By Shannon McKeown
RotoWire Staff Writer
Fantasy All-Star Reserves
Last week I selected the Fantasy All-Star starters based on their rankings in standard nine-category leagues. With the reserves for the real-life All-Star Game announced on Jan. 29, it seemed apropos to look at which players would be riding the pine for the Fantasy All-Star squad.
To have some structure in the selection process, each conference's reserve squad will consist of three guards, three forwards and one center (based on fantasy eligibility at each position). All players must have played in at least 35 games.
Without further ado, here are your reserves:
Dwayne Wade (MIA) – It was odd to see Wade not make the starting unit, but at the moment he takes a backseat to Danny Granger for fantasy supremacy at the shooting guard position in the East. That being said, Wade has been nothing short of spectacular. If he avoids injury for the remainder of the season, he'll deserve consideration for first-overall pick next year.
Jose Calderon (TOR) – Calderon has missed 12 games due to injury this season, but when he does play, it's at an All-Star caliber. His high shooting percentages (51 percent from the floor, 99 percent from the line) and amazing assist-to-turnover ratio (4.4/1) make up for his lack of scoring (13.3 ppg).
Jameer Nelson (ORL) – One of the biggest surprises in real life and fantasy, Nelson edged Ray Allen for the final guard spot. He has been solid across the board, but his improved efficiency from the floor (career-high clip of 50-percent) and newfound range (two treys per) has turned him into a godsend for fantasy owners. Unfortunately he suffered a separated shoulder (more below) on Monday night and will probably miss his first (real and fantasy) All-Star Game.
Rashard Lewis (ORL) – The easiest way to guarantee an impressive ranking in fantasy basketball is to drop bombs from beyond the arc, which Lewis does to the tune of three times per game. He doesn't offer eye-popping stats in other categories, but he won't hurt you in any of them, either. Every fantasy squad needs a three-point gunner, and Lewis is one of the best.
Antawn Jamison (WAS) – With the Wizards playing absolutely abysmal ball, Jamison isn't getting much hype this season. But he is still one of the few 20-10 threats in the NBA, and he also chips in with over one three per game. He's not your prototypical power forward, but that's what makes him so valuable.
Gerald Wallace (CHA) – "Crash" is another player who is flying under the fantasy radar this season. Wallace is currently on the shelf after suffering a broken rib and collapsed lung, but he has been extremely productive when on the court, averaging 16.4 points, 7.4 boards and 1.9 steals.
Troy Murphy (IND) – Umm, who saw this coming? Murphy was a player I avoided on draft day this season. There wasn't a particular reason; I just figured we had seen the best he had to offer from a fantasy perspective a few years ago in Golden State. Oh boy, was I wrong. Murphy is averaging 12.1 points, 11.4 boards and a career-high two three-pointers per game. He's providing the sneaky type of value that wins championships.
Jason Kidd (DAL) – Kidd is the only Fantasy All-Star selection that is averaging single digits in points (8.9), but he still rebounds (6.5) and drops dimes (8.3) better than most guards. Throw in his 1.6 threes per game and you can see why he made the squad.
Chauncey Billups (DEN) – I don't think Joe Dumars had this in mind when he traded Billups to Denver. Mr. Big Shot hasn't played this well since the 2005-06 season, when he led the Pistons to a league-best record of 64-18.
Brandon Roy (POR) – The main reason why Portland will make the playoffs this year is Roy. He has put the team on his shoulders, scoring a career-high 22.6 points per game and hitting big shots night in and night out.
Amare Stoudemire (PHO) – He didn't need an extensive marketing campaign to garner this selection. Stoudemire has been a disappointment for people who chose him as a fantasy cornerstone, but he's still putting up All-Star worthy numbers. I mean, who's going to argue with 21 and eight?
Nene Hilario (DEN) – A half season of health has finally unleashed the Nene that was only hinted at in previous seasons. Those who took a gamble on the oft-injured big man are reaping the benefits. Let's hope his health continues.
Tim Duncan (SAN) – Duncan really stepped up with Manu Ginobili and Tony Parker both sidelined with injuries early in the season. People were questioning whether Duncan had passed his prime before the season tipped off, but he is currently one of only three players averaging 20-10.
Al Jefferson (MIN) – At least one selection committee got it right. In my eyes Jefferson was the biggest All-Star snub. A player who averages 23.2 points and 10.6 boards should be an All-Star no matter what kind of record his team sports.
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're 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.
Lamar Odom (LAL) – A knee injury to Andrew Bynum (more below) has opened the door for Odom to return to the Lakers starting lineup. Owners who were patient with the uber-talented forward will finally receive dividends for keeping him around.
Pau Gasol (LAL) – Gasol is another player who will benefit from Bynum's absence. In the Lakers first game sans Bynum, Gasol scored 31 points, grabbed 14 boards and handed out five dimes.
Hedo Turkoglu (ORL) – With Jameer Nelson suffering a dislocated shoulder on Monday night, the Magic will be without a point guard. The only suitable replacement on the team is Anthony Johnson, but I think they'll look for Turkoglu to reassume the role of ball distributor that he held last season. Look for his stats to go up across the board while Nelson is out.
Adam Morrison (CHA) – Morrison is another player benefiting from an injured teammate, as he has filled in for Gerald Wallace the past two games. In three starts, Morrison hasn't produced (4.3 ppg) yet, but his role should continue to grow if Wallace is out for an extended period. Shallow leagues don't need to bother with him, but deep leagues should keep an eye on the situation.
Chris Paul (NOR) – CP3 left Monday's game with a strained groin and is scheduled to undergo an MRI on Tuesday. The injury doesn't appear too serious, as he was able to walk to the locker room without assistance. Cross your fingers.
Jameer Nelson (ORL) – As previously mentioned, Nelson suffered a separated shoulder on Monday. He will undergo an MRI on Tuesday, so the extent of the shoulder will not be known until the test results come in. Separated shoulders usually mean weeks in terms of recovery, so find yourself a suitable replacement while you hope for good news.
Andrew Bynum (LAL) - The aforementioned injury to Bynum turned out to be more serious than originally expected. He's expected to miss 8-to-12 weeks, essentially negating any value he holds in redraft leagues. Owners in keeper leagues may want to hold on to him if they have the extra roster space, but don't look for help until the fantasy playoffs at the earliest.
Baron Davis (LAC) – Did you know that Mike Dunleavy is the third longest tenured head coach in the NBA? He's right behind Jerry Sloan of the Jazz and Greg Popovich of the Spurs. That's the only thing those three coaches have in common, as Dunleavy is coaching the hapless Clippers. Needless to say, he's not exactly doing a great job. One of his more recent missteps is his handling of Davis' return from a tailbone injury. Four games into the return, and Davis is still coming off the bench. I understand that Davis may need to play his way into shape, but it seems that would have been the case by now. Instead, Dunleavy has his prized free-agent acquisition playing the role of sixth man. Davis will probably be re-inserted into the starting lineup sooner rather than later, but the longer he comes off the bench, the further his value plummets.
Article first appeared on 2/2/08