Points in the Paint

Fantasy Basketball Opinions, Strategy & Tips

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…


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Happy Holidays – Some Christmas Pickup Treats

Posted by Erik on December 29, 2008

christmas-stockings

It’s been a long and hectic stretch of holidays for me and I haven’t gotten a chance to really grab hold of the keyboard for far too long.

Anyway, here are some post christmas goodies that may still be hidden in some of your unchecked Christmas Stockings.

Daequan Cook (PG/SG, MIA) – He’s been hot as of the last few games. He doesn’t do much more than shoot those treys, but at least he provides you with some guaranteed minutes off the Miami bench.

Daniel Gibson (PG/SG, CLE) – Speaking of three-point specialists, Boobie Gibson is back from his toe injury and Wally World is out with an injury. He will be back as the first offensive option off-the-bench for the Cavs. He does provide a slightly more diverse stat array compared to Cook of the Heat, but has not been able to light it up from beyond the arc as consistently this year. Expect 24+ minutes from him, or more if LBJ blows out the opponents out of the water.

Luc Richard Mbah a Moute (SF/PF, MIL) – I know it seems like he was a flash in the pan. He was picked up and dropped along with the rise and fall of his fantasy contributions. But as of late he appears to be the starter of choice at the swing slot for the Bucks. Charlie V’s health this season has been a huge waterloo, causing CV to be erratic; while Luc on the other hand has shown to be a bit more consistent. It’s time to pick him up again, but don’t expect to hold on to him for much longer.

Andrea Bargnani (SF/PF/C, TOR) – He’s riding the bench and his numbers are nowhere close to what they were with him as a starter and with that decline, many people got disenchanted with him and dropped him to the pool. If you can spare a bench slot, then sit him on it. You will never know when Jermaine O’Neal will miss another stretch of games. He is also a unique source of both treys and blocks.

Raja Bell – (SG, CHA) – He was slumping – ehem, adjusting – with some difficulty as he was getting used to the new offense and team composition over at Charlotte. He didn’t acclimate as smoothly and as definitevely as Boris Diaw. He will adjust and he will eventually become more and more consistent as he slides into his new role in his new team. If someone threw him, pick him up. He will invariably be a more solid choice over the briefly overachieving Jason Kapono in TOR.

Louis Williams and Mareese Speights (PG/SG & PF/C, PHI) – Both these guys have been the bigger standouts among the bench players who’ve stepped up their games in the absence of Elton Brand from the Philadelphia 76ers lineup. Williams will be good for some dimes and points at relatively good percentages, while Speights will be good for some boards and blocks.

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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.

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The “Truth” is Out There…

Posted by Erik on December 19, 2008

baby_on_toilet

Thanks to Alltop.com for adding Points in the Paint to their Fantasy Basketball Blog listing. It’s a cool online magazine rack that’s pretty much got everything you might look for that’s of interest to you.

Other notable Blogs on it  are GMTR, 2RR, FBBJ, Hoops Fantasy, and many more. (and if you know what those acronyms stand for, then you probably have those sites, bookmarked and on speed dial/click…)

Check out the Fantasy Basketball Section and see what else is cooking out there in the Fantasy Basketball Blogging world.

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NBASE Strategy

Posted by Erik on December 18, 2008

Well this is the first year I’ve tried the NBA Stock Exchange (NBASE for short) over at NBA.COM.

It’s actually quite entertaining and a lot of  fun.

I don’t need to fret over not being able to have drafted the likes of LeBron, Paul, and Wade. I can pretty much own anyone I want or like, well as long as I have the NBASE dollars to spend on them, that is.

As most people who are in Yahoo leagues with me probably already know, I enjoy mixing things up when it comes to my teams. Whether it’s through free agent pick ups or through trades. I like playing a balancing act of sorts. Give a little here to gain a little there… This habit or preference of mine has both worked out for me and at times burned me in the past. And because of my proclivity for variety, I feel that the flexibility that NBASE provides in terms of ease of dropping (selling) and picking up (buying) players, is something that’s right up my alley.

I am currently 7th out of 44 in the League the people at StinkyTee.com invited me to join. At this point, I do not consider myself as an NBASE-expert by any close definition of the term thus far. On the other hand, I do feel pretty proud of my position in that league considering that this is my first crack at the game.

Here’s what I’ve learned so far in the couple of months I’ve been playing the game.

  1.  Have some roster mainstay “blue chips” for their consistent fantasy point contributions. About 3-4 guys seems good. For a time, I had Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh as my anchors. I recently did some tweaking and now I am anchored on Dirk Nowitzki, Chris Paul and Kevin Garnett.
  2. With the rest of your roster spots, micro-manage your team and get the most of hot streaks and favorable weekly schedules. 
  3. Slowly but surely try to make some money every now and then. Then you can upgrade your guys to more consistent guys as the season progresses. I feel this is the best way to maximize the trading mechanics and system of the game. 

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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.

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Phases of a Moon

Posted by Erik on December 13, 2008

For most of the season, Jamario Moon has been in sitting in former Raptors’ coach, Sam Mitchell’s bench with pretty much a “Do Not Disturb” sign hanging around his neck. This former starter at small forward had to give up much of his playing time to the more offensive oriented, 7-foot, Italian, Andrea Bargnani.  The Raptors’ front court got a bit more crowded this year when they acquired forward/center, Jermaine O’Neal from the Indiana Pacers for point guard T.J. Ford. Someone had to give up some playing time in favor of O’Neal and Sam Mitchell chose to go with an offensive front court and picked Moon to come off the bench. Bargnani put together some impressive performances and pretty much eclipsed Jamario’s fantasy value into weeks of darkness.

Fast forward several games into the season and many losses later… Sam Mitchell is fired by the Raptors and they named Canadian, Jay Triano as the interim  head coach of the Canadian NBA franchise.

Last December 10th, coach Triano got his first win as an NBA coach against the Indiana Pacers. Lo and behold who he decided to start at small forward on that day… Jamario Moon. Moon, in a season high 33 mins on the floor contributed a very respectable fantasy output of 17 points (58.3 % FG); grabbed 8 boards; passed the ball once; stole it twice; and swatted it away 3 times; while not committing any basketball related mistakes that statistically translated into turnovers.

Even though Andrea Bargnani has been getting more blocks prior to this game, it may behoove Coach Triano to once again give Moon another crack at a performance to keep his starting stint at small forward for the Raptors. He brings to the court more hustle and defensive intensity than his Italian, playing time rival.

Jamario has never been known for his scoring ability. After all, he only averaged a humble eight and a half points per game over the 78 games he played for the franchise last year. The thing is he brings athleticism and some intangibles; like hustle-defense and a role player’s mindset, every time he’s on the court.

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From Injury Worry to Fantasy Wonder! – Jason Richardson to the Suns

Posted by Erik on December 11, 2008

TRADED!

TRADED!

Some people unloaded Jason Richardson after he underwent exploratory arthroscopic surgery last month. Those same people were probably  worried about his health. Richardson proved that he is well and returned to action as a slightly improved fantasy asset.

Now with Jason Richardson plus some fillers (a second round pick and Jared Dudley), being traded to the Phoenix Suns in exchange for – uh a bunch of fillers – Raja Bell, Boris Diaw, and Sean Singeltary; those same people who unloaded him wish they had him back.

Fantasy Breakdown:

Who wins?

Phoenix Suns – They get to boost Amare Stoudemire’s waning morale and keep him just that little bit happier, motivated and hopefully more productive. Sadly I disagree that adding Jason Richardson is the key to the Suns’ road to redemption. REMOVING Steve Kerr from management is still the solution. But this trade does soften the ill-timed “Shaq-Marion trade FUBAR”. We’ll see if he can make some more improvements.

Jason Richardson – It’s not as if he wasn’t a big enough scorer over at Charlotte. Now with Steve Nash handing him the ball on a silver platter, expect him to light up the scoreboard from pretty much everywhere on the basketball court. Expect scoring to go up slightly but more importantly expect his FG% to be better and more stable. Of course treys, those wonderful treys; MORE, MORE and MORE of them over at Phoenix. He should be able to get back to or even exceed last year’s averages in that category.

DJ Augustin, Gerald Wallace and Emeka Okafor – After J-Rich’s departure, these guys will have to really make it a team effort to compensate for the scoring void left behind.

Boris Diaw – I wouldn’t be surprised to see him inserted into the starting lineup right away alonside Raja Bell. He will be able to provide flexibility and some much needed court savvy. That’s what I would prefer. Somehow it’s more likely to see him and DJ Augustin come off the bench as offensive sparks. Who knows? I didn’t expect the Bobcats to trade J-Rich away.

Jared Dudley – He will see some time on the court. He will get that fantasy Nash-factor bump. Impact to his value may be minimal, but still keep your eye on him in deep leagues.

Who loses?

Charlotte Bobcats – Well good luck on your rebuilding plans. Let’s leave it at that.

Leandro Barbosa – He will now rarely see the light of day. Well not exactly. He will still get to relieve Steve Nash every now and again. But expect his scoring and treys to dip.

Phoenix Suns – They still have Shaq. Well to be fair, he’s really just there for his contract to expire, but a snidely remark about him and his occasional presence in the Phoenix lineup couldn’t be helped.

Raja Bell – He was not known for his scoring before. But now he will be feeling the biggest pinch of missing an elite passing PG finding him open on the wings for the trey.

Sean Singletary – Who? My point exactly. Don’t ask. Never you mind. Move along now.

Posted in Player Movement and Transactions, Upside | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 6 Comments »

The Sun is Shining in Puerto Rico: Time to Pick Up Jose Juan Barea

Posted by Erik on December 7, 2008

The beautiful South American country of Puerto Rico or as it is officially called in Spanish – “Estado Libre Asociado de Puerto Rico” – which translates to: Associated Free State of Puerto Rico; now has another thing to be proud of aside from its white sandy beaches. It now can be extra proud of its basketball export to the NBA, Jose Juan Barea (PG/SG, Dallas Mavericks)

Jose (or does he like to be called Juan?) has recently gotten his second starting duty at shooting guard for the Dallas Mavericks this evening against the Atlanta Hawks. He had a solid performance and logged in a cool 22 points (9-18 from the field and 4-5 from the line), 2 rebounds, 4 assists, and only 1 turnover; through 31 minutes on the floor. This performance is a pretty good sign, considering  he tallied 18 points and 4 assists in his first outing as a starter when the Mavs played the Phoenix Suns. He already was on my “deep league watchlist” the moment he did 15 points and 6 assists off the bench against the L.A. Clippers.

Yes folks, it’s now officially time to pick him up. I grabbed him in 4 of my 8 Yahoo leagues before tonight’s game against the Hawks, and it looks like my gamble may pay off some dividends. He’s a definite pick up in deep leagues. He will arguably outperform your “Jordan Farmars”.

Why should you pick him up?

  1. Well because it’s a string of 3 solid games.
  2. Coach Rick Carlisle seems adamant to keep Jason Terry contributing off the bench and no other starting SG has had close to a consistent contribution as Barea.
  3. Josh Howard’s eventual return to action doesn’t really hurt his value as much as it will Devean George’s. Jose’s points may dip a bit but things seem to indicate a possibility for him to switch to PG-mode when the Mavs want to preserve Jason Kidd’s minutes.
  4. The franchise may want to look at him as a future PG when Kidd retires and there’s nothing like on the job training with a great PG-tutor.


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Is David Lee A Biedrins-lite?

Posted by Erik on December 3, 2008

Image c/o NBA.com

David Lee’s 37-point (55.2 FG%) , 21 rebound performance last November 29th against the against the NY Knicks has now begged the question:

“Is this the begining of something great or was it just a fluke of nature that occurs only when two basketball teams play the sport with reckless abandon and wanton disregard for defense?”

Somehow, a part of me sees both scenarios as possible and truthful at the same time. I believe that the moves the New York Knicks have made have simply opened the floodgates for David Lee to explode this season. This white boy, known primarily for his hustle and spunk has had a consistent cult following in fantasy basketball circles over the last few years. But it’s only now that his fans, true and cult alike, can taste his juicy fantasy season-to-come (pulp bits and all!).

He’s recently followed up his monster game with a very respectable 19-point (7-11 from the field and 5-5 from the stripe), 12 rebound game against the Portland Trailblazers.

At this point in the game, one can’t help but compare David to another white big man on a team that  generally doesn’t focus on defense and is choc-full of guards and chuckers: Andris Biedrins of the Golden State Warriors.

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