Thursday, February 16, 2006

Pleasant Surprises By Category

There’s not much going on in the NBA – at least for fantasy purposes – over the next few days, so to follow up on BV’s awards yesterday, I thought I’d hand out some awards myself. These will be for the most pleasant surprises in each of the eight standard roto categories; I’ll have disappointments on Monday.
Rasheed Wallace’s 2.1 3pg
Toward the end of his time in Portland we found out that ‘Sheed could hit the three-ball with regularity in the NBA, as he peaked with 1.5 3pg in the 02-03 season. But in his first season and a quarter with Detroit, he held back on the long ball, averaging just around one triple per contest. With trigger-happy Flip Saunders replacing triple-skeptic Larry Brown, ‘Sheed has had the green light to fire away and is averaging 2.1 3pg, which is just flat out ridiculous for a guy that qualifies at center in most leagues. He started off the season incredible hot from long range, shooting around 44% over the season’s first two months. He’s cooled down considerably since then, but he’s actually taking more shots, so his 3PM has stayed rather constant.

Tony Parker’s 54% FG
Parker’s 48% from the field last year was very nice, but there was reason to suspect that was as good as it was going to get, especially since he didn’t top 46% in any of his first three seasons. Since he primarily shoots while going to the basket he’s going to have a higher FG% than most point guards, but I don’t think anyone saw this 54% coming. Give Parker – and the San Antonio coaching staff – credit for knowing his strength and playing to it. Parker attempted at least 2.0 3pg in each of his first four seasons and never made more than 34%, which is quite poor for a point guard. So this year he’s basically eliminated that shot from his repertoire, attempting a paltry 0.5 per game, and has excelled at taking the ball to the hoop. Now if he could just work on that FT%..

Dwight Howard’s 12.6 rpg
After averaging 10 rebounds per game in his rookie campaign last season we knew Howard was going to be a monster on the boards for years to come. We didn’t know that he’d surpass Ben Wallace and Kevin Garnett as the league’s top rebounder in just his second season. He’s been held to single digit boards in just 11 of his 51 games, and in one of those he left after two minutes. He’s gone for 15 or more in 18 games we’ll be seeing his name near the very top of the rebounding stats for at least a decade or so.

Chauncey Billups’s 8.5 apg
I was as high on Billups as anyone coming into the season, mostly due to his game-to-game consistency, health and solid all-around numbers. One of his “weaknesses” was that he never put up big assist numbers for a point guard – last year’s 5.8 per game was a career high – but it was something we were able to look past. So what does he do this year? He starts handing out dimes like that dealer on the corner. Or something like that. His 8.5 per game is good for third in the league this year, and he’s showing no signs of slowing down.

Chris Bosh’s 81.7% FT
I’ve already written about Bosh’s value in percentages, and this was a pretty easy choice. Center is the one position where you are willing to concede that you probably won’t get someone who’s going to help you in FT%; in fact, you’re probably going to get someone that hurts you. But after shooting 70% and 76% in his first two seasons, Bosh is up to 82% on just over 8 attempts per game. This is just huge value and is a big reason why Bosh is an official Fantasy Stud now.

Elton Brand’s 25.4 ppg
Points is the one category where you generally won’t see too many surprises. Look at the league leaders – it wouldn’t have been too touch to predict Kobe Bryant, Allen Iverson and LeBron James as the top three. Brand between 18.2 and 20.1 ppg in each of his first six seasons; he averaged exactly 20 ppg in his last two. He seemed to be locked in at a pretty established level, so that’s why his 25.4 ppg this season is such a pleasant surprise.

Gerald Wallace’s 2.2. bpg
It would be even better if he could stay on the floor, but for all the preseason talk about Josh Smith being a swingman who can help you dominate in blocks, it was Wallace that proved to be that man. We knew he had it in him, as he averaged 1.3 per game last year, but in just 4 minutes more per game, he topped the magical 2 number to get up to 2.2 per game. That includes seven games of four or more, and his average actually increases to 2.4 per game if you factor in that he went block-less in the season’s first three contests.

Chris Paul’s 2.2. spg
Rookies are the great unknown. We like to think we’re going to know what they’re going to do, but the simple fact remains that until they step out on to the NBA court, it’s a guessing game. We – and most folks, admittedly – had Paul pegged as the top rookie in this year’s class and he obviously hasn’t disappointed, recent injury issues aside. His numbers have been stellar all around, but to come into the league and rank second in assists – just ahead of established top thiefs such as Shawn Marion, AI and Jason Kidd – is something special.


Anonymous Andy said...

Am I to assume this will be followed up by a "severe disappointments by category" column? I sure hope so...

Roster move question of the day: Grant Hill and Corey Maggette are both available on the wire in my (fairly shallow) league. Should I pick one or both of them up? Scoring and FG% are probably my weaknesses right now.

I would probably be dropping Jason Williams and/or PJ Brown to do this (JWill has been awful lately and there are several PJ-caliber centers I could pick up later if needed).

7:35 PM  
Blogger Jeremy said...



Hill has better percentages, but Maggette is a far superior player. First off, he scores more, gets about a three per game, rebounds more and most importantly gets more minutes.

Perhaps the most important factor is that Maggette, when playing is among the leagues best with FT%. Not only does he shoot a very high %, but he gets there a rediculous amount of times per game...meaning that it will dramatically help in FT%.

Hill is way over his prime and his FG% won't help that much - Maggette is equal or vastly superior in just about every area.

Feel free to drop either of those guys to get him, as Corey will be more valuable than either while healthy.

Also of note, I wouldn't be suprised to see his FG% go up, as this team is stacked and he should have better shot selection available than in previous years (Mobley/Cassell/VladRad help allow Maggette room to operate in the lane and spread the floor for better outside shots).

8:03 PM  
Blogger JM said...

No arguments on your Pleasant Surprises list. would also add that Dalember's 3.4 blks/game is double his avg from last year. (somewhat of a surprise. though of course not as much of a surprise as G.Wallace)

Another roster question...

Brian Cook and Kirk Snyder have both looked very impressive over their past five games:
Cook: 18 pts, 1.6 3pt, 5 rbs, 0.4 stls, 0.6 blks, 0.6 TO, 60%FG,100%FT, 29 minutes

Snyder: 18 pts, 1 3pt, 5 asts, 0.8 stl, 0.4 blk, 54%FG, 29 minutes.

The caveats are that C. Mimh missed all of those games for the Lakers, and C.Paul missed 3 of those games for the Hornets.

Any chance that either can put up a solid 2nd half of the season?

The Lakers are dying for a 3rd scorer. Could it be that Cook has begun to break out as that guy?

And Byron Scott seems to love Snyder's agressiveness, and he has basically replaced all of J.R Smith's playing time at shooting guard.

I'm in a 12-team league. Who's more worthy of picking up? I like that Cook is a great 3pt shooter, but doesn't hurt your FG% (or anything else for that matter)

10:06 PM  
Anonymous john said...

im not really sure i agree with the dwight howard selection. Sure, it is surprising to have him as the leading rebounder, but howard was so hyped as a super sleeper at the start that I actually think he was beginning to become overrated. (I've heard of him being taken in the third round.) If you consider that he got 10 reb. in 32 mpg as a rookie , then it would have been reasonable to assume increased pt to around 37-38 (which is what he is getting right now), which would boost up his averages to around 11.5 reb... add up all the offseason stories about him bulking up and becoming more experienced, and i think 12.5 isnt that big of a surprise...

I'd actually think chris paul is a bigger surprise in the rebounding front. Getting almost 6 boards from a guy barely 6' and whose job description probably includes hanging near the perimeter to prevent breakaways, in my opinion, is more surprising than getting 12.5 from dwight howard.

10:34 PM  
Blogger Jeremy said...

As far as 'unexpected' big suprises go, I have to go with Chris Paul and Boris Diaw primarily. one knew what he'd do. What he is doing is putting up numbers rivaling LeBron and Wade's rookie numbers. Six rebounds from a rookie point guard, especially of his stature, is amazing. Add his amazing steals to boot, and I'd say he's the next Gary Payton type of player.

Diaw...opportunity is all he needed. I saw Diaw's role in the JJ trade as a simple throw-in, having never really seen him play. Well, now we all know what he is capable of, and at times I've wondered which team go the better player out of the trade (well not really...but sort of). Diaw is one of those guys who is a threat to give you near triple-double on any given night along with steals and blocks. Adding in his good percentages and the fact that he can play any position on the floor, and he has been my favorite player this year by far...I should get a Diaw jersey.

Also, I just want to throw out the value of the Suns in Fantasy Ball. Many NBA teams don't have a player who would be considered as a first-round pick. The Sun (Nash, Amare, Marion) have three legit top-10 type of players. Add this with the value of other players on the team (Bell, Jones, Thomas, Diaw, House) and it seems like whoever plays in the system will get stats, as the action play is just faster. Anyways, it is in stark contrast to a team like the Rockets, where only McGrady, Yao and Alston (maybe Wesley) are considerable for being on a fantasy team.

1:17 AM  
Blogger bv said...

JM, i talked about Cook in the next comments section. As for Snyder, I'm a big fan. The thing is, i'm not sure that he'll get the minutes he needs when Paul is healthy to be a consistent threat. Still, if you've got space on your bench, i'd grab him.

12:40 PM  

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