Funny thing about sleepers: as soon as they’re recognized by even a small group, they can’t be sleepers anymore. It never fails. After scratching and clawing to get someone, anyone, to buy into my sleeper theories about a player, I’m always regretful for having done so the second I prove to be successful. Like when I spent all that time telling everyone how awesome Lupe Fiasco was after ‘Food and Liquor’ and how out of touch they were if they disagreed. Then ‘The Cool’ came out and suddenly everyone liked Fiasco* and I was upset that I failed to trademark my status as Lupe Super Fan No. 1. It’s like paying your pension and dying before you can collect on it (it’s a simile within a simile! Get excited!). Had you known that was going to happen, you would have just bought a damn boat with the money you squirreled away. Then again, had you done that, you almost certainly would have led a happier life, lived to be 103 and died a pensionless pauper. This would be the equivalent to everyone taunting me for liking Lupe Fiasco after they heard ‘Lazers’ and I, again, wish I’d kept my mouth shut for entirely different reasons. What does any of that have to do with Toney Douglas and his outlook for the 2011 fantasy basketball season? I’m about to tell you (and then immediately wish I hadn’t).
Here are some of the things you probably didn’t notice about Toney Douglas in 2010: He averaged more threes-per-game last year for the Knicks than anyone but ‘Melo and Chauncey. Besides New York’s two starting PGs (Felton and Billups), Douglas averaged and totaled more dimes than any other Knick on the team. Only Raymond Felton averaged more steals than Douglas. Of the 11 Knicks who appeared on the floor for more than 600 minutes last season, Douglas was only ranked sixth in USG%. All that and he only averaged the eighth-most minutes per game of anyone on the Knicks roster in 2010. So what’s it all mean? It means the guy averaged five more minutes a game in 2010 than in 2009 and improved his game slightly. Entering his third season at the age of 25 on a team weak at both guard positions and known for running small rotations on a high possessions-per-game offense suggests his 11/3/3, with 3 stls+3ptm per game from 2010 won’t be his ceiling. It also suggests if he improves his FG% a little and sees something closer to 25-27 minutes per game like I suspect he will, owners will get something like 14/3/4, with 3 stls+3ptm per game in 2011. And all that suggests that no matter what he do, no matter what he into, no matter where he be when he look outside his window; brown grass or green grass, picket fence or barbed wire, he’ll never let ‘em put him down, he’ll just raise him arms higher. Raise ‘em ’til his arms tire, let ‘em know he’s there; that Toney’s strugglin’, survivin’, that he’s gonna persevere. Or whatever.
* It feels incorrect to refer to Lupe Fiasco by just his last name. Lupe seems fine, but not Fiasco. Ugh. What a mess. Or ordeal. Or … I dunno. I Can’t think of any more appropriate adjectives.