Living the Fantasy: Bad Rotations

Print RSS Feeds E-News Sign Up

By NBA TV's Rick Kamla

January 12, 2007

This weekís title sounds like a wannabe metal band that can't get off the ground because all they have is big hair and Bon Jovi covers. But rest assured, freaks, bad music will not get in the way of our analysis of the most frustrating rotations in the NBA today.

I'm not into the whole calling-for-a-coach's-head thing because I'm a man of karma and they have families and it's just not cool. That said, I can't help myself when it comes to criticizing a coach for a rotation that is not only bad for his team, but the fantasy world as well.

Seattle SuperSonics

Crazy as it sounds, Rick wouldn't be surprised to see Collison hit the pine soon.
(Terrence Vacarro/NBAE/Getty Images)
Bob Hill's recent benching of Luke Ridnour, who happens to be in the pipeline for the US National Team, is the inspiration for this article. Is Hill kidding? Has he not alienated enough of his players already; he has to banish Cool Hand Luke to the bench as well?

Was Luke struggling? Off and on ... yeah, he was struggling a little bit, but not enough to bench him for Earl Watson, who will take at least two bad shots per game. At least. Why do you think Watson has made four stops (Seattle, Memphis, Denver, Seattle) in his five-plus seasons?

In 35 starts this year, Luke is averaging 14.5 points, 6.3 assists, 34.5 minutes, and heís shooting 46 percent. In coming off the bench for the past three games, however, Luke has averaged 7.7 points, 3.0 assists, 21.7 minutes, and heís shooting 32 percent. No, it does not appear that the benching has inspired or motivated Ridnour, but I donít blame him for pouting (if that is, in fact, the case) because this is one of the most insane demotions Iíve ever seen.

Ridnourís benching is a classic case of a desperate coach making a change to give his bosses and the media the notion that heís still trying.

Hill says he's only going to play the guys who play hard, so maybe that explains his 4Ĺ-man rotation. But most of the blame falls on Hill, who has messed with every player not named Ray or Rashard this season.

Nick Collison, who recently had a 29 and 21 followed by a 21 and 9, will likely return to the bench in a week or so because thatís the book on Hill this year. I donít think thereís a player in the league who has seen his role, position, or minutes adjusted more than Collisonís. And thatís a bummer because he would probably develop into a double-double type of player if he knew his minutes and role every night.

Freaks, either the Supes' complementary players simply cannot sustain a high level of play, or Hill has absolutely no tolerance for a slump. Regardless, this team is a mess from a fantasy standpoint and that's shame, because if used correctly, Ridnour, Watson, Collison, and Damien Wilkins all would have had fantasy value after Lewis' hand injury.

Hang in there with Rid, as it's only a matter of time before Hill changes his mind again...and then a matter of time before he dabbles with Watson again. Enough!

Minnesota Timberwolves

After a messy public divorce from my Wolves in mid December because of the non-trade for Allen Iverson, I am back with the team I grew up with because I received confirmation from a friend close to the team that Kevin McHale did everything he could to acquire AI. McHale was ALL IN for AI, but the Sixers went with the Nuggets for reasons we donít have time for today.

Buzzkill.

Because I trust this friend unequivocally, McHale has been exonerated of any wrongdoing in terms of acquiring Iverson in my unofficial world. That said, McHale is still very much on the hook for drafting Rashad McCants over Gerald Green, the Joe Smith Fiasco, the Cassell-for-Jaric trade, and on and on...

But this isn't about McHale or even Will Avery. This is about Dwane Casey treating Randy Foye with kid gloves. From talking with this unnamed friend (seriously, he has no name), Foye isn't playing big minutes because Casey doesn't want to give him too much too soon and Casey seems to trust veterans like Mike James, Trenton Hassell, and Marko Jaric more than Foye.

Foye has closed several fourth quarters in recent weeks, like the home game against the Bulls when he shook Kirk Hinrich for the game-winning runner. But Foye's minutes remain a mystery, as he's gone 19 to 41 to 30 to 18 to 28 in the last five games.

I said it during the preseason and I'll say it again. Foye needs to play 30+ minutes for this team. Period. I don't care if he's in the midst of a 1-for-10 like he had the other night. The Wolves haven't had a sexy first-rounder since Stephon Marbury was acquired for Ray Allen on draft night in 1996, so why not play the guy you obtained 10 years later in a similar draft night deal for Brandon Roy?

When Foye was on his game and playing consistently a couple weeks ago, he was good for 15 points, three rebounds, two assists, one three, one steal, and almost one block per game.

Last year my crusade was to FREE EDDIE Griffin to give the fantasy world a taste of his three-point shooting and shot blocking ... but he obviously proved me WRONG in the offseason.

This year my crusade is to FREE FOYE ... and I'm confident I won't be regretting this endorsement.

New York Knicks

Isiah Thomas has done a pretty good job of restoring confidence in the Knicks and getting the entire organization headed in the right direction. The team has won five in a row at the Garden and things appear to be looking up for the Knicks.

However, Isiah is completely missing the point with forwards Jared Jeffries and David Lee. I mean, it's like...what game are you watching, Isiah? Even a primate could see that Lee should be starting over Jeffries.

Lee is averaging a double-double on the season (10.6 points and 10.5 rebounds) with .612 field goal shooting in just 30.1 minutes. However, in 12 starts this season Lee averaged 12.7 points, 11.7 rebounds, and .644 from the field in 35.1 minutes.

Freaks, there are All-Stars in this league who aren't as efficient as Lee. Yet Jeffries gets back from injury and gets the starting job...then Jeffries loses the job due to suspension...and gets it back upon returning. I've heard of unconditional love, but this is ridiculous.

I realize Jeffries was brought in (and overpaid) because of his defense, but the dude has exactly one game with double-digit points all season. He's averaging 6.3 points on 41 percent for the year, but in January those numbers have dipped to 3.8 ppg on 38 percent. Sweet.

And Jeffries recently admitted that he isn't even getting it done on the defensive end, so my only conclusion is that Isiah is stubbornly leaving Jeffries in the starting lineup to avoid criticism for another bad free agent signing.

Do not drop Lee, as Isiah has been known to change his mind in a New York minute. Lee has not started his last game for the Knicks this seasonóand he still has value even in the 25-30 minute range.

Charlotte Bobcats

We've talked about Sean May's lack of minutes before, so I won't belabor the point. But it appears Bernie Bickerstaff still feels the need to limit May's minutes for whatever reason. Alas, Bernie is wrong and I'm kinda bummed that Michael Jordan hasnít come to the rescue of a fellow Tar Heel in need.

Like a workhorse back in the NFL, May actually gets better the more minutes he plays.

To wit, when he plays 30 or more minutes this season heís averaging 21 points and 10 rebounds. However, because this team has no read on one of its best players, May is averaging 23.6 minutes on the season, and his numbers have been limited to 12.0 points (.510 from the field and .798 from the line), 6.7 rebounds, and 0.7 blocks. His line should read 18 and 10 with 1.5 blocks and 50/80 on the percentages.

Itís real simple, freaks. With everybody healthy the Bobcats should go with Emeka Okafor at the five, May at the four, Gerald Wallace at the three, Adam Morrison at the two, and Raymond Felton at the one. This team should trade Brevin Knight to a contender because A) he deserves it and B) heís just impeding the progress of both Felton and Morrison.

It's time to unleash the beast, Bernie. Please comply or the complaints will continue...


Rick Kamla is NBA.com's resident fantasy expert. Rick Kamla will be here all season long to give you his insider analysis on the fantasy basketball world. Kamla is the heady host for "NBA Fantasy Hoops Presented By Toyota," a seven-nights-a-week, one-hour studio show that has become the ultimate guide for NBA fantasy basketball players.

CHECK OUT KAMLA'S KORNER!

Check out: Fantasy Article Archive and Schedule