I spend one afternoon caroling in my neighborhood and lookit what happens: I return to a league that colluded to all swap jerseys and make me nuts. There’s no way, I’m going to be able to remember that a) Hedo Turkoglu is not on the Suns, b) Hedo Turkoglu was ever not on the Magic and c) Vince Carter isn’t on a pitiful D.C. roster. ‘Cause he really feels like the type of player that should be on a last place team. No matter. Blockbuster trades are always good for the soul. Frankly, it was exactly what I needed after an afternoon spent knocking on doors and wheezing out three bars of O! Tenenbaum before having a little old lady call me a d-bag and threaten to alert the cops if I don’t get off her front porch. In hindsight, I guess I should have worn a costume less revealing than my elf suit. To be fair, it was 16 degrees outside. I figured the frigid weather would ensure there wouldn’t be a whole lot for the golden tights to reveal. Anyway, it seems as if everyone but Carmelo Anthony were traded this weekend, starting with Gilbert Arenas, who will soon make the happiest place on Earth a little happier, Rashard Lewis will add to the number of poorly aimed shots fired in the D.C. Metro area and Vince Carter will be in Phoenix … just, you know, chillin’. What does this mean for fantasy? Well, for Arenas owners, it’s a tiny step backward. His per minute numbers could improve as Orlando is a team built to shoot freely and let Dwight Howard clean up the misses, but, whether he comes off the bench or starts, he’s going to be contending with Jason Richardson, Jameer Nelson, Chris Duhon and Jason Williams for time. He won’t see the minutes on the Magic that he saw on the Wiz. Lewis had every opportunity to thrive in Orlando. Unless he just hated it there and inexplicably loves it in D.C., there’s no reason to think he’ll improve. Especially with Josh Howard and Al Thornton taking some of his minutes. And Vince Carter? He’ll keep doing his thing. I don’t see his stats improving or taking a hit. I worry about Steve Nash though. Carter doesn’t pick and roll, doesn’t hang around the basket and doesn’t love to find his spot on the floor to pop jumpers. He likes to move with the ball and this is the one type of player with whom Nash’s game doesn’t jive. I wouldn’t be surprised to see most of the assists Nash earned from Richardson and (to a lesser extent) Turkolgu disappear with Carter on the Suns.
Here’s how the rest of this weekend’s blockbuster trade shakes out and other fantasy basketball news from the weekend:
Nick Young – Young might be the biggest winner of everyone affected by the weekend’s trades. He’s averaging 21.2 and 2.3 3ptm when he averages 30+ minutes and D.C. just shipped out the guy who had the biggest hand in keeping Young from reaching that mpg mark. Oh, and Wall could be out through the rest of December.
Kirk Hinrich – He’s averaging 13.5 pts/6.8 ast in games in which he plays over 36 minutes. It’s just him and Young until Wall returns, which might not be for a couple weeks. Do what it do.
Hedo Turkoglu – He’s back with the team with which he shared the most success. It’s also the team that felt he was overpriced and replaceable, but why split hairs? If there’s one team in the league as freewheelin’ as the Suns, it’s the Warriors. If there are two teams however, it’s, um, the Knicks. But if there are three teams, it’s the Magic’s four-shooters-and-Dwight offense. I don’t see Turkoglu being much more effective here than he was in Phoenix, or Toronto: two teams that needed him to be successful, and was forced to be more patient with him than Orlando will have to be.
Brandon Bass – Cast your reel now, Bass might be Orlando’s starting PF if Stan Van Gundy plays Arenas off the bench, starts Richardson at SG and Turkoglu at SF. If that happens, reel him in quickly, and get him in your boat. He’s averaging 15/7.5 as a starter.
Marcin Gortat – The engines of speculation are revving at the thought that Gortat will usurp Robin Lopez for the starting center position. It’s not crazy. It could happen. I’m just not sure he’s as impactful to fantasy teams as he is to real ones. He’s a strong defender with cleanup offensive skills and little else. Assuming he doesn’t play more than 28-30 minutes a game, he’ll be hard-pressed to give teams more than 7 pt/9 rbd/1-2 blocks a night.
Grant Hill – Dropped 30/11 on OKC in 37 minutes. Two weeks ago I said, “If he were six years younger, he’d be owned in more than 70 percent of fantasy leagues. If he were six years younger, he’d also have replaced his Walkman by now.” And that’s me quoting me the way Grey quotes Grey! Anyway, he’s actually owned in 66 percent of fantasy leagues now despite his output remaining almost entirely the same from two weeks ago.
O.J. Mayo – Started in place of a suspended Rudy Gay and dropped 27/5/5 in 45 minutes. He’s seen an uptick in minutes and bumped up his scoring average to nearly 18 ppg in his last four. This isn’t the promised land that Mayo fans hoped for back in October, but it’s close to the gentleman’s handshake land.
Joe Johnson – Surprise! Double-J double-timed his recovery and made it back just in time to enrich your quiet period between Hanukkah and Christmas.
Andrew Bynum – Huzzah! He made multiple field-goals this time! He shot 4-for-6 from the field on his way to a 16/7 line in less than 18 minutes. Lamar Odom ended with 11/7 in almost twice the time. Jrue story.
Ed Davis – Started against the Lakers. Had starry eyes against the Lakers. He went 0-for-3 in 17:21, but on the plus side, he got Pau to sign his warmup pants.
Linas Kleiza – 26/10. Now do that shizz when Weems and Bargnani are on the floor.
DeMarcus Cousins – Started for the eighth time in the last nine, played almost 29 minutes, scored 19 points for the second-straight game and blocked a season-high four shots. He’s increased his time on the court by almost five minutes a game this month and has seen upticks across the board in his stats. If someone is selling him cheap, go for him. Trade your opponent a Piston or something.
Jason Thompson – Out. Will miss two more games with a finger injury. I’d lend a finger to Thompson, but I’m giving ’em all to Westphal.
Corey Maggette – Out. Concussive symptoms. Despite clearly falling, hitting his head and being removed from the game because of it, doctors are still unwilling to call it a concussion. That’s like getting mauled by a bear, having it rip your arm off, walk 15 yards away from you before snacking on your arm and having a doctor diagnose you with bear-amputation-like symptoms.
Brandon Jennings – Out. Will get the results of the MRI on his left foot today and will definitely miss tonight’s game and likely the rest of the week.
Taj Gibson – Out. Concussion. He was concussed and he might miss a game because of it. See, Milwaukee? Was that so hard?
Darko Milicic – Out. Lingering quad pain. Coincidentally, this was what most of the girls referred to me as after I hounded each of them for a date while they passed by the central grounds of my college campus.
Nicolas Batum – Out. He’s the only Blazer left with knee cartilage and he can’t get more than 22 mpg when he’s healthy … and he ain’t healthy. If you love something set it free. If it double-doubles a couple times and regains its starter’s role, it’s yours forever.
George Hill – Out. He’s wearing a walking boot and might be done for the remainder of 2010. San Antonio plays D.C. on December 26 and I’m kinda hoping to see Hill and Wall do a slow, feeble, injury boot version of the Kid ‘N’ Play during the pre-game warmups.
Rodney Stuckey – Out. He hurt his toe, Rip Hamilton has a stomach bug and Tracy McGrady started, but hurt his groin. In other news, Michigan-area residents are encouraged to head on down to the team’s practice facility and tryout for a roster spot on the team, as there are, like, nine new openings . The only prerequisites are that you don’t vomit before the end of the scrimmage and you’re as comfortable ignoring Austin Daye as John Kuester is.
Stephen Curry – Says it would be a stretch to play in tonight’s game after participating in portions of Sunday’s practice. If you’re lookin’ for odds, I’m guessing 5:2 says he sits tonight.
Aaron Brooks – Returned after a six-week furlough to play 15 rusty minutes. I often suggest leaving a guy on your bench for his first game or two back from a long injury. If he starts off hot, great. Then you don’t have a long recovery to bog you down. If he starts slow, at least you weren’t statistically burned while it happened.
Serge Ibaka – Played more than 11 minutes, turned the ball over once, missed three shots. That’s it. And this is why you draft your shot blockers early and often in the draft, so you don’t have to mess with these shenanigans.
Marcus Thornton – Despite going 16-for-25 from the floor in his previous two games, averaging 19 points in each, his defense has more holes in it than Antoine Walker’s shoes and he played just 13 minutes and shot a cold 1-for-5. Until they fuse Trevor Ariza‘s defense with Thornton’s offense, neither option is worth leaning on too heavily.
Nate Robinson – In six games as the starter, he hasn’t really replaced much of what fantasy owners lost with Rajon Rondo. His 4.8 apg only cover about a third of what Rondo did, nor is he stealing the ball much (four steals in six games as a starter). But Sugar Nate is scoring the ball more than Rondo, shooting more threes and hitting free throws. So there’s that at least.
Glen Davis – 16/8 yesterday and has now ended with at least 16 points and six rebounds in eight of his last 10 games. That’s better than Danilo Gallinari, Andre Iguodala and Paul Millsap. And still, he’s only owned in 53 percent of fantasy leagues. Don’t bother heading to waivers now, both O’Neals are healthy this week. Next week, when they re-injure themselves, remember what was said here.
Darren Collison – DarCo has mirrored almost ever fantasy stat from last year except assists, which are down to 4.1 from 5.7 last season. For this I blame just about everyone on the Pacers except for Collison, starting with Jim O’Brien.
Josh McRoberts – McBob took a shot in the McNuggets on Friday and missed yesterday’s game. He spent the weekend dipping them in honey mustard sauce and should be fine going forward.
Danny Granger – Granger shot 1-for-7 from the arc on Sunday. He’s shooting 7-for-28 from the arc in his last five games (.250). If you remove Friday’s game against Clevelend, he’s shooting 3-for-21 (.143) from downtown in that time. O’Brien giving Granger the green light to shoot it whenever he sees fit and hope for the best is like sitting a toddler down in front of a white wall with a bag full of permanent markers and hoping he doesn’t make a mess.
Sasha Vujacic – 10/6/3 and a trio of steals in 29 minutes. He’s now played 26 minutes as a Net in two games after playing 24 minutes as a Laker in 11. That crashing sound you’re hearing is Jordan Farmar‘s value.
Troy Murphy – Tied his season-high with eight points and played the most minutes he’s seen since December 3. You know what it means when a player goes from DNP-CD to almost 22 minutes a game, don’t you? He’s been hanging in the pawn shop’s front window for a month, but now they’ve attached a big MUST GO sticker on him.