Monday, April 04, 2005

Weekend Review

Down Goes Kobe!
Well, probably. One night after shooting 6-of-19 from the field and 1-6 from 3, and missing a game-winner at the end of the game against the Spurs, Kobe mailed it in for 14 minutes against the Grizzlies before leaving with a "bruised shin." Apparently "shin" is secret code for "ego." I mean, things haven’t really gone too well for Kobe this year, and after losing 9 out of 10 games, and then starting Sunday’s game with a 32-14 deficit after the 4th, that might have been all he could take.

Anyhow, this isn’t an editorial about how lame Kobe is. It’s about trying to figure out who’s going to get all the minutes and points now that he and Lamar Odom and Chris Mihm are ALL out for the Lakers. Of course Chucky Atkins and Caron Butler are the big 2 (read that again), and you’re going to see a host of role players – Brian Cook, Jumaine Jones, Devean George – all getting about 20-25 minutes a game. None of them are going to be great, but you can find category help for sure. Cook becomes an obvious pickup if you’re looking for 3’s, and Jones is now someone you have to think about if you’re looking for rebounds.

Standings Watch
So far, our standings watches have mostly cover folks who are falling so far back or so far ahead that their stars will be unreliable over the rest of the year. But there are some races developing that could make some stars MORE valuable. For example, last night the Bulls pulled into a tie with the Wizards for 4th place in the East, and it’s no coincidence that now, Wizards coach Eddie Jordan is talking about Antawn Jamison returning to the court either tomorrow or Wednesday. Look for the Wiz to not worry about bringing him back slowly, but rather throw him right into the fire.

Meanwhile, just below Washington and Chicago in the standings, Indiana and Cleveland are tied right now for 6th in the conference. The difference between 6th and 7th is huge – 6th place will be the favorite against the winner of the Atlantic Division (most likely Boston), whereas the 7th place team will be first-round fodder for the Pistons. Now that Cleveland is slipping, and somehow the Pacers are 7-3 in their last 10, it’s anyone’s spot to have. Because of this, the Pacers are starting to think that perhaps Jermaine O’Neal will be returning to the court before the playoffs. He might be on the waiver wire, and if so, he’ll be worth grabbing in case he plays a few games at the end of the year.

One-Day Wonders
Pick ‘em up today, so you can play ‘em tomorrow!

F – Damien Wilkins, SEA
The surprise starter while Rashard Lewis is out, Wilkins had a great first start on Friday night against Portland – 17 points and 3 3’s in 35 minutes. His next start, Sunday vs. the Warriors, went much worse, as he only got 6 points in 28 minutes. Nonetheless, he will continue to start at least one more game, and is worth a shot tomorrow against the Kings.

C – Pedrag Drobnjak, ATL
Hawks coach Mike Woodson is apparently unhappy with the way things are going with his team, which is surprising since they’ve lost 25 of 26 games. He’s particularly unhappy with Obinna Ekezie and Al Harrington, who were benched much of the second half yesterday against the Clippers. That opened the doors for Drobnjak, who put in a nice 13/4 with 3 blocks and a 3 in just 17 minutes. He’s a nice bet to see at least that many minutes against New Orleans Tuesday.

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