Tuesday, December 18th, 2007 at 3:35 pm  |  39 responses

Fantasy Week #8: Trading Up

The Nets have a new frontline, the Wizards need a point guard, and Nazr is relevant again (somehow)

By Emry DowningHall

While the Big Three and the Boston Celtics remain the talk of the NBA, I’ve gotten a few e-mails from readers complaining about the fantasy lines being put up by Kevin Garnett this season.

A lot of people started the season down on King James, and with the controversy surrounding Shawn Marion and Kobe Bryant, Garnett was a popular #1 pick. At the time it seemed like a smart choice, and was definitely something I endorsed. Garnett has career averages of 20 points, 11 boards, 4 dimes, nearly 2 blocks, 1 steal, and can shoot it from the stripe and the floor. He also protects the ball and remains the fiercest competitor in the league.

Leaving a desperate situation in Minnesota to play with two superstars, he seemed poised to contend for MVP. Skeptics argued that Pierce and Allen were going to take some of his shine on offense but they’re not inside guys and he would single-handedly be locking down the paint. Also, this wasn’t a Zach Randolph-Eddy Curry situation. Allen, Pierce and Garnett have their eyes on that ring, which equates to sharing the rock.

While still a monster in the box score, Garnett’s numbers are slightly down across the board, save for the assist column. And while you can’t argue with the results (the Celtics own a 20-2 record) Lebron James’s Big-O impression isn’t making owners feel too good about their decision to call Ticket’s name.

Imagine if fantasy basketball had been around to this magnitude during the 1995-96 season. Jordan would have been the #1 pick right? Imagine watching Mike and company cruise through that 72-win season. Remember how often Jordan would watch the 4th quarter with a towel over his head? He still managed to average 30 points, 2 steals, 4 dimes, 6.5 boards, and 49% field goal percentage, but imagine what he might have done if his team hadn’t been crushing their opponents night in and night out. I think it’s a similar situation with KG and the Celtics.

The strength of the Celts’ schedule is going to improve as the season progresses and owners should expect more production from Garnett.

If you picked up LaMarcus Aldridge this year you’ve been enjoying a breakout season from the leagues front-runner for Most Improved Player (Rudy Gay, I see you). Last week, Aldridge was sidelined with the dreaded plantar fasciitis in his right foot and first reports had him missing a week of action. While it’s never the kind of news you want to hear, I think Aldridge will be ok. The condition was detected early and he was sidelined right away and fitted with a walking boot. He’s been off his foot for over a week now and with Paul Allen at the helm you know he’s getting the best possible care.

I felt so good about LaMarcus’s return in fact, that when a buy-low opportunity arose I mortgaged my season and traded for him in a package that included Gerald Wallace. It was a risky play but I didn’t lose any production because Aldridge isn’t on my active roster until the trade is processed, and all reports that I have read have him returning to form sooner rather than later. Was it the safest trade out there? Of course it wasn’t. However, I like to live dangerously, and I let that reflect in my fantasy maneuvering. Seriously though, some gambles are worth taking and in the deal that saw me give up Antawn Jamison and Marvin Williams, I liked my end.

I was losing a great player in Jamison, and selling high on M. Williams. Even though I was giving up the best guy in the deal, Jamison will slow down when Gilbert returns, and that means less production at the end of the season. Wallace has started this year very slow, but he’s traditionally a strong finisher, and that means fantasy playoff production. And while I love the improvement I’ve seen from Marvin Williams, a healthy LaMarcus Aldridge is an unquestionable stud.

But enough about my situation, let’s take a look at some of the guys who want to help you win the week:

Anthony Johnson – There’s no clear-cut solution to the Hawks point guard situation but Johnson came up with a hypothesis on Monday night against Utah. Johnson played 45 minutes and had 17 points and 14 assists as the Hawks took down the Jazz. These numbers might have been an aberration but if they’re for real, they’re too good to pass up. Pick him up and hope it wasn’t a fluke.

Jerry Stackhouse – Stack’s slow start appears behind him and he’s now putting up solid numbers off the bench. Owners can’t expect too much from the former UNC product but with Eddie Jones coming off injury, Stack is going to play a very prominent role for the Mavericks and deserves a roster spot in all formats.

Luke Walton – Walton is an interesting pickup because while most waiver guys are able to help owners in a specific area, Walton is more of an overall performer. He’s been in and out of the Lakers lineup this season, but it appears he’s finally healthy and was in the starting lineup Sunday night. His unselfish nature doesn’t bode well for all fantasy formats but his overall game will give you a boost in a number of categories.

DeShawn Stevenson – Antonio Daniels is out at least 2 weeks and while his minutes will likely be handled “by committee,” Stevenson will be the greatest benefactor because of his versatility and experience. Owners in deeper leagues should also keep their eyes on Roger Mason and Nick Young and see how Coach Jordan handles this shakeup. Also, Daniels is going to be dropped in almost all leagues and while it’s not worth stashing him on your bench yet, keep up with his progress so you can get him when he is set to return. Traditionally, he is a very tough player and may be back sooner than reported.

Al Thornton – Much like when Danny Granger came out of college, scouts loved Thornton’s ability to help his team right away. Right now would be a good time to act on Thorton because when the Clipper’s cut Ruben Patterson last week it served as a vote of confidence for the first year man from FSU. With any rookie you’re going to have ups and downs but Thornton is going to have a chance to earn more minutes right away and will produce.

Josh Boone/Sean Williams – Boone is the latest New Jersey Net to provide hope to owners looking to solidify their front line, 4 weeks ago it was Williams. Since coming out of Connecticut Boone has struggled at times but it appears he’s figured it out recently, and has been flirting with double-doubles. Coach Frank has mentioned a starting lineup that would feature both Boone and Williams, but he’s hoodwinked me in the past, so while I’m not holding any grudges, I’m also not sprinting to the computer for either of these guys. More than likely one will come away with consistent fantasy value. Note: If you’re struggling with FT% might want to steer clear because teams are using the Hack-a-Boone late in games.

Nazr Mohammed – The trade didn’t pull many headlines but there might be something to the Nazr Mohammed/Bobcats deal. The former UK product was swapped for Walter Herrmann and Primoz Brezec and should slide into the starting lineup shortly. Nazr is the prototype for inconsistent bigs so don’t drop much for him, but with a carved slot in a rotation he will produce for Charlotte.

That will do it for this week’s picks, none of those names really jump off the page but if I was selecting from the group without a specific need I like Boone, Thornton, Stackhouse and Johnson the best.

Last week I recommended Keith Bogans, and while he’s still starting in Orlando it’s possible Maurice Evans will cut into some of his tick. For now, I still like Bogans but Evans offers a more athletic option at the two-spot and I think Ron Jeremy, I mean, Stan Van Gundy will want to give that a try at some point this year.

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  • Ken

    Should I trade Andre Miller for Salmons?

  • http://www.slamonline.com Emry

    Ken: I wouldn’t make that deal… Salmons is a nice fix but it’s only because Martin is out. Also, Bibby’s return will hurt him. Andre started slow but he’s doing his thing now.

  • Blue

    So you’re saying if I have an offer to trade KG for Lebron, I should go with it? Because I was joking around with a friend and he said that he would do it in a heartbeat.

  • http://www.slamonline.com Emry

    Blue: If you can attain Lebron, you should do it. No offense to KG, he’s the man… but when it comes to this fantasy hoops thing… LBJ is the man.

  • Bryant Reeves

    I got LbJ with the #2 pick this year and everyone said I was crazy. It was a bit of a gamble since he mailed it in for the first half last year, but LeBron is a fantasy god.

  • Bryant Reeves

    Emry – what is your take on Darko? I’ve been debating on whether or not to drop him for a while…

  • Can

    i got an offer to trade Dirk, Luol Deng, and Felton.. I get Gay and Butler.. should I?

    keep in mind that i have Chris Paul, Darren Williams and Calderon on my roster already.

  • http://www.slamonline.com Emry

    BR: I have gotten that question before and it’s not an easy one to answer because, if he was on my team I would want him gone, but if he was on waivers his upside is good enough to warrant a pickup. I think the answer is package him to the guy in the league most in need of blocks, assuming that’s not you and try to salvage something for him after one of his 7 block nights.

  • http://www.slamonline.com Emry

    Can: You certainly do have great point guards already so losing Raymond wont kill you but you are giving up the best player in the deal in Dirk. I love Tuff Juice and Rudy but Butler’s value will dip when Arena’s returns and depending on how much you value position vs postseason, I would lean towards not doing the deal.

  • http://www.another48minutes.blogspot.com Gerard Himself

    I’m having a guard problem…. I had Antonio Daniels, but since he got injured, I replaced him with Stevenson. Of these three guards, who do you think I should get? Stevenson, Navarro or Azubuike? I think Azubuike is getting less and less playing time, and Navarro is inconsistent. I think Stevenson will do alright until Daniels comes back. Then I’ll swap them again for each other. Nice input last week by the way, Outlaw is playing great (well, not last night, but still….)

  • http://yahoo.com The Cool

    I traded KG for Lamar Odom and Stephen “Jack-u” Jackson. I really think this is a wonderful trade cuz Lamar and Stephen will give me consistent play across the boards and I just can’t say that for KG. Guy is getting old and he is just passing too much. I really think Navarro can do a little som som when he gets playing time, Gerard. He has done wonders for my friends’ team. play wit it.

  • Waters1981

    What about Daqean Cook? Riley is mentioning giving him some playing time, not to mention his nice stroke.

  • RV

    i picked up anthony johnson yesterday, i dont know if he’ll have more of those 10asst+ games, but he’s been dishing out almost 5 per the last few games

  • http://nothinpersonal8.blogspot.com/ nothin personal

    Gerald Wallace is winning you the league, he is my favourite player since AK dropoff. Arenas isn’t coming back, btw…

  • http://nothinpersonal8.blogspot.com/ nothin personal

    And emry, Dorell Wright my a$$. I picked him up lat week and I waived him today for Eboy. I guess the moral in this story is not to pick someone if:
    a) you are not already sold in him, and you are just waiting for a sign that he is making the Leap. For me, those dudes were Travis Outlaw and Marco Jaric.
    b)He is doing his thing for too many games to be a fluke. Examples, Ronnie Brewer and Jamario Moon.
    This way, you may loose a stud or two, but you won’t end up with around 40 terrible games from guys that you didn’t believe into. The worst part is that as soon as you waive a guy like that, he gets in anice streak for 3-5 games, and you end up hating yourselves. So, listen to me and just say NO!

  • http://www.slamonline.com Emry

    GH: Stevenson was making some waves even before Antonio went down. You should def. pick him up out of the three you mentioned, all of those guys have potential but unless you have a real tight wire move limit. You can afford to get Stevenson asap, use him for 2 weeks and then make a move

  • http://slamonline.com Ben Osborne

    I wish Michael Jordan was in my fantasy league; I have a feeling he’d end up in the cellar.

  • http://www.slamonline.com Emry

    The Cool: I like Odom’s versatility but the Big Ticket seems too much to give up for those two. You have to consider KG is a top 5 talent, Odom and Jack are at best 4th – 7th rounders, not to mention the production the guy you traded with gets off the wire with the guy he adds in place of one of the two he gave up. A basic rule of thumb is not giving up the top guy in a trade… and yes I realize I broke that in my column

  • http://www.slamonline.com Emry

    Waters: I like Cook, especially if J. Will misses extended time but I was also high on Wright last week and it’s hard to narrow down who will have value in the Riles system. If J Will is ever out for an extended period, he will be a great pickup tho.

  • http://www.slamonline.com Emry

    RV: Gotta love that phat double-double last night, it might be a stretch but right now… they don’t have many options and AJ can def play.

  • http://www.slamonline.com Emry

    NP: I will cross my fingers for Wallace… I like his game too. As for Wright, my man… I apologize but it’s been tough to pull picks off the wire and I thought Wright had really cracked that rotation. I like your philosophy, but at the same time, finding that diamond in the rough… remember when Barbosa broke out 2 years ago? Kevin Martin? Makes it all worthwhile… if you look at Sean Williams night tonight… he might be the next one… all he needs is tick.

  • http://www.swisher.com Buzz Killington

    emry, you traded gerald wallace, jamison, and marvin for lamarcus?????

  • http://www.kaycephotography.com/ Kevin

    last time i added Sean Williams right before his start and he got me 22/7 with a couple blocks.. then i dropped him when he started gettin benched.. then right before his start last night i re-added him – EIGHT blocks lol.. i jus hope opposing centers continue to not pump fake on him, i watched the game last night and think that it wouldn’t be hard for an experienced forward/center like Duncan to get quick fouls on Williams..

  • http://www.slamonline.com Emry

    Buzz: Reading back through that I could see how you might think that, but, I likely wouldn’t have a fantasy column if that was the case. The trade was a close one tho, I got: LaMarcus/Wallace and gave up Jamison/M. Williams …

  • http://www.slamonline.com Emry

    Kevin: That’s a great point, he def. has that young blockers mentality that can keep you planted on the bench for long periods of time. He’s one of those guys that will go out to the three line and challenge a shot, he’s insane. Good pickup though.

  • http://nsbacasakchbkl.com t.dot dude

    when is bibby coming back?

  • http://nsbacasakchbkl.com t.dot dude

    im refusing to release ford from my team, cause i know that he can come back strong.

  • http://nsbacasakchbkl.com t.dot dude

    yo emery, should i release ford, and get some below average player who is on the waivers list, or should i gamble and wait till ford returns??

  • http://www.slamonline.com Emry

    T. Dot: All signs point to mid-January, he has had the surgery and the cast is off. As for Ford, hold onto him… he will be alright, and yes, he is a monster.

  • crazylee12

    KG would have been my choice if I had the #1 spot, but I ended up stealing LeBron with the 5th pick. I had to choose between Gilbert and Lebron, so it looks I made the right choice.
    With LeBron, a few more great draft pics(CP3, Deron, Granger, Gay, Big Al, etc.), and some astute waiver wire pickups(Hedo, Salmons), I’m in a close second in what’s looking like a 2-horse race(out of 9 teams)- and that’s only because LeBron missed 5 games.

  • http://www.slamonline.com Emry

    CrazyLee: That sounds like some crafty maneuvering, nice work!

  • DL

    I just traded Kaman for Butler and Bogut. What do you think of this deal? Also once the trade goes through I plan on packaging Bogut and Deng to get Gasol. BTW nice trade I got both LaMarcus and GWall.

  • http://wheeltoheal.blogspot.com Pat Is Five

    should I release Damien Wilkins and grab someone like Frisco Garcia or Rafer Alston or Anthony Johnson?

    (weekly matchup – I’m solid across the board except TOs, and 3s and FG%)

  • http://www.slamonline.com Emry

    DL: I like the Caveman for Butler and Bogut deal as it is, and I love it once you talk about that package you are going to move next. Both those moves look very solid, I love what Caron is doing this year, big triple double last night… no knock on Kaman tho… but if your boards are right… it’s a no brainer, good work.

  • http://www.slamonline.com Emry

    Pat: I like Garcia over Wilkens, I think Wilkens can be let go because as Seattle piles up the losses you know that spot is going to become Green’s more and more… also potentially Wally’s if they are looking to deal. So yea, I think Garcia is an upgrade.

  • http://wheeltoheal.blogspot.com Pat Is Five

    thanks Emry! goodbye poor nephew’s Nique.

  • http://www.slamonline.com Emry

    Haha, anytime man

  • DL

    Well, that Kaman for Butler/Bogut was vetoed in my league. Now I’m thinking of adding Deng to that package. So I’d be trading Kaman/Deng for Butler/Bogut. What do you think about this deal?

  • http://www.slamonline.com Emry

    I wouldn’t do that deal and I’m suprised it was vetoed… personally, unless a trade is insanely one sided I think vetoing is lame… Kaman for Butler/Bogut is a no-brainer, even with the Kave having a great year but… if you give up Deng and Kaveman… you’re losing a lot… you mentioned you are going to package Bogut… make sure that’s available if you make the trade