Monday, April 04, 2005

As the Point Guard Turns

If you didn’t read any news reports and just looked at the box scores, you probably wouldn’t know that Gary Payton was fighting back problems. His scoring was way down in March, but he shot nearly 55%, so it evens out. With Antoine Walker expected to miss a few games, expect Payton to continue to tough it out. Allen Iverson. Something complementary about Allen Iverson. Jason Kidd is making that playoff push, totaling 90 minutes in his last two games. As long as the Nets hang around within two games of the playoffs, there’s no reason why he won’t keep getting 40+ minutes as long as the games aren’t blow outs. Rafer Alston is #45 on the season long PR. He hasn’t missed a game due to injury in the last two years. Something to remember on draft day next year, and something we’ll remind you of over the summer, when you all better be checking back here regularly for the absolute best offseason fantasy basketball coverage. Didn’t I say Stephon Marbury would be one of the best players over the last month after the Knicks traded away their entire backcourt? We know what’s going on. Another reason you should be checking here over the summer.

Chancey Billups has had his two worst games of the season in the past couple weeks, but there’s no problem. He’s another player who has appeared in at least 74 games in five straight seasons. You just can’t ignore information like that on draft day. Good to see Kirk Hinrich back on the floor, but he’s still trying to find his groove after missing five games. The Bulls have no reason to push him hard as they’ve been winning without him and need him at full strength for the playoffs. You’ve got to start him if you have him, but temper your expectations. Anthony Johnson is trying to find his way onto the All Waiver Wire team. His March numbers of 11.6/3.6/6.7 with 1.0 3s and 1.1 steals on 52% shooting are downright Andre Miller-esque. Eric Snow is obviously the starter in Cleveland now but he’s proven beyond a doubt to be a fantasy non-factor. Maurice Williams is going to be an interesting draft pick next year. For some reason I’m still skeptical of him. The whole point guards who you can’t count on for 3s thing.

Quite a two-game stretch for Damon Jones with 11 3s. Still, he’s an absolute one-category specialist and gets no steals at all. Look at Gilbert Arenas’s numbers and you’ll see that they are basically the same in many categories – 3s, rebounds, assists and steals are almost exactly the same. He’s making a lot more free throws and at a higher percentage, and is making more shots. That’s all it takes to vault someone from star to first rounder. Nice to see Steve Francis come back with a purpose from his suspension, checking in at #5 on the 15DR. It’s those 15 steals in the last 5 games that’s given him that extra value and might be a sign that he’s capable of returning to his 1.8 of last year instead of the 1.3 he’s at this year. When you deal with numbers that small it might not seem like a big difference, but don’t ignore it. Half a steal a game over a season is 40 steals. If I had 40 more steals I’d have four more points. Brevin Knight certainly gets the most out of his abilities. Gotta like that in a player. Jason Hart has been playing just well enough to not quite pick up. When you’re a bad team sometimes you hope that a team takes you lightly and you can steal a win. But when you’re as bad as the Hawks are, teams are extra motivated because they don’t want to be that team that loses to the Hawks.

Tony Parker comes in just below Damon Jones on the PR. If he was just a completely average free throw shooter, he’d be at #29 instead of #48. That’s what happens when you hang around Tim Duncan for so long, I guess. There’s still hope that he can get back to the 75% of his second year. Don’t draft him next year counting on that, though. It looks like it’s time to accept Jason Terry as a 30 mpg player for the rest of the year. He can still have value with that, just not a whole lot, as his #110 ranking on the 15DR attests. The Rockets are back to their old ways, scoring 84 or fewer points in 5 of their last 8 games. This is bad news for everyone, including Bob Sura and Mike James. What a crap week for Jason Williams. Earl Watson wasn’t much better. I wouldn’t want to be counting on J-Will these last few weeks, but then again I’d never want to be counting on him. Speedy Claxton’s second game as a starter sure was better than his first. Even though he’s starting he’s still not breaking the 30-minute plateau, so don’t expect too much. Dan Dickau’s had two solid games off the bench, use him if you must.

Luke Ridnour. Boring. Andre Miller is obviously back. He has his huge, huge slumps every year and almost always ends up being a top 40 player. It’ll probably be too late to save his team from an early summer, but at least Sam Cassell is rehabbing his fantasy image. He’ll be one to watch over the summer. Three out of four very nice games for Sebastian Telfair. If you need assists he’s back to being an option. I still wonder if he’ll be starting in Portland next year. Think the Jazz might want to snag Chris Paul, Raymond Felton or Deron Williams in the draft?

Steve Nash’s double-digit assists streak now stands at 14. Resist the urge to take him in the first round next year. What about Mike Bibby, you ask? You might want to resist that urge, as well. As much as I love him, he’s the prototype second round pick. You need that second round pick, though. The two teams at the top of my league, their second round picks? Steve Nash and Gilbert Arenas. As BV pointed out earlier, Chucky Atkins might be a beneficiary if Kobe misses some time. Then again, he could just not care at all. Marko Jaric has been starting at SF, but he qualifies at the point and has shown why he’s a hated fantasy player the last two games. When you are capable of averaging 19/5/6.5 with 2.5 3s and 2 steals, people want it all the time. Shaun Livingston three-point attempt watch: 2. You know what they (er, I) say about PGs that don’t shoot 3s. Baron Davis 15DR watch: #9. He’s #16 on the 30DR. We’ll talk more about him in the offseason, but don’t get suckered in. As always, this is mostly just self-therapy.

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