Thursday, March 23, 2006

This ... And Some of That

It’s all about finding the little advantages at this point in the season. While many people will be focusing on the teams fighting for their playoff lives and home court advantage, you certainly don’t want to stop paying attention to the crappy teams. Why? Because while the good teams are getting into playoff mode – which invariably means tightening up the D – the crappy teams are just playing out the stretch and going out there to have fun. The guys on those teams aren’t interested in being lockdown defenders – they are interested in scoring points.

Check out last night’s games for an extremely small sample size example. There were three games played in which both teams are currently in the playoffs. There was an average of 172.7 total points scored in those three games. There were four games played with one team in the playoffs as of now, and one team out. There was an average of 214.5 total points scored in those games (with one OT game to take into account). Then there were two games of has-beens with an average of 202 total points in those games. On Tuesday there were just two games featuring a pair of non-playoff teams. All four of those teams broke the 100 point barrier. Something to keep in mind if you’re looking for some one-game wonders.

Now just a few random observations from last night:

--How about that Allen Iverson? We don’t like injury prone players too much, especially ones that will be drafted in the first two rounds, but one the unique things about Iverson’s injury proneness is that it’s either all or nothing. We hate it when guys slowly get worked back into the lineup. It’s the ultimate tease. That’s never the case with Iverson. He’ll miss his games, but when you get word that he’s coming back, you can plug him in the lineup with confidence. After missing four contests he returned to play 42 minutes and put up a line of 29/3/12 with two steals.

--Looking at Joe Johnson’s line last night I was like, “Ooh, a crappy game.” After all, he “just” put up 12/2/8 with three steals and two 3s. It just shows how out of this world Johnson has been lately. Johnson checks in at #9 on the 30 day player rater and his post-break numbers of 23.0/3.8/8.8 with 1.6 steals, 0.4 blocks and 2.4 3s on 48% shooting are making those owners who drafted him early and held onto him – or traded for him a few months ago – very happy people. He hasn’t missed a game this season and now finds himself at #16 on the overall rater, which is higher than even the most optimistic of folks could have had him. Patience with your early picks.

--I’m never one to recommend bench players, but Andres Nocioni doesn’t deserve to be sitting out on too many FA lists right now. His playing time is very consistent – 30+ minutes in four of the past six – and he’s been Chicago’s most reliable offensive option lately. His playing style is so perfectly suited to an “energy guy off the bench” role that it seems unlikely he’ll ever be a true fantasy asset, though.

--You knew better than to trust Nazr Mohammed, right.

--With the caveat that he’s a rookie and still has a lot to learn, I’d say that Charlie Villanueva’s run as a starter for the Raptors has been a tad disappointing. In 22 games with a healthy 33.7 minutes he’s posting numbers of 13/0/7.6/1.4 with 0.8 steals, 0.9 blocks and 1.0 3s on 46 and 77%. That’s solid all-around and good enough for a very respectable #79 on the 30 day rater. Perhaps we were expecting too much too soon. Maybe it’s for the best as it might keep his draft value down next year.

--That Knicks-Magic game sure was a fantasy nightmare and I suppose is the reason you can’t rely too much on those non-playoff team games. A grand total of 23 guys saw time on the court, and only one of them played more than 31 minutes. Ouch. That did let 12 guys get into double digits, but only Darko and his 4 blocks and Dwight Howard’s spot-on shooting really helped anyone last night.


Anonymous bigmrpig said...

If Darko keeps getting 30+ minutes I think he's going to be a fantastic center for fantasy purposes the rest of the stretch. I picked him up today in favor of Jumaine Jones. I wanna see how Darko performs tomorrow night and if it seems like last night was a fluke I'll probably get Jones back off waivers. Jumaine Jones really only helps in 3's and Darko really only helps in blocks, so I suppose Darko is the better bet since Jumaine Jones showed last night that even with 50 minutes he can't do better than 17-6 (which are good numbers... but 50 minutes? Come on). I like Jones and I like Milicic, I think I'll be happy either way.

11:25 PM  
Anonymous bublitchki said...

And what about Raymond Felton?

Regular readers of the comments here know that I've been pimping this guy since just before the All Star break. He's posted decent numbers playing out of position at the 2 for most of the year. But it's been my contention that if he does get the chance to play his natural position at the point, he would put up Chris Paul-like numbers.

Just check out his average stat line in the two games earlier this week when he took over at the 1 for an injured Brevin Knight: 23/7/11.5 with 2 3PM and 3 steals. One only wonders what kind of seasonal averages he might have put up had Charlotte given him the same opportunity that the Hornets gave Paul.

Given that Felton is clearly the Bobcats' point guard of the future, do they opt to put the ball in his hands for the rest of this season? Or, do they play out the string with Brevin at the point even though they are going nowhere this year and Knight will likely be employed elsewhere next season? Obviously, if it's the first option, Felton could wind up being a real difference maker in the fantasy playoffs.

1:13 AM  
Blogger DM said...

I'm very encouraged by Felton's shooting lately. He's up to 44/75 after the break (compared to 37/69 before) and if he can keep that up he's a star in the making. Otherwise, he's probably still a star in the making, but we all know how hard it is to win a league with a guy like Baron Davis who aggressively kills you in two categories while dominating in three.

1:53 PM  

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