Fantasy Basketball: Underachievers Abound
What to do with the deadbeat bringing your team down.
by Charles Peach / @Charles_Peach
Strange, unpredictable things happen in the beginning of the NBA season. Some of them are easier to explain than others. Why is Spencer Hawes a Top-10 fantasy player? I’ll pass on that one and move on to some that I have a chance at answering correctly.
Wall owners should be looking to trade him after his next big performance. Many would label him a “buy low” candidate right now, but his numbers aren’t far from what you can expect from him the rest of the season. Because he’s so exciting to watch and he still puts up some triple-doubleish numbers from time to time, there will be suitors for him in your league. The problem with Wall is he’ll do you more harm than good. The Wizards are a hot mess and Wall’s tore up jumper won’t be getting a makeover any time soon. He’s shooting 35.1 percent from the field, hasn’t hit a three this season, and he’s up to 3.9 turnovers a game. Most of his buckets are accompanied by a harsh collision between him and the floor, so there must also be some concern about him staying healthy. If you can steal Jose Calderon for John Wall, I’d do that in a heartbeat. I’d also consider trading him for Mike Conley.
Does it matter that LeBron and Wade aren’t shooting threes this season?
Absolutely. This is one area where basketball logic and fantasy logic don’t mesh. The lack of threes is a great thing for the Miami Heat. Wade and James are doing their team a favor by not settling for threes. They are getting better shots and attacking the rim more often. In fantasy, however, we need those threes. Now, in LeBron’s case, it’s enabled him to make an incredible 60.1 percent of his shots. So, he’s at least doing something to make up for the donuts he’s posting in the threes category. Am I saying you should trade LeBron because he’s not hitting threes? No way. He’s still the top ranked player so far. Wade is a different story. His shooting is down to 44.6 percent despite staying away from the arc. His scoring is down to 18.8 points per game. And, of course, he’s sat out the last three games. This could be a great time to trade for Wade because you know those numbers will be coming up.
What’s up with Danny Granger?
He’s certainly off to a miserable start, shooting 30.7 percent. His scoring average is also way down (14.9 ppg). Despite his woes, the Pacers are off to a 6-2 start. Here are some comments Granger made regarding his poor shooting thus far (via Eightpointsnineseconds.com): “I’m missing shots that’s, like, rolling in and then coming back out,” said Granger. “I’m not really worried about my shot. It’ll come … I’m missing layups. And I’ve notoriously started off every season of my career bad. Each preseason, I would shoot, like, 20-something percent and end up shooting better throughout the year.”
I think you can only expect Granger’s numbers to climb, and he is a good “buy low” candidate.
Should Dorrell Wright be dropped?
No. Is he going to be as good as last year? No. However, he’s just in an early season shooting slump and you can expect him to improve. The thing he has going for him is Stephen Curry’s ankle. With Curry missing games, Wright will be depended on a little bit more for offense. If you can get Wright for next to nothing in a trade, then I’d try to get him. Otherwise, I’d be careful about labeling him as a “buy low” because, while I expect him to find his shooting form, I don’t think the points will come as easy for him in Mark Jackson’s system. He should be able to get his season averages up to about 13 -14 points, a couple of threes, and a steal per game.
Is Joakim Noah the biggest regret of your draft?
Yes! How did you know?!? Watching Noah play this season is like watching a 50-year-old trying to keep up in a pickup game with college students. Wish I had known this before I drafted him 23rd overall! Oof. Since Noah is apparently still bothered by the foot injuries, Tom Thibodeau is being very cautious with his playing time, especially in the midst of back-to-backs. Oh well, what can I do now? I’ll tell you what I’d like to happen: He blows up for a couple of games and delivers some real ‘Joakim Noah Performances,’ you know, 17 points-14 rebounds-5 blocks-2 steals and then I trade him and don’t have to deal with him for the rest of the season! Ah, if it was only that easy. Whenever I see the name Omer Asik now, I feel a piece of my hair fall to the ground.
If you have a question you’d like my opinion on, drop something in the comments section below or on Twitter (@Charles_Peach).
Iman Shumpert – As much as I hate to admit it, being a Sixers fan, the Knicks got themselves a baller in Shumpert. He’s playing extremely confident for a rookie. He’s the team’s best defender on the perimeter. AND, he’s the best facilitator they can put at point. D’Antoni is well aware of these things, as Shump got his first start in Detroit the other night. He’s a totally safe addition right now.
Gary Neal – If you’re in need of 3-point shooting, there might not be a better option out there right now. He’s not going to pick up where Manu Ginobili left off; no one can fill those shoes. But, he’ll get the many of the minutes that are up for grabs.
JJ Hickson – With Chuck Hayes expected to miss about a month, it looks like Hickson will be the biggest benefactor. He put up 14 points, 11 rebounds and 4 assists against Orlando on Sunday. Most importantly, he played 38 minutes while Jason Thompson played only half as many.
Richard Jefferson – If he’s still available somehow, pick him up. He’s tied for second in threes made. With Ginobili out, he’ll be depended on to pick up some of the slack.
Marreese Speights – Must be added in all leagues as he is totally capable of being a Zach Randolph stuntman for the next couple of months. He had 17 points and 7 rebounds in 28 minutes off the bench against the Lakers on Sunday. I’d expect him to move right into the starting lineup as early as the next game (Tuesday vs. OKC).
Derrick Williams – Give him a look if he’s wading in your free agent pool. He might’ve earned himself more playing time after drilling four threes on Sunday. It would help if Michael Beasley weren’t around, but Williams should still get about 20-25 minutes for now. Most of his minutes come when Ricky Rubio is also on the floor and Rubio has a knack for finding Williams spotting up for open looks and also cutting to the rim for big oops. The 2nd pick overall in the Draft can consistently hit from long range as he demonstrated in his senior year at Arizona when he sank 56.8 percent of his threes.
Markieff Morris – Despite being stuck in an extremely crowded frontcourt situation in Phoenix (Marcin Gortat, Robin Lopez, Channing Frye, Hakim Warrick), Morris is holding his own. In three of his last four games, he’s played 30 minutes. In those three games, he averaged 14 points, 9.3 rebounds, 2.3 threes and 1 block. Not saying he’s a must-add, but if you’re desperate for help you ought to give him a shot.
Chris Singleton – It was clear, sitting at the Knicks-Wizards game on Friday, Singleton completely outplayed Rashard Lewis. Lewis was horrible; Singleton had a strong showing on both ends of the floor. On Sunday, things happened exactly as they should: Singleton got the start and Lewis didn’t play. Apparently, Lewis got into an argument with Sam Cassell (Wizards assistant coach) and decided that he didn’t want to play. If Cassell can continue to do his job this well all season, Singleton will be a great addition to your squad. Keep him on your radar for now until we see how this Wizards mess turns out (read: until Flip Saunders gets fired).