Drive to the Finals Expert Pick: Erick Dampier
By Jon Loomer
June 20 - Fantasy disables the ability of one's brain to enjoy a good sporting event. It's true. Well, the level of one's fantasy fanaticism may be the underlying factor here.
As great as that game was on Sunday, all I could think about was Jason Williams, our pick for the day. Every time the ball was tossed in to Shaq, i'd think, "Kick it out! Williams is open!"
Whenever J-Will passed to an open shooter, I'd scream, "SHOOOOT!" And if that player chose instead to dish to a slashing teammate for a dunk, I'd curse him for such selfishness.
It was a fantastic game. It really was. But Jason Williams got ripped by the fantasy gods over and over again.
It's funny because you don't notice these things unless you are playing fantasy. But it seemed as though countless wide open Williams-assisted shots were rimming out. Or the players receiving Williams' passes were getting fouled and missing their shots.
It was painful, to say the least. Although, I was excited to see him find a way to put up 10 PRA by the half. Heading into the game, I was starting to regret making the pick instead of Marquis Daniels, who was going to see additional time with Jerry Stackhouse suspended. It turned out the choice was the right one.
But I saw the game through the eyes of a fantasy fanatic, not a basketball fan. Jason Williams hit an early three to open the second half and his PRA was sitting at a healthy 14. I was sitting pretty.
What happened next? Williams sat. And sat. And sat.
Why? Why would Pat Riley do this to me?
Still, Williams had to get some minutes eventually. And when this game went into OT, I rejoiced.
Outside of going in for Shaq to take a 10-second stroll, he got nothing.
Ugh. And so, the Experts dropped a few slots and are seeing our opportunity to crack the Top 50 slip away. This was our shot. J-Will was going to get us 25 PRA and launch us into the promised land.
Didn't happen. On the bright side, I can't regret the choice because there weren't any better options. Of the remaining players we had yet to choose, none of them -- including Payton -- put up as many PRA as Williams. So I had that going for me.
And today's game? Not much left, folks. I consider our pool of players to be down to Erick Dampier, Payton and Adrian Griffin. There was a time when I was excited about the emergence of Dampier in these Finals. Things have changed quickly.
Since opening the Finals with PRA's of 15, 20 and 23, Dampier has thrown up clunkers of five and eight. Sure could use a 20 spot about now, Erick.
But we really don't have a better option. Adrian Griffin has had PRA's of five, 12, 10, four and 10 in this series. Payton has had 12, four, six, seven and six. So, it's looking like Dampier today and Griffin (if it gets that far) for Game 7.
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