Friday, March 11, 2005

Weekend Preview

First off, apologies for the less-than-usual updates at FBB this week. Y'know, we've got real jobs in addition to being fantasy basketball gurus, and sometimes those interfere. Although I think yesterday was our first weekday without a post in a very long while. In any case, expect us to get back to regular speed next week, with all of the best ways to get advantages down the stretch. BV is out of town on business (sounds fancy, eh?), so I'll take over his Weekend Preview, for one time only.

When We Were Kings
Remember the good old days of ... January? The Kings were one of the most reliable teams in fantasy land, with each starter a great fantasy option. Sure, Chris Webber was missing a game here or there with his usual Chris Webber-related lameness, but for the most part, you could plug those five guys in and not think about it. But my, how the times have changed. Aside from the man, the myth, the Mike Bibby, it's been a tumultuous time for the Kings. There was of course the big C-Webb trade. There was Peja Stojakovic's month-long battle with his hamstring. Then Cuttino Mobley's back starting getting cranky and Brad Miller was hit with a ... calf contusion? That's a bruise. Peja is back, at least in as much that he is active. He's played in four straight, but has shot just 38% in those four contests. With Kenny Thomas tending to a personal matter, the Kings basically played five players in their last game against Memphis, with Darius Songaila, Maurice Evans and Brian Skinner serving as the benefactors. While you already know that day-to-day is basically a myth, at this point in the season, with players very worn down and coaches wanting to make sure everyone's at 100% for the playoffs, players will always get a little extra time to heal. Watch the box scores for the Kings' games tonight against the Clippers and Sunday against the Rockets to see if anyone comes back. Brian Skinner has blocked 14 shots in his five starts and is probably gone by now, but if people keep believing that Miller will be back any day and he's still out there, fix that.

Game of the Weekend: Saturday, Denver @ San Antonio
George Karl certainly deserves lots of credit for the Nuggets' turnaround, but he walked into a great situation. The team was clearly underachieving, and even if there was no coaching change, they were bound to play better. Combine that with an easy schedule (Indiana is the best team they've beat in their last five), and a change of fortunes was almost inevitable. Still, the Nuggets are right in the thick of the hunt for the 8th seed in the West, and this game could serve as a first round preview. Keep an eye on new addition Wesley Person, who has made an immediate impact. After playing just one minute in his first game, he has averaged 21 in his last two, going for 14.0/3.5/2.0 with 2 3s. Owners desperate for 3s will really want to pay attention, because when Person is in there, it’s for one reason only, and that is to shoot. He’s taken 23 shots in those 42 minutes. Obviously a small sample size, but that’s an astounding rate.

But while it means a ton to the Nugs, it doesn't mean all that much to the Spurs. By sitting Manu Ginobili and Tim Duncan out in that marquee matchup against the Spurs, Gregg Popovich has signaled that he will be overly cautious the rest of the way, even with Phoenix and San Antonio deadlocked atop the West. Tim Duncan and Manu Ginobili have been the most banged up and could – not definitely – see reduced time. That’s of course a ton of production to miss, and it makes Devin Brown an interesting option. He’s seen 36 mpg in the last two, and is a good source of points, steals and rebounds (for a guard) when he gets time.


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