Monday, March 20, 2006

Triple Threat

AI: Back to street clothes



3 Players on Fire

1. Joe Johnson, Atlanta
Remember back in the summer when I predicted JJ to become the NBA’s next star ala Amare from a season ago? Well if you don’t remember some of the responses I received, here are a handful of quotes from you, the readers.


“I hope Joe Johnson does have a breakout year, but I'm not expecting it. He was the last guy you worried about shutting down out of the Sun's starting five - now he's #1.”

“Hi, I’m Chris. Greeting from Germany Bottrop!!

“Joe will be good, but I don't see him as an all-star on that team.”

“He’ll have 5 or 6 TO per game, if he plays the point full-time.”


For a guy playing his first season in a new uniform, at a new position, for a team with mostly prepubescent talent, an increase in points (3.5), assists (3.1), steals (0.3), FG% (0.3%), and FT% (3.7%) ain’t too shabby. In fact, since February 22nd JJ has put up 27.4 PPG, 4.7 RPG, and 8.4 APG—certainly “star” numbers by anyone’s standards. And as for those 5 or 6 turnovers per game, they have thus far equated to only 3.3. And while that total may rank as 5th worse in the league, look at the four guys ahead of him: Nash, Arenas, Wade, and Pierce. All this means is that the more times you touch the rock, the more prone you are to coughing it up. Go ask a mathematician.

2. Dirk Nowitzki, Dallas
Remember back in college when you’d get that one Wednesday in February where it was like 65 degrees and the majority of the campus pranced around in t-shirts, shorts, and Birkenstocks only to come down with a vicious cold by the weekend? And yet you, as the only guy with enough sense not to rock one of those sleeveless Abercrombie T’s that read something like “My Major=Happy Hour”, got screwed out of a great weekend because everyone else was sick. Well I bet that’s kind of how Dirk feels right now with Howard, Daniels, Griffin, Harris, and Van Horn all missing time while he’s gearing up for the race for the 1 seed. Hell, recently the team has even started Rawle Marshall, the equivalent to you calling that random kid in your psych class to see if he’s going out. Just an unfortunate situation all around.

3. Kevin Garnett, Minnesota
This isn’t so much for his play over the last week or so (22.8 PPG, 13.4 RPG, & 2.4 SPG), which was decent at best, but more so for what I expect to come. You see, when I enter my DefCon 4 level of frustration, I just go around throwing/breaking/destroying things. KG on the other hand, enters his “Please, for the love of everything sacred and holy, don’t get in my way” mode. Personally, I’m very excited for it. This will conveniently segue into Garnett demanding a trade this summer and him finally getting a chance to win a title for a team that respects him.



3 Players in the Dumps

1. Eric Snow, Cleveland
I don’t get it, how can a guy who does practically nothing remain in the starting lineup for a contending team? Over his last five games, Snow has tallied nearly 33 minutes a night, while putting up just 2.2 PPG, 1.2 RPG, and 4.2 APG. Seriously, what’s the minimum requirement for a player to net those stats playing alongside LeBron James? Stay alive? I really think I could be just as effective as Snow, if not more. Picture it—everyone double-teams LeBron, leaving me wide open for a layup, boom, two points. Then, every other time I touch the ball I give it to James, boom, 4 dimes (minimum). I guess Mike Brown really has no choice with Damon Jones for a backup.

2. Allen Iverson, Philadelphia
Man, is there anyone with worse luck than Iverson? First they stick him with Webber (he’d probably rather play with Brian Sclalabrine), then his name surfaces in trade rumors, now his ankle has forced him to the bench while his teammates slowly destroy his Playoff hopes. At least there’s plenty of weed in Philly.

3. Tracy McGrady, Houston
Last summer if you told me that Orlando would end up on top of the T-Mac-Francis deal I would have said you’re crazy. Now, you’d be absolutely right. They pushed Francis out for a ton of cap room and gave up Cato for Darko. Meanwhile, T-Mac’s hanging out with Lee Trevino and Don Mattingly in some chiropractor’s office.



3 Teams on Fire

1. Miami Heat (45-21)
Here’s concrete proof that if you’re a headline reader, you’ll never get the full story. Sure Miami has won 15 of 16 , but have any of you stopped to see that only three of those wins came against teams with winning records? Beating up on the Bostons, Atlantas, Charlottes, and New Yorks of the NBA world can only get you so far come May and June. However, I do like the fact that Pat Riley is finally warming to the idea of using Shaq and ‘Zo together. Long overdue, don’t you think?

2. San Antonio Spurs (52-14)
Yeah, yeah, winners of 8 out of their last 10, now tied with Detroit for most wins in the league, owners of the 1 seed out West—it’s all fine and dandy. But what matters most is getting rest for Manu and Duncan because playing with any of these two at less than 90-100% in the Playoffs will spell trouble, trust me.

3. Sacramento Kings (33-33)
They are 15-9 since Artest’s arrival, winners of 7 out of their last 10, and the owners of the 8th seed in the West. If you were Dallas, San Antonio, or Phoenix, would you really want to face this Kings team? I sure wouldn’t…



3 Teams in the Dumps

1. Philadelphia 76ers (31-35)
Randy Ayers, Chris Ford, Jim O’Brien, and Mo Cheeks. Three coaches in three years with relatively no improvement. You know what that means don’t you? Billy King’s house should have a for sale sign in front of it by April 20th.

2. Detroit Pistons (52-13)
On the one hand, it’s a good thing to be considered slumping when you lose four of ten. But on the other hand, there’s definite room for concern when you lose to the Knicks. At this point Rutgers would be favored against New York.

3. Portland Trailblazers (20-46)
Don’t get me wrong, I still think it’s a hell of an achievement for Nate McMillan to have won 20 games with this team. But what I don’t get is Nate’s blatant disregard for those of us who have fantasy leagues to win. For instance, with Zach Randolph missing Saturday’s game at Milwaukee, Darius Miles got the start, played 43 minutes and put up 26/6/4/1/2. In addition, Joel Przybilla (recently back from injury) also got the starting nod and tallied 14 and 11 in 34 minutes of work. You think the fact that they only lost by 4, when they dropped their previous three by an average of 19.0 points might give McMillan a clue that these guys can ball? I mean, as cool as it is to lose by 29 to the Bulls, I bet all of the Blazers would rather play competitive basketball every night. Well, the same goes for me in fantasy.



3 Fantasy Buys

1. F Danny Granger, Indiana
It was reported today that as long as Jermaine O’Neal and Austin Croshere remain sidelined, Granger will continue to warrant a starting nod. However, Coach Carlisle informed the media that if he had a choice, he would rather have the rookie forward come off the pine. Wake up Rick, the kid can ball: 18.5 PPG and 6.5 RPG in his last two starts.

2. SF Trevor Ariza, Orlando
This is going out on a pretty flimsy limb here, but I think Sunday’s 10-8-5 performance in 18 minutes might serve as a wake up call for Brian Hill. His other option at the 2 right now is DeShawn Stevenson, a guy that brings absolutely nothing to the table but 11 points. So at this point in the year, why not let the kid step in and see what he can do alongside Jameer Nelson? It just might happen…

3. PF Reggie Evans, Denver
With Marcus Camby and Kenyon Martin listed as questionable almost every night, it’d be very wise for you to take a shot on Evans. Check at his numbers on the glass when given 30+ minutes in a Nuggets uni: 16, 8, 20, and 10. What’s even more appealing here (for you and Coach Karl) is that those have been all wins.



3 Fantasy Sells

1. Any Knick aside from Francis and Marbury
If this is a shock to you, pack up your team right now because you’re not seeing a penny from your league anyway.

2. Stromile Swift, Houston
There are no words to describe the frustration I feel when discussing this player. Anytime Dikembe Mutombo is stealing minutes from you after you just signed a lucrative offseason deal, you should contemplate killing yourself.

3. Jake Tsakalidis, Memphis
Don’t lie now, did he rope you into picking him up last week? C’mon admit it, he’s sitting on your bench as we speak, isn’t he? Here’s a rule I’d like to share with you. Anytime you can say, “Dude, it’s bleeping ______________!”, he’s more than likely a guy you should avoid. Players that fall into this category include: Tsakalidis, Jake Voskuhl, any of the Collins twins, Vitaly Potapenko, John Edwards, and every other player we’ve ever made fun of on this site.



3 Thoughts from the NCAA Tournament

1. Bracketology
Anyone else want to punch Joe Lunardi in the face? Seriously, can my bracket be any worse at this point? Out of 333 in my office pool, you know what place I’m in? 327th. And you know what peeves me the most, that I know more about college basketball than 99% of these people. Every year I watch more and more games, read more and more articles, watch more and more shows, and yet every year I do worse. Bradley and George Mason? C’mon now, is there one person on earth with those two teams in his Sweet Sixteen? What bothers me the most about these pools is that people with absolutely no knowledge of college basketball are making me look like a complete moron. For instance, one guy in my department is currently 6th overall and you know what he said to me this morning? “I didn’t realize teams played more than one game over the course of the first few days. I turned on the television yesterday and was so surprised to see more games being played.” These are the people that pick George Mason to win because they did their undergrad there or liked Georgetown because they had “prettiest outfits”. I swear, next year I’m letting 3-month old sister fill this thing out.

2. Adam Morrison/JJ Redick Debate
I don’t care how great these two are as scorers, I just don’t see either as good enough to warrant a top-5 pick. Redick may serve as a nasty 3-point specialist off someone’s bench, but anything more than that will be asking a lot. And Morrison, well sure he scores at will against the St. Mary’s and San Franciscos of the collegiate world, but who the hell is he going to outmuscle in the NBA with those Ally McBeal arms? Both players need to bulk up fast and also work on getting their teammates more involved. (And while we’re at it, what the hell is Rudy Gay’s deal? It seems to me that everyone defending him is either 2-3 inches smaller, or 1-2 two steps slower. Yet there he is sitting on the perimeter waiting for something to open up rather than creating it himself. I can assure you that I’m not the only one recognizing this and that Jim Calhoun has been pushing for Gay to dominate just as much as I am. Thus the question arises, is he ever going to get it?)

3. Final Four Picks
Without any explanation: Texas, Gonzaga, UConn, Villanova (now go to Gertrude in the mailroom and get the real winners)

15 Comments:

At 6:20 PM, Blogger Creek! said...

You totally nailed me with the Tsakalidis thing. Guilty as charged, my friend.

..... And now to see if Luke Schenscher is available. Mwahahahaha!

 
At 6:56 PM, Anonymous Curtis said...

Couple arguments--

I still disagree with you about Joe Johnson being this year's "Amare". And if I remember correctly, at the time I wasn't arguing that Johnson wasn't a good pickup for Atlanta. I felt it was a move the Hawks had to make (in retrospect, they gave up too much considering how good Diaw is) given their constant shortcomings in free agency. That said, Johnson's impact on the Hawks hasn't been anything close to what Amare's was for the Suns last year. Not only was Amare an All-Star and a legitimate MVP candidate in some eyes, he was a huge reason Phoenix finished with the league's best record and marched to the Western Conference players. Johnson's numbers have improved and while that's all fine and dandy among fantasy players, the Hawks are still a bad team and NOBODY deserves Amare Stoudemire impact comparisons if your team is struggling to win 25 games. No player, in my estimation, can be labeled a "star" without being elected to a single All-Star Game. Is Joe Johnson on the right track? I agree with you that he is. The Hawks have improved this year and while he definitely doesn't deserve all the credit, he certainly warrants a lot. Yes, Johnson made the leap and you cited that, but to compare him to Amare Stoudemire as far as making that leap...I just think that's pushing the envelope a bit.

2--Jake Tsakalidis. Creek I hope you haven't dropped him. The Grizzlies NEED this guy. They're the one Playoff-bound team in the West that has trouble scoring and Fratello realizes this which is why he's giving Jake every opportunity to produce. The Grizz are almost guaranteed to play Denver in the 1st round and if they don't want to get wiped out by a high-scoring team like they did last year against Phoenix, they NEED more scoring. Watch the Grizzlies. The offense still goes through Gasol but they're looking for Jake a LOT. He's gained a lot of confidence and he actually has a relatively ample amount of ability working the low post. Is he going to continually bust out 19 and 16s? No. The scouting reports are out and he's still slow as shit (which is why he had a down game against Utah-- they got him into foul trouble), but he has carved himself an important role in that offense which is why he will likely put up fantasy-worthy numbers the rest of the season (12 pts, 8 rebs and 1 blk is a good guess). And besides Ant, you really think I'm dumb enough to waste an important move? C'mon man. I'm shocked you didn't knock on Dalembert who's fallen harder than anyone in fantasy this season. At one point Sammy was averaging a double-double and leading the NBA in blocks, and then he misses 2 games due to injury and now he's suddenly struggling to put up double figures in minutes. Not exactly sure what's going on there, but something tells me Dalembert sat those two games out with a phantom ankle sprain and Mo Cheeks knew it.

 
At 9:32 PM, Blogger Anthony Peretore said...

Curtis my man, very nice points. I never meant to hint that I thought Joe Johnson has reached Amare levels, just that he's matured into a star ala Stoudemire a year ago. However, I do think your argument is a bit flawed.

1) It was a lot easier for Amare to bust out on the scene playing in that offense. He had Nash dishing to him every other trip up the floor and Marion playing opposite him in the post. Plus, defenders had to stay honest with Johnson and Q as 3-point threats from the outside. One could argue that a lot of guys could have thrived in Stoudemire's place.

2) JJ on the other hand, is playing a brand new position, on a brand new team, with hardly the supporting cast of Amare. Yes, Johnson still has many flaws in his game, but I think he's done an excellent job this season and taken the Hawks to a level we never imagined. None of us in our right minds pictured Atlanta with 21 wins with 18 left to play. For that, Johnson should be commended.

SIDE NOTE: I would completely agree with you that a player shouldn't be rightfully labeled a star until making an All-Star team, except in this situation. Anyone on a bad team in the East never had a chance this season and you know it.

3) Diaw would never be this successful playing in Atlanta. Again, I attribute much of his maturation to the Suns' style of play.

Again man, awesome points, I just didn't mean to hint that he's at Amare's level, just that he would be this year's star in the making.

As for Tsakalidis, the only teams he has success against are those with only one (or none) legit post defender: Seattle (?), Philly (you just made the case for Sammy and Hunter isn't good by any means), and Boston (Raef is the only guy slower than Jake). Keep the faith though man.

Great debate. Go UConn

 
At 11:47 PM, Anonymous Wayne said...

[i]I would completely agree with you that a player shouldn't be rightfully labeled a star until making an All-Star team, except in this situation. Anyone on a bad team in the East never had a chance this season and you know it.[/i]

Chris Bosh anyone?

Joe John is playing well this season and he's a good player, I am impressed by his assists number and field goal %, but he's still only a "good" player right now intead of "star" player.

Yeah, the span of games you used does look like all-star numbers, but that's not represent the whole season. His season avg is 20,7,4, good, but not great, cetainly not worth 12mils.

 
At 2:33 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

haha i agree with you on eric snow...the guy couldnt be any worse

 
At 9:18 AM, Blogger Anthony Peretore said...

Bosh is the exception. He almost had to make it with Jermaine sidelined. Hell, besides CB, only one other PF made the East roster (Sheed). Doesn't that tell you something?

But you're right Wayne, I was techincally wrong. The thing is, making an All-Star team doesn't necessarily prove or disprove stardom. The East was littered with potential All-Stars at the guard position this season. So does the fact that Johnson was left off for guys like Pierce, Arenas, Hamilton, and Billups mean he cannot be labeled a star yet? That seems kind of crazy, doesn't it?

Awesome debate, I'd like to hear more opinions as well as continued bashing of Eric Snow.

 
At 11:36 AM, Anonymous Rob Bobberson said...

Some pointz to make...

You HAVE to be an all star to be a star.. where do you think they get the term "STAR" from?? (all-STAR)... if you cant make the all star team then you just arent a star i am sorry lolz

eric snow suckz... i dont think you could put up similar numbers though Anthony... he has been in the nba for yearz and iz in great shape and probably knows the game better than you.. just cuz his numberz are bad doeznt mean that you would be better... i know about lebron being the best ever lol.. but still... i think you may want to take back what you said

ncaa poolz... i actually had george mason and bradley winning those gamez.. but this is nba source not ncaa source so i guess i cant rip on you too bad!! pathetic how bad you are at the poolz though.. i have uconn, duke, memphiz, nova.. uconn beating duke 101-64

 
At 1:39 PM, Blogger Anthony Peretore said...

Bobberson,

No one likes you. I am sure of this. Not me, not any other reader here, not even you're own family. How could they? You are the most onboxious, worthless, senseless MORON I have ever come in contact with. Please get help. Thank you.

PS-and stop using Z's as S's. That has never been cool and never will be. You just make yourself appear even dumber, if that's even possible.

 
At 2:57 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Very mature comeback Peretore.
Truth is, there's a reason Snow's in the NBA and you're working in an office, sitting 327/333 in its NCAA pool...

Since you steal most of your content/writing style from Simmons, can't you at least try to come up with some funny retorts like him?

 
At 4:58 PM, Anonymous Wayne said...

Nice Bobberson. I agree with peretore.

 
At 8:02 PM, Blogger Anthony Peretore said...

Haha, I love you guys. Are we really comparing my life to Eric Snow's now? I was just making an observation that it doesn't take a world class athlete to put up the numbers he has.

And how do I steal content from Simmons? I'd like an example of that. I think Bill has introduced an entirely new writing style to the entire media, not just me. Look at Peter King and even boring writers at ESPN. They are all attempting to integrate more humor into their work. Seriously man, if you don't like the site, why not just go read Simmons himself? I didn't force you to come here and read my material. And nice attempt at insulting me with my Tourney standing after I already insulted myself. That one hurt. Next time put up your name if you're going to be so "bold".

 
At 9:06 AM, Anonymous WillC said...

Anthony, have you ever considered that the reason Eric Snow still has a job in the NBA might be because of his excellent effort on the defensive end? A team doesn't need to be full of 20ppg scorers or stat fillers. There are these things called "role players". They help you win championships. Bruce Bowen comes to mind.

Now I realise that you don't honestly believe that you could put up Snow's numbers if given the chance (I'm not stupid unlike Rob Bobberson), and I too appreciate that Snow's stats are the lowest of the low and he's not on Bowen's level, but he's still a useful role player.

This leads me to my main point...

Having read this site for a few months now, I have come to realise that you're addicted to fantasy basketball. Perhaps if you stepped out of your fantasy bubble for long enough you'd begin to realise that stats don't mean everything.

WillC

 
At 12:20 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Well said, WillC. It seems to me that Ant spends way too much time studying box scores rather than actually watching the game. Has Eric Snow lost a step on defense? Absolutely. Does that not mean he's still a valuable piece for this team? He is. He's a heady veteran who can handle the rock, D it up, and be the calming influence on what has been perhaps the most inconsistent team in the NBA. Watch the Cavaliers some time Anthony and you'll see this. And I actually agree with Curtis on Tsakalidis. You can't go by a couple of lousy games in the box scores, Fratello will make an effort to get this guy involved. They need scoring desperately and it can't hurt to get it from a position that has killed them all season long. Again, watch Tsakalidis play before you judge him. I happened to watch the 17 and 12 game last week and he looked great. Very active and confident with the ball. He looks awkward when he runs and really can't move laterally so he's no help as a weakside defender, but he can give you 25-30 minutes of decent play at the center position. His post game is actually polished which tells you he's worked hard and I would think he could score on most centers, though as we've seen against Utah and Indiana, not some of the better frontlines. My point is, Ant take more time watching games rather than going by stat lines. They really mean so little in basketball. That's why I never bother to read a John Hollinger article. There's so many factors that aren't accounted for when you take statisical matters into your hands.

 
At 5:17 PM, Blogger Anthony Peretore said...

You guys are right, I never watch basketball and just study boxscores. It's incredible that I have kept this site going by just tracking ESPN.com scoreboards.

Trust me, I watch Eric Snow, and he's a decent defender, but you guys know as well as I do that he's playing 30 minutes a game by default. Paxson should have traded for a better point guard but now unfortunately, it's too late. To compare him to Bruce Bowen is just assanine. Bowen is a perennial 1st Team All-Defensive player, whereas Snow has cracked a 2nd Team just once. I don't mind being called out when I'm wrong, in fact I think it's beneficial to all of us. But when you guys try and teach me the game as if I don't watch basketball, well that's just insulting.

As for Tsakalidis, look what he's done since I told you to drop him:

4 pts, 8 rebs, 1 block, then
2 pts, 5 rebs, 0 blocks.

I watch Jake twice during his big stretch and in fact, very closely against my Celtics. He benefits a lot from defenders focussing primarily on Gasol. But like I said in the article, if the Grizzlies go up against a team with a couple solid post defenders, Tsaka will not be as effective.

Trust me, I realize stats aren't everything and that Snow can be a valuable contributor to the Cavs. But cmon now, there's no way he should be playing 30+ minutes a night. He's lost more than a step in those old legs. That was my point. And as for Tsakalidis, we'll just have to see who ends up right.

 
At 5:24 AM, Anonymous WillC said...

You know, since I gave you the benefit of the doubt and assumed that you weren't really comparing your basketball abilities with those of Eric Snow, I would have thought you'd have the similar level of intelligence to realise that I wasn't comparing Snow's skill level with that of Bruce Bowen's. Indeed, I even said "he's not on Bowen's level" so that you couldn't jump in and accuse me of being "assinine" for comparing Snow to Bowen.

But low-and-behold, Anthony jumps the gun as usual and makes a fool of himself. Clearly I was comparing Snow to Bowen in the way that neither are the types of players to put up big stat lines but both do the little things to help their teams win, especially on the defensive end.

By the way, regarding your latest article, you do realise the purpose of the draft lottery, surely? I guess they must work differently in fantasy basketball or something.

 

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