By Emry DowningHall
Citing the events of this past week I feel it’s only appropriate to take a moment of silence for Dwyane Wade, the Miami Heat, and most importantly (in this column at least) D. Wade’s owners. I’ll be honest, I don’t own Wade in any leagues this season (Trust me, it’s not for lack of trying) and I still feel awful about what happened Wednesday night.
All the things Wade does for fantasy box score are easily eclipsed by his ability to take over in crucial situations and will his team to victory (Just ask the Dallas Mavericks or anyone watching game three of the NBA Finals last year). In a season that has been chalk full of injuries, Wade’s setback will arguably have the most profound effect.
While Wade and the Heat decide whether or not season ending shoulder surgery is the answer; fantasy owners are left wondering who will step up and shoulder (A poor choice of words, I agree) the load down in Miami. Unfortunately it looks like it will be a combination of players instead of one benefactor. Eddie Jones, James Posey, Jason Williams, Dorrell Wright, and Mr. “I shoot three’s cause they don’t have fours” Antoine Walker should all see an increase in value. J. Williams and Walker are the best bets if you feel like attempting a come up off the Wade disaster.
Those of you who were cunning enough to swoop Marcus Williams or Hakeem Warrick off the waiver wire before the trade deadline must have been disappointed with the way that day turned out. Actually, I think we all had reason to be disappointed when the biggest names moved were Juan Dixon and Fred Jones. Dallas also shipped Anthony Johnson to the Hawks who now have a boatload of point guards who will effectively destroy one another’s fantasy value. I would love to acquire the audio of the Hawks front office brain-trust debating their point guard issues, “We already missed the boat on Chris Paul and Derron Williams. This time let’s make sure we position ourselves for the future. Is Anthony Johnson available?”
Basically I think this years trade deadline teaches us two valuable lessons about the NBA. First, and most important, rumors are just rumors, and the word on the curb rarely translates into action. Second, the Lakers must really value the potential of Andrew Bynum who David Aldridge reported as, “Never close to being put on the table” in a potential Jason Kidd deal. I like Bynum (Especially while Kwame Brown is out) but I would have been very tempted to make a move for a player of Kidd’s caliber.
Obviously D. Wade was the biggest name to hit the IL during week 17 but he wasn’t alone. The Lakers are going to be without forward Vladimir Radmanovic until April after he reportedly took a tumble while snowboarding over the All-Star break.
The Nugget’s lost second year guard J.R. Smith for a month after Smith suffered a torn MCL in a blowout loss to the Spurs. Surgery was performed on Thursday and the New Jersey native is just the latest Denver Nugget to get smacked with the injury bug. Steve Blake will see the largest increase in production as a result of this injury and should continue to be a very solid source of dimes while The Answer holds down the two spot. If somehow Blake is still unowned in your league then go get’em.
I’m definitely unclear as to what exactly plantar fasciitis is but I can tell you it’s an absolute beat down for fantasy owners. It looks like Andres Nocioni’s latest bout with the ailment is going to keep him sidelined for about a month.
The Boris Diaw disappointment train is picking up steam now that Diaw has now missed six straight games with back spasms. After being the fantasy pickup of the year last season a lot of people were very high on Diaw coming into this year but he has certainly been less then spectacular for Phoenix. Reporting to camp a couple croissants heavier is one thing but continuing to play like bunz through week 18 of the season has landed him on a lot of waiver wires. Diaw’s has talent and versatility so if you have a spot on your roster and he is available in your league, pick him up. He should be back in uniform this week.
Former UCLA Bruin and by product of last years horrendous Steve Francis trade (For the Knicks at least) Trevor Ariza returned from injury on Sunday and should be monitored for pickup. In his first game back with the Magic he had 14 points and 5 rebounds. That production won’t turn heads but with his athleticism and ability to score, rebound and knock down free throws Ariza could be a factor in deep leagues.
If you’re looking to play the waiver wire keep an eye on that big fella down in Philadelphia, Steven Hunter. Hunter’s numbers won’t jump off the stat sheet but he is a solid option for owners in need of boards, blocks, and points. Moderately productive, big men are far from a dime a dozen in the NBA, so either pick him up or closely monitor his performance going forward.
Owners in need of points, assists and an occasional three ball could do a lot worse then Randy Foye. The rookie point guard is finally getting consistent tick with the disappointing play of free agent Mike James. Foye is now starting at point for the Wolves and although he has been somewhat inconsistent this season that is more a product of his minutes then his ability. If he’s available in your league and you have a guy like Earl Boykins or Chucky Atkins why not snatch Foye before he’s doing his thing on an opponent’s roster.
You know on the Oscar’s when an award winner draw his or her speech on for a little to long and on comes the music? That’s sort of what’s happening here, but before I wrap this up I want to remind you to check out King James and Cleveland this Thursday going up against Dirk and the Mavericks on TNT. Then on Sunday the Lakers head into Phoenix where Kobe will have redemption on his mind after last years game seven debacle. I wonder if Raja Bell has another horse tackle in store for #24? One final note on Wade. Don’t make cut him until Tuesday when Flash and the Heat travel to the White House for a visit with the president, chances are he will announce his surgery decision at that time. I just realized if Wade decides to go under the knife his name will rocket to the top spot on the most dropped player list. Wouldn’t that be a site to see? Unless of course you’re in a league with a “Can’t cut list,” if that’s your situation, that’s just a dagger, plain and simple. Ok, the Oscar people would be cutting to commercial at this point. I’ll see you all next week.