Crashing the Boards
By Derek VanRiper
With Allen Iverson demanding a trade out of Philadelphia, there is some serious fantasy fallout on the way. The Sixers are scrambling to score points with Iverson already gone, and unfortunately it doesn't look like anyone currently in the fold is going to step up their productivity enough to merit some fantasy attention. Chris Webber and Andre Iguodala figure to see slight increases in field-goal attempts, while Kyle Korver may be called upon more frequently out of his reserve role. In addition to the shake up in Philadephia, Iverson's new team also figures to see major changes with the Answer taking an average of 24 shots per game this season.
Without Ray Allen for at least another week, the Sonics may have found a short-term answer in Damien Wilkins. In three games as a starter, Wilkins has put up 15.3 points, 6.7 rebounds and 2.3 steals while playing 32 minutes per game for Seattle. Ultimately, he should continue to put up similar numbers with Rashard Lewis helping balance the load on the offensive end. With very limited opportunities to produce during his first two-plus seasons in the league, Wilkins is still flying under the radar despite the fact that his numbers look much like those of Charlotte's Gerald Wallace, from Wallace's breakout 2005-06 campaign.
If your squad needs some help in a particular category or two, check out some of these options:
Jeff Foster, F, Indiana: If you're looking for a pure rebounding specialist, look no further than Foster, who has snagged 18 boards in two of his last six games. Over that span, he has averaged 10.6 rebounds per game, playing over 25 minutes per night. He's far from a reliable scorer (5.0 points per game over his last six), but his play around the glass continues to get him minutes for the Pacers. The 1.5 steals per game during his recent hot streak is a nice bonus as well.
Nick Collison, F/C, Seattle: Starting at center for the Sonics, Collison is beginning to establish himself as a consistent contributor out in Seattle. Johan Petro may have played himself out of the starting lineup for the last time this season, as the 6-9 Collison has turned in 10.8 points and 7.6 rebounds per game over his last five. He's undersized for a center, so don't expect many blocks, but he's a career 51.2 percent shooter from the field along with a solid 71.0 percent from the line.
Stephon Marbury, G, New York Knicks: It wasn't long ago that Marbury was an elite fantasy point guard. While playing for the Knicks can be enough to cripple anyone's game, the failed Marbury-Steve Francis experiment in the New York backcourt may actually be a good thing for Marbury's production going forward. He's been cast off to the waiver wire in nearly one-fourth of all leagues, but with Francis out indefinitely, things have to be looking up. Averaging 12.8 points and 5.2 assists over the last five games, Marbury is showing some signs of life, and is more than worthy of a flyer if you're in need of help at the point.
Shaun Livingston, G, Los Angeles Clippers: Livingston has been playing very well of late, earning a spot in the starting lineup in three straight games for the Clippers. In his last five games, Livingston has averaged 10.6 points and 7.4 assists but more importantly, he's been getting quality minutes more consistently than he did earlier this season. The 21-year-old hasn't played less than 24 minutes since November 25th, making him a very strong pickup with a very high ceiling.
Rasual Butler, F, New Orleans: Butler has found himself in the starting lineup with Peja Stojakovic (back) out of action. Stojakovic is expected to miss at least one more week, while Butler has shown some potential from behind the arc. Over his last five games, Butler has gone 14-of-36 (.380) from three-point range while scoring 16.0 points per game. He's not going to pitch in much anywhere else, but if you're Peja owner in a deep league, you could do much worse.
Brent Barry, G, San Antonio: The ultimate three-point specialist is still available in 80 percent of all leagues, despite averaging more than three treys per game this season. Unlike many other specialists in this category, Barry doesn't do any damage to the shooting percentage numbers, connecting on 56.4 percent of field goals this season. Plus, he has a good enough supporting cast to prevent him from forcing shots without open looks.
Erick Dampier, C, Dallas: I'm sure I've both said and written my fair share of negative comments about Dampier's paychecks and productivity. That being said, Dampier is quietly having a productive season thus far. His most consistent contributions are blocked shots, as he's averaged 1.2 per game over the entire season. While he should produce double-doubles on a regular basis given his size and salary, Dampier has always been more of an eight-point, seven-rebound type player. The good news here is that he's shooting 68.1 percent from the field, so he's not hurting his fantasy owners in either of the percentage categories.
Mark Blount, C, Minnesota: Blount is much like Dampier, in that he's a big man that's always getting a pretty bad rap for his production. A starting center that only grabs five boards per game? Undoubtedly, he's not an all-around interior force, but he's had two or more blocks in four of his last five games. The upside is that there are very few shot blockers who can score 10-plus points per game on a regular basis.
Article first appeared on 12/12/06