Thursday, March 16, 2006

First Person Scouting Report

So last night BV and I took in some NBA action at the MCI, er, Verizon Center. Scored some relatively good and cheap tickets off of Craigslist (can you believe people were trying to get rid of Wizards/Bobcats tickets on a Wednesday night?!) and enjoyed a game that played out exactly as we thought it would. Wizards jump out to big lead, get disinterested, let the Bobcats hang in there even though you never actually think they have a chance of winning, and hold on in the end. It was a fine game, although perhaps the highlights were two things that had nothing to do with the game. First, a little kid in the section over from us taking his hat and throwing if over the ledge down into the section below us. Hilarious. Second, a guy from the crowd hitting a 3-pointer, getting everyone in the audience a free pizza today. Good times.

Anyway, the point is, going to games is fun and you should go to as many games as possible. I know that this is easier said than done. Maybe you don’t have the money, the time, or live in a city with an NBA team. That’d be a bummer. But it’s a great way to spend an evening and it really does help you fantasy-wise, too. Yes, fantasy is all about the numbers, but its invaluable to actually see the players and how they go about getting their numbers. This can be achieved by watching games on TV, sure, but it’s not the same as live, where you can see everything unfold and focus on whatever you want to focus on. It’s good to know a little something about every player in the league. It helps on draft day, when you might have less than a minute to make a decision, it might help if you need to make a decision about a free agent. So with that in mind, here’s some first person scouting from last night’s game.

Gilbert Arenas – So far and away the best player on the floor, but in this game, he better be. Has become an incredibly accurate outside shooter over the past couple years; if he’s left completely open from behind the arc, feel confident in shouting “Buckets!” while the ball’s still in the air. Also gets the basket whenever he wants. Will be a first round fantasy pick for many, many years to come.

Antawn Jamison – One of the most interesting fantasy developments this year has been Jamison’s newfound prowess from long range. He was just 1-of-4 last night, but after averaging 1.4 per game in November, then 0.6 in December, he’s averaged 1.9, 2.7 and 2.5 per month over the last three months, and he’s launching them as much as anyone in the league these days. Jamison is also a classic garbage rebounder. Watching him, he’s not at all great on the boards, but he gets in good position and if there’s a missed shot and no one going for an offensive rebound and three Wizards around the rim, Jamison is getting that board.

Caron Butler – I’ve become a big Butler fan this year. He’s an intense player who gives it his all, kind of ironic given who was dealt for. His FG% isn’t anything great, but he’s a surprisingly accurate shooter from around 18-20 feet. A very solid better-than-role player in real life and for your fantasy squad.

Antonio Daniels – Right after last season I told BV that I really wanted to Wizards to sign Antonio Daniels. So imagine how happy I was when that actually happened. Then imagine how disappointed I was with his performance the first two seasons. But he’s really turned it around since then. He was being treated as a shooter, not a scorer, but that’s been fixed. He’s best going hard to the basket and getting to the line and making smart passes. He’s a calming presence on the floor, much more valuable to the Wizards than to anyone’s fantasy team.

Brendan Haywood – This was a make or break year for Haywood and while he didn’t exactly break, he certainly didn’t make. He showed improvement each year in his career, but looks like he may have maxed out. On defense he’s a slapper and allows his man to back him down too easily. On offense he has weak, bad hands and doesn’t attack the basket enough. Ideally he’s a backup.

Jared Jeffries – Last night might have been one of Jared’s best games ever. And he still makes you uncomfortable. BV and I agree that Jared is good at one thing – bringing the ball over halfcourt. He’s also pretty good at tipping balls (ewww), and he’s sometimes a smart player, but not a very talented one.

Brevin Knight – Knight was pretty awful last, not hitting any of his shots and not sneaking into passing lanes like he normally does. But he still ended with 8 assists and it was easy to see why – he always has the ball. But he’s also in the best possible situation right now and he might never get another chance to repeat it.

Raymond Felton – Hard to get a good read on Felton last night, but I’ll stick with what I said to BV in that he could be looking like the new Baron Davis. I mean, look at that line last night – 3-for-10 from the field, 1-for-5 from long range and 3-for-5 from the line with 6 assists in 27 minutes. Felton had the play of the game, an explosive drive/dunk. It’s hard to tell exactly how good he’ll be until he can take over the reigns as PG.

Jumaine Jones – He loves to shoot, especially the three ball, and who can blame him when he was feeling it like he was last night. He connected on 6-of-8 on his way to a monster game of 25/8/3 with 3 steals, 6 3s on 9-of-14 shooting. Unbelievable. I’ve always been a fan since he’s the classic chucker.

Bernard Robinson – Before the game I said to BV that the Bobcats were a great example of a team that could prove my theory that most players are interchangeable and can put up numbers if given the chance. BV said, “Well, not everyone, not, like, Bernard Robinson.” I said, “You’re crazy, I was thinking specifically of Bernard Robinson.” And he didn’t disappoint, getting 26 minutes and going for 21/4/1 with 3 steals and a 3 on 8-of-11 and 4-of-4. That’s an efficient ballgame right there. He’s a very active player – averaging 1.2 steals in less than 19 mpg this season – and I could see him having a Bobby Simmons-type season if ever given the chance.

Primoz Brezec – Was absolutely invisible last night, which is not a good sign considering that the Wizards don’t have anything resembling an intimidating frontline. Managed to play only 10 minutes. He’s got a nice stroke, but that’s really about it.

Melvin Ely – Another guy who was invisible last night, which was especially disappointing given that he got the start with Gerald Wallace out. Has received 19 starts this year and has managed just 11.0/6.0/1.7 with 1.0 block. Not bad, but certainly nothing spectacular.

Kareem Rush – Here’s one where the stat sheet doesn’t lie. I only noticed him when he was shooting. Well, he played 25 minutes, took 15 shots, had one rebound, two assists, and that’s it. No free throws, no steals, no blocks, no fouls. As one-dimensional as theu come.

Matt Carroll – His shot wasn’t falling last night, and that makes him completely worthless. I was trying to figure out if J.J. Redick is really going to be that much more effective than Carroll and I suppose he will be, but like Carroll he’s going to be dominated on the defensive end and if his shots not falling it’s hard to see him offering anything else of value.


Anonymous MM said...

Do you know anything about the Wizards' 10 game or 21 game plan? I'm moving to D.C. this fall, and i was interested in seeing whether doing one of those plans would provide any real savings over individual game tickets.

Fantasy question:
for the Yahoo Fantasy playoffs, is it worth holding on to T-Mac with the hope he'll come back for a few games in April and light it up?

J. O'Neal is free, and seeing that he's starting to workout with the team, is it worth picking him up with the same hope as T-Mac?

I'm in a 10 person league, 15 players per roster, so each team is stacked. I have a buy the first round of the playoffs, likely won't have too many problems in the second round, so I am gearing up for the finals, so I am leaning towards taking a chance on these guys.

J Oneal has been saying he wants to be back by the playoffs, but he does have to learn how to play with Peja before the playoffs do start, so wouldn't you guess they'd give him a week or so of action if he's capable, prior to the end of the regular season?

I'd think that if Houston has no shot at the 8 spot by the beginning of April, they won't bother putting T-Mac in the lineup


9:10 AM  
Blogger bv said...

i'm pretty convinced that neither tmac OR o'neal will have much, if any, value this year. but if i had to pick one, it would be o'neal just because of gearing up for the playoffs. so yeah, i'd make that move, but i wouldn't hope for much.

as for the wizards ticket plans, that's DM's department ... i usually stick to the one game at a time deals.

12:12 PM  

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