Monday, January 30, 2006

Checking in on the Celtics

A few teams have experienced shakeups over the past week. Today let’s take a look at one of them.

We’ll start with the stud, Paul Pierce. He has more than proven himself as a first rounder this year, bouncing back from two down years to put up numbers matching his 2000-2003 peak. The most pleasant surprise has been his 48% shooting, and he’s one of the few players who is a plus in just about every single category. According the player rater, blocks is the only one where he’s not an asset, and even there his 0.4 per game isn’t horrible if you’re using him at shooting guard. While there’s no reason to expect any serious decline from Pierce, that 48% shooting might start to drop. It already has (after being around 49% over the first two months of the season he’s been closer to 46% in January), and the departure of Davis might not help. Pierce is now really the only person on his team who can create his own shot. This might put a bit more pressure on him, and his FG% was due to drop back to his career average anyway. There’s certainly no reason to panic; he’s still the unquestioned #1 option and should continue to be a top 10 player. Just be ready for a bit of a hit in FG%.

Wally Szczerbiak landed in a pretty good spot. It’s never a good thing when a player who is having a career season and is the clear #2 option on his team is shipped out of town, but there doesn’t seem to be too much reason why he shouldn’t be able to continue his strong play. He’ll be counted on to fill the scoring void left by Ricky Davis, and should slide into the #2 option behind Pierce. He’s already fitting in, starting and playing 41 minutes in yesterady’s loss against the Bucks. Although the youth movement is on in Boston, it shouldn’t affect Wally too much. He’s got enough time and money left on his contract that he’s going to be in Boston for the long haul, so the team will be best served figuring out how he fits in with all the kids. Owners of both Wally and Ricky caught a break with this deal; trades like this almost never work out so well for guys like this.

Now let’s get to the big men, since those are the folks that everyone seems to be the most excited about. Kendrick Perkins is starting to make a believer out of me – to a certain extent. He qualifies at center and is locked in as the starter there. That’s very good. He’s one of the top rate rebounders in the league and since he re-entered the starting lineup on January 13, he’s blocked at least two shots in 7 of 9 games. Perkins is no scorer, but since most of his shots come from within five feet of the basket, it’s helped keep his shooting percentage at 55%. He’s actually been closer to 62% over those last nine games, and even if he isn’t taking more than 7 shots per contest, that’s going to help you out a whole lot in that category. He’s obviously got value at the thin position, but it seems unlikely that he’ll regularly top the 35 minute mark. And that’s going to keep him from being too valuable. See, the thing with guys like this is that they are always so enticing because you pick them up for free and you think there’s nothing but upside. But I’m telling you, it’s going to be hard to win your league with Perkins as anything more than your #3 center. In a perfect situation, he’s the guy who you make up those extra games with, not the guy you are counting on every night. He’s part of a four-man rotation of bigs, as you’re kidding yourself if you think Doc Rivers will avoid the temptation to throw Michael Olowokandi out there eventually. Everyone’s saying the right things about him not taking away time from the young guys, but I’m not convinced. If Doc thinks Kandi can help, he’ll use him, because Doc is fighting for his job right now. He wants to develop young guys, but the most pressing issue is getting some Ws. While most of us know that Kandi on the court certainly doesn’t lead to Ws, most of us know more than Doc when it comes to coaching. Also, it should be pointed out that Olowokandi is in a contract year. His one good year ever came in a contract year. I’m not sure he can repeat that, and I’m not saying he’s going to have any value – he won’t. But if he can get 15-20 minutes per game, that’s going to be bad news for both Perkins and Al Jefferson.

Speaking of Al, players like Al Jefferson ruin fantasy squads. I’ve been saying something close to this for most of the season, and I’ll continue to say it. Yes, there’s every reason to expect he’s going to be a great player someday, and that day might be relatively soon. He might even be one of those guys who over the last month of the season is a legit every day starter. But let’s get back to the facts as they are right now. He’s coming off the bench. He commits more fouls per minute than just about anybody in the league. He goes through stretches of absolute ineffectiveness that render him completely inconsistent. Just when you think he’s got it going – like a three game stretch where he averaged 13 and 7 with 2 blocks a few weeks back – he’ll follow it with the 5 and 7.5 on 31% shooting over two games. He’s been solid the last couple of games, so you know what to expect now. Like Perkins, Jefferson is only valuable to your team if you don’t need him. Know what I’m saying? If you have a solid starting 10 (or however many) and one or two decent options off the bench, than Al is a fine guy to have around for that last spot. But if it gets to a point where you have choice but to plug him in the lineup, that’s bad news. It’s all part of my general skeptical attitude towards any player that hasn’t already proven himself. Upside is an overvalued commodity in most leagues worth playing in. As boring a player as P.J. Brown is, he’s still a better bet right now than Jefferson. One simple reason is that one of Jefferson’s best traits actually works against him in fantasy. He can get to the line, but he can’t make his shots from there. Those 4-for-7s really do hurt. I know I’m about the most anti-Al person around, but I’m just trying to help. It took me many years to get off the upside bandwagon. I’ve finally done it this year and I can tell you that at the very least it’s made for a far less frustrating fantasy season.

Who would you rather have right now, Al Jefferson or Robert Swift?

16 Comments:

Anonymous bublitchki said...

Your closing question is an interesting one.

I've been weak at center all season long in a two-center league; Pachulia, Curry, Griffin, Magloire, Chandler have all shuttled back and forth between my roster and the waiver wire. Right before the Celts-Wolves deal, I picked up Robert Swift - who I then reflexively dropped for Perkins as soon as I learned of the trade.

Well, after a day or two of reflection, buyer's remorse began to set in. It also dawned on me that, at best, Perkins would probably be part of a three man rotation and would rarely see more than 30 mpg. Swift, on the other hand, seems to be emerging as the guy in Seattle and will probably earn starter's minutes in the near future.

So, I hedged my bets and dropped Jameer Nelson (I'm pretty solid at PG) to pick up Swift. I'm hoping that one of those guys will eventually help me plug the gaping hole that I've had in the center spot all year long.

2:17 PM  
Blogger JM said...

Swift is more valuable than Jefferson at this point. Mainly due to his Center eligibility. Also, over the past 3 weeks (since Swift has started getting playing time) he has similar pts & rebs as Jefferson (8pts,6 rebs), but has better FG%,blocks,stls. (53%, 1.1,.4) compared to Jeff's 46%,.7,.2). They both have attrocious FT%.

However, I would definitely take K.Perkins over R.Swift. Perkins has C elgibility as swift does, but also has a lot more upside for blocks/rebs.

I'm still trying to figure out how to use Perkins. I recently picked him up, along with Tyson Chandler (couldn't decide who would be better for the rest of the season.)
So now I've got Dalembert as my #1 center, but a battle for #2 between Battie,Chandler,Perkins. I figure I'll see how they do and then trade/drop two of those guys depending on how they perform.

I'm also a Pierce owner. He's been great, but I've been keeping my eyes out for trade possiblities, due to my fear of his FG% drop and the possibility of him getting traded.
I tried to package him with R.Jefferson to get Kobe&David West or to get S.Marion (2 for 1), and also with M.James to get D.Wade&C.Butler. No responses though. Part of the problem is that Pierce gets no respect compared to other stars (and that Yahoo's crappy ranking system undervalues him).

So, do you think Pierce will end up getting traded? If not, how do you think his numbers will change with Szcerbiak on his side?
I'm predicting his assits will go up (since he'll be passing out of double-teams to Wally - who is great at hitting open shots). But I think his FG% will drop and TO will rise. Should I hold on to Pierce, or continue to look for trades?

2:31 PM  
Blogger Jeremy said...

I've heard rumblings of trades of Pierce to Chicago with Raef for Tim Thomas and Duhon? Any idea of this is legitimate. If so, I'll be cancelling my trade of Diaw for West before he can accept.

Additionally, how would Diaw and Krstic for Hamilton & Collison (whom I'd drop for Perkins) sound? Hamilton is rated rediciously low at 80-ish on the Yahoo game. I think he could definately help out in percentages though, while giving me a slight boost in threes and not giving me much in terms of rebounds/assists, but I'm pretty strong in both those areas already.

What do you think?

4:39 PM  
Blogger JM said...

jeremy,
Hamilton's actual value is about #39 for a 9 category league, whereas Diaw's is like #62. (Yahoo's rankings are pretty laughable, not valuing %'s correctly, and thus make Hamilton a great trade target)

I would do that trade definitely.
I don't think Krystic has been playing well enough to be on a roster (12 team, 13 players/team).
I'd rather have Perkins than Krystic, and defnitely Hamilton over Diaw.

Also, if the Celts give up Pierce/Lafrentz for Duhon/T.Thomas, they are absolutely insane. If I were them I'd only trade with the Bulls if they could get Hinrich & Deng for Pierce/Lafrentz. Not that the Bulls would do that.

4:57 PM  
Blogger DM said...

I really can't see the Celtics trading Pierce. That seems very, very far-fetched, especially that deal to Chicago. A top 15 player for a guy who can't get off the bench and Chris Duhon? I know Rob Babcock set the bar low, but still. Hard to see Pierce going anywhere. The fans in Boston would revolt.

I like Swift because he qualifies at center, plays for one of the highest scoring teams in the league and consistently blocks shots. I picked him up a few days ago, but he's my #4 center, so he won't be getting in the lineup any time soon.

And yeah, I'd do that deal to get Hamilton. As someone who owns him, he's one of those guys that it's always a pleasure to check the box score, y'know?

5:32 PM  
Blogger Domo_kuun said...

Now that the news has come out that Okafor will be down for another 5 weeks, I'm planning on dropping him. My question is:
1) The centers on my waiver wire are guys like kendrick perkins, mark blount, primoz brezec, nenad krstic, stromile swift...which of these would be the best bet?
OR
2) Should I try to trade away one of my guards/forwards for a reliable #2 center, taking a hit in my depth and maybe offsetting that by picking up a guy like Mike Dunleavy off waivers? And what kind of centers would be good trade targets?

9:00 PM  
Anonymous bublitchki said...

I want to apologize.

If anyone actually picked up Qyntel based on my comments about how Larry Brown had a personal stake in Qyntel Woods success and would thereby give him plenty o'minutes -I am truly, truly sorry.

After three straight solid games, Woods logged a DNP tonight.

Guess it's my bad for thinking that Larry Brown's coaching decisions could be predicated on anything as logical as, oh, his own self interest. I guess I've little choice now but to concur with the consensus that Brown is a psycho coach whose thought processes are about as predictable as the movement of atoms through space.

9:42 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

trade: ridnour for diaw

wat do y'all reckon?

10:11 PM  
Blogger DM said...

Perkins showed tonight why he's not the most reliable option but I'd still probably take him out of that group. Brezec might be OK since Okafor will stay out, but he's help in FG% and that's it. Krstic might have the most consistent point/rebound totals which makes him on the surface, but he just doesn't do much. If you can swing a trade to get a true upgrade there, go for it, but you don't want to replace a hole just to create another one.

Looks like Woods was hurt tonight. Still, it's a good reminder that the Knicks just cannot be counted on. Concur with it, bublitchki.

I like Ridnour -- an old FBB fave -- better than Diaw. Ridnour's actually been a dominant player over the past couple weeks, and he bounced back from a minor injury with 20 and 13 assists, always good to see. He's played at least 35 minutes in his last 9 starts and plays for one of the highest scoring teams in the league. He won't keep up this pace, but he's a very solid #2 PG.

10:25 PM  
Blogger Jeremy said...

What do you think about Chucky Atkins going forward. He got the healthy majority of the minutes tonight, and lit it up pretty well. Obviously I'm not expecting him to do that every night, but would he be a solid #2/3 PG and will his FG be good enough not to kill me, as it's be bad this year.

Thx.

1:20 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

can someone tell me why this is a bad trade for the one dealing away iverson?

iverson for gasol/big z/hinrich

1:22 AM  
Blogger Jeremy said...

Well usually you always want to end up with the best player in the trade. Iverson is that. However, this trade involves three pretty good players on the other end, and I would consider doing it. It depends on how deep your league is. In a deeper league, then I say go for it because you get two top centers (value = premium) and Kirk who is doing good at PG.

It also depends if you have room at the end of your bench. What players will you have to drop to make room for these additional two players in the deal? If they are even remotely good, then the value of this deal decreases significantly.

Thus, it looks good as it is written (iverson for the 3 guys), but you have to realize the ramifications that it will have to the rest of your squad and player's you'll have to drop...so unless I know that then I don't know if it's a decent trade.

Rule of thumb...go with your instinct and try to have the best player in a trade.

This trade is much better in H2H format than in Roto in my opinion, where you REALLY want to use games on good players (in H2H, where I set my lineup every day, the collective production of those three guys would outweigh AI's production I think).

Anyways....good luck.

2:13 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thanks Jeremy. All extremely valid points in which i agree entirely. Your analysis is very much appreciated. Thanks again.

2:45 AM  
Blogger bv said...

Re: Atkins, I like him moving forward, and I wouldn't worry about his FG%. Keep in mind, he got off to an absolutely hideous start this year, going 6-for-32 (under 20%) over the first 9 games. He should end up close to his 41% career avergae eventually - not great, but you'll survive.

Re: The Iverson trade, the one giving up AI is getting an absolute steal. I mean, Iverson is a premier player for sure, but to get a stud center, an OK center and a good PG in return is just a ton. Yeah you're gonna have to drop some bench players, but you've increased the TOTAL VALUE of your squad. Now you can turn around and trade 2-for-1 with some other squad if you wish. Jeremy, i agree with a lot of what you say, but i've gotta imagine all three of the guys he's getting in return are FAR more valuable than whoever he'd drop.

10:28 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

What do you guys think about trading Ridnour for Kaman? And how would you rank these three players: Szczerbiak, R.Jefferson, and Rip.

12:37 PM  
Blogger xtremecelticsfan said...

I have started a celtics blog www.celticshotspot.blogspot.com an i put in a chat for people to come doring games an talk about whats goin on. An also for people to come in the chat anytime to talk about what needs to be done. SPREAD THE WORD!!!!!!!!

7:17 PM  

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