Monday, November 07, 2005

As the Point Guard Turns

Welcome to this season’s first installment of As the Point Guard Turns. Each week we’ll take a look at each team in the league and what’s going on with its point guard situation. You know that we love our PGs here at FBB, because they specialize in three of the four rarest fantasy basketball categories – assists, 3s and steals. A favorite strategy of mine is to use one of my utility spots as a rotating PG position – a few weeks with the hot hand, the injury replacement, etc. If you pay close enough attention, you can usually end up getting about 5th-6th round quality point guard production from a single roster spot throughout the season. So get ready for thousands of words on point guards!

Hard to imagine a better start for Jason Kidd. There’s no reason to have Zoran Planinic or Jeff McInnis anywhere on your radar, really … This is why I was wary of hyping Delonte West so much after that monster first game. His ability to get blocks from the point guard slot is unique and makes him valuable, but he’s not a classic point guard and sometimes the Celtics will need to go with more of a playmaker. He notched just three assists in each of his last two games, and has seen his minutes played go 41-35-22. I still think of him as a PG3. Dan Dickau provided a spark in his first action of the year, with 5/7/3, 2 steals and a 3 in just 22 minutes. Keep an eye on him, but unless he’s getting 30+ mpg he won’t be able to have much value … Same old, same old for Allen Iverson. I expect his FG% to stay closer to the 39% that it’s at now than the 42% of last season. But every game he plays you can count on monster numbers … It’s not pretty in New York right now. At least Stephon Marbury owners can feel safe. He’s seen 40+ minutes in each of the team’s three games and he’s clearly the best player on the team, so that should continue. Nate Robinson got his first meaningful action on Sunday, but he’s got a long way to go before fantasy owners need to worry about him. Can he really be anything more than Earl Boykins? We’ll see … The Toronto situation is well worth paying attention to. Reader “bublitchki” dug around for some info on Jose Calderon in the post below this one, so check it out in the comments. He can certainly play, and while Mike James is more established in the NBA, he’s still Mike James. There’s a reason he’s on his sixth team since 2003. Calderon could steal the job from James, but this could just be a very frustrating situation for fantasy owners. Sam Mitchell has shown that there’s very little rhyme or reason to who gets PT. Chris Bosh is the only person I’d feel completely safe with on that team. But Calderon is outplaying James so far and is seeing more PT. He’s worth a look in deep leagues, but it is a bit disconcerting to see just four attempts from three-point range so far. But if that’s what it takes to keep that FG% around 60%, it’s not so bad.

The Pistons are in midseason form, with two blowouts out of three games so far, which is keeping the starters’ minutes down. Chauncey Billups is off to a rough start, but his numbers will be there soon. No worries. Carlos Arroyo sure has been racking up the assists in garbage time … T.J. Ford might not be the worst sell-high candidate right now, actually. His skills are obviously better than ever, and he should have no problem finishing in the top 5 in the league in assists as long as he stays healthy. I still consider that a big “if,” and he is shooting just 38% with a single three-pointer so far. He’ll grab plenty of boards for a PG and should be adequate in steals, but he’s still not a top-shelf fantasy point guard. Mo Williams is making the most of his limited time. If Ford goes down, he's a must-grab … Jamaal Tinsley will put up numbers when he plays. There’s no doubt about that. He’s a better fantasy player than Ford when both are healthy. In limited action, Sarunas Jasikevicius has done nothing to reverse the thought that he’ll be a very capable fill in were Tinsley to go down … Chris Duhon has had back-to-back games of his life, almost. Perhaps he’s become a different player this year, but I doubt it. Kirk Hinrich (whose owners breathed a sigh of relief after he had a great game after the ankle scare) and Ben Gordon are still clearly superior players and because all three are rather tiny, it’s going to be near impossible for Scott Skiles to ever play them all at once. Duhon should still manage to see at least 30 mpg and because he does help out in 3s, assists and steals, he’s worthy of a roster spot and starting consideration … Eric Snow is starting and putting up some truly putrid numbers. Ignore him completely. Damon Jones is stuck on 25 mpg right now, which is enough time to hit a couple of 3s, but not much else. He’s best kept on benches right now.

Gilbert Arenas probably won’t average much more than 6 apg this year (if that), but should be among the league leaders in 3PM. He’s a legit top 10 player, no doubt about it. If Antonio Daniels misses some time with an ankle injury, Chucky Atkins might have some value, but it’s just as likely that Arenas would spend more time at the 1 with Jarvis Hayes at the 2. Neither Daniels nor Atkins should be on any rosters right now … Raymond Felton will have to wait his turn. Brevin Knight is simply playing too well, and if it weren’t for that collapse against Chicago in the opener, the Bobcats would be 3-0 right now. Knight is picking up where he left off last season, averaging 9.7 assists and 2.3 steals per game so far. There are very few people in the league who can do that, and he needs to be in lineups now while he’s hot … Shaq’s injury may be just what Jason Williams needs to get acclimated in Miami. After going for 13/4/5 with one 3 in his first two games combined, he went for 18/1/5 with 4 3s in his first game sans Shaq. Expect similar numbers to what he put up in Memphis the last two year – solid, but nowhere near PG1 material … Well, as I suspected, the Joe Johnson as point guard experiment lasted all of two games. Even if Tyronn Lue continues to start, he’s an extremely marginal fantasy play. Just not enough 3s or steals … Steve Francis is putting up his usual numbers. He’s as predictable as they come, but that’s just fine. Jameer Nelson just needs a chance. He’s a better fantasy player than actual player, but his skill set would make him a monster if given the opportunity.

Jason Terry needs to start connecting from long range if he’s not going to be racking up the assists. I expect that to happen sooner rather than later. Don’t think about benching him. I’m a huge fan of Devin Harris. One of these years he will become a top fantasy point guard, but it would be nice if he would start hitting his free throws … If the first three games are any indication, Chris Paul will have a lot fewer ups and downs than most rookies. He’s had exactly two steals and one 3 in each game so far and is averaging 5 apg. Hard to argue with that. Speedy Claxton is actually leading the team in scoring despite seeing just 25 mpg. He’s good insurance for Paul owners, but not much else … The first three games of the season are a perfect indication of why Tony Parker will never be a top fantasy point guard. Sure, he’s scoring and shooting extremely well, but he doesn’t have a single 3 or steal. That’s just not going to cut it from this position … Damon Stoudamire hasn’t gotten off to the greatest start in Memphis, but it’s clear that he’s the main man and Bobby Jackson is there for instant offense off the bench. Stoudamire has been remarkably consistent throughout his career and that shouldn’t change this season … Rafer Alston is seeing plenty of PT and is hitting his 3s. Those are good signs, and with Tracy McGrady out for a while, he should be hitting at least a couple 3s a game. It would be nice to see him get his assist numbers up, and that should happen in time. He makes an ideal PG2.

Ah, Jerry Sloan. You sure know how to make fantasy owners angry. Deron Williams and Keith McLeod are in a complete time share right now, rendering both of them pretty worthless. Williams is obviously the one with more upside even though his last two games haven’t been nearly as impressive as his debut. Still, this seems like a situation you want to stay away from for the time being … I’m actually quite encouraged by Luke Ridnour so far. Despite being ice cold from the field he’s still seeing plenty of court time and averaged 8 assists and 3 steals in his first two contests. Once those shots start falling he will be a very nice PG2 … Marko Jaric has gotten off to a very solid start in Minnesota. He will run hot and cold, but is always worth having in lineups as long as he’s healthy. Troy Hudson would have same value as a starter were Jaric to go down, but he’s primarily a scorer. He’s not worth having around right now … Sebastian Telfair had the strong game he needed on Saturday. His lack of assists is a concern, but it’s sort of expected on that squad, where Zach Randolph is the only person who can shoot. At least Telfair has started launching 3s this year. He shouldn’t be on any waiver wires, but he makes pretty good bench material right now. Jarrett Jack won’t be surpassing him on the depth chart any time soon … A very disappointing start of the season for Denver. I’m not surprised, I picked them to miss the playoffs. Andre Miller has got to be one of the least exciting players to own. The assists are there, and his numbers will end up where they usually do, but man – borrrrrring. Earl Boykins has been his usual solid self, but you just can’t have much value playing 25 mpg.

Break up the Clippers! Sam Cassell’s first game may have gotten people a little overly excited, but if he stays healthy there is no reason that he shouldn’t put up numbers similar to the three seasons before last year’s disaster. Shaun Livingston is completely out of the picture right now. This is Cassell’s show to run , and he will produce … Smush Parker passed a test of sorts last night. Even with an off game he still managed to get four steals and five assists. His assist opportunities are limited because Lamar Odom and Kobe Bryant control the ball, but if he keeps launching 5 3pg and getting steals, he should be in lineups. He’s still not very established and could go cold with little notice, but he’s getting the PT now, so stick with him while he’s hot … Congratulations to those who had “1” in the “How many games will Baron Davis play before he gets injured?” pool. Luckily it was a minor injury that caused him to miss just a single game, and he bounced back quite well yesterday, but Davis owners knew this was coming when they drafted him. Derek Fisher proved a quite capable starter last season when Speedy Claxton went down and if (when) Davis misses some time, he is a must-start … OK, maybe the loss of Amare Stoudemire won’t have an adverse effect on Steve Nash’s assist totals. It has been only three games, though. The 41% shooting is worrisome, but both of those numbers (his 12.5 apg being the other) should approach their norms as the season progresses. Leandro Barbosa is thriving in his instant offense role off the bench. Keep an eye on him, but it seems evident that he’s not a classic NBA point guard … Mike Bibby owners breathed a sigh of relief last night. It still wasn’t the greatest game, but he’ll keep getting better. No reason at all to worry.

9 Comments:

Blogger artanis_84 said...

What do I do with Nelson since Francis is still runnin the point?
I know he can put up the numbers - but will he ever get the chance? Numbers arent too flash after averaging 20mins off bench

10:56 AM  
Blogger DM said...

If you've got a big bench I'd hold on to Nelson. But otherwise, he's just not worth having around right now. In my 12-team, 13-roster spot league, I wouldn't consider him worth having around right now, for instance. DeShawn Stevenson hasn't done anything to lose his starting job yet, but if the Magic keep losing they may look for ways to shake things up.

11:03 AM  
Blogger bv said...

i'd say drop nelson. he's only playing 22.7 mpg with Keyon Dooling injured - and Dooling should be back soon, possibly in the magic's next game. That can only mean even fewer minutes for Jameer.

2:15 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

good stuff *thumbs up

4:56 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

where do you think raja bell fits into all of this? is he good enough to keep? will he make a defensive (steals, boards) presence or score enough points (15) throughout the year? great job btw with the site. hopefully it'll help me rule my roto league with an iron fist (keyboard).

5:16 PM  
Blogger DM said...

Well he certainly doesn't fit into the PG conversation, that's for sure. He's averaged barely 2 apg per 40 in his career, a very low number. Bell's a good scorer, but his lack of another standout skill keeps his upside limited for fantasy purposes, even on the high-scoring Suns. And with Leandro Barbosa and Boris Diaw emerging as solid players off the bench (in addition to Jim Jackson), his PT could be inconsistent. It's already dropped each game so far this season -- 49-39-28-26. BasketballReference.com has DeShawn Stevenson as one of his highest comparables, another player who's a good-not-great scorer who doesn't do much else. So I'm pretty lukewarm, but would give the situation a few more weeks to shake out before making a final decision.

5:43 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

thanks a lot for the great article

10:41 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

what should i do with shaq? i'm kinda new to this whole fantasy basketball league thing and i've always been a big fan of shaq. but if his injury is hindering my team's performance, should i have send him off to the waivers and pick up a replacement for him? or should i weather the injury and hope he gets back into shape?

10:48 AM  
Blogger DM said...

Good lord, do not drop Shaq. As long as you have even one bench spot, wait it out. You're a rookie at fantasy, you drafted Shaq, you should stick with him all year. That's the tough-love approach to realizing that he shouldn't ever be on your team after this season. Well, if you are playing roto scoring, at least.

4:32 PM  

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