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The Give and Go: From the Windows to the Wall

Kyle McKeown

Kyle McKeown is the Managing Editor of NBA Content for He hosts the Fantasy Basketball Podcast and writes about fantasy basketball. Kyle used to run an after school program and approaches his work as an editor with teaching in mind. He genuinely cares about helping others win their fantasy basketball leagues, which seems really dorky when it's written in the third person.

Shannon McKeown

Shannon McKeown is the VP of Advertising Sales and Basketball Editor for He's a two-time FSWA finalist for Fantasy Basketball writer of the year. He also covers the Pistons and Tigers for the site.

-----Original Message-----

From: "Kyle McKeown" 

Sent: Tuesday, March 26, 2013 12:48 PM

To: "Shannon McKeown"

Subject: Give and Go

John Wall must have read last week's Give and Go and wanted us to talk about him again because he made a statement Monday against the Grizzlies. He scored a career-high 47 points to go with seven rebounds, eight assists, a steal, a block, and two three-pointers. 

Over the last two weeks, Wall is averaging 25 points, 4.9 rebounds, 9.3 assists, 0.8 three-pointers, 2.0 steals, and 0.4 blocks in 36 minutes per game. Those numbers make him the fourth best fantasy player over that time. 

As you've mentioned a few times in our conversations, the fact that he's hitting three-pointers is what can really propel his value going forward. It's the one guard-centric category Wall has struggled to contribute in throughout his career, and if he can hit three-pointers with consistency, that will make him one of the elite point guards. 

The Wizards have 12 games left this season. If Wall keeps up this hot streak throughout the rest of the season, I think he could build a strong enough case to make him a first round pick in drafts next season. 

It's playoff time for fantasy leagues, and we're seeing the annual fall of key players to injury while end-of-the-bench players climb out of obscurity to help propel teams to a championship. Some of the players who have fallen to injury this last week are: Kevin Garnett (ankle), Nikola Vucevic (concussion), Arron Afflalo (hamstring), David West (back), George Hill (groin), Ty Lawson (heel), Eric Gordon (ankle), Rudy Gay (back), Nene Hilario (knee), Marc Gasol (abdomen), Joe Johnson (quad), Greivis Vasquez (ankle), Joakim Noah (foot), Dion Waiters (knee), Kyrie Irving, and Bradley Beal (ankle). 

That's a lot of injured players, and I may have missed one or two who matter. We know there are some great replacement players who became more relevant thanks to these injuries, but the key is finding the best replacement players. Some of the players who I've picked up over the last couple weeks are: Jeff Green, E'Twaun Moore, Tyler Hansbrough, Kyle O'Quinn, Terrence Ross, Ed Davis, Brian Roberts, and Shaun Livingston, but it isn't always the direct replacement player who sees the biggest bump in production. For instance, I think Maurice Harkless has had the biggest bump in value in Orlando thanks to Vucevic and Afflalo going down even though O'Quinn and Moore are the direct replacements. 

Have you been able to grab anyone that is helping you win down the stretch? Have any of the big injuries listed above killed your teams?

-----Original Message-----

From: "Shannon McKeown" 

Sent: Tuesday, March 26, 2013 2:06 PM

To: "Kyle McKeown"

Subject: RE: Give and Go

Wall's 47-point outburst was extremely impressive. According to ESPN's player rater, it was the sixth best individual performance of the season. Stephen Curry's monster night (54 points, 11 treys) in New York last month tops the list. The Wizards were without Nene Hilario, Bradley Beal, Martell Webster, and Trevor Ariza, so Wall had to take over in that fashion for them to be competitive.

The real difference from Wall during this streak has been his improved shooting stroke. He's hitting 55.6 percent of his field goal attempts and 63.6 percent from downtown. While he won't sustain percentages anywhere near those, Wall's shooting percentage of 45.5 percent for the whole season is pretty solid for a guard and a huge upgrade from the 40.9 percent and 42.3 percent he shot in his first two seasons.

He'll cool down some, but if Wall provides top-20 value between now and the end of the season, he'll be locked into my top-20 with top-12 upside if he continues to hit threes. The early part of the draft is going to be point guard heavy next year. Chris Paul, Stephen Curry, Russell Westbrook, Irving, Deron Williams, and Brandon Jennings are pretty much sure things to be ranked inside the top 25. Wall looks to be headed in that direction, and we haven't even considered guys like Derrick Rose, Mike Conley, Jr., Tony Parker (No. 17 overall this year), Jrue Holliday, or Damian Lillard yet. Who's your top 10 at point guard for next season?

The rash of late-season injuries has did a number to a few of my teams. I had a bunch of stock in Vucevic, Hill, Irving, Waiters, and Beal this year, so I'm currently taking a beating. Luckily, as you mentioned, some of the fill-ins have stepped up.

In Orlando, O'Quinn, Harkless, and Moore are all worth a look in most standard formats. Of course, that's been the case with Harkless for almost two months now, as he's been averaging 12.9 points, 5.7 boards, 1.9 steals, and 1.1 treys in 19 games since the All-Star break. It amazes me that he's still available in the majority of Yahoo leagues. But Moore is the Magic player who has seen his value increase the most due to Afflalo's injury. Moore has gone from 10-15 minutes per game to a full-time, 30-plus mpg starter. In 18 starts this season, Moore has averaged 11.7 points, 5.3 assists, 3.6 rebounds, and 1.6 three-pointers. For comparison's sake, that's better than Darren Collison, who ranks as the 79th most valuable player on a per-game basis on Yahoo. Moore should be universally-owned with Afflalo done for the season.

Green is another player who should be picked up in nearly all formats. With Garnett expected to miss the next two weeks, Green is locked into the Celtics starting lineup for huge chunk of the fantasy playoffs. No, he won't come anywhere close to the 40-point outburst he had against the Heat last week, but Green will be a solid source of points, rebounds, treys and defensive stats.

Greivis Vasquez's ankle injury doesn't appear to be serious, otherwise I'd be running out to grab Roberts. Tough to shrug off a player who just dished out 18 assists, but it looks like Vasquez will be back on the court Wednesday.

Irving, Rose, and Kevin Love are all still sidelined. What are the odds they return in time to help out fantasy squads during the playoffs? You dumped Love in one of our staff leagues this week, and I quickly scooped him up off waivers. A return looks iffy, but with our lineups locked for the week, I figured it was worth the risk of picking him up for a potential championship showdown of the Bros. McKeown. I did the same with Love and Irving in the Yahoo Friends and Family League, as I'm currently resting up during a bye week.

-----Original Message-----

From: "Kyle McKeown" 

Sent: Tuesday, March 26, 2013 3:03 PM

To: "Shannon McKeown"

Subject: Give and Go

My top-10 point guards for next season would be:

1. Stephen Curry
2. Kyrie Irving
3. Russell Westbrook
4. Chris Paul
5. Derrick Rose
6. Deron Williams
7. John Wall
8. Jrue Holiday
9. Ty Lawson
10. Damian Lillard

I almost wanted to add LeBron James and James Harden to this list due to their point-guard-like assist numbers, but due to the fact that they won't have point guard eligibility, that rules them out. 

This list is tough because most of these guys should be taken in the first two rounds. I'll have to do a lot of finagling to come to a final list before next season. As it currently stands, I have Rajon Rondo, Goran Dragic, Jeff Teague, and Ricky Rubio on the outside looking in, but in certain formats, those guys might be better than some of the players I have on my top-10. The list I built above was assuming a standard eight-category league without turnovers. 

We often say it, but league settings really do determine the value of players. Whether you're playing in a head-to-head league or a rotisserie league makes percentages more or less important. Are you playing in a turnover league? If not, why worry about it? And that's important to consider because all of Yahoo's player rankings are based on a nine-category system that includes turnovers. That's why Darren Collison is ranked as the 79th player. It's because his turnover ranking helps him jump up the rankings. 

What would your top-10 rankings for point guards look like going into next year's draft?

I'm not counting on any of those guys (Love, Irving, Rose) to come back this season. I think Rose is the most likely to come back simply because the Bulls are actually going to make the playoffs, but hanging on to dead weight for too long is what ruined me in some of my leagues this year. It's a mistake I won't make twice. 

I picked up Kenyon Martin after his solid week last week, and I picked up Terrence Ross with the idea that Rudy Gay might miss the rest of the season. I'll probably be dropping both Martin and Ross with Tyson Chandler close to returning and Gay no longer expected to be out long. 

There's a lot of lineup shuffling at the end of the season that you have to be on top of. I'm probably going to grab Jimmy Butler for Wednesday's Bulls game with Richard Hamilton and Marco Belinelli looking doubtful. Butler has averaged 15.3 points, 8.9 rebounds, 2.4 assists, 1.7 steals, and 0.7 three-pointers as a starter this season. Vucevic will miss another game Wednesday, so I'll probably grab O'Quinn and Moore from Orlando, too. 

On a non-fantasy note, have you noticed that Dallas is making a late run to try and claim the final playoff spot in the West? They've won seven of their last 10 games and are just 1.5 games out of the eighth seed. There are four teams (Lakers, Jazz, Mavs, Blazers) all vying for that final spot in the West. The Lakers have to be the favorite, but I'd love to see someone else claim it just so we don't have to listen to any bull crap Lakers talk in the playoffs. Who do you think has the best chance to take the eighth seed, or who would you just personally like to see in the playoffs?

Should the East just stop playing games right now and rest their players? The Bucks are in the eight spot and have a lead of 7.5 games over the Sixers who are in the ninth spot. That's sad. 

-----Original Message-----

From: "Shannon McKeown" 

Sent: Tuesday, March 26, 2013 3:41 PM

To: "Kyle McKeown"

Subject: RE: Give and Go

Tough to argue with that top-10 list much, but I am slightly surprised to see Jennings out of the mix. He chimes in at 11th overall among point guard eligible players this season, ahead of guys like Holiday and Lawson.

Here's how my top-10 looks today:

1. Chris Paul -- He can't be knocked off the top perch yet. Doesn't turn 28 until May.
2. Stephen Curry -- A part of me wants to put him at No. 1, but injuries are still a worry here.
3. Kyrie Irving -- Injuries are a concern here, too. But I'm betting on his upside.
4. Russell Westbrook -- Slight bumps in production since Harden left town. Should continue to get better from downtown.
5. Deron Williams -- He has struggled some since joining the Nets, but top-3 option at the position over the past month.
6. Derrick Rose -- Only one season (2010-11) as a top-25 fantasy option. Needs to prove he's healthy to move up this list.
7. John Wall -- I'm a believer.
8. Damian Lillard -- Almost slotted him at No. 6.
9. Brandon Jennings - Elite threes and steals. Just needs to shoot more efficiently.
10. Jrue Holiday -- Just needs to cut down on turnovers.

Lawson, Kemba Walker, Parker, Rondo, Rubio and Teague all just miss the cut.

The Mavericks have been on a nice run, but I don't think they'll catch the Lakers. The absence of Dirk Nowitzki really hurt the Mavs earlier this season. He's finally back at full strength and playing like a top-10 fantasy option over the past few weeks, but they dug themselves too big of a hole. Beginning Tuesday night, Dallas has a tough five-game stretch (LAC, IND, CHI, LAL, DEN) that could make or break their season. I'm betting on break.

We see this with the Eastern Conference every year. The only difference this season is there aren't multiple sub-.500 teams battling for that last spot. At least Milwaukee has a chance to finish with a winning record. The East only needs to be one seed deep this year, anyway. I'll be surprised if anyone in the conference takes the Heat to six games.

See you in the comments.