Monday, April 11, 2005

Weekend Review

As the Western Conference is settling into their playoff picture, with most of the positions filled, the Eastern Conference is in a complete state of disarray. Let’s take a look at what happened this weekend and how it might affect your fantasy players.

In the East, the big story has to be a team that isn’t even IN the playoffs right now, the New Jersey Nets. Sort of an afterthought this year as Jason Kidd and Richard Jefferson missed major time with injuries, the Nets quietly went 9-6 in March, and have won 7 of their last 10 and are now just 1.5 games out of the playoffs. Keep in mind, this is a team with only two and a half players (Jason Kidd, Vince Carter, and Nenad Krstic) who are legitimate NBA players right now. After beating Boston on Friday behind 45 from Carter, you can count on the Big Two in Jersey to have a very strong final push. Also of note is that Krstic and Clifford Robinson are actually seeing time on the floor together, and so they should both have value over the last 5 Nets games.

On the other side of the coin, two Eastern Conference teams that are in the playoffs (for now) are struggling badly. The Cavaliers and the Wizards are both suffering from injuries to their big men (Zydraunas Ilgauskas and Brendan Haywood), and despite huge efforts from their stars (LeBron James and Gilbert Arenas), they’re both 4-6 over their last 10 and fading fast, with the Cavs in danger of falling out of the playoffs altogether.

Look for some fairly drastic attempts to turn around the losing ways in Cleveland. Jeff McInnis, who lost his starting spot when interim coach Brendan Malone took over, is now back in the starting lineup and got 45 minutes in Saturday’s win over Milwaukee. He may have been dropped in your league, and if so, he’s worth picking up again. In Washington, there won’t be any major lineup changes, as their playoff spot isn’t in terrible jeopardy. They’ll be more concerned with getting healthy, which likely means limited minutes for Antawn Jamison as he attempts to return from knee problems.

In the West, the Elite Eight should be pretty much wrapped up after Minnesota totally blew it over the weekend, losing to the Hawks. Yes, the Hawks. While the T-Wolves were certainly facing an uphill battle, their remaining schedule was much more favorable than 8th place Memphis, but now that they’re a full 4.5 games back, it’s just about over for KG and Co. Fantasy players have to thank KG for his effort despite his bad knees over the second half of the season, but he might miss some of the last 5 games of the year with the disappointing season all but done.

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