Fantasy Basketball, Week 3
Got time to wait around for AI?
by Charles Peach
The Answer used to be my hero. Through thick and thin, I had AI’s back. I defended him countless times in debates with Iverson-haters. I found every possible way to twist the “Practice Debacle” into a positive. The ride to the 2001 NBA Finals is my favorite sports memory ever. Now I have to come to terms with the fact that AI is impossible to defend. And it’s not because of his crossover.
It used to be easy. Allen Iverson never needed to play basketball the “right” way. Growing up, why would he listen to a coach run his mouth about “running the offense” to hopefully get a “good shot” when he knew he could blow by his opponent and score at will? He led his high school team to a state championship this way. John Thompson saved his life and let him do his thing at Georgetown where he earned himself the first overall selection in the 1996 NBA Draft. Quickly he realized that not even Michael Jordan could stop him. Every time he stepped on the floor he played with more heart than anyone else on it. His level of competitiveness was unmatched.
Sadly, those days are over and it seems the last one to realize it is Iverson. The last couple of years have been rough, especially seeing the Nuggets improve mightily after shipping him out. But nothing was worse than seeing him go to Memphis. I was hoping for him to end up on a contender where he’d swallow his pride, come off the bench, and contribute to a championship team. At 34 years old, after enduring nearly 1,000 regular season and playoff games, it seemed reasonable. Not in his eyes. Coming back from an injury which caused him to miss the preseason and the start of the regular season (and all practices, I’m sure), Grizzlies head coach Lionel Hollins played Iverson 18 minutes in his first game. This also seemed reasonable to everyone but Iverson.
“I had no problems [with the hamstring]. I had a problem with my butt sitting on that bench for so long,” Iverson said, according to The Commercial Appeal.
“I’m not a bench player. I’m not a sixth man,” he continued. “Look at my résumé and that’ll show I’m not a sixth man. I don’t think it has anything to do with me being selfish. It’s just who I am. I don’t want to change what gave me all the success that I’ve had since I’ve been in this league. I’m not a sixth man. And that’s that.” He doesn’t want to change. Well sorry Allen, sometimes in life, things change!
Speaking on behalf of all Iverson fans; we just want to see him go out as a champion. I’m sure it won’t change his legacy much but it would be great to see his career have a cheerful conclusion. He deserves it for all that he’s given to the game and all of the turmoil he’s encountered in his lifetime. So please, Allen, accept a role off the bench, make a few sacrifices, and help a team win it all. It hurts to watch you continually tarnish your image by butting heads with all of these coaches. Look at Sheed! He’s doing it. Of course he’d rather be starting over Kendrick Perkins but he’s doing his job and winning games. The sooner you get it the better!
The latest news is that he has left the team to tend to a “personal issue.” We’ll find out sooner or later what the hell is up, but this doesn’t look like a good situation. Long story short, drop AI and pickup Mike Conley!
And now for the rest of the waiver wire pickups:
(NOTE: These waiver suggestions are generally based on 12-team formats because that is the most common league size, I think. Leagues of 10 or less should probably ignore most of these suggestions for the players available are much better.)
Tyreke Evans – Very unlikely he’s available in your league, but if he is consider it a run don’t walk situation. Kevin Martin’s wrist injury gives the rookie the chance to get loose, and he has so far averaging 27.5 ppg in Martin’s absence.
Beno Udrih – Injuries create opportunity for others, and now there is room for Udrih to contribute to your fantasy squad. He’s been an effective fantasy player in the past and should be back to that level as long as Martin is out.
Chris Douglas-Roberts – Ditto. Devin Harris is still sitting with a groin injury so CDR will be valuable for a few more games at least. When Harris returns, drop.
Rafer Alston – Skip to your laptop to pick him up if you are in a deep league and in need of assists and threes. When Harris returns, drop.
Chuck Hayes – Also a deep league candidate. He’ll be a great source of steals and a good rebounder. The Rockets play four games this week.
Carl Landry – When he doesn’t get into foul trouble he can really produce (20.5 points and 8.5 rebounds in his last two games). As previously mentioned, he’ll play four games this week.
Kelenna Azubuike – With a cloud hanging over Stephen Jackson’s future in G-State, the Kentucky Wildcat should see regular minutes producing points, rebounds, threes, and blocks.
Quentin Richardson – Q is playing for a contract and it’s beginning to show (16.7 points, 9.3 rebounds, and 3.3 threes in his last three games). He’s been one of the most inconsistent fantasy players over the past three seasons but he’s shooting the ball well and should be tapping his headband on your roster.
Marreese Speights – If he’s available in your 12-man league, scoop him. He started the second half against the Pistons in place of Samuel Dalembert.
Joel Przybilla – The best option for rebounds off the wire in many leagues. When Oden gets into foul trouble he’s able to do work. If Oden gets injured be swift in snatching The Ghostface Billa. The Blazers play four games this week.
Dahntay Jones – Another guy unlikely to be available. He’s averaging 16 points and 5 rebounds per game and his only two starts also happen to be Indiana’s only two wins. Beware though, the Pacers play only two games this week.
DJ Mbenga – Proved to be valuable as he posted 12.5 rebounds and 4 blocks while Andrew Bynum sat out two games. Don’t pick him up but keep him on your monitor because Bynum is very injury prone. Bynum owners with an open roster spot might want to handcuff Mbenga as an insurance policy.
Taj Gibson – Tyrus Thomas is out for over a month with a fractured forearm and Gibson got the first shot at the starting gig. Keep your eye on him and Brad Miller, as well.
Raja Bell – We know Larry Brown loves him. He’s a good three-point shooter, grabs about a steal per game, and contributes a handful of assists and rebounds. Monitor his production.
To all the Elton Brand owners:
I feel sorry for you and I don’t know what to tell you. I recommend hanging on to him for now and just hoping that he gets it turned around. Maybe you can find someone in your league looking to buy him low. He hasn’t had more than 9 rebounds in a game yet and he has only hit double-digit scoring in two of six games. On top of that, Eddie Jordan sat him for the final 17 minutes of a close game against New Jersey.
Fantasy Line of the Week
Dirk Nowitzki (vs UTAH) 40 points, 11 rebounds, 5 assists, 5 blocks, 0 turnovers
I wanted to give it to Kevin Martin (48 points, 7 threes, 4 steals) because he won’t have a chance to be on here for the next two months but I must stress how impressive it is to produce as much as Dirk did without turning the ball over a single time. And he did it when it mattered, scoring 29 of those 40 in the fourth quarter of a game in which they trailed the Jazz by 16 with under ten minutes to play.