Fantasy Basketball, Week 14
Is it time to cut Aaron Brooks?
by Charles Peach / @Charles_Peach
I’m really feeling for all the Aaron Brooks owners. I was just offered Brooks in one of my leagues and, at first, I considered trading for him on the cheap. I knew he was struggling since returning from his ankle injury, but I figured that he’d eventually get it together and become the 20-points-5-dimes-3-threes per game player that he once was. Then I did my research and realized, we might never see that again.
Not only has Kyle Lowry taken his job, Brooks has been ineffective off of the bench lately. He’s 10-44 from the field in the last four games. Since returning from his ankle injury, he’s had a few strong performances, but has been generally inconsistent. The thing that completely turned me off was his Basketball Monster rating from last season. I knew he had a strong ’09-10 season and thought he would’ve, at least, been in the Top 60. So, I was surprised when I saw him ranked number 109. It was due mostly to his field goal percentage. He heaved so many shots that his 43 percent conversion rate really crippled fantasy teams. His assist/turnover ratio and rebounding were also lacking.
Lowry may have done enough to convince the Rockets’ brass that he will be the starting point guard there next season. Few believe a backcourt combination of Brooks and Kevin Martin is a recipe for success, so after Martin was acquired last season, many thought that Brooks must eventually be on his way out. Those rumors still persist because the Rockets have declined to give him a contract extension, and he is scheduled to become a restricted free agent this offseason.
If I owned him, I would hold on and wait for one more big night off of the bench and then try to move him. Even if he gets back to doing what he does best, it’s kind of like fools gold because he’s going to hurt you in more categories than he helps.
Rashard Lewis – His value might not be very high, but it could be at its peak. Earlier in the week, Lewis complained publicly about the pain he’s suffering from tendinitis in his right knee. Specifically, he mentioned that he might struggle in back-to-back games. However, he tallied 18 points and 11 rebounds in a victory against the Celtics, which happened to be the second game of a back-to-back. After coming up with zero double-doubles in 25 games with the Magic this season, ‘Shard has six in 16 games since joining the Wizards. I own him and I’ve been looking to move him all season. Now is probably my best chance to find a taker, especially if he starts sitting random games to rest his knee.
Joakim Noah – There is an estimated return date of February 24 floating around. That happens to be when the Bulls face the Heat in Chicago. It’s likely that Noah’s owner in your league is losing patience, especially if they’re slipping quickly in the standings. If you hold one of the top three positions in your league and can afford to stash him, it could be a wise maneuver to make an offer. More so in head-to-head leagues than in rotisserie leagues. In head-to-head, you want to have the strongest team possible headed into the fantasy playoffs.
ON THE WIRE
Marcin Gortat – Make sure he’s no longer a free agent in your league. He finally appears comfortable playing with his new teammates in Phoenix and starting to post consistent numbers. He has three straight double-doubles, averaging 13.3 points and 13 rebounds in those games. He’ll also contribute blocks, steals, and very good percentages. Robin Lopez continues to start for the Suns, but Gortat is on the floor much more than him.
Mike Miller – I talked about him last week, and on Saturday he showed how he could help the Heat, finally. Miller finished with 32 points, 10 rebounds, and six threes. Yes, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh both sat out but Miller has had few opportunities to get into a rhythm before this last performance. I think Miller will be a valuable fantasy asset from here on out. He may have games where their Big Three dominate the production, but he’s going to make a lot of threes. After this confidence-building performance, I expect the other Heat players to target him for wide-open looks. Let’s just hope he can stay healthy.
Anthony Morrow – Just working his way back in the rotation after missing more than a month with a strained hamstring. The stubborn “Little General” Avery Johnson had him buried on the bench in the last game. I assume it’s because he wants to give him time to get back into form. Once he does, I’d expect him to get his starting job back as he is a much better option than Stephen Graham. Morrow is a highly effective source of three-pointers and he hits them at an elite rate.
Tyler Hansbrough – I can’t take any of Coach Jim O’Brien’s waiver prospects too seriously. He’s been way too inconsistent with his lineups. However, Hansbrough might’ve finally earned enough respect to be rewarded with consistent burn. He’s now started nine straight for the Pacers, his latest a 27-point, 10-rebound effort in Denver. Granted, the Nuggets seldom play defense, but Psycho T is definitely worth looking into.
Rudy Fernandez – Any healthy Blazer is going to be productive at this point, there just aren’t enough able bodies on the roster. Rudy’s been a hot pickup lately, which I can’t argue with, but I don’t see him remaining valuable throughout the rest of the season. With Brandon Roy and Marcus Camby out of the picture, and Andre Miller leaving the last game after playing two minutes, there’s a lot more opportunity for production. Once some, or any, of these guys get healthy, I don’t think you’ll see Fernandez as much. However, if you’re just in search of some temporary assistance, he should be a leading candidate.
Omri Casspi – He’s a decent, short-term option. I’d like him a lot more if he didn’t shoot atrociously from the field and if he didn’t play for this season’s Don Nelson, Paul Westphal. But, he makes up for those deficiencies by rebounding well and knocking down threes. While Francisco Garcia continues to miss games, Casspi should have opportunities to produce and start.
Paul George – Here is your deep league special of the week. Personally, I’m a huge believer in PG. I think he can be a great, Trevor Ariza/Thabo Sefolosha-type defender for a contender and be able to knock down shots like James Posey. Coach O’Brien recently had this to say: “The decision that I have to make is when do I move Paul definitely in front of Brandon,” O’Brien said. “That’s coming if we keep getting sporadic play.” I wouldn’t put anything past O’Brien and his crazy, temperamental coaching, but if he makes this move I think the rookie will do enough to keep Rush on the pine.