Friday, February 10, 2006

Head-to-Head's Up (2/13-2/19): All-Star Edition

Happy Friday everyone. Ok, so we got the shortest week of the season coming up before the All-Star festivities begin in Houston next weekend. Most teams are playing two games but there are a handful that hit the hardwood just once next week. Here’s a look at 2/13-2/19.

Two Games: Charlotte, Chicago, Cleveland, Dallas, Golden State, Houston, LAC, LAL, Memphis, Miami, Milwaukee, Minnesota, New Jersey, New Orleans, New York, Orlando, Philadelphia, Phoenix, Portland, Sacramento, San Antonio, Seattle, Toronto, Washington.
One Game: Atlanta, Boston, Denver, Detroit, Indiana, Utah.

You should pay special attention to matchups and games played this week because the shortage of games means each contest is that much more important. I would recommend benching every one of your guys playing just one game this week, except for maybe Paul Pierce and AK-47. Yes, other teams may ONLY have one more game, but that is really TWICE as much action. So this week may be a rare instance where you should actually consider benching the likes of Chauncey Billups and Carmelo Anthony in favor of a Luke Ridnour or Jumaine Jones.

Plug ‘em in, Plug ‘em in:
Kevin Martin, SG – Well it looks like Bonzi Wells may have returned to action a little early reinjuring his groin in just his second game back, an injury that had already kept him out for more than a month. Sacramento will likely keep Bonzi on the bench until at least after the All-star break to ensure that he is completely recovered. In the meantime, K-Mart II has stepped right back into the starting lineup and is playing exceptionally well lately. In three games since Wells re-aggravated his crotch, Martin has been lightin’ it up with 22/6/2 on 71% shooting and a whopping 3.3 treys per night! It’s hard to tell how long Bonzi will be sidelined, but you should keep Kevin Martin in your lineups as long as he’s starting for the Kings.

Jumaine Jones, SF – Another example of a player you should take advantage of while you can. It’s like your cell phone minutes: you gotta use them or lose them (note: Cingular’s rollover plan does not apply in this analogy). Jones has been a very nice fantasy force the last couple weeks while Gerald Wallace has been out. 15/7/1 with 2.4 threes and 1.4 steals over his last ten games ain’t too shabby for an everyday starter, let alone a fill-in. And holy cow! Jones grabbed an impressive 14 boards (career high?) in a win over Philly the other night. Way to clean that glass Jumaine. Despite Charlotte’s league worst 14-36 record and countless injuries, they’ve managed to always have a handful of players with plenty of fantasy value (Wallace, Knight, Okafor, Felton, Ely, and even Brezec & Rush have all been contributors when healthy and getting minutes). You can now add J.J. to that list of "better than serviceable" Charlotte Bobcats. He’s got two home games next week.

Luke Ridnour, PG – It’s been an up and down season for the former Oregon Duck, but Luke is playing well right now and appears primed for a solid second half this season. He is averaging 14.4/3.3/7.4 and 2 thefts in seven games over the last couple weeks. Hopefully he can stay consistent and get back to hitting about 1 three-pointer a night to help his owners land a spot in their H2H playoffs. He’s the starting PG for a Seattle team that scores 102 points a game. Don’t hesitate, plug him in.

Brian Cook, PF – He was inserted into the Lakers' starting lineup earlier this week when Chris Mihm was forced to sit with a shoulder injury and he has been nothing short of spectacular in three starts: 23/7/1 with 2 trifectas on 66% shooting from the floor. Cook is not your prototypical power forward, in that he is more of finesse player who usually settles for jump shots rather than posting up. Plus, despite his 6’10 frame he is a mediocre rebounder at best. Nonetheless, he’s an excellent three-point shooter, he’s hot right now and getting plenty of minutes… so get him in your lineups for a couple of games next week.

Now Let’s talk a little about the NBA All-Star break. First of all, it is absolute monkeyshine that Wizards’ PG Gilbert Arenas got left off the Eastern Conference All-Star team. What kind of poppycock is this? The man is having the best season of his young career, he is 4th in the league in scoring (28.2 ppg), and he has his team over .500 and in the middle of the playoff hunt. What more does he have to do? Maybe he could give fans the shirt right off his back. Oh wait, he already does that... after every game. His fantasy owners’ votes alone should have been enough to propel Gil into the All-star game. Everyone always complains about various Pro Bowl/All-star ‘snubs’ each year, but this one truly is a classic case of tomfoolery. It’s not like I’m griping and making a case that Redskins’ QB Mark Brunell should be in this weekend’s NFL Pro Bowl game, but Arenas is definitely an all-pro baller in the NBA. Enough said.

How about the slam-dunk contest? Last year was one of the best competitions ever with the Birdman’s 9 missed dunks, Josh Smith’s tribute to Dominique, and Stoudemire/Nash’s creative antics reviving the excitement that used to surround the event in its earlier days. Next weekend Atlanta’s Josh Smith has the courage to return and defend his dunk title and he faces some formidable opponents in Andre Iguodala, Hakim Warrick, and Nate Robinson. The odds-makers favor Smith to repeat, but let’s take a look at the odds to win and the contestants’ specs:
1. Josh Smith, G/F – 7 to 5 odds: 20 years old, 6’9, 225 lbs
2. Nate Robinson, PG – 11 to 5 odds: 22 years old, 5’9, 180 lbs
3. Andre Iguodala, G/F – 12 to 5 odds: 22 years old, 6’6, 207 lbs
4. Hakim Warrick, F – 4 to 1 odds: 23 years old, 6’9, 219 lbs
Personally, I like either Nate Robinson (he’ll surely earn brownie points for his diminutive stature) or Iggy to take the trophy. You can’t discount high-flying Warrick either… he’s the underdog mostly due to name recognition. Who’s your pick to win this year’s Slam Dunk Contest?


Blogger bv said...

as long as he doesn't miss many dunks, you've gotta go with nate robinson. as a gentleman of "diminuitive stature" myself, it is abolsutely absurd that he can even consider dunking the ball. If i can grab the net, i'm pretty hhappy with myself.

you know what i'd like to see, though, instead of a dunk contest? an old-fashioned, round-robin HORSE contest, a la MJ and Bird in those old McDonald's ads. no judges, just flat out make it or miss it, y'know? I feel like the LeBrons of the world would totally compete in that one, too.

12:46 PM  
Blogger DM said...

In honor of Chris Andersen, I'm going watch this year's Slam Dunk Contest while on PCP.

1:42 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

HORSE would absolutely be a fantastic ASW event. The slam dunk contest has become a bore filled mediocre dunkers and ridiculous judges.

As for the contest, I'll be rooting for lil Nate. The guy's shorter than me and can fly. (I was at the NYK/Indy game back in Dec, and he flew in for an awesome dunk along the baseline ... but right after the whistle had blown.)

3:23 PM  
Anonymous bublitchki said...

What do you think the long term prospects for Kevin Martin are?

I think he's actually played better than Bonzi during his time as a starter. He's not rebounding at the same rate as Bonzi but his scoring and FG% are a lot better. Adelman clearly has tough decision to make once Wells regains his health.

Another Kings player to keep an eye on (tho' not for this year) is Francisco Garcia. He seems to be developing into a Gerald Wallace type player who can fill a stat sheet. In the games in which he's gotten significant minutes, he's shown an ability to get steals and blocks in bunches as well as a respectable number of assists and boards. Like Wallace, his shot remains a work in progress, but he has shown that he can hit the occasional three which is a promising sign. Definitely one worth keeping an eye on...

4:11 PM  
Blogger PR said...

NBA commissioner David Stern obviously reads FBB on the regular, cuz earlier today he selected our boy Gilbert to replace injured Pacer Jermaine O'Neal on the East's all-star roster.
BV, can you really grab the net now? I guess all that hard work really did pay off!

Martin has been playing great ball, especially from a fantasy POV... but I don't think Bonzi is in danger of losing his starting job when healthy. Wells is more aggressive and a better defender. Who knows how long Bonzi will be out though? Could be a few days or another month. So definitely use Martin while you can.
I agree with you on Garcia. He has 6 steals and 8 swats in his last three games.

7:44 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Artest has apparently taken Garcia under his wing. Which from a defensive standpoint is great. But bad for just about everything else off the court. Expect a track featuring Garcia on the Tru Warier compilation in spring 06.

8:26 PM  
Blogger Jeremy said...

I think Artest will make a great impression on both Martin and Garcia, and I think they are the future Wings of the Sacramento team for a long time, as they should both be really good players.

But for the real reason I'm posting:

At the end of my bench, I have Pietrus, Nocioni and Krstic

Krstic is my 3rd center, but this is a Yahoo! league that requires two centers, lineups daily, and is H2H with 12-teams and 12-cats

I'm loving how Pietrus is tearing it up right now, and Krstic seems to get better in the second half of the year and has had a few good games in a row.

Nocioni hasn't played well lately, but if he breaks out of this funk or is traded to somemwhere he'll get PT (don't think it will happen) then he would have significant value.

Essentially, my problem is that K.Perkins is coming off of waivers tonight, and I'm trying to figure out if I should drop someone for him. I know that he hurt his shoulder, but from the way he has been playing lately, assuming he can get around 30 minutes a night, then he could be a mini-Dalembert, as he pulls down boards like a machine and can get 5 blocks on a given night...and the percentages won't kill me.

My league uses OReb and Reb categories, so rebounds are definately important. But, I'm somewhat lacking in threes, which Nocioni provides.

Should I drop Nocioni...or Krstic. Krstic gets more PT, which is something that I feel is very important - in fact minutes is also a cat - and he could have a good second half, as per last year. If any of the Big3 go down then his value goes up quite a bit as well.

Because of the injury, should I not claim him off of waivers and see how he does once he returns? The guy who dropped him did it for Ely, since Okafor is out for a while still.

I just don't want to see him snatched out from underneath me again.

Do you think Perkins will get the minutes - Jefferson and Scalabrine and LaFrentz will take minutes at those post spots too.

On a side note, if I get Perkins then I will have drafted both LaFrentz and Jefferson (dropped them both) and thus will have had all the big men in Bean Town on my team at some point.

In the long run, I don't like to count on people who aren't starters...which Nocioni is the only guy on my team who falls into that category.

Alright...this is long enough, but I'd appreciate any feedback that I can get. Thx.

6:16 AM  
Blogger Jeremy said...

Or, is Robert Swift a better option...doesn't have F/C eligibility, which isn't necessary but is nice.

6:25 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm picking Warrick as an upset. His highlights in college were amazing.

11:39 AM  
Anonymous bublitchki said...


I've got Perkins (sadly, in the starting lineup right now in a weekly H2H league. Ouch!) and I'm holding on to him, but not without reservation.

Kendrick had a nice little run after Jefferson went down but I'm not certain that he'll retain that kind of value once Big Al returns. Prior to Jefferson's ankle injury, both he and Perkins were in a time-share situation at center and were hardly on the court together at the same time. Will that same arrangement exist once Jefferson returns? Or, will Rivers finally heed the impassioned pleas of the combined Celtics/Fantasy nations and play them as a pair in the starting frontcourt?

Despite the uncertainty, I'd still give a roster spot to Perkins over Krstic - whose anemic rebounding numbers suggest he might have some kind of weird glass allergy; or Nocioni, because I don't have enough antacid on hand to calm the aggravation of owning anyone coached by Scott Skiles. Pietrus is probably worth hanging on to as he seems to be coming around and could improve even more if he remains a fixture in the starting rotation.

As for Robert Swift: he'll be a good'un someday but for now he's wildly inconsistent. I actually prefer Collison on that team as he appears to be finally waking up from his season-long slumber. He's got F/C eligibility; has posted two straight double-doubles; and looks to have supplanted the ineffective VladRad as the starting PF. He's a much more seasoned player than Swift, having put in his time at Kansas and a year in the NBA. It looks like things are beginning to click for him, so if he's still available in your league, I'd nab him.

2:32 PM  

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