Friday, November 5, 2010

The Camby Man Can - How Donald Sterling changed the West.

Who would have thought that one of Donald Sterling’s personal moves would affect the hierarchy in the West? Last year, when the Clippers were looking to trade veteran center Marcus Camby because of the emergence of DeAndre Jordan and Camby's impending free agency, there were two teams in the West that desperately needed a veteran big man: the Portland Trailblazers and Oklahoma City Thunder.

Portland had lost Greg Oden to another season ending injury and needed a better option behind Joel Pryzbilla other than undersized Jeff Pendergraph. The Thunder, who were last year’s biggest surprise in the NBA, needed a shot blocker that could help protect the paint. Nenad Kristic is a soft big man who prefers to play on the perimeter and Serge Ibaka was not ready for big time minutes in clutch time (ex. not blocking out Pau Gasol in game six of the playoffs against the Lakers).

When I heard that Camby was on the block I thought the Thunder, who were well under the salary cap, would swoop him up for a draft pick (they have quite an arsenal of them) and a mid-level player to round out their roster for the playoffs. Camby also could have been a mentor for young big man Serge Ibaka as he did with DeAndre Jordan.

In the end, Blazers' then-GM Kevin Pritchard made a bold move and acquired Camby and extended his contract. Camby is a perfect fit in Portland - he is a savvy veteran who doesn’t need the ball to be effective, is great rebounder, screener, and awesome teammate.

If OKC would have traded for Camby (they had more assets), they would have finished higher in the standings and avoided the Lakers in the first round of the playoffs. This season, the Thunder are considered an elite team and are expected to make a lot of noise in the playoffs -- without ever having won a playoff series. When, or if, Oden comes back, Portland will have three quality bigs to match up with the Lakers size. Oklahoma City won't.

The Blazers and the Thunder are two of the top teams vying for the 2 seed in the West and Camby's presence could be the difference in playing the Lakers in the second round or the conference finals. Meanwhile, Donald Sterling’s Clippers are unlikely to make the playoffs for the 5th consecutive year, but he has dramatically affected the race for the Championship.


Monday, November 1, 2010

Fantasy Notes 11/1

  • Chris Bosh is averaging 13 points on 10 shots and 7 rebounds through 4 games. LeBron is averaging 20 points on 14 shots and Wade is averaging 21 points on 16 shots per game. If the first week is any indication, it appears the "Superfriends" will not put up the gaudy numbers their fantasy draft positions suggest.
  • Wilson Chandler has put up huge numbers in the first 3 games -- 21 and 10 with blocks, steals, and 3's to boot. Danilo Gallinari, on the other hand, is struggling, averaging only 6 points and 3 rebounds in 20 minutes. When Anthony Randolph returns he will bite into Chandler and Gallinari's playing time. Now is the time to buy low on Gallinari and sell high on Chandler, as I would expect them to be averaging 15 points after the next 15 games.
  • D.J. Augustin has no competition for minutes in Charlotte, and should continue to average 15 and 5 with a few 3's.
  • Dorell Wright is benefiting from Golden State's style of play and should be owned in all leagues. He is taking seven 3's a game, and there is no end in sight.
  • Zach Randolph hurt his back. Darrell Arthur is a nice pickup until Z-Bo returns.
  • Gilbert Arenas has yet to play a game for the Wizards, and appears to be a fantasy headache all season. Buy low at your own risk.
  • Blake Griffin has looked really good in his first few games, but with his style of play it looks like an injury is inevitable. Sell high (maybe for Bosh?).
  • Kevin Love is only playing 25 minutes per game but is still averaging a double double. I would expect him to play over 30 minutes eventually and put up huge numbers, especially with reports of Darko Milicic heading to the bench.
  • Antawn Jamison has the potential to be a huge bust. He's coming off the bench and is already injured.
  • Greg Oden and Yao aren't worth owning. Yao isn't going to play back to backs, and even when he does play, won't see many minutes. There is no timetable on Oden's return. Nuff' said. See if Serge Ibaka or Andris Biedrins are available on waivers.

I'm always happy to dish out trade advice. Post in the comments section and I'll get back to you!