|The Interim Interim Coach
|On Wednesday in this space I blogged about Chicago's coaching change and said that the shift from Scott Skiles to interim coach Pete Myers probably wouldn't create any new fantasy opportunities.
Apparently Myers was only the interim interim coach; the Bulls have appointed Jim Boylan interim coach for the remainder of the season, starting with Friday night's game against the Bucks.
Boylan's first official act as "the man" was to promote Chris Duhon to the starting lineup and shift Ben Gordon back to his familiar -- but slightly uncomfortable -- sixth man spot. Boylan will reportedly also tweak the offensive sets a bit in the hopes of spreading the floor, and allow his shooters to look to score early in the shot clock.
(Wow... another team looking to push the tempo. And they say the NFL is the copycat league.)
Now, practice time for NBA teams is in famously short supply during the grind of the regular season, so I'll remain skeptical about any major changes getting worked into the Bulls' offense. But the shift in the backcourt might create some fantasy opportunities. Let's review:
For Ben Gordon: Everyone knows he doesn't want to be a sixth man any more; that he considers himself a starter. That's all well and good. The fact is, even as a sixth man, his minutes probably won't be hurt, and he may even improve his overall efficiency by getting some easy looks against the opposition's second string.
For Chris Duhon: A marginal fantasy prospect becomes... slightly less marginal. He could become a reasonable selection in deeper leagues, if only as an injury replacement or cheap source of dimes.
For Kirk Hinrich: Here's the really interesting prospect. Duhon is obviously not a scorer. Putting him on the floor -- in addition to strengthening the second unit -- will allow Hinrich to play off the ball more. Perhaps the reduced ball-handing responsibility will help him shake his season-long slump. I'd call him a very good buy low candidate based on this news.
Posted by Charlie Zegers at 12/28/2007 5:58:00 PM
|Trade Dwight Howard?
|Posted by: Andre’ Snellings
The NBA regular season is extremely long, spanning six months and 82 games. Thus, the values of most players tend to fluctuate over the course of the season as they go through hot and cold periods. Even among the star players, there are generally periods of other-wordly play that contrast with periods of "just" great play. Only the mega superstars (just made that term up) can put up entire seasons of insane numbers with so few lesser games that they aren't even noticeable.
That leads me to this question: is Dwight Howard a mega superstar in the fantasy community? He played like one for the first six weeks of the season, and I definitely think that this won't even be a question by as soon as next season. But is he there yet?
I fully expect him to lead the NBA in rebounding this season, and he looks like a nightly threat to score 25 points with three blocks every night. But while he has shown that he can maintain this rebounding pace for entire seasons before, this is the first year he has put up scoring and defensive numbers like this. In real life, the Magic have built their whole team around him and are trying to ride him into championship contention...that is a lot of pressure. He showed that he could carry the load for that first six weeks, but over the last few the team and Howard have both slowed down a bit.
I put out there as food for thought that, if you can get someone to give you top-5 player in the league value for him, it might not be a bad time to deal Howard. I think he will be very good all season, but I don't know if he will be able to maintain the points and blocks at his current pace consistently for the next four months. Or, put another way, I don't believe that his value will ever be higher than it is now. It is risky to trade the best fantasy center in the league off of your roster, but if you get the right package back for him and he slows down it could be a chance worth taking.
So, I've just made an argument for trading arguably the most dominant force in the NBA. Do you agree? Disagree? Let me hear your thoughts...
The views expressed by RotoWire.com represent only the views of the writers; they do not represent the views of the NBA or any NBA team.
Posted by Professor at 12/28/2007 12:15:00 AM
|New Lineup, New Coach, Same Result
|OK, Christmas is over. The voice from the Playskool toys is already driving me crazy. Time to get back to business.
What's happened since last we met? Well, the Bulls canned Scott Skiles (the second Chicago coach of recent vintage to get the axe on Christmas Eve), and Isiah Thomas announced yet another major lineup shuffle. Ordinarily, a change of coach or lineup means potential opportunity for the astute fantasy owner. These changes, I'm afraid, seem to be the fantasy equivalent of coal in the stocking.
New York and Chicago were both in action tonight. Let's review their "new looks."
The Knicks' new lineup wasn't even announced at the pregame press conference; Isiah Thomas simply told reporters to watch the players take the court. Zeke's new five: Jamal Crawford and Quentin Richardson in the backcourt with Jared Jeffries, David Lee and Eddy Curry down low.
The biggest news -- and smallest surprise -- was Lee's elevation to the starting lineup. That he started the game was expected. That he replaced Zach Randolph and not Eddy Curry was a bit of a surprise. But Curry played just five minutes in the game while Randolph logged 33 minutes (scoring 22 points and grabbing nine boards).
Lee racked up his usual double-double, with 11 points and 14 boards. He's there for the taking in around 15 percent of all Ultimate Fantasy Commissioner leagues. The other big contributor that may be available is Nate Robinson, who scored 16 points on 6-of-12 shooting (3-5 from three) in 26 minutes as the primary guard off the bench. But it's hard to project Robinson's real value because the Knicks are still without Stephon Marbury. Robinson is available in nearly all NBA.com leagues.
On the other hand, Curry obviously can't get a start in any fantasy league format right now. It's probably time to stop waiting for Thomas to give Renaldo Balkman (DNP-CD) a bigger role. And Quentin Richardson -- shooting under 33 percent from the floor and just over 30 percent from three -- continues to be mired in a shooting slump so bad, it's hard not to suspect he's injured. When he's right he's a very good scorer and one of the league's best rebounding guards, but no fantasy team can afford to carry Q-Rich the way he's playing.
One thing that didn't change for the Knicks: the result. They dropped the game to Orlando, 110-96.
As for the Bulls... they could have brought in a new coach with European experience, or yet another Rick Pitino disciple, and promised a new era of run-and-gun basketball featuring young athletes like Tyrus Thomas and Joakim Noah. Instead, they named assistant coach Pete Myers to the top job on an interim basis. That means more of the same. More of the same perimeter focus. More of the same general lack of interior scoring. More shaky play by Kirk Hinrich.
Myers went with a small lineup in his debut, with the backcourt pair of Hinrich and Ben Gordon and three forwards: Luol Deng, Joe Smith and Andres Nocioni. The idea, I guess, was to out-quick San Antonio. Didn't really work out that way. The Spurs -- even without Manu Ginobili -- held Nocioni to three points on 1-of-11 shooting and blew out the Bulls, 94-79.
Myers used a pretty short rotation. Even in a game that was mostly decided by halftime, guys like Thomas (six minutes), Noah (six minutes), and Thabo Sefolosha (four minutes) barely broke a sweat.
Posted by Charlie Zegers at 12/26/2007 8:46:00 PM