Tag Archives: Trevor Ariza

RotoExperts Draft Kit: Top 25 Small Forwards

Durant edges LeBron as the NBA's top flag football player

From the RotoExperts 2011-12 NBA Draft Kit

These rankings were written on Dec. 16 and published a day later. Derrick Williams is flying up draft boards, while Corey Maggette has been available late. Andrei Kirilenko’s future remains cloudy; rumors persist that he will sign with New Jersey but nothing is official yet. Austin Daye looked strong in the Pistons’ first exhibition game and has more upside than Tayshaun Prince. Watch that situation closely. 

Positional eligibility is important to consider when building your Fantasy basketball team. The top sites usually vary in terms of positional leniency, and the games played at a position is much foggier than in, say, Fantasy Baseball. For the purposes of the RotoExperts Top 25 positional rankings, we limited players to one list only; namely, the position they play most of the time. Under these circumstances, the small forward position is very top-heavy, with stars like LeBron James and Kevin Durant heading the list. The talent drops off significantly, so it is crucial that, depending on your league’s positional rules, you check to see what shooting guards and power forwards could also slot into your SF spot.

In general, drafting based on positional depth is a solid strategy, and true small forwards and true centers are in shorter supply this season than the three other positions. It’s just something to keep in mind while you are drafting; it might be a good idea to get one of the top SFs on this list before it’s too late.

The following rankings are based on a nine-category, head-to-head league format (PTS, REB, AST, STL, BLK, 3FG, FG%, FT%, TO), using Yahoo!’s positional eligibility. We break down players into tiers as well to help you organize them within your overall cheat sheets. These rankings take into account not just stat projections, but injury risk, competition for minutes and other intangibles.



1. Kevin Durant, OKC

Projected Stats: 28.6 PPG, 7.0 RPG, 2.7 APG, 2.0 3FG, 1.1 SPG, 1.0 BPG, 2.9 TO, 46.5 FG%, 89.6 FT%

He’s Fantasy Basketball’s 1A to LeBron’s 1B. Who you choose comes down to, perhaps, personal preference (do you dislike rooting for LeBron because of “The Decision”?) or, if you are a cold and calculating Fantasy player, or league format. In rotisserie scoring, Durant is the clear No. 1 overall pick because of his incredible free throw percentage at such a high volume. In H2H formats, it is more of a toss-up. Durant turns it over less than LeBron, has that better free throw percentage, and even bests him in blocks. He’s also easier to root for. There’s your tiebreaker! Continue reading

2011-12 Damn Mock I: Eighth Round

Welcome to Round 8 of the Damn Lies & Statistics Damn Mock I, a silly little exercise that allows the three of us picking to distract us now that the season is over. And don’t even get us started on the lockout. We refuse to believe it will happen, and plan on mocking all preseason as if everything were fine. Everything is fine, right? RIGHT? Enjoy the eighth round. Only two more to go.

The rules: Jeff, Tom and Greg are taking four teams each in this 12-team league, which is a nine-category rotisserie league (FG%, FT%, PTS, REB, AST, STL, BLK, 3FG, TO) that will draft the following: 1 PG, 1 SG, 1 SF, 1 PF, 2 C, 1 F, 1 G, 2 U. We’ll be building each team ourselves based on this format. Hope you enjoy, and feel free to mock us in the Comments.



85. Team 12 (Tom) – Tyson Chandler – This pick may be a reactionary one, after watching Chandler dominate in these NBA Playoffs, but considering he averaged 10.1 points, 9.4 rebounds and 1.1 blocks in under 28 minutes this season I think I’m getting a good bargain here. If he shows up and plays as “2010-11 regular season Chandler,” I got good value. If he shows up as “NBA Playoffs Chandler,” I got a steal.  Continue reading

Fox Unbalanced: A Cacophony of Cockamamy Claptrap

Wes Craven's Scream was originally based on a screenplay about Greg Fox checking box scores.

Just when I thought I had this fantasy basketball thing all figured out, I’m thrown for another Froot Loop on Wednesday night. I hate starting these pieces by whining about my own team, but how can I not as the Unhappy Hairstons continue to get injured like its their job? A lot of this could have been avoided. I’ve had this awkward infatuation with Roy Hibbert since he left Georgetown for the bright lights of Indianapolis.  I so desperately wanted him this year and he was staring me in the face in the sixth round. So what did I do? I took Mo Williams, that’s what! Mo’s 2010-11 campaign has thus far been nothing short of a Wes Craven film. Tonight, he strained his groin, no doubt while lunging to strangle Byron Scott who benched him in the fourth quarter of Tuesday night’s win in New Jersey, and will probably have to wear a truss for the remainder of the season. Meanwhile, Hibbert and his 15.8 points, 9.3 rebounds, 3.8 assists and 3.3 blocks are the perfect reward for my jangled nerves.

As Tom and Jeff have said repeatedly, it is still early and ground can be made up. It is in my nature to panic, as my fingernails can attest. It’s in my genes. My father panicked, his father panicked and his father before him was a noted ‘fraidy cat’ in the old country, so what chance did I have, really?

All I can do at this point is help you, my loyal readers, by looking at a few guys to target as well as a few to thank for their contributions before bidding adieu. Continue reading

Damn Lies Fantasy Preview: New Orleans Hornets

The New Orleans Hornets are lean and predictable. Stacked at point guard this offseason, the Hornets shipped 2009-10 Fantasy Waiver Wire MVP Darren Collison to Indiana in a four-team trade that landed them small forward Trevor Ariza. Ariza joins a starting lineup of Chris Paul, Marcus Thornton, David West and Emeka Okafor. None should be challenged by a backup for playing time. We can probably write in 35-40 minutes for each starter and pretty sweet fantasy stats for each to varying degrees. Isn’t this easy?


"Dude, you are making me look bad. Flirt with a triple-double again and I'm having you exiled to Indiana or something."


Collison proved to be fantasy basketball’s Olandis Gary last year, a backup who stepped in for a superstar without missing a statistical beat. That superstar is back, and Paul immediately returns to his perch near the top of all cheat sheets. Two years ago, he was essentially the best guy, and there’s no reason to think he won’t challenge for that honor should he remain healthy. What excites us the most is the other Hornet who blew up last year in his absence: Thornton. If Collison was the No. 1 waiver wire pickup in ’09-10, Thornton was 1A, a long-range bomber who immediately became a stud fantasy two-guard. The end of the Mo Peterson era depresses exactly no one. New Orleans finally has a shooting guard.

Another aging veteran will be riding off into the sunset this season, as Ariza makes Peja Stojakovic expendable. Unfortunately, Peja is owed about $77 million this year, so he’ll stick around and provide a shooter off the bench. Ariza should thrive playing with Paul. He’ll be more efficient, concentrate on defense, and become the strong everyday fantasy play we couldn’t quite count on in Houston. West is also doing cartwheels that Paul is back to feed him the rock. While West’s perpetual scowl annoys me as a viewer, as a roto player I’m targeting him at the end of the third round in drafts with no hard feelings.

Okafor had a terrible season even by his mediocre standards, but with no real competition for minutes he just needs to stay healthy to be a serviceable big man. Can he pull down 10 rebounds and block two shots a game? If so, he’s got a place on the outskirts of my roster. Okafor’s backup is Aaron Gray, a decent player who poses no threat in even the deepest of leagues. Only Marco Belinelli is a potential option should injury strike Thornton. He could be the team’s sixth man. Darius Songaila is actually a perfect 12-minute-per-game backup power forward. Like I said, this team is lean and devoid of positional battles. Draft these starters with confidence. The rounds? Paul in the first (no later than the 3rd pick); West in the late third (roto), early fourth (H2H); Thornton and Ariza in the sixth (Ariza is higher in H2H than in roto); Okafor in the ninth or so.

PG – Chris Paul, Mustafa Shakur
SG – Marcus Thornton, Marco Belinelli
SF – Trevor Ariza, Peja Stojakovic
PF – David West, Darius Songaila
C – Emeka Okafor, Aaron Gray

Up Next: Utah Jazz

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Daily Lies & Statistics: The Dwight is all right!

Nothing can cure a woeful week like a matchup against the Warriors. Just ask Dwight Howard. After scoring 21 points and pulling down eight rebounds over his last two games, Howard went for 28 points, 12 rebounds, two steals and two blocks in 32 minutes on Wednesday night against Golden State. Ah, yes, the Warriors were in town! This needs to happen

I believe I can fly. I believe I can touch the skyyyyyy...

more often as far as fantasy owners are concerned. Jameer Nelson also took advantage of the shorthanded Warriors matchup, going for 13 points, six rebounds, four assists, and two steals in 25 minutes. He’s definitely one of my favorite trade deadline targets.

For the Warriors it was C.J. Watson and his 18 points that led the way. With no Monta Ellis and no Andris Biedrins, the Warriors were looking for production elsewhere. They found 13 points from Ronny Turiaf, but only nine points from rookie phenom Stephen Curry. It just wasn’t one of those “above their heads” performances for the Warriors. Though Reggie Williams had a career-high 13 points in 36 minutes. He’s still not worth owning, but then again with Don Nelson anything is possible.

Jason Kidd got the night off against the T-Wolves in an attempt to get him some rest. No real worries here. Just a day of rest for the veteran point guard.

Mike Conley scored a game-high 26 points on 11-of-18 shooting with seven assists and five steals in 35 minutes. Basically, he had his best game of the season against the Hornets. Remember the second-half Conley had last season? Maybe this is a start of something special. Keep an eye on him if he’s still available in your leagues.

Louis Williams is taking advantage of Allen Iverson’s absence. He dropped a game-high 30 points on the Hawks on Wednesday night. I would rush to make sure that Williams is not available on your wires.

Bill Walker started at the two-guard position for the Knicks on Tuesday — 22 points on 9-of-13 shooting, two rebounds, three assists, and one steal in 36 minutes. It seems like he’s worth taking a flier on. He’s no David Lee— 21 points, 18 rebounds, eight assists and three steal — but he’s the hot hand in the Knicks’ backcourt right now.

J.J. Hicksonstarted again at center for the Cavs. He posted a double-double going for 20 points and 13 rebounds in 26 minutes. Yes, it was against the Nets, but you’ll take what you can get from Hickson. Both he and Anderson Varejao — 12 points and six rebounds — are worth a look for the Cavs.

Terrance Williams had 21 points, two 2-pointers, seven assists and five rebounds against the Cavs. As impressive as he was, I wonder what his value will be once Courtney Lee returns this weekend.

Tyrus Thomas needs to be owned in all leagues. He posted his third double-double since joining the Bobcats on Wednesday night — 15 points on 5-of-12 shooting, 10 rebounds, one steal and two blocks. He’s a must add right now!

Nate Robinson continues to add some bulk scoring, going for 16 points and four 3-pointers in 20 minutes. Even though his minutes are limited he continues to add value.

JaVale McGee had 14 points, seven rebounds and three blocks in 26 minutes against the Bucks. If you;re in the market for blocks, McGee is your man.

Ersan Ilyasova had a great game off the bench for the Bucks — 19 points, 10 rebounds, six assists, one steal and one block in 33 minutes. I wouldn’t get too excited about this performance. It was just his second double-double since the middle of January. Use caution when picking him up.

Holy blocks, Shane Battier! He had seven blocks against the Kings, giving him 10 over his last two games. I’m not sure what his value will be once Trevor Ariza returns this weekend, but he’s worth following in all formats right now.

Darko Milicic started at center for the T-Wolves with Al Jefferson out for the week. Darko posted just six points, two rebounds and zero blocks in 14 minutes. Once again, coming off the bench Kevin Love had a double-double, going for 14 points and 14 rebounds. I think he’s worth buying low on in the trade market. Some guys don’t value a player come off the bench as highly as they should.

The Oklahoma City Thunder got it handed to them on Wednesday night against the Nuggets. Both Russell Westbrook and Kevin Durant played fewer than 27 minutes in this one. This allowed Serge Ibaka — 15 points, 13 rebounds, one block — and  James Harden— 19 points, five rebounds, three steal — the opportunity to shine. Tough loss for the Thunder, and a great performance by Carmelo Anthony who had 30 points in 32 minutes.

Danny Granger was the only Pacer to score in double-figures against the Blazers — 30 points on 12-of-22 shooting in 35 minutes. It was an awful showing by the Indiana Pacers — Granger not included.

Nicolas Batum finally came down to earth, scoring just five points in 19 minutes. Thankfully, Rudy Fernandez had 16 points and five 3-pointers to help lift the Blazers.

Channing Frye got back on track from beyond the arc. He hit seven 3-pointers 25 minutes against the Clippers. That’s why you still own him!

Daily Lies & Statistics: (T-)Mac the Knife

Tracy McGrady played last night for the first time since February 8, 2009. I remember the game like it happened just yesterday. T-Mac played 25 minutes and shot 11.1 percent from the floor. Or wait, was that Nov. 11, 2008, against the Lakers. No, he went 1-for-11 that night. Yeah, last season was pretty sweet for Mr. McGrady. He shot 38.3 percent from the floor, missed 47 games over the span of the year — injured six times. Some things you just refuse to forget.

"It's 'passed' away, not 'past' away"

So, McGrady made his debut playing eight minutes (all in the 1st quarter), spending most of the time hovering around the three-point line. He made just 1-of-3 field-goal attempts (a three-pointer) and looked about as sluggish and lazy as I remember. If you care to know, I have little faith in T-Mac. In fact, don’t own him in any of the dozen leagues I’m in. His name happens to be more valuable than his game, so at the very least you can pick him up and trade him. He’s one of the leaders in All-Star voting and has only played EIGHT MINUTES. Somebody out there loves McGrady. Just know that I’m not one of them.

Trevor Ariza missed last night’s game (suspension, punch), giving Chase Budinger a chance to play to log 40 minutes for the first time in his young career. He posted 14 points and a career-high 12 rebounds. Budinger should revert back to the 15-18 minute range once Ariza returns. You also have to love the fact that Aaron Brooks shot 10-of-20 from the floor. Just two nights after shooting 6-of-20. The one concern you have about Brooks is that he’s only made three of his last 18 three-point attempts. The other thing working against Brooks (and the rest of the Rockets) is the return of Tracy McGrady. I may be crazy, but I think that T-Mac may be the worst thing to happen to this team — especially given how well they’ve played early on. Anyone?

The other story of the night was the 42-point performance by Kobe Braynt. He started hot, scoring 20 points in the first ten minutes. The Bulls, on the other hand, were anything but hot. They were… not? They shot 38.5 percent from the floor — John Salmons (1-of-5), Derrick Rose (9-of-22), and Joakim Noah (4-of-16) were the main culprits. For the third time in four games, the Bulls failed to score 90 points. I wonder when the Vinny Del Negro ‘watch’ will come to an end anytime soon…Lawrence Frank anyone?

Other performances of note:

Tim Duncan: scored a season-high 34 points and pulled down 14 rebounds in a loss to the Suns. Nice to see a 30 and 10, as he’s playing a career-low 32 minutes per game on the season. You may not see another one in quite a while.

Roger Mason: Hit 5 treys last night on his way to scoring 19 points. Remember when we saw this Mason on a regular basis last season. Don’t expect him to return often this season.

Jerryd Bayless: Scored 14 points AND finished the closely contested game while Andre Miller sat glued to the bench. At this point, neither are reliable in standard leagues. Bayless has a nice future, but he’s not ready to contribute on a regular basis.

Rafer Alston: Skip scored 20 points, draining 4 treys in 18 minutes. Both Keyon Dooling and Chris Douglas-Roberts missed this one, opening up more minutes and more touches — also, Courtney Lee couldn’t buy a bucket (8 points on 3-of-14 shooting).

Jared Jeffries: Traaaaaiiiid Baaaaiiiiit! Jeffries had 6 steals, 11 points, 5 rebounds and 2 blocks. The Knicks are loving his performance, but fantasy owners need not get too excited.

Chris Duhon: …on the other hand, here is a guy worth adding. Duhon continues to raise his dreaded FG%. His play has been pretty stellar — 18 points, 6 assists, 3 treys and a steal. I would add Duhon if he’s available in your league and ride him out. Then I would look to trade him as his value rises. Remember, Duhon burned out last season after the All-Star break. With D’Antoni playing just 7 or 8 guys, I fear that Duhon can’t keep the pace all season long. I also fear that I am iron deficient.

Raymond Felton: Add this dude. Like Duhon, Felton has been playing great ball of late. He added 4 more steals last night. That’s 15 over his last four. He’s also scored 14 or more points in four of his last five and dished 5.3 assists. He’s feelin’ it.

Jarrett Jack: What a dick. Six points, one assist and 5 turnovers in 32 minutes. Wasn’t he supposed to treat us well while we waited for Jose Calderon to return? I’m still starting him. He can’t get rid of me that easily.

Carlos Arroyo: He started in place of Mario Chalmers and scored 12 points and dished 3 dimes in 20 minutes. The news here is that Chalmers has been sent to the bench. He still has more value than Arroyo, but things aren’t looking good for the second-year point.

Richard Hamilton: He’s back for sure. 21 points last night (without Gordon and Bynum in the lineup). You can safely get him back in your lineup. Hey that’s great news.

*12 games on Wednesday night.

Sit: Ryan Gomes, Calderon, Douglas-Roberts, and T-Mac.

Check the status of Ben Gordon and Will Bynum.

Watch: Elton Brand, Allen Iverson and Jrue Holiday in Philly. Who gets what minutes?

Daily Lies & Statistics: Jack in the Box Score

Could this really be it? Something good happening to my fantasy team?

In the weekly league I’m in with Tom and Greg (Let’s call it the “Damn League”), I’ve been stashing Jarrett Jack, who I drafted with my final pick in the 20th round. With Jose Calderon out for at least two more games and probably much longer, I’m looking around nervously while inserting Jack into my lineup. When I hit ‘submit’ will the fantasy police storm into my office and tap me in the head with a billy club? I’m definitely getting away with something here.

Jeff has found a new team logo for his squad

To wit: I drafted Lou Williams, Greg Oden, Michael Redd, Andris Biedrins, Tyrus Thomas, Yi Jianlian, Mike Miller and even Rashard Lewis, who missed the first 10 games. Every week is a new disaster. On every dribble, shot or screen I cover my eyes.

But the funny part? I’m in 2nd place (tied with Tom as of this writing; Greg is in… never mind). I have no idea how this is possible, but adding Jack to the mix has to help, right? Here is when I start chuckling under my breath at my own gumption. No good news goes unpunished. While Jack could indeed average a 19-7-7 this week, someone else will then get hurt, Calderon will come back quickly, followed by Jack becoming depressed and joining a remote cult in Bolivia or something. So the answer to my first question in this post is: Yes. To the second: I wish.

Okay, taking my doomsday prophet hat off for a minute and dissecting Sunday’s games:

Trevor Ariza was booted after throwing a punch at DeMar DeRozan. Ariza could be suspended, although he didn’t land the blow. He was 0-for-9 from the field at the time, so I might have taken a swing at someone too.

Jack is a great add in all leagues after his 17-8-8 performance in Calderon’s place Sunday. Jose will miss the next two games and probably more, and Toronto plays four times this week.

Carl Landry had another phenomenal game, scoring 25 points on 10-for-13 shooting. He’s now scored 20 or more in seven of his last 11 games. During the Damn League draft, late, I sent Tom an IM asking him to please just let me pick Landry when our picks were up later in the round (Tom was picking one before me). Before it could even get to Tom, someone else took Landry, and my sleeper pick was ruined. Of course he’s unbelievable.

The Hawks are blowing people out reguarly, including a 130-107 win over the Nets Sunday. Atlanta is deep and talented, and certainly doesn’t need Maurice Evans to be shooting 4-for-4 from three and scoring a game-high 22 points. Evans is 11-for-15 from deep in the last three games.

Zach Randolph and Mike Conley cooled off a bit for Memphis, but they weren’t needed as Rudy Gay went all Dwyane Wade on Dwyane Wade and the Heat in Miami. Gay poured in 41, none of which were needed by Greg, who is leading the Damn League in points by a wide margin.

Two more lopsided road wins I don’t feel like writing about: Spurs 115, Clippers 90 and Cavaliers 102, Thunder 89.

My sleeper for the week is Dorell Wright, who had 16 points off the bench for the Heat in 27 minutes on Sunday. Quentin Richardson is nursing a sore hamstring and could miss a few games. Wright has seen his minutes spike recently and could be a nice deep-league addition.

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