Points in the Paint

Fantasy Basketball Opinions, Strategy & Tips

Who do you like, Baron Davis or Gilbert Arenas?

Posted by Erik on September 8, 2008

You’re in the tail end of the 1st round or somewhere early in the second and you feel like picking up a high scoring PG. Dwyane Wade and Allen Iverson have been picked ahead of you so your left with the choice of picking either B-diddy or Agent Zero. Who would you pick?

Gilbert Arenas was a former 1st round shoe-in, an elite scorer who loved to light it up from beyond the arc. He’s was a point or two shy of averaging 30 PPG through the 04-06 seasons, while averaging at least 2.5 treys and 6 assists a night; factor in 1.95 SPG and you had an elite PG to say the least. Unfortunately, he was sidelined for most of last season due injury. He played injured and his stats took a dive like you wouldn’t believe. In spite of last year’s performance, or lack there of, for that matter; the Washington Wizards signed him to the biggest deal in the NBA over the off season – $111M over 6 years. Is he healthy enough now to return to his old form? He’s had the summer to hopefully recuperate to 100%, but he doesn’t have Dwyane Wade’s Olympic stint to prove that he’s past last season’s injuries. Until training camp actually begins, we still have no clear and definitive picture of Gil’s recovery. He says he’s healthy, but his late season attempted comback only ended in more damage to his body and production. Well he’s coming back to pretty much the same team he left early last season so he shouldn’t have any problems gelling with his old teammates.

Baron Davis, on the other hand, has never really been 1st round material but he ended last season’s performance like monster of a first rounder. He averaged 21.8 PPG, 7.6 APG, 2.3 SPG and 2.1 treys a game, thriving under coach Don Nelson’s up-tempo, run-and-gun offense. Sweet line? Well the stat of all stats for the new Baron of LA is that he played in all 82 games last season, his first above 70 games since his junior NBA year way, way back in the 01-02 season.  He stated before last season started that he was in the best health of his career and his 82 GPs must have been a juicy meal his doubters had to eat along with huge serving of STFU sauce. This former (?) injury-prone PG left the Golden State Warriors and signed with the L.A. Clippers to be its new centerpiece. So it’s a new team, new coach, and a fresh start for Baron to prove that he’s worth the fat contract he signed. He obviously won’t be quarterbacking a small ball offense anymore with Marcus Camby and Chris Kaman (Both Centers) being the 2nd and 3rd best players, respectively, on his new team. He’s definitely got more to prove than Arenas but there are more changed variables in his status. Can his skills, motivation and competitive spirit carry him to another awesome fantasy performance this year?

OK so both of these guys roughly shoot just as terribly from the feild, pretty much in the low 40s. Gil’s got the sweeter FT% at 80+ (8 attempts) vs 75+  (5 attempts), but Baron’s got the better passing ability and playmaking skills – by a margin of at least 2 more dishes a game. They both turn the ball over at least 2.5-3 times a night and look to average arounfd 2 treys and 2 steals an outing. Gil’s the superior scorer and has the overall better health track record, but as I said Baron’s been recently in the BEST health of his career and is in a new team where he can arguably up his PPG to about 24-26 a night.

Hmm…. this is a tough one, isn’t it? I would generally want to stay away from both of these guys from this year’s draft altogether due to that dreaded injury risk hanging over both of their heads. But if there was a gun to my head and I really had to take an early risk on one of these guys on this year’s draft, I guess I would personally have to pick Arenas. I have him edging Baron out ever so slightly based on his superior FT%, the stability of his team, finally his performance and health 2 years running prior to his injury. But that’s my pick, who’s yours?

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6 Responses to “Who do you like, Baron Davis or Gilbert Arenas?”

  1. Brendan K. said

    At the risk of sounding a cop-out, it really depends on your draft strategy. If I have the 11th or 12th overall pick and the option is between one of these two players, I’d take Arenas. The guys who would compliment Davis are those who can compensate for his relative deficiencies in shooting percentages (which I think will be exacerbated by his move to a new team and system) and help you win in say, steals and/or assists. But Carlos Boozer and Chris Bosh are everybody’s 2nd round targets, when one or both gets taken you might get boxed into a needs pick rather than controlling your own destiny.

    I like Arenas in the 1st because he gives you freakish fantasy stats, and I can target other freaks who will possibly be around at my pick in each round. I’d get Arenas in the 1st and grab either Danny Granger, Rashard Lewis, or Caron Butler in the 2nd. Then I see who from the list of Jason Richardson, Rudy Gay, or Andre Iguodala might drop to me in the 3rd. By now I can tell if I’m going for assists, 3s, rebounds, points, and/or free throw percentage and adjust my draft accordingly with mid-pick PF/Cs or the 3rd tier PGs where I’m defficient. Obviously I’d be hesitant of taking both Caron and Gilbert, but either becomes great trade bait and I’m stocked with versatile stat stuffers to build around whomever I can bring back in a deal.

    I dig your site a lot. Keep up the good work!

  2. Erik said

    In the end, Baron’s freakish year last season just feels like lightning to me. I am worried that lightning might not be in LA’s weather forecast for this season. I just couldn’t help but consider Baron because he came out of nowhere – well roughly the 3rd or 4th rounds to end up emerging as a top 12 viable stud at year’s end last season.

    Hmmm… Arenas + Butler at 1 and 2 = REALLY rolling some dice, don’t you think? You also never have any guarantees you can offload either of them for reasonable replacement value once the season is underway.

    Thanks for the support.

  3. Brendan K. said

    Well, most folks would say that Caron is worth the 2nd round, and I’m not as afraid of Gil’s knees as I am of Baron’s… everything. Picking Caron in the 2nd would commit you to going for assists, points and steals, and Iguodala and Joe Johnson are good targets. I’d rather take Granger and luck into Gay in the 3rd to go for 3s, steals and blocks without even having grabbed my center eligible players yet. Then go for Big Z, Chris Kaman, Sam Dalembert, and/or Andrew Bogut in the mid rounds and filli out the guard spots with cheap assists/3s in the later rounds.

    It’s true that I’m not especially high on Caron, but as long as he misses his 15 games midseason, I’m fine with that strat.

  4. Erik said

    I think it’s many a fantasy manager’s wet dream this year to nab both Danny Granger AND Rudy Gay. Add me to that list as well. I feel it might end up being a tough task to pull off, depending on the quality of your competition in your fantasy league.

    I’m also hot to grab granger in the 2nd but it would really depend on my draft position and who I end up picking 1st. I’ve got Butler, Granger and Kevin Martin as my second round non-C, non-PG target picks.

    You sound like you really know your fantasy basketball, Brendan. Good luck on your draft(s) this year!

  5. Brendan K. said

    Thanks Erik, and you too! If you get a minute, I’d love to hear any feedback on my new blog, linked above.

    And yes, I drafted Granger last year and turned Kevin Garnett (my pick with #1 overall) into Rudy Gay and Chris Bosh. I don’t have any illusions of doing it again, but a man can dream.

  6. Erik said

    Sweet trade!

    I’ve left you a reply at 2RR… again, welcome to the FantasyBasketblogosphere!

    … and good luck!

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