Forgive me for tooting my own horn, but I’d just like you all to know that I’m one of two people on the planet who remembers verbatim the NBA on CBS theme song. I start off my weekly rant by telling you this for two reasons: First, I want you all to try and comprehend the amount of women who throw themselves at me at karaoke bars because of this unique skill. Second, I need to prove my worth. How in the world is anyone expected to take the fantasy basketball advice of a man who is already so far behind in his one and only roto league that I must stop and get directions from a fantasy mall cop if I expect to get back in the race. And as my father used to say to me, “the only race you’ll ever win is against a diseased elk.” The old man is of great wisdom, to say the least.
This has been a bizarre three-and-a-half weeks. Something seems just a little off. Guys known for getting hurt while stepping into a marshmallow factory – Devin Harris, Danny Granger, Kevin Martin, Gerald Wallace, Monta Ellis – have combined to miss zero games. Guys left for dead – Elton Brand, Emeka Okafor, Richard Jefferson, Tony Parker, Kevin Garnett, Tyson Chandler – have been partying like it’s 1999. In Parker’s case, he’s probably so relieved to have excavated himself from over-the-top Spurs superfan Eva Longoria that he is likely playing out of his mind on a ruptured achilles.
Something has got to give and I suspect that in the next few weeks we’ll be touting some no-names as potential contributors. Allow Fox Unbalanced to beat the fantasy pundits to the punch. Keep these deepest of sleepers in mind if injuries strike. (Disclaimer: This is an NBA list only. Those of you competing in H2H leagues in Turkey, look to buy low on Allen Iverson. He competed in his first game yesterday for Besiktas Cola and promptly helped it blow a 17-point lead. I’m sure that with his mindset and team-first approach, they’ll have things turned around in no time.)
4. Gary Forbes, SG/SF, DEN (16.0 mpg, 8.5 ppg, 3.0 rpg, 0.8 spg, 1.0 3-pt fg, 52% fg)
The former high school star from Brooklyn vanished a few years ago and recently showed up in Denver in full Nuggets regalia, where is beginning to carve out some semblance of a basketball career. There is a pretty decent chance that ‘Melo will be a member of the Knicks at some point this season and J.R. Smith’s tired act may be leaving on that midnight train to Georgia. If even one of these things occur, Forbes could have a chance to play 25 minutes a night. While I’m not expecting miracles, he could be a terrific source of threes.
3. Jason Smith, PF/C, NOR (19.6 mpg, 7.2 ppg, 3.9 rpg, 0.5 spg, 0.4 bpg, 92% ft)
Smith played in relative obscurity his first two years in the league in Philly and only the 11 members of the Hornets Fan Club on Facebook would recognize him on the streets of New Orleans. He is currently all they’ve got on the bench up front, and his 7.3 points, 4.2 rebounds, 0.6 steals, 0.4 blocks and 92 percent from the line in 20 minutes per game has me kind of enthused about a potential injury to either Okafor or David West, two dudes known for paying their annual health care deductibles.
2. Greivis Vasquez, PG, MEM (7.7 mpg, 2.8 ppg, 0.7 apg, 0.3 3-pt fg)
I’d rather watch paint dry than a regular season college basketball game, but I did catch a little of Vasquez a year ago, and after John Wall and DeMarcus Cousins, I thought he was the best player in the country. He can do a little bit of everything, kind of a poor man’s Joe Johnson, and he has already surpassed Acie Law on the Grizz depth chart as Mike Conley‘s backup. Conley is an injury risk and mop-up duty is not in Vasquez’ future. Given 30 minutes a night, the polished 23-year old rookie is capable of 13-4-6 with a bunch of threes and steals.
1. Anthony Tolliver, PF, MIN (18.9 mpg, 6.4 ppg, 4.5 rpg, 0.5 spg, 0.7 bpg, 0.8 3-pt fg, 85% ft)
I shudder to think what this guy would do in a full complement of minutes for the T’Wolves. Darko Milicic has got to be on borrowed time, right? I know David Kahn inexplicably paid him a gajillion dollars to sign in Minny, but it’s ok to cut your losses early, isn’t it? Well, there’s always an injury to Darko or the seemingly indestructible Kevin Love that would thrust Tolliver into a big-time role. He has the potential to rank among league leaders in combined blocks and threes, and did I mention who his competition for minutes would be if Love or Milicic went down? Nikola Pekovic and Kosta Koufos! I just wet myself thinking about it.
Fox Unbalanced will appear in these pages every Thursday. If you or someone you know views a Grizzlies/Raptors game as a religious experience, this could be the perfect destination for you. Feel free to chime in with some feedback.