On Wednesday I had the craziest nightmare. In my dream, I sat down at my computer to assess the Southeast Division and realized that I hadn’t watched a single game the entire year… then my teeth fell out.
It was a bizarre first half for the five teams in this division, as it seemed as if the three juggernauts – Miami, Orlando and Atlanta – were mediocre at best, but they combined to go a solid 90-46. The Bobcats, at 19-25, have fallen below expectations, but have played better and more exciting basketball since the coaching change from Larry Brown to Paul Silas. As for the Wizards and their legendary play away from the Verizon Center, I think Dorothy said it best.
Well, gentlemen of the Southeast Division, school is out and it is time to pay the piper as your parents will be receiving the following grades any day now.
Joe Johnson (ADP: 28; Rank: 98)
Let’s give Johnson some extra credit for returning from elbow surgery in record time. Then, let’s give him a few days of detention for having his worst statistical season since ’03-04 in Phoenix. Is he really averaging 0.6 steals? Yuck.
Josh Smith (ADP: 17; Rank: 24)
This is a fun guy to own as he puts up crooked numbers in five or six categories nightly. His shooting percentage, blocks and steals have tailed off in recent weeks, but anyone who gobbled him up in the second or third round is being handsomely rewarded.
Al Horford (ADP: 27; Rank: 7)
Without looking, my guess is that Big Al leads all players over 6’8″ in assists because he seems to hand out about six per night. He is also a terrific percentages guy (.566 fg, .821 ft) but just needs to get to the line a little more often (2.6 fta) to be truly dominant. I’m sure his owners have few complaints.
Jamal Crawford (ADP: 80; Rank: 87)
After a very slow start to the 2010-11 season, Crawford has caught fire and is nearing his Sixth Man of the Year totals from a year ago. Not too shabby for a bench player who somehow remains a mid-round afterthought.
Marvin Williams (ADP: N/A; Rank: 171)
Williams has the occasional game in which he exhibits why he was the #2 overall selection in 2005. Unfortunately, being the fourth or fifth option on a good team doesn’t do much for his fantasy production nor his private life. Missing 14 games with injuries isn’t going to help his grade.
Mike Bibby (ADP: 137; Rank: 86)
It wasn’t too long ago that a young Mike Bibby was putting up jaw-dropping numbers for the Kings. Now 32, he barely resembles his former self. The good: he hasn’t missed a game and is knocking down better than 2.0 threes per contest. The bad: everything else.
Gerald Wallace (ADP: 17; Rank: 136)
It’s tough to naysay about Wallace because he plays so hard every night. Unfortunately, he was counted on in the second round by many this year and is nowhere close to being the player he was in 2009-10. His rebounds are down more than 2.0 per game and his steals (1.1) and blocks (0.9) are becoming somewhat pedestrian.
Stephen Jackson (ADP: 49; Rank: 90)
The three things we can count on in life are death, taxes and a 40-percent field goal percentage out of Captain Jack. But owners knew this prior to drafting him. What owners didn’t know was that his scoring (18.0) would slide to its lowest point since ’06-07.
D.J. Augustin (ADP: 132; Rank: 43)
With the departure of Ray Felton, Augustin was handed the keys in Charlotte and hasn’t disappointed. Former point-guard-killing coach Brown liked him and he is currently playing with extreme confidence for Silas. As his 14.8 points, 6.3 assists and 92 percent from the line will attest, he has been a steal.
Tyrus Thomas (ADP: 94; Rank: 118)
I’m not sure if he participates in fantasy basketball, but the happiest man in regard to Ty Thomas’ minutes has to be Sy Sperling. Owners have been tearing their hair out over Thomas the past few years as he is the same kind of tease as the vivacious Kim Kardashian. Try prorating 5.8 rebounds and 1.7 blocks in 21.6 minutes. To add insult to insult, he is out eight weeks with a tear of his meniscus. And I’m not just a Bobcat fan, I’m also a client.
Boris Diaw (ADP: 118; Rank: 73))
Diaw does a little bit of everything, but nothing real well. But I guess he was drafted to put up average numbers across the board, kind of like Billy Owens back in the day. One would think the Thomas injury would help, but probably not.
LeBron James (ADP: 3; Rank: 16)
James has set some pretty lofty standards for himself, but no one in their right mind should have expected him to duplicate his freakish numbers as the lone gunman in Cleveland. Except for scoring (25.9), blocks (0.5) and fg% (.478) he’s come pretty darn close.
Dwyane Wade (ADP: 6; Rank: 34)
Wade has been banged up since game one of the preseason, yet has only sat out three contests. In the other 41, he has been his typical freakish self, though not to the level pre-LeBron. We couldn’t have expected much more.
Chris Bosh (ADP: 22; Rank: 41)
In the early going, it was looking as if Bosh was fitting in Miami about as well as Daniel LaRusso in the San Fernando Valley. Bosh figured it out and has been the Bosh of old over the past six weeks. A high ankle sprain has derailed his run, but he should be a lock for plenty of 18-and-9s the rest of the way.
Mike Miller (ADP: 122; Rank: 369)
A sloth-like return from a hand injury destroyed Miller’s season. He has appeared in only 11 contests, and except for a monster performance last Saturday, he has been brutal. Maybe that breakout game is a sign of things to come.
Dwight Howard (ADP: 11; Rank: 129)
Howard feels disappointing this season, but he is putting up easily his highest scoring average (22.0) to go along with the requisite rebounds, blocks and field goal percentage. The turnovers and free throw percentage are killers, but with a little more work with Hakeem the Dream, who knows?
Jason Richardson (ADP: 52; Rank: 37)
J-Rich went from the best possible situation for fantasy in Phoenix to one of the worst in the congested Orlando lineup. His numbers across the board are tanking and will need about six injuries to his teammates to be a top-50 player again.
Jameer Nelson (ADP: 91; Rank: 99)
I’m not sure what Nelson has to do to win the heart and mind of SVG. This is one tough little mother who can both score and get in the lane and create. He is now sharing the lead guard role with Agent Zero, which will surely put a crimp on his future value.
Hedo Turkoglu (ADP: 76; Rank: 68)
The big Turk looked as if he was ready to go off into the sunset when the Governor of Florida gave him a reprieve. He has quickly resurrected himself in the place where he had his greatest success. His overall numbers are nothing great, but all arrows are pointing up.
Gilbert Arenas (ADP: 65; Rank: 143)
early in the season it looked as if Arenas was going to be a steal for his owners as he was putting up nice totals in Washington, while mentoring John Wall. He is currently second fiddle to the much better Jameer Nelson and will need an injury to Nelson to save his fleeting value.
J.J. Redick (ADP: 133; Rank: 130)
If last year’s playoffs were any indication, Redick looked as if 2010-11 would be his breakout. It was not to be as Vince Carter remained the starter, and now that Carter is gone, the former Duke product is still having trouble seeing substantial daylight. Too many mouths to feed on this team.
John Wall (ADP: 53; Rank: 140)
As long as he remains in decent health, Wall will become one of the most explosive players in the league. He’s had a tough year injury-wise and he could be hobbled for the final 35-40 games. Even so, he has averaged 15.1 points, 9.3 assists and 1.8 steals, which is not too shabby. On the flip side, the 40 percent shooting and 3.9 turnovers have to improve.
Andray Blatche (ADP: 60; Rank: 102)
Nagging injuries and some spotty behavior have hurt Blatche and his owners this season. A one-man wrecking crew down the stretch of 2009-10, he has not resembled that player albeit for a few occasions this year. He is only shooting 42 percent from the floor, but his 1.6 steals are a nice bonus.
JaVale McGee (ADP: 104; Rank: 52)
I’m not sure I’ve seen more than two or three other seven-footers with the ability to get off the floor as quick and as high as McGee. With a little more seasoning, he could average more than 10.0 rebounds and 3.0 blocks per game. But something tells me he’ll be one of those guys who will never reach his full potential.
Rashard Lewis (ADP: 75; Rank: 64)
Lewis, whose career was taking a quick swirl down the turlet, lucked into a perfect fantasy situation in Washington. He is now relevant again despite playing on one leg, averaging 13.8 points and 7.4 boards since the trade.
Kirk Hinrich (ADP: N/A; Rank: 93)
Hinrich has been on the cusp of solid value during portions of the season, but something always happens to stop his momentum. This time it’s an elbow injury as he has missed the past three games. And as long as Wall is on the floor, Hinrich is barely startable.
Nick Young (ADP: N/A; Rank: 67)
This dude came from nowhere and has registered some monster games over the past month. Now firmly entrenched in the rotation, this scoring machine might win a few championships for his owners.
Josh Howard (ADP: N/A; Rank: LOL)
A lost year for this great patriot.
Yi Jianlian (ADP: N/A; Rank: 286)
The Chairman can’t seem to stay healthy for the Wizards and has endured a miserable ’10-11. Obviously, missing out on the countless Bar Mitzvahs he attended as a Net, through a brilliant marketing ploy aimed at appeasing season ticket holders, has affected his psyche. How much can one man suffer?
Unless he is stricken with the same ingrown toenail that affected him in the second grade, 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.