What's Melo's problem?
By Anthony Peretore
As done with the East earlier in the week...
15. New Orleans/OKC (4-5)
Bronze: G J.R. Smith (5 games, 12.0 PPG, 38.8 FG%, 2.8 TO, 1.0 SPG)
A lot of people had this guy pegged as a big time sleeper. Unfortunately, the sophomore has come out of the gates cold this year and now is dealing with a sprained ankle on top of it. I still think JR will turn his year around and average in the 14-16 PPG range, but for now I’d search for a better option.
Silver: PF David West (14.8 PPG, 6.9 RPG, 1.2 SPG, 54.3 FG%)
I contemplated discussing Speedy Claxton here, but I figure once Smith starts to get it going and Chris Paul settles into his groove, Speedy’s minutes could take a hit. West on the other hand, has started all seven games for the Hornets and put up some rather nice stats to boast. What’s most impressive to me are the steals, a category most big men struggle to fill. Don’t forget that DW was in serious contention for the 2003 Naismith Award and that Byron Scott is most likely to give him all the opportunity in the world to shine. Really a nice pick up.
Gold: It’s more so a matter of when than if PG Chris Paul will reach this level. For now however, I remain very concerned with the profusion of minutes (36.4) Byron Scott is giving to his rook through the team’s first 8 games. While CP seems to be a nice fantasy option right now, if this type of run continues I’d definitely look to trade him before he hits that proverbial rookie wall.
P.S. Remind me why Chris Andersen (10 points, 18 boards, 3 blocks Fri. vs. ATL) doesn’t get more than 20 minutes a night?
14. Seattle Supersonics (4-5)
Bronze: PF Vladimir Radmanovic (18.7 MPG, 7.2 PPG, 2.7 RPG, 35.5 FG%)
After receiving over 29 minutes of PT the last two seasons, new coach Bob Weiss has seemingly fallen out of love with his sixth man. Radmon, a key component to that 52-win team from a season ago, has seen his shooting as well as his attitude drastically slip off. Keep a close eye on him because if his minutes do in fact stay under 20, you may want to begin your search for a new PF.
Silver: PF Nick Collison (9.8 PPG, 6.4 RPG, 63.8 FG%)
While these numbers don’t look too impressive, it’s the 11.3 PPG and 9.3 RPG over his last four (games in which he’s started) that make me optimistic for the near future. Now that Reggie Evans has been ushered to the Weiss Doghouse, it’s time for the former first round pick out of Kansas to show his worth. Double-digit rebounds don’t seem out of the question, especially playing alongside Johan Petro and Vitaly Potastanko.
Gold: SG Ray Allen (24.4 PPG, 4.7 RPG, 3.9 APG, 2.0 SPG, 2.8 3PM)
I’m not completely sold on giving Allen the Golden honor (nothing to do with a golden shower, get your mind out of the gutter), but his consistent play thus far definitely warrants such. On top of it, he’s playing at All-Star levels despite signing a long-term contract this past summer. Usually after players get their big bucks they pull a Mark Blount and drop a huge dump on their team the following season. Allen, on the contrary, has been a stud thus far.
13. Portland Trailblazers (3-4)
Bronze: PG Sebastian Telfair (10.6 PPG, 3.6 APG, 0.4 SPG, 3.9 PF)
What happened to the kid that tore it up for Lincoln High two years ago? What happened to the kid we saw this summer throwing up double-doubles almost every day? Stephon Marbury Jr. needs to step up soon before he loses his job to Juan Dixon or Jarrett Jack (semi-prediction here).
Silver: SF Darius Miles (19.6 PPG, 6.7 RPG, 1.9 SPG, 1.6 BPG, 49.1 FG%)
Despite chronic knee troubles, Miles is having quite a nice season thus far. He’s one of the few 5th or 6th round picks currently filling four out of five categories. What worries me however, is the fact that he had to get his knee drained on Friday following a team-ordered x-ray on the joint. How many joint problems can one guy have?
Gold: Coach Nate McMillan
Think he has nothing to do with how your fantasy team is faring? Well then you must not be a proud owner of either Miles or Zach Randolph. Finally, a coach who can get the most out of these two…
12. Utah Jazz (4-7)
Bronze: PF Carlos Boozer (0 games, 1.6 chest hair braidings, 2.5 trips to Alaska)
Hey Boozer owners, want a little salt rubbed into your wound? Check this out: “After feeling a pop in his left hamstring on Monday, Boozer underwent an MRI, which has revealed a strain worse than the one that has kept him sidelined since early in training camp. According to Dr. Lyle Mason, the Jazz' team orthopedist, the forward will be sidelined for at least another month.” On the bight side, Kris Humphries (16 and 10) played really well in his place on Friday and could be a nice pick up.
Silver: PG Deron Williams (13.1 PPG, 3.7 APG, 0.6 SPG, 2.5 TO)
For most of you, Williams was one of those late-round picks you took a chance on, hoping he could put up half the numbers he did at Illinois. But so far Williams seems to be growing by leaps and bounds, even getting Coach Jerry Sloan to warrant him the majority of the team’s 4th quarter minutes. In addition, by averaging just 27.8 minutes per night, perhaps D-Will can avoid hitting that rookie wall. Knock on wood…
Gold: Those owners who passed on F Andrei Kirilenko in the first round. AK-47 is now reportedly out a month another month. Is it just me or is this season eerily reminiscent of 2004?
11. Los Angeles Lakers (4-5)
Bronze: FC Kwame Brown (5.9 PPG, 6.2 RPG, 2.4 TO, 3.9 PG, 40.7 FG%)
Count me amongst those who believed that he could turn it around in his first year under Phil Jackson. Also count me amongst those now debating whether or not to send this guy an anthrax letter. Seriously, what is his problem? If Chris Mihm can throw up nice games, why can’t he? The big reason, despite getting nearly 28 minutes a night, is that he can’t stay out of foul trouble. Still, I expect Jackson to get this kid’s attention at some point this season—at least I hope so.
Silver: F Lamar Odom (14.8 PPG, 9.2 RPG, 5.1 APG, 2.0 SPG)
Even though he looks about as comfortable with the triangle offense as Paul would be at the Harlem premier of “Get Rich or Die Trying”, he’s still one of the best all-around fantasy players in the league. I actually expect his points and rebounds to keep rising since Kwame is losing minutes to guys like Brian Cook. Yeesh
Gold: SG Kobe Bryant (31.9 PPG, 5.3 RPG, 4.4 RPG, 8.3 3-pt FG%)
My preseason MVP selection would look pretty solid right now if this team could win some more games. On top of it, Phil Jackson doesn’t even seem to care which really starts to make me wonder why he returned. Are we sure Kobe is safe in LA right now? Makes me wonder…
10. Houston Rockets (3-6)
Bronze: F Stromile Swift (22.2 MPG, 8.8 PPG, 4.4 RPG, 1.0 BPG, 3.7 PF)
When you’re the second overall pick in the 2000 NBA Draft and you can’t manage to start over a rapidly deteriorating Juwan Howard, you should kill yourself. I don’t know what this guy’s problem is but someone in Houston better get him and Yao some testosterone injections.
Silver: C Yao Ming (18.6 PPG, 8.8 RPG, 1.7 BPG, 52.0 FG%)
Looking at these numbers, no one can say they’re bad by any means. But this is Yao Ming were talking about. They guy was supposed to be like a Chinese Jesus (assuming JC wasn’t Chinese to begin with) and thus far, he’s just been okay. Perhaps if Swift can step up to the plate we can see the Yao we all expected.
Gold: I refuse to put T-Mac up here right now, sorry. Not only did he miss three games with a back injury, but he’s only shooting 38.9% from the floor and aside from that nasty 4th quarter in New Jersey, just hasn’t looked like the McGrady we know and love. Eventually he’ll be here, but he needs to take care of that back first.
9. Sacramento Kings (4-5)
Bronze: PF Kenny Thomas (14.9 MPG, 5.3 PPG, 4.3 RPG, 40.9 FG%)
Wait, what happened to Thomas starting at the 4? Didn’t Abdur-Rahim announce that he didn’t mind coming off the bench like two days before the start of the season? Was he high when he said that? Well due to SAR’s solid play thus far, Thomas’s minutes have been cut in half from a year ago and with it, his production as well. While a nice option for Sacto off the bench, the same can’t be said for fantasy owners…
Silver: F Shareef Abdur-Rahim (15.2 PPG, 8.1 RPG, 3.7 APG, 1.0 SPG, 1.0 BPG, 55.0 FG%)
Think New Jersey is kicking themselves right now? Right now, opting for Marc Jackson (5.3 PPG, 3.5 RPG) over SAR this summer is like giving up on that semi-hot chick the summer right before she absolutely blows up and then you come to school the first day of ninth grade and see her with the “new guy” while you’re strolling around with an enormous white head on your chin. In a nutshell, that’s how New Jersey feels right now.
Gold: While there are currently no Gold calibers on this squad, let me ask you how the hell Sacto is 4-5 with all five starters averaging double figures? Oh yeah, they don’t play any defense. Fortunately for us, that doesn’t really matter much in fantasy.
8. Phoenix Suns (4-5)
Bronze: FC Kurt Thomas (23.5 MPG, 8.5 PPG, 5.8 RPG, 44.1 FG%)
This comes as a bit of a shock to me. Going from that dreadful NY offense to the best in the biz, I pegged Thomas to have a big year. It seems like Mike D’Antoni wants to go with a quicker, more versatile lineup, thus guys like Boris Diaw have been getting more run. I wouldn’t be too concerned with Kurt right now, but if this limited run continues into December, you may want to unload the big fella.
Silver: PG Leandro Barbosa (15.9 PPG, 2.4 APG, 53.3 FG%, 43.5 3-pt FG%)
Anyone who is suddenly starting for Phoenix has to be mentioned in any fantasy article. Barbosa’s stellar play off the bench has allowed him to supplant James Jones/Boris Diaw in the first five for the honor of playing alongside Stevie Nash. But while his 18.0 PPG in those three games make him a solid pickup for the week, going forward I’d remain a bit skeptical. It looks like D’Antoni is playing musical chairs with this starting five…
Gold: F Shawn Marion (18.3 PPG, 12.3 RPG, 1.8 SPG, 1.9 BPG, 47.3 FG%)
With Kurt Thomas losing his scrotum sometime in the last two weeks, Marion has been the focus of countless double-teams in the paint. However, when KT does in fact regain his manhood, I fully expect the Matrix to bump up his scoring into the 20s. (Important note: If you haven’t constructed a plan to trade Marion before February rolls around I would get on that as soon as possible).
7. Minnesota Timberwolves (5-4)
Bronze: F Eddie Griffin (19.0 MPG, 4.6 PPG, 5.1 RPG, 2.0 BPG, 31.8 FG%)
It still boggles my mind why he doesn’t get more run…But whether it’s due to coaching or just poor play, EG has still been a dud (aside from those blocks). But be patient with Griffin as I definitely see his numbers getting better as the season progresses. After all, remember who is playing in front of him…
Silver: PG Troy Hudson (21.6 MPG, 11.6 PPG, 3.6 APG, 94.1 FT%)
I know, not outstanding numbers by any means, but look at the run he’s getting. If you’re in a fairly deep league, Hudson might be a nice option on a deep bench. Although, I still don’t understand why he chooses to rock the same hairdo as that lady on Mad TV, do you?
Gold: F Kevin Garnett (21.8 PPG, 10.1 RPG, 5.9 APG, 1.5 SPG, 1.4 BPG, 58.4 FG%)
Minutes are up from a year ago, yet his points and rebounds are down? Doesn’t make much sense to me, but nothing a 42 and 22 game can’t fix. However, as good as KG might be, in hindsight I think LeBron may have been the better choice with the 1st overall pick.
6. Denver Nuggets (5-5)
Bronze: PF Kenyon Martin (12.4 PPG, 5.0 RPG, 1.1 BPG, 3.3 PF)
Uh, what happened to the K-Mart we saw in New Jersey? Remember that guy? The one who clothes lined Karl Malone, instantly making him the most feared player (aside from Shaq) in the league? All I see him doing now is icing his knees and waving towels around whenever Linas Kleiza throws down a dunk in garbage time. Get healthy dude, the Nuggets need your ass.
Silver: F Carmelo Anthony (20.6 PPG, 5.3 RPG, 3.5 APG, 1.5 SPG)
I’m finally convinced that ‘Melo is never going to be a superstar. Furthermore, I figured out the definitive reason why this is the case: Anthony is a tweener. If you don’t know what that means, it’s a player stuck between two positions. In other words, he’s too slow to keep up with today’s 3’s and way to small to bang with the 4’s. But when he’s averaging 24, 6, & 5 in January, ignore everything I just said.
Gold: **READERS' PICK: C Marcus Camby (15.9 PPG, 13.6 PPG, 1.7 SPG, 3.3 BPG, 55.3 FG%) My bad fellas, I totally shit the bed on Camby. But this comment, "Do you watch Basketball? I realize that you're a fan of the game b/c you think that guys like Kwame Brown and Sto are going to be good, but seroiusly dude you don't know a whole lot about the NBA for some guy who covers it." Man, one mistake and I'm a complete moron when it comes to my knowledge of the league? Yeesh. I guess I should just burn the rest of this 7-page article and the other 6-page East piece I put up earlier this week. That's it Paul, let's take down the site. See ya guys, thanks for coming out...
5. Golden State Warriors (6-4)
Bronze: SF Mike Dunleavy Jr. (7.5 PPG, 3.7 RPG, 29.1 FG%, 2.0 TO)
If you currently own Dunleavy and Mickael Pietrus is still available, that swap is coming sooner than you think. I don’t care that Dumpleavy got that big extension this summer, Chris Mullin isn’t going to let this team miss the Playoffs again just to get his money’s worth. And honestly, is there a better fit for this team at the 3 right now than Pietrus? Just do it already…
Silver: SG Jason Richardson (22.4 PPG, 7.5 RPG, 1.1 SPG, 0.9 BPG)
Want to hear something crazy? J-Rich is just 24 years old. Is it just me or didn’t you think he was like 28? Anyway, stardom is no longer around the corner for this kid, it’s here now and growing with each and every game. If he starts to develop a knack for passing he’ll be a first rounder next year, guaranteed.
Gold: Who else hates the fact that Baron Davis is a walking insurance policy? I need those 35 point, 15 assist, 6 steal type of nights more often. Until that back/knee/groin/neck/ankle/ear lobe get better, it’s silver status for B Diddy.
4. Memphis Grizzlies (6-3)
Bronze: C Lorenzen Wright (5.6 PPG, 6.6 RPG, 0.9 BPG, 39.2 FG%)
Let me get this straight, Stro Swift has moved on to Houston, Jake Tsakalidis is your backup, and these are the best numbers you can put up? I was definitely expecting a double-double from him with at least a block and a half, weren’t you? The good news is that he’s had a bum hammy over the last few games, thus perhaps his production will improve as his injury does the same.
Silver: F Shane Battier (12.9 PPG, 5.7 RPG, 1.2 BPG, 62.3 FG%)
For years now, Battier has been that one player tossed around from team to team via free agency because of that inconsistent 10-man rotation in Memphis. This season however, Shane finally has the chance to start and for the most part, he is making the best of it. Keep an eye on him especially if he keeps on receiving 34.0 minutes per game.
Gold: Again, that 10-man rotation kills any chance of a Gold player representing the Grizz. Although PF Pau Gasol (19.6 PPG, 7.8 RPG, 3.8 APG, 2.2 BPG) is pretty damn close…
3. Los Angeles Clippers (7-2)
Bronze: C Chris Kaman (6.4 PPG, 6.4 PPG, 2.0 BPG, 43.8 FG%, 3.4 PF)
My God, have any of you checked out his Yahoo! mug shot? (http://sports.yahoo.com/nba/players/3709) He looks like an albino WWE star. Anyway, a player with the last name Kaman was bound to be a dud anyway, right? I wonder how many Clippers fans have unconsciously altered his name to “Come ONNNNNNNNNNN!!!!” I bet a lot.
Silver: PG Sam Cassell (15.7 PPG, 7.8 APG, 1.0 SPG, 40.1 FG%)
Even further proof that he threw in the towel last season…At this point would anyone object to KG drilling him in the face the next time those two face-off? Seriously, who wouldn’t go for that?
Gold: If there was a border between Silver land and Gold land, Elton Brand’s fat ass would be straddling it. 23.2 PPG, 10.0 RPG, 2.6 BPG, & 57.4 FG%...I wonder how the Bulls feel about this trade now. Think about it, would you rather have Brand (still just 26) or Tyson Chandler at this point? Didn’t Chicago have Ron Artest too? Wow.
2. Dallas Mavericks (7-2)
Bronze: C Erick Dampier (4.6 PPG, 5.6 RPG, 0.6 BPG, 4.1 PF)
Choosing to give Dampier all that money rather than Steve Nash really worked out, huh? How can you start every game for a top-4 team in the West and have such atrocious numbers? Furthermore, how can you lose minutes to DeSagana Diop? Has Dampier lost the will to live?
Silver: GF Marquis Daniels (10.1 PPG, 3.6 RPG, 2.0, 1.1 SPG)
I realize that these numbers don’t look very appealing, but now that Doug Christie’s body is completely eroding, Daniels has gotten the starting nod in his place. Trust me, this is like getting stock in Google when it first came out (just a slight exaggeration).
Gold: F Dirk Nowitzki (25.0 PPG, 8.9 RPG, 1.3 BPG, 2.4 3PM)
Not exceptional numbers by any means, but just a hair off of last year’s totals. What scares me is the fact that he played so much in the World Championships this summer. It seemed like every day I saw him playing some type of basketball. I mean, does he ever take a break? Can’t you see the Mavs at like 40-7, cruising towards the 2 seed in the West, and then BAM, out goes Dirk with a devastating injury? Man, I hope I don’t jinx him…
1. San Antonio Spurs (8-2)
Bronze: SG Manu Ginobili (29.9 MPG, 14.8 PPG, 4.7 RPG, 3.0 APG, 1.8 SPG)
I know, not bad numbers at all seeing he only averages 30 minutes, but that’s the thing, why just 30? Maybe it’s because the Spurs are incredible and usually up by 55 heading into the 4th, but maybe it’s because Manu just can’t play through minor nagging injuries (e.g., bruised quad). After amazing the world last summer with his display in the Finals, I’m sure a ton of managers took him in the 3rd or 4th round hoping for similar type numbers. Way to disappoint Manu… (Can you tell I’m not the biggest Ginobili supporter?)
Silver: PG Tony Parker (21.6 PPG, 6.3 APG, 1.2 SPG, 55.7 FG%)
Hey, if I were dating Eva Longoria I think my game would improve ten-fold too. I bet she’s like, “Okay T-Bone, if you score 25 and dish out 8 assists tonight, I’ll wear that red dental floss thong to bed.” Talk about motivation…
Gold: PF Tim Duncan (21.4 PPG, 11.1 RPG, 3.2 APG, 2.2 BPG, 53.0 FG%)
Although not a top-3 pick any longer, Timmay still defines consistency as well as anyone in the game. I love the new ‘fro too, makes him look like he hung out with Ricky Williams all summer. His game on the other hand, assures us he did not.