Thursday, March 02, 2006

Ronald or Ruben?

We can all agree that the trade deadline week was a dud. There were some nice deals made in the weeks leading up to it, but deadline day itself was a whole lot of nothing. Still, we thought a few guys who switched cities would eventually have some increased value and last night seemed to signal that the time is now for two of those guys – Ronald “Flip” Murray and Ruben “I can’t retaliate because I’m on probation, so I would get in trouble” Patterson. Who’s the better bet from here on out? Let’s investigate.

A few days ago I expressed my skepticism on Flip Murray. I said that the only category he’d be consistent in would be FG%, and that wasn’t a good thing. He didn’t let me down by shooting 2-for-12 that night, but in his other two most recent games he’s shot 16-for-29. Another reason I wasn’t sold on him was that there were three guys fighting for PT at the SG position: Flip, Sasha Pavlovic and Damon Jones. But it seems that in just a week’s time Murray has established himself as the man at the position. After starting 19 straight games – during which the team went 12-7, it should be pointed out – Pavlovic has become completely irrelevant, playing just 13 minutes in the past two games. And Damon Jones … it just isn’t happening for Damon Jones this year. The bottom line is this – Flip has played 84 minutes over the past two games. It is near impossible to get that much PT and not have considerable fantasy value. I still maintain that he’s going to do some serious damage to your FG% -- he’s shooting a nice 45.5% this season, but is a career 40.5% shooter. But if you’ve watched Flip play, you know that he’s a me-first guy. He likes to make sure his stat sheet gets filled up. And everyone remembers his glorious month as Ray Allen’s fill-in a few years ago. There seems to be little reason he can’t firmly entrench himself as the team’s #3 option. When his shot’s not falling he will do plenty of damage, but as long as the minutes are there, he’s a worthy starting option. Think of him as comparable to Juan Dixon.

It took one game for Ruben Patterson to get acclimated enough to enter the starting lineup for the Denver Nuggets. He wasn’t all that impressive last night – 6-for-16, 13/7/0 with a steal and a block – but the Nuggets handled the Pistons, which was truly impressive. Patterson has stepped into a pretty good situation in Denver. The Nuggets are one of the league’s highest scoring teams, averaging just over 100 points per game. They are physically beat up, with much of their frontcourt and their starting SG fighting injuries. Patterson is a versatile player who easily slots in at SG or SF and if the team goes small, he can even handle duties at the 4 if necessary. Pattesron would be an absolutely perfect pick up for a team that’s within .05 in FG% of a bunch of teams, needs to move up in steals and is pretty isolated in FT%. Because it’s a fact, Ruben can’t shoot free throws. His career average is right around 65%, but he hasn’t even approached that number over the past few years. Think of him as more of a 55-60% free thrower who will have no trouble getting to the line enough to do some damage. On the 15 Day Rater, he’s -3.82 in FT%. That’s somewhere in between Pau Gasol and Dwight Howard, and obviously without the strengths of those two. I wasn’t able to catch any of the Pistons/Nuggets game last night, but it seems like Patterson may have had a hand in keeping them to 39% shooting. With Earl Boykins, DeMarr Johnson and eventually Greg Buckner around, Patterson may find it hard to see as much PT as Murray in Cleveland. But as we get closer to the end of the season and coaches start figuring out their best lineups, rotations will get slimmer and that will mean more minutes divvied up for fewer players, which is always a good thing in fantasy land.

So who’s the better bet? The fact that I picked up Patterson last night makes me want to say him, but it looks like Murray is already quite firmly entrenched as a top option on his time. But if Patterson can get into a steals groove (check out January and February of last year when he started for the Blazers), it may be hard to tell the difference.

6 Comments:

Anonymous Carl said...

If you all want to get on the Flip Murray train, I recommend doing it now. As a Sonics fan, I can tell you that he won't be getting PT for long in Cleveland. Flip Murray -sucks-

He is attractive because he can legitimately score, but he is not capable of playing a team game. He's one of those dribble the ball for 20 seconds then rush an off-balance shot (or turn the ball over) kinda player. He also doesn't play any defense at all. I really can't see that changing in CLE, and as soon as they realize that, he'll sit.

On the bright side, at least he's not on my team anymore.

Carl

7:33 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

good article, I've been thinking about this one too, I actually have four players to fill two spots on my team. I need to decide between Patterson, Murray, Jameer Nelson and Darius Miles (who didn't start last night...). What do you guys think, which two should you feel the most comfortable heading into playoffs in H2H leagues?

7:36 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Tough call out of those four guys. You'd think Miles would be the best bet, but Nate McMillain has been especially schizo lately, using a different starting lineup in each of the last seven games, the last of which Miles wasn't a part of. He can't hit free throws, but he should be able to pull off sort of a poor man's Gerald Wallace once he sticks in the starting lineup.

I love Nelson, but he's coming off a long layoff and will have lots of company in the backcourt. It's good to hear that the starting job will still be his, but who knows what that actually means. He's a difference maker when he gets the chance though, that's for sure.

Murray hit that huge game-winning shot tonight, but put up a pretty ordinary overall. Still, it was his third straight game of 40+ minutes, which is huge.

Right now I'd probably rank 'em Miles, Murray, Patterson, Nelson. Until I see Nelson back and productive, it's hard to put him above any of those guys who are giving solid production already.

--dm (i forgot my password -- A-DUH!)

12:35 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I love how Gerald Wallace is becoming known as a poor man's Andrei Kirilenko. And yet, now Darius Miles is becoming known as a poor man's Gerald Wallace. So who is a poor man's Darius Miles? I don't know, but that would be one damn poor man.

Mark

4:16 AM  
Blogger JM said...

Having gone to many a Blazer game, I can tell you that Darius leaves a lot to be desired...especially body language. He has the worst body language in the NBA, as far as I've seen.
Any time he actually has to run or hustle he looks like it's absolutely killing him to move.

Miles is very athletically gifted - which gets him highlight reel dunks and blocks, but he does very little else. He does not have much of a basketball IQ, i.e. he never moves without the ball on offense, and when he has the ball he doesn't pass it quickly enough. he just holds on to it.
He just doesn't actually seem interested in playing basketball - he shows no passion.

I dropped him from my fantasy team recently. I just couldn't bear to own him anymore. (the FT% certainly helped that decision).

I picked up Jameer Nelson, who is a "game-time decision" to start tonight. I'm hoping he'll be back to his old self within a week.

Sorry for the Miles venting...but if you had to watch him play for the team you were rooting for, you'd need to vent too. I promise.

10:56 AM  
Blogger DM said...

This thread has turned into a nice therapy session. I'd vent about Jared Jeffries but, y'know, what's the point even?

11:20 AM  

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