If you happened to catch the Heat in one of their 324 national television appearances this season you know they’re having a god awful year. Pat Riley came as close as he’ll ever come to acknowledging the teams struggles prior to last Friday nights game against the Sonics.
This isn’t news. The headline came when Riles hinted he was leaning towards shutting his wounded superstar, Dwyane Wade, down for “an extended period of time,” reading between the lines this clearly means the rest of the season.
While no time table has been set, and Wade himself scoffs at the report, the bottom line is the Heat are the worst team in the league, they’re lottery bound, and even though Wade’s competitive nature wants him on the floor, he’s got to realize shutting it down is in everyone’s best interest.
Dorrell Wright was slated to become a must-add the minute Riley pulled the plug on Flash’s lost season, until he went under the knife Monday afternoon, ending his year. With Wright done, Ricky Davis will play major minutes at both the two and three slots, and will start and finish games once Wade shuts down (extra ping-pong balls please).
This opportunity for extended tick will provide Davis an opportunity to contribute in points, and steals while wracking up some assists as well. If you need a scorer, Davis is going to contribute the rest of the way and should be added in most leagues. Also keep you eye on Marcus Banks who will see plenty of minutes once Wade’s year is wrapped like Reynolds.
I was always feeling Gerald Wallace’s nickname, “Crash”, until I owned him in multiple leagues this season and have become a victim of his reckless drives to the hoop. Wallace suffered a grade 3 concussion and is going to miss at least another week and could potentially be done for the year. The Bobcats (more ping-pong balls please) are out of the playoff race and may use the remainder of the season to develop their young talent, without risking Wallace’s health.
Wallace’s minutes are now going to Matt Carroll and Jared Dudley and both players have played well in his absence. Dudley offers an impoverished mans version of Wallace’s production and will give owners a little of everything. Carroll is a pure shooter and will provide points and threes, but also has a more rounded game then a player like Jason Kapono.
Speaking of the Raptors, Chris Bosh twisted his knee in the first quarter of last Fridays game and is likely going to miss the entire week due to swelling. He’ll travel with the team but Sam Mitchell has openly stated he’s not looking to rush Bosh back on the court.
Bosh is extremely valuable to the playoff bound Raptors and hustling him into the lineup this week would be a mistake. This is a real hurt piece to Bosh owners locked in a playoff race but honestly, the news could have been much worse and he should be back in the lineup next week.
If you’re looking for a plug-in starter, the value of Anthony Parker, Jamario Moon, and Andrea Bargnani will be on the juice and the clear in week #19.
Agent Zero was cleared to practice on Monday but stated openly that he’s nervous about hooping on his surgically repaired knee.
Arenas is a clever fellow and he understands a failed return will plummet his value as a free agent. His stock already took a hit only playing 8 games this season before going back under the knife, and a second relapse would be devastating.
Gilbert’s condition and mental state seems to change daily and there’s no telling what’s actually going on here. After stating emphatically that March 2nd would be his return to the hardwood, that day has come and gone and no new return has been slated.
As I stated last week, if you can afford to stash him on your bench, it’s better to find out what he’s got from the comfort of your roster then your opponents. Just don’t expect any miracles and don’t give up any chips to add him.
I’ve already given you Dudley, Carroll, The Raptors and Davis (If you’re not constructing shrines to me after that list, I understand) let’s see who else may be floating around on the wire and can help your team going forward.
Anderson Varejao – Big Z told reporters that he’s going to miss at least 2 weeks with a back injury clearing the 5 spot for everyone’s friend from Springfield, Anderson Varejao. I’ve gotten into a few way too heated debates about his value in 12 man league this season but no doubt he’s worth a pickup while Z is on the shelf and will help you in field goal percentage, blocks and rebounds.
Anthony Carter – Carter is the ultimate walk, don’t run pickup because the moment you add him he will fall off. With that said, he’s been hot lately and as the default point guard on the Nuggets he’s pretty much guaranteed to get burn. If you’re desperate for a PG and the next guy on this list isn’t available, give Carter a run.
Brevin Knight – Another default starter, Knight has the potential to wrack up big assist numbers mixed in with low double digit scoring and some steals. He’s as injury prone as any player in the NBA but is worth an add if you need assists.
Brandan Wright – The latest addition to Nelly’s cocktail known as the Golden State starting five. Wright has been plugged in with Biedrins on the shelf and Chris Webber being well, old and Chris Webber. His minutes are still somewhat limited but the blocks and rebounds will be there as long as Nelly likes what he brings to the table. He’s a terrific add/drop candidate right now.
Dikembe Mutombo – Mr. Mutombo is throwing a block party and would like to cordially invite all his fantasy owners to attend. He’ll be doing so to the tune of 3-4 per night for the rest of the season.
Craig Smith – His nickname should really be, “Hardwork.” The undersized four man has been getting minutes over the past 3 games and when he does, he produces. Let him get another 30 minute night before adding him.
Willie Green – If you’re looking for points Green is your best option right now. He and the Sixers are playing at a high level and their up tempo style will allow Green to get his looks and his shots up.
While none of the players listed this week are studs, there’s enough plug in talent to fill the holes on your roster.
As the season winds down be aware of how many transactions are allowed in your league and know where you stand concerning the amount you’ve made. If you have plenty to spare, don’t be afraid to add/drop a couple of guys who either have 4 games in a week or are playing extended minutes due to injury. If you’re plugging in an area of need you might steal and extra game a week and that could have a drastic impact on your playoff ranking.
BasketballMonster.com has created a schedule grid so you can easily recognize what teams have the most favorable games-played schedules down the stretch. This becomes valuable if you’re considering an add/drop between two players and one guy plays three times while the other suits up four.
Your old high school coach used to preach it was the little things that made the difference between winning and losing right? Fantasy follows suit.