In Memoriam - The Seven Seconds or Less Phoenix Suns
Remember when Steve Nash was winning back-to-back MVPs, Amar'e Stoudemire was a terrifying offensive force and Mike D'Antoni was the league's most highly touted head coach?
Those Suns teams were my favorite teams to watch in my 19 years of following the NBA.
They won between 54 and 62 games every season from 2004 to 2008, while averaging between 108.4 and 110.4 points per game during that stretch. Stoudemire averaged 29.9 points and 10.7 rebounds per game in the ‘04-'05 playoffs. Nash averaged 10.5-plus assists per game during that four-year stretch, while also shooting better than 50 percent from the field, 40 percent from three-point range and 88 percent from the free-throw line each year.
Perhaps the most amazing thing of all was that Quentin Richardson made more than $40 million to play basketball in the NBA from 2005 to 2010, simply because he hit 2.9 three-pointers per game playing in D'Antoni and Nash's offense during the 2004-05 season. To my knowledge, Richardson did not use a gun or a ski mask to get that $40 million, and nor has he offered to give $10 million each to Nash and D'Antoni, as he probably should. But I digress.
My point is, those teams were melon farming awesome.
What does this all have to do with the 2013-14 season?
Well, Stoudemire can't play more than 10 minutes in a game without needing five days of rest to recover from said game.
This past weekend Nash acknowledged that he is really struggling physically, and offered up that Jordan Farmar will be a better option to run point guard for the Lakers going forward.
D'Antoni is fumbling around like a washed up rock band, going to the well where he used to be able to churn out hits, but all he can muster up is Xavier Henry, Nick Young and Wesley Johnson.
We're playing fast. We're shooting threes. We aren't playing defense. This should be working! Why isn't this working?!?!?
The fact of the matter is that Shawn Marion has somehow outlasted Nash, Stoudemire and D'Antoni as someone who can help an NBA team win games. I'm guessing nobody saw that coming.
If you own Nash or Stoudemire in any leagues, you probably haven't been paying attention.
It's time to cut bait. It was fun while it lasted, but all great things must come to an end.
Each week, this article highlights players who are widely available in standard leagues that can help in specific roto categories. Remember, while each player highlighted can help in a specific category, there's no guarantee for production in other areas.
Alec Burks, SG, Jazz
The selling point here isn't that Burks has averaged 18 points through three games, it's the 30.7 minutes per game he is getting that should make owners rush to the waiver wire to scoop him up. On a team with few true scorers, Burks will be at worst the third or fourth option, and he will often lead the Jazz in points. He should be owned in all 10-team leagues right now, and yet he is available in 70 percent of Yahoo! leagues and 83.2 percent of ESPN leagues.
Kenneth Faried, PF, Nuggets
Miles Plumlee, Omer Asik and Vitor Faverani may have been scooped up already in your league. If one of them is out there on the waiver wire, they would probably be the best bet to help bolster rebounding numbers for fantasy teams. Assuming all three are owned, Faried is a guy worth targeting in trades. He's banged up, he's been coming off the bench and is seeing less than 20 minutes per game through two games. But, there's been word out of Denver that coach Brian Shaw plans on switching up the starting lineup to get more energy to start games, presumably replacing J.J. Hickson with Faried. It's doubtful that the Manimal will see the minutes he saw last season with George Karl running the show, but he should start to see enough run that he will be an asset because of his rebounding numbers. Faried should be able to be had on the cheap, and this is as low as his fantasy value is likely to be this season.
Jordan Farmar and Steve Blake, PGs, Lakers
We talk about how scarce assists are on the waiver wire every year, and that fact is readily apparent already this season. Since I just wrote out Steve Nash's death certificate, it only stands to reason that someone on the Lakers will need to step up and dole out assists. Blake is the guy to go after right now (owned in five percent of Yahoo! leagues and 1.1 percent of ESPN leagues, but Farmar should be put on watch lists in standard leagues and scooped up in deeper formats, as it's possible he could play his way into more minutes. The Pistons and Bucks were without their go-to options at PG this past week, so Will Bynum, Chauncey Billups and Nate Wolters may stand out on the waiver wire, but they can be avoided in most formats, as Brandon Jennings, Brandon Knight and Luke Ridnour are either back already or should be back soon.
DeMarre Carroll, SF, Hawks
Carroll recorded three steals in each of the Hawks first two games this year, and he has been getting big minutes (34 per game), so he's a pretty solid option. He is owned in less than one percent of ESPN leagues and 11 percent of Yahoo! leagues. The usual suspects like Mario Chalmers and Tony Allen are out there in about 50 percent of leagues, but Carroll offers the most upside in other categories.
Vitor Faverani, C, Celtics
Faverani is the guy to get if he's still available, but he's already owned in almost 50 percent of Yahoo! leagues and 15 percent of ESPN leagues. He has 10 blocks through three games, which is an unsustainable pace, but he is seeing 25-plus minutes, close to two blocks per game is a possibility. He only played 19 minutes in Sunday's game, so there's definitely potential for the jammed frontcourt rotation to hinder his value, but solid block totals should be there even in limited minutes. Jason Smith and Robin Lopez are other options, and should be more widely owned than they currently are.
Francisco Garcia, SG, Rockets
He has played 25-plus minutes in every game so far this season, and has attempted between five and nine three-pointers in each contest. Garcia is strictly on the court to shoot three-pointers, and with a 36.3 percent career mark from downtown, he should be able to hold on to this role. He is only owned in 10 percent of Yahoo! leagues and 1.6 percent of ESPN leagues, so he should be readily available. Trevor Ariza is a great option in shallow leagues and Jason Terry can offer some value in deeper formats for owners desperate for three-point shooting.