the bigger break-ups in the news lately, Britney dumped Kevin, Reese and Ryan
split, America booted the Republicans and Ben Wallace walked away from his Pistons.
Which will have the biggest impact on society? That remains to be seen (Reese,
call me), but Ben Wallace's arrival on the Bulls has already had some significant
fantasy hoops implications. Let's get right to it.
Welcome to the big show, Mr. Zach Randolph. When the Portland
Trail Blazers kept Randolph as their franchise player, we scoffed. Despite earning the sixth pick in each round, Randolph had done little warrant such meritorious consideration. Well, we were wrong. In four games last week, Randolph scored 35, 36, 31 and 20 points and pulled in 13, 10, 12 and 9 rebounds, respectively. Prior
to this season, the fifth-year forward out of Michigan State was known more for
the fines and suspensions than anything else. What's more, he looks like Eddie
Winslow from "Family Matters," one of the all-time great shows. With Emeka Okafor,
Deron Williams and Tracy McGrady, the fantasy Blazers have the best record in
Kirk Hinrich or Ben Wallace? Chicago Bulls general manager Mark Gunderson had a tough choice when choosing who to keep as his franchise player prior to the start of the season. He went with Hinrich, a young point guard, over Wallace, an aging rebound specialist who signed with the Bulls as a free agent. Apparently, he took some heat for that decision from our very own fantasy guru, Jon Loomer. Do not confuse Loomer for the Commissioner of PFC. He may have made all of the picks for the Knicks because I was on vacation in Cabo San Lucas, but as far as running the league goes, he is more of a C.O.O. (not that I know what those do, either). But Loomer makes comments and then I have to answer for them. It's like when my girlfriend gets her friends a really tacky wedding present and signs my name and then I get the half-hearted thank you note as well. Don't lump me in with the bad, please, just the good.
Says Loomer, "He thought I gave him heat, but did not. Whatever, it's kind of a non-issue since he doesn't know what he's talking about." Read for yourself in the Draft report card feature.
Here's how they stack up:
But after Wallace pulled down 18 rebounds for the Bulls in Saturday's 89-80 win, Hinrich made his position known:
is what we've been dealing with four times a year. He's a beast in there. He's
always throwing his body around, getting his hands on balls, rebounding, kicking
it out and giving us so many extra opportunities. He was definitely huge for us
Stat of the Week
Number of players who averaged double-doubles last week: 14.
Can you name them? Shawn Marion, Dwight Howard, Jermaine O'Neal, Rasheed Wallace, Yao Ming, Kevin Garnett, Chris Bosh, Carlos Boozer, Tim Duncan, Dirk Nowitzki, Emeka Okafor, Paul Pierce, Zach Randolph and Deron Williams. Williams was the only player to average double figures in assists, posting 20.2 ppg and 10.2 apg. Sixty-four players had at least one double-double. Boozer, Okafor, Nowitzki and Randolph each had three to lead the league last week. Ryan Gomes and Jason Kidd were the only two players to record triple-doubles.
On the Hotseat
Halfway through the first month of the fantasy season, it is not too late to begin thinking about which owners migh be on the hotseat. Each month, the owners in the Premier Fantasy Championship will vote to fire one of the owners of the league with a sub-.500 record. Whether it is questionable transactions, annoying posts on message boards or simply general suckitude, someone's going to go each month and will be replaced by the owner of a successful league in one of the many NBA.com Development Leagues.
Who are the leading candidates?
The Orlando Magic are out to a 1-14-1 start, the worst in the league. Joel Thaw's Magic got an old-fashioned "thumpin'" last week, losing in all eight categories. The loveable Knicks have not fared much better, posting only three wins and one tie through the first two weeks. As I told my waiter this weekend at a new Moroccan restaurant here in New York, "Ribs with no bone is really just a steak." What does that have to do with us. Well, a fantasy basketball team without a center has no backbone. That's what we are... until Antonio McDyess gains center eligibility. Sad when you are banking on McDyess to save your season. Rounding out the bottom five, the Clippers and Suns are each 4-12 and the Nets are 5-9-2. Let the campaigning to save your jobs begin.
I'll start out by saying that if you vote to can the Knicks ownership group, we may just shut down the league. Okay, not really, but will it really be as fun without us? In the meantime, I'll continue to ponder why someone with an Ivy League education is subjecting himself to this kind of public humiliation.
Team of the Week
Not only did the Houston Dynamo win the MLS Cup this past weekend, delivering a championship to the soccer-crazy fans of south Texas, but the PFC Houston Rockets cruised to a 8-0 win over the Cleveland Cavaliers this past week. Led be Yao Ming's 116 points and 46 rebounds in four games, the Rockets launched their way into the spotlight. Houston lost a 3-5 decision in Week One while the heavily-favored Cavs came in atop their division with a 7-1 record. What a difference a week makes. In other embarrassing outcomes, Miami also blanked the Clippers while the Blazers kept the Magic scoreless.
Game of the Week
While the NBA's Denver Nuggets are off to a slow start, the PFC version of the Nuggets are out of the gates strong and further padded their record with a 5-3 win against the Utah Jazz. In a contest that went back and forth all week, Denver outscored Utah by more than 100 points even with someone named Monta Ellis in the lineup, yet the Jazz tallied more assists and rebounds. I know, I know, Ellis is averaging 16 points per contest off the bench while Andrew Bynum continues to impress. Carmelo, Tony Parker and Ben Wallace are setting good examples for these youngsters...
In case you haven't been keeping up on the message board, Suns owner Eric Carmichael knows what it's like to lose despite 57 points out of Michael Redd on Saturday night. He should talk with NBA.com's Rob Peterson, who is suffering along with him right about now.
Better Know An Owner
There are two sides to Detroit Pistons general manager Andrew Westerdale. Fantasy basketball strategist and math genius. Westerdale, age 19, is currently a math major at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, known to those of us with lesser intellect as M.I.T. Whether he was involved in the Bringing Down the House casino dupe, he knows Moneyball and "SABRmetrics" inside and out and, naturally, goes about fantasy sports management like a math major at M.I.T. would. He expects to rule the PFC the same way he dominated the Florida Mathematics League back as a student at Marjory Stoneman Douglas HS and the 2004 National Mu Alpha Theta Convention, where he placed first in something called Mu (Calculus) Composite - Individual and Ciphering. Think Val Kilmer's Chris Knight in Real Genius, likely sans the success with the ladies. Regardless, he lives the "Thugfest" way of life to the fullest, works a mean grill and knows that the punks from Cal Tech are just a bunch of wimps.
Subtraction By Addition
And we have a trade...
The Bulls sent J.J. Redick and Brad Miller to Seattle for Raef LaFrentz and Corey Maggette. Ummm, okay. Redick is really not a factor in this deal, so let's look at the Miller for LaFrentz and Maggette implications:
As a center, Brad Miller should have more fantasy value than he has displayed in the first two weeks of the season. But a torn tendon in his left foot has him likely out for at least one month. Ouch. Maggette has been coming off the bench in Los Angeles this season, but his numbers have not dropped off too much. He is only averaging one point fewer per game so far, but he is grabbing nearly three more boards per game. LaFrentz has only played one game with the Blazers this season so far, opening night, and saw only eight minutes of action.
Last week, we spent some time pointing out some of the more expensive waiver moves of the first week. Well, Week Two saw plenty of action on the wires, including the Seattle Sonics spending $43 to pick up Dorell Wright. Now I like Dorell Wright. He won me over as a member of the Florida Flame in the NBA Development League last year, and we even put in a big bid of $1 this week to win his rights. But spending nearly half of your entire seasonal spending limit on Mr. Wright could make that general manager Mr. Wrong.
The Sonics must have been scouting the D-League last season because they also spent $24 on Ime Udoka, dropping J.J. Redick just days after the trade. Udoka is starting with the Blazers and he and his sister, Mfon, hold the distinction of becoming the first brother-sister pair to play in the NBA and WNBA. Among the savvier moves of the week, the Hornets nabbed guard Tyronn Lue (11.8 ppg, 4.0 apg) for only $6 and the Heat scored Darrell Armstrong (8.0 ppg, 2.7 apg) for only $1. As my man Dave McMenamimenemamian told us over the weekend, Armstrong still has some life left in his legs.
What to Watch
Minnesota Timberwolves at Atlanta Hawks. Two teams with strong teams and winning records, both in second place in their respective divisions and looking to move up. Kevin Garnett and the Wolves bring their 11-4-1 record to town while the Hawks are 10-6. Hawks franchise player Marvin Williams is on the bench with an injury, but Andre Miller, Elton Brand and Ryan Gomes have picked up the slack. Meanwhile, the Knicks head to 8-8 Memphis looking for respect. The Grizzlies are in last place in the Southwest division, far and away the strongest division thus far.
Check back next week to see how it all plays out. Until then, I'll be scanning the Help Wanted section of the paper just in case my new friends turn against me at the end of the month.