By Charlie Zegers
RotoWire Staff Writer
In last week's Give and Go column, I gave my list of NBA coaches to avoid. At the time, it was New Jersey's Laurence Frank (for his unexplained devotion to Jason Collins), Golden State's Don Nelson (for his ever-changing lineups based on matchup) and Charlotte's Sam Vincent.
I may have to revise my list. As "coaches who annoy fantasy owners" go, Vincent's stock is soaring like Google.
I've already written about Vincent's handing of Jared Dudley -- handing him a starting job, taking it away after two games. His latest transgression involves Nazr Mohammed.
This won't come as a shock to fans of the Spurs, Pistons, Knicks, Sixers or Hawks – but Vincent has apparently decided that Nazr isn't the answer at center. He put up nice numbers for a couple of games, sure, but with Mohammed in the middle, Emeka Okafor was often forced out to the perimeter, out of his comfort zone. So this week, Vincent will unveil yet another starting lineup, with Okafor back at center, Gerald Wallace at power forward, Jason Richardson shifted to the three spot, Raymond Felton at off guard and Jeff McInnis running the point.
Will this alignment stick? I'm guessing not. And outside of Okafor, Wallace and Richardson, I'm avoiding the Bobcats on all my teams until Vincent stops making out lineups by throwing darts.
I don't even want to write about these guys any more.
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.
Tony Allen (BOS): With Rajon Rondo (hamstring) sidelined, Allen stepped into the starting lineup and racked up 16 points, four assists and a steal. He could be a nice short-term pickup if Rondo's injury lingers.
Trevor Ariza (LAL): Luke Walton (ankle) returned on Sunday, but Ariza got the start again. If Ariza continues to get 30-plus minutes – as he did in games on December 25th and 28th – he could emerge as a nice source of mid-teens scoring, boards, dimes and steals.
Bonzi Wells (HOU): With Tracy McGrady shelved for three weeks or so, look for Wells to fill the void in Houston's offense.
Francisco Garcia (SAC): Garcia scored a team-high 30 points with six boards in Sacramento's loss to Phoenix on Sunday. He should have plenty of opportunity to build on that performance, as Ron Artest (see below) will be sidelined after elbow surgery.
Matt Bonner (SAN): Bonner is thriving in an "instant offense off the bench" role with Manu Ginobili (finger) sidelined. He had 18 points (5-of-8 FG, 3-of-5 3-PT, 5-of-5 FT), three rebounds and two steals in the Spurs' win over Memphis on Sunday.
Michael Finley (SAN): The veteran Finley is getting a short-term chance to put up numbers with Brent Barry out. Finley had 24 points (8-of-12 FG, 5-of-7 3-PT, 1-of-2 FT) and seven rebounds in the Spurs' win over Memphis on Sunday.
Jamal Crawford (NYK): Crawford missed the Knicks' loss to Chicago on Sunday due to a bruised hand. He says he'll be ready to go when New York plays Sacramento on Wednesday, but that's not a sure thing.
Stephon Marbury (NYK): Marbury returned to the Knicks but watched Sunday's game from the bench. After missing as much time as he has, conditioning has to be a concern – it's unclear when he'll be ready to suit up.
Mike Conley, Jr. (MEM): Conley returned to the floor on Sunday after missing 20 games with a shoulder injury. He's still backing Damon Stoudamire for now, but the 8-20 Grizzlies are likely to start looking to the future soon. That should mean more run for Conley and second-year man Kyle Lowry.
Carlos Arroyo (ORL): Speculative pick here. Arroyo stepped in for Jameer Nelson (back) on Sunday against Charlotte and played well – scoring 16 points and handing out six assists. He'll probably shift back to a bench role when Nelson returns, but Nelson has been ineffective of late. With another strong showing, Arroyo could push his way into a larger role and possibly a starting job.
Tracy McGrady (HOU): Though he's listed as "day-to-day," the rehab for McGrady's knee injury – described as a "deep bone bruise" -- will reportedly be measured in weeks. He's expected to miss the better part of January.
Ron Artest (SAC): Artest will likely have surgery this week to remove bone chips from his elbow. The preliminary estimate for his return is in two-to-three weeks.
C.J. Miles (UTA): Miles appears to be the Utah player most impacted by the acquisition of Kyle Korver. Korver is expected to fill in at small forward and shooting guard, which likely pushes Miles out of the rotation unless something else changes.
Manu Ginobili (SAN): Ginobili has missed three straight games with a finger injury and could be out for another week. Look for the Spurs to be very conservative here; they want Manu back at 100 percent when he does return.
Luke Walton (LAL): Walton (ankle) returned to the floor on Sunday, playing just 13 minutes off the bench. It will be interesting to watch how much playing time he'll lose to Trevor Ariza, who seemed to mesh very well with Kobe Bryant and Lamar Odom as Walton's fill-in.
Jameer Nelson (ORL): Nelson hasn't cracked double-figures in scoring in his last four games, and missed Sunday's game due to a bad back. He may have a hard time reclaiming his starting job from Carlos Arroyo once he's healthy.
Happy new year, all.
Article first appeared on 12/31/07