In the days leading up to the start of free agency on Dec. 9, Damn Lies & Statistics will be taking a look at each team’s potential moves, top fantasy players and more. In the final installment, Greg Fox examines the Pacific Division.
Fantasy-Worthy Players Under Contract (H2H Draft Round in Parentheses): G Stephen Curry (1/2), G Monta Ellis (2), F Dorell Wright (4), F/C David Lee (4)
Key Unrestricted Free Agents: F Al Thornton
Key Restricted Free Agents: G Reggie Williams
What to Look For: The Warriors remain the most exciting group of fantasy players since the salad days of the Pittsburgh Pisces. New head coach Mark Jackson is already preaching defense, but those who remember the 6-3 turnstile can’t take that too seriously. What Jackson was was a terrific lead guard, who controlled the flow of a game and made everyone around him better. If his wisdom can rub off on Stephen Curry, then the third-year point guard will deliver first-round value. Hell, I felt he was brutal last year, and he still finished as a borderline first-rounder. His backcourt mate, Monta Ellis, if he can stay out of the emergency room following his nightly 48-minute high-wire acts, can also return silly dividends. Always a big-time scorer with strong percentages, Ellis has added a 3-point shot to his repertoire in recent years. Small forward Dorell Wright was arguably fantasy’s MVP last season, coming out of nowhere to produce terrific across-the-board numbers. Don’t go spending a third-round pick on the guy as he is bound to disappoint this time around, but keep him on the radar in the fourth or fifth round. As for disappointments, Warrior big men David Lee and Andris Biedrins impaled their owners a year ago. Lee was a second-round choice for many, but a Wilson Chandler incisor to Lee’s forearm contributed to his derailment and he should bounce back nicely in 2011-12. Biedrins may have to look for work elsewhere as Golden State brass seems to be tiring of his Claude Rains impression. Keep a close eye on power forward Ekpe Udoh, who could steal some minutes in the middle and provide decent rebounds and blocks.
The Damn Lies Bold Recipe: Nothing against Biedrins, but it is not going to work for him in the Bay area. The unfortunate thing is that the Warriors are stuck as they would have to sell him at 10 cents on the dollar and they may be better off using the amnesty clause on him. This team is in need of some hard-nosed players, willing to take a charge, as well as a big man who can change some shots. Tyson Chandler comes to mind, but the Warriors can’t afford him. DeAndre Jordan, Tayshaun Prince, Carl Landry, Chuck Hayes and Luch Richard Mbah a Moute all seem to fit this team’s needs. Time to take the plunge. Continue reading
In the days leading up to the start of free agency on Dec. 9, Damn Lies & Statistics will be taking a look at each team’s potential moves, top fantasy players and more. Behold: The Southwest Division.
Fantasy-Worthy Players Under Contract (H2H Draft Round in Parentheses): F Dirk Nowitzki (1/2), G Jason Kidd (8), G Jason Terry (10/11), C Brendan Haywood (13), F Shawn Marion (14)
Key Unrestricted Free Agents: C Tyson Chandler, G/F Caron Butler, G Jose Juan Barea
Key Restricted Free Agents: None
What to Look For: Things could be different for the defending champs as free agents Chandler, Butler and Barea might be bowled over by money elsewhere. It behooves fantasy owners to be on their toes with this group. Haywood is worth considering if Chandler walks, but the big man is risky if you are relying on him as a No. 2 fantasy center. Rudy Fernandez is now a Mav, but there is chatter that he could stay overseas. Roddy Beaubois has a chance to really take a larger role this season, but we’re in “believe it when we see it” mode. He’s coming off foot surgery. Nowitzki is no longer a top five pick. I like him at the end of the first round in most formats.
The Damn Lies Bold Recipe: The Mavericks should do everything in their power to keep Chandler, as heading into your title defense with Haywood at center isn’t ideal, to say the least. Mark Cuban and/or Nowitzki need to convince Fernandez to play for Dallas this year. He’s a nice infusion of energy who can replicate much of what Barea and Butler gave them. Continue reading
In the days leading up to the start of free agency on Dec. 9, Damn Lies & Statistics will be taking a look at each team’s potential moves, top fantasy players and more. Jeff tackles the Southeast Division.
Fantasy-Worthy Players Under Contract (H2H Draft Round in Parentheses): F/C Al Horford (2/3), F Josh Smith (2/3), G Joe Johnson (4/5), G Jeff Teague (10/11), F Marvin Williams (13/14)
Key Unrestricted Free Agents: G Jamal Crawford
Key Restricted Free Agents: None
What to Look For: Is this the most boring team in the league or what? Smith was shopped at the draft and could conceivably be moved before the season. As a H2H shot-blocking forward, he still has a ton of value. Horford is a nice pick for those who don’t like to gamble. He’s simply as solid as they come. Johnson, however, has the kind of contract future lockouts are made of. He’ll be serviceable in fantasy and perhaps even a tick better than last year with Crawford likely to sign elsewhere. Hinrich is still around to hold back Jeff Teague, but Teague seems poised to be the starting point guard. It makes the most sense, as he injects needed energy into this yawn of a unit.
The Damn Lies Bold Recipe: Atlanta seems ready to declare Josh Smith “available”, and it is certainly worth seeing what they can get for him. A true center who allows them to play Horford at power forward would be nice, and Smith could snatch someone like, say, Andrew Bynum or Brook Lopez as part of a multi-team deal. The Hawks should certainly stay active regarding one of their top assets. Continue reading
In the days leading up to the start of free agency on Dec. 9, Damn Lies & Statistics will be taking a look at each team’s potential moves, top fantasy players and more. Here’s a look at the Central Division squads.
Fantasy-Worthy Players Under Contract (H2H Draft Round in Parentheses): G Derrick Rose (1), C Joakim Noah (4), F Carlos Boozer (6/7), F Luol Deng (7)
Key Unrestricted Free Agents: None
Key Restricted Free Agents: None
What to Look For: Chicago is close, very close. They will try to add a shooting guard who can be an upgrade over Keith Bogans. Jason Richardson or Caron Butler are options. Boozer is a risky pick in fantasy as he just can’t stay on the court, so Taj Gibson is a necessary handcuff. Rose can make a case for the No. 4 pick in drafts. While his minutes might be more in check during a 66-game slate, he remains an unstoppable offensive player who is young and eager to win a championship, not to mention try like heck to get the No. 1 seed in the East over Miami.
The Damn Lies Bold Recipe: Richardson and Butler are decent but aging options who aren’t built for the kind of schedule we have coming up. They might be a little pricey. If the Bulls miss out on them or decide to go a cheaper route, they should make an offer for Golden State’s Reggie Williams – he’s restricted, but the Warriors might not have him in their plans. He could really stretch the floor and spot up to receive kickouts from Rose. Continue reading
In the days leading up to the start of free agency on Dec. 9, Damn Lies & Statistics will be taking a look at each team’s potential moves, top fantasy players and more. We’ll start with the Atlantic Division.
Fantasy-Worthy Players Under Contract (H2H Draft Round in Parentheses): G Rajon Rondo (2/3), F Paul Pierce (3/4), G Ray Allen (7/8), F Kevin Garnett (8)
Key Unrestricted Free Agents: F Glen Davis, G Delonte West, F Troy Murphy
Key Restricted Free Agents: F Jeff Green
What to Look For: Boston is a team looking to win right now. Allen and Garnett come off the books for the summer of 2012, so this is it. Unfortunately, since the core of the team is aging and expensive, there are few moves Danny Ainge can make outside of trading an asset like Rajon Rondo. Rumors are already starting to percolate that the Celtics could move Rondo for Chris Paul. Crazier things have happened under Ainge’s reign as GM. For now, the team will likely hope Jeff Green doesn’t get any big offers and try to fit him into a reasonable new deal. Davis is likely gone and West could return on the cheap. With the doddering Jermaine O’Neal as the team’s only center, expect the C’s to grab a few cheap big men. The bottom line is that barring a major trade, the fantasy values are set in stone here. However, we’re very wary of spending high picks on Garnett or Allen, and even Pierce, considering the condensed nature of the 66-game schedule. They will have to be rested regularly and are injury risks.
The Damn Lies Bold Recipe: Let both Davis and Green walk, re-sign West, lure Chuck Hayes on the cheap and maybe use the mid-level on Carl Landry or Tayshaun Prince. Fill out the roster with a Roger Mason or Theo Ratliff, and try to win with this group. Dwight Howard and Chris Paul ain’t walking through that door. Continue reading