Need Three Pointers?

Here are 5 solid free agents that will knock down a lot of three’s. I have ranked the following players in the order that I believe they should be picked up in.

  1. Jordan Farmar (Yahoo Rank = 99)
    61 3PTM, 1.6 3PTM/g
    3PTM (last 5 games): 13

    Commentary: Farmar has been the epitome of consistency for the Los Angeles Lakers. Playing on average 20/min a game, Farmar still averages 10 points a game, a steal a game, and a few assists and rebounds a game. Due to the absence of Bynum in the middle and now Ariza on the wing, expect Farmar to get more minutes and more looks a game (especially from three-point land!). Anyone that has watched an LA Lakers game recently knows that Farmar leads the second unit in scoring, intensity and reliability. My favorite metric for measuring a Lakers player’s performance is whether Kobe Bryant passes that player the ball and this is definitely the case when you’re talking about Farmar.

  2. Martell Webster (Yahoo Rank = 101)
    72 3PTM, 1.8 3PTM/g
    3PTM (last 5 games): 11

    Commentary:Baby Kobe”, as his teammate LaMarcus Aldridge so admiringly nicknamed him after he scored 24 points in one quarter, is a talented, but very streaky player. As of late, Webster hasn’t been doing so hot, so he probably will be available in one of your leagues. Watch out for this guy, though. He’s got a phenomenal shot and displays incredible athleticism. Although his shot has been a little off the past few games, managers that are seeking 3PT will be glad to hear that nearly everything he has put in the basket as of late has been a 3PT.

  3. Keith Bogans (Yahoo Rank = 85)
    89 3PTM, 2.1 3PTM/g
    3PTM (last 5 games): 8

    Commentary: No longer in the starting lineup, Keith Bogans is one of the better 6th men in the NBA right now. His 3PT shooting percentage isn’t spectacular, but because of the sheer number of looks he gets, Bogans is a legitimate 3PT option for any manager looking to improve in this category. One of the good things about him coming off the bench is that his FG% has drastically improved; it looks as if his shot-selection has improved and this has yielded dividends for the 6-5 guard-forward out of Kentucky.

  4. Eddie House (Yahoo Rank = 106)
    65 3PTM, 1.7 3PTM/g
    3PTM (last 5 games): 10

    Commentary: Eddie House is a very sold overall fantasy player with a particular prowess in 3PTM. Another good sign for managers is the fact that House has been getting more than 10 more minutes a game above his average the last 5 or so games. Not only can House knock down the three ball, but with additional minutes he can pull down a few rebounds, dish out a few dimes and make at least one steal a game.

  5. Michael Finley (Yahoo Rank = 134)
    73 3PTM, 1.9 3PTM/g
    3PTM (last 5 games): 8

    Commentary: At 34 years of age, Michael Finley is still a legitimate scoring threat on a very good Spurs team. Lately his minutes have been sporadic to say the least, and the Spurs have been having their individual team woes as well, but expect Finley to rebound strong in the second half and improve upon his very mediocre fantasy rank. This guy’s just too talented not to if he stays healthy.

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To hoops,
Farid

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RookieWatch 07-08 (Picks #1-5)

Before the 2007 NBA Draft, this current class was hyped to be at the level of some of the greatest of all time, including the 2003 draft class that included Lebron James, Carmelo Anthony, Chris Bosh, Dwayne Wade, Chris Kaman, Kirk Hinrich, David West, Leandro Barbosa, and Josh Howard. But as the season has progressed, many of these rookies have experienced various growing pains. Yet there are still some possible sleepers that could help make the small difference you need to go deep in your fantasy league.

This will be the first installment of RookieWatch 07-08, starting with picks #1-5.

  1. Greg Oden, Portland Trailblazers – Drafted to be the next dominant center. Has no value except in keeper leagues.

    Recommendation: Ignore unless in a keeper league.

  2. Kevin Durant, Seattle Supersonics – One of the most prolific scorers in his one year in college, was drafted to be the savior of the Sonics franchise. Most likely, owners in your league overvalued the impact of this rookie and oftentimes took him too early, before proven commodities such as Josh Howard, Brandon Roy, Tony Parker, and Lamar Odom. Although he has not proven to be a game-changer, he still has adjusted to be a solid scorer in the NBA. However, he has not been the rebounding presence he was at Texas. Still, he contributes in 3-pointers, FT %, and will also add about a steal and block a game.

    Recommendation: If you need points, FT %, or 3-pointers, propose a trade fora player such as Andre Miller or Emeka Okafor.

  3. Al Horford, Atlanta Hawks – Won two championships at Florida and provides solid FG % and rebounds in his first year. Also contributes by adding about a steal and block per game along with nine points. Horford has been getting a solid 30 minutes/game and does not hurt in any of the categories. Was touted as having the most NBA-ready body of this draft and will only improve in the second half when he learns more about opponents.

    Recommendation: If you need a solid defender who can post rebounds and a solid FG %, try trading for a player such as Andres Nocioni or Mehmet Okur.

  4. Mike Conley Jr., Memphis Grizzlies – Played one year with Greg Oden at Ohio State and, since beginning the year with an injury that severely limited his playing time, has entered the starting lineup and posted solid stats. With great speed and toughness, Conley has played at least 30 minutes in 8 of his 10 games since returning from injury. He is a steal of a pickup if you need assistance in assists, steals, and surprisingly, rebounds for a guard. Also, he does not hurt you in any categories, even turnovers. Farid also does a great job of describing Conley’s emergence as the leading point guard of the Grizzlies.

    Recommendation: Pick him up if he is on waivers and you need point guard help. Otherwise, try an enticing offer for Kirk Hinrich or Kurt Thomas, since the owner of the league may undervalue his contributions.

  5. Jeff Green, Seattle Supersonics – Acquired in the deal that sent Ray Allen to Boston (and began the ripple effect that led to the creation of the Boston Three Party), Green initially struggled to find minutes even with a young Sonics lineup and has recently been a marginal performer, at best. Since he has little value in many categories, such as steals, blocks, turnovers, assists, and percentages, the contribution to either points or rebounds is negated.

    Recommendation: Monitor Green’s status for the rest of the year and see if he can gain some consistency. However, he will most likely have little value this season.

Update (Jan 27): for fantasy analysis of 2007 draft picks #6-10, click here.

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Mike
Senior Writer

Three Fantasy Basketball Blogs Worth Reading

Seems like everyone’s doing this these days, so I thought I’d join in. Here are three high quality fantasy basketball blogs that I would definitely recommend.

  1. Give Me The Rock
    Known for chronicling the NBA season on a daily basis, GMTR is by far my favorite fantasy basketball site. Throughout the season, its main authors (Nels and Patrick) provide three unique features (among others): Line of the Night, Waiver Wire of the Night and The Biggest Loser. It’s scary how many of my free agent pickups throughout a season are directly linked to GMTR’s recommendations, which are on-point, accurate and clairvoyant. GMTR also provides it’s own proprietary 8 and 9 Category Player Rater’s, as well as other useful commentary. I also enjoy reading GMTR posts because of their humor. Make no mistake about it, these guys know basketball, but they present their articles in a way that is amusing and fun to read.
  2. Fantasy Basketblog
    This blog does a great job of combining technical information with insightful commentary. It’s a site that has very much inspired the content of The Trading Block. It does a very comprehensive job at looking at many facets of the fantasy basketball game. It analyzes players well, it talks about teams and their schedule’s and it gives very sound player and team rankings.

  3. Drive and Dish
    Written by Christopher McCurry and Nick Cannata-Bowman, Drive and Dish is another solid fantasy basketball blog. It isn’t updated on a daily basis, but it still offers a wealth of interesting, applicable information that can help any manager. Their most recent article tells manager’s what to do with Andrew Bynum in light of his knee injury that will keep him out of action for eight weeks.

To hoops,
Farid

Spring Clean Your Fantasy Basketball Rosters

The typical fantasy basketball manager usually participates in two or more leagues in any given season. With the average roster size around 13 players, it’s easy to realize that as the number of leagues a manger plays in goes up, so does the number of players that the manager must manage (add/drop, trade, bench, play, etc).

I thought about writing this post today after going through the roster of one of my three teams and realizing that one of the players I had picked up a couple of weeks before wasn’t producing in the categories that I needed from him. He was on my roster, playing games and doing close to nothing for my team. Players like this will eat at your limited games played (in Roto leagues) and definitely should be dropped.

Going along with the above example, here are three things a manger can do to “spring clean” their fantasy basketball rosters:

  1. Sort your roster by the “Ranks” option and determine if any of your players need to be dropped
    After sorting by rank, you can view the most recent performance of all players on your team. This is important because those less vaunted players on your roster will tend to go through their individual ups and downs. For example, if a player is ranked 100 on the season, 190 in the last month and 230 during the last week, this player is probably going through a rough stretch and probably should be dropped in lieu of a player on more of a hot-streak.

  2. Reassess what your team(s) need
    At the beginning of a season, a [good] manager will typically look at his or her roster and determine those categories in which he or she is well-positioned to do well in and those in which he or she is not. Based on this subjective assessment, an experienced manager will attempt to improve in certain categories and de-emphasize others. I think this is a very good way of managing a team, but I find that as mangers we don’t do this nearly enough. As a habitual practice, always reassess your team’s needs.

  3. Always read Yahoo player information notes
    Yahoo helps make a manger’s job easier by sharing valuable player information. Yahoo does this in the form of regular player notes and 24-hour player notes. The latter summarizes crucial information about a player that has come out within the last twenty-four hours. This is especially useful for forecasting extended player absences (because of injury, suspension, etc.).

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To hoops,
Farid

Garnett, Pierce and Allen NOT the Best "Big Three"

What is the “Big Three”?
The term “Big Three” has been thrown around a lot this year–both in the NBA preseason and now during the regular season–to describe the Boston Celtics tandem of Paul Pierce, Ray Allen and Kevin Garnett. The term “Big Three” originally stems from Boston’s high-powered trio of the 80’s: Larry Bird, Kevin McHale and Robert Parish.

Best Fantasy “Big Three”
Not entirely reflective of their on-court performance, I decided today to embark on a mission to determine,
FANTASY-WISE, what the best big three’s in the NBA were today, by team.

Here are the top 5 (for ranking methodology see below):

  1. Phoenix [28]: Marion (2), Stoudemire (12), Nash (14)
  2. Denver [65]: Camby (7), Iverson (9), Anthony (49)
  3. Dallas [71]: Nowitzki (8), Terry (19), J. Howard (44)
  4. Orlando [72]: Lewis (17), Turkoglu (24), D. Howard (31)
  5. Utah [75]: Boozer (15), Williams (20), Kirilenko (40)

What immediately jumps out is the fact that the Boston Celtics’ “Big Three” are not even amongst the Top 5 “Big Three’s” in the NBA. Almost at the NBA season’s midpoint, the Phoenix Suns are overwhelming winners of The Trading Block’s Best Fantasy “Big Three” Award, with three players in the top-15 of all fantasy players. When I say that Nash, Stoudemire and Marion are in the top-15 of all fantasy players, I am referring to their “rank”, or their season ranks. It shouldn’t be surprising that the Suns came out on top in this analysis because of their style of play (READ: no defense whatsoever) and their propensity to score well over 100 points/game (they score around 110 points/game).

Second in line, Camby and Iverson have been fantasy beasts this season, propelling the Denver Nuggets to the runner-up spot, and Dirk & company have a slight advantage over Orlando and Utah in the #3 position.

Here are 6-10:

  1. Boston [77]: Garnett (4), Pierce (18), Allen (55)
  2. Detroit [87]: Billups (10), Wallace (23), Hamilton (54)
  3. LA Lakers [94]: Bryant (3), Bynum (28), Fisher (63)
  4. Memphis [105]: Gay (25), Miller (35), Gasol (45)
  5. New Orleans [107]: Paul (1), West (39), Chandler (67)

Boston actually comes in at #6, with Ray Allen’s ranking bringing down that threesome. The veteran tandem in Detroit (Billups, Wallace and Hamilton) is the 7th best “Big Three” in the NBA, followed by the Lakers (who will drop with the loss of Bynum for 8 weeks), Memphis (balanced star numbers) and New Orleans (anchored by Chris Paul).

DISCLAIMER

  1. I understand that fantasy statistics alone are not a complete indicator of a player’s value. A true “Big Three” doesn’t just consist of fantasy point accumulators, but should be able to coexist reasonably, work together and, most importantly, win basketball games, none of which is captured by fantasy rankings.
  2. I also understand that a player’s “rank” may be affected by injuries, suspensions, etc. Nonetheless, an analysis such as this is interesting to perform for its novelty, and should not be taken as a 100% indicator of the best “Big Three” in the NBA. I encourage others in the fantasy basketball blogging world to tackle this from different perspectives.

METHODOLOGY
To conduct such an analysis, I:

  1. Collected the top 100 Yahoo Fantasy Basketball players by “rank” (explanation on the difference between rank and o-rank can be found here)
  2. Sorted this list of players by team
  3. Summed up the total rank’s for each team’s top three fantasy players
  4. Sorted these summations from least to greatest, giving the best ‘big three’ fantasy combinations first

What are some of the other drawbacks in performing an analysis such as this? Let me know in the comments below.

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To hoops,
Farid

A Crazy Sunday Night in the NBA

There was a lot of crazy NBA news on Sunday.

  1. Tayshaun Prince scored 0 points on 0-10 shooting.
    Richard Hamilton scored 3 points on 1-7 shooting.
    The second-best team in the league, the Detroit Pistons, was manhandled by the third-worst team in the NBA, the New York Knicks, 89-65.
  2. Andrew Bynum injured his left knee in the 3rd quarter of the Los Angeles Lakers’ game against the Memphis Grizzlies. He couldn’t make it to the locker room on his own, but a Lakers spokesman later stated that Bynum’s X-rays were negative. They will perform an MRI on Bynum tomorrow. A Bynum injury would definitely help Kwame Brown’s numbers.
  3. Lebron James filed a not guilty plea after receiving a ticket for driving 101 mph on December 30th, the day of his 23rd birthday.

What does this mean for fantasy?
Not much. Prince and Hamilton will definitely rebound, as will the Pistons. Billups told reporters after the game that he “washed off” the loss in the shower and there was no particular reason that they played so poorly. Bynum’s injury could pose huge problems for managers that possess him, but wait until tomorrow before panicking. Lebron getting ticketed isn’t a big deal unless the media begins hassling him about it and it begins to affect him on the court. My guess is this will not happen.

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To hoops,
Farid

Mike Conley Jr. Shines in Stoudamire’s Former Role

The Story
In December of ’07, Damon Stoudamire was still the starting PG for the Memphis Grizzlies. He still ran the team and even embraced his new role as mentor of 20 year-old rookie PG Michael Conley, who was out with an injured right shoulder.

But the time came when Conley’s rehab was complete and he was due back in action. When Conley finally returned on December 30, the Grizzlies promptly inactivated the struggling Stoudamire and inserted Conley into the starting lineup. As one might expect, Stoudamire (a 12-year NBA vet) didn’t take this well and has since repeatedly asked to be traded.

Mike Conley Memphis Grizzlies
What does this mean for Mike Conley Jr?
A solidified role in the starting lineup, ample playing time and an opportunity to run a high-powered Memphis offense. In his last 5 games, Conley has shown his versatility as a fantasy player–able to not only pass and shoot, but rebound and steal at an above-average rate.

Mike Conley (last 5 games): 10.8 ppg, 5.6 apg, 3.8 rpg, 1.8 spg

These numbers are not spectacular, but anyone with some foresight can see the potential in Conley and his fantasy stats. Here are the main reason’s why Conley will have success the rest of the season.

  1. The Memphis Grizzlies may not be the best team in the league (in fact they are one of the worst), but they can certainly push the ball up and down the court and score–something fantasy managers love. They aspire to be like the Golden State Warriors or the Phoenix Suns in how they play.
  2. Conley has only played eleven games thus far. With some time to adjust to the pace of the NBA, Conley will mature and his numbers will increase.
  3. He’s in the starting lineup and knows that this is his team to run. If it were appropriate, I’d almost start calling him Conney-Franchise, after Stevie-Franchise of the Houston Rockets. Being endowed with the opportunity to run a basketball team is a blessing, and Conley will most likely take advantage of it.

Final Word
If Mike Conley Jr is still available in one of your leagues, I would seriously consider picking him up. He will be a legitimate point guard option the rest of the season. I, myself, was able to find him in 1 out of my 3 leagues.

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To hoops,
Farid