Thursday, December 01, 2005

The Crips

Going in to the season – and this has been true for the past few years – two stud players fell way down the draft board because of their injury risk. You know exactly who I’m talking about – Baron Davis and Chris Webber. But so far this year, injuries haven’t really played much of a role in either player’s production. Baron has managed to play in 16 of the Warriors’ 17 games, and C-Webb has played in all 16 of the 76ers’ games. So with that in mind, I thought it would be a good idea to check in on each player and see how they’ve been performing now that they’re on the court, and give a little buy-or-sell recommendation on each.

Baron Davis has got to be one of the most frustrating players to own in the NBA right now. You all know the story at this point – dominant in threes, steals, and assists, good in points, and absolutely brutal in percentages. And that’s gotten even worse this year. A career 40% shooter, this year Baron’s shooting only 33% from the field and is last – and I mean dead last – on the ESPN player rater for FG%. He’s just as bad in FG% over at, as well. He’s not just in last place, he’s way in last place.

As if that wasn’t bad enough, he’s reverted to his old form from the free throw line, as well. Last year, he showed signs of being not-too-brutal from the stripe, shooting around 76%. But this year, it’s been back to reality. His 65% FT% is second worst among point guards (only Tony Parker is lower), and there’s no real reason to believe it’s going to get any better anytime soon.

But what about the FG%? Can that get any better? I mean, sure it can. But right now, it’s not looking too good. Sure Baron dropped a ridiculous 6 threes last night, but he still shot only 40% from the field. Watching the Warriors play, they aren’t just taking a ton of threes (tops in the league, in fact), but they’re taking a ton of BAD three’s. The thing is, this strategy is working. The Warriors are 11-6, and as long as their winning ways continue, head coach Mike Montgomery probably won’t rein in Davis. That means his FG% will continue to suffer, and so I’m going to put a “sell” label on Baron. I mean, with percentages this bad, I just can’t see a team winning a fantasy league with him on the team. Who do you put around him? Do you punt categories? I mean, multiple categories? Yikes. Plus, we haven’t even touched on the injury risk. Sell on Baron.

Chris Webber, meanwhile, has very quietly had a spectacular start to the season. He’s been a Top-30 player any way you shake it, and is thriving as a sidekick to Allen Iverson. His free throw percentage is at an all-time high, he’s contributing in both defensive categories, and continues to be a safe bet for a double-double every night. He’s playing 40 minutes a game for the first time in five years, but has been more than happy to let Iverson steal the spotlight.

It’s interesting watching the 76ers, and noticing how little impact Webber seems to have on the game compared to AI. But maybe at this point in his career, that’s the best role for him. This is the first time in his career that the team that he’s on is not “his” team, and he seems to relish the lack of responsibility. I’m going to say “buy” on Webber right now. Sure the FT% will likely drop down to his career levels (though large improvements in FT% have happened before to C-Webb), and the 40 mpg are a concern for a guy who’s so injury-prone (and 32 years old). But still, Webber seems to be playing like a new man, and if you can get him at an injury-possibility discount, I’d say go for it.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Speaking of the Sixers, do you guys still advice keeping Korver around or should I look at other options like Nocioni or Derek Fisher?

1:21 PM  
Anonymous Adam said...

Hey guys, the blog's still looking great. I've got to thank you guys for bringing my attention to Mike Sweetney. I was able to pick him up at the peak of his production and involve him in a great trade the same night. Anyway, now that Desmond Mason got his first start of the season, what kind of production do you think we can expect out of him? Should I be starting him ahead of Caron Butler?

7:18 PM  
Blogger Rook said...

Sweetney hasn't been the Sweetney of a week ago lately...

7:32 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

hey guys, what do you think of eddie griffin? would you drop haslem for his blocks and rebounding?

10:14 PM  
Anonymous bublitchki said...

I don't own Webber, Davis or Camby or any of the other well-known injury risks; I tend to shy away from them on draft day.

So you may want to take my comments here with a grain of... something, because, well, I may just be a tad bitter at having to listen to my league's gleeful Camby/Webber owners gloating about how they landed these incredible studs in the middle to late rounds.

My own bitterness notwithstanding, may we please all bear in mind this one little fact: THE SEASON IS JUST ONE FREAKIN' MONTH OLD! As such, it's just a wee bit early to start singing the praises of Camby or Webber's newfound durability.

At the risk of sounding like a stubborn ol' fool, I think it would be rather unwise to buy on either one right now. Their values will never be higher, and there's been no lessening of the risk that all of us were aware of coming into the season. Webber, in particular, seems especially risky given that he's been playing 40 minutes a night on highly suspect knees. That nightly pounding will inevitably take its toll the longer he continues to play big minutes.

Camby is a little trickier as he doesn't have a known weak spot akin to Webber's knees. Camby's injuries are more of the hangnail, cold sore, or strep throat variety - y'know silly sounding things that most people play through but seem to sideline Marcus for a game or three, usually at the most inopportune times for this owners.

12:33 AM  
Blogger Jeremy said...

I agree that Camby and Webber are guys you don't want to buy right now...their values won't get any higher and they are injury risks. If someone got Camby in the 5th round...he could peddle him off in a trade for just about anyone with the way he is currently playing. The same goes for other people who are overachieving, most notibly Mehmet Okur, who is in a definate sell-high moment while AK47 and Boozer were out.

Sweetney has been pretty poor since I picked him up, right after his swing of three really good games. In fact, the other night Yahoo messed up and they didn't record me switching Dalembert in place of Sweetney, so I lost like 8 boards and five blocks right there.

While my league is competitive, it does have a few guys who really don't care that much in fantasy basketball, which is why assuming the league commissioner doesn't veto it, I'll have just traded Sweetney for Boris Diaw, who'm I've been high on all year and was extremely pissed when I got off work one night and found he had been stolen out of FA before I had the chance to get him.

I don't know why Mason hasn't been starting before this, but if he can start and average 36 minutes, which by looking at the PT of the Hornet's other starters seems reasonable, then I think he'll put up numbers similar to the one's he's always had, if not better. If Mason continues to start, I'd say play him...although I guess it depends if you need steals (then go with Caron).

Also, for the original poster, I think you have to bite the bullet and keep Korver. Some guy slike Nocioni are looking good, but if you look at Chicago, their players all only get 28-32 minutes a night, sort of the Memphis-treatment. Korver, however, will be likely to be pushing near 40 minutes a night, which will give him time to get into a groove. Especially considering the injury risk Webber could be, Korver could see him role increase.

Nocioni is playing well right now...but looking at his history I'm not sure he'll keep up the rebounding or defensive numbers once the Chicago big men finally get settled down and start playing well themselves.

3:23 AM  
Blogger Jeremy said...

Oh, and as for Haslem...that's a tricky one. Right now, Haslem has a more secure role on the team and is playing more minutes and getting more rebounds than Griffin. Griffin, however, is a threat in more categories since he'll make three pointers, is huge in blocks, and has showed he can rebound the last few games. I'm personally watcihng Griffin because if someone in the Minnesotta frontcourt (Wally or KG) gets hurt, I expect him to see a large amount of their minutes and his production to skyrocket, albiet with his low FG percentages.

The other thing to consider is the limited role that Udonis will have once Shaq returns. When Shaq comes back (and with the way Alonzo has been playing), they won't just have Alonzo play backup to Shaq, but will surely use him alongsize Shaq as well, with Shaq/Morning/Udonis creating a three-man roation for the PF and C minutes; note that Antoine Walker will grab some of the PF minutes too.

Udonis is a decent player but I think that his role will be limited in the deep Miami team. I'd look around for someone else, other than Griffin, who might be starting on their team. If you need the blocks then go with Griffin, otherwise stand pat and wait to see how Shaq's return makes an impact on Haslem's numbers.

3:28 AM  
Blogger Rook said...

I wouldn't trade for Camby or Webber either... because of the injuries, yes, but also that owners trying to sell them are likely seeking too-high prices.

Interesting to read you traded away Sweetney. I was as high on him as anyone here (maybe because I own him)... but maybe he's just not ready. I'm still hanging on to him (recently dropped Delonte West instead of him) but it no longer appears he's going to survive Coach Skiles' minutes carousel.

10:04 AM  
Blogger Jeremy said...

Well Diaw is an exciting player on a high-scoring and exciting Phoenix team. He will qualify at G/F/C...a first, and he gets PG-like assists, with good rebounding and points from a utility type of man. The only thing he hurts in FT and minimal 3 pointers, as his defense is good too.

I wouldn't have traded him away for anyone though...I was thinking of trading Luther Head instead of Sweetney, which might have been smarter, but I need someone who will shoot threes and Head will get 30-35 until at least Rafer returns (and with the way he is playing, may take the starters role).

1:08 PM  
Anonymous bublitchki said...

I like Diaw too and was lucky enough to get on his bandwagon early.

Right now Diaw has been generating a lot of buzz as he vies to become the first player ever to garner G/F/C status. But the Arizona Republic reports that Kurt Thomas will start at center tonight, meaning that Boris will probably slide over to the 2. Which, in turn, begs the question: What happens when Barbosa returns next week? Will Diaw keeps his starting spot? Or will he be relegated to a sixth man role, thereby lessing his value?

3:52 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Most likely James Jones would be the one heading to the bench, making a lineup of Nash, Bell, Barbs, Diaw, and Thomas. Plus it's still not out of the question if Diaw will get his C eligibility given D'antoni's unpredictable lineup changes. It all depends on the opponent. Thomas will probably start against denver because he matches up against Camby while Diaw will be against Martin.

Also is it 5 consecutive games to quality for a position? I'm a bit confused on that policy.

4:29 PM  
Blogger Jeremy said...

I don't know. I think that 5 starts is the requirement, and they like to only give eligibility when the player demonstrates that they are likely to continue starting at that position. While Diaw may not start at center on a nightly basis, he certainly will start there again (I believe) and he'll get five starts, pressing the idea that he should get eigibility.

I think that Boris could remain in the starting lineup all year long or hopefully get at least 30-35 minutes a night. When Amare comes back I really hope that they go with a lineup of Nash/Bell/Marion/Diaw/Amare (remember, they wanted to move Marion back to SF and Amare to PF).

Thomas doesn't seem to be getting a lot of time, and especially not consistently. James Jones was my last-round pick and eventually had to drop him when he started only playing single-digit minutes in a few games, based on the large play of Diaw and Barbosa.

Regardless, Phoenix is a faced-paced offence that is bound to generate stats like assists and rebounds and Diaw should play a role all year long in the 7-man rotation. And that's assuming that people all the others stay healthy - the fact that he can play every position gives him huge upside for PT. If he gets C-eligibilty then that is also huge, as I have tons of assists from non-PG players like Kobe, Odom, and Brad Miller

8:03 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I just dumped Sweetney for Nocioni because the lack of sweetney's playing minutes

10:50 PM  
Blogger Jeremy said...

Yeah, Sweetney hasn't been playing as many minutes lately, but don't let that be too decieving. Against the Rockets the Bulls went with a smaller lineup during the game, and he has been in foul trouble in a couple of recent games; this is cause for concern, but is an explanation for the low minutes. However, in tonight's game he definately didn't play as much due to the strong play of Deng.

In Chicago...players (including Nocioni) play 28-32 minutes. Right now Nocioni is might higher rated than Sweetney and I've been contemplating the same move since Nocioni has been rebounding and making 3 pointers well recently (and adding defense). However, I'm trading Sweetney for Boris Diaw (steal!) and the only other spot I'd give up belongs to Luther Head, whom I want to see how he plays out once Rafer returns, as he got 35 minutes with McGrady back in the lineup.

One thing I noted was that Jamal Tinsley didn't play tonight. Is he injured? If Rafer comes back and cuts into Head's minutes, then Sarunas is the man to go after, as he should put up decent 3rd PG stats as the starter in Indy.

12:44 AM  

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