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Worst game ever?
I just got done watching the Knicks turn in what could possibly be the worst performance in NBA history. That sounds like hyperbole, but it was a really, really bad game by the Knicks. The Celtics went up 14 - 3 in the first minutes of the game, went on a 16-2 run to start the second quarter, then a 12-2 run to start the third quarter. Kevin Garnett went to the bench halfway through the third quarter with the team up by 35, and both Paul Pierce and Ray Allen joined him on the bench a few minutes later with the team up by more than 40. There was a point in garbage time when the Knicks only had 47 points and were down by 50!

The Knicks ended the game with 59 points, the second lowest total in team history (and it took a 35-foot 3-pointer at the buzzer by Nate Robinson for them to avoid the team record). They lost by 45 points, the third worst lost in team history. And the body language of all of their players just looked awful and apathetic.

Fantasy-wise, the Knicks had started to suck me back in a little bit earlier in the week with a couple wins in a row. I had picked up Stephon Marbury in a league and felt quietly optimistic after his big game on Monday. There is lots of talent on the Knicks, and before Thursday I would have said they had several fantasy-worthy players. But now? I'm trying to sell my Knicks as soon as possible. Any team that can show that little intensity and play that poorly on any given night is a team whose players I want no part of on my fantasy rosters. You just never know what you might get from them.
Posted by Professor at 11/29/2007 8:37:00 PM
Comments (3)

Early season trade thoughts
Early season fantasy basketball is all about increasing the value of your team as much as possible, before the season settles into its grind and it just becomes about team maintenance. Picking up the hot free agent is one method of doing this, of course, but the other way is to make smart trades. To give up players that you believe may be a bit overvalued at present in exchange for undervalued guys that hopefully will be worth even more in the long-term. This season there are several star players that have interesting trade potential, so I figured I'd talk a bit about them here. The interesting thing about trading is that there is no one set strategy. As you'll see below, the same player can be either good trade bait or a good trade target, depending on the circumstances.

1) Amare Stoudemire. I didn't draft him in any leagues because I was worried about his knee issues, and early in the season those fears seem justified. So if you used your first round pick on him, and there is another owner in your league willing to pay you first round prices for him now, you might consider making that deal.

On the other hand, because his knee has been causing him to miss action it is possible that the pendelum may have swung the other way. If the Stoudemire owner in your league is panicking and is willing to sell him at say, late 2nd/early 3rd round value, you might consider trying to buy low on him.

2) Jason Kidd. Kidd exploded in the playoffs last season, increasing his already great numbers into the nightly triple-double range. But this preseason he complained of back issues, and even though he is playing now it is possible that his back trouble could affect him, especially in back-to-back situations. Plus, he is well into his 30s and back injuries linger even in younger players. So, if I had him on my team I would consider trading him now, while his numbers still look great.

3) Gilbert Arenas. Arenas has had his knee drained twice already, and his game has not quite lived up to expectations thus far. Like Stoudemire, if I have him and can get full first round quality in return I would probably trade him. But if the Arenas owner in your league is panicking, see if you can snag him on the cheap.

4) Dwyane Wade. Wade has dramatically increased his numbers in every one of his NBA seasons thus far, to the point where he was putting up video game stats last season before his injury. He should be back in games soon, so he makes a very interesting trade case.

Ask yourself this question: what are the odds that his knee and shoulder are sufficiently healed to allow him to reach the lofty stats he posted last season or surpass them? And what are the odds that he avoids injury for the remainder of this season? Your answers to these two questions will determine whether or not he is untouchable (if you own him) or worth going after (if you don't)

I, personally, am a big Wade fan and would absolutely love to have him on my team...but I also believe that the odds of him reaching peak level and maintaining it for 5 months aren't great. So, if someone is offering me top-5 player value for him now...I might just take it.

On the other hand, I wouldn't sell him short. A healthy Wade is virtually untradeably good, so if I'm not getting Kobe Bryant-level offers for him, I probably wait until after he comes back and take the chance that he will return full speed.

Posted by Professor at 11/9/2007 11:21:00 AM
Comments (2)

Should you cut a nonproducing sleeper/rookie for a hot free agent?
How long do you give your sleeper/young players to produce before cutting them loose? This is always one of the key questions early in any season, and answering it correctly any given year can be the difference between a good team and a so-so one. The problem is that thereís no consistent right answer. If you cut Ben Gordon in his rookie season after his bad first week you missed out on the eventual 6th Man of the Year. On the other hand, last year I held onto Randy Foye long enough to miss out on hot early season pickups like Leandro Barbosa and Monta Ellis. Itís hard to gauge.

This season, Iím approaching it on a team-by-team basis but Iím more likely to cut my losses early for a hot producer than Iíve been in the past. Iíve already cut Thaddeus Young (one of my favorite rookie sleepers) for Antoine Wright in one league, and Marco Belinelli for Damon Stoudamire in another league. My feeling this year (after being burnt last year) is that Iíd rather take advantage of a hot player and hope that, at the very least, I can find a tradeable. And then later on, if it appears that my former young player is about to start producing, hopefully I can get to them on the FA wire before any of my league-mates do. It is risky, but every decision in fantasy sports carries risk, and sometimes risk and reward go hand-in-hand.
Posted by Professor at 11/2/2007 9:02:00 AM
Comments (7)