Fantasy Basketball, Week 11

by January 14, 2009

by Emry DowningHall

Good things in life come to those who wait. The same holds true for fantasy hoops owners as well.

If you read this column on the regular, you may get a different impression. Each week I release plenty of potential waiver additions, and preach the importance of staying on top of the add/drop developments.

While I’ll never retreat from my stance that the waiver wire is the foundation of any championship fantasy team, I thought this week I’d examine the importance of being a patient owner.

Even the most seasoned veterans fall victim to the impatient player drop. Traditionally, the only way to develop an immunity to this condition is to be infected at some point. If you play fantasy hoops long enough, chances are you’re going to get bit.

For the sake of full disclosure, SLAMonline should know that your own Mr. Fantasy is currently in recovery for an addiction to add/drop.

To help illustrate my point, I want to take a look at the seasons Rodney Stuckey and Andrea Bargnani are having.

Both Stuckey and Bargnani came into the season with buzz associated with their names. Stuckey looked to build off a solid rookie campaign and was rumored to be a favorite of GM Joe Dumars. Despite playing well in summer league, he fell in the 7th to 9th rounds of most drafts.

Bargnani’s always available as a bargain late round selection on draft night. Anytime you get the chance to grab a 7-footer with unlimited range, who has an organization’s front office shaking down the coaching staff for playing time, Bargs finally turning the corner?that’s a risk worth taking.

Stuckey and Bargnani both had miserable starts to the season. Stuckey struggled for playing time behind Chauncey Billups and wasn’t producing when he managed to find the floor. Bargnani fell right back into his typecast role as a European softy with a girl’s name, who remained a colossal waste of a No. 1 pick.

Fast forwarding to the present, both Stuckey and Bargnani are must-own players in all fantasy formats. Billups’ departure from Detroit paved the way for Stuckey to claim the starting job, and Jermaine O’Neal being, well, Jermaine O’Neal allowed Bargnani to play and excel at his natural position.

The point is, both players had terrific upside and sometimes exercising patience early in the season will pay dividends. Keep in mind that you drafted players for a reason, and a couple of bad games won’t kill your team over the long haul. Obviously, there’s a point where enough is enough, but if you need to cut bait, at least make sure the player you’re adding has as much upside as the one you’re releasing.

Speaking of patient fantasy owners, Gilbert Arenas rewarded them with a swift kick in the nuts this week when he stated he’s “Not even close (to returning)” and questioned whether it makes sense for him to suit up for such a miserable Wizards team this season.

He implied that resting and rehabbing is a better than a premature return. While it’s hard to argue with his logic, it’s obviously frustrating news for Wizards fans and Arenas owners. I don’t own Gilbert in any leagues, but if I did, this news would be all the incentive I needed to send him on his way.

Arenas is a very exciting player when healthy, but I’m growing extremely concerned about his long term future in the League. Also, these recent develops force me to ponder WHAT THE HELL WERE THE WIZARDS THINKING OFFERING HIM THAT CONTRACT!? The man looks nice in a buttoner, but who wouldn’t have their suit game tight with $111 million?

Word out of Houston is that Tracy McGrady and Ron Artest will be sidelined for two weeks, and perhaps longer. McGrady is shutting it down in hopes that the rest provides relief for his left knee soreness. Artest is nursing a badly sprained ankle that isn’t responding appropriately to treatment.

It’s been a rough start for the Western Conference’s “Big Three” and a nightmare down in Houston. I will neither confirm nor deny reports that Yao Ming reportedly recorded another T-Mobile commercial where McGrady and Artest replace Barkley and Wade and announce to Yao they are planning on shutting it down. To which Yao responds, “Don’t be like a baby!” before storming out of the Rockets’ locker room.

This was a relatively quiet week on the waiver wire, but I’ve still managed to dig up some talent for all you add/drop fiends out there:
Wafer fly high
Kirk Hinrich
– His injury rehab brought him back to the Bulls’ lineup way ahead of schedule, and he saw 20 minutes in his first game. The Bulls’ backcourt is packed with rotation players, but keep your eye on Hinrich’s production or add him right away if you need a guard. His numbers will be tempered early, but he’ll pay dividends come the trading deadline.

Von Wafer
– He’s now hit double figures in his last seven games, along with a career-high 23 points last night. He’s not fantastic in any other categories, but with McGrady and Artest sidelined, Wafer should be a nice spot starter for the next two weeks. The production of Rafer Alston, Aaron Brooks and Carl Landry should also see a nice spike as well.

Kyle Lowry
– He’s out-battled Mike Conley for the starting point guard spot in Memphis and played 30 minutes on back-to-back nights for the first time this season. Last night, he went off for 25 points, 7 dimes, 3 rebounds and a steal. There are plenty of trade rumors surrounding the Grizzlies, but for now the job appears to be Lowry’s.

Zaza Pachulia
Al Horford’s out indefinitely with a bone bruise in his knee, making Pachullia the starter in the ATL. Though his value isn’t likely to explode, he did have a very quiet 10 points and 11 rebounds last night. Finding a double-double on the waiver wire can prove extremely difficult, and Pachulia should hold his value for the next few weeks.

Ryne and I are going head to head this week in the expert league in an all SLAM matchup. I’ll throw up a report next week to let you guys know how it turned out. I’d better win, I’d hate to have to pass the Mr. Fantasy crown to my editor!

As always, thanks for reading guys, leave your comments in the box and I’ll get back to you ASAP.