Wednesday, November 09, 2005

What Have We Learned?

About a week into the season, it’s time to turn back to some of those questions we had going in to the year, and see if we can start to answer some of them:

Q: How is Joe Johnson going to do in his new digs?
A: Surprisingly similar to how he did in his old digs.

Johnson was one of the biggest names to switch teams in the offseason, and the hype machine was running full tilt by the time fantasy drafts rolled around at the end of October. Some were expecting a new elite fantasy player, racking up the points, assists and threes. Others were expecting an overwhelmed player who’s just not really good enough to excel in the way the Hawks want.

The reality is somewhere in between. Johnson’s value right now is pretty much right where it was last year – a fourth-roundish, reliable, well-rounded game. Sure his assists are up and his boards are down, but that kinda evens itself out. The major concern is his 4.3 turnovers per game, good for third highest in the league. In response, Tyronn Lue has been seeing progressively more mpg, allowing Johnson to play more off the ball. If this strategy sticks, Johnson might be almost exactly the same type of fantasy player that he was in Phoenix.

Q: How awesome is Stromile Swift going to be with a starting gig next to Yao Ming?
A: Surprise!

OK, you listen to me, Juwan Howard. If you want to ruin my hometown Washington Wizards for like 8 years, that’s fine. If you want to hop from team to team, bringing disappointment and unmet expectations with you wherever you go, it’s no sweat off my back. But when you are getting 25 freaking minutes in place of FBB super-favorite Stromile Swift, that’s where I draw the line!

Nobody was more excited than me when Swift escaped the fantasy hell of Memphis for the sunny skies of Houston (well, apparently one person was – the guy who drafted him in the sixth round of my fantasy draft). Swift has been bursting with fantasy potential ever since he was drafted with the 2nd overall pick in the 2000 draft, but for some reason has had serious trouble getting minutes. Now that he’s having the same problem in Houston, where he signed a nice, big contract and was assumed to have a starting gig, you’ve got to wonder if the problem lies with Swift, and not with his coaches. I mean, he’s fought for playing time the last few years with Lorenzen Wright and now Juwan Howard – not exactly top-notch competition. Watch closely to see how this one plays out.

Q: How is the fantasy value going to shake out in the Bucks’ frontcourt?

After two games, it looked like the answer was obvious. Andrew Bogut came out of the gate strong, showing ability on the offensive boards, blocking shots, and even showing some passing ability. Meanwhile, Jamal Magloire was a complete mess, logging as many turnovers as points (eight).

Two games later, it’s a whole new ballgame. Bogut has all but disappeared, with 7.5 points and 5.5 boards in thirty mpg. Magloire has steadied himself and put up 12.5/8.5 in the last two games. Meanwhile, Joe Smith came back from his injury and came out swinging, logging 12 points and 12 boards in just 20 minutes last night.

In the end, it appears the big loser is going to be Dan Gadzuric, who managed to get the dreaded DNP-CD last night. Bogut, Magloire and Smith should all see somewhere between 28 and 32 mpg, and all should have decent value as a result. But it’s still way up in the air.


Blogger Rook said...

I missed out on Magloire when he was dropped in my league... what do you guys expect from Pachulia?

1:14 PM  
Blogger bv said...

pachulia is a servicable, but not particularly good, fantasy center. He'll continue to put up Nenad Krstic-esque numbers as long as he's the only center on the hawks, but what he's doing right now might be the best it's going to get.

1:51 PM  
Blogger Bjorn said...

Magloire is one of my sleepers so I cant see him not stepping up in the coming weeks. He needs to adjust to a different game in Milwaukee, different system so I fully expect him to continue doing that and give his owners 15/10 numbers with a block or two as well. A good second center option.

3:35 PM  
Anonymous bublitchki said...

I think Pachulia still has a bit of an upside. He's still trying to find his place on a new team; playing starter's minutes for the first time in his career; and is only 21 years old. In the few games he's played this seaosn, he's shown an ability to get to the line and a good FT% for a big man. On the negative side, he doesn't block many shots for a big man.

I see him emerging as a 15-9 guy as the season wears on; a very solid #2 fantasy center.

3:39 PM  
Blogger DM said...

I like Pachulia. I've watched a few Hawks games so far this year and he actually knows what he's doing out there. An encouraging stat is that he's averaging 12.8 ppg on just 9.8 FGA per game. So that means he's getting to the line well (and making them -- 86% from a center!) and if his FG% goes up from 41% (it should) and he starts taking more shots (he should), he could see strong improvements.

He won't get many blocks, but if he could offset that by grabbing a steal per game, that would be OK. He's very young and unproven and plays on a team where not much is assured, but I also think he will make a pretty reliable #2 center as the season progresses.

3:50 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

On a hunch, I played Pachulia tonight for the first time this season and got a huge 16-13 double-double with 6 assists and a steal and a block to boot.

RE: Johnson; most of his numbers look pretty much the same, but going from 1.8 to 4.3 turnovers kills in turnover leagues.

1:35 AM  

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