The Cheat Sheet # 5
By Eric Yearian
Recent News/Revelations: Holy Toledo, where do I start? Do I start with the fact the Nets gave up on the habitually late, but uber-talented, Terrence Williams? Or, the Magic’s losing streak? Maybe I should start with Otis Smith making what was probably the biggest over-reaction in the history of the NBA, where he totally rebuilt his team with a pair of trades, blowing up a lot of a team that was expected to be one of the top three teams in the East already. I could even start by talking about Larry Brown and the Charlotte Bobcats deciding to part ways as the team had reportedly tuned him out. How about the fact that Carmelo Anthony being taken off the trade market (but only temporarily, while he mourns a loss in his family)? If that won’t suffice, I could always talk about Brandon Roy’s temper tantrum, where he threw his teammates under the bus (especially Andre Miller,) despite the fact that he’s playing worse than he has since he entered the league. Heck, I could even talk about Kobe one-upping Roy in the temper tantrum department by getting tossed out of a blowout loss against the Bucks when he had a few choice words for the officials that, well, weren’t exactly in the holiday spirit. Yes, I just said the Bucks, led by tiny Earl Boykins (who struggled to even find a job in the NBA after playing overseas) blew out the Lakers, that’s how weird the past two weeks have been in this crazy world we call the NBA.
Jameer Nelson: Nelson has been a pretty darn good point guard, and a fringe all-star, for the Orlando Magic. However, he’s never been an outstanding passer or playmaker, he’s more of the type to look for his shot and be a reliable third scoring option. With the Magic’s acquisition of Gilbert Arenas, Nelson’s minutes may soon get reduced. Arenas is easily the better scorer, and while you think of scoring when you think of Arenas, he is a very underrated facilitator. As long as Arenas is healthy, he is a much better player than Nelson. Due to his size, Nelson is unable to move to the shooting guard position and Arenas, as was seen in Washington playing alongside John Wall, is obviously uncomfortable in that role. Nelson holds the upper hand at the moment because of his experience with the team, ultimately, Arenas will make him expendable in fantasy, and there is even chatter that Orlando may trade him for a big man.
Hedo Turkoglu: If you own Hedo, now is the time to unload him. He likely was, at best, a late round pick in your draft due to his terrible play since leaving Orlando. Now that he is back in the fold in the land of Disney, people have renewed hope in him, as the offense fits him well. Despite this though, he remains a very low end fantasy option, as there are too many guys battling him for numbers. Last time he was in Orlando, he was competing with Nelson (see above), Rashard Lewis (traded to Washington) for numbers. Now, he’ll be splitting statistics with Arenas, Jason Richardson, and now that Dwight Howard can do more than just dunk, he’ll also cut into Turkoglu’s opportunities.
Gerald Wallace: With Larry Brown stepping down in Charlotte, Wallace will now have a new coach in Paul Silas. Silas has experience with helping small forwards flourish, as in his last two head coaching gigs he spear headed offenses built around LeBron James and Jamal Mashburn. The thing here is, he has been included in some trade rumors since Brown left the team, including a rumored deal to Portland. If he remains with the Bobcats, he will continue to put up good numbers, but if he’s moved, you can expect his scoring to possibly dip, but his other numbers to more than offset that, as he will, in all likelihood, go to a contending team with an established star, freeing Wallace to play off of another player, which suits his game much better. Wallace could become a rebounding machine, while his assists climb and keeping his scoring average near to where it is now.
Players you should avoid:
Brad Miller: Yes, Yao Ming is done for another season. It’s an unfortunate circumstance that really makes me sad, as Yao is a unique, supremely talented, player. It’s pretty obvious that Houston will struggle to replace his production (although they have experience in trying to thanks to his extensive injury history) but they will be tasked with doing exactly that. Typically, when a former all-star is in a position to earn major minutes on a team hard up for an interior presence (because let’s face it, as good as Luis Scola is, Houston needs more inside) I would say pick him up immediately, especially when his primary competition for minutes at center is 6’6” Chuck Hayes. Miller just isn’t capable of putting up numbers any more. He gives Houston a big body that they can throw out there to make life more difficult for opposing centers, but he is only a shell of his former self.
Players you should be looking to pick up: Terrence Williams: Houston acquired the young player from New Jersey for a reason. Even with Chase Budinger on the roster, Williams may be worth a flier because Houston may not be far from going into rebuild mode. Yao may never be the same and Kevin Martin, as good as he is, isn’t the type of talent that will carry a team by himself, meaning Houston could soon start seeing what young players Budinger, Williams, and Patrick Patterson can give them when given the opportunity.
Full Disclosure from last column: How did the players mentioned in the last column fare in the last column?
Sell High: Kyle Lowery, Ron Artest
Lowery continues to put up decent assist numbers, but he hasn’t been able to keep his production up across the board enough to justify starting in your lineup. With Aaron Brooks preparing to start getting major minutes again, Lowery is about to become an afterthought in fantasy. Artest’s most noteworthy accomplishment of late is selling his championship ring (for a good cause, but don’t get me started on that one,) and putting LeBron James in a semi-headlock during their Christmas day game in which both players got a technical foul. Final Verdict: Correct
Buy Low: Mo Williams, OJ Mayo
I told you to go get Mo Williams, but not even I expected him to play this well. He is in the midst of a 4 game stretch in which he has recorded a double-double in each game and contributed in the rebounding department as well. It hasn’t translated into many wins for the Cavs, but I’m guessing it’s added a win for a lot of fantasy owners. Mayo has played well over his last few contests, with the lone exception of the game against Houston, in which he did next to nothing for the Grizzlies. Despite the setback, his ability to be a 20 point scorer consistently and to chip in a little in other categories make him a good addition to most rosters. Final Verdict: Correct
Player you should avoid: Shaquille ONeal
Shaq will have occasional good games, like he did in Philly, where he put up 13 points, 9 rebounds. That doesn’t mean he won’t follow it up with a stinker like he did against Dwight Howard on Christmas, finishing with more fouls (6) than points, rebounds, assists, and blocks combined (5). Need I say more? Final Verdict: Correct
Player you should look to pick up:
Ekpe Udoh: Udoh is still working himself into game shape after missing most of the season to this point. While I am admittedly not sold on him as a lottery pick, or even a rotation player in the NBA, the Warriors are, and that is what matters. They are giving him minutes and he is rebounding well in those minutes. Recently, he’s been blocking shots at an impressive pace. However, until he starts to at least do a little bit of scoring to go with those, he won’t be useful for your fantasy team. Final Verdict: Wrong (at least for now)