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May 1 -- Carmelo Anthony
April 30 -- Shawn Marion
April 29 -- Vince Carter
April 28 -- Bonzi Wells
April 27 -- Jermaine O'Neal
May 1 -- Just Getting Interesting
April 29 -- Adjusting On the Fly
April 25 -- No Doubt
April 24 -- Break Out the Abacus
April 23 -- Let's Roll
April 22 -- The Clock Ticks

Posted by By Jon Loomer on May 1, 2006 1:25 p.m. ET


First, how about those Experts? We started out slowly, but have turned it on recently with solid selections of Jermaine O'Neal, Bonzi Wells, Vince Carter and Shawn Marion. Marion was one of those picks that had to be made. He scored 33 PRA -- which was ok -- but with the possibility growing that the Suns were about to be eliminated, we needed to start dipping into the Phoenix talent pool.

Don't blink because things are about to get interesting. The week will start quietly for the expert picks over the next couple of days. After that, all hell breaks loose. John Shuhmann picked Carmelo for today's elimination game between the Nuggets and Clippers. That's a no-brainer. Not sure who Brad Friedman is picking tomorrow, but Steve Nash would be my pick in that elimination game. Wednesday's pick should be relatively easy for Jeff Dengate since we've already picked the only fantasy-worthy players on both the Bucks and Grizzlies (Redd and Gasol). I'd be shocked if Arenas isn't Jeff's man for that day.

After that, it gets ugly. Ugly partly because we need some games played out first, but you need to have contingent plans in place later this week. This is what I'm looking at Thursday:

If Chicago is up 3-2, I'm going Dwyane Wade. Have to. If Miami and Indiana are both up, I'm going Jason Kidd. If Miami and New Jersey are both up, I'm going Andre Miller. My brain already hurts.

On Friday, I'm again avoiding players from the Detroit-Milwaukee and Dallas-Memphis series. If Washington leads Cleveland 3-2, I have no choice but to go LeBron James. Just not worth the risk of waiting. If Cleveland is up and Sacramento somehow manages to be up 3-2 at this point, I'll go with Duncan. If both Cleveland and San Antonio are up, Ron Artest will be my man.

Still following? Let's keep moving.

If Phoenix ties up the series with the Lakers, it is time to use Kobe on Saturday. Similarly to the LeBron James game, you can't aford to risk it here. If that series is over, we haven't previously used Dwyane Wade, and the Miami-Chicago series is knotted up at 3, Wade is our guy. If both series are over and Kidd wasn't used on Thursday, Kidd is the man.

This is approaching hilarity.

If the Lakers and Suns are done, Wade was previously used, and Nets-Pacers series is over, Hinrich will be my pick. It's possible that the only series left to play will be Denver-Clippers. In that case, we go Camby.

Breathe. Stretch. Take a bathroom break. Here's the home stretch.

If LeBron wasn't used on Friday and that series is still live, you have to go with him on Sunday. If the Cavs-Wizards series is over and Memphis magically pulls their series even by topping the Mavericks three times in a row, it is now finally time to use Dirk Nowitzki. If both of those series have concluded and the Bucks managed to push to seven, it's time to think Rasheed Wallace. Even if it goes seven and the Pistons win, they have plenty more players to choose from in the future. Last option if only Sacramento-San Antonio stand? Manu Ginobili.

Wow. That was painful. You get the point. Plenty to plan, plenty to watch. It's not all about picking the best players every day.

Have you taken a look at the people at the top of this game right now? They're doing great -- and may be fighting for the weekly PSP -- but barring some shocking developments they likely won't be on top at the end. They've used players like Kobe, LeBron, Dirk, Ginobili, and Wade. If all series go deep, we Experts may need to resort to making similar picks. But I doubt we'll need to pick Dirk. And I'd be shocked if we need to pick Kobe, Wade or Ginobili. So, beginning next round, things will change quickly.

At least that's what I keep telling myself.