Friday, March 18, 2005

Foreigners on Fire

Watching the Warriors-Kings game last night – which was plenty more exciting than most of the college basketball earlier in the day – served as the inspiration for this post. You might not be able to tell from their modest box score lines last night, but Golden State has two very promising foreigners on their squad. Zarko Cabarkapa surely raised some eyebrows with his breakout game on Monday when he went for 26 and 10 on 8-of-13 shooting, including 5-of-7 from behind the arc. And this is from a guy who’s nearly 7-feet tall. Perhaps thoughts of “the next Dirk” are running through your head, but don’t get carried away. But Cabarkapa is certainly someone to keep an eye on. He was showing signs of breaking out last year in Phoenix before Danny Fortson layed the smack down and he only appeared in three games for the Suns this year before heading out to The City. Any big man who can shoot 3s is worth watching for fantasy purposes. He’s not going to have any consistent value this season, but depending on what happens with Mike Dunleavy in the offseason, he could be an intriguing pick next year.

Another player making an impact is this year’s lottery pick from Latvia, Andris Biedrins. Like Cabarkapa he stands near 7 feet, but he’s more of a traditional inside player. The Warriors have thawed him out recently and he’s seen double digit minutes in the past six games and has impressed. He’s grabbed 26 rebounds in 94 total minutes, a per 48 average of 13.3, which would be good enough for 21st in the league. He’s also He’s also blocked 6 shots in that span, a per 48 equivalent of 3.1, which would put him 15th in the league. Granted, these are very small sample sizes we’re working with, but still. He’s also made 11-of-16 shots over those six games, which isn’t too shabby at all. Adonal Foyle is the only other center on the roster, and even though he’s signed for another five years at $7 million a year (that makes me sad), I think the Warriors realize he sucks. Hard. It sounds crazy to say this, but the Warriors have something going on. A backcourt of J-Rich and Baron Davis is as potent as any in the league (at least for the 40 games Baron plays) and Troy Murphy is rock solid. If these two guys can keep their gains, the Warriors might be able to finish 11th in the West next year.

We’ll also take this time to talk about a player who might be able to help you this year, my current favorite foreigner, Bostjan Nachbar. Since we last checked in with him earlier this week he had another great game, going for 19/4/1 with 3 3s and a steal on 8-of-15 shooting in 32 minutes. He’s starting to separate himself from Casey Jacobsen, and since Lee Nailon isn’t part of the future in New Orleans, I’d expect Nachbar to see the majority of the minutes at SF from here on out. He’ll still likely come off the bench, keeping him from having too much value, but he hits 3s and gets some steals. That’s useful down the stretch.

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