April 19 - So… how’d I do? Again?

Last fantasy basketball column of the season kids for the TMR although I’ll be doing one for the NBA Playoff Fantasy Game soon….But this is the final fantasy hoops column of the year. And, with only three days left in the season, I am looking back at my pre-season predictions.

Here’s what I wrote last week:

When you are an “Expert” – that is to say, when you are paid for your writing and predictions – especially in fantasy sports, you are only as good as your prognostications. Every year, no matter what the sport, I see folks put out their sleeper lists, their busts lists, their projections and rankings.

Then the season ends and everyone forgets. But not me. I’m like whatever animal has really good memories. Elephant? Hippo? Mo Vaughn? It’s one of those. Anyways, the point is… I like to put my money where my mouth is. As far as I have seen, I am the only columnist who grades himself after the season on his ENTIRE list, not just selected ones to make themselves look good.

So with the season closing down, I am going to print my “LOVE / HATE” list from the pre-season. This week my “LOVE” list, next week the “HATE” list and see how I did. The idea of the list was that players I “LOVED” were players that I thought would exceed their expectations. Whether those expectations were two points or 20 points a game.

So here it is. Written on Saturday, October 8th, 2006 here’s the list, completely unedited, for better or worse. The projections I am basing this on are the ones listed in the NBA.com Fantasy Basketball Draft Magazine. And here we go. I am not going to re-write all the projections and all of the final stats – you can look them up yourself if you care. Or you can trust me. Either way, my new comments have a “***” next to them.

Back to present day now and last week was the love list. By my own self-grading, I scored 29 out of 46 for 63% correct.

Among the email reactions I got was two different emails from reader Jim which totaled over 1000 words. Basically, it was a lot of numbers explaining why I suck, but here’s an edited version of one of his notes…

TMR: 29 out of 46 ain't bad. However, you're going to score well when you're grading your own exam. Why not create a poll and let the readers decide how you well you did in each instance. Also, if you put guys like Stoudamire, Harris, Perkins on your list of guys you love, then aren't you saying that you expect him to do better than 'not projected to do much'? In that case, the fact that he didn't do much wouldn't qualify as a push. Otherwise, why'd you put them on your list in the first place? …Calling Hinrich (elite point guard), Baron (this is the year he stays healthy), Manu (next level), Peja, TJ Ford (healthy) and Dwight Howard (next Amare's) are each a stretch as pushes or wins based on the reason you listed for including them. And calling Darko (232nd rated player based on per game stats), Pietrus (246th), Miles (163rd), and especially Desmond Mason (282nd) wins is also stretching it. Jim Colton

Back to me now and I thought it was fairly clear on a few things. One, that the original point of the list is for leagues of all sizes. Guys like Kendrick Perkins may not have value in most leagues but I have readers that are in 20 team 15 man roster leagues and Perkins is a valuable commodity. So someone projected for 5 points that gets 8 is of value. I guess I could have been more clear about how I graded though.

It’s based on season totals, not per game averages and it is based on the standard eight rotisserie categories. If a guy was above projections in 5 or more of 8 categories, he was a win. 3 or less, he was a loss. I don’t pay attention to the reason I wrote. First, most of them are jokes and do you really care if a guy goes nuts because another guy on his team got injured or because he got traded? We care only about numbers and if you are going to penalize me for the fact that my one line quips were not exactly right as to why a guy exceeded or did not (as you’ll see below) then… I don’t know. You’re nuts. Find yourself a new fantasy columnist.

I also used common sense in what the worth of a player is. If T.J Ford didn’t surpass his blocks projections, who cares? The number were negligible. In other words, no turnovers. You can’t predict injury of course so a “LOVE” player that went down I took a pass on, like Miles. Specifically, guys like Mason, Darko, Pietrus and Miles DID exceed their projected season totals.

Anyways, if you have a problem (or agree) with my grading, feel free to drop me a line at the email address at the end of the column. And with that, let’s get to it.

GUYS I HATE:

AL HARRINGTON/SF/ATL: For a small forward to play for me, he needs to shoot the three or block something. Harrington does neither.
*** Off to a bad start. Baby Al was awesome this year. 0 for 1.

ERICK DAMPIER/C/DAL: They say everything is bigger in Texas. That include stiffs?
*** And we’re back to .500. 1 for 2.

KEITH VAN HORN/F/DAL: On the plus side, when he’s sitting on the bench in his sweats we don’t have to see his high socks.
*** Yeah, he used to be good. 2 for 3.

JAMAAL TINSLEY/G/IND: The extra “a” stands for “a turnover machine.”
*** Or, it could have stood for “a terrible season.” 3 of 4.

STEPHEN JACKSON/SG/IND: Gonna be a lot tougher with everyone not suspended.
*** Fairly inconsistent, but at end of the year, did what was projected in most categories. Push.

MARCUS BANKS/G/BOS: Not sure who will win starting PG job, just know who won’t.
*** He was invisible until he got to Minnesota but then he was much better. Overall, he was better than projections. Loss 3 of 5.

CARMELO ANTHONY/F/DEN: Better name than fantasy player. Typical response: “Yeah, same thing said about ‘Talented Mr. Roto.’
*** Proof that I am not doctoring these. 3 of 6

MARCUS CAMBY/C/DEN: Think he stays healthy three years in a row? Then you are braver than I. And stupider. Or, uh, more handsome. Yeah, more handsome. Don’t ask for your money back!
*** Bailed out by injury. He was unreal at first, then injured, then fairly ineffectual. Call it a push.

BREVIN KNIGHT/G/CHA: Do not - I repeat - do not - look at last year’s stats.
*** He went off. 3 of 7

TAYSHAUN PRINCE/F/DET: On the plus side, I really liked Purple Rain.
*** Projected for 17 and 5 with two steals a game, he winds up at 14, 4 and less than one. 4 of 8

RICHARD HAMILTON/G/DET: See Anthony, Carmelo.
*** A true push. Points, field goal percentage, blocks and threes were up, rebounds, assists free throw percentage and steals were below projections. Push.

RASHEED WALLACE/C/DET: I’ve never liked him. He’s never liked me. Legally, I am not allowed to talk about it except to say it involves, as most of these things do, an awkward night with Lindsay Lohan.
*** He rebounded and shot worse than projected but everything else was right in line. I’ll call it a push.

TIM THOMAS/F/CHI: The problem with Thomas in Chicago is that they already have versions of Tim Thomas and they’re all better and younger.
*** Phoenix was too little, too late. 5 of 9

MIKE DUNLEAVY/F/GS: So sue me, but I’ve never been a fan of 4th options on offense.
*** The .406 field goal percentage is the final nail. 6 of 10.

EDDIE JONES/G/MEM: A while ago, there was a movie called “Eddie.” It starred Whoopi Goldberg as a loud mouth fan of the Knicks who ends up getting the head coaching job by being, I don’t know, loud. Lacking in humor, a believable plot and, sadly, the best acting in the movie is by Rick Fox, this movie is, as we say in the film industry, shitty. So the connection between the name Eddie and Pro Basketball was already soured in my mind BEFORE Mr. Jones got traded to a team that already has three other guys that can play the two.
*** Just a bad season for Eddie among all the talent in Memphis. 7 of 11

LORENZEN WRIGHT/C/MEM: Unless you’re cool with getting no blocks from your center.
*** Projected for 10 and 7, he finished at five and five. 8 of 12

BOB SURA/G/HOU: The Rafer Alston trade? Not a vote of confidence.
*** Remember when he was Mr. Triple Double? 9 of 13

DEREK ANDERSON/G/HOU: Once a Clipper, Always a Clipper. There. I said it.
*** Need to rethink Clipper jokes, but not Derek Anderson ones. 10 of 14

ANTOINE WALKER/F/MIA: The killing of your FG%, the fact that he won’t see the rock in Miami, the poor attitude… there are many reasons to hate Employee #8, but how’s about I just choose the shimmy and we leave it at that?
*** Add another reason. He was invisible this year. 11 of 15

SHAQUILLE O’ NEAL/C/MIA: He was on good behavior last year, but this year, he’s got reinforcements and another year on his belt. No more than 67 games. Three of the last four years. Not enough games for a guy you’ll take in round one, but enough to kill your FT%.
*** As of Sunday morning, he had played 58 games this year. 12 of 16

BOBBY SIMMONS/F/MIL: It’s as true in fantasy as it is in real life: Never pay for a career year.
*** Projected at 16 and 5, he is at 13 and 4 while both percentages are below expectations as well. 13 of 17

GRANT HILL/G/ORL: Death. Taxes. Grant getting injured. The only three things in this crazy life you can count on….
*** Like candy from a baby… 14 of 18

TIM DUNCAN/F/SA: I have two words for you. MAN. NU. It’s no longer Duncan’s team and I have no interest in my team’s 1st round fortunes riding on those knees.
*** Projected at 21.5, 11.8 while shooting .50 percent from the floor, .66 from the line and blocking almost three a game. He gets the same amount of boards, but everything else is down. 15 of 19

MICHAEL FINLEY/F/SA: How the mighty have fallen.
*** He had his moments, just not enough of them. 16 of 20.

MARKO JARIC/G/MINN: Marko? Polo! Marko? Polo!! Marko?? POLO!!! … Oh, sorry. Just playing a game with my friends where we close our eyes and see if we can find Marko’s shot.
*** I never got why so many folks were high on him in the pre-season, 17 of 21

MICHAEL OLOWOKANDI/C/MINN: See Anderson, Derek.
*** The change of scenery did not help either. 18 of 22.

CHRIS WEBBER/F/PHI: He’s seen Tyra naked. If that’s not enough reason to hate him, I don’t know what is.
*** Add another reason. He had a great year and is screwing up my list. 18 of 23. JALEN ROSE/G-F/TOR: I also enjoy shooting fish in a barrel.
*** He was better in NY but still no where close to the 18/4/4 projections. 19 of 24.

MORRIS PETERSON/G/TOR: Remember how I mentioned the dope mad rhyming skillz? Well check this out: If you draft this guy Mo’ Pete, your team, brother, will be dead meat. Ah, snap. Hot, right? Like the end of 8 mile, you’re just stunned at how I brought it, right? That’s what I thought. *** Actually, he stepped it up this year. 19 of 25.

P.J. BROWN/F/NO: See Hamilton, Richard.
*** So did he. 19 of 26.

CARON BUTLER/F/WSH: I would just like to point out that I am at the end of the column, dog tired and yet, do I do an obvious “The Butler Did It” type joke? No, I do not. You’re welcome.
*** Three in a row. Ugh. 19 of 27.

BRENDAN HAYWOOD/C/WSH: His nickname is Brenda. Need I say more?
*** Did almost exactly what was projected. 20 of 28.

AARON McKIE/G/LAL: Word out of Laker camp is that he’s just shot. Not literally mind you, it’s not like he was driving in LA traffic or anything - but that physically he just doesn’t have it anymore. Pass.
*** He couldn’t even get off the “injured list” or the bench most of the season. 21 of 29.

AMARE STOUDEMIRE/C-F/PHX: You did hear about the injury, right? And I think he’s done for the year, by the way.
*** Only because many thought he would come back by mid-season and for all intents and purposes, he was out all year. 22 of 30. MARTELL WEBSTER/G/ PORT : Martell, meet the bench. Bench, I believe you are familiar with Martell’s ass.
*** Showed some signs but nothing consistent. 23 of 31.

SHAUN LIVINGSTON/G/LAC: Also adhering to the NBA Dress Code from Day 1.
*** Had flashes but never really got going. 24 of 32.

ANDREW BOGUT/C/MIL: The trade for Magloire tells me the Bucks have NO confidence in Bogut. So why should you?
*** Projected at 12 and 8, he was 9 and 7 and blocks and free throw percentage also fell short. 25 of 33.

So there you have it. “Hate” turned out much better than “Love.” Wonder if that means I have too much inner anger.

FINAL “LOVE” SCORE: 29 of 46. 63%

FINAL “HATE” SCORE: 25 of 33. 76%.

FINAL TOTAL SCORE: 54 of 79. 68%.

Not bad. Not bad at all. Hope you had a great season and thanks for reading. Even you, Jim. See you next season!