JB insists on calling me a hoarder and quite frankly it’s getting old. At least once a week I have to hear, “why do you still have every VHS and cassette tape you’ve ever owned? You don’t even own a working VCR anymore.” Since I seem to never answer the same question the same way twice he gets a wide variety of responses. From, “It’s an investment I’ve been sitting on for 25 years. You want to buy my collection for, pinky to mouth, one million dollars?” to “There’s chemicals in the tape that are good for my joints, it’s like those magnetic bracelets, same thing.” Either way the gist is always the same. They aren’t going anywhere… but he keeps asking anyway. If you don’t mind I’m going to go ahead and put this one to rest. I’m not quite sure how to explain it though. It’s the same reason I bought everyone’s broken VCRs and walkmen before they threw them away. Maybe it isn’t the most useful thing today, but one day I’m going to find one that works and when I’m watching E.T. on my 13 inch, 20 lbs TV and flashing gang signs to my early 90’s gospel rock well then, who’s going to be 2 Legit 2 Quit now?
If I’m a hoarder then so be it, and it won’t just be the classics like ‘Madonna: Truth or Dare’. I’ll stash away the next widely added fantasy player too and when they win the starting job JB might stop asking why I keep a cassette single of ‘Material Girl’ and he’ll start asking me the real hard hitting questions when he stops by. Before this gets too serious though let me just pre-empt you JB. No, I won’t make you a copy until you perfect your 2-L-2-Q. You are yet still unworthy.
Shabazz Napier – PG – MIA – When Napier was drafted by the Heat, LeBron James was still undecided on where he was going to play (or so he told Pat Riley) and both Mario Chalmers and Norris Cole were unsigned. It looked like Shabazz was going to luck into a starting job and on draft day I had him as a top 10 rookie in fantasy for this year. With LeBron gone and money to spend, the Heat locked up Chalmers and Cole and immediately Napier’s role reduced to nothing. Since Rio has gotten most of his minutes at SG, Napier was granted a 20 minute backup PG role over the first four games of the season and has thoroughly outplayed Norris in at least half of those games. I don’t expect Napier to unseat Cole immediately but the writing seems to be on the wall. I think it’s also important to note that Shabazz isn’t an inexperienced 19 year old kid, he’s a 23 years old who played some of his best basketball against the top competition in the NCAA tournament.
If Napier manages to take over the starting gig and continues to improve on what he’s shown so far then with 30 minutes he could be a top 100 overall player. We can’t just use his 1st 80 minutes in the NBA to extrapolate what he would average as a starter but there’s a few numbers that do jump out. The steals appear to be for real at 1.5 per game and he’s already at 0.8 3s made per game, while taking less than 2.0 per game. This is what makes Napier a good fantasy player to stash and with a 32 minute starting role I think his number would look something like:
K.J. McDaniels – SG/SF – PHI – There’s nothing more to say than what I said last week. Except he’s getting more minutes and Luc Richard Mbah a Moute and Hollis Thompson aren’t doing anything to help their cause. Want a stat line? Nothing has changed from what I projected in the top 200 post before the season started. He just started slow and people panicked and dropped him, myself included. Since he’s only owned in 20% of Yahoo leagues there is a good chance he’s available in yours.
Cody Zeller – PF/C – CHA – The better Zeller was drafted 4th overall a year ago, and even as a starry eyed 21 year old showed glimpses of his future fantasy upside. Sure he needs to get stronger and still has a lot of work to do on his post moves but it all seems to be coming around. Granted it’s difficult to get excited about a guy going 8/4 in 22 minutes, but compared to Marvin Williams‘ 9/4 in 28 minutes it doesn’t look nearly as bad. The problem of course is that Cody doesn’t shoot the 3 ball and Marvin does. However if Williams and the rest of the team continues to play this poorly then Steve Clifford might not have a choice but to make some changes. Zeller’s playing time isn’t purely based on Marvin Williams either. Obviously he won’t take Al Jefferson‘s job, but if something happens to Jefferson, then Zeller will become the default starting center.
What makes Zeller so much different this year compared to last is that so far his shot is falling. He’s always posted a plus 50 FG% everywhere he’s played and with him starting to get comfortable in the pros that improved FG% shows us a glimmer of his fantasy ceiling. If Zeller starts and gets 32 minutes at power forward playing next to Jefferson he would give a slightly different stat line than if he starts at center next to Marvin Williams. I’ll put those lines together and in 32 minutes his numbers would probably look something like: