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Hoops Lab: Hoops Lab-Week 13

Andre' Snellings

Andre' Snellings is a Neural Engineer by day, and RotoWire's senior basketball columnist by night. He's a two-time winner of the Fantasy Basketball Writer of the Year award from the Fantasy Sports Writers Association.

Let Your Voices be Heard!

I just found out that my Yahoo! Hoops Labs have comment sections at the end of them. I had absolutely no idea about this. I knew I had a comment section on Rotowire that I address, but I hadn't even been checking on Yahoo. This is earth shattering news for me, as I'd love to have more conversation with you guys about the things I write about. Am I helping? I've been on this advanced stat kick for awhile now - do you care? Have you taken the time to look into any of these stats, and are they helping you understand the game better? Anything you would prefer I talk more about? I only found out by accident just now that I have a comment section... how many of you guys have left me messages/comments that I didn't answer?

I apologize humbly, and will use this space to answer some of the questions that I see on here from recent articles. And by all means, keep the comments/questions coming, and maybe we can make the discussions a larger part of the articles moving forward.

Q1: Nate Robinson or Omri Casspi, who is the better fantasy player to own? (Danny, January 6)

Danny, I would rather have Casspi because he is more stable but still has upside. Robinson has explosive potential on any one night and showed last season that he could produce when given consistent starter minutes, but it appears unlikely that he becomes a full-time starter this season for the Knicks. On the other hand, Casspi is carving himself a niche as a foundation piece for the Kings and should be a starter from now on.

Q2: Hey Andre', do you think the Wolves end up with Rudy Gay after all the other big-name players are swept up by the other teams with alot of money to spend? (Fantasy King, January 5)

Fantasy King, I think that the Wolves will eventually end up with a player on the order of a Rudy Gay, i.e. a good second- or third-option player that has produced good numbers and that they may try to squeeze into a first-option role. Not necessarily Gay himself, but he would be a good fit as their wing position is bereft of proven scorers. Ironically, the Wolves could already HAVE Gay (or Brandon Roy) had they just taken him (or kept him) in the '06 Draft. Oh well. I like Randy Foye and wish him the best, but in hindsight since Foye didn't work out in Minnesota it would be interesting to see how history might have been re-written with a different pick.

Q3: I always want to draft Zach Randolph, and the experts always talk me out of it. Same goes with David Lee... Go with your gut... unless your gut is still standing in line at the Christmas dessert table. P.S. Is Jameer just rusty...please say yes. (Shucky, Dec 31)

Shucky, I can't dump on anyone for cautioning you about Randolph because his history and his limitations don't scream fantasy foundation piece. He can be a 20-10 guy, but his percentages have been hit-or-miss in recent years, and he doesn't offer much else in terms of assists or defensive stats to get him to elite level. His field goal and free throw percentages would both be career-highs as a starter if he can hold the pace, and really - who could predict that in his 9th season? As for Nelson, since your question he has gotten his averages up to about 12 and six in January, but he is still below expectation. He still isn't quite right, but I do think that he eventually will return to his norms unless he re-injures himself.

Q4: Tyreke Evans......ROY or what? That dude is a stud. 20-5-5?? Insane rookie stats. (Ben B, Dec 30)

Ben, I agree that right now the ROY is Evans' to lose. He has been much more consistent than Brandon Jennings, and he is putting up better numbers. What Evans' numbers will look like once Kevin Martin returns this month is hard to say. If Martin takes a bite out of Evans' stats, and Jennings manages to get the Bucks into the playoffs then the race could shift. It's probably too late for Blake Griffin to get into the hunt, but if he comes in shockingly strongly and helps lead the Clips to the playoffs he could make a late season push as well if the other leaders don't finish well.

Q5: Here is another case of a writer making some unsubstantiated claims "Kobe Bryant getting acclaim as possibly the most clutch player of all time despite being consistently outperformed in crunch time by LeBron James (notes) over the past few years." Please provide data to support your claims. How many times has Lebron come through for his team with the game on the line? On Head to Head Matches with each player guarding each other, Kobe has gotten the better of Lebron. (John M, Dec 22)

John, I really wish I'd have seen this one at the time because we maybe could have had a good debate. Others did point out the link, though, and it was in the linked blog post where I presented my data. Of course, Kobe then immediately went on a spree of hitting huge SportsCenter shots to make me look bad, but I do stand by my claims.

Q6: Good read. (Callum O'Riley, Dec 30). That article about clutch scoring is fascinating. (Paul Da Man, Dec 23)

Thanks Callum and Paul. I do my best, and now that I know about this comments section maybe you guys can help me do even better moving forward.

Situations to Watch and Quick Hits

  • Redd is done: Things change so fast in the NBA. When I started this article yesterday I intended to have Redd in the "Old men with bad knees" section below. Then the news broke that he had a torn ACL and MCL, and is done for the year. That sucks for Redd and his owners, but in a way it's like snatching the Band Aid off instead of pulling it off a hair at a time. Redd was too unstable to depend on anyway, and now his owners can just move on.

  • Old men with bad knees: Kevin Garnett and Allen Iverson are both struggling with a combination of age and knee injuries that make them risky to own for the rest of the season. Iverson played on Monday, but he was a game-time decision after sitting out the previous game. In the last seven Sixers games Iverson has scored 20, seven, 17 , four, 22, DNP, and 16 points in a roller coaster that's at least partially due to the knee issues.
    Meanwhile, Garnett has missed the last six games and seven of the last 10 with a combination of knee and thigh injuries. Over that period, every time Celtics coach Doc Rivers is interviewed he says that Garnett will be out for the next 10 – 14 days - in fact, he's been saying that for 10 to 14 days now. After the way last season ended, Garnett owners can't be comfortable with this trend (which means that you might be able to get him on the cheap if you approach them and are willing to take the chance).

  • Injured Star PFs lead to Big Numbers for Teammates: Like Garnett, Pau Gasol has been on the shelf for the last week, though with a left hamstring strain. Gasol and Garnett play on teams with great frontcourt depth, and their absences have been bonanzas thus far for their teammates. In LA, Andrew Bynum is once again a nightly 18 and 11 guy while Lamar Odom has pulled down 16 boards and dished seven assists a night over his last five games sans Gasol. In Boston Rasheed Wallace scored a season-high 29 points on Sunday before missing Monday's game with his own foot injury, but the big winners with Garnett out have been Kendrick Perkins (15 points, 10 boards, two blocks over last five) and Rajon Rondo (21 points, 10 assists and six boards).

  • Carter and Turkoglu still Trying to fit in: Last year Hidayet Turkoglu was the starting wing for the Magic, and years ago Vince Carter filled that role in Toronto. Now the two have switched places, and both are struggling. Turkoglu is still adjusting to being a spot-up shooter as opposed to the point-forward he was in Orlando, and while his shooting percentages are up/turnovers down, his other numbers are all depressed in his new role. Unfortunately, with Jose Calderon now healthy and working his way back into a more ball-dominant role it doesn't look like Turkoglu is going to get more opportunity anytime soon. Carter, though, should get better at some point if he can stay healthy. He's currently shooting a career-low 39.2 percent from the field, but the Magic should be providing him with better offensive teammates than he's ever had, so that should normalize if the nagging ankle and shoulder issues don't continue to hound him.

  • Gerald Wallace is ridiculous: I have to take a moment to give Wallace props for his ridiculous finish to the Memphis game last Saturday. The game went down to the wire, and with 17 seconds left Wallace came out of nowhere to reject an O.J. Mayo layup to preserve his team's slim lead. Then, after a Mayo trey tied the game, Wallace hit the game winning acrobatic tip-in of a Ray Felton missed shot. The defensive play was as spectacular as the offensive one, though, proving yet again that there's more to being clutch than simply making the last shot - though it's best to do both.

  • David Lee Chanelling inner Garnett: Lee has always been a high-efficiency scorer and a guaranteed double-double, but recently he has added assists to the mix. He has dished at least five assists in six of his last 11 games, and is averaging a cool 18 points, 11 boards and four assists thus far in the month of January.

  • Hinrich quietly solid as starter: Hinrich quietly moved back into the starting lineup for the Bulls a few weeks ago, and he has just-as-quietly been producing solid numbers. He is good for double-digit scoring with five or six assists, a steal and a trey or two on a nightly basis. I also note that he's owned in less than half of the leagues, making him a good New Additions candidate.

  • No More Anthony Randolph for awhile: As you know, Randolph has been a fixture in this place as part of his infuriating journey from prized sleeper to benchwarmer to enigmatic sometimes-star in Golden State. You won't see him in this space next week, though, as he has an ankle injury and looks to be out for at least the next two months. It hasn't been ruled season-ending, but in the words of Warriors coach Don Nelson "it'd be pretty close". As such, you might even consider dropping the electric youngster unless you have the room to stash him until near the fantasy playoffs.

  • The Dalembert Dilemma: I noted about a month ago that when Samuel Dalembert plays at least 29 minutes he is averaging more than 11 boards and three blocks per game but when he doesn't he's barely worthy of a fantasy roster spot. Well, Dalembert has been getting more playing time lately which leads to the dilemma: how do you value a big producer with inconsistent minutes? This same phenomenon was present with Anthony Randolph, and also applies to Nate Robinson. My colleague Charlie Zegers pointed out that we might have more clue about when Dalembert will play well, though: Iverson keys Dalembert's revival. When Iverson plays, Dalembert's averages jump from 6.1 points, 7.3 boards and 23.2 minutes to 9.4 points, 11.3 boards and 26.8 minutes per game, and his shooting percentage skyrockets from 43.8 to 57.5, thanks to easy baskets created off Iverson drives. So if Dalembert is a part of your life, you might want to pay more attention to the health of Iverson's knee.

  • The Best of the Decade: I've been blogging for the last few weeks about the best individual seasons of the decade, whether it be players having to carry teams with no supporting talent, players leading their talented teams to the promised land, or MVPs that distanced themselves from their contemporaries. Of those 12 seasons that I chose, four players had multiple appearances on the list: Shaquille O'Neal, Tim Duncan, Kevin Garnett and Kobe Bryant. I think those four are obvious choices for an All-Decade team for the Aughts, but the fifth slot is more difficult because credible cases could be made for LeBron James, Dirk Nowitzki, Steve Nash, Jason Kidd or Dwyane Wade. For now I'll fudge a bit and choose LeBron James as the fifth member of the squad since he could easily play guard and call Dirk the sixth man. But if you want more of my reasoning for the picks let me know, and I'll make a blog out of it.

    New Additions

    Randy Foye (59% owned): I advised picking up Foye last week before it became official that Arenas was suspended, and now I advise it even more strongly. Foye is a talented scorer that should flourish as the lead guard for the fantasy friendly Flip Saunders offense that the Wizards run. He has averaged 15.8 points, 4.3 assists and 1.3 treys in the week since Arenas has been gone.

    Anderson Varejao (55% owned): Varejao has been a pretty consistent nightly double-double threat this season that can also provide solid defensive category numbers. He is a "Garbage Man" type that can eat minutes and help solidify your big man categories. Also of interest, the Cavs recently gave some extended time to a Varejao/LeBron James big man duo that performed well in their first outing. If Cleveland starts running that lineup more often that would give Varejao more opportunity to crash the boards and could potentially increase his value.

    Kirk Hinrich (43% owned): See above.

    Martell Webster (40% owned): Webster is on this list for the second week in a row for providing his most stable streak of good scoring of the season, with six straight double-digit efforts (his longest previous such streak was two games). He even performed well when asked to defend Kobe Bryant and LeBron James this week, averaging 13 points and seven boards with two treys in those two games to earn praise from his coach.

    Flip Murray (7% owned): This one is for deeper leagues only. Murray is a streak shooter that's on a hot rampage right now, as he has knocked down 56 percent of his shots to average 19.7 points and 3.0 treys over the last week. This can't last, so only look in Murray's direction if you have a serious hole. On the other hand, the Bobcats don't have much scoring from the backcourt so he should continue to get shots for as long as he's knocking them down.

    Jon Brockman (2% owned): Brockman is the new starting center for the Kings, and thus far he has backed up the excellent per-minute numbers that suggest he should be a great source of boards. Per-36 he has averaged 12.8 rebounds in his short NBA career, and in his first start on Saturday night he pulled down 12 boards in 38 minutes.

    Article first appeared 1/12/10