Tag Archives: J.R. Smith

Wilson, Damn: NBA Players in China Could Be Stuck There Until March

Some interesting and important news for fantasy owners to take into account when working on their draft cheat sheets (and you ARE working on your cheat sheets, right? RIGHT?): According to Yahoo!’s Adrian Wojnarowski, the Chinese Basketball Association is not going to let NBA players out of their contracts, and thus restrict players such as Wilson Chandler and J.R. Smith from playing in the NBA until March, when the Chinese season ends.

Chandler, Smith, Kenyon Martin and Aaron Brooks are the relevant names in China right now. Brooks curiously signed his deal on Nov. 17, and is now stuck. Chandler and Brooks are currently under contract with the Denver Nuggets and Phoenix Suns, respectively, while Smith and Martin are unrestricted free agents. Continue reading

Damn Lies Fantasy Hoops Show: Thanks For Nothing, NBA

As we head into Thanksgiving with no deal in sight, Jeff Andriesse and Tom Lorenzo are hopping mad at both the owners and the players, and neither can believe we’re in this position. On Tuesday night they convened for another episode of the Damn Lies Fantasy Hoops Therapy Session, er, Hoops Show and discussed the lockout and any possible ways the season could be saved. After contemplating J.R. Smith’s injury scare and moronic actions in China, Jeff and Tom decided to get all whimsical on your asses, musing on the potential 2012 free agent class. Where will Dwight Howard choose to play next summer? Chris Paul? Steve Nash? Will there even be an NBA to play in by then? Dear God/Stern: make it happen. Continue reading

Moving And Shaking: Goodbye, Regis. Hello, DL&S?

Sad news on Tuesday, as we learned that national treasure, and friend of our blog, Regis Philbin is leaving the “Regis and Kelly” show sometime this year. Awwwww. Well, nothing you can do but start to speculate who will take over for Regis in his weekday morning show. It’s no surprise that we here at Damn Lies & Stats have been lobbying for that position for some time now. Long before Regis decided to leave the show. “Damn Lies & Kelly” has a nice ring to it, as far as we’re concerned.

Seriously, though, when I heard the news that Regis was leaving it struck me as funny how the rest of the world functions like it’s in some sort of entertainment fantasy league. The guy couldn’t even finish his farewell announcement before the Internet blew up, speculating as to who would take his place. Much like when Chris Bosh was ruled out on Tuesday night, all fantasy owners wanted to know was which Miami big should they take a flier on, Joel Anthony or Juwan Howard? Then Carlos Boozer was ruled out once again for the Bulls and the Taj Gibson buzz turned deafening.

As it turned out, Anthony paid off with his 16 rebounds, three points and zero shot attempts. Couldn’t have scripted it any better myself. Then, of course, Gibson posted a 9-point, 9-rebound and 6-block line against the Bobcats. Yup, that’s 12 blocks in two games.

Maybe the Regis-Bosh-Boozer comparison doesn’t work quite well, but I have written many times in the past that the toughest columns-blogs-tweets to write are the “Who Replaces Yao MingGreg Oden-(Insert season-ending, possibly career-ending injured hoopster here)” ones. Yes, Regis is leaving on his own accord, which makes the Ming-Oden comparison naturally different, but let the dude have his moment before we start filling in his chair. (Note: I don’t claim to be a Regis fan, as is evident by the fact that I had to Google his last name to double-check the spelling, but it’s hard not to feel for the bro.)

With that out of the way, time to look at some of the moves that other owners have made in my many leagues!

Continue reading

I’ll Be Damned: Torture Fantasy

Jeff always feels claustrophobic around the holidays.

Happy New Year! I’ve been away for a few weeks tending to matters of the holidays. While visiting family I sat down to write a column, but just when I’d begin typing everyone would enter the room and commence an intervention. It turns out I have the type of family that doesn’t appreciate me checking my phone every seven seconds for Andris Biedrins injury updates. Since I love spending time with my family, and also since they ended the intervention by placing me in an iron maiden, I haven’t been able to devote as much time to fantasy basketball as I would have liked. You’ll be glad to know that I’ve broken free of all familial obligations, however, and am back with a laser focus on fantasy hoops. The intervention worked only temporarily. Turns out I can’t do without those Biedrins updates. I NEED them Biedrins updates. Do you know a guy?

In all seriousness, I’m glad to be back. There’s nothing like the turn of a calendar year to make you take stock of yourself, by which I mean your fantasy team. Is there anything else? A man who spends more time scouring the waiver wire than grooming is a man who obviously has the rest of his life figured out. I must admit, though, that fantasy basketball often has me puzzled. Just when I think I’m out-smarting the competition, I drop a DeMarcus Cousins hours before he embarks on the best three-game stretch of his career. Ouch. This game forces you into tough decisions and tests your patience daily.

I wouldn’t have it any other way. Bring on 2011.

This week, I’m damned about the following players who’ve been the unsung heroes of 2010, steady and reliable uncovered gems that make up the backbone of championship roto teams. After I pay homage, I’ll look ahead at some players to keep an eye on for 2011 who have a chance to fill that role in the future. Continue reading

Damn Lies Fantasy Preview: Denver Nuggets

We should probably wait a little longer before publishing a Denver Nuggets preview, like maybe right before the season. Or January. Or before next season. Carmelo Anthony is holding us all hostage, and the real danger – everyone associated with the NBA throughout the globe is aware of it – is he could render this blog post meaningless. Until then, we’ll proceed as if Anthony is going to grace the Nuggets with his presence and Denver management realizes they can’t trade ‘Melo and risk Bubbly scolding us in the Comments section.


Who's t-shirt will he be wearing when Carmelo rips open his warmups on opening night?


It’s a shame Carmelo is thinking of breaking this group up. He was rather terrific last year, fantasy-wise, and could lead Denver deep into the playoffs if he is indeed the player he thinks he is. Fantasy owners taking him in the second round are signing up for something similar to the 28.2 PPG, 6.6 RPG, 1.3 SPG and 83.0 FT% on 8.9 FTA/game he delivered last year. If he takes a step back we’ll be disappointed. Anthony has also played in less than 70 games in three of the last four years. I don’t doubt he’ll take his time coming back from any injuries this season as he prepares for potential free agency.

Chauncey Billups continues to defy age and he poured in a career-best 19.5 points last year. Should Anthony be traded, Billups will flirt with 20+ points and six assists per game. Where he helps the most is from the three-point line (2.2 per game as a Nugget in the last two years) and at the free throw line (89.2 percent career FT shooter). Billups is a sturdy No. 1 point guard and late-second round/early third-round fantasy selection. Denver’s other solid roto option is center Nene Hilario. While his rebounding isn’t as productive as the top fantasy centers, he averages better than a block and steal per game and shoots near 60 percent from the floor. You can get away with him as a No. 1 center and are golden if he’s your No. 2.

Denver head coach George Karl is a two-time cancer survivor, the latest a bout with neck and throat variety and the first a recurring case of J.R. Smith. Smith’s off-court antics hold him back from being the player his talents tell us he could be, and he is always in Karl’s doghouse. What kind of effort will Smith give this year? He’s always capable of being a fantasy stud, but the question marks are too myriad to count on him as a fantasy starter. Nevertheless, if he has his head on straight, and Anthony is traded, look out. The rest of Denver’s lineup is wacky as both Kenyon Martin and Chris Andersen are hurt to start the season and the PF position could come down to Shelden Williams, whose lasting impression with this writer was of a pitch-perfect Shoeless Joe Jackson impression in the 2010 Finals. Williams won’t be a fantasy factor even if he starts, as Denver signed Al Harrington in the offseason for precisely this sort of scenario, as a multiple-position injury replacement and insurance in case Anthony bolts. If chuckers Anthony, Smith and Harrington are all on the floor at the same time security is going to have to evacuate the arena for safety reasons. Denver is better off giving minutes to team guys Arron Afflalo and Ty Lawson. Afflalo will start and provide no fantasy value. Lawson is a must-have handcuff for Billups if you play in a league with a deep bench.

PG – Chauncey Billups, Ty Lawson
SG – Arron Afflalo, J.R. Smith
SF – Carmelo Anthony, Al Harrington
PF – Kenyon Martin (injured), Shelden Williams
C – Nene Hilario, Chris Andersen (injured)

Up Next: Orlando Magic

Full Schedule

Daily Lies & Statistics: Flipping Out

Anyone playing in head-to-head leagues is likely in the playoffs, and likely surly as hell this morning if they are relying on Andray Blatche to lead them to a title. With one bone-headed show of immaturity, Blatche is going to go from the year’s waiver wire darling to saboteur of fantasy seasons from coast to coast.

Flip Saunders leaves the premises before a horde of angry fantasy owners can overtake him.

Taken out of the Wizards’ game vs. Charlotte Tuesday night seven-and-a-half minutes in by Flip Saunders, Blatche refused to listen to Flip’s defensive criticisms and then refused to go back into the game. He sat the rest of the way, and could be benched for the foreseeable future.

Saunders was not happy:

“Yeah I guess, just because of everything,” Saunders said when asked if this incident was the low point in a season filled with forgettable moments. “This team, we’ve lost a lot of close games, you know, and you’ve got a chance, and when you have coaches go up and ask a player that’s supposedly your quote-unquote key player to play, and he just says he doesn’t want to play. I don’t care. You can be upset with me, but don’t leave your teammates hanging out to dry like that. You don’t do that…”

Blatche’s magical run might be over, and if he is permanently moved to the doghouse then JaVale McGee and James Singleton will be the beneficiaries. McGee played 46 minutes last night and finished with 14 points, 12 boards and two blocks. Singleton saw 37 minutes of action and totaled a 9 & 7 with no blocks, but he has shown he can amass those. A Blatche demotion will almost certainly mean more plays run for Al Thornton and Mike Miller as well. Regardless, this is a big mess at a time of the year when fantasy owners can least afford it.

There were several other noteworthy performances in last night’s four-game slate, some of which can make or break a playoff week. Let’s take a look at some.

Drew Gooden (26 pts, 20 reb, 10-10 ft, 2 stl, 1 blk): Wow. Raise your hand if you started Gooden this week. Congrats. He went off against the Mavs, one of his many former teams, in a 106-96 loss. He remains a strong play Thursday at Houston and Sunday vs. Golden State.

Danny Granger (32 pts, 6 reb, 4 ast, 5 threes): For all the grief Granger has caused his owners this season, a game like this when it matters can go a long way towards healing past wounds. While we’d hesitate to take him in the first round again next year, he is one of the more high-ceiling fantasy guys out there when healthy.

Danilo Gallinari (28 pts, 5 reb, 5 threes, 9-10 FT): The Knicks upended a scuffling Denver team in New York last night, and Gallinari is regaining his fantasy awesomeness just in time. He is averaging 26.3 points over his last three games.

Dirk Nowitzki (18 pts, 2 reb in 19 minutes): Ejected after picking up two technicals, Nowitzki’s night could have been a lot worse. This is little solace to his owners who need him to produce a monster week.

Gerald Wallace (17 pts, 19 reb, 3 stl, 1 three, 5-17 FG): All hail Crash’s ’09-10 season, but this line could actually come back to bite you if you end up losing the FG% category and winning rebounds or steals handily.

J.R. Smith (11 pts, 4-16 FG, 2 threes): Since Smith’s owners were probably salivating at a game against the Knicks, this 23-minute dud of a game can only be labeled a disappointment.

Jason Kidd (26 pts, 6 reb, 12 ast, 6 threes): Kidd carried Dallas to the win sans-Dirk with a virtuoso fantasy performance that will put his owners in the driver’s seat in any playoff battle.

Of course, we’re still very early in the week. I expect crazy things happening to everyone out there, especially if I own them. Good luck to everyone who is still in contention.

Daily Lies & Statistics: The Big Thumbsprain

There’s my new nickname for Shaq, after he suffered a serious-ish sprained thumb last night. An MRI could reveal something worse. For the Cavs, this is not going to affect them too much because they could conceivably be better without Thumbsprain, although they are now pretty thin at center since they have to wait another three weeks before they can re-sign Zydrunas Ilgauskas.

The subtraction of Shaq down the stretch should help Cleveland secure home court in the playoffs.

For fantasy owners, Anderson Varejao becomes the man. Varejao stepped up last night with a 14 & 10 and three blocks in 30 minutes, helping the Cavs dominate the Celtics in the fourth quarter en-route to a 108-88 win. LeBron James put up a ho-hum 36-7-9 last night and it’s finally time to say it: if he’s available in your league, pick him up.

Paul Pierce was a DNP for the Celts with a thumb injury of his own, and Marquis Daniels got the start. Daniels, who was dealing with the flu leading into the game, was underwhelming with just four points in 31 minutes. Chalk this up to his illness and give him a whirl if it appears Pierce is going to shut it down for a few more games.

There were two other fantasy-friendly contests last night, led by Denver stomping Golden State 127-112. Chauncey Billups enjoyed the break in defensive intensity and went off for 37-6-9, including 6-of-8 from three. This was also the perfect environment for J.R. Smith, who knocked down seven threes on the way to 25 points.

Golden State was led by the superb Stephen Curry, who finished with a 30-7-13 gem. It wasn’t enough to overcome Monta Ellis’s 6-for-22 shooting performance, and I’ll be damned if we don’t have another example of a chucking shooting guard who would make their team better if they didn’t play. I haven’t watched every single Warriors game, but maybe one of their fans can tell me: has Ellis passed the ball yet this year?

C.J. Watson missed the game with what is either the flu or appendicitis, but on the bright side he still doesn’t have to spend a weekend with Mrs. Needleman. Ronny Turiaf got a start and had 12 points, eight boards and two blocks in 27 minutes. The Warriors have four games next week, so if Turiaf does something similar again this weekend, it might be time to take a flier on him.

In D-League action, the Bucks edged the Pacers, 112-110, and if I’m reading this right Andrew Bogut had a 15 & 10 with two blocks in just 24 minutes. Also, Troy Murphy, one of my centers in the Damn Lies league, had three rebounds in 33 minutes. T.J. Ford (17-3-5) and Earl Watson (15-8-5) started together in the backcourt and played 39 minutes each. Keep an eye on Ford.

Speaking of the D-League, Hasheem Thabeet has been sent there by the Grizzlies, not a glowing endorsement of the number two pick in the draft. The Dakota Wizards? Talk about an incentive to get back to the big leagues. If that doesn’t light a fire, he’s a lost cause.

Daily Lies & Statistics: Oh Nellie!

It’s been an interesting few weeks in the Fox household to say the least. After slipping down my stairs to the tune of a dislocated right shoulder (I know that banana peel was left on the top step by accident, honey) I’ve been about as pleasant as a constipated James Lipton. But a new 46″ Toshiba LCD in Full HD in the bedroom has done the trick for my spirits, and last night I was able to break away from Jersey Shore reruns long enough to catch the end of Warriors/Nuggets. Golden State seemingly pulled out a 122-120 victory only to have Jason Phillips determine the outcome by calling a cheap foul on Monta Ellis 40-feet from the hoop with 0.4 remaining as J.R. Smith was attempting an off-balance prayer.

Last night's foul call on Monta Ellis was a bad situation.

What was Ellis doing hounding Smith so closely when hoisting such a low percentage shot? Why wasn’t Nellie insisting to his players during the final time out to avoid any contact? Regardless, Phillips should be drawn and quartered for making that call. It didn’t seem that Ellis made any contact with Smith’s hand or wrist to interfere with the attempt. There may have been a nudge to the lower body, but not enough to deter the trajectory of the ball. Nelson is so shot as a coach that I don’t think he realized what had happened and went home to celebrate career win No. 1319.

Despite the miscarriage of justice, it was an entertaining game that featured huge totals from Corey Maggette (35 pts, 12-16 FG, 11-12 FT), Ellis (32 pts, 6 ast), Stephen Curry (26 pts, 5 reb, 6 ast, 6-6 3-pt FG), Kenyon Martin (27 pts, 13 reb, 11-18 FG) and Ty Lawson (21 pts, 8 ast), who left the game after spraining his ankle.

There were a few upsets last night, including Indiana defeating Orlando, 97-90, Memphis winning in Portland, 109-105, and Washington coming from way to back to catch Philly, 104-97, as the rootinest, tootinest gunslinger in the East, Gilbert Arenas, handed out a season-best 14 assists.

I’d talk about the Bucks/Nets, but after watching the first half I turned on Schindler’s List just to cheer myself up.

Other notables:

Sam Dalembert: Recorded a 20-20 last night as his Sixers blew an 18-point lead in the loss to the Wizards. The Dalembert/Brand/Speights troika can’t be trusted right now as none of them are seeing consistent minutes.

Vince Carter: Posted a 6, 3 and 2 and shot 2-of-15 against the Pacers’ stifling defense that I think was lit up by Carver High’s Salami last week. JJ Redick (13 pts in 28 min) and Mickael Pietrus (16 pts in 21 min) carried the offense last night.

Boris Diaw: Has anyone been more of a disappointment this season than Diaw? Last night’s line (5 pts, 4 reb, 6 ast, 5 bk, 2 st) may have been his best of the season which is saying something. I’m not exactly sure what, but it’s saying something. With Gerald Wallace and Stephen Jackson hogging the spotlight, it’s time to pawn Diaw off for a player with injury upside.

Yi Jianlian: The Chairman continued his inspired play with 22 points, 2 blocks and 2 steals in an ugly Nets home defeat to the Bucks in front of family and friends in the Meadowlands. Yi is a legit 7-feet and has solid all-around skills. If he continues playing 30-35 minutes a night this is someone to target in a trade. Most importantly, if you’re the father of a 13-year old Jewish lad, if you purchase season tickets, Yi will make an appearance at your son’s Bar Mitzvah. You can’t put a price tag on that.

Zach Randolph: Randolph’s averages over the past month fell after last night’s 27-point, 14-rebound, 3-steal effort in the Grizz’s win at Portland. Playing out of his mind right now, Randolph shot 10-of-16 from the floor and continues to convert free throws at a solid clip.

Martell Webster: Posted his third consecutive game of more than 20 points and has knocked down 14 threes during this period. The deadeye shooting won’t last, but with all of the Blazers’ injuries, he is playing huge minutes and is a decent source of threes, rebounds, blocks and steals.

Omri Casspi: This guy could have singlehandedly led the Raid on Entebee. The best Israeli athlete since Shlomo Glickstein, Casspi has been one of the league’s top rookies this season. Last night he poured in a season-high 24 points and added 7 boards and 3 threes in a game-high 44 minutes of work. He should not be available in any leagues.

Tyreke Evans: Another 27, 11 and 7 for the soon-to-be Rookie of the Year. He’s been terrific, but his stats could suffer with the impending return of Kevin Martin. If you can get a nice package for him, it might be worth a try.

Lamar Odom: Pau Gasol‘s latest hamstrings woes greatly benefitted Odom who registered 17 points, 19 rebounds and 9 assists in the Lakers’ win over the Rockets. His marriage to Chloe Kardashian has re-energized the New York native and it shouldn’t be long before he is hitting on smoking-hot sister-in-law Kim.

Andrew Bynum: Last night’s 24-point 8-rebound effort makes it three straight solid outings for the man-child. If Gasol misses significant time, Bynum immediately becomes a top 5 center.

There are 10 games tonight in the Basketball Association, including Celtics at Heat, Raptors at Magic, Rockets at Suns and Lakers at Clippers. Or is it Clippers at Lakers?

Shooting Guard rankings and analysis

By Tom Lorenzo and Jeff Andriesse

It’s time to rank and analyze the top shooting guards in fantasy drafts. We chose these SGs based on their projected roles with their respective teams, keeping in mind that several shooting guards and small forwards will have hybrid positional eligibility. Rankings are very subjective and should always be fluid for the person drafting. Always tier out your cheat sheets before the draft as well. For our purposes, these rankings represent less of a statistical formula analysis and more of a comfort level with each player, taking into account factors such as injury history, upside potential and age. Format is based on standard eight-category rotisserie style (FG%, FT%, PTS, REB, AST, STL, BLK, 3FG).

2009-10 Shooting Guard Rankings

Tom’s Top 25 Jeff’s Top 25
1. Dwyane Wade 1. Dwyane Wade
2. Kobe Bryant 2. Kobe Bryant
3. Brandon Roy 3. Brandon Roy
4. Kevin Martin 4. Joe Johnson
5. Joe Johnson 5. Kevin Martin
6. Andre Iguodala 6. Andre Iguodala
7. Vince Carter 7. Vince Carter
8. Ben Gordon 8. Ray Allen
9. O.J. Mayo 9. John Salmons
10. Ray Allen 10. Jason Richardson
11. Jason Richardson 11. Stephen Jackson
12. Manu Ginobili 12. O.J. Mayo
13. Jason Terry 13. Ben Gordon
14. Leandro Barbosa 14. Eric Gordon
15. J.R. Smith 15. J.R. Smith
16. John Salmons 16. Jason Terry
17. Randy Foye 17. Michael Redd
18. Stephen Jackson 18. Josh Howard
19. Eric Gordon 19. Manu Ginobili
20. Michael Redd 20. Leandro Barbosa
21. Courtney Lee 21. Randy Foye
22. Wilson Chandler 22. Richard Hamilton
23. Josh Howard 23. Wilson Chandler
24. Richard Hamilton 24. Courtney Lee
25. Brandon Rush 25. Ronnie Brewer


Three Questions for Tom

Jeff: We both place J.R. Smith at 15th, as if he was a sensible, safe selection in the middle rounds. Is this the year the volatile Smith has a true breakout? What’s the highest he could rise on this list if everything comes together?

Tom: I suppose what I love about Smith is that he is a high-risk/high-reward kind of guy. It almost seems dangerous to own him! He’s an extremely talented ballplayer who could possibly lead the league in three-pointers made, add a steal-plus per game, and average 20 points. That’s not bad from a guy sitting in the middle of the pack. Of course he is going to miss the first seven games of the season and he does have a questionable attitude, which together could result in a disastrous season. I wrote about Smith earlier in the summer and my main point for him having a breakout season was this: he has been handed the starting ‘two’ guard position. There is no one standing in Smith’s way, except for Smith himself. Do I trust him? No. But if he’s the third shooting guard on my roster I’ll be pretty happy knowing that the upside this guy has could vault him into top 10 value by the end of the season.

Jeff: We differ significantly on several players, one of them being John Salmons. What’s your worry there? Shouldn’t he play a large role in the Chicago offense with Ben Gordon out of town?

Tom: I guess the problem I have with Salmons is that he’s never proven to be anything but a talent in the 50-75 range. Look at last season, for example. Even when Salmons was on a Kevin Martin-less Sacramento team he went about his business averaging 18/4/3 with a steal and 1.5 three-pointers. Nice stat-line, but I’m not buying that he is anything more than that. The Bulls are now in the hands of Derrick Rose and, for better or worse, Luol Deng. Salmons to me is who he is. Not that there’s anything wrong with that, but I’m more inclined to look at a guy like O.J. Mayo who has a tremendous upside or a Ray Allen who excels in certain categories, while Salmons is just good in a handful of them.

Jeff: I know you’re dying to pump up Leandro Barbosa, so go ahead and tell me why you have him 14th. But I’ll make this a two-parter: If your Barbosa love is based on Phoenix’s up-tempo style and lack of depth, shouldn’t Jason Richardson have an even better year now that’s he’s used to playing with Steve Nash? How do you see Richardson doing this year?

Tom: The Barbosa seed was planted when the great Tommy Landry of RotoExperts fame touted Barbosa as a “near-elite” fantasy player in an email exchange we had. I disputed that claim to a certain extent, but I’m not sure he’s far from being a fantasy stud this season (ed. note: Barbosa, not Landry). If you want to talk about Richardson getting “used to” Nash, we have to mention the many years that Barbosa spent as Nash’s understudy and running the break alongside him for stretches throughout his career. I like Richardson this year too, but much like J.R. Smith has been given an opportunity this season to shine, so too has Barbosa. Matt Barnes is long gone, the up-tempo style of play is back with Shaq now in Cleveland, and there is still no viable back-up for Nash at the point. It’s not far-fetched to think that Barbosa could steal 1.5 balls and drain 1.5 threes per game this season. Add into the equation the fact that he shot 88.1 percent from the line, scored nearly 15 points per game on the season, and poured in 20.1 points per in the 11 games that he started. There’s my Barbosa hype, but when it comes to Richardson I think he’s in for a great season as well. I’m not sure he’ll be the 2007-08 Richardson that averaged 21.8 points and 3.0 treys per game, but he’ll approach 20 points and he should come close to 2.0 three-pointers. Alvin Gentry and Nash have been known to elevate players, so he may exceed those expectations. I’d also keep an eye on which position he plays. Grant Hill revitalized his career in Phoenix, but he can longer play 30 minutes per game over an 82 game span. So you might see a Nash-Barbosa-Richardson lineup that will be extremely fun (and fast) to watch.

Three Questions for Jeff

Tom: You have Ben Gordon as your 13th-rated shooting guard. Weren’t we all supposed to get excited once he was out of Chicago and the spotlight was put on him? How come you aren’t excited about Gordon in Detroit?

Jeff: Probably because Richard Hamilton is still there, and so is Tayshaun Prince, and the situation is kind of a mess in my mind. Gordon has always struck me as an undersized defensive liability who is streaky offensively. He has a point guard in Rodney Stuckey who is actually a shooting guard. He’s got his contract. I’m wary. That said, don’t look too much into the number 13. There’s not much difference between Nos. 8 and, say, 17 on my list.

Tom: There is a triumvirate of former fantasy studs sitting in the 17-19 range on your list (Michael Redd, Josh Howard, Manu Ginobili). All three players have been susceptible to injury in the past, but have also shown top-flight talent when healthy. If I could grant you that all three would be healthy this season, which one would you rather own and why?

Jeff: I suppose Ginobili, but my concern with him is more the addition of Richard Jefferson taking some shots away and the Spurs probably being so good that they can do their usual resting of Manu for the playoffs. A healthy Redd on a terrible Milwaukee team could get his scoring back up to levels we’re used to, but the Bucks are going to get blown out pretty regularly. I don’t know if Howard has ever been a fantasy stud, he’s more of a solid mid-round option who will do just enough in most categories not to hurt you. Unfortunately, I think we’re at the point where its a mistake to count on more than 70 games from any of them, and thus they aren’t worth reaching for in drafts.

Tom: Let’s get into the Allen Iverson debate. Two part question here, Jeff: Is Allen Iverson worth a roster spot on fantasy teams this year AND what effect will he have (if any) on O.J. Mayo?

Jeff: Sure, Iverson’s worth a roster spot in leagues with a deep bench. I wouldn’t start him unless either Mayo or Mike Conley got hurt. That brings us to Mayo. You best believe I’m concerned about Iverson’s role here. I’m also fascinated. How is A.I. going to fit in on this team? Is he willing to come off the bench? If not, then what? They are willing to stunt the growth of their promising backcourt to sell a few more seats? I know God played a big role in the negotiations, but so did Chris Wallace, so things evened out. This is a horrible trade from a basketball AND fantasy standpoint, and that’s depressing in several ways. Mayo slid several spots on my list after this signing was announced, and won’t rise back up until I see Iverson becoming a good teammate and mentor before my eyes. Color me cynical.

Tom Lorenzo and Jeff Andriesse will break down the Small Forward position in the next few days. If you have comments, questions or suggestions, drop ’em in the Comments Section. Also, be sure to follow Tom and Jeff on Twitter and check out RotoExperts.com for the most comprehensive fantasy sports coverage on the web.

Fantasy Impact: Linas Kleiza

Linas Kleiza signed a two-year contract…

… in Greece.  Do Not Draft!

Just a note here:  with Kleiza and Dahntay Jones (Pacers) both not returning to the Nuggets this season, it means that it’s time for J.R. Smith to put up or shut up.  Smith has had a so-so relationship with Coach Karl and sometimes finds himself in the doghouse, but in limited time (27.7 MIN) last season Smith had a bit of a roller-coaster of a season.  

He closed out strong averaging 22.4 PTS and 4.7 3PT in the final month of the season (7 games).  I don’t see four-plus treys per season in Smith’s future, but with Jones and Kleiza out of the way – it’s step-up time!  It’s reasonable that Smith could score 20 points per game and knock-down 2.5 threes along the way.  Also, he’s a decent rebounder for his size (5.0 REB/40) and capable of picking up at least a steal per game.  

Again, there are no excuses for Smith this year and no one stepping in his way now that LK and Jones are playing elsewhere.  The impact of Kleiza moving to Greece next season bumps Smith up my draft board.  He needs to improve on his FT%, and if he can somehow find that touch and move back into the 80-percent mark from the line Smith could work his way into the Top 50-60. 

Right now he could go anywhere from the 7th-9th rounds.  If that’s the case you might be getting a better return on your investment with Smith.

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