Thursday, February 09, 2006

Friday Foreigners ... a Day Early

One of my favorite columns to write during the second half of last season was Friday Foreigners, where I took a look at players that had weird combinations of consonants and vowels and smooth looking jumpshots. Well, PR handles Fridays now, so let’s move it up a day. Will it become a regular feature? Who knows? I sort of stopped doing the whole point guard thing, just because I sort of grew tired of it. And I figured you all got the point. So instead, let’s take a look at some fer’ners! Also, apologies for the late posting – I was at work until 2 a.m. last night for reasons I’d rather not get into.

Sasha Pavlovic
The Cavs backcourt has obviously seen better days. Larry Hughes has been out for a while, Damon Jones was given every chance to take the starting SG spot and did nothing with it, and Ira Newble has some weird X-Files-esque growth on his face. You know things are bad when Eric Snow is the stabilizing force in the backcourt. Emerging from the mess is third year swingman Pavlovic. Last night marked his 11th consecutive start and he’s starting to get into a minor groove. Last night marked the fourth time in five games that he’s reached double digits in scoring, as he’s averaging 12/3.6/1.6 in that span. Nothing too impressive, obviously, but he’s putting in 2 3s per game, which gives him some marginal value. The fact that he has just 10 steals in nearly 500 minutes this season isn’t a good sign, but his shooting has consistently improved through his three seasons. Right now Pavlovic is just one of the many players in the league who can be a serviceable fill-in when he gets 30+ minutes a game, the kind of guy who might help you hold steady and offer help in a single category.

Mickael Pietrus
The Flying Frenchman has been a popular pickup lately, as he has recently entered the starting lineup for the Warriors. The early results are pretty encouraging, as in seven starts he’s averaging 15.1/5.3/1.9 with 1.9 3s and 1.1 steals. His percentages on the season are pretty awful, but as a starter he’s at 46% from the field and 73% from the line, which are very respectable. His first few starts were in place of Jason Richardson, but with J-Rich back Pietrus has taken Mike Dunleavy’s spot in the lineup, and it’s about time. Still, his numbers might have some people set up for a let down. Look at the scores of the past two games the Warriors have played – they’ve racked up a total 246 points in those contests. That’s a whole lot of points, to be sure. Once the team starts falling back to its average of a little less than 100, Pietrus will see a slight drop. The best thing for Pietrus’s value would for the Warriors to go small ball like they did at the end of last year. But the recent semi-emergence of Andris Biedrins hasn’t made this entirely possible. Both Adonal Foyle and Ike Diogu are becoming afterthoughts, but is getting – and earning – around 20 mpg. He’s not doing much more than a DeSagana Diop impersonation for the most part, but as we know, he’s got skills. Still, back to Pietrus, I’m about ready to put him into the starting lineup. My biggest worry was his percentages and that’s still a concern, especially from the line, as he’s shown bizarre inconsistency, shooting 63% in November, 44% in January and now 83% so far in February, so you really don’t know what to expect there. Hopefully he can get enough 3s and steals to balance out any possible problems there.

Hedo Turkoglu
Don’t look now, but Turkoglu is turning into an actual, legit reliable fantasy player. Granted, it’s taken three or four injuries to key players, and he’s still prone to disappear (check his 4-point game against the Wiz on Monday), but Turkoglu has unquestionably been helping teams lately, checking in at a solid #62 on the Player Rater. With Grant Hill and Jameer Nelson out and Steve Francis going through a prolonged rough stretch, Hedo and Dwight Howard have been the ones driving the Magic offense. Which does explain why the team has lost 6 of 7 games, I suppose. The most surprising aspect of Turkoglu’s emergence is that his value isn’t coming strictly from 3s. In the past it’s looked like he’s been a one-trick pony who if he wasn’t hitting 3s was going to be worthless. Instead, he’s shortened up his game, starting taking the ball to the basket and is becoming a more efficient scorer. It hasn’t necessarily helped his FG%, but he’s managed to get to the line at least 6 times in 7 of the last 11 games and the man hits his free throws. He’s also started using his size – he’s 6’10” remember – and is hitting the boards at a reasonable rate. The assists are a nice bonus, too, but it all goes back to the minutes – he’s averaging 41+ over the past 10 games. Minutes equals value, folks. It’s as simple as that. Will he be able to keep this up? Well, no, probably not. But as long as he stays on the court, he should stay in your lineup.

Marko Jaric
I hate him. He should probably die. That is all.

6 Comments:

Blogger T-Plan said...

About Hedo - why can't he keep it up?

The 2 arguments I've seen against it are the return of Grant Hill, Jameer Nelson, and (not sure why) Kelvin Cato. I don't buy it. Reasons:

1. Deshaun Stevenson has been picking up some of the slack lately. He'll go back to useless much earlier than Hedo.

2. Grant Hill is a mess. He has been in and out of the lineup all season, just like last year only worse. If the coach is smart, milk Hill for what you can get but don't overplay him. Or you'll be getting nothing before the year is up.

3. Jameer Nelson is a huge concern. The owner in my league is getting killed with him out, but this bizarre unhealing foot injury is still an unknown. The doctors can't find anything wrong with it, but it keeps hurting. Sounds like Grant Hill over the last few years. He might not play at full speed again this year.

4. Tony Battie is having a career season. He's the one who'll suffer when Cato returns, not Hedo.

5. Pat Garrity, who was entrenched at the end of the bench and isn't worth playing (hence the losing streak if they're going that deep), has been getting a lot of minutes. I say he goes back to 8 minutes/game when those guys are back.

Now granted, Hedo might not be able to get 40+ minutes of burn. However, in an average of 33 minutes on the season (still within reach if he keeps the starting gig), his averages are 14 points, 4.4 boards, 2.5 assists, 1.3 3 pointers, plus 42.6% FG and 87% FT! Those are outstanding stats for a backup SG or SF. And the multi-position eligibility is golden.

I say he's still a top 100 player even off the bench.

4:02 PM  
Anonymous bublitchki said...

Speaking of Turkish ballers...

What do you see as the impact on Mehmet Okur's value once Boozer returns? Word is Carlos is practicing with the team and could see limited minutes by as early as tomorrow.

5:49 PM  
Blogger DM said...

The main worry is that Okur will play more at the 5 instead of the 4, which will affect his offense. But they'd be silly to mess w/Memo. He's clearly the main man on offense for the Jazz and players should be complementing him and never the other way around. And we'll believe it when we see it as it pertains to Le Booz.

7:19 PM  
Blogger Domo_kuun said...

hey all,
I have Lamar Odom as one of my starting forwards, and he gives me good production in a number of categories. However, he just demolishes me in FG%, FT%, and TO's...it's just not worth the trauma of seeing his 3-10's and 8 TO's a game...I wanna trade him for more of an even keeled forward who can give me solid numbers in most categories...what do you think he is worth?

8:20 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Reasons why Hedo can't keep it up...

1.) It's HEDO TURKOGLU

9:54 PM  
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12:15 AM  

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