Player or Great System?
the line drawn between a 'great player' and a 'player that plays in a great
system'? This question came about in response to the rash of bench players that
have been stepping up and posting huge numbers when called upon to replace an
injured star player. Just in the last few weeks we've seen:
injured Chris Paul (20.4 ppg, 11.2 apg, 4.6 rpg, 2.3 spg, 50.4% FG, 86.2% FT)
replaced by unheralded rookie Darren Collison, who has posted very similar
numbers in his recent seven-game stint as a starter (19.3 ppg, 9.6 apg, 3.6
rpg, 1.4 spg, 48% FG, 84% FG).
All-Star replacement Chauncey Billups (19.5 ppg, 6.2 apg, 3.0 rpg, 1.2 spg,
42.3% FG, 89% FT) replaced by another late-round rookie Ty Lawson (17.0 ppg,
5.9 apg, 2.9 rpg, 1.1 spg, 50.5% FG, 81% FT in eight games as starter).
Bynum (15.1 ppg, 8.2 rpg, 1.2 apg, 1.5 bpg, 0.5 spg, 56.8% FG, 74.5% FT)
replaced by Lamar Odom (17 ppg, 14.3 rpg, 3.3 apg, 1.3 bpg, 1.7 spg, 54.8% FG,
80.9% FG in recent three game stint as starter).
Boozer (19.4 ppg, 10.8 rpg, 3.2 apg, 1.2 spg, 0.5 bpg, 54.6% FG, 75.5% FT)
replaced by Paul Millsap (23 ppg, 10.7 rpg, 4.3 apg, 0.3 spg, 2.0 bpg, 61.0%
FG, 90.5% FT in three games as starter).
Ellis (26.2 ppg, 5.4 apg, 4.2 rpg, 2.2 spg, 46.2% FG, 73.8% FT) having his role
taken up in his absence by Stephen Curry (30.0 ppg, 7.0 apg, 6.5 rpg, 2.5 spg,
46.6% FG, 86.4% FT in the most recent four games when Ellis played less than 24
minutes due to injury).
go on, but you get the gist. In each of these cases the understudy is putting
up numbers that are similar to or in some cases better than the injured starter.
There are also many different ways that I could take this, depending on my
purpose and my audience. If we were interested in actual on-court impact, for
instance, we could look more in-depth to see how the teams have done in these
instances. Are the subs just getting numbers, or are they contributing to wins?
We could look into the advanced stats and try to see if the stars have some
"it" factor that helps the team beyond the common box scores, or whether the
sub really is doing just as well. All types of fun could ensue from there…if
the subs can do it as well as the starters, what implications might that have
one what we actually consider "star" players? If, on the other hand, the
advanced stats show a big difference that isn't there in the box scores…what
implications might that have on whether the box score stats are even an
effective means to measure basketball quality anymore?
this space, we're concerned more about fantasy sports than real-life impact. So
let's look at how the "great system" effect is relevant in our day-to-day game
planning. First of all, this is important when deciding whether to take a flyer
on an injury replacement when a starter gets hurt. All of the above subs now
have pretty established names of their own, so it's a no-brainer to go after
them when the starter goes down. But what about the situation of Anthony Morrow
and Corey Maggette in Golden State? Anthony Morrow is a relative no-name in
fantasy sports, but Maggette has established himself as a big contributor (20.8
ppg, 6.1 rpg, 2.5 apg, 51.9% FG, 84.1% FT) this season. Maggette goes down, and
in his first replacement start Morrow throws up 33 points (12-for-20 FG), 11
boards, four assists, five treys and 4-for-4 shooting from the line. Now, is
that a fluke? Perhaps, but we know from the Ellis/Curry situation above and
from the history of Golden State coach Don Nelson that the Warriors will put up
points and the starters will likely put up numbers. So, based on the "great
system" Morrow is a good buy while Maggette is out…and if you picked him up
immediately you were rewarded with a 26-point/10-rebound/six-assist/three-treys
performance in his second start.
also applies when looking at who is likely to see a numbers boost in a trade. For
instance, in the recent Mavs/Wizards trade (see below) the marquee names
involved were Caron Butler and Josh Howard. But Brendan Haywood was also sent
to Dallas to be the likely starting center over the hobbled Erick Dampier. So
let's look closer. href="http://rotosynthesis.rotowire.com/Fallout-from-the-Mavs-Wizards-Trade-BBD1734.htm">Dampier has averaged over 12 boards in the 15 games this season where he has
played at least 29 minutes, and Drew Gooden also averaged 11.4
boards in his 11 starts at center for the Mavs. It looks like the starting
center for the Mavs has a great chance to rack up the rebound numbers, which
means that Haywood (already a good rebounder and defender) probably deserves a
boost in value based upon this trade.
reading this article plays fantasy basketball, and all of us know to make the
obvious moves like grabbing Millsap if possible when Boozer is out. But to
really separate yourself from your peers, sometimes you have to look for little
things like this to know when to take a flyer and when to stand pat.
to Watch and Quick Hits: Trade deadline edition
dominant event for this week is the Thursday's trade deadline, for obvious
reasons. Trades and injuries can affect the productive talent pool more than
anything else this far into the season, and while you can't predict injuries
you have a hard deadline for when trades can be made. That said, let's look at
the big trade of last weekend and some of the other impact players that are
rumored to possibly change locations this week.
already mentioned Haywood, who I think is going into an excellent situation in
Dallas. Stevenson wouldn't appear to have an impact role on a team as good as
Dallas, but like always you should pay attention to the first few games after
the trade just to see who might have taken advantage of all of the changes to
grab a bigger slice of the pie.
the interesting stuff is in what the Wizards decide to do about their incumbent
players. This trade would seem to indicate the official start of the youth
movement, so does that mean Antawn Jamison is definitely gone (see below)? What
about a vet like Mike Miller? Randy Foye looked good when Gilbert Arenas first
went out, but then fizzled for a while as vet Earl Boykins got more run…is this
a sign that the youngster Foye will again get the keys and a longer leash? At
center, do Andray Blatche and/or JaVale McGee get the lion share of the minutes?
Blatche has proven himself fantasy relevant in the past with time, and
seemingly he should now get more of it in DC. Stay tuned.
Morrow (56% owned): Morrow is averaging almost 28 ppg with four treys in the
last three games that he has played at least 30 minutes, and with Corey
Maggette still questionable due to his injured fingers Morrow is worth taking
that flyer on (as many of you have, as his percent owned has gone up
dramatically in the last two weeks).
Prince (44% owned): Injuries have slowed Prince this season to the point that a
consensus mid-round draft pick is now available on the free agency wire in most
leagues. In his last two games before the break he showed signs of life (20.5
points, 4.0 rebounds, 1.5 treys, 33 minutes played), though, and with the added
break maybe he is finally getting his legs under him.
Blatche (36% owned) and JaVale McGee (4% owned): As mentioned above, Blatche
and McGee are the most likely candidates to grab the lion's share of the center
minutes for the Wizards. Blatche has averaged 10.8 points, 7.5 boards, 3.0
assists and 1.8 blocks in four starts this season and he posted almost the same
numbers in 36 starts last season. He is the more interesting candidate, but
McGee also showed some signs of life as a young starter last season and is
worth keeping an eye on.
Hickson (9% owned): I added Hickson as a speculation pick-up this week, as most
of the trade rumors for the Cavs have Hickson going out along with Zydrunas
Ilgauskas in any potential move. The most commonly rumored sights for Hickson
are Phoenix (run-and-gun team led by Steve Nash), Indiana (young run-and-gun
team), and Washington (young run-and-gun team). All of these would be
potentially good spots for Hickson, and if such a move is made he has
double-double potential as a starter.
Tolliver (8% owned): Tolliver is another relative unknown in fantasy who
recently got big minutes for the Warriors. The Warriors are gold for people
that play, and in the last three games Tolliver has averaged 18 points, 8.3
boards and 1.3 treys in almost 40 minutes of play. He may eventually lose that
time to Andris Biedrins, but in the meantime…why not give him a shot?
Article first appeared 2/16/10