Points in the Paint

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Archive for the ‘Injuries’ Category

Melo’s Return Will Be A Crossroads For J.R. Smith

Posted by Erik on January 30, 2009

Uh, this is MY team!

Uh, this is MY team!

Carmelo Anthony has gotten the go ahead to play on Friday. This, of course, is going to be good for the Denver Nuggets. What will his return mean to the now fantasy studly J.R. Smith?

Through the last couple of years, my fantasy basketball relationship with JR has been much like that of an undecided first-time, junior high couple. We’re on. He messes up, then we’re off. He has a huge game, then we’re on again. JR is not exactly the kind of player you want to own if you want some stability in your life. Saying that his young NBA career has been fantasy volatile must be one of the understatements of the year.

Throughout this season and the months just before, J.R. has been more of a fantasy conundrum than anything else. This was divined to be his year. His year! The experts said so and the stars seemed to be aligned for him to explode. He quickly disappointed dreamers with his lackluster performances off the bench, showing more of his inconsistent colors.

Can the New J.R. coexist with te Old Melo?

Can the New J.R. coexist with the Old Melo?

When Melo had to miss some time due to a fractured hand, J.R. eventually got inserted in the starting lineup. In the eight game string of recent starts that he’s had, he has only failed to score 19 or more points twice. He’s averaging 4.4 dimes and 2.1 treys over those 8 contests as well. George Karl and the Nuggets have leaned on J.R. to man up and mature as a player. The Nuggs integrated him as a key cog in its fast paced offense, but he has shown he can do more than that and has even been picking an average of 1.5 pockets a night on the defensive end.

What will happen to J.R. when Melo comes back? The Nuggets is Melo’s team. He gets priority for those all important touches. Will the new and improved J.R. be able to coexist on the floor with “Mr. Score from anywhere, anytime?” Melo’s return will be a key crossroad in J.R.’s NBA career.

He will have to learn his place in the team. He will have to be content to be more of a role player, playing a role of that of an outside shooter or secondary or even tertiary scoring option. Whatever George Karl decides to do with him, he will have to be open to accept it and make the most of his opportunities. It might not happen just yet, then again it might not ever happen at all. It will, odds are, take some time. Being a half-full glass kind of guy, I’d like to think it will happen sooner rather than later. Starting on friday, the ball will be in J.R.’s court. Let’s see what he can do with it.

Posted in Fantasy Basketball, Injuries, NBA News & Rumors, Upside | Tagged: , , , , | 2 Comments »

Thanks for the BLOCKS! – Zo Retires

Posted by Erik on January 23, 2009

alonzo-mourning_opt

Alonzo Mourning is ending is NBA career. Get some rest old boy! You deserve it. You played your heart out and eventually got your NBA championship ring.

zo-ring

Through the years Zo’s been a quality source of blocks for a lot of my fantasy NBA teams. Thanks Zo! Thanks for all those dunks, slams, blocks, swats, rejections and reactions of celebration and jubilation after the fact.

Raptors Heat Basketball

zo-flex

Zo’s career numbers: 17.1 PPG / 8.5 RPG / 1.1 APG / 2.8 BPG / 0.5 SPG / 52.7 FG% / 69.2 FT% / 2.6 TOs

You’ve not only been a fantasy force as far as blocks are concerned, but you have also been an inspiration to us all!

zo-poster3

Posted in Fantasy Basketball, Injuries, NBA News & Rumors | Tagged: , , | Leave a Comment »

Chemistry 101: Some Things Just Shouldn’t Be Mixed

Posted by Erik on January 15, 2009

chemistry-lecture

Elton Brand (PF/C, Philadelphia 76ers) is recovering from the dislocated shoulder he suffered on Dec. 17. He’s practiced with the team and says the shoulder is feeling fine. Unfortunately and sad to say, the Sixers are doing fine in his absence as well. They’ve found a spark from last year’s chemistry and are actually playing some reasonably consistent fluid basketball. Now the question looms over every fantasy basketball manager who owns a 76ers’ head, What will be the impact of Brand’s imminent return to the lineup be?

Well let’s start with the obvious. For Elton Brand owners, well they won’t be exactly “toasting Bacardi like it’s their birthday”, but I am sure they will be pleased. Even if they get back the pre-shoulder-injury-underperforming Brand, it would still be better than ZERO production or most free agent pool pick-ups anyway.

The bigger issue will be for the managers who own Andre Iguodala, Andre Miller, Thaddeus Young… do people still own Samuel Dalembert? – Just kidding, he still has a 74% disappointed ownership in Yahoo!

Andre Iguodala and Miller have rekindled their offensive partnership and have been able to sneak in a few wins for Philly while Brand was away. Their scoring and assist averages got some upward bumps in the process. This of course, was putting smiles on their fantasy owners faces.

Well, very soon, the Brand reagent will be reintroduced into to the chemistry of what we remember as the Philadelphia Sixers of last year. As we in the fantasy world may remember from the start of the season, when this was first attempted, the reaction to Brands introduction wasn’t as “Eureka!” as expected. We saw a drop in the stats of Brand himself, Andre Iguodala, Andre Miller, and the hardest hit of course was Samuel Dalembert.

Brand and the Sixers are not necessarily a bad elemental mix per se. It’s entirely possible that it is just a matter of it being a slow process for Brand to be properly and completely integrated into the Sixer molecule.

Sadly folks, this time around will pretty much be the same as the first mixture. Brand’s injury only served to delay his jelling with his new team and vice-versa. Expect both Andres and Sam-Dam’s stats to dip again. Brand will most likely be coming back to produce his 15.9/9.8/1.4 and his 35 minutes per game. Don’t sell off your Andres (Iggy and Miller) just yet. Fine, I wouldn’t fault you if you dumped your Dalemberts. Post all-star break is just around the corner and when the Brand reagent finally gets to bind properly with the other elements of the 76er compound, things should begin to stabilize from there. Until then Iguodala, Miller, and Young owners; simply buckle-up and get ready for another up and down ride. Well until then, Samuel Dalembert may be relegated back to fantasy dirt.

dirt-molecule

Long term, the biggest fantasy losers in Elton Brand’s eventual return will be the guys who’ve had to step up in his absence. Say goodbye to interim Louis Williams, Marreese Speights, Willie Green’s fantasy significance.

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Every Rose Has Its Thorn

Posted by Erik on January 14, 2009

Captain Kirk is back!

Uh no, not this one...

Uh no, not this one...

This one. Kirk Hinrich, co-captain of the Chicago Bulls

This one. Kirk Hinrich, co-captain of the Chicago Bulls

Kirk Hinrich (PG/SG Chicago Bulls) played in his first game after undergoing surgery two months ago to repair a torn ligament in his thumb. He played  a respectable amount of minutes, 20:52. He score four points care of two of five shots from the field. He dished out 3 assists and got 1 steal.

Derrick Rose and Ben Gordon fantasy basketball owners alike are now a bit wary of Kirk’s return to active duty. Both Ben-Gor and D-Rose have gotten fantasy bumps due to their extra playing time in the wake of captain Kirk’s absence.

Thorn for my ROSE?

As a Derrick Rose fantasy owner myself (2 leagues), I am wondering what impact Hinrich’s healthy return will have on my guy. Personally, I would like to hope that head coach Vinny D (del Negro) will appreciate Derrick’s averages of 16.7 PPG and 6.2 APG and keep his minutes, currently 37:17, above the 30 mark. Then again, I’m not the coach and somehow I doubt that the Bulls’ coaching staff will plan their rotation around my fantasy basketball needs and whims.

I will be joined by the many Derrick Rose and Ben Gordon fantasy owners in closely watching the impact of Kirk’s return on our guys’ minutes and production.

rose-with-thorn2

So far things look positive for Derrick as he still managed to play 41:58 in Kirk’s first game back. It’s possible that Kirk may not actually end up being the thorn for my Rose.  Hopefully he and fellow injury-returnee Luol Deng will eat up the minutes of the less productive members of the Bulls’ roster.  The biggest loser so far in the rotation game appears to be Larry Hughes who just logged in a pitiful 7 minutes on the floor.

Kirk averaged 11.5 points, 6.0 assists, 1.1 treys, 1.2 steals and 31:41 minutes over 75 games for the Bulls last season.

It’s a little too soon to make a judgement on the true and actual fantasy impact Kirk’s return has on that of Derrick’s and Ben’s value. Let’s keep an eye on his second game back which is in a few hours and take it from there.

Posted in Fantasy Basketball, Injuries | Tagged: , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Chicken!

Posted by Erik on December 31, 2008

I’ve been really getting a better appreciation of the differences between daily and weekly changes over at my Yahoo! leagues. The fact that you can use the games of your bench guys in a daily roster change setting means that you can’t really afford to sit on injured guys. The leagues that I’m in that are set to daily changes all have max moves set so that people can’t “stream” players to their hearts’ content and so that fantasy teams aren’t managed in a Steve Kerr or Isaiah Thomas kind of way.

There is definitely more tactical combat involved in a daily roster changes league.

In the 10-man, “Battle of the Bloggers” league I’m in, I am around 8th or 9th out of 10 beacause I had to sit on the early season injuries of Deron Williams and Kevin Martin – basically my 2nd and 3rd round picks. Ouch! – yeah tell me about it. I took the hits but am getting ready to comeback and grab some W’s now that Deron and Kevin are getting healthy again.

In the 18-man head to head league that’s also set to daily roster changes where I am 13th, the likes of Gilbert Arenas, Monta Ellis, and Mike Dunleavy are all lounging around in the free agent pool. They’re just waiting for someone to take a gamble on their hopeful return to NBA action. Gil and Monta have both been picked up, kept for sometime, then dropped again as managers have difficulties living with one less effective roster spot on their teams. Watching them sit in the FA pool is like playing a game of “Chicken” with their injuries. Everyone wants to pick them up, but only at exactly the right time. Grab ’em too soon and your team is in for some losing weekly matchups. Wait on them too long and some other, gutsier schmuck will get acquire their fantasy services before you do. It’s a mini-game of balls and nerves.

chicken

Who you callin' a Chicken?

I recently caved and grabbed Mike Dunleavy off free agency. I am hoping that he will be up to speed or at least serviceable form in about 2 weeks. The news that he’s practicing for up to 20 minutes and that he’s involved in team scrimmages got the wishful bone in me itching to take a gamble on him. His recent viral infection is a minor setback. I am more concerned about how the rehab on his knees is progressing his eventual return to action.  Monta Ellis may be at least 2 more weeks away, but Mike looks like he will have the bigger impact – at least from the perspective of how much his team needs him. The Pacers really want their offense.

mma

So I’m crossing my fingers and locking down the hatches and tightening my belt – you get the point – that my team can sneak some wins here and there as we wait for Mike Dunleavy’s hopefully imminent return.

Speaking of Chicken… a few hours after I grabbed Mike, some other manager panicked and decided to grab Agent Zero as well. Some people just can’t handle the pressure of a game of Chicken, I suppose.

Carlos Boozer is going under the knife to solve his knee problems, but somehow I doubt that we will be seeing him in that particular free agent pool as he was drafted in the late first round; and that puts him on the “cant cut list”. Man, that must really sting for his fantasy owner in that league. Can’t trade him; can’t drop him; and so he’s basically just  dead roster weight.

P.S.

Have a Happy New Year! May 2009 bring a lot less NBA injuries…


Posted in Fantasy Basketball, Injuries | Tagged: , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

No Longer The Name BRAND We Once Knew

Posted by Erik on December 19, 2008

Things just went from bad to worse for the Philadelphia 76ers. Elton Brand is out for one month. He dislocated his shoulder and actually both a minor tear and fracture. He doesn’t require surgery but WILL need the time off for his shoulder to heal.

... and I drafted Elton Brand as my first round pick!

... and I drafted Elton Brand as my first round pick!

Tack on this missed time to the time he’s already lost for your fantasy teams during his strained hamstring episode and compound it with his more than underwhelming contributions; and you officially have yourself the biggest fantasy bust-to-date. Both his shooting percentages, his points, and blocks are showing far too much contrast from the expectations people had for him coming into this season. 44.7% from the field at 15.9 PPG is not what his owners were drafting him for in the middle of the first round of their fantasy drafts.

I chose him over Mike Dunleavy mainly because of his much higher draft position at the beginning of the season. I’ll gripe and whine about Mike in some other rant post. But, for now folks, Brand owners are some of the biggest losers in Fantasy Basketball today. Fantasy Basketball is such an emotinal rollercoaster at times. I was happy I unloaded Elton due to his poor performances. Then the Sixers fire coach Cheeks and Elton has a respectable game. Then I wished I was more patient. Elton’s now out for a month and now I’m glad I was lucky enough to get some value for him.

Well the season’s not over yet; and it would be a vile shame to see another player unseat him from this position.

storm-of-sadness1

I guess we will see some of last year’s Sixers in action. Look to Thaddeus Young, Louis Williams, Willie Green and perhaps even Marreese Speights (who? He’s the guy comes it at power forward for the Sixers every once in awhile when they suffer a blow-out loss.) to contribute some efforts to make up fro Brand’s absence. They won’t have coach Cheeks to guide them through this period. Let’s hope that the fresh perspective in the coaching huddle can slap together some wins in the meantime.

Thad Young might see a return to the starting line-up. He will have a chance to redo his efficient scoring start this season. Well while it lasted, before he got sent to the bench.

Expect bigger contributions from Andre Iguodala and Andre Miller. Andre will be the biggest fantasy beneficiary as he’s now back to the “Go to guy” position he held last year for the team.

Samuel Dalembert is still a big question mark as far as I am concerned. I am not sure how he can realign his game to be the sole man-in-the-middle for Philly (at least for a month); Both he and Elton have been hugely disappointing for their owners.

Posted in Injuries, Rant | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

It had to happen sooner or later…

Posted by Erik on December 14, 2008

“Coach Maurice Cheeks Fired by Sixers!”

Image c/o nytimes.com

Image c/o nytimes.com

I wasn’t really surprised when this bit of news broke out. I was expecting it to happen, as I said in the title, sooner or later. Simply add him to the list of coaches who’ve gotten the axe due to their team’s poor performances.Hmm… Maybe the Bucks should FIRE Scott Skiles for insisting to start Luke Ridnour instead of the clearly more effective and productive Ramon Sessions (at least when he gets decent minutes).

On paper the Philadelphia 76ers are supposed to be a very competitive team. That’s been the problem. The “paper” hasn’t been translating itself into reality. 9 wins and 14 losses is not exactly how I would define looking good.

Fantasy values of all the Sixers have been unreliable, extremely erratic, and overall underwhelming to say the least.

With a new coach (Tony DiLeo) at the helm, I can’t see the Sixer players’ fantasy values to go anywhere but up. But then again, I’ve been wrong about things like this on many an occasion, so I’ll just say that we should wait and see what happens while crossing our fingers for the best. Expect things to be shaken up around in terms of player rotation and playing time over there at Philly. Keep an eye on your Philly players.

Is time to see some vintage Elton Brand? The Sixers sure hope so.

Is time to see some vintage Elton Brand? The Sixers sure hope so.

They just won a game under their new head coach over the Washington Wizards. I know it isn’t really saying much, but hey, at least it’s a start. Case in point, are the performances of Elton Brand and Samuel Dalembert. Elton had a decent line of 27-9-3-1-1. Now that’s a lot closer to the vintage Elton we drafted him for. He shot poorly from the line though (3 of 8), well you can’t expect new coach DiLeo to repair things overnight. Sam-Dam grabbed 17 boards, blocked a shot and not much else. Well this has been one his more productive outings over the past couple of weeks so it’s still a good sign.

Sheesh! This is another stiff reminder to me that patience is indeed a virtue. This change comes at a time very shortly after I’ve unloaded (traded away) my Elton Brands in two of my Yahoo! leagues. Sigh… que se ra se ra!

Elsewhere in the Fantasy Basketball Universe (which runs parallel to the NBA Universe)…

Dwight Howard (Sore Left Knee), center of the Orlando Magic missed a basketball game !

Yes folks it eventually had to happen sooner or later…

Give him a break! It's a sore knee. He'll be back in no time!

Give him a break! It's a sore knee. He'll be back in no time!

D-Ho’s been known for his reliable 82 game seasons prior to this one. But hell, give the guy a frickin’ break. So what if he misses a game or two? He’s taken his overall fantasy game to a whole nother level. In deep leagues, there are weeks where Superman can simply win you the big man cats by himself! That says a lot. It’s not as if Chris Paul can win you all the small ball numbers by himself, right? Fine maybe he can, save for the three pointers made category.

Hopefully, Dwight won’t be gone too long. I expect him to be back in opponent-pwning action in a game or so.

Posted in Fantasy Basketball, Injuries, Upside | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

See Ya Next Year T-Mac!

Posted by Erik on December 3, 2008

Tracy McGrady of the Houston Rockets will be out for 3 weeks for rehab on his sore knee. Well what’s new? People expected him to be gone for at least a dozen or so games when they drafted him. Well it simply came to fruition.

This opens things up for the Houston back court. Guys like Rafer Alston, Luther Head and even Aaron Brooks will get more opportunities to strut some of their fantasy stuff.

Expect Rafer Alston‘s assists and scoring to go up along with his TOs. Overall his stat improvement will odds are be worth TMac’s time away.

Luther Head will be the biggest fantasy beneficiary from this turn of events. He will be able to contribute some points, stls, FT%, and lots of treys for fantasy teams; and is a “must pick-up” in very deep leagues.

Aaron Brooks will now have more breathing room to shine as T-Mac’s minutes will get distributed and trickle down to the bench. Don’t expect Russel Westbrook type of numbers here, but he does have some good percentages that make his off-the-bench numbers very usable in deep leagues as well.

As for you T-Mac owners out there… I guess you are now in a quandary as to whether you should keep or dump him. Dump him if your league has daily changes and keep him if it’s weekly. – This is a highlighting difference for those 2 league settings.

As for T-Mac, well…

Posted in Injuries | Tagged: , , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

Welcome Back Deron!

Posted by Erik on November 28, 2008

It has been a long and agonizing wait for a lot of Deron Williams (PG, Utah Jazz) fantasy owners. I’m on that list. I own him in 25% of my fantasy leagues. We had to tighten our belts and grit our teeth as we rode through the difficult period of Deron’s absence as he recovered from a bad ankle sprain early in the season.

Well the wait is finally over and we (his owners) can breathe a sigh of relief as we witnessed his healthy return to action last night against the Memphis Grizzlies. He played a humble yet respectable 29 minutes.

Derons Back!

Deron's Back!

All those people who drafted him in the early second round can finally see their investments come to fruition as Deron Williams gave us a taste of hopefully what’s more to come. He scored 11 points and dished out 15 assists – not a bad appetizer if I should say so myself.

Anyway, I’m just darn glad that he’s back and healthy.

Welcome back, Deron! Bring on the pain! Now that your ankle’s all better, you can break down the opposing defense with either your jumpshot or your killer crossover… woohoo!

Posted in Fantasy Basketball, Injuries, Upside | Tagged: , | Leave a Comment »

The Jason Richardson Conundrum: Buy, Sell or Keep?

Posted by Erik on November 17, 2008

Jason Richardson was drafted in the late second to early third rounds of this year’s fantasy draft. He pretty much played the best season of his career to date last year. He started the year off slow as a lot of stars have been doing, but the question is “Is it a matter of time ’til he gets back into last year’s form, or is it a matter of his new coach’s coaching style?” That folks is the “3rd round draft question”.

Beyond his slow start, many of J-Rich’s fantasy owners got a bid worried when news broke out that he went under the knife to have an exploratory arthroscopy and that he would be out for about a week. Is it time for people to dump him? Or buy him low? Wait things out and weather the storm?

In order to aid everyone in making the best fantasy decision for themselves let’s get a better understanding of what went on in his arthroscopic procedure.

Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in Fantasy Basketball, Injuries, Upside | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , | 8 Comments »