January 25, 2012
NBA fantasy: Hitting the Wall
By RYAN WOLSTAT, QMI Agency
We are a quarter of the way through the season. Yes, already. Flip Saunders, dismissed by Washington on Wednesday, makes it two coaches fired so far. Others will likely follow. This week, we’ll look at who should benefit from a new regime in Washington and what other coaches are on thin ice and who would benefit if they get replaced sometime down the line:
- John Wall certainly can’t get any worse. He’s been a huge disappointment, one monstrous game aside, amidst a sophomore slump for the ages. Perhaps Randy Wittman will help get Wall going, he certainly has the talent to be a fantasy stalwart. Expect Nick Young, JaVale McGee and Jordan Crawford to look better as well. I’m not sure Rashard Lewis or Andray Blatche will find their way under Wittman, but again, like Wall, they shouldn’t look any worse. Perhaps rookie F Jan Vesely will get more of a look. He has shown some flashes.
- Mike D’Antoni is in trouble in New York, unless the arrival of Baron Davis can save him. Carmelo Anthony is a terrible fit in his system and has ruined the career resurgence of Amare Stoudemire, who was fantastic before his arrival last season. If a slow-it-down coach replace D’Antoni at some point, both Melo and Stoudemire probably would benefit and Landry Fields might find his lost game.
- No other coaches seem in danger in the East, except possibly for Paul Silas in Charlotte. Michael Jordan likes Silas, but if the Bobcats keep losing, they could make a move. Bismack Biyombo is starting to get more playing time there and is making an impact, despite being very raw.
- In the West, Monty Williams could be on shaky ground in New Orleans, but the NBA-owned team is unlikely to make a coaching change unless things get really bad. That roster needs an overhaul. Chris Kaman is not a reserve centre. In Phoenix, Alvin Gentry could pay for the mistakes of his bosses, but the team would be smart to keep him. They need to find a way to get Channing Frye going, along with rookie Markieff Morris, who has faded after a tremendous start.
- We got into some surprises and disappointments last week, but here are a few more: SURPRISES: Samuel Dalembert – where did this run come from? He is carrying the Rockets (14 points, 11 rebounds, two blocks per game over six game winning streak), who have been getting poor results from F Luis Scola. Andris Biedrins – Shooting 71% from the floor, Biedrins has been better defensively while contributing blocks, rebounds and steals. Omer Asik – The Bulls centre has made up for a slow start by Joakim Noah. He’s one of the best defensive big men around and is hitting most of his shots as well. Kyle Lowry – He was nearly averaging a triple double, so no surprise when he got one the other day. He’s been brilliant. WHAT HAPPENED? Scola – See above. Lamar Odom – Trade shattered his confidence. Stephen Jackson – Not happy in Milwaukee. Devin Harris – Has not lived up to the hype. Danny Granger – Yikes, he was once a top 15 player.
Trainer’s room ticker/Injury updates
The Bulls say F Luol Deng could be sidelined “for some time” due to wrist ligament damage. That’s a crushing blow as he was playing well and is a key performer for them. Ronnie Brewer and Kyle Korver owners will see a boost in their minutes ... Kirk Hinrich hoped to make his season debut for Atlanta on Wednesday night ... Boston stars Ray Allen and Rajon Rondo should be back later this week ... Dallas is being cautions with star PF Dirk Nowitzki, who could sit all week due to a sore knee he says is hurting from over-use ... The Pistons are banged up with guards Ben Gordon, Rodney Stuckey and Will Bynum all day-to-day, along with F Charlie Villanueva ... Wolves G J.J. Barea could miss one-two weeks with an ankle injury ... Knicks PG Baron Davis expects to make his season debut within a couple of weeks ... Philadelphia is without big men Spencer Hawes and Nikola Vucevic for at least a couple more days ... SF Josh Howard expects to return for Utah against the Raptors on Wednesday. Andrea Bargnani was a game-time decision on Tuesday night against Phoenix and would be back against Utah at the latest.
With fantasy rating out of 5
Watch for rust as he has been out for months, but Hinrich has always been a solid player who hits threes, gets assists, steals and even a few rebounds. Will get minutes as he can play either alongside Joe Johnson, or starting PG Jeff Teague.
Might be worth claiming with return looking close. Davis is streaky, but should be able to put up some fantastic numbers under Mike D’Antoni. Assuming D’Antoni sticks around in New York for a while.
Showing why he was once a big-time prospect and top draft pick. Averaging 12 points, 3 assists, 4 rebounds and a steal over past three games and shooting 54.8% for the season.
Doc Rivers loves him and Pietrus is fitting in great in Boston. With Ray Allen ailing, Air France has stepped up, nailing the outside shots Allen is known for. He also gets steals and rebounds.
Shooting was always Farmar’s Achilles Heel, but the career 42.4% shooter (36.3% from three) is up to 47.7% from the field (45.7% from long-range). With Deron Williams often out of the lineup, Farmar is worth considering.
Over the past two weeks, a number of players have been hitting a considerable number of threes. The Magic, Heat and Nuggets apparently have no qualms about firing away:
Ryan Anderson, ORL – 2.9 3PM; Hedo Turkoglu, ORL – 2.8; Joe Johnson, ATL – 2.6
Al Harrington, DEN – 2.6; Brandon Jennings, MIL – 2.5; Chauncey Billups, LAC – 2.5
Derrick Rose, CHI – 2.5; Jodie Meeks, PHI – 2.4; O.J. Mayo, MEM – 2.4
Mario Chalmers, MIA – 2.3; Arron Afflalo, DEN - 2.2; Mike Miller, MIA – 2.2
Hot and not
Surprises and disappointments (over the last two weeks)
Samuel Dalembert, C, HOU
9 GP, 11.6 PPG, 10.9 RPG, ,.579 FG%, 2.4 BPG
Ricky Rubio, PG, MIN
8 GP, 11.6 PPG, 5.1 RPG, 9.8 APG, 3.7 SPG
Mo Williams, PG, LAC
5 GP, 19.4 PPG, 3.2 APG, 1.0 SPG, .603FG%, 1.6 3PM
Trevor Ariza, F, NOH
4 GP, 14.5 PPG, 5.5 RPG, 4.2 APG, 2.5 SPG, .440 FG%
Blake Griffin, F, LAC
8 GP, 18.3 PPG, 12.4 RPG, .469 FG%, .424 FT%, 3.0 TPG
Andray Blatche, F, WAS
6 GP, 9.2 PPG, 8.2 RPG, 2.0 TPG, .356 FG%
DeMar DeRozan, G, TOR
8 GP, 15.0 PPG, 3.4 RPG, 0.6 APG, .344 FG%^, 2.4 TPG