Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Fantasy Notes 10/27

  • No one scored over 14 points for the Pistons. With so many established role players, this type of scoring output may continue. The only surefire player I would own is Rodney Stuckey, who is the only legitimate PG on the team.
  • In the same game, Terrence Williams played 32 minutes off the bench for a line of 10-6-4. Expect more of the same.
  • Lou Williams played 32 minutes to Jru Holliday's 21. Something to pay attention to in coming games.
  • LeBron James had 9 TOs tonight after having 8 last night.
  • Danilo Gallinari took only 9 shots. Wilson Chandler took 18.
  • Jarret Jack is the PG to own in Toronto. Jose Calderon played only 17 minutes.
  • Marco Belinelli played 35 minutes to Marcus Thornton's 11. Belinelli is the player to own for the time being.
  • Al Horford only played 18 minutes. Not sure why.
  • O.J. Mayo took only 9 shots. He needs to shoot more to be worth owning.
  • J.J. Hickson was the man in Cleveland, scoring 21 points on only 11 shots. Could be a big year.
  • Kevin Love only played 24 minutes. There is no reason he shouldn't be playing at least 30 every night.
  • Luke Ridnour had a line of 20-6-4. He should be picked up until Johnny Flynn comes back from injury.
  • Derrick Rose took 31 shots tonight. Might be the most he takes all year (I hope).
  • Taj Gibson put up 16-11 in Carlos Boozer's absence. Own him and try to sell high.
  • Serge Ibaka had 8 points, 9 boards, and 4 blocks in 32 minutes. He's worth picking up.

Anthony Randolph to miss 2 weeks

The promising big man will miss two weeks with a sprained ankle. Surely, this isn't the way he wanted to start his tenure in New York. Tough luck if you drafted him high. In his absence, pick up Ronny Turiaf, who will be a fantastic source of blocks.

Turning Up the Heat on D!

After watching The Miami Heat lose their first game on the road in Boston, most critics will only talk about how inept they were on offense. They had trouble in half court sets - often sitting back and watching LeBron go after the Celtics alone, Cav's style. In time the Heat will develop chemistry and their offense will be humming. The Celtics core has been together for years and understand all of their defensive rotations, which is a big reason Miami's offense looked so stagnant. The Heat's offense should look a lot better tonight against Philadelphia.

On the other end of the court, Miami's defense was really good and has the potential to be suffocating. LeBron and Wade are already great in the passing lanes, but when Coach Spoelstra shifts to a lineup featuring Dwyane Wade, LeBron, James Jones, Joel Anthony, and Bosh, the length they have on the floor would have Jay Bilas talking in his crazy draft night superlatives. They are LONG. Coach Spo must design a trapping style defense with this group to allow their speed and length to wreak havoc on an offense. Wade or James are able to stay in front on speedy guards with James Jones harassing shooters and players coming off of screens (ex. Rip Hamilton, Durant, Ray Allen, etc.).

Last night the Celtics showed that the Heat will have a tough time playing post defense against post up centers. Although Joel Anthony is a shot blocker he does much better blocking players when he is off the ball not getting bodied. The Heat will learn how to create more opportunities in the half court in time and will be able to stretch the floor more when Mike Miller comes back from injury. But their defense can and will carry them until that day happens.


Monday, October 25, 2010

Marc Gasol has Sprained Ankle

He underwent an MRI and it was discovered he has a grade 2 sprain. He is considered day-to-day. Gasol was likely drafted in the 4th or 5th round of fantasy drafts. If he misses a substantial amount of time, it might be worth taking a chance on Hasheem Thabeet, who will help with blocks at the very least or Darrel Arthur. Z-Bo will continue to get his 20-10.

Martell Webster Undergoes Back Surgery

Back injuries are never good. He is set to be out between 4 to 6 weeks. In the meantime, expect Wesley Johnson, Corey Brewer and Michael Beasley to get an uptick in minutes. It will be interesting to see how Minnesota's rotation plays out. In the meantime, Kevin Love and Michael Beasley are the only fantasy players worth owning.

Story lines: Pacific Division

L.A. Lakers - Will Kobe's knee hold up to give them a chance at a three peat? He underwent his 3rd surgery on the left knee this summer. What will Andrew Bynum contribute?

Sacramento Kings - Will DeMarcus Cousins make teams regret not taking him? Will he keep his head on straight? Has Tyreke Evans outside shot improved? Will Donta Greene or Omri Casspi ever be consistent enough to be the starting SF?

Golden State - Will new head coach Keith Smart ask more of his players on defense? How will David Lee, Monta Ellis, and Steph Curry work together? Who is their starting SF? Is Brandan Wright good enough to be part of the rotation?

Phoenix - Who is going to rebound for them? They have a zillion SF, who is going to get playing time? Are they going to trade Steve Nash? Surely he wants to play for a contender. Did they know something about Hedo Turkoglu that we didn't?

L.A. Clippers - Can Blake Griffin stay healthy? He looked like a beast in the preseason. Will Baron Davis remain healthy and focused? After looking fantastic with Team U.S.A., is this Eric Gordon's breakout year? What do we make of rookie Al-Farouq Aminu?

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Story lines: Northwest Division

Utah Jazz -- Can Al Jefferson replace Carlos Boozer's production and take them to the next level? Will Raja Bell, C.J. Miles, and Gordon Hayward provide enough production on the wing?

Minnesota -- What is GM David Kahn's plan (we might never know the answer to this)? Will Ricky Rubio come over next year, or is Johnny Flynn the man? Who is going to get playing time at the wing positions? How good is Kevin Love -- 20 pts 13 rebounds pg?

Denver -- When will Melo be traded, and to whom? What will they get in return? If they trade Melo, they ought to trade Chauncey Billups as well, right? Very curious to see what this roster looks like at the end of the season.

Oklahoma City -- This should be OKC's breakout season, so just how good will they be? Can Russel Westbrook harness his athleticism and learn to shoot? Can Thabo Sefolosha keep defenders honest and knock down a corner three? Can James Harden be a reliable 6th man?

Portland -- Will Greg Oden ever be healthy? If so, how effective can he be? Is Nicolas Batum ready to take on a larger role with the team? Will Rudy Fernandez stop pouting? LaMarcus Aldridge put on a lot of muscle this summer -- how will that affect his play?

Tomorrow I will list the story lines for the Pacific Division.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Chris Andersen's New Ink

A few months ago, I wrote a post about the NBA's All-Ink Team. Chris Anderson, aka The Birdman, was the hands down winner for the Center position. This fall returned to training camp with his most interesting and colorful tattoo yet -- one that says "Free Bird" on his neck. He continues to be one of the most "colorful" characters in the NBA.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Darko to Breakout? No, but these Guys Might

Every season there are players who come into their own and become key pieces to their team. Sometimes these players breakouts are expected, and sometimes they come out of the blue.

The following is a list of players who I think could "break out" this season. First, we must develop a criteria for a breakout player.
  • Must be under 25 years of age or have played less than 5 years in the league (sorry Darko and Joe Smith).
  • Must have a substantial statistical improvement
  • There must be some element of surprise for the breakout. All-World players like Kevin Durant, LeBron, and Dwight Howard do not qualify.
Here are a few examples of last year's breakout players
  • Joakim Noah (Bulls) - In his 3rd season, Noah showed he is a cornerstone of the Chicago Bulls. So much so that they wouldn't consider trading him for Carmelo Anthony and gave him a 5 year, $60 mil extension. Last season he averaged 10.7 points and 11.0 rebounds, compared with 6.7 points and 7.6 rebounds in 2009
  • Danilo Gallinari (Knicks) - After an injury plagued rookie season that included back surgery, the Italian sharpshooter proved that he was worthy of the 5th overall pick in 2008. He averaged 15 points, 5 boards, and 2.6 3's a game after averaging only 6 points and 2 boards a year prior.
  • George Hill (Spurs) - When he was drafted by the Spurs, most people thought, "who?". Hill proved the doubters wrong last year, averaging 12 points and 3 assists (16 and 4 in January and February!) after averaging only 6 points his rookie season.
This years break out players:

  • Serge Ibaka (Thunder) - The bigman from Zaire averaged 6 points and 5 boards in his rookie season. He is athletic, has a nice mid-range jumper, and a chiseled NBA physique. I don't think 8 points and 10 boards with a few blocks and an eventual starting gig is out of the question this season.
  • Roy Hibbert (Pacers) - Finally, the Pacers have a point guard. Hibbert should benefit from Darren Collison's presence as much as anyone. The 7'2 C out of Georgetown is primed for a big season. He doesn't have much competition for playing time (Tyler Hansbrough, Jeff Foster, and Josh McRoberts), and has shown potential in his first 2 years (5 double doubles in 7 games last November). He is a naturally gifted scorer (12 ppg), but hasn't figure out how to crash the glass (5.7 rpg). Look for him to average 14-7 with 2 blocks this season.
  • Anthony Randolph (Knicks) - He should explode in Mike D'Antoni's uptempo offense. Of course we said the same thing when he played under Don Nelson, but he battled injuries and inconsistent playing time. If he can stay healthy and buy into D'Antoni's system, he should put up big numbers alongside Amare Stoudemire. He averaged 11 ppg and 6.5 rpg last season -- I'm thinking 14 ppg and 8 rpg with 2 blocks.
  • DeMar DeRozan (Raptors) - With Bosh gone, the Raptors are looking to rebuild, which means give DeRozan a lot of burn. The wildly athletic 21 year old averaged 8.6 ppg and 2.9 rpg last season. It will be an ugly season in Toronto, but DeRozan should get plenty of looks. 14 ppg, 4 rpg, 2 apg.
  • Tyrus Thomas (Bobcats) - As a Bulls fan, it pains me to include him. But Larry Brown and co. must have seen something in Tyrus before offering him a $40 mil contract, right? We've been expecting big things from Tyrus for 4 years now, and this is his last chance. 15 ppg, 6 rpg, 2.5 bpg.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Joakim Noah Extended

Joakim Noah has agreed to a 5 year extension with the Bulls worth $60 million. We can now put to rest any chance that he might included in a deal for Carmelo Anthony. Noah, who is the emotional leader and fan favorite for the Bulls, had a breakout season last year, averaging 10.7 points and 11 rebounds while suffering from plantar fasciitis.

At roughly $12 mil a season, the Bulls are getting Noah at a fair price. Tyson Chandler ($12.7 mil), Samuel Dalembert ($13.4 mil), Emeka Okafor ($12.4 mil), and Andris Biedrins ($9 mil) are all defensive, rebounding centers who are paid a similar amount. However, they aren't nearly as effective as JoNo. He has shown drastic improvement in each of his first 3 seasons, and we can expect more of the same this season when he plays besides PF Carlos Boozer. Without a doubt, Boozer and Noah will be the loudest front court in the NBA, as they both have a penchant for playing with vocal passion.

(salaries source: shamsports)

Monday, October 4, 2010

I Tried Sneaking into Bulls Training Camp this Morning

NBA TV has been airing the training camps of various NBA teams, including the Knicks, Lakers, Wizards, and Heat. While watching them, I noticed that at some of the practices there are fans watching. I called the Berto Center, which is the Bulls practice facility, multiple times to see if they allow fans in. There was no answer.

This morning I drove to the Berto Center to check out the scene and see if I could sneak a peak into the Bulls practice. The facility is tucked away in a corporate office neighborhood, across the street from the Walgreen’s headquarters. The only way you would know it is the Bulls practice facility is by a small Bulls logo painted on the asphalt in the parking lot -- and the Bentleys, Range Rovers, and BMWs parked behind a closed gate.

I walked to the entrance of the building to find a note on the door asking me to ring the buzzer to the right. BZZZZZ….

Me: Hello, I’m here to watch the Bulls training camp!

Her: Who are you?

Me: My name is Ned Bothfeld

Her: Are you a member of the media?

Me: No, but I have a blog, Big & Little NBA Transactions. Maybe you’ve heard of it?

Her: No.

Me: Is there a certain time I can watch training camp?

Her: Never. It’s closed to everyone but the media.

Me: What if I slipped you a 20?

Her: No

Me: Can I try out? I have a sweet J…


Determined to get some sort of value out of my journey, I walked over to a door on the side of the building. I held my ear up to it and could hear practice taking place – squeaking sneakers, Joakim Noah calling out screens, and Coach Thibideau barking out instructions. I was so close yet so far from it. If I can hear it why won’t they let me watch it? As a last ditch effort, I walked over to a Fox News reporter who was unloading his camera equipment from his car.

Me: Hello, do you have any extra media passes?

Him: I don’t, I’m sorry.

Me: Can I come in with you and we can say I’m your camera assistant or something?

Him: I can’t, I don’t want to risk my credentials.

Me: Oh come on. It will work.

Him: Get a job in the media and then you can come in.

Me: Shit. That sucks. Thanks for your time.

Thus, my attempt to watch training camp ended. Maybe tomorrow I will return with a keyhole camera and watch practice Erin Andrews style.

Boozer Breaks Fall... and Hand

Carlos Boozer broke the 5th metacarpal in his right hand after tripping over a bag in his home. He will undergo surgery on Tuesday and miss approximately eight weeks. This is not the way Boozer or the Bulls wanted to start their tenure together. Boozer, an eight-year veteran and two-time All-Star, was the Bulls prized acquisition of the summer after he signed a 5 year, $75 million deal.

Although this is a major setback to the beginning of a much-anticipated season, the Bulls should emerge from Boozer's injury in decent shape. Consider the following points:

  • Boozer injured his hand. If he were to break his foot or pull a hamstring, he wouldn’t be able to run. Upon return, he should be in good shape.
  • Taj Gibson is a capable backup. The talented second-year man showed a lot of promise in his rookie season, averaging 9 points and 7.5 rebounds. When playing over 30 minutes a night (which he will do in Boozer’s absence), he averaged 11 points and 9.7 rebounds in 31 games. We can expect further improvement on his play based on his hard work and continued adjustment to the NBA game.
  • Joakim Noah will be around to snag rebounds. He proved he could handle the glass on his own last year, when he averaged 11 rebounds while battling plantar fasciitis for most of the season.
  • Minnesota’s Kevin Love suffered the same injury (4th metacarpal) during training camp last year and had a successful recovery, averaging 14 points and 11 rebounds in 60 games. Love is nowhere near the offensive player Boozer is.
  • Boozer’s injury occurred in the preseason rather than the middle of the season or in the playoffs.
While the Bulls might struggle early in the season, there's no chance they will miss the playoffs. Carlos Boozer is a consummate professional and teammate, and will form a fierce cheering section at the end of the Bulls bench with Brian Scalabrine (who should dye his hair 3 shades brighter to match the Bulls away jerseys to be the ultimate 12th man).

The debut of a Noah-Boozer front court will have to wait, but not for long. Come January, We'll forget Boozer was even injured.

Friday, October 1, 2010

Prediction: Nuggets will be Horrible

The embattled Denver Nuggets have entered training camp with a myriad of questions about who will be with the team. Last weekend, Carmelo Anthony was on the verge of being traded to the Nets in a 4-team megadeal that never came to fruition. Thus, the disgruntled Anthony entered training camp as a Nugget. He has yet to sign a $65 mil extension that the Nuggets have offered and doesn't seem thrilled to be in Denver this fall. At media day he said:

I'm here today. Whatever the future holds, it holds. I'm leaving my options open right now.

He sure sounds ready to make a championship run! Melo isn't the only Nugget disappointed with the front office. Kenyon Martin has said he is disappointed that he wasn't offered an extension this summer while Al Harrington, who plays Martin's position, signed a 5 year, $35 mil deal. Perhaps as payback, Martin said he will not rush back from knee surgery.

Who knows what J.R. Smith's state of mind is. He is entering a contract year and will surly try to put up gaudy numbers with a horrible shot selection and at the expense of a few Ws.

Coach George Karl will try to bring all the Nuggets' egos together and make a run in the playoffs. However, he will likely watch on the sidelines as Melo complains he is fouled after taking an unnecessary shot, Smith takes another contested three, and K-Mart's tattoos continue to be more intriguing than his play.

Time to blow it up.