Thanks for stopping by our web site. Every Tuesday during the season I’ll be offering up my thoughts on the fantasy hoops landscape, focusing on things that I find unusual, surprising or just plain interesting. I feel it is important to throw oneself fully into the daily ebb and flow of the NBA season, to gobble up every morsel in a quest for an advantage over the majority of fantasy players who are pretty casual. This time of the year is the craziest. Everyone is panicking about their stars who are under-performing, and trampling each other on the way to the waiver wire to grab tonight’s version of the Next Big Thing.
I’m guilty of focusing too much on the high and lows (okay, maybe just the lows). I’ll Be Damned is my attempt to remain level-headed and bargain with the devil on my shoulder.
I’ll be damned that…
…roles are solidifying in Miami.
LeBron James is the do-everything. Dwyane Wade is the scorer. And let’s just leave it at that, because at this juncture Chris Bosh doesn’t deserve to be in the “Big Three”. He’s been a big dud, averaging just 14.4 points and 5.4 rebounds. 5.4 rebounds! This is ugly. LeBron looks like he isn’t interested in trying to score 30 a game, so we’ll have to settle for a 21-5-8 in terms of averages. Will he be better than that? Probably a little. He’s a nightly triple-double threat. But the Heat will win many games handily, knocking everyone down a peg. The great news is that Wade is still putting up monster stats, including a 27.7 scoring average in the last three games and 24.1 for the year. So much for that hamstring injury and worries that he couldn’t fit in. He’s the one Heat who is outperforming his draft slot, and his 6.4 boards, 1.7 steals and 1.1 blocks make him arguably fantasy’s premier shooting guard so far.
…Monta Ellis is already hurt, speaking of premier shooting guards.
That noise you heard Monday was the collective gasp of millions of Ellis owners. He injured his back awkwardly at Toronto and had to stay overnight there for X-rays. Yikes. It would be foolish to call Ellis injury-prone based on a moped accident, but not so foolish to be very concerned about him careening around the court and in the air at such a high speed for 40 minutes a game. Hopefully he doesn’t miss much time, but to get a scare so soon is a splash of water in the face. If you are an Ellis owner A) don’t panic yet, B) pick up Reggie Williams and C) sell high on Monta the next time you can.
…there’s so much trade bait everywhere.
Every fantasy owner should peruse their team’s current statistical averages every day or so for outliers, numbers that have no precedence but can be used to sell your own guy in a trade with an unsuspecting fellow owner. Are there any suckers out there interested in Andre Miller and his 8.3 assists and 1.8 steals? Time to find out. Elton Brand is the No. 3-ranked player in Yahoo? Ding Ding Ding Ding! (that’s the trade bell). You could also get a fortune for Rudy Gay (quickly, as Zach Randolph went bananas on Monday), his teammate Mike Conley, Lamar Odom (wait until around Thanksgiving, right before Andrew Bynum returns) and a seemingly-rejuvenated Kevin Garnett. Now’s the time to start putting feelers out.
…Blake Griffin is a little overrated.
In fantasy, mind you. But still. He’s averaging just 0.7 steals and 0.1 blocks, disappointing numbers to anyone who bought into the hype and grabbed him in the early rounds of drafts. Since he’s shooting a putrid 59.6 percent from the line on 7.4 free throw attempts, you could make an argument that Griffin is hurting fantasy owners as much as he’s helping. I don’t doubt that he will improve across the board on his peripheral numbers this season and certainly in the seasons to come. But we all wanted a little more than just rebounds, right?
…I’m a moron.
Who would have thought, right? Bear with me, I’ll make sense of that shocking statement. You see, when prepping for the season I had a nagging voice in my head telling me not to buy into the hype of several players going really high in drafts. Would David Lee match his totals from last year when his new backcourt of Ellis and Stephen Curry would demand so many shots? Why in the world would Darren Collison be as good as he was on the Hornets when he’s only the third option in Indiana and doesn’t need to score? Steve Nash is going to average 11-12 assists after the team replaced Amar’e Stoudemire with Hedo Turkoglu? And Bosh – don’t get me started again on Bosh. Face it: these guys won’t match their draft value unless injury strikes teammates or trades are made later in the year.
…Lou Williams keeps chugging along.
The Sixers add Evan Turner, have an emerging point guard in Jrue Holiday, and run their offense through Andre Iguodala. Shouldn’t be a fertile situation for Williams, right? Yet here he is averaging 17.9 points somehow, in 26 minutes per game. Williams was quite good last year when he had the run of things, so this is no fluke. That he’s hit double figures in all seven games so far is all the more impressive.
…Manu Ginobili is better than ever.
He’s in the starting lineup now, playing more minutes than he ever has (34/game) and just tearing it up. On Monday he went for 26 points, five boards, three assists, five threes and two steals. He’s money from the line. I can’t see his minutes remaining so high all season, but my gosh is there a better fantasy SG out there right now, other than maybe Wade or Ellis? He might be another trade-high candidate, but honestly I don’t think casual fantasy owners even realize how good he really is.
…Wade Phillips was fired.
In the football league I’m in with Greg and Tom, we actually play with head coaches. I won’t at all be damned that I own Phillips. Yes, I drafted a 1-7 boob to be my fantasy coach, and he was fired. (By the way, this is somewhere between the 3,456th and 3,983rd most infuriating thing that has happened to my team in that league; I’m 6-3. Gotta love fantasy football.)
…my favorite album of 2010 is Marah’s Life is a Problem.
This is a major upset, considering the strength of the year so far, from outstanding new albums by some of my favorite bands (The National, Gaslight Anthem, Arcade Fire) to the lost rarities that came with reissues of my two favorite records ever, The Stones’ Exile on Main Street and Springsteen’s Darkness on the Edge of Town. Marah is a little-known Philadelphia outfit that has been making cool rock music under everyone’s radar for over a decade. Life is a Problem is birthed from the turmoil of three members quitting, including the brother of the lead singer, leaving the band in shambles and exiled to a farm house in God-Knows-Where, America, with just lead singer Dave Bielanko holding the flickering torch. From this nadir emerges one of the most honest and thrilling documents of loss and redemption ever cut to tape. Weird, rustic, devastating music that emerges after several plays as a musical heart thumping back to life. It makes most of what else I’ve heard recently trite by comparison, and here’s hoping it is someone’s favorite reissue some day.
You’ll be damned if you think Jeff is JUST going to talk about fantasy basketball in this column. I’ll Be Damned will run Tuesdays throughout the NBA season. If there’s something else you think Jeff should be damned about, leave it in the Comments, and feel free to contact any of us at Damn Lies & Statistics using the Contact Us form accessible at the top of the site.