Friday, November 25, 2005

Three For Friday

With no real topic grabbing my attention, I thought I'd take an extended look at three players bublitchki mentioned in the post below. Hopefully we can shed some light.

Gerald Wallace -- Here's what I wrote about Wallace before the season started: "'Failed' sleeper picks usually make good value picks the following season, and that looks like it might be the case with Wallace." Wallace finished 87th on the player rater last year despite missing 12 games and seeing only 31 mpg in the contests he did play. What had me most worried about him was his shooting. He came into the season a 45% shooter from the field and a 61% shooter from the line. Not catasrophically bad, but his form leaves a lot to be desired. But his steals and blocks made him a very nice target, not to mention the fact that he is arguably the #2 offensive option on his team. This is always one of the keys to finding guys who can help your team. The closer to the top option a player is for his team, the more you can count on him for consistency. For example, Nick Collison is going through a slump right now, which isn't too surprising. He's at best the fourth option on his team, so bad games can be expected. Only Emeka Okafor is clearly ahead of Wallace in the pecking order on the Bobcats. Now, will Wallace keep going at the pace he is? Of course not. He's shooting 56% right now and there's just no way that will continue. His 2.7 spg is also quite likely to come down, but you can't rule out the possibility that he will average around 2 per game. His blocks are for real, and that's a huge asset from a SG/SF.

The 5 3s that he hit in his last game won't happen again this year. I feel confident in saying that. He attempted four total in the season's first five games, so this could be a complete mirage. If he can somehow manage to average 0.7 to 1 3pg, though, that will only help his value more. Don't count on it, though. His tendency to get banged up is a bit troublesome, but a concussion and an injured wrist aren't like knee/back/hamstring issues. Wallace signed a three-year extension with the Bobcats in the offseason, so he's clearly in their plans and a mini-slump (which will happen at some point) shouldn't affect his playing time too much. Basically, he's obviously not going to keep playing at this level, but it wouldn't at all be surprising to see him finish in the top 50 or 60 this year.

Bonzi Wells -- It's hard to explain Bonzi's newfound rebounding prowess. He's always been a pretty good rebounder and was a borderling rebounding machine at Ball State, but this is completely unexpected. He's had four games of at least 11 boards so far this season, whereas he didn't even have ten games like that in his entire career up to this point. One thing he has going for him is playing for Rick Adelman, who loves to run his starters out there for big minutes, and Bonzi is seeing a career high 35 mpg. Still, he saw close to 32 mpg in two seasons in Portland and averaged only 6.0 and 5.3 boards then, nowhere near the 8.4 he's averaging now.

Bonzi seems like the kind of guy who'd really turn it up in a contract year, but this is still out of nowhere. The 2.0 spg he's averaging are also very nice, but he's not really helping out anywhere else. Both of his percentages are lousy, and the rest of his numbers are quite pedestrian. Still, as long as he's seeing 35 mpg for the Kings, he should be an obvious fixture in fantasy lineups. It's hard to see him ever being a difference maker, and you never know when he'll have one of his famous blackouts, but he's a very solid player for now.

Marquis Daniels -- Daniels was a popular sleeping pick coming into the year, as most folks thought it was just a matter of time before he overtook Doug Christie as the Mavs starting SG. Well, that has indeed come true, but Daniels still isn't making his owners too happy. In nearly 32 mpg this season Daniels is averaging a very ordinary 10.6/3.4/2.6 with just 1.0 steals, 0.3 blocks and 0.2 3s. In his three starts it's been a little better -- 12.0/3.0/4.7 -- but not much. So what's the problem? Well, it's the pecking order in Dallas, and where Daniels finds himself on it. Everyone knows that Dirk is option #1, and Jason Terry seems to be pretty locked in as #2. Avery Johnson seems to really love Josh Howard, as after a very weak two-game stretch, he's been back with at least 38 minutes in each of the last three games. Keith Van Horn doesn't start, but he comes off the bench firing. And Jerry Stackhouse hasn't played a minute yet this year (and who knows exactly when he'll be back), but you can be assured that he will be looking out for himself. So that leaves Daniels opportunities limited.

Still, you shouldn't give up on him. Daniels was 10th in the league in steals per minute last season, and hasn't come anywhere close to matching that this year. But you have to think he'll come around there as long as he keeps getting the minutes. He's shooting a career high from both the field and the line, and is a career 46/76, which is pretty solid. He's not going to get you many 3s, but that helps keep his FG% up, so it's not so bad. Lots of people have been hoping for a repeat of his performance at the end of the 03-04 season and into the playoffs. But if you look back at those last 11 games of the 2004 season when Daniels broke out big time, he averaged 42.3 mpg. That's Allen Iverson minutes, and the Mavs were a different team then. In those 11 games, they averaged 114 points per game. This season the Mavs are averaging 99 points per game. So expectations should be tempered. And it's pretty important that he establish himself before Jerry Stackhouse gets back. But he should certainly be held onto, and once those steals start coming, you'll be happy you did.


Blogger Rook said...

I'm curious also to hear your thoughts on a topic you've posted briefly about earlier this season: Kyle Korver. With Webber around, he's taking 2.5 fewer 3s per game than last year. He got posts steals and reasonably low turnovers, obviously 90% of his value is in his 3s. Should we expect a rebound, or is he too buried in the Sixers offense? Is Posey, who has been chucking up a ton of 3s, but who isn't stealing the ball and may have a lot of competition for minutes, a better fantasy play?

3:33 PM  
Blogger DM said...

Tough call ... I'm still holding hope for Korver, though. Before he got into foul trouble last game, he had jacked up at least 5 3s in each of his previous five games. And he's shooting 40% on the season from downtown, so it's not like his stroke is off. And there's always the chance that AI or Webber will go down, meaning he'd have a much bigger role.

I've always liked Posey, but his absolute lack of steals this season is perplexing. Can't go wrong with the 3s so far, but he's a career 33% shooter lighting it up at 50%. Can't see that holding up. He's seeing big minutes right now, though, and is certainly worth playing even though 3s is all he's helping in.

I'd probably stick with Korver, although it's pretty close.

4:07 PM  
Anonymous bublitchki said...

Hey, thanks for posting your takes on those three players! You definitely helped clarify some of the mystery for me, at least regarding two of them.

Your takes on Wallace and Daniels were very interesting and show why your site is one of the best fantasy hoops sites around. The insights you offered went beyond the kind of conventional crap one usually finds peddled on most of the so-called "expert" sites - y'know the ones where they charge you $19.95 to tip you off to some sleeper that some guy picked up off your waiver wire a week ago.

I was intrigued by your "failed sleeper" explanation of Wallace's breakout this year. In a crazy kind of way, it does make sense. Just about everyone I know was on dude's bandwagon going into last year due to his move from Sacto benchwarmer to starter for an expansion club. Well, it's pretty obvious that he wasn't ready to be da man last year, but that he's much more comfortable in that role this year. I'm sure this also applies to several other "failed sleepers" who needed at least a season to acclimate to a new situation that was supposed to have benefited them immediately. I think the "failed sleeper" concept is worthy of further examination and probably warrants a whole separate post of its own.

I also was very interested in your explanation of Daniels' mediocrity thus far. The idea that his problems stem from being, at best, the fourth offensive option on his team is a fascinating one. As someone who tends to downgrade scoring (because it tends to be so overvalued) I have never really considered where a player ranks in a team's offensive pecking order. Yet, when you think about it seems plausible that being out of the main flow of the offense would hurt more than just a player's scoring numbers. This idea, too, seems like it would be worth a more in-depth examination in another, separate post.

Bonzi, however, remains a complete mystery to me. I live in Portland and must have seen over a hundred of the guy's games and... well, I can't believe I'm watching the same player. The only possible explanation I can think of is that Sacramento this year is the NBA's version of the bizarro world in which the teams' shooting guard averages more rebounds than it's center; in which its center averages more assists than its point guard; and in which its point guard chucks the ball more freely than its shooting guard -the once notoriously selfish Bonzi.

1:58 AM  
Blogger DM said...

I watched Gerald Wallace run wild on the Wizards last night. The dude is all over the court. On one blocked shot he leaped a foot over the rim and caught the ball and headed back down court. He's locked in a serious groove right now. I mean, 26 and 14 with 3 steals, 5 blocks and a 3? He might actually be a good "buy fake high" guy right now.

12:25 PM  
Anonymous bublitchki said...

What does "buy fake high" mean? I missed your earlier explanation on that one.

1:52 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

when it comes to Posey, is he a good buy low candidate right now? Would you take him over guys like Villanueva and Chris Duhon, who are on and off the waiver wires these days?

3:30 PM  
Blogger bv said...

I don't know that I would consider Posey a buy-low guy right now. I mean, what about him is "low"? He's the 4th-ish option on his team, and that's only going to get worse once Shaq comes back. He's hitting more three's right now than ever before so that should likely come down ... sure his steals should improve but you can't start a guy just because he gets a steal and a half per game. He'll be on and off the waiver wire all year, as will villanueva and duhon.

5:58 PM  

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