Thursday, October 27, 2005

Free Mason

Man, we can’t even get to the beginning of the year without a major trade in the NBA. Not that we’re complaining – trades are probably the most exciting things that happen in the league other than the games themselves. So much analysis to do! So let’s get started.

Now, I’m going to get to the newly-jumbled Bucks front court, but first let’s talk a little bit about Desmond Mason, who is the new number one option in New Orleans, whether he likes it or not. Mason set career-highs in points and minutes per game last year, but also managed to have his fewest rebounds per game since his rookie year, and the most turnovers of his career. He will never be seen as a defensive contributor for a fantasy team, and seems to be pretty afraid to chuck it from the arc. So really, that’s three categories you just can’t expect any help in. He’s also not much of a passer, averaging just 1.8 apg through his career. His FG%? It’s OK at around 45%, but that’s only going to go down as defenses key on him as the most established scoring option on his team. His FT% isn’t all that great for a G/F, at 78%. So, that really leaves just two categories that he can really help in - points and rebounds. He certainly has the potential to be a plus in rebounds, as evidenced by his 6.5 rpg in ’02, but last year he pulled down just 3.9. Points? Last year he set a career high with 17.2, but I don’t think anyone expects him to go much higher than 20 to 22 ppg this year.

So, let’s see. 20 ppg, maybe 5 boards, no real help in %’s, and a liability defensively and in 3’s. That sounds to me like a pre-Pistons Rip Hamilton. DM says it’s a poor man’s Corey Maggette or Michael Redd, which is fair, I suppose. I still can’t see him being worth anything better than a 7th -10th round pick, though.

“Actually, it’s pronounced ‘Mil-e-wah-que’…”

… And it’s got a bunch of big men with fantasy value all up in the air. They tied up Dan Gadzuric with a big inflated contract this summer, then used the number one pick in the draft on Andrew Bogut, and then yesterday decided they needed another big and traded for Magloire. Oh yeah, and they’ve got Joe Smith in the mix, too. So what’s going to happen?

Let’s be honest here for a second. We don’t know. You don’t know, I don’t know, NOBODY knows. Because, honestly, not even the Bucks know. We’ve heard that Bogut and Magloire are going to start together. We’ve heard that Bogut is going to come off the bench. We’ve heard that Joe Smith isn’t going to play much because of his knee. We’ve heard lots of stuff, but none of it is a sure thing.

Still, you can make a few assumptions. One, Magloire will get his minutes as long as he’s healthy and the Bucks are in the hunt for the playoffs. Two, Bogut will get every opportunity to get major minutes. Three, Gadzuric will not play more than 20 mpg without an injury to someone, and as such shouldn’t be worth more that a one-category stat stuffer (blocks) and shouldn’t be drafted. Four, Joe Smith, who has fairly marginal fantasy value as it is, is probably undraftable at this point as well as his minutes are up in the air.

Who’s Big in the Big Easy?

Sure, the Hornets traded away Magloire, and theoretically that should present an opportunity for someone in the middle. But remember, they played about ¾ of last year without Magloire, and still no one really stepped up in his absence. Look for minutes at the 4 and 5 to be split amongst PJ Brown, Chris Andersen and David West, with second-round pick Brandon Bass maybe seeing some decent time as well, but none of their values are really any higher now than they were at this point last week.

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