By Charlie Zegers
RotoWire Staff Writer
Coaches, as a rule, are an untrustworthy lot. And I'm not even talking about Bobby Petrino. They'll tell you one thing, then do the opposite.
Here's a recent example:
December 3: Sam Vincent announces that rookie Jared Dudley will be his new starter at small forward. Dudley plays 38 minutes and scores 16 points.
December 5: Dudley starts again, but is held scoreless in 21 mintues.
December 8: DNP – CD. Vincent cites the matchup against Cleveland's big frontcourt.
December 9: Dudley plays 11 minutes off the bench.
December 12: Another DNP.
December 14: Off the bench again, but for just 8 minutes.
December 15: Back in the starting lineup, scoring 7 points in 26 minutes.
To recap, since being named starter, Dudley has played 11 minutes or under four times and 21 or more only three. I'd like to apologize – on behalf of Sam Vincent – to all the fantasy players who grabbed Dudley after Vincent's announcement.
Bear that in mind when considering the latest updates from New Jersey coach Laurence Frank. After Frank's frountcourt was decimated by the Knicks' Zach Randolph (20 points, 13 boards) and Eddy Curry (23 and 9) on Saturday night, Frank told reporters that he's considering a change in his frontcourt rotation. In theory, that means more minutes for shot-blocking rookie Sean Williams and defense/rebounding specialist Josh Boone.
In practice, we're still fully expecting to see a whole lot of Jason Collins.
Our advice: be highly skeptical of any playing time announcements – from any coach – until you see the impact in the box score.
Be Like... Joe?
Everyone knew that the Pistons wanted to dump Nazr Mohammed. Ordinarily, one would think that would hurt his trade value.
Everyone knew that the Pistons really liked Walter Herrmann. Ordinarily, one would think that would mean he'd be harder to get.
Not for Joe Dumars.
What makes Dumars so good? He doesn't act rashly. He's incredibly patient. And he's not afraid to pick on a slightly less experienced general manager. (Did I just take the name of Michael Jordan in vain? Absolutely not. Well, maybe a little.)
Around the League:
Every week, we'll use this space to track players whose fantasy value is improving, declining, or uncertain. We're not particularly concerned with hot or cold streaks - all players toss up a 2-for-10 every now and again - unless they are extreme or seem to indicate an underlying problem or injury. Instead, we'll be looking at changes in playing time or role or skill level. Comments and questions are always welcome - just post 'em on the message board at the bottom of this page.
Stephon Marbury (NY): Marbury returned from bereavement leave for Monday's game against the Pacers. He played 30 minutes off the bench, scoring 16 points with two assists and a steal.
Rashard Lewis (ORL): Lewis was back in the starting lineup for Monday's game. He had missed Orlando's previous game due to neck spasms.
Kirk Hinrich (CHI): Hinrich seems to be shaking off the dreadful slump that has marred most of his season. He's averaged 14.3 points and nine assists while shooting 50 percent in his last four games, including a 15-point, 14-assist and 12-rebound triple-double against the Knicks on Friday.
Antonio McDyess (DET): As a starter for the Pistons, McDyess continues to put up his best numbers since 2000-2001. He racked up his third double-double of the season on Sunday.
Roger Mason (WAS): Though Nick Young is the nominal replacement for Antonio Daniels, Mason got the bulk of the minutes at the point in the Wizards' first game without Antonio Daniels. It appears Wizards coach Eddie Jordan will simply ride the hot hand, which makes any of the potential Daniels replacements iffy plays.
Daequan Cook (MIA): Pat Riley is still searching for a combination that will get his team on the right track. The next attempt will reportedly feature more Daequan Cook. The rookie from Ohio State can score baskets in bunches, but his defensive lapses have prevented him from winning a big role to date.
Andrew Bynum (LAL): Bynum has emerged as a real double-double threat of late, but his numbers may be cut back when Kwame Brown returns in about a week.
LaMarcus Aldridge (POR): The initial timetable for Aldridge's plantar fasciitis was "back in a week." RotoWire's injury expert wrote that "we'll wait a week and see where we're at" was far more likely – and based on the latest reports out of Portland, it sounds like he's right.
Aaron Brooks (HOU): Houston coach Rick Adelman is reportedly considering giving Brooks a shot to ignite his stagnant backcourt. This update carries all the same caveats as the other announcements from coaches listed above – Brooks merits attention, but not a roster spot. Not yet, anyway.
Andrea Bargnani (TOR): If Sunday's performance (0-3 from the field, 12 minutes, no points) is any indication, Bargnani is still having a lot of trouble with his knee. Don't be surprised if the Raptors shut him down again for a few games.
Paul Millsap (UTA): Millsap's 20-point, 13-rebound outing in Mehmet Okur's place got lots of fantasy players' hopes up – mine included. But Utah coach Jerry Sloan has decided that he prefers to bring Millsap off the bench to energize the second unit. That might mean more wins for the Jazz, but it will seriously hurt Millsap's fantasy numbers. C'mon, coach. Where are your priorities?
Elton Brand (LAC): Brand's (ruptured Achilles) initial target for a return was February. This week he appeared to back off that stance, telling reporters that February may have been a bit optimistic. The longer it takes for him to return, the less value he'll have in single-season leagues. If you've been holding on in the hopes of an early return and a big March and April, it may be time to set your sights a bit lower.
As always, thanks to all the RotoWire beat writers whose updates made their way into this column.
Article first appeared on 12/17/07