This is part II of an extremely belated analysis of my fantasy draft which took place right before the season started. Thus, it’s a split-personality thang where I first write what I think my thoughts were back then (but I have a notoriously awful memory), followed up by how unbelievably right or wrong I was. As mentioned before, players with a (K) next to their name were Keepers and thus won’t be discussed for the most part since they should all be good picks.
1. Manu Ginobili Alex
2. Troy Murphy Shai
3. LaMarcus Aldridge Rich
4. Baron Davis Frankie
5. Jeff Green Greg
6. (K) David Lee Mike M
7. Raymond Felton Eyal
8.(K) Al Horford Bo
9. Antawn Jamison Michael C
10. Andray Blatche Nick
11. Kevin Martin Mike K
12. Jason Richardson Brad
The Bad Mr.Glass Injury Gamble: Frankie with Boom Dizzle. As one of the few who actually was a huge Clipper fan B.B.(Before Blake), I kept hoping Baron would be the old Baron of the past, but each year he kept being the Old Baron in the present. He had already come into training camp out of shape, so I wasn’t expecting much.
Now: At the start of the season he lived up (down?) to expectations, but then Blake went Dr. Frankenstein on us and brought the Beard Monster back to life, making him totally worthy of having been picked here. Unfortunately for Frankie, he’d already given up and dropped Le Baron, so now Nick is reaping the benefits.
The Solid Mr. Glass Injury Gamble: M.K. with K.M. Was it due to the initials that Mike took a chance on L’il Kmart? Or was it cuz when healthy my favorite Martin has put up second to third round value? It seemed a far better gamble than Baron, who even if he was at full strength would seem to offer at best fourth round value. However, in recent years the chances of Martin being healthy for a full season seemed only slightly less likely than the chances that Tracy McGrady could once again be a starter in the league.
Now: Kev’s healthy and Tmac is starting on a rebuilding team ahead of young talent like Rodney Stuckey and Austin Daye. So far the gamble’s paid off. The other good thing with Kev as opposed to say Tmac, Baron and Camby is that usually he gets serious injuries and misses a big chunk of time so you know to keep him out of yer line-up, versus those other three in the past would constantly miss random games here and there which can be more deadly in a league with weekly line-ups like ours.
The Monta-Ellis-Self-Congratulatory-Brilliant-Mr.Glass-Injury-Gamble: Surprise, it’s me with Manu! I was shocked to learn while doing research that last year, even though Manu missed a dozen games, his overall rank for the season (not average-per-game) was still 23. Add that in with the fact that he would be starting for the first time in forever, and it seemed that even if Manu does get his regular injury and missed 12-20 games, he’d still likely be worth my pretty-much-third-round pick.
Now: Manu is 5th in total value for the season. Even though he’s shooting below his career average, due to his 31 minutes being a shocking career high, he’s got near-career highs in points, threes, ftm and steals. So he can still miss 15-20 games and remain a good pick.
The Young Player Plateauing Way Too Early Award: Tie between Richie with LaMarcus Aldridge and Greg with Jeff Green. In just Aldridge’s second year he averaged 17.8 points, 7.6 rebounds and 1.2 blocks. He seemed ready to explode onto the scene. The next year he got even more minutes and averaged 18.2 pt, 7.5 rb, 1 blk. The following 17.9, 8 and .6. Plus each year his percentages were about the same. He’s worth a pick in this round, but chances of him providing any upside seemed about as likely as Kwame Brown becoming a productive center again. Likewise, Jeff Green after posting 16.5 pt, 6.7rb, 1.2 threes and 1.3 stl in his second year, pretty much posted the exact same line the following year. Which to me made him a borderline pick for this round at best.
Now: LaMarcus and Kwame have surprised. LA is ranked 29th, and even with Roy out, forcing him to be the primary option on O, he’s managed to maintain a similar fg%. Even more impressive his rebound have gone up to a respectable 9. Green, meanwhile, has stayed the course, averaging the same points and rebounds as last season. However, a large part of what gives Green his value is his atypical production such as offered in the past from Shane Battier & Shawn Marion where he average around 1 block, steal and three. Those #s, which were, respectively, .9, 1.3 and 1.3 last year, have dropped to .4, .9 and 1.1, which may not seem like much, but when added together have caused his value to plummet.
1. Marcus Camby Brad
2. Ray Allen Mike K
3. Trevor Ariza Nick
4. Paul Millsap Michael C
5. Devin Harris Bo
6.(K) Carlos Boozer Eyal
7. O.J. Mayo Mike M
8.(K) Rudy Gay Greg
9. Jrue Holiday Frankie
10. Jason Terry Rich
11. Caron Butler Shai
12. Andrew Bynum Alex
The Award Formerly Known As The LaMarcus Aldridge Plateau Medal: Mike M with OJ Mayo. Unlike LaMarcus and Green, OJ Mayo came into the league en fuego in just his first year. I had him and kept him for the second year, excited about that second year leap that good players usually take (or at least slight improvements). If anything, he took a slight step back. I would’ve prefered the upside of Jrue, but Mayo should once again produce the same ol’ stats as his first year.
Now: Well, I was right that he wouldn’t take that next step…
The Shawn Marion Fantasy Value Falling Off A Cliff: Three-way tie between Brad with Camby, Mike K with Ray Allen, and Shai with Caron. Camby had maintained his value when he went to the Trail Blazers because both Greg Oden and Joel Pryzbilla were out. With them both set to return, I expected Camby’s minutes (and thus his value) to take a steep drop. Ray Allen had been diminishing in value the last few years, and after an insane shooting display in the first half of Game 2 of the Finals when he hit like 5 threes, he then proceed to hit only like 1 the rest of the way. I figured his arrow was only pointing down, particularly with Nate Robinson now having had more time to learn the system and the addition of Delonte West. Lastly, I’d been the moron last year who took Butler with my third round pick. He was playing far below that even before he went to Dallas to split time with the Matrix. Then once in the Big D he was more like an 8th rounder.
Now: Greg Oden ain’t walking through that door, eh? Yes, Camby’s out right now, but he’s gotten solid minutes and produced solidly, making me dead wrong with this pick. Next, making me even deader wronger has been Ray Allen. Somehow, in his 15th season, he’s shooting a career best both from the field and from the three-point line. How is that possible? It ain’t like I didn’t have enough reasons already to hate the Celtics. Lastly, even before he was injured, I was right about Butler. Also, of note due to the title of this award, even with Butler out, the Matrix still isn’t rosterworthy and last night came off the bench behind Brian “Is he still in the NBA?” Cardinal.
1. DeMarcus Cousins Alex
2. Luis Scola Shai
3. Kevin Garnett Rich
4.(K) Zach Randolph Frankie
5. Eric Gordon Greg
6. Emeka Okafor Mike M
7. Samuel Dalembert Eyal
8. Gilbert Arenas Bo
9. Rashard Lewis Michael C
10. Andrei Kirilenko Nick
11. Jamal Crawford Mike K
12. Luol Deng Brad
Shawn Marion Award, Take 2: Rich with KG. Last year, not only did I pick the underperforming Butler, but also, despite my intense dislike of him, KG. I figured he’d be healthy and return to his old ways. By the last month of the season he was ranked 68th, and despite the Celts surprising run in the playoffs, it was clear that Garnett was on the Steep Path Of Decline. So, fool me once, KG, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me. Always good to see Richie making dumb picks.
Now: Is it worse that KG or Rich made me look stupid? Okay, as much as I don’t like Rich to win, I think KG might be the player I hate the most these days, so it’s a bummer that his average rank for the season is 12th.
The No-Longer-Called-The-LaMarcus-Aldridge/OJ-Mayo-Award,And-Now-Called-The-Jeff-Green-Memorial-Ribbon: Greg with Eric Gordon. Due to the brilliant coaching of Michael Dunleavy Senior, Gordon started his rookie year stuck getting barely any minutes behind Cuttino Mobley. After Mobley was traded to the Knicks who only need one examination to tell Cat no longer had a working pulse, Dunleavy finally started playing EJ. He was phenemonal. I snagged him last year, his second, expecting, once again, that second year bump. Instead, not only did he miss 20 games, but compared to how he’d played the last two months, he regressed tremendously. He seemed to be the type who only took the smart obvious shots that came to him rather than someone who’d take over and exert his will on the game. Plus, if Blake was healthy this year, that’d mean even less shots for the man wonderfully nicknamed The Hobbit.
Now: With Baron and Kaman both out during the beginning of the season, someone had to take over. And it was Gordon and Blake. Honestly, even though Baron and Kaman’s absence caused the Clippers to start the season like 1-8, likely dooming them from getting a playoff spot, it also forced those two guys into being the main creators, establishing a far better foundation than had the two vets been able to play. Meanwhile, Gordon, who was ranked 90th for the last month of last season, is now 19th for the season based on per game average. The moral? My picks last year were clearly visionary and were just a year ahead of their time. Well, except for the Caron Butler choice. That was even more sucky this year. Fine, so maybe I’m not too visionary then.
The Clever Gamble: Bo with Gilbert Arenas. Despite still recovering from surgery (and that whole gun thing), per-game I had Gil ranked 33rd. Yes, John Wall was now in charge and Arenas with his beard looked like a scary Unibomber-type, but the guy had too much skill. Heck, maybe if opposing Ds focused on Wall, then Arenas’ fg% could have a nice bump up. And during the pre-season it seemed clear that coach Flip Saunders had no faith in any of the shooting guards or small forwards, so Arenas could get tons of minutes at the two.
Now: Yes, Arenas has become useless now that he’s on the Magic, but he was pretty darn productive when he was still on the Wiz. His fg% actually went down, but most of those games Wall was out injured. In 21 games Gil got nearly 35 minutes, 17+pt, 5.6ast, 1.4 stl, 2.2 threes, plus 83.6%ft and even a career high .6 blks! In order to not reduce Bo to tears, I will refrain from mentioning the Former Agent Zero’s stats in the 22 games since he moved to the apparently erroneously named Magic Kingdom. Well, unless we’re talking Black Magic, ‘cuz it’s quite possible that the denizens of DC put a serious hex on him.
Most Likely To Be A Bust In The Non-Sculptural Sense: Me with DeMarcus Cousins. No doubt about his talent, but he’s a seriously entitled headcase who looked like he may not be willing to put in the work and take his lumps. Already during pre-season it had been decided that he’d come off the bench behind Dalembert, plus he seemed a bit foul prone.
Now: Still clearly has talent and has strung together some decent games as of late, yet on a per-game-average is only ranked 161st over the last 30 days. Also, since he was the first pick of the round, I could’ve had Gordon, KG, AK-47, Luis Scola — heck, you could easily say that except for Dalembert and post-trade Arenas, Cousins was the worst pick of the round. The hope though, of course, is that DeMarcus can get it together enough to be solid for this year and a potential nice keeper for next year.