Tag: yao ming
With every new season there’s a fresh list of fantasy basketball players that are on the verge of being given up on. Some of these players are walking DNPs that have one more shot to prove that they can play a full season, or something close to it; others are players who have coyly toed the line between fantasy goodness and fantasy greatness for a few seasons and are testing our collective patience; others have failed to fulfill past “sleeper” labels; still others are former studs who have regressed into duds in recent seasons and have one last shot at a redemptive comeback season before they’re permanently locked in the cellar.
Here’s a list of nine such players teetering on the edge of utter hopelessness this season (from a nine-category perspective), along with a rating of how close they are to being lost causes. We’ll use an uber-macho scale of Dolph Lundgrens (1 = not that close from final doom, 5 = direly close). Why nine, and why Dolphs? Look no further than here for a visual explanation.
It’s go time. (continue reading…)
- Houston Rockets general manager Daryl Morey has been spouting with cautious optimism for his two stars, Yao Ming and Tracy McGrady.
Morey recently told ESPN The Magazine that Yao “is progressing well.” He added that the doctors “know that the bone will heal and he’ll get back on it. And they have not actually ruled out [his return] this season. I think that’s less likely than likely, but they haven’t ruled it out.”
He also spoke well of McGrady’s progress, according to Jonathan Feigen at the Houston Chronicle. ”He’s way, way ahead of schedule… He’s already playing. I don’t think anyone could have predicted he would be playing now. He still has a long way to go. There is a lot of rust to shake off… I don’t expect to see him ready for Day 1 of training camp.”
It might be tempting to read into these statements and eye Yao or T-Mac as late-round picks to surprise and impress your opponents with your boldness, but don’t give in to that temptation.
Yao should not be drafted at all, while McGrady might be a decent waiver wire pick later on in the season, unless you’re in a deep league or are willing to stash him on your bench until he might return. When he returns to the court, he’s a hot potato you’ll want to trade away after a string of three or four consecutive solid games.
It’s understandable that Morey wants to keep the team’s fans (and himself) hopeful, and most likely wants to help ticket sales as much as possible, but for fantasy purposes his recent comments should be ignored.
- The Ricky Rubio drama is finally over: he’s heading to FC Barcelona (as previously reported) and won’t be available to the NBA until 2011. A fifth overall pick for the Minnesota Timberwolves has come to naught, which is a tragedy for the team’s thirsty fans, as well as for any NBA fan who was excited to see how the much-hyped youngster would fare with the big boys.This, of course, means that Rubio has absolutely no fantasy relevance this season. It also means that Jonny Flynn‘s stock just rose a bit.
Erik at Points in the Paint takes a thorough look at Flynn’s value this season (and explains the “Mike Conley Jr. Effect”). His assessment of Flynn as “a 3rd-string PG for your fantasy team” is conservative, but correct. Flynn is an appealing player this year and will probably be scooped up too early in many drafts on the heel of this news. He’s an undersized rookie at 6-feet tall, and most rookies struggle with inconsistency and the infamous “wall” toward the latter half of the season.
Keep your eye on Flynn, but don’t rely on him as your primary fantasy point guard.
- “Keep your friends close, and your enemies closer.” – Sun Tzu
Of all my friends, Eugene Chang is my most formidable fantasy basketball foe. He’s a smart guy who’s incredibly deliberate, intense and passionate about whatever he wants to succeed in, which translates into a rabid interest in fantasy basketball.
So, I decided to chat with him about his thoughts about all the off-season activity and his expectations and fantasy strategy for the upcoming NBA season. He touches upon Yao Ming’s injury, Lamar Odom, Anthony Randolph, Andre Miller, his sleepers and offers some tips based on his personal experiences competing in fantasy leagues.
Eugene works for a company based in the Chicago area, but is currently on assignment in Vietnam, which explains the less-than-pristine call quality.
Hopefully, you can take some things away from the audio clip below. Feel free to respond in the comments section.
On Friday, Yao Ming decided to have major surgery on his left foot, which most likely signals the premature end of the 2009-10 NBA season. The surgery is similar to the one Zydrunas Ilgauskas had a while back. Yao is slated to go under the knife next week.
This shouldn’t be much of a surprise since this was the expected outcome for a while now. There is speculation that the injury-plagued Yao, 28, may be planning an early retirement from professional basketball, especially after the purchase of his former basketball club, the Shanghai Sharks. However, he insists that he will return to the NBA when he can.
From a fantasy perspective, this is big news. Yao, when healthy, is easily the most valuable pure center in the league, fantasy-wise. With centers already a rarity, fantasy leagues will likely see more reaching for centers than usual in this year’s draft.
For the Houston Rockets this news spells big trouble. When you look at their current roster, it looks like the 6-foot-6 power forward Chuck Hayes will likely have to step in and command some major minutes in the center position, where he’ll be vastly undersized. The 6-foot-7 Carl Landry and the 6-foot-9 Luis Scola, both forwards, will have to help out as well.
The Rockets, in anticipation of Yao’s absence, acquired the rights to Australian big man David Andersen on Wednesday. Andersen, 29, will be helpful if only because he’s 6-foot-11. He averaged 11.1 points and 4.1 rebounds with Regal FC Barcelona during the 2008-09 season. Those aren’t stunning numbers, and Andersen probably won’t see huge minutes right away, but at least the Rockets have someone tall to stick in at center from time to time.
- Hayes will see way more minutes than the 12:05 he averaged per game last season, so his production will benefit from Yao’s absence. He’s a tough player who will get rebounds, but his small size will work against him on many nights. Don’t lean on him too heavily.
- Landry will see more minutes than the 21:18 he saw per game last year, so expect his numbers to increase slightly. He’s an active player who isn’t afraid to mix it up inside and has shown that he can produce in limited playing time, but he’ll also be challenged by playing against bigger players more often.
- Scola will see more minutes than the 30:18 per game he averaged last season and he’ll likely benefit by seeing many more touches in the post. He also becomes the most skilled of the big men on the Rockets, which means that defenses will hone in on him a lot harder. His value may be stagnant. His points will likely increase, but so will his turnovers. Also expect his field goal percentage to take a hit.
- Andersen remains a mystery. Give him about three to four weeks before you judge his value. His value may rise as the season progresses.
- Brian Cook may see more playing time as a result of Yao’s absence, but his value remains minimal at best. He’s a shooter who won’t replace Yao’s post presence. Still, keep an eye on his minutes and production.
- Joey Dorsey, the second-year power forward, will see more minutes. He averaged 0.7 points and 0.3 rebounds in 2:06 per game last season. However, during five games in this year’s Summer League, Dorsey has averaged 9.8 points on 56.5 percent shooting and 14.8 rebounds per game. Those numbers can’t be ignored, especially with Yao now out for an extended period of time. Feel free to place Dorsey’s name on your list of sleepers this year.
- Trevor Ariza‘s value now becomes a lot more of a mystery. Yes, he’ll see plenty more minutes and shots now, but without a post player to demand attention and open up lanes and looks, Ariza appears to be a prime target for defenses to focus on. His shooting percentages will likely be weighed down by Yao’s absence.
- Shane Battier, who is at his offensive best when he spots up for open three-pointers, will see fewer of these opportunities with Yao gone. Expect his offensive value, already negligible, to take a hit.
- Rookie Chase Budinger, 6-foot-7, could see more playing time than expected this season, but should not be counted on for anything meaningful.