He’s been in double digits in six straight and the Pacers have gone 4-2 in those games. He’s even at #34 on the 15DR, and should be in all lineups, given the lack of quality players available. A speed bump on the Mo Williams love fest highway. His decreased scoring isn’t a huge shock, but three out of four games with less than six assists isn’t good. He may be wearing down after playing more than he ever has.

Damon Jones is a purely one-dimensional player right now. He’s getting negligible assists for a PG, and isn’t getting steals or boards, either. He’s also seeing his fewest minutes since November. Unless you are trying to gain ground in 3s, there are probably better uses of a roster spot. Games like Gilbert Arenas’s 12-for-35 over the weekend against Milwaukee can kill a whole week for those you in head-to-head leagues. Still, over the course of the season, Gilbert’s shooting has been exactly on par with the likes of Tracy McGrady, Steve Francis and Ray Allen. The numbers may not have been as spectacular as you may have hoped for getting 46 minutes, but if Jameer Nelson gets those minutes again – and with Steve Francis out for the next two and Hedo Turkoglu out for the rest, he will – his numbers will be outstanding. He looks to be one of the best steals specialists next year. Brevin Knight is helping to win some championships. He’s #17 on the 15DR and is just absolutely dominating assists and steals. Hope he keeps those ankles well taped. What, you expected Tyronn Lue to keep that up? That’s your fault, buddy, not his.

With Tim Duncan out and Manu Ginobili banged up, Tony Parker is the #1 option for the Spurs. This is mostly a good thing, although his assist numbers will remain pedestrian. He’s also murdering his owners with his free throw woes of late. There’s just no reason why a point guard who is a 46% career shooter should be at 65% from the line. Jason Terry’s first game under Avery Johnson was fine. Second game? Not so fine. It was an easy win, so hopefully that’s the only reason he saw just 20 minutes. It was also Devin Harris’s most effective game since last year, so don’t expect that to be a recurring theme. Bob Sura is getting back into the groove. A clunker on Sunday, but two solid efforts before that. He’s still a low upside guy from here on out. He’s managed to render Mike James rather useless, except to those desperate for 3s. Poor Mike James. Jason Williams should put up his usual numbers now that he’s back in the starting lineup. I’ve never had him on a team, as he just seems far too frustrating to own. Still, if Earl Watson flees during the summer, both players could be solid bets next year. I would certainly grab Dan Dickau if he was let go. With Speedy Claxton out for at least a few, and Dickau looking for a contract over the summer, expect him to try to fill that box score up.

If Luke Ridnour can’t take advantage with Ray Allen and Vladimir Radmanovic out of the lineup, then you are really free to cut bait. Andre Miller has obviously decided not to shoot the ball anymore. He’s averaging just 7.2 attempts this month, but is making up for it with 7.8 assists. Still, a lot of his value was tied up in FG%, and that’s hurt by his lack of shooting. Why that’s Sam Cassell! Playing basketball! He beat Jamaal Tinsley back, so good for him. We’ll see if he can stay on the court for three straight games or get back in the starting lineup. Until one of those things happen, keep him on the bench. You really shouldn’t be playing Sebastian Telfair. He’s #158 on the 15DR and isn’t even getting many assists. Anthony Johnson is much better for now. Keith McLeod didn’t even have his "one out of five" good game.

If Steve Nash can stay at 11.5 apg, that will be the highest season average since John Stockton’s 12.3 in the 94-95 season. Well done, Steve. I thought the injuries would affect Mike Bibby’s shooting. He’s been as effective as Kirk Hinrich from the field lately. As you know, that sucks. He’s still #24 on the 15DR. Chucky Atkins has certainly been one of the most pleasant surprises this year. A strong finish should land him in the top 50 on the Rater. Shaun Livingston is back until he gets hurt again. He’ll make it so no Clipper PGs have any value, which was really the case all along. The Warriors are my new 2nd favorite team. Well, they will be once they get rid of Mike Dunleavy. That 33/8/3, 4 steal, 7 3s game Baron Davis threw up last week reminded you that he’s still got the talent to be a top player. But his shooting makes Kirk Hinrich look like Larry Bird. Derek Fisher has actually been more valuable lately.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

comprehensive as usual.

another interesting analysis

7:23 PM  

Post a Comment

<< Home