Monday, April 03, 2006

Free Agent Season Push?

One thing we always look for before the season are players entering the final year of their contract. The common logic is that with their chance for a big pay day on the horizon, these players will “kick it up a notch” and put up numbers better than what you would normally expect. A player like Larry Hughes last year was a great example of this. But is it really something that happens with that much regularity? Using Chris Sheridan’s article for ESPN.com from the beginning of February, where he listed the top 25 upcoming free agents, let’s see if these guys saw a spike in their performance this season.

Ben Wallace
2003-2004: 9.5/12.4/1.7, 1.8 steals, 3.0 blocks in 37.7 mpg
2004-2005: 9.7/12.2/1.7, 1.4 steals, 2.4 blocks in 36.1 mpg
2005-2006: 7.6/11.6/2.0, 1.8 steals, 2.2 blocks in 35.8 mpg

No spike at all for Big Ben, although his shooting percentage is at its highest mark for 01-02. He might not be the case for a situation like this though; his talents are well known and it’s long been assumed that his re-signing with the Pistons is little more than a formality.

Al Harrington
2003-2004: 13.3/6.4/1.7, 1.0 steals, 0.3 blocks, 0.3 3s in 30.9 mpg
2004-2005: 17.6/7.0/3.2, 1.3 steals, 0.2 blocks, 0.2 3s in 38.6 mpg
2005-2006: 18.9/6.9/3.2, 1.1 steals, 0.2 blocks, 0.9 3s in 37.1 mpg

Besides showing that he can hit the occasional 3, there hasn’t been much to distinguish Harrington’s season this year from last year. His scoring rate is up a bit, but everything else has stayed mostly the same.

Jason Terry
2003-2004: 16.8/4.2/5.4, 1.5 steals, 1.8 3s, 42% FG in 37.3 mpg
2004-2005: 12.4/2.4/5.4, 1.4 steals, 1.3 3s, 50% FG in 30.0 mpg
2005-2006: 17.4/1.9/3.8, 1.3 steals, 2.2 3s, 47% FG in 35.2 mpg

It looks like a big improvement, but the biggest bump has been in the minutes department; seeing a big drop in assists while seeing five extra minutes per game won’t do anything to convince people that Terry is a “true” PG. Still, Terry has once again turned in a consistent, underappreciated fantasy season, currently finding himself at #35 on the Player Rater.

Vladimir Radmanovic
2003-2004: 12.0/5.3/1.8, 1.0 steals, 0.6 blocks, 1.8 3s in 30.1 mpg
2004-2005: 11.8/4.6/1.4, 0.9 steals, 0.5 blocks, 2.0 3s in 29.5 mpg
2005-2006 (Seattle): 9.3/4.0/1.5, 0.7 steals, 0.3 blocks, 1.5 3s in 23.2 mpg
2005-2006 (Clippers): 11.6/6.3/2.3, 1.1 steals, 0.6 blocks, 2.4 3s in 30.8 mpg

Don’t call it a comeback – RadMan’s resurgence in L.A. is simply a recreation of what he did in Seattle in 03-04 and 04-05. His size, ability to knock down the 3 and now the fact that he has “contributed to a winning” team should make him a rich man over the summer, but it’s still hard to believe he turned down $50 million.

Peja Stojakovic
2003-2004: 24.3/6.3/2.1, 1.3 steals, 3.0 3s, 48% FG in 40.3 mpg
2004-2005: 20.1/4.3/2.1, 1.2 steals, 2.6 3s, 44% FG in 38.4 mpg
2005-2006 (Kings): 16.5/5.3/2.2, 2.3 3s, 40% FG in 37.0 mpg
2005-2006 (Pacers): 19.2/6.4/1.8, 2.2 3s, 46% FG in 36.5 mpg

I’ll admit I thought this was going to be a good one. Coming off a down year and going for a big contract, I like Peja almost as much as Ray Allen this year. Oops. His resurgence in Indiana has been solid, but he’s still nowhere near his 03-04 peak.

Nene
Worst. Timing. Ever.

Mike James
2003-2004: 6.4/2.2/3.7, 1.0 steals, 0.8 3s, 40% FG in 19.7 mpg
2004-2005: 9.3/2.9/4.2, 1.2 steals, 1.3 3s, 42% FG in 27.1 mpg
2005-2006: 19.3/3.2/5.9, 0.9 steals, 2.0 3s, 46% FG in 36.6 mpg

Here’s the guy who helps the contract year push theory take on perhaps greater meaning than it should. James has seemingly come out of nowhere to put up huge numbers and after bouncing between six squads since 2003 is looking to find a permanent home in the offseason. But check out his p40 numbers from the last two seasons.

2005-2006: 21.1/3.5/6.4, 1.0 steals, 2.2 3s, 46% FG
2004-2005: 18.7/4.5/5.7, 1.4 steals, 2.2 3s, 42% FG

James just needed the opportunity. Yes, his numbers are still better, but most of that is due to an abnormally high FG%. Otherwise, his numbers are right in line with what you’d expect. So yes, James saw the opportunity and ran with it, but we can’t necessarily say that this is a contract push, or rather just finally getting an opportunity.

Bobby Jackson
2003-2004: 13.8/3.5/2.1, 1.0 steals, 1.6 3s, 44% FG in 23.7 mpg
2004-2005: 12.0/3.4/2.4, 0.6 steals, 1.3 3s, 43% FG in 21.4 mpg
2005-2006: 11.6/3.1/2.8, 0.8 steals, 1.8 3s, 38% FG in 25.4 mpg

The best thing B-Jax did for his offseason value was appear in 63 games so far. After missing more games than he played in the past two seasons, he needed to show at least some ability to stay healthy. He missed one stretch of 8 games and another of 3, but has been in the lineup since then. But there’s no real performance spike to speak of.

Joel Przybilla
2003-2004: Irrelevant.
2004-2005: 6.4/7.7/1.0, 2.1 blocks, 60% FG in 24.4 mpg
2005-2006: 6.2/6.9/0.8, 2.4 blocks, 55% FG in 24.9 mpg

Not bad, but Przybilla didn’t take that leap forward people were expecting. Injuries, the presence of Theo Ratliff and the general disarray of the Blazers have all contributed to this. The numbers look pretty similar, but it’s worth remembering that Przybilla was just huge at the end of last season and hasn’t put together an extended stretch like that this year.

Sam Cassell
2003-2004: 19.8/2.7/5.1, 1.3 steals, 0.9 3s, 49% in 35.0 mpg
2004-2004: 13.5/2.7/5.1, 0.6 steals, 0.5 3s, 46% in 25.8 mpg
2005-2006: 17.5/3.6/6.4, 0.9 steals, 0.9 3s, 45% in 34.6 mpg

Now here’s one we probably should have seen coming. Cassell is a guy who always has contract on the mind, and giving him the reigns in L.A. in a walk year has predictably led to a nice comeback year, and should assure him of a well-deserved pay day.

We’ll take a look at some more later in the week.

4 Comments:

Anonymous ambitextrous said...

I don't know why no one's commenting anymore, but I appreciate the work you guys do. It's certainly helped me formulate my own strategy this season, especially the post on percentages and the comparison of different raters. Thanks once again.

7:18 PM  
Blogger JM said...

I second that, and have found your postings to be extremely helpful and insightful. Easily the best fantasy basketball blog I've found.

people probably stop commenting as much as they focus on fantasy baseball, march madness, or the fact that their team is either really far behind or really far ahead.

My team is not endanger of losing its lead, and I know exactly which categories to focus on to stay in the lead.

That said, I'm still enjoying the posts about bigger picture questions, i.e. "Free agent push", "Worth the wait", "When basketball takes a back seat", as they are good things to think about for next year's draft.

thanks again

10:51 AM  
Blogger bv said...

Thanks for the kind words, guys. I think JM is right, with fanasy baseball, the ncaa tournament, and basketball teams falling out of the running, there's just a little less interest going around now. But we're gonna keep plugging along through the end of the season. Thanks for reading.

12:28 PM  
Anonymous Carl said...

I've been reading this site for 1.5 seasons or so now, and you all have been a big help.

I'm in a pretty good mood right now because someone dropped Delonte West while streaming players trying to win last round, and I finally got a good reason to drop Antoine Walker. Hallelujah.

How long do you guys think I should wait on Stephon before I drop him? He's been crappy for most of the year, but I don't think I'm going to find a better replacement. I'll probably have to drop him if he doesn't play tomorrow, but I could concievably win this round without him if he would help next round....hrm

Carl

4:11 PM  

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