Fantasy Basketball, Week 12
Is Paul Millsap worth stashing right now?
The February 18 trade deadline, the make or break time for NBA general managers, is just around the bend. For a handful of teams this season is already a lost cause, while others debate between making a playoff run this year and looking to acquire help for the future. One team that needs to make a big decision is the Utah Jazz, who currently sit in 10th place in the Western Conference at 20-17.
If they choose to chase a championship this season they’ll probably want All-Star power forward Carlos Boozer to anchor the run. But Booz is set to become a free agent at the end of the season and it seems reasonable that the Jazz would try and get something in return via trade rather than see him flee in the offseason.
As The Salt Lake Tribune’s Steve Luhm put it, “Boozer and his expiring $12.8 million contract could be attractive bait to a franchise, especially if he agrees to sign a long-term extension with a new team.”
When Boozer went down near the beginning of the ’08-09 season with a knee injury Paul Millsap did an admirable job of replacing him averaging 16 points, 10.3 rebounds, 1.2 steals and a block in 38 starts. After Utah matched Portland’s four-year, $32 million contract offer to Paul Millsap last summer it appeared Boozer was on his way out. But he’s still with the Jazz, who haven’t shown anything resembling a team that could put up much of a fight against the Lakers in a seven-game series, or the up-and-coming Thunder for that matter (0-2 against OKC this year).
Having said that (I can’t help but think of Larry David and Jerry Seinfeld whenever I hear that now), I feel like Boozer will be dealt and Millsap will take over as the starting power forward. If you feel as strongly as I do, you ought to consider taking advantage of this opportunity to buy low on Millsap.
If your team is mediocre, a borderline playoff squad, then you should roll the dice and take the chance on Millsap. You probably won’t have to give up too much since he’s averaging only 10.1 points and 5.9 rebounds. But if you are sitting amongst the leaders, it probably isn’t worth the gamble unless you can get him really cheap.
Many reports indicate that the trades will be plentiful this season. It’s been quiet so far but there is still time. There will be similar opportunities that arise in the upcoming weeks so keep your eyes peeled so you can be the one in your league who benefits from the blockbuster deal.
Samuel Dalembert – A 20-20 game, really? Eddie Jordan’s rotations haven’t made much sense this season causing Dalembert’s (and others) minutes fluctuate, but Big Sam has been on a tear lately averaging 12 points, 10.6 rebounds, and 3.4 blocks in the last five games.
Randy Foye – While Arenas has begun serving his ‘indefinite suspension’ the Wizards have faced the Cavaliers, Magic, and Hornets. Earl Boykins started the first game but Foye took over the job and played very well. In those three games he is averaging 20.3 points and 5.3 assists.
Rafer Alston – Recently acquired by the Heat and immediately inserted into the starting lineup. As long as he holds off Mario Chalmers, his numbers should, at least, make him useful in 12- to 16-team leagues.
Ryan Gomes – Looks to be about fully-recovered from a high ankle sprain and could be replacing Damien Wilkins in the starting five very soon. He scored 15 points in each of the last two games and can be a solid source of rebounds, steals, and threes.
Nick Young – He can definitely score. Whether he gets consistent opportunities throughout the rest of the season depends on a few things. First of all, Mike Miller already aggravated the calf injury which caused him to miss 21 straight games. The amount of time he misses will undoubtedly impact Young. Also, if the Wizards start unloading players, namely Miller or Caron Butler, Young would become more of a focal point in the offense. The Wiz aren’t threatening to do any type of contending in the Eastern Conference this season, so I think it would make sense to find out exactly what kind of player they have in Young. In the seven games that he’s played 30 minutes or more this season he’s averaged 17.7 points on 48 percent shooting.
Boris Diaw – He’s finally coming around. I think the ankle that’s been giving him problems must be feeling better finally because his numbers have improved in the last three games. The scoring isn’t really impressive but he’s doing a much better job of filling up the stat sheet, the way many people thought he would heading into the season.
ON THE RADAR
Flip Murray – Fitting comfortably into the sixth man role in Charlotte. In the last four games he has come in and provided a spark off of the bench averaging 17.2 points.
Luke Ridnour – The six-game road trip for the Bucks didn’t get off to a great start last night in LA, as Michael Redd re-injured the knee he had surgery on last season and had to be helped into the locker room. Charlie Bell will probably slide in as the starter but I think Scott Skiles will look to utilize Luke more if Redd is to miss another chunk of time.
JJ Redick – Stan Van Gundy is considering a shakeup of the starting five because the Magic have struggled when their Big 4 (Nelson, Carter, Lewis, & Howard) have started together this season. He mentioned getting “complimentary players in there with them” to hopefully solve the problem. This could mean Vince Carter, who missed the last game with a minor shoulder injury, could come off the bench. But I think SVG is just using that to wake the team up. Redick would probably be the one to jump into the starting lineup if a change is made. In his last five games he has drained a total of 14 threes while averaging 15.4 points.
Jared Jeffries – I’ve heard a lot of praise about his defense this season. While I’ve seen only two or three Knicks games this season I am starting to believe what I hear. He is one of the best examples (Battier, another) of a great team player whose effectiveness doesn’t necessarily appear in the box score. He closes out, bothers shooters, and does the other intangible things that made Bruce Bowen such a valuable player. Since regaining his starting position in early December, the Knicks are 11-6 and the stats are coming; 9 points, 8 rebounds, and 2 blocks per game in his last two. He’ll certainly be put to the test tonight against Kevin Durant in OKC.
AJ Price – TJ Ford is now a benchwarmer. Earl Watson hasn’t exactly thrived in his absence. Luther Head’s time quickly came and went. Now it looks like AJ’s turn to show what he can do. In the last two games he’s averaging 16.5 points, 2.5 threes, 5 assists, and a steal.
Keyon Dooling – Devin Harris sat out on Sunday with mild tendonitis in his right wrist and Dooling got his first start of the season. He was effective with 10 points, 2 threes, 5 assists, 4 rebounds, and 0 turnovers. Harris is having a miserable season and there is no urgency to rush back to help the Nets capture that elusive fourth win. Even though the injury doesn’t appear to be serious, Dooling could be helpful to owners in deep leagues in the upcoming weeks.
Hakim Warrick – The Bucks have won 3 of their last 4 games after dropping 15 of the previous 19 and Warrick was helpful. He averaged 30 minutes, 13 points, and 5.5 rebounds in those 4 games.
Jon Brockman – Now officially on the radar after starting in Saturday night’s win against the Nuggets and grabbing 12 rebounds.
Austin Daye and Jonas Jerebko – The losing streak just hit twelve for the Pistons. ESPN’s Marc Stein reports Detroit could be considering moving Tayshaun Prince before the deadline which would create opportunity for these two young forwards. Jerebko has already been a fantasy factor this season but fizzled out once Rip and Prince returned.
OTHER FANTASY NOTES
– I wish I traded Brandon Jennings after his 55-point game. Sure, it’s easy to say now but that performance did come against Golden State, where no trace of defense has been detected in years. Since the rook’s big night he has shot under 40 percent in 20 of 27 games.
– What’s the deal with Marreese Speights? His playing time dwindled down to a season-low 6 minutes and 22 seconds in the last game. He’ll probably hit the waiver wire in your league soon. When he’s had the chance to produce he’s delivered in a big way. Sixers GM Ed Stefanski is very unhappy with the situation right now and recently put some heat on Eddie Jordan through the media. What I’m trying to get at here is; I don’t think we’ve seen the last of Speights this season. Keep him in mind because there could be a personnel shake-up in Philly.
– Tyrus Thomas made a lot of noise in the first three games he played once returning from injury, averaging 16 points and 10.3 rebounds. But in the following five games he plummeted to 6.4 points and 5.2 rebounds. Marc Stein also reports that “moving Thomas before the deadline is still Chicago’s intention.” This is a buy-low scenario for Thomas right now. His athleticism is off the charts and if he is moved to the right team you might see him start to shrug off some of the immaturity that has hampered his development to this point.
FANTASY LINE OF THE WEEK
Rajon Rondo (1/10 @ TOR): 22 points, 13 assists, 10 rebounds, 4 steals