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As I look back on my fantasy basketball career, I find it astonishing how much the game has changed.  Back when JB and I wore bell-bottom jeans and flowing paisley shirts it was just the two of us playing fantasy basketball.  We didn’t have all these fancy categories the kids have today.  All we could keep track of was points and that was hard enough.  Back then we would use a CB radio to relay the scores across the country.  Some nights we would hear, “Wilt Chamberlain scored 72″ and others we would hear how, “Harry pests poured only poo.”  Confusing to some, but to us it meant Jerry West must have gotten injured if he only scored 2 points.  We would start our draft with a coin flip to determine draft order.  Nowadays it takes as much computing power to determine draft order as it did to land a man on the moon.  I’m not sure If you have ever played in a 2 team league, but believe me trading was tough.  Once a year I would say, “I’ll give you West and Oscar for Wilt and Bellamy.”  Then JB would say, “Heyyy mannn, I’m not trading Wilt for nothin’, how about just Oscar for Bellamy.”  Inevitably, trade talks ended because we played with only a 2 man roster.

Now people play in 20 team leagues, with 17 player rosters, and my personal favorite the dynasty.  Thankfully when JB and I started, there would be that coin flip every year and our teams would change.  Well, about half the time they changed.  Today’s dynasty format favors those who try to predict how the entire career of a 20 year old kid will turn out.  That sounded much easier to do before I typed it out.  Nothing I can do about that now.  Here’s a couple:

Shabazz Muhammad – SF – Min – Who needs a nickname when your real name should be preceded by a punch from Adam West.  If I called him Shabam would you still know who I was talking about?  Couple that with the name of the greatest boxer ever and it feels like we’re still in the 60’s.  I can even smell the patchouli.  Shapow was considered a top 3 recruit by nearly every relevant publication.  Lauded for his scoring prowess he received offers everywhere.  After turning down scholarships to Kentucky, Kansas, and Duke, Shazam played at UCLA and I have no doubt enjoyed all the benefits of the one-and-done college experience.  The college stats don’t jump off the page except for one key category.  Points.  And just like the long ball in baseball, chicks will always dig buckets in basketball.  At closer inspection, during conference play Shazap was doing much more than his average seasonal numbers indicate.  Stretches of multiple games with 2 steals, 7-9 boards, but a highly fluctuating FG%.  With the uncertainty he falls to 14th in the NBA draft and gets buried on the Timberwolves bench.  In summer league ball he shows very little with poor percents and turnovers.  After barely playing in the preseason and an early season injury, a trip to the D-League should do Shathwack some good.  At least he’ll play.  I think he’ll probably do pretty well there too.  The question now is that of ceiling and I’ll tackle it in parts.  FG%, FT%: Shathunk has shown that these both could be an issue.  Both can be worked on and the ceiling is .440 FGs, .780 FTs, which is assuming a lot of work on both.  Blocks, Assists, Turnovers: All 3 should be low to nonexistent.  Points, 3PTM, Rebounds, Steals: Here is where I think we can expect Shabang to help our fantasy team the most.  The steals are the biggest question mark but assuming he puts in the work and gives max effort he could give us 20+ PPG, 1.5-2.0 3PTM, 6-7 rebounds, and 1.5 steals.  Next year?  I’m sorry to say but “NO” at best he could be a solid bench guy in deep leagues.  I’m thinking not until ’15-’16 season could we see him as a starter.

Tony Snell – SG/SF – Chi – With a name that’s straight out of the Godfather I find myself saying, “Eh, Itsa Tony Schnelly”.  Of course with the accompanying hand gesture.  Itsa Tony was lightly recruited out of high school and accepted a scholarship to play for the UNM Lobos.  A quick glance at his college stats shows very little.  12.0/2.5/2.5 and less than a steal per game as a junior doesn’t inspire much confidence in his fantasy appeal but I’m sure there is more.  2.0 3’s per game at nearly 40% shooting combined with above average defense and athleticism is why Chicago drafted Snell 20th overall.  A conference tourney MVP can’t hurt either I imagine… all the people…, sigh RIP John.  In Tony’s 5 summer league games he averaged better numbers than his junior campaign.  In the preseason the minutes dropped, but the solid play continued and on a team considered a playoff contender he was able to establish a limited role off the bench.  Since this is the Bulls we are talking about, it was no surprise when players started going down.  Jimmy Butler went down clearing up more minutes behind Kirk Hinrich.  Then with Derrick Rose going down and Hinrich playing the point, Snell got a golden opportunity as the starting SG on a team that runs it’s starters to death.  Unfortunately, the minutes have fluctuated and so has his play.  What we have seen already is the ability to catch and shoot at a high percent and play above average defense.  Both of which should help keep his minutes up until Jimmy Butler returns.  At which time Snell probably returns to his garbage time role.  What we want to know is how will Itsa Tony help our fantasy team and how soon?  If he doesn’t develop more offensively and becomes comfortable being a 3-point specialist and solid defender, then his fantasy ceiling will remain limited to helping in FT%, 3PTM, and average for his position steals.  How soon will he help?  Right now, well for a while at least, who knows how long Butler will be out.  With Luol Deng in the last year of his contract there have been trade rumors.  I don’t think he gets traded this year but perhaps as soon as the start of next year I think we could see a starting a wing combo of Snell and Butler in Chicago.

  1. Shaft says:
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    Slim,

    Curious to get your thoughts on a few things if you don’t mind:

    1. Terrence Jones… Still stick with him for a little longer and hope that when Parsons and Lin return his mins get back to normal? Or is this the start of a downward trend? Do you like J. Hill, Sullinger, Taj or Henson better ROS?

    2. Aldridge…. Dude has been killing it lately. I think he’s up to like top 3 in 8-cat over the last three games. Obviously his numbers will come down, the question is how much? Is he a sell-high candidate if I can get another first rounder or two second or third rounders in return?

    Thanks!

    • Slim

      Slim says:
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      @Shaft: I’d hold Jones if I could. The production in those 24ish minute games of 11/6 and 1.5 blocks is where it should be. Hill has to deal with D’Antoni, I don’t want that problem. Sullinger is ok with the added 3’s but doesn’t have near the upside of Jones. Taj will be good if Noah or Boozer goes down otherwise he’s just a stash which in most leagues doesn’t really work. Sanders looming return is the only thing keeping Jones above Henson. Which I guess means Henson over Jones right now… it’s really close.

      Aldridge year to date stats are about on par with his last couple of years. He’s taking a couple shots more per game and scoring a few more points. I think his ROS value is in the 10-20 overall range. That feels about right. If you can get a top 10 guy then you probably did good.

  2. Jesse says:
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    Hey Slim, My team desperately needs steals, assists, and rebounds… Is there any trades (specifically players) you think would benefit my team? My team is:
    Lillard, Beal, Lebron, Ryan Anderson, Pekovic, Kmart, Pau, Rubio, Parsons, Channing Frye, Kobe, Tobias Harris, and Victor Oladipo.

    Thanks

    • Slim

      Slim says:
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      @Jesse: I don’t think the problem is trade so much as just getting healthy. You need any high end PF/C. I’d target a team that has extra. As for which players that all depends on who you want to try to trade with. Frye + Anderson is redundant so one of them can go. Kobe should be back soon but Tobias, Beal, and now Parsons is the problem. If you can trade one or two away for pretty much anything you gotta take it. It’s just too many injuries. Don’t worry about the steals and assists. Oladipo.

  3. SLIM — good stuff.

    I’m a UCLA grad and can tell you, you’re spot on with the Shabazz analysis. Watched every game he played in collegiately. His defense sucks, he’s slow of foot (albeit, deceptively quick) and hasn’t done much to improve his game. Was expecting and hoping for much much more – James Harden light was my lofty expectation coming into college, and unfortunately, that opinion got significantly watered down. He’s still young, but his work ethic leaves a lot to be desired. Do NBA players jump rope and do pylometrics anymore? Those damn kids these days!

    I mentioned this a few weeks back, but keep your eye out on reports for SG rookie, CJ McCollum’s, health and status in Portland. The Blazers are playing well above expectations, so they are taking their sweet time with him, but he could be a very useful piece in the 2nd half of 2014. Granted, Lillard, Wesley Matthews, Batum and to a lesser extent, Mo Williams are taking all the Guard minutes and he’ll need to earn his, but having watched this kid in college and summer ball, he could be pretty nice.

    In 5 summer league games, playing 34 min/night, he went off to the tune of: 21 points / 4 boards / 3 assists / 1 steal/ 2 3pm. FG% was not great in the summer, but that will improve. He’s got a sweet LH stroke and can straight score. I think he’s the Blazers heir apparent to Matthews. NBA comparison — mixture of younger, rawer Steph Curry meets Damian Lillard. For whatever its worth, like him a lot more than Shabazz in the near future…

    • Slim

      Slim says:
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      @EL BURRO: Yeah! I don’t get to see too much Pac-10 action out here in SEC/ACC country. Only watching highlight film can be so deceiving sometimes.

      McCollum is definitely on my radar. Breaking the same foot he did in college is worrisome and I imagine they bring him along really slowly. On a side note, I think the Blazers are for real. The mix looks really good. McCollum could be the piece that puts them over the top this year. I don’t doubt that for a second.

  4. Jeff says:
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    What do you think about the trade just on value of players. Team won’t be listed. 8 team h2h 9 cat.

    My Kyrie Irving, Paul Millsap, Ryan Anderson

    For his: James Harden, brandon Jennings, Shawn Marion

    • Slim

      Slim says:
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      @Jeff: I would favor the Harden side. Especially without turnovers considered. The problem is that this is going to be a major hit to your FG% so it’s assuming you already have the guys to cover that. It also assumes your already heavy in rebounds since there is a noticeable loss there too. The increase in assists is nice, more steals for sure.

  5. miles proudfoot says:
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    Hey Slim, What do you think of dropping Marvin Williams or Reggie Jackson for Jameer Nelson who is on the wire? Thanks man!

    • Slim

      Slim says:
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      @miles proudfoot: I would drop Marvin Williams. He was already playing too many minutes and not surprisingly his missing games. You know what your going to get with Nelson. So he’s one of those guys you own if you need that otherwise he’s not all that great and he’s constantly missing games. Reggie… I don’t know. There’s still room for improvement. Dropping him for Jameer Nelson would be difficult for me.

  6. Lasandro says:
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    Great piece as always mate

    T Chandler and Saunders are sitting on the wire. My two expendable are ilyasova (who I just picked up yesterday off the wire) and Frye. Question is when should I grab one of those two and who do I drop? Depending on ersan’s play from here on in, I was considering dropping frye for chandler. My bigs of M Gasol and AD are both down with injuries atm

    14cat L, needing a boost in boards and 3s primarily, sitting in 2nd in blks

    Thanks!

    • Lasandro says:
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      @<a href="#comment-258593"@Lasandro: R Lopez is available also

    • Slim

      Slim says:
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      @Lasandro: With those 2 already down I would have a very difficult time adding another injured player. Tyson Chandler isn’t really my kind of fantasy player. Boards are about all he really helps in. Low attempts means his FG% doesn’t affect the overall number much and he isn’t much more than a 1.2 block per game guy. The loss of Fryes 3’s isn’t worth the slight boost to boards and that’s assuming a healthy Chandler. Sanders is a different case. He’s young and has a lot to prove after his night club shenanigans. I’m not so sure your going to remain in 2nd in blocks with those 2 out another month or so. I would probably wait until there is a good report about Sanders practicing then pounce. It’s already been 4 out of the original 6 week time frame. Theoretically he should practice soon. RoLo can stay. I’d rather have Frye’s 3’s. I didn’t mentioned Ilyasova because I wouldn’t drop him.

      • Lasandro says:
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        Champion! Much appreciated – will be back here tomorrow

        • Slim

          Slim says:
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          @Lasandro: Glad I could help and thank you very much for reading.

  7. Principal Blackman says:
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    Slim, do you think Archie Goodwin is going to have any deep league value this year? If he does get significant PT, what do you think he can do with it?

    Thanks

    • Slim

      Slim says:
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      @Principal Blackman: I don’t think Goodwin is ready. Turnovers are too high and with the Suns playing well it’s going to be tough for him to get a 30+ minute role. Unless it all implodes which is perhaps more likely than not in Phoenix. If he does… Good defensive stats. 1.0-1.5 steals. 0.5-1.0 a block. Probably not much else. I don’t think he’s ready to be a consistent scorer in the NBA. FG%, Points, 3’s will probably be all over the map. With that said I think his ceiling is really high, just don’t think it’s realized this year.

  8. Hallwaygang says:
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    Hey, got a trade offer. Batum, Olipido, Nene or Varejao for my Stephenson, Brewer, Noah. Any thoughts?

    • Slim

      Slim says:
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      @Hallwaygang: I would take that for sure. Batum and Oladipo might just be the best 2 players in this trade. As for Nene vs Varejao. I’m worried about Nene. Varejao I guess but either could be droppable depending on league size.

      • Hallwaygang says:
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        @Slim:

        It’s 12 teams h2h. Thank you for the input!

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