|POSITION HOT SEAT
|CLEVELAND CAVALIERS (SG) RED HOT
1st Chair: Sasha Pavlovic
2nd Chair: Ronald Murray
Skinny: Pavlovic has done a reasonable job in 19 games as a starter, filling in since Larry Hughes was lost for what is likely to be the rest of the regular season. He's averaged 8.8 points and 1.3 threes, but hasn't exactly caused problems for opposing teams on either end of the court. The Cavaliers acquired Flip Murray at the deadline, looking for more offensive presence and defensive prowess. In the team's most recent game on Sunday, Murray played more than twice as many minutes off the bench (37) as Pavlovic did as a starter (17) and outscored him by a much larger margin (17 to 2). It is likely a short matter of time before Murray is installed in the lineup – and solid fantasy production should come along with it.
|ORLANDO MAGIC (PG) RED HOT
1st Chair: Keyon Dooling
2nd Chair: Carlos Arroyo
Skinny: Jameer Nelson is expected to miss up to another three weeks, and Dooling and Arroyo will man the point in his stead. Dooling has started the past three games, but Arroyo has seen more minutes in the past two and put up a better fantasy line in both. Arroyo was a starter in Utah during most of the 2003-04 season, while Dooling has never had a consistent starting role in his career. Neither will be of much use to fantasy owners in a straight platoon, but a legit fantasy player could emerge of the two if the roles become clearly defined soon.
Move over T-Mac, because J-Mac is in the house. If you missed it, I encourage you to look up the story of Jason McElwain, a 17-year-old senior from a New York high school who recently scored 20 points, including six treys, in the last four minutes of his team's final home game of the season. What makes it so extraordinary is that the kid happens to be the team manager and he suffers from autism – the coach decided to suit him up without even knowing if he'd get a shot to play, but at least wanted him to "feel" like one of the players. Good stuff. Now let's get the Skinny on some other stories from the past week, inspirational or otherwise, that may affect your fantasy teams:
WEEKEND UPDATE: Need-to-know info from the past few days
- That's it? There was a great deal of ballyhoo leading up to the NBA trading deadline, but there were no deals that look to have a major impact on the fantasy landscape.
Steve Francis was dealt to the Knicks, but neither he nor anyone else on the Knicks stands to benefit – Keyon Dooling and Carlos Arroyo will battle for playing time at the point in Orlando while Jameer Nelson is hurt Darko Milicic was a popular roster addition immediately after the Pistons dealt him to the Magic – he's totaled 14 points, 8 boards, and 6 blocks in 41 minutes over the past two games. Of course, those games constituted the most extensive playing time of his career to this point … Ronald Murray could see the greatest change in his fantasy value of any player dealt at the deadline – he played 36 minutes and scored 17 points in Cleveland's loss to Detroit on Sunday, and he should supplant Sasha Pavlovic in the starting lineup very soon. He's definitely worth a pickup on speculation and should post some good scoring and steals totals … Brian Skinner will likely see solid minutes for the Blazers while Joel Przybilla and Theo Ratliff are both inactive (roughly three more weeks) – he scored 9 points, grabbed 8 boards, and blocked 2 shots in 27 minutes on Sunday … Reggie Evans will have his chances to play as Kenyon Martin's primary backup, but will only see major minutes on the occasions that Martin is inactive. Many fantasy owners were hoping that Earl Watson would go to a team where he could start, but instead he simply gives Seattle a legitimate backup for Luke Ridnour – he will remain a marginal contributor while Ridnour's value could take a slight hit with a few less minutes per night … Players like Voshon Lenard, Ruben Patterson, Derek Anderson, Trevor Ariza, and Marc Jackson will keep the same level of relevance with their new teams that they had before they were traded.
- A scan of Kurt Thomas' right foot on Saturday revealed a stress fracture that will require a minimum of six to eight weeks to heal. Thomas had been playing with pain for almost three weeks according to The Arizona Republic – the original injury occurred when he jammed it on February 6. The regular season is likely over for Thomas, and the immediate question becomes who gets the surplus minutes. Boris Diaw made his fourth start of the season at center on Saturday, with Leandro Barbosa joining Steve Nash in the starting backcourt. Suns coach Mike D'Antoni said James Jones could also start on occasion and that Pat Burke will see more minutes in Thomas' absence. Burke is currently the only non-injured Suns player who stands at least 6-foot-10 or weighs over 230 pounds, at 6-foot-11 and 250 pounds – Amare Stoudemire's return, which is slated to be mid-to-late March, is now that much more anticipated in Phoenix.
BARGAIN BIN: Top players available in 50 percent of Yahoo! leagues
- Nazr Mohammad (C, San Antonio)
Mohammad has been quiet for most of the season as the backup to Rasho Nesterovic, but has moved in to the starting lineup in favor of Nesterovic since the All-Star break. He's posted two double-doubles and averages of 11.5 points, 9.7 boards, and 2.0 blocks in his past six games. If he settles into the starting role, Mohammad could be more productive than some other marginal centers that are on currently on many fantasy rosters.
MARKET MOVERS: Charting player valuesBen Wallace
(FC, Detroit) – The Pistons have made a concerted effort to get Wallace more involved on the offensive end, which in turn has given him "more confidence and energy." It's shown up in his numbers – over the past four games he's averaged 10.5 points, 11.8 boards, 3.3 steals, and 3.3 blocks.
(SG, LA Clippers) – The Clippers have struggled of late, but Mobley's fantasy numbers have not – over his past five games, including four team losses, he's put up 21.4 points on 54 percent shooting, 1.2 threes, 2.4 steals, and 1.2 blocks, while making 27 of 28 free throws (96 percent).
(GF, Atlanta) – Childress has been seeing more playing time since Tyronn Lue
went down with an injury, and he's done good things with it. He's scored in double figures in nine straight games and has averaged 15.8 points on 62 percent shooting, 5.2 boards, and 1.3 steals in 33 minutes per game.
(GF, Milwaukee) – Simmons has been putting up consistent numbers rivaling those of last year's breakout campaign – over his past six games he's averaged 16.3 points on 51 percent shooting, 2.0 threes, 5.8 boards, 3.7 assists, and 1.5 steals.
(PF, Utah) – Boozer's playing time has been steadily increasing, and in three games since the All-Star break he's averaged 29 minutes, 11.7 points, and 8.7 boards.
(F, Boston) – Gomes has proven to be another solid young big man for the Celtics while filling in for the injured Al Jefferson
– he's posted three straight double-doubles, and in seven starts has averaged 12.6 points and 9.3 boards.
(SG, San Antonio) – Manu has been struggling with his shot recently – in his past four games he's made just 12 of 49 field goals (24 percent) and 12 of 18 free throws (67 percent) while averaging 10.3 points per game.
(GF, Golden State) – Pietrus has been less than stellar in his recent starts – in the past six games he's made 22 of 69 field goals (32 percent), averaging 9.3 points and 3.2 turnovers.
(FC, Milwaukee) – Bogut has scored in double figures once in the past five games, averaging 5.8 points, 4.0 boards, and 0.4 blocks in the process.
(SG, New York) – Crawford has been nearly invisible in the two games since the Knicks acquired Steve Francis – he's played 40 total minutes and scored six points and won't be of much value in a reduced role.
Number of the Week
3 – Full days remaining until the default trading deadline in Yahoo! fantasy hoops leagues, which is midnight on Thursday, March 2. If you plan on making a deal, you had better get to it quickly! Keep in mind that you just have to have a deal accepted by the deadline – trades will still process normally even if the review period ends after the Thursday deadline.
Yahoo! Friends and Family League Update
Things are tight at the top, with only one point separating the top three teams in the standings – TMR is currently in first with 63.0 points, Y! – Buser is in second with 62.5, and Y! – Funston is third with 62.0. Recent transactions involved Morris Peterson, Keyon Dooling, and Raymond Felton, among others.
- Keyon Dooling
- Carlos Arroyo
- Flip Murray