Fantasy Forecast: Week 20
You know, most of the emails I get are asking who the hot FA pick-ups are on the waiver wire or what I think about a trade you were offered/you offered someone else. However, there are many of you that just like to talk about the NBA and who I have winning the title at the end of the season. So, I am going to take my fantasy hat off for one second and give you my opinion on a few teams.
Miami Heat: I’ve said this all along, the Heat lack depth and Dwyane Wade and LeBron James are the same player… they don’t complement each other. Why Chris Bosh got a max deal is beyond me because isn’t a max type of player. The team beats up on weaker opponents, but can’t win against teams as good as or better than them. They are 1-and-18 when they are trailing by three or fewer points, so they have an obvious lack of clutch play when they need it most. They WILL NOT win the NBA title this season.
Boston Celtics: Veteran team with depth and talent at every position, except center. It will take a while for Troy Murphy to get back into game shape, but Carlos Arroyo was a nice addition since they didn’t have a true backup PG. The Bulls and Magic may give them problems in the paint in the post-season, but I really think they can take the East and give the Spurs, Mavericks or Lakers a run for their money in the end. My pick in the East.
Chicago Bulls: The starting five are as good as any starting lineup in the NBA, but depth is not the word I use to describe their bench. Ronnie Brewer is a lockdown defender, but not someone that can provide offense off the bench; Kyle Korver can shoot, but he is averaging an empty 8.3 PPG this season. If they can get their starters to play from start to finish, they could run with anyone… for one or two games. But, in a five or seven game series they need a bench and they don’t have one they can count on.
San Antonio Spurs: They are sporting the best record in the NBA right now and they just get the job done. Tim Duncan is averaging 13.4 points, 9.1 rebounds and 28.7 minutes per-game right now, all career lows. The thing with the Spurs is they bring their lunch pail to work every single day and just get the job done. This is possibly Duncan’s last truly productive season as a starter, so look for them to play hard until the final whistle blows.
Dallas Mavericks: They are the team that can’t ever seem to get it done in the post-season. They look good on paper with a team that has talent at every position and the depth to match, but they just can’t seem to get it done when it matters most. Maybe this is their year… but I can’t buy what they are selling because they have a long history of fizzling out in the playoffs. Show me the money before I push all in Mavericks fans!
L.A. Lakers: Can the Lakers three-peat ala the Bulls of the mid 90’s? Kobe Bryant is on the wrong side of 30 [years-old] now, but his stats are still on par with the previous two seasons, minus the two fewer PPG this season (27.0 to 25.1). But, with Pau Gasol, Lamar Odom, Andrew Bynum, Derek Fisher and Ron Artest on the roster, Kobe can afford to take a small step back once in a while. You can never bet against the defending champions, so I certainly won’t bet against the two time defending champions! My pick in the West.
On a side note: Kevin Love has notched 50 straight double-doubles and is just one away from tying Moses Malone for the NBA record. Love also recorded his third straight 20-20 game on Saturday, making him the first player to accomplish the feat since Kevin Willis did it back in 1991 (Love was just 3-years-old when that happened). I will say right now that there is no way Love goes outside of the top five picks in next year’s fantasy draft after this monster season.
PG – Jarrett Jack: I am writing this with no definitive word on the extent of Chris Paul’s injury, so this is all based on the assumption that Paul will miss a game or two this week. If that happens, Jack will easily play 35-plus minutes a night as the Hornets have no depth whatsoever at the PG position. He is a true rental player this week, so those in cap leagues can buy low and sell high if you move right now.
SG – Randy Foye: Eric Gordon took a nasty fall and is rumored to be out 7-10 days with a wrist injury, so that makes Foye a hot FA pickup. Gordon missed nearly six weeks earlier this season because of the same wrist, so two weeks might end up being a month for all we know. Foye 17.3 points and 4.6 assists a night over the past two weeks and he is owned in just 37 percent of all leagues. I’d pick him up and start him as long as Gordon is out; but be ready to pull the trigger once Gordon returns.
SG – James Harden: Another waiver wire addition, Harden is available in roughly 45 percent of leagues. Over the past two weeks, Harden is averaging 17.0 points a night while shooting 46.7 percent from the field and 95.5 percent from the free-throw line. He comes off the bench, but he still manages to see 28-29 MPG and scores well enough to fit a utility role for most fantasy teams.
SF – Chase Budinger: Why is this kid still available in 59 percent of leagues while O.J. Mayo is still owned in 69 percent of leagues? As a waiver wire player goes, I don’t think you could ask for more than the 16.9 points, 4.6 rebounds and 49.4 percent shooting Budinger has been giving over the last two weeks. I would bet dollars to doughnuts he is better than the bench fodder you have right now.
PF – Greg Monroe: Monroe qualifies at both PF and C, so his value is slightly higher than the typical single slot players. Add to that his 13.0 points, 9.0 rebounds and 58.3 percent shooting from the field in 34:17 MPG over the past month, and one has to wonder why he is still available in 39 percent of leagues. The Pistons are not a very good team, but Monroe looks for real in fantasy terms.
C – Ed Davis: The Raptors rookie is really a PF, but most leagues have him listed as a PF/C combo. Over the past two weeks he has been able to put up 9.4 points, 7.6 rebounds and 1.3 blocks a night, despite playing just over 25 MPG. He does have to share time with Amir Johnson and James Johnson, but sooner or later the Raptors will realize they are a few losses away from the #1 overall pick in the coming draft and the rookie will get some serious run to wrap the season up.
PG - Ty Lawson: Lawson has the starting PG job over Raymond Felton for the moment, but it is a true timeshare situation at the same time. Over the past week, Lawson has managed to put up 13.5 points, 6.5 assists and a ridiculous 8.667 A/T ration in the 29:45 MPG he plays. That being said, the Nuggets play just two games this week and there is nothing a player can do for stats while sitting at home.
SG – Nick Young: Young has the skills to put up 30-plus points on any given night. And, with no depth to speak of at the SG position, Young’s value is only going to get better as the season winds down. However, the Wizards play just twice this week and you could use someone like Marcus Thornton of the Kings instead and get more production out of him this week (owned in just 59 percent of leagues too).
SF – Danilo Gallinari: Another victim of the two-game work week, Gallinari should be benched this week for those in weekly transaction leagues. Not to mention that he is dealing with a toe injury and hasn’t played since February 25th. I’d bench him until we see some consistency and healthy play from Gallinari.
PF – Kris Humphries: Let me first say I would pick Humphries up if you are in one of the 38 percent of leagues he is available in since he is averaging 15.8 points, 13.2 rebounds and 1.2 blocks a night over the past two weeks. That being said, the Nets play two games this week and in one he will be worried about chasing Blake Griffin around the court and not making the wrong side of a Sports Center top 10 play. I’d grab him if he is available, but don’t play him this week.
C – JaVale McGee: On the season, McGee is averaging 8.9 points, 7.7 rebounds and 2.2 blocks a night. But, he too plays just two games this week and his numbers over the last two weeks (7.6 points and 8.6 rebounds) are only on par with the season numbers because he had back-to-back good performances against the Mavericks and Heat in late February. If center wasn’t such a thin spot in the NBA, I would have already cut McGee from my teams.
James Morris hails from Rio Rancho, N.M., and has been playing fantasy sports since 1997. In addition to writing the Timberwolves Fantasy Forecast, Morris also writes fantasy articles for the Boston Celtics, and Indiana Pacers, as well as the NFL fantasy forecast for the Cincinnati Bengals, Jacksonville Jaguars, and Arizona Cardinals. You can also find him on Twitter or get him on Facebook for all your fantasy sports updates.