As governments across the Middle East and Northern Africa are being toppled by the day due to a scarcity of fantasy basketball information, we at Damn Lies continue to be all about country. With all due respect to our cronies in the biz, you are not going to find better graders anywhere, as the combination of Jeff Andriesse, Tom Lorenzo and I pulled a 4.0 GPA at the university level. Jeff led the way with a 1.8, Tom pulled a respectable 1.5 and I brown-nosed my way to a solid 0.7.
I find it pretty ironic that I’m putting midseason report cards together for the Pacific Division as it has an inordinate amount of players who never went to college (see: Kobe Bryant, Andrew Bynum, Monta Ellis) as well as even more guys who couldn’t spell cat if you spotted them the C and the T (see: Sacramento Kings roster). Nevertheless, it’s time to get these gents graded, and who better to do so than someone whose MENSA card keeps getting lost in the mail.
GOLDEN STATE WARRIORS
Monta Ellis (ADP: 29; Rank: 18)
Pretty difficult to find a tougher and more talented guard in the game than Ellis. Is he a chucker? Well, yes, an extreme one, but he still manages to shoot a solid 46 percent from the field, while pouring in a mighty 25.1 ppg. And let’s not forget those beautiful assists (5.6), steals (2.3) and 3-pointers (1.6) that we really didn’t count on heading into the season. His death-defying game could land him in intensive care at any moment, but enjoy him while he’s still kicking. His current slump will end soon.
Stephen Curry (ADP: 8; Rank: 16)
I keep seeing Curry ranked near the top 10 overall, but that has got to be an optical illusion. Or maybe not. As a Curry owner, I feel as if he has done nothing but disappoint in his sophomore campaign, rolling the same ankle repeatedly, and posting pedestrian scoring (19.1) and assist (5.9) numbers. But his field goal percentage (.475), free throw percentage (.940), steals (1.9) and 3-pointers made (1.9) have me feeling all gooey inside. And it’s not even Valentine’s Day.
David Lee (ADP: 14; Rank: 95)
Lee has not lived up to his draft spot, but he is easily the best player I’ve ever seen with a crater in his arm the size of a cantaloupe. He is down more than 4.0 points in scoring, 2.0 rebounds and is shooting significantly worse percentages from the field and the line. I can see him getting it together for the final two-and-a-half months, but next year he falls to the fourth round.
Dorell Wright (ADP: N/A; Rank: 14)
Wright’s going to be taking home plenty of fantasy hardware this season as he has been a godsend for his owners. And this is mostly surprising since god is still in the thick of things in His league. Wright’s 16.7 points, 5.7 rebounds, 3.1 assists, 1.4 steals, 0.8 blocks and whopping 2.5 threes per games proves that the big guy works in mysterious ways.
Andris Biedrins (ADP: 99; Rank: 130)
What happened to the double-double machine from ’08-09? Biedrins is still young (24), but his career is taking a slow swirl down the turlet. His icky overall numbers are compounded by his laughable 36 percent shooting from the foul line. We didn’t expect much and that is exactly what we are getting.
Reggie Williams (ADP: 129; Rank: 173)
It seemed as if the former Oracle Arena popcorn vendor would carve out a nice little role for himself in the Warrior rotation. Through no fault of his own, the only time Keith Smart has given him decent daylight has been when Curry was on one of his ankle sabbaticals. When given the opportunity, Williams has provided nice all-around value, but it’s been too few and far between.
LOS ANGELES CLIPPERS
Blake Griffin (ADP: 61; Rank: 108)
Griffin is already a superhero in L.A. and I’d love to get in on the ground floor of his comic book rights deal. This may be a silly statement, but with good health, we could be looking at the greatest power forward in league history… and that includes John Rudd. His blocks (0.6) and free throw percentage (.620) are somewhat disappointing, but his other numbers are downright staggering.
Baron Davis (ADP: 61; Rank: 167)
Griffin has breathed new life into many in the land of the Paper Clips, but none more than Davis. The underachieving and oft-injured point guard seems resurrected of late, and his overall totals are nearing respectable levels. The 71 percent from the line has to improve.
Eric Gordon (ADP: 82; Rank: 35)
One of the biggest surprises of the ’10-11 campaign is Gordon, who proves every game that he is much more than just a solid jump shooter. The third-year man is averaging 24.1 points, 4.5 assists, 2.0 threes and 1.2 steals per contest. That adds up to a top-40 selection next year.
Chris Kaman (ADP: 68; Rank: 325)
Has anyone else noticed lately that bone bruises seem to linger forever for professional athletes? Kaman has been nearing a return to the court since the Eisenhower administration and there is still no end in sight. He was off to a mediocre start before his injury and there is little doubt that he has lost his starting gig to DeAndre Jordan. This has been one very disappointing season for his owners.
DeAndre Jordan (ADP: N/A; Rank: 124)
Speaking of Jordan, he has strung together a great month and is primed to be the Clips’ starting center for the foreseeable future. He is averaging 7.3 rebounds and 1.7 blocks per game, numbers that are surely to rise with more burn. Oh, and he’s shooting 68 percent from the field.
LOS ANGELES LAKERS
Kobe Bryant (ADP: 6; Rank: 15)
Is anyone else ready to see Kobe and his underbite ride off into the sunset? Seems as if the phony Laker leader is more popular than ever. On the court, Jellybean’s little boy is still putting up first round numbers (25.6 – 5.0 – 4.9) and I can see that continuing into the next millennium. There were concerns over his knee following preseason surgery, but he has not only squelched those concerns, he has not missed a game.
Pau Gasol (ADP: 11; Rank: 3)
The big Spaniard got off to a phenomenal start this year, and through the first month was the top fantasy dog going. He seemed to be on cruise control for awhile, but in the last few games has picked it back up. Andrew Bynum‘s return has definitely hurt his value, but I can’t think of another center I’d rather have.
Andrew Bynum (ADP: 85; Rank: 201)
I hear the new orthopedic wing at L.A. Medical Center has been dedicated to Bynum’s knees. The talented big fella just can’t stay healthy. He has been on the verge of becoming a fantasy beast for a few years, but it may never happen. He can score, rebound and block the ball and his percentages are solid. Now let’s see if he can survive a road trip without tearing something.
Lamar Odom (ADP: 86; Rank: 29)
With Bynum missing nearly the first two months of the season, Odom ran with the opportunity. His 15.4 points, 9.6 rebounds, 2.9 assists and 57 percent from the field remain underrated assets as he has clearly been better than his ADP. The return of Bynum has affected him, but he still provides solid value.
Ron Artest (ADP: 123; Rank: 115)
Oh boy, where do I begin? Artest can’t score anymore, nor does he want to score. The problem is, he doesn’t rebound, hand out assists and he is no longer the king of thievery. He is flat out awful as a fantasy player, but what a great interview!
Steve Nash (ADP: 19; Rank: 27)
Nash turns 37 in a few days and it looks as if he only has another six or seven year playing at the level he is at. Are we sure he is even human? How on earth is he averaging 17.0 points and 11.0 assists, while shooting 53 percent from the field and 92 percent from the line? The man is still arguably a top-15 pick.
Vince Carter (ADP: 85; Rank: 111)
The addition of Carter has to make Nash’s skin crawl as he knows he can create better shots for himself than the ones Vinsanity launches with regularity and without conscience. Carter’s better days ended a while ago, but he will still put up a terrific game every now and again, especially on this hurtin’ team.
Channing Frye (ADP: 87; Rank: 48)
Frye is a sneaky fantasy play. Not too many guys can block a shot and knock down two threes a game, things he does with regularity. His playing time has been spotty the past few years, but right now he is locked into a prominent role in the Suns’ frontcourt.
Robin Lopez (ADP: 102; Rank: 242)
Many expected a breakout from the other Lopez brother, but it hasn’t occurred. As a matter of fact, the addition of Marcin Gortat has rendered him an afterthought.
Marcin Gortat (ADP: N/A; Rank: 129)
All he needed was a chance, and the perfect destination for him was Phoenix. He’s a solid offensive option, can rebound the ball and block better than a shot a game. It all adds up to a solid freebie for the owners lucky enough to find him on waiver wires.
Hakim Warrick (ADP: N/A; Rank: 232)
The breakout never came for Warrick and it never will. Currently, he is playing sparingly and should be dropped from all rosters.
Josh Childress (ADP: N/A; Rank: 287)
See Warrick, Hakim
Tyreke Evans (ADP: 32; Rank: 109)
Until I traded him, I had never been so infuriated with a player. A top-25 selection in most drafts, Evans has suffered from a minor case of plantar fasciitis all season and has shot less than 50 percent from the floor in 31 of his 41 games played, many of the horrific-percentage variety. His overall totals (17.8-4.8-5.5 and 1.8 st) are actually not that bad. If the turnovers subside (3.1) and he gets his shooting percentage up to a semi-respectable level (.407) we could have something here.
DeMarcus Cousins (ADP: 107; Rank: 206)
This young buck has put up some big-time games, and if he isn’t institutionalized he could have a nice career ahead of him. His offensive game is kinda awkward, but he manages to get things done. He is even averaging 0.8 steals per game. Strange, but nice.
Beno Udrih (ADP: 115; Rank: 53)
The underrated point guard has typically played well when Evans hasn’t, and when Evans has thrived, Udrih has taken a back seat. This is a solid floor leader, one the Kings could build around if they weren’t so hell bent on developing Evans into the second coming. Not too many point guards shoot 49 percent from the field, but Udrih does.
Carl Landry (ADP: 94; Rank: 193)
In real life, Landry terrorizes weaker players as despite his size (6-7), he is an animal in the interior. In fantasy, he leaves us a little empty as his 12.2 points and 4.8 rebounds attest. We expected more.
Donte Green (ADP: N/A; Rank: 271)
Green was named starting small forward at the beginning of the season and that lasted about five minutes. Write him off.
Sam Dalembert (ADP: 106; Rank: 152)
The emergence of Cousins has crushed Dalembert’s value. Playing just over 20 minutes a night, he needs an injury to the rookie to have relevance again. They did play together for long stretches last night and he posted five blocks. But why did they sign him to an insane amount of money for him to languish on the bench? Makes no sense.
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.