Tuesday, February 28, 2006

Buy Low, Sweet Chariot

The trading deadline is about a week away for most leagues. Here’s a couple of guys to target as nice “buy-lows”:

Steve Francis
Bear with me on this one. Francis’s value hasn’t been any lower at any point in his career. He’s in a rotten situation on a rotten team, he’s showing up late to games due to “family emercengies”, and his stats are showing it. Like most players on the Knicks, he’s shooting about 1/3 of the threes that he normally would, and that should continue. Playing alongside Stephon Marbury, Jamal Crawford and Jalen Rose, he’s taken a nice hit in assists. His steals are down, but should pick up to around normal levels. So why buy on Stevie?

Well, a couple reasons. One, Larry Brown (supposedly) wanted him there, and he’s had no problem getting minutes, or shots – he was the team’s leading shot-taker again New Jersey on Friday, and his shots-per-minute has been remarkable similar in New York to what it was in Orlando. Shots don’t just happen in Larry Brown’s system – they’re awarded. And Franchise has been getting his. Secondly, watch Marbury, you’ve got to wonder how much longer he’s going to keep playing this year. He’s got a recurring shoulder injury, he doesn’t mesh well with his coach, and just watching him out there, you can tell he’s unhappy. If/when he shuts it down, that’s great news for Francis. His owners aren’t going to give him away, but depending on how big a discount you can get, Francis may be worth a shot.

Tyson Chandler
Chandler has been nothing short of a major disappointment in his post-contract year. He’s averaging a pathetic 5.4 ppg (a career low!), his 1.2 blocks are tied for a career low, and it’s just been really tough for his owners all year long. There have been signs of a turnaround in February, and he rolled off 13 straight double-digit rebounding games before Saturday’s 8-board performance in just 17 minutes. In Scott Skiles’ crazy minutes system, Chandler has been inconsistent, and it’s been nearly impossible to figure out how he’s going to do from one game to the next. So why buy on Tyson?

For no other reason than the fact that his owners have got to be sick of him. Centers have been at an extreme premium this year, and there are plenty of you guys out there who could really use the nine boards and 1.2 blocks that Chandler provides. Additionally, with the Bulls slipping away from the playoffs, Skiles is running out of time figuring out a lineup that works. One of the coaches of the year candidates last year might be out of a job this year if he can’t get his team in the playoffs. Look for him to count on Chandler to help with the push for the postseason.

Bobby Jackson
This is buying real low. Actually, odds are that Bobby’s on your league’s waiver wire. Jackson was a hot pickup after Damon Stoudamire’s season-ending injury, but since Chucky Atkins entered the fold in Memphis, Jackson’s been spiraling out of fantasy discussions. One of my favorite strategies over the final few months is buying on guys who are playing for new contracts, and Jackson is one of those guys. Sure, he’s an old, injury-prone point guard who’s sharing time, and his minutes have been inconsistent. But, he’s playing for a contract. With a strong showing in the final few months and playoffs, he could get a nice 2- or 3-year deal somewhere. Falling off the map, he’s going to be looking a one-year deals and miminum contracts. There’s some incentive for ya.


Anonymous bublitchki said...

In the real world, where people make decisions based on logical thought processes, your reasoning on Steve Francis would make perfect sense.

But in the batshit-crazy bizarro world of Larry Brown, who the hell knows? I've been burned so many time by his playing time decisions, I'd be leery of picking up Wilt Chamberlain were he to be reborn and retunred to the present day Knicks in his prime.

The last straw for me was Channing Frye. Just prior to the All-Star break, Brown announced that he would be starting Frye for the balance of the season. For the first week following the break, Larry was true to his word; Frye started for a week and averaged a near double-double. I rushed to pick him up only to watch in horror last night as Malik Fuckin' Rose (!?!?) started at the 4 against the Spurs. Frye played less than 20 minutes, got 11 pts, 2 boards, a block and a steal.

That was the last straw. Any coach that would choose to start a decrepit Malik Rose over an emerging young talent like Frye just cannot be trusted. If Marbury does in fact go down, Larry's just as likely to play Crawford, Robinson or the flippin' ballboy at the point instead of Francis.

3:19 PM  
Blogger T-Plan said...

Hey Bub,

Actually, Brown anounced that he would be starting Frye for the majority of games, but he never promised every game. That's why I left my FA throwback on the wire for someone else.

Larry Brown won't stop D#cking with the rotation just because he said Frye will start. This is the 2nd time this season he claims that is his plan. Dude must be Bi-Polar, cuz his lineups and announcements are all over the place.

I'm much happier with Pachulia and PJ Brown, even as mediocre as they are.

RE: the original comment about Centers being rare this year in the blog post for today - what year have they ever been in abundance? Never in my 6 years of playing Fantasy NBA.

4:34 PM  
Blogger JM said...

regarding the "Centers being at an extreme premium this year" statement.
It's true that decent Centers are rare every year. I'm curious whether ther are more issues creating scarcity this year than usual, i.e.

Injuries: Amare, Yao, J.O'neal, Okafor, Cato

Decline in production: Shaq, Magloire, Duncan, Przybilla

Plus, there's probably some guys who used to have C-eligibiliy who have lost it in recent years (i.e. Nowitzki)

Do others think that Centers are scarcer this year than normal?

There are injuries and production declines every year, but is this year worse than usual?

4:53 PM  
Blogger bv said...

well, maybe i should have made this it's own topic. But yes, in my mind, servicable centers are harder to come by this year. trying to quantify it, i went to the Yahoo! rankings (which, admittedly, aren't too great, but at least they've got last year's stats, too), and compared the top 25 top centers from last year to this year's top 25.

The average ranking has fallen about 11 spots, from 61.5 to 72.2. so that's at least a clue that yes, they are worse this year than last. but as we all know, yahoo! rankings are not the end-all be-all.

5:06 PM  

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