While there are parallels to Iverson's brief stay in Memphis - when AI left the team and was contemplating retirement - his motivation this time has been clear. His family is dealing with the severe illness of his four-year-old daughter, Messiah, who has been suffering with an as yet undiagnosed respiratory condition for months.
While we hope for little Ms. Iverson's speedy recovery, let's re-assess the fantasy values of her dad's teammates - many of whom get a boost in value while AI is out of the mix.
The most obvious beneficiary is Lou Williams, who re-claims the lead guard role from Iverson. And as the Sixers' playoff hopes fade and the franchise looks to transition to younger players in important roles, Thaddeus Young should have the opportunity to finish strong.
Williams and Young are owned in close to 90 percent of all ESPN NBA.com leagues. But Marreese Speights' percent-owned has dropped to under 9.0. And like Young, he should get more playing time in March and April as part of the Sixers' youth movement. Don't forget rookie point guard Jrue Holiday, who also moves up in the pecking order (0.8% owned) and newly-acquired Jodie Meeks (0.1%) who could get a look if the Sixers go with a full-bore "let the kids play" philosophy.
All "percent owned" stats are taken from ESPN NBA.com Fantasy Basketball - your mileage may vary.
Al Thornton (34.3% owned) - We were wondering how much playing time Thornton would get in Washington -- but that was before Josh Howard tore his ACL. Flip Saunders has named Thornton his starter at small forward -- he should have plenty of opportunity to prove himself down the stretch, as he's one of very few Wizards with a contract for next season.
Eddie House (6.4% owned) - It seems clear that House will be a big part of Mike
D'Antoni's rotation down the stretch.
JaVale McGee (2.0% owned) - The run on Blatche and Thornton stock hasn't hit McGee's percent-owned yet, but he's worth a look -- especially if you're in the market for blocks (eight swats in his first two starts of the season).
Francisco Garcia (1.1% owned) - After missing most of the season after breaking his arm in a freak weightlifting accident, Garcia has been installed as Sacramento's starting two guard, replacing Kevin Martin.
Hakim Warrick (2.3% owned) - Warrick has been getting significant minutes for the Bulls since his arrival in Chicago, and has scored in double figures in three straight games with solid rebound (7.6 rpg) and block (1.3 bpg) totals.
Article first appeared on 2/24/10