Thursday, January 26, 2006

The Dalembert Report

First off – take that, BV! I got to use my Dalembert headline before you. Ha! (This has been something we’ve been discussing since the beginning of the season.) But there’s a reason besides sticking to BV (wait, that doesn’t sound right) that I’m writing about Dalembert. It’s because something very rare happened a few days ago. I made a trade. And not just any trade … a trade with BV! Actually, we’ve been trading partners before. I find that fantasy basketball is a lot like the real thing, at least in terms of dealing with other “GMs.” In real life, there are certain guys that just avoid each other and know that no trades will ever happen. For whatever reason, you just can never see eye to eye. But BV and I have had some success in the past making deals, I specifically remember trading for Tim Duncan a few years ago. Anyway, here’s the deal, and you folks out there can let us know what you think.

DM gets: Jason Terry and Samuel Dalembert
BV gets: Brevin Knight and Yao Ming

Here’s the background you need to know. Right now there is one dominant team in our 12-team, 8-category league. He’s been over 80 points for the past month, hovering between 80 and 85, with a consistent double digit lead. He’s got an incredibly strong team, no fewer than 8 points in any category, and is going to be tough to beat. BV and I are two of three teams within striking distance, hovering between 65 and 70 or so points. Since we’re at the season’s halfway point, it’s time to make a move. I initially offered Brevin Knight for Dalembert straight up. BV’s weakest category is steals; I need some help in blocks. He countered with the deal I ended up accepting. I say “ended up” because I spent a full two days deliberating over it, crunching some serious numbers.

I often say that trades in fantasy NBA are tough because you almost always end up trading from a strength to address a weakness, but you end up creating a new hole and things usually balance out and you don’t see a gain. And on the surface, this seems to be one of those situations. Getting Terry and Dalembert gives me a big boost in FG% (Yao’s great there, but Dalembert is no slouch while Terry instead of Knight is a huge gain), 3s and blocks. But I would take a huge hit in FT%, assists, steals and points. So I examined the standings. At the time of the trade I had 8 points (out of 12, again) in 3s. As of today I’m already up to 10 points, with 411 3s, while first place (the team we’re all chasing) has 421. Having Terry instead of Knight should give me about 80 extra 3s over the second half of the season. That should be enough to lift me to first in that category, getting me those points. And since one of those points would be from the first place team, that’s even better.

Blocks is another category I need a major boost in. It’s a category where one player can make a difference, and Dalembert is obviously one of those players. I sit with 7 points and 285 blocks right now. Above me it goes 324-336-343-353-384. I have lots of work to do there, obviously, and there’s no guarantee that I’ll be able to make a big leap. I crunched some numbers and figured the following. Right now I’ve used 411 games, almost exactly half of my allotted games. And I have 285 blocks. So, in theory, if everyone repeats their first half performance, I should end up with 570 blocks. But then you have to take into account that I’ve been playing with one center for much of this time and have some games in hand there. Let’s assume that Yao comes back soon and averages 1.8 blocks in 35 games over the rest of the season – perhaps that’s being a bit generous. That’s 63 blocks. And let’s assume Dalembert averages 3.2 blocks (lower than what he’s averaging now) over 40 games. That’s 128 blocks, so that’s a net gain of 65 blocks. Add that to my 570 and that gives me 635 blocks. But assuming everyone else doubles their first half numbers, it’s still not enough to get me any points. Since I have those games in hand at center and have three centers to rotate (Rasheed Wallace, Pau Gasol, Dalembert), I will need to fill that PF slot that Gasol was in with someone who can get me some blocks hopefully. It’s a risk, but playing for second place is pretty boring, right?

Now, ignoring categories for a second there’s still the issue of breaking what appears to be cardinal sin of trading: buy low/sell high. I absolutely sold completely low on Yao while buying ridiculously high on Dalembert. I freely admit this. I let Yao sit on my bench for a month and now that he’s ready to come back – with an effective McGrady taking pressure off him – I dealt him. This could really come back to haunt me, especially if Dalembert doesn’t continue his sterling play. And that’s certainly a possibility; consistency has not been his forte in his brief career thus far. But I feel like I balanced this out by selling high on Brevin Knight and buying somewhat low on Jason Terry. I love B-Knight (the inventive nickname Steve Buckhantz made for him), but he’s injury prone. He rarely gets to 70 games in a season and he’s been fighting through some nagging injuries lately. Meanwhile, Jason Terry is a top 40 player when he’s on his game. I crunched some more numbers on assists and steals, since that’s obviously where I’m losing with this exchange. I currently have 1584 assists; second place in that category has 1473. It’s a nice lead, but certainly not totally safe with half a season left. Using Terry instead of Knight, I should lose about 175 assists or so. So if you double my number and take away 175, that gives me right around 3000, which should still put me head of the next person if you double this. This is all very rough, but I figured with Terry and three other PGs plus Pau “Assists” Gasol on board, I should be able to hold steady.

As for steals, I’m currently second with 458. First place has 495 – he looks solid. There are five teams within 50 of me, and losing the top steals man in the league will certainly hurt. This is the category I’m most worried about, especially because it means that I’ll likely have to leave Marko Jaric in my lineup most of the time. Ouch. But like I said, it’s a gamble, and there’s not much fun playing for second place.

So, thoughts? I know that I didn’t give BV’s side of the story, so maybe he’ll want to chime in there. It really is a pretty even deal, with both of us addressing our weaknesses and hoping for some good luck. Will it help us get to the top of the standings? Time will tell…

12 Comments:

Anonymous Charlie said...

A couple unrelated thoughts and questions...what do you think about the value of Brevin in a weekly H2H league? I tend to think his value is higher since you aren't guessing how he'll perform (or whether he'll play) for one particular game, but a whole week. So if he misses a game or only puts up 6, 5, and 5 one day, chances are he'll be back to put up his standard 16, 12, and 6 the next. That's how he's been on my squad all season in our weekly H2H...should I hold onto him given our format of weekly H2H where assists are worth 2 points and rebounds only worth 1.5?

2 last questions, pick up Sprewell now? What do you see his stat lines looking like assuming he signs with a good squad? Minutes per game? Thanks.

1:29 PM  
Blogger Da Schmuzer said...

Speaking of Centers, who is a better pickup in this group if they were available on waivers?

Ratliff
Mourning
Ely
Stromile Swift

Thanks.

3:05 PM  
Blogger DM said...

I suppose that's true about Brevin, but then what happens when he misses a game unexpectedly? Doesn't that sort of screw you over in H2H leagues?

As for Spree ... is he close to signing w/anyone? I can't see him having any value. I mean, he was one of the main options in Minny last year and he was basically worthless. And he's not going to sign w/any team that needs him to be a savior. If he comes back, it will be with a playoff team that needs a vet, I would think. I can't see him having much value this year.

Damn those waiver wire centers. If Okafor will be out for a little while longer, I'd go with Ely just because he's starting and should get minutes of a depleted Charlotte squad. Then Ratliff, I guess, at least he's usually good for a couple blocks per game. So is Mourning, but his PT is less consistent. Swift is a bum. It's true. With Yao on the verge of a return and Juwan Howard playing great, it's hard to see him having any value.

3:37 PM  
Blogger T-Plan said...

To Charlie:
Here is what I forecasted for Spree before the season, assuming he gets signed and is a good fit as a starter wherever he goes. Regardless of these estimates, I would not pick him up until he gets picked up, unless you have a worthless player to dump.

1.1 3-pointers,
14.5 points,
3.5 boards,
3.0 assists

Throw in good (80+%) FT% and his typical 41% FG%. And he isn't an answer for steals or blocks, never has been. If that's good in your league, go for it. But know that it's a huge risk so don't drop a fringe guy with upside to do it, at least not yet.

If I had Brevin Knight on my team, I'd trade him before he twists his hymen again. He can put up elite stats (on a VERY inconsistent basis), but he is always injured. And he hasn't played a whole season since he was a rookie for Cleveland in 1998.

Centers (re: schmuzer):
I like Ratliff and Mourning the best for long-term value out of those 4 Centers in "da schmuzer"s list. My thoughts:

Ratliff - has been stealing minutes from Przbilla. He is good for close to 2 blocks/game with a few points and 5+ boards. FG% will be solid and FT% won't, but he almost never gets to the line anyway. But caution because there's a rumor of Darius Miles going to the Knicks for Antonio Davis, which would create a glut of big men with Prz, Ratliff, Randolph, and AD.

Mourning - Although he is hurt now, he has proven he can play quality minutes behind or even in place of Shaq. Plus, even in limited minutes he can still block 2-3 shots. I see him equivalent to Theo but with more blocks and a better supporting cast. And the risk of him getting DNP only goes as far as his health, cuz the other bench Centers behind him are terrible.

Melvin Ely - great short-term pickup while Okafor and Wallace are out. Still decent value even when they return, but he will display a significant drop off at that point in time. For short-term, I like Ely the best. Long-term, not sure about him as any more than a gamble/calculated risk.

Stromile Swift - stay away. Not only has he proven to be a bust in the NBA (especially this year), but now the Rockets have signed Chuck Hayes and Lonnie Baxter who have been playing great b-ball. With Yao coming back next week, there just aren't enough minutes to go around to all the big guys and someone will lose out. Might not be Stro, but just as likely it will.

Hope that helps!

3:45 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Jermaine O'Neal just killed his fantasy owners. Out for 8 WEEKS! So who on the Pacers will see an increase in value. I'd guess Croshere and Granger. You'd have to think Granger would get more time now? Is he a good pickup?

4:50 PM  
Blogger T-Plan said...

I wouldn't go near Granger now that Peja will be manning the 3-spot. I like Foster and Croshere to both take an uptick in stats. Last year when JO went down, I picked up Austin C. and he served me very well.

If you have O'Neal, you can do worse than the 8-10 points, 9-11 boards Foster will deliver, coupled with solid FG% and not much else. But Croshere could do 1 3pointer, 13 points, 6-7 boards, 1-2 assists, and close to a steal a game. But with worse FG% and better FT% compared to Foster. And without Center eligibility.

5:11 PM  
Blogger T-Plan said...

Oh yeah, and keep these names in mind as deep sleepers at the C spot:
David Harrison
Scot Pollard

Actually, I took a 2nd look at their roster and Granger could do okay. Probably no better than where he has been performing in his few games as a starter. But I wouldn't count on him getting any better.

I still think Foster and Croshere will get the most benefit, cuz they'll both start and play major minutes. Fred Jones should get at least as many minutes as Granger and I'm calling him as the guy to keep an eye on. I bet they run small lineups with Foster (or Pollard), Peja, S. Jackson, Fred Jones, and a PG a lot.

5:16 PM  
Blogger JM said...

Dalembert/Terry for Knight/Ming seems like a very even deal. If it were a 9-category league (including TO) I would say it was nearly identical value based on avg production this season to date. In an 8 category league I would say that Knight/Ming has the slight edge thus far. But given Knight's injury history, I'd rather have Dalembert/Terry for the 2nd half of the season.

(Disclosure: I may be biased since I'm a Dalembert owner.)

Of course, it can be hard to predict 2nd half production, due to unforseen injuries/slumps.
Two weeks ago I traded R.Lewis and D.Howard to get R.Jefferson and E.Brand. I was very excited at my expected increase in FG%,FT%,pts,Assts. However, thus far I've definitely had the lesser of the deal. To start with Brand missed 2 games with a hip injury and Jefferson missed 3 games with back spasms. (That was week 1 of having my new players :-) In week 2 at least they've gotten back in their lineups. Both have slumped in several categories (FG%,pts,assts,rebs) compared to their pre-trade/pre-injury #'s. Meanwhile D.Howard has played amazing the past 2 weeks, increasing his pts,rebs,fg%blks.

I was expecting Howard's stats to improve over the rest of the season, and factored that into my decision, but I wasn't ready for such a steep drop off from Jefferson.
I just have to be patient and hope that Brand and Jefferson get it going again. Brand has already started to (his FT% and Blks have been stellar). I'm more concerned about Jefferson - especially his plummeting FG% (one of his most valuable attributes during 1st half of season).

Do you think Jefferson's back problems may linger. (as Mcgrady's have) Should I try to trade him now...? If so who should I target?
Thus far, I've offered him with P.Pierce to get either Iverson/Ilgauskas or Kobe/David West. Unfortunately no responses to those offers.
The problem is that Yahoo's ridiculous ranking system has Jefferson at #88. Even despite his recent slump, he's still rated #51 by basketballmonster.com.
Man I hate the fact that Yahoo's ratings make it hard to get fair value for certain player's (i.e. guys who don't make 3's, or guys who derive value from the %'s)

8:16 PM  
Blogger bv said...

okay, time for me to get my say. First off, I didn't think the difference in FG% was all that much. on the surface perhaps there's a difference: Knight and Ming combine for 11.8 out of 25.6 for 46.1% ... Sammy and Terry combine for 10.0 of 20.3 for 49.2%. However, Ming is shooting 2.4% below his career average this year and 4.5% below where he was last year, in his first year with T-Mac. I think that if T-Mac stays healthy, he'll raise his FG% a few points.

Other than that, though, this was purely a a buy-low sell high. Dalembert thas been playing out of his mind (though as i type this he's only played 7 minutes tonight due to foul trouble), and while i'm a huge fan ... well let's look at it this way. If you held a draft today, Ming would go before Dalembert (ming likely late second or third round, dalembert probably not until the 4th or 5th), and terry and knight would probably end up going around the same time. That's why I made the deal. I was raising the overall value of my team, and right now, that's all i want to do.

8:51 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yao Ming caricature : http://www.chinese-tools.com/caricatures/yao-ming.html

12:57 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yao Ming Caricature : http://www.chinese-tools.com/caricatures/yao-ming.html

12:59 PM  
Blogger Biggs said...

I have to say, the trade looks about even... maybe a little advantage for BV, seeing that Dalembert is hot right now and Terry is not playing quite as good as he did last year. I don't see why Ming won't be solid (i.e., better than Dalembert) when he comes back, but Knight is pretty scary. Stud, yes. But, I wouldn't want him on my team, it's only a matter of time. Tick, tick, tick.

3:30 PM  

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