Monday, December 12, 2005

As the Point Guard Turns


Kirk Hinrich’s a tough dude. After leaving the season opener with an ankle injury and being questionable the next night, he came out and went for 26 points on 8-of-13 shooting with 3 3s. After being knocked out with a concussion against Dallas, he did miss a game, but then came back with averages of 24/4.5/10 in his next two games. You’ve got to like that. I normally leave players on the bench for a game to let them get back into the swing of things after an injury, but after Hinrich’s last performance I made sure to get him back in. Of course, it should be noted that Captain Kirk saw an average of 43 minutes in those two games due to the absence of Ben Gordon.

I should have known better than to give Chris Duhon any credit. He promptly had four absolute nightmare games before exploding for 24 points, 7 assists and 6 3s against, of course, the goddamn Wizards. Duhon’s still worth keeping around because he’s one of the few players you can tell Scott Skiles actually likes. His steals and 3s are still solid, but he’s starting to lose some of his assists to Hinrich. His minutes have remained fairly consistent, but it was a good thing he had that great game before Ben Gordon came back, because then things would have gotten interesting. ESPN’s Player Rater isn’t the gospel, but it’s an effective tool; as of Saturday night, Duhon was right in between Richard Hamilton and T.J. Ford. Numbers don’t lie, right?


Was I a little too early in proclaiming the death of Gary Payton’s fantasy relevancy? Looks that way. With Jason Williams nursing a bum knee, Payton has played 42 mpg in two starts, averaging 17/3.5/3 with 2.5 3s and 1.5 steals in his last two. His shot looked especially strong last night in a game against the Wizards THAT WAS HANDED TO THE HEAT BY THE OFFICIALS. Sorry, lost my composure there a bit, the last two Wizards games have been especially brutal. But that was a fucking fraud. Anyway, the 3-pointers are the big news here. Payton hadn’t been a serious long distance threat since the 00-01 season when he averaged 1.3 per game. But The Man Formerly Known as The Glove is putting them up at a high rate this season. Against the Wiz he was spotting up in the corner on multiple occasions – these were designed plays. In his four starts Payton – who topped 8 apg in six straight seasons in the prime of his career – has had more than 3 assists just once, so these 3s are huge for his value, especially since he’s nowhere near the pickpocket he used to be. If he’s going be seeing roughly 40 minutes per games there’s no problem with using him. In weekly leagues he makes a possibly excellent play – the Heat play four games, but who knows when Williams will return?


In case you didn’t notice, there’s a new starting PG in the league. You’d be forgiven for not noticing, of course. Royal Ivey has started the last three games for the Hawks and after a somewhat promising debut in which he scored 14 on 7-of-10 shooting, he still hasn’t seen more than 20 minutes in any of those starts. Tyronn Lue is still seeing just about the same amount of time even though he’s now coming off the bench. Actually, I should probably just stop now. The title of this section is Five Situations to Pay Attention To, and unless you play in the deepest league in the entire country, this is certainly not a situation worth your attention.

Los Angeles Lakers

Call me crazy, but I think Sasha Vujajic might actually have some fantasy value at some point this season. The triangle offense doesn’t need a traditional point guard to run it, but Parker barely even resembles a point guard. He’s certainly more of a swingman, and his 1.65:1 assist/turnover ratio backs this up. He’s been putting up decent numbers, but the majority of his production has come early in games. On Saturday he had no production at all; no points, no rebounds, 3 assists, missed all 7 of his shots in 24 minutes. Vujacic wasn’t much better, making only 1-of-3 and he didn’t register a single assist in his 24 minutes. The Lakers have been playing better lately, but they still have very little margin for error. Vujacic’s 3.9:1 assist/turnover ranks fourth in the league, behind only Eric Snow, Brevin Knight and Chauncey Billups. It’s not hard to envision Jackson getting fed up with Parker and making a switch. But what kind of value would Vujajic have if he could find regular PT? Marginal, to be sure. He’s not going to be in there for his scoring, and his 31% shooting so far in his career is almost historically bad. I see him similar to Duhon in that he could hit enough 3s and steals to be a marginal play in weeks when he has enough games, or as a guy to keep on your bench and plug in when the inevitable injuries hit.


Say this about Earl Boykins: his 26 mpg usually means 26 minutes. In 18 of his 21 games the little man has received between 22 and 29 minutes, which makes him a little easier to deal with than guys that fluctuate between 17-33-24, etc. But the last four games show why Boykins just isn’t a reliable player. Through the season’s first 16 games Boykins was averaging 0.8 3s and 1.1 steals – not great numbers, but enough to merit a utility spot in deep leagues. But that’s about as good as it gets for Boykins in those categories, and you know that he’ll never grab any boards or shoot above 42%. Lots of people have been hoping for Earl to sneak into the starting lineup, but this is a guy who has started 10 games in his 379 game career. His role seems pretty defined. With Andre Miller on one of his hot streaks and piling up the assists, there’s no point in shifting him over to SG in favor of Boykins. You can do better.

Comet Gain

Gilbert Arenas – That was a brutal shooting game last night, but he’s starting to rack up the steals and fills up the box score every night. Think of him as the new AI.

Brevin Knight – Owners don’t have him for scoring, but certainly won’t complain about 17.5 ppg to go along with 9 apg and 2.7 spg in his last six.

Sarunas Jasikevicius – A little bit of everything in his five starts: 11.0/4.2/5.4 with 1.6 3s, 1.0 steals on 52% and 94% shooting. Liking my Brent Barry comparison more and more.

Mo Williams – He’s back on the bench now, but those numbers in his four starts – 19.3/1.5/7.0 with 2.5 3s and 1.3 steals – and his consistent 3-point gunning off the bench make him worthy of at least a bench spot.

Baron Davis – Yeah yeah yeah, he can’t shoot. But optimists will look at his 41% career number and think that means he’ll shoot around 43% from here on out. Hey, it’s possible.

The Hold Steady

Chauncey Billups – How nice is it to have a guy like this on your team? Holding strong with that career high assist number.

Derek Fisher – Last two games were especially encouraging – no 3s, but still managed to average 16.5 with 1.5 steals. You know my non-starter policy, but if you’re desperate…

Tony Parker – After no steals in first four games, averaging 1.6 since then. In a bit of a shooting slump, but that was to be expected.

Marko Jaric – Life without Hudson is nice; 15.5/5.5/6.0 with 2 3s and 1 steal in 37.5 minutes in last two. Sell high? If you can…

Delonte West – I’m becoming a believer; eight straight games of 30+ minutes and just enough steals, blocks and 3s to merit that final roster spot in your lineup.

The Fall

Deron Williams Jerry Sloan can’t take all the blame; 31% shooting and 17/12 assist/turnover in last four just won’t cut it.

Sebastian Telfair – You don’t look for rebounds from PG, but four in his last six games is flat-out pathetic;

Jameer Nelson – Back to the bench with Francis back; he’s crippling in leagues that count TO.

Damon Jones – A forgotten man in most recent game; hard to see him making an impact any time soon.

Luther Head – As expected, he’s slid off to irrelevance with the return of McGrady.


Anonymous bublitchki said...

What do you think of the future prospects for Devin Harris?

I know you guys have been touting him pretty heavily since the start of the season and his play over the past couple of weeks has certainly justified your faith in him. But he's gotten some heavy minutes with Terry out and I imaging Avery will be hard-pressed to scale him back down to only 20 mpg when Terry returns.

He's currently available on our waiver wire and I definitely think he'd be worth picking up if his minutes remain around 30/ game.

6:07 PM  
Blogger bv said...

well, after trading for Jason Terry the day before his quad injury, I had to pick up Harris myself. He was nice while Terry was out, but now that Jason is back, Harris is going to struggle to find minutes and hus likely won't have any fantasy value. That said, these past few games were a nice sign of what could be.

On a completely unrelated topic, here's hoping that Artest goes to new york in a package for Marbury.

11:44 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Love your Artest thought on going to the Knicks as I have him on my team...which leads me to this question. I'm in a h2h league. Who on the Pacers becomes that more valuable now? I just picked up Danny Granger as I can see him getting plenty of PT in Artest's spot. How do you see Granger turning out now?

12:08 AM  
Anonymous bublitchki said...

Some guy in my league just jumoed to pick up Stephen Jackson, who played well during Artest's absence last year. I think he benefits the most from an Artest trade.

I, too, hope that Marbury gets dealt as I recently traded for him with the hopes that his differences with Brown would eventually get him moved to a more advantageous situation.

Having said that, I'm not sure that Indy would be ideal as they already have Tinsley and Jasikevicius at the point. Where, exactly, would Stephon fit in the mix if Tinsley and Jas are not moved as well? At the 2? Would that really benefit Marbury owners? I'm not so sure.

Re: Harris. I see dude had another excellent outing tonight, even though Terry returned and Devin only got 21 minutes off the bench. But what a sweet line: 19/3/1 with 1 stl, 1 3 pfg and 10-10 from the stripe! Perhaps Avery envisions using him as a Boykins-type offensive energizer off the bench, in which case he;d have only limited value. But I went ahead and picked him up anyway... just in case he has a bigger role in store.

12:28 AM  
Anonymous Adam said...

Hey, I have a chance to snag Marko Jaric for either Desmond Mason or Luol Deng. Should I take advantage? Mason just broke the 40 minute mark tonight, and Deng just got the first start of the season so I'm a bit wary. What do you guys think?

1:55 AM  
Anonymous bublitchki said...

I'd go Mason for Jaric but not Deng. Mason is pretty one-dimensional while Deng can help you in at least 4 cats (pts, fg%, rebs & stls) Also: Jaric is a serious injury risk who has yet to play a full season.

I'd offer him Mason and see if he bites.

2:36 AM  
Blogger DM said...

For some reason I'm a longtime supporter of Jaric. The last three games show why -- 5 3s, 5 steals and 22 assists. When he gets minutes, he's got the tools to be a nice asset. But once Hudson comes back he'll fall back to being an inconsistent option.

Deng is like a better version of Mason, but it's still Scott Skiles. Personally, I've never been a big fan of Mason. Last night he got 42 mins and did score 22 on 10-of-15, but just 6 boards, no assists, 1 steal, no blocks, no 3s.

10:04 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

jameer nelson is better than hinrich

2:35 PM  

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