This article is part of our NBA Barometer series.
By Shannon McKeown
RotoWire Staff Writer
Scott Skiles Hates Fantasy Owners
If you owned a Chicago Bull from 2003 to 2007, Scott Skiles made your fantasy life a living hell. How much fun was it to own Tyson Chandler during the Skiles era? Chandler started 68 games the season before Skiles took over. In three seasons under Skiles, Chandler started 68 games total. It was a similar situation for Andres Nocioni, Ben Gordon and countless other Bulls. Yes, injuries will spring up, players will fall out of favor, but it just seems like an inconsistent starting lineup is something that has followed Skiles throughout his coaching career.
Skiles now resides in Milwaukee, and I fear his game plan will include the same type of lineup juggling fantasy owners dreaded in the Windy City. If one week is any indication, Skiles's roster mismanagement is already in full-effect:
- Game 1 – Charlie Villanueva receives the start at power forward, but plays under nine minutes. Preseason fantasy darling, Ramon Sessions doesn't log a single minute.
- Game 2 – Villanueva plays 34 minutes and posts a strong line of 20 points, 12 boards and two blocks. Sessions doesn't log a single minute, now appears to be entrenched at the end of the bench.
- Game 3 – Villanueva logs 27 minutes, scoring 16 points with five boards. Sessions fills in as starting point guard for injured Luke Ridnour and seizes the opportunity with 12 points and nine dimes.
- Game 4 – Villanueva starts for the fourth straight game, but only sees 20 minutes. Sessions explodes in his second consecutive start, scoring 18 points with seven boards and eight assists.
Those are only two players affected by Skiles inconsistency with his rotation. What happens when Luke Ridnour returns from his injury? Will Sessions return to the bench? What kind of effect will Michael Redd's ankle injury (more below) have on the rotation?
With Skiles at the helm, I don't think these questions can be answered. This is a man who thought it was a good idea to give quality playing time to Malik Allen and Othella Harrington. Numerous Bucks will hold value this season – Villanueva, Sessions, Redd, Ridnour, Richard Jefferson, Andrew Bogut and Charlie Bell – but I don't need the daily lineup changes or the inconsistent playing time distribution. You can take gut punches from Scott Skiles if you want, I'm going to find players who are guaranteed time on the hardwood.
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 are 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.
Mickael Pietrus (ORL) - So far, so good for Pietrus in Orlando. He is averaging 14.3 points with 1.3 treys. Pietrus is locked into the starting lineup, meaning he will routinely see over 30 mpg. Plus, he has always been a threat to average more than one 3pt/stl/blk with consistent playing time.
James Posey (NOR) - Known as a vital championship cog in real life, Posey has never really put up stats that would help you win a fantasy championship - he hasn't averaged double digits in scoring since 2003-04 - but that could change this year. He already had a significant role in the Hornets' rotation prior to Peja Stojakovic's ankle injury, but now that role will be expanded. With 10 treys in three games, Posey could give any team in dire need of three-pointers a jolt in that department.
Stephen Jackson (GS) - The one good thing the Monta Ellis moped debacle gave fantasy owners is Don Nelson taking the reins off of Jackson. He's been playing point guard, averaging a ridiculous 44 mpg while chucking up 31 bombs from behind the arc in three games.
Udonis Haslem (MIA) - Three games down, three starts at center for Haslem. He gets fewer blocks than a lot of point guards, but Haslem will be a double-double threat on a nightly basis. Plus, position eligibility at center adds to his value.
Walter Herrmann (DET) - The Pistons let Herrmann rot away on the bench last season, but after two games, it appears he's a part of their plans going forward. Seeing time with the Pistons' second unit, Herrmann is averaging 13 points, 4.5 boards and 2.5 treys in 19 mpg. Herrmann played power forward for the final seven minutes of Saturday's win over the Wizards, so look for his role to expand after Monday's blockbuster deal shipping Antonio McDyess to Denver.
Travis Outlaw (POR) - Coach Nate McMillan named him the starter prior to the season opener last week, and Outlaw has taken advantage of the opportunity, averaging 13.3 points, 4.0 rebounds and 1.3 treys. Nicolas Batum isn't providing much competition, so Outlaw should hold on to the starting gig until Martell Webster (foot) returns in December.
Vince Carter (NJ) - Vinsanity suffered a bruised left hand in Saturday's loss to the Warriors. X-Rays came back negative, and he is expected to play on Tuesday.
Michael Redd (MIL) - Redd sprained his right ankle hustling after a loose ball on Sunday. He described the injury as a "high ankle sprain", which is never good news. Make sure Redd is playing before committing him to your lineup.
Deron Williams (UTA) - The most recent reports have Williams (sprained ankle) returning for Wednesday's matchup against the Blazers.
Brad Miller (SAC) - After serving a five-game suspension to start the season, Miller is slated to return to action on Friday. Spencer Hawes has been filling in admirably, but Miller should slide right into the starting lineup.
Tyson Chandler (NOR) - The Hornets' center suffered a sprained ankle in the season opener and has missed back-to-back games. Coach Byron Scott suspects Chandler will be ready for Wednesday's tilt against the Hawks.
Peja Stojakovic (NOR) - He missed Saturday's game against the Cavs with a sprained ankle. No timetable has been set for his return.
Lamar Odom (LAL) - It looks like we all should have paid more attention to Odom's demotion to the bench in the preseason. Odom is averaging 8.3 points and 5.7 rebounds while playing only 26 mpg as the Lakers' sixth-man. Unless he starts receiving more run, Odom's stock will remain low.
Mike Miller (MIN) - On a hapless Grizzlies squad the past few years, Miller was one of the go-to scorers. Through three games with the Timberwolves, it looks like he's more of a third or fourth option. He will still help fantasy teams from behind the arc, but Miller's days of averaging 17 ppg might be a thing of the past.
Leandro Barbosa (PHO) - Coach Mike D'Antoni is now holding the clipboard in the Big Apple, leading to the Suns playing at a slower pace. It looks like the change in offensive scheme is hurting Barbosa more than any other Sun. In three games, Barbosa is averaging seven points in 22 mpg.
Marcus Williams (GS) - He's currently in coach Don Nelson's doghouse and hasn't seen a single minute of action in three games.
Anthony Carter (DEN) - Originally, Carter was going to show up in the "Stock Up" section of this article after sporting averages of 15 points, 5.0 rebounds and 4.7 assists, but Monday's Allen Iverson for Chauncey Billups swap means a drastic cut in floor time for Carter. He was the starting point guard when A.I. was in town, but Mr. Big Shot's presence figures to push Carter to the pine
Article first appeared on 11/3/08