Monday, January 23, 2006

Fantasy Game Log: Phoenix Suns vs. Seattle Supersonics

With all the uncertainty going on with court time for both the Sonics and Suns, I thought it might be a good idea to do a little game log of the Sunday night matchup between the two teams, and see if we can figure anything out.

8:12 – The guys I’m going to be watching the closest tonight: For the Sonics, young ‘un Robert Swift, who’s in the starting lineup over Johan Petro, and Vladimir Radmanovic, who’s been hanging on to his starting spot for dear life. For the Suns, Leandro Barbosa is back from an injury and is in the starting lineup as well, where he’ll be taking minutes from Boris Diaw and Raja Bell, among others. Starting off, Swift and Barbosa have both been pretty active, and Barbosa has gone 1-2 with both shots in transition.

8:15 – If nothing else, Swift is getting involved on both ends, setting picks, committing turnovers, goaltending a shot … hey, at least he’s active.

8:18 – Barbosa is not at all afraid to shoot – though he’s already missed two threes and had a layup blocked, you gotta like his attitude. Swift, meanwhile, set a nice screen for Ray Allen, and then next time down the floor had an alley-oop dunk in transaction. This is going to be a FAST paced game.

8:23 – Six minutes into the game, and Swift has been the most impressive player in the game so far. Right off of a timeout, they go to him inside against Diaw, and he posts up for an and-one, and makes the free throw. Still, it’s not like there’s anything resembling a center on the floor for the Suns. They’ve got Barbosa, Marion, Diaw, Nash, and Bell on the floor.

8:30 – VladRad might be just barely keeping himself out of new coach Bob Hill’s doghouse, but he’s not helping his cause much so far today. He’s gotten to the line twice now, but was clearly the fifth option on the floor when the starting lineup was on the court.

8:32 – Steve Nash is 2nd in my MVP list behind Elton Brand. He makes amazing passes so routinely … it’s no wonder that all the guys playing with him score at an amazing rate. If his teammates were hitting more of their wide-open shots, they wouldn’t be down by 8 right now.

8:36 – FBB favorite Luke Ridnour has been a minor disappointment this year in the assists category. Sure his FT% has been great, but that’s been offset by his hideous FG%. My problem with Luke is that I keep hoping he’ll make the leap to a top assists man, which he never does. It’s mostly a product of Ray Allen handling the rock so much, but for a light scorer like Luke, he’s gotta put up over 8 assists a game to have serious value.

8:42 – Johan Petro just went to town in the post, drawing comparisons to Dominique Wilkins from the Sonics announcers. What? Still, this is a nice reminder that as much as Robert Swift was impressive in the first quarter, this is against a nonexistent Phoenix interior D.

8:47 – Nick Collison just picked up two fouls in the span of 30 seconds, and takes a seat after only 5 minutes of play. Thanks for coming, Nick!

8:49 – Flip Murray is a guy who’ll always look tempting, but he’s just not a starter – in the NBA or on your fantasy team. He’s best as the spark off the bench like he is right now in Seattle, but he just doesn’t have the control to really be an effective starter where he has to learn to pace himself. He’s better off going at warp speed for 15-20 minutes, than at a normal pace for 35.

8:55 – Nash’s assists are high not just because he’s a good passer, but because his teammates just shoot the ball at every opportunity. So many possessions are one pass and shoot. The middle of the road guys – Jones, Bell, Eddie House, and Barbosa – are particularly guilty of this. Every time they get the ball they’re putting it up, resulting in a lot of questionable 20-footers.

8:59 – The run-and-gun style is also pretty good for Shawn Marion’s rebounds. Case in point, Bell just missed badly, but Marion got good position for the rebound and put it back up and in.

9:02 – Swift is about 50 pounds away from being a serviceable center. He might get picked up tomorrow if he keeps playing well tonight (10 and 5 in the first half), but he’s just too thin to put up big minutes in the post on a nightly basis.

9:05 – Halftime! Maybe we’ll see some defense in the second half. And maybe Comcast will fix my internet one of these years – which is why I’m not providing much in-depth statistical analysis. Oh well.

9:20 – Bob Hill needs a quick timeout after the Suns go on a 5 point run to start the second half. Radmanovic had a bonehead turnover and Raja Bell drained a three in transition.

9:23 – It’s like déjà vu all over again, as Nash finds Bell again for another transition three after a turnover. Most teams would take that to the hoop for the sure thing, but Phoenix is just as happy to take an open three as they are going to the lane for a contested layup.

9:25 – Rashard Lewis … man, I’m still not totally sold. He was huge in the first quarter, getting 11 points, but hasn’t scored since and he’s having big problems with Marion guarding him.

9:27 – Barbosa hasn’t been spectacular, but he’s getting so many shots, he’s gotta be worth picking up if you’ve got an opening in your bench. Meanwhile, the Suns are all of a sudden knocking down every three pointer they take. And there’s another three, this time it’s Barbosa’s second of the half, and the Suns’ fifth.

9:31 – Another triple for Barbosa. Go get him if you need threes. After another for Bell, the Suns are 7-7 from long range in the third quarter. Yikes.

9:37 – This could be a 100-100 game after three quarters. You’ve gotta keep something like that in mind when you see these inflated numbers. Not only are both teams scoring at an unbelievable pace, but neither side is playing D, and the game is close, so the starters will see their typical minutes.

9:40 - A perfect example of what I was just talking about is Luke Ridnour, who has around 20 points right now. He’s not really turning a corner, he’s just playing in a high-scoring game.

9:45 – Ya gotta love high-scoring games, for a lot of reasons, but one of them is that an offensive game doesn’t have any bearing on defensive fantasy numbers. Shawn Marion got another block just now against Flip Murray, and he’s had a couple tonight.

9:46 – Luke Ridnour is playing out of his head right now. FBB favorite! He’s got a career high 26 here, late in the third.

9:52 – Despite a rough start, VladRad has been on the court all night long, which is encouraging. He’s got a couple of threes and has been rebounding decently, as well, but they’ve been mostly cheap rebounds. Still, numbers are numbers. He just stole a board from Ray Allen. Good job, Vlad!

9:59 – Well maybe Swift won’t get picked up much tomorrow – he’s still only got 10 points and has been basically nonexistent in the second half. And of course, as I say that, he gets a nice block and then next time down grabs a tough board.

10:07 – Ray Allen has put up 13 points in the 4th quarter so far, but we’ve seen hide nor hair of Rashard Lewis.

10:09 – Even though I’m not totally enamored with Swift, these Seattle announcers love him. They were particularly impressed with how he took a deep breath before shooting a free throw. Y’know, just like Dominique Wilkins!

10:14 – Not to harp on this, but the announcers just called Swift “seven feet of lumber.” He is getting crunch time minutes, though, which is far more important than his wooden characteristics.

10:17 – Tie game, and when it matters most, the Suns are going strictly to Marion and Nash. No big surprise.

10:19 – Seven feet of lumber can’t catch the ball, and there goes the Matrix with a steal and a breakaway dunk to put the Suns up one with 15.7 left.

10:21 - Allen for three! 21 points in the 4th for Allen, and he’s been every bit as good as Kobe and T-Mac this year. Nash responds with a huge layup, and now we’re tied with 1.6 left.

Well, the game might be going to overtime (nice last shot there, Rashard Lewis), but I’m not. So what have we learned tonight? Well first off, the return of Barbosa is just another weapon for the Suns. He will take some value from Bell, Diaw, Jones, etc., and if you really need three’s I’d say pick him up. That said, the only two guys with really good value for the Suns, obviously, are still Nash and Marion. After that, it’s kind of a crapshoot night to night.

For the Sonics, Robert Swift is officially on my radar screen, but I’ll let someone else take the plunge for now. He had a nice game but against a team with no interior presence, and I need to see him put up nice numbers against an actual center before I pick him up. Radmanovic, meanwhile, has played well enough to stay in the rotation, and since I’ve got him on my team, that’s a good thing.

*** Update: After checking the box score this morning, a couple things stuck out. One, VladRad played 52 minutes, the most of any player. Two, Rashard Lewis scored only 17 of his team’s 152 points. Sure he got abused by Marion, but that’s just not very good for Rashard. For the Suns, Kurt Thomas had 5 blocks, and I didn’t remember more than two. Very sneaky, Kurt!


Blogger DM said...

That game was insane. I watched from the third quarter on. Ray Allen had 10 points after three quarters. He ended up with 42. Insane. His buzzer beater was beautiful. Then I watched Stevie Blake go on a tear to take Dallas to OT. Then I watched some dude named Kobe put up 81. Sleep is for the weak!

11:18 AM  
Blogger bv said...

hey now, i did WATCH the rest of the game, but i didn't blog it. I kinda ran out of stuff to say. And yeah, Allen was huge in the second half and OT ... that game-winning three was from like 8-10 feet behind the arc, unreal.

11:23 AM  
Anonymous JW said...

I'm wondering what you think of Diaw now that Barbosa is back. I've been offered Jaric in a trade for Diaw, and I'm considering it.

4:22 PM  
Blogger bv said...

Diaw had a pretty quiet night last night for a guy playing 43 minutes on a team that scored 149 points, but he'll continue to help in FG%, boards, assists, and blocks while doing OK in points and steals. He's still worth starting but I don't think he'll have tremendous value unless one of the top two goes down.

6:04 PM  
Blogger Jeremy said...

I'm contemplating dropping Bobby Jax for Eddie Griffin. If the rumors are correct and Memphis signs Chucky Atkins or gets ahold of another PG via trade (like Earl Watson somehow), then Jackson definately looses value...I have Damon before he got hurt (on the flip side, would someone like Chucky Atkins be worth picking up if he signed in Memphis).

As for Eddie Griffin...well we know it is a roller coaster ride, but if the Candy man is going to get shipped, the possibility of Eddie playing more minutes (and being more productive) is a huge possibility.

Right now I'm probably needing some blocks, as Gerald Wallace is down for 5-ish weeks and my only centers are Brad Miller, Dalembert and Nendad Krstic.

On the flip side, I don't know if Jackson would get picked up, especially with regards to the fact that someone might come and takeover his starting spot.

What do you guys think? Is it a risk, or just another Griffin-esqe pipedream. Thx.

2:05 AM  
Blogger bv said...

Nothing like an Eddie Griffin question to start the day. I'd say, make the move. I mean, hey, why not? It's not like Jackson is going to be setting the world on fire, and you don't win fantasy leagues by NOT taking risks. But have a quick trigger finger.

10:13 AM  

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