If Al Gore had been born just a bit earlier – in time to invent the internet and,thus, fantasy sports leagues during the early days of the NBA, I could have done it – I could have been on top – guaranteed.
It’s not just about the 100 points in a game thing 50 years ago. Nobody reading was alive to see or hear about that feat. This freak – The Stilt – averaged a wacky 50 points per game back in that day – averaged 26 rebounds per game that year. I pick Chamberlain onto my team, I could slip quietly into a coma before the next round and I still win the big fantasy trophy at the end of the year. Let the computer draft dead people for me as I sit slumped and drooling in my chair in front of my 1960 computer monitor – I still win. We fantasy hacks think that the 40 and 50 fantasy point nights that LeBron and Kobe put up are heaven – small potatoes. Add it up, 50 points per game – 26 rebounds per game – they didn’t track block shots back then but sport historians estimate about 7 per game for Wilt – say his turnovers, assists, and steals give him 7 more – and you have an average of 90 fantasy points per game – that’s an average night. You might get a 130 or so from him on a good night. Most points in a game, fine, most rebounds in a game (55), fine – add another to the list – The Stilt would have been the most prolific fantasy player of all time by like double. But then I’m sure my Commish would have made a league rule making Wilt ineligible for the draft. They’re like that.
That’s word, straight from the Mac.
— Pat McD
JR Smith: These days it’s everything New York, and the fantasy pickup of the week is no exception. JR Smith is your guy. He could be the downfall of the new-look Knicks, but the guy is a volume scorer, and you can count on him to turn in a solid mid-level fantasy score every single week, including next week when Carmelo Anthony returns. We usually go over the pros and cons of any weekly pickup, but this one yields little to think twice about. You can’t question his game readyness or conditioning, because the guy has been the leading scorer in all of China for quite some time now. If anything, he may be in better shape than anyone in the league due to the length of length of time he’s been playing, and the volume of points he’s been counted on to score. You could also say the guy might be better than he’s ever been. In the last few years Smith has moved his game out to the perimeter, scoring mega points only when he shoots well from three. Yet now, he’s coming off months of taking his man off the dribble, getting the ball to the rim, getting himself to the line, etc. Yes, the competition in China is not nearly the same as the NBA, but I see no downside to the fact that he’s basically spent the last while playing a Michael Jordan-like scoring role. This one might be a sure thing guys.
NOTE: With the coming of Smith, the odd man out would appear to be Iman Shumpert, and the return of Anthony is only going to make that situation worse. If JR Smith is the fantasy pickup of the week, Iman Shumpert is the fantasy dump.
Let’s face it, at this point in the season you’re not going to find a free agent dynamo… PSYCHE, Jeremy Lin! But aside from Jeremy Lin, it’s slim pickin’s out there, but LowerTheRim may have located a few risky but rewarding pickups to plug the
gaping small holes hole in your lineup this week. Both could fall flat, but both might bring you that mid-level production that is impossible to find this late in the season.
CJ Watson: The upside to this guy is that as long as Rose is out, he can definitely hit mid-level production if given the minutes, and he might even throw in a token double-double. It’s all about Rose’s back, and while many analysts would think Rose will return within the week, we now know Rose plans to see a specialist, which to me says he’s probably not going to reenter the picture this week, and he may even call it quits until after the Allstar Break. Whatever treatment the specialist suggests, I would think he’ll give it at least a week to take. With that said, Rose is a gamer, and he might just waltz out there the very first game of the week. The other downside is that CJ Watson has been–as Chris Mullin so Brooklyn-ly put it the other day–giving Jerry West concussions (he’s been bricking his shots so bad that they’re hitting “The Logo” on the corner of the backboard). Watson shot horribly tonight, and if he keeps missing three out of four shots his minutes will likely start slipping to John Lucas III. But again, it’s late in the season, you gotta take some risks.
Daniel Gibson: Same deal here, except in Gibson’s case his value is dependent on Kyrie Irving’s melon. The risk is about the same, and the reward is about the same. If I had to pick I’d probably take Watson, simply because he’s got the ball in his hands every play, whereas Gibson has a career tendency to disappear into the corner, whether he’s getting big minutes or not.
If you’re looking for a forward you can pretty much forget about it. Brandon Bass just went down, so JaJuan Johnson if you’re really that desperate. It’s like fishing with a Fig Newton at this point, but you never know… Lin! Lin! Lin!
OJ MAYO: The rumors swirl once again concerning OJ Mayo’s pending departure from the Memphis Grizzlies. Mayo would be lighting it up in Indian right now if the Grizzlies hadn’t forgotten to mail off the freakin’ papers before the deadline last season. For fantasy’s sake, let’s hope they don’t make that same mistake this season. Whatever team he goes to, he’ll most certainly be starting, and when playing 30+ minutes Mayo is one of the better volume scorers in the league. A trade could be coming within the next couple of weeks, so now is the time to pick him up and stash him. Until trade time, however, he still might hold value. Mayo scored well this past week, and it’s possible Memphis will be dishing him more PT in order to boost his trade value just in the nick of time. We’ve been over this before: when Mayo plays, he has Monta Ellis value. When he rides the bench his numbers are comparable to a CJ Miles. So don’t be surprised to see the Grizz boost his minutes here in his last Memphis days. Grab and stash. Play him only if you absolutely have to.
BARON DAVIS: Davis is nearing his return to the court. In deeper leagues he’s probably already stashed, but in shallow leagues, now’s the time to do it. You might be wondering what kind of value he could possibly have coming off the bench. Not so fast. The Knicks are at a crossroads. They’re dang near as crappy as the Nets, and I wouldn’t be shocked to see Mike D’Anotni throw Davis into the starting lineup as a last ditch effort to save his job. When motivated, Davis can be a fantasy machine. It’s all within the realm of possibility, which means Davis is definitely worth a stash if you have room for it. Snag Baron Davis right away, and then get to da choppa.
At this point in the season it seems like every other fantasy squad is dry-heaving for points, and usually at the forward position. The urgency makes Kawhi Leonard your go to fantasy pickup of the week. We might not be saying the same next week, but he’s your best bet right now. The San Antonio Spurs rookie has posted some head-turning numbers in the last few games, first off the bench, and now tonight as a starter. He probably won’t get you 30, but he’ll definitely get you 20, and in deep leagues 20 is solid gold, baby. Also, he’s going to get his minutes. Gregg Popovich is gushing over his effort, reminiscent of a young Paul Millsap years ago, who has seen steady minutes ever since getting Jerry Sloan’s effort endorsement. With that said, there’s a good chance Leonard will be a factor the rest of the season. So give Drew “I once grew a soul patch on the back of my head” Gooden the boot, and snag Kawhi Leonard ASAP.
Nate Robinson: This week Robinson is the ultimate stopgap to your hemorrhaging lineup. He’s filling in more than capably for Stephen Curry, and Marc Jackson isn’t afraid to give him mega minutes. Quite frankly, I’ve been surprised over the years how little attention Nate Robinson has gotten in both Boston and Oklahoma city. Here’s a player that has done nothing but prove productive over the course of his career, scoring as many as 50 points in a game, and also establishing himself as a capable distributor. On top of that, he plays hard, because he knows what it’s like to have to ride the bench. He’s not entitled. Long story short, he’s Marc Jackson’s type of player. I’d expect big numbers from him this week, and would think that he will have earned himself at least 20 minutes in the rotation even when Curry returns. “Mama there goes that man,” don’t miss picking up Robinson.
Imam Shumpert: This one’s straight from our beloved colleague here at lowertherim, DR. A, who has been singing Shumpert’s name from the mountain tops all week long. As improbable as it would seem, Shumpert might be the man in New York sometime soon. Toney Douglas is doomed to become a journeyman in the league, and who knows when Baron Davis will be back, and where his head will be at when the time comes. If Shumpert continues to play well, he may be running the show for the rest of the year. And you have to guess that at this point Mike D’Antoni is feeling the heat under his seat, meaning he’ll be looking to catch lightning in a bottle with a player like Shumpert in order to save his job. Doctor’s orders: pick up Shumpert.
Assuming Norris Cole is no longer available in your league’s free agent market, here’s a pick up your slightly informed friends might not have thought of yet: Josh Howard. The Utah Suck have given him increased minutes, and Howard has been nothing but productive. Brian Smith of the Salt Lake Tribune has taken notice.
Utah’s season essentially ended after the first game, and now all that’s left for the Jazz to do is rummage up and down their depth chart and see if they’ve got any hidden gems to keep around for next year. Howard is one of those gems, and after a few years of dormancy it looks like he might return to something comparable to his Dallas form. The guy has the ability to fill up a stat sheet. He put up 18 points and 7 boards against San Antonio the other night, and he’s usually good for a few dimes. If Utah bumps his minutes to 30, he’ll be the hottest forward on the free agent market. And as we fantasy owners all know, by then it’s too late. Get him now and stash him. Start him if you’re desperate.