CHIBA 2014 – Part 4

November 17, 2014

Down the home stretch we come with our last 3 non-ME division teams.  Let’s jump right in with this group of contenders starting with:

Team Dylan – De La Soul

The Rise of Steph Curry

Ridiculous!

Ridiculous!

Live by the three, die by the three.  Steph Curry and Dylan are tied at the hip.  He’s suffered through his ankle injury plagued season – and also reaped the reward of owning a mostly healthy deadeye shooter and point guard combo that has taken the league by storm.

What Dylan DOESN'T want to see this year...

What Dylan DOESN’T want to see this year…

At Davidson Curry was a special player for sure – but it’s amazing that his ball handling, passing and ability to create his own shot have carried over so well in the NBA. Depending how you value 3’s it was arguable that Curry was the most valuable fantasy player in 2013-14.

In any case Curry basically wins you the 3 category as well as providing significant contributions to points, assists and steals – and he doesn’t even hurt your FG%…

All that’s necessary to a winning formula is to find some bigs to build around Curry.

DE LA MARCUS ANDRE

DeAndre Jordan and Lamarcus Aldridge lead the rest of the roster – and while both have flaws – they perhaps fit together to form a great statistical combo.  Aldridge provides a consistent and top flight scorer and rebounder while Jordan adds in blocks, more boards and a solid FG% since he rarely shoots unless he’s dunking.

Together they form a solid base of big man stats necessary in CHIBA.

The LEFTOVERS

An astute collection of cheaper players is what makes this team dangerous.  If you had to surround Curry, Jordan and Aldridge with NBA chattel you’d be in trouble and working the waiver wire furiously (doing desperate things like going all in for random SFs or Imam Shumpert…)

Instead a solid pair of guards in Joe Johnson and Alec Burks.  SGs are undervalued but both Burks and Johnson provide some assist support and both can of course – score and shoot.  Both are also off to good starts providing Dylan needed depth and production. George Hill unfortunately started off the season with an injury but Dylan has a potential PG who may have a great opportunity on a depleted Indiana roster later in the year.

Markieff Morris has been a nice player in Phoenix with an all around game.  Trevor Ariza has made the transition from Chandler Parsons relatively easy and painless so far in Houston – providing defense and spacing for the Rockets Big 2 and chipping in with his own scoring.  Taj Gibson is stuck in a deep frontcourt in CHI but all he does is good things when he gets a chance to play – not as good a player in fantasy as in real life but a solid contributor.  Gorgui Dieng is a stash and hope with alot of potential – could just be a matter of time before the TWolves move on from Pekovic to their young big man.

BENCH WHO NEEDS A BENCH?

Not much to talk about here – Olynyk may be a borderline starter – but the rest of the reserves – Gordon is a stash and wait, Stuckey was waived and Turner is garbage – well at least there’s easy decisions to make as to what to waive (or it has been easy).  A good auction but a poor reserve draft – could come back to haunt down the road.

HARD TO CRITICIZE A FIRST PLACE TEAM…

This is a contending team on the strength of it’s core and the cheap complements that should provide solid production.  Indeed as of the week 3 this is the first place team (with some competition).  Of course – any bumps and bruises on Curry will be felt – but the same can be said for any team with a pricy superstar.  The waiver wire will be the key – injuries will happen and will Dylan be able to fill the gaps that will inevitably occur.  Hill coming back as a starting and productive PG is a key otherwise one adjustment that may need to be made is looking for a average PG to add to this team.

This team looks like a contender (duh) and a good bet to be in the hunt for the title.

Andy’s LeBlatts

The KEY to the season is these two turning into a dynamic duo.

The KEY to the season is these two turning into a dynamic duo for both CLE and ANDY.

The formula for winning CHIBA used to be pretty simple.  Get a high enough pick to secure one of the top players.  Get lucky and have that top player stay healthy and even potentially have a career year.  Build the rest of the roster around that player and collect winnings.

Of course – not every attempt at this formula has worked and the introduction of an auction format has made it much more difficult.  The nominating rights rule has also thrown a monkey wrench into valuation by leading to variance and a bit of randomness to when players are made available.

Any team with Lebron James starts and ends their conversation with said player.  Given the publicity surrounding his move and the remake of the CLE roster – this is a most interesting year to own the King.  But Andy didn’t just buy Lebron but also his running mate and current nemesis Kyrie Irving.

The drama in Cleveland alone is probably worth the price – and if the young PG and the seasoned MVP are able to figure it out – it could be something amazing both in fantasy and in real life.  As of right now LBJ hasn’t been QUITE worth his price – but it’s early and I’m sure James will get his soon enough.

Rondo and Bledsoe

I choose Rondo.

I choose Rondo.

Rondo has been a great gamble and a huge win for this team at $24.  He’s still not 100% but pumping out assists and steals like the Rondo of old.  Trade or no trade – he’s going to return a heady profit and is the kind of gamble that wins titles when combined with Lebron James.  Bledsoe got a max contract and a good size investment from Andy but has been inconsistent in PHO so far.  His scoring is up and down as well as his other numbers – it’s been a big surprise that Isaiah Thomas has been the most consistent of the 3 PHO PGs.

Self – Center(ed)s

Tyson couldn't handle playing with this clown anymore...

Tyson couldn’t handle playing with this clown anymore…

Ty Chandler and Marcin Gortat make a up a pair of very servicable centers for a low price – providing FG%, Blocks and Boards from the pivot.  Chandler for one has looked energized now removed from the Melo-drama at the Garden and the burden of being a selfless team player and the only one even remotely concerned about defense (which remains half the game last I checked) on a team dominated by a ball hogging self-centered wannabe superstar who is only interested in winning on his own terms.  (Melo rant over for now…).  It’s good to be in Dallas for Tyson and we wish him the best.

The Trade

You can't go wrong with Timmy Duncan on any team.

You can’t go wrong with Timmy Duncan on any team.

Early in the year Andy dealt David Lee and Kyle Korver for Tim Duncan and Vince Carter.  On paper a pretty even deal – and so far Irving has been able to carry the team in 3’s while Duncan provides a real big in the forward rotation and even has played the 2nd game of a few back to backs so far this year.  Too early to tell – but so far aside from Korver’s hot start – a pretty even deal and a beneficial one for Andy’s team.  Ain’t no one Andy gave up gonna end up on the cover of a Wheaties Box after all.

Lack of Depth

A shooting guard that shoots like THIS is a problem...

A shooting guard that shoots like THIS is a problem…

If there’s a weakness to this team it’s depth.  Beyond the stars and starters – there are few reliable sources of replacement.  Affalo has been a major disappointment as has everything in Denver.  Green and Mayo are one dimensional and streaky players.  Teletovic, MKG, and Adams are barely startable.  Waiver Wire Roulette is a key for this team.

Outlook

NEVER count out a team with Lebron.  At any point in time he can elevate his game and take any squad on his back and to the top of the standings.  Rondo and Irving are legitimate stars to complement LBJ and the rest of the starting roster is contention worthy.  There is NO BENCH whatsoever and any injury to the key players will leave a gaping hole in the team.  Can Andy’s 7 beat team’s of 8?  With LBJ all things are possible.

Glenn’s Insert Medical Terminology Here

League PASS MVP

When your the LPMVP damn right you have an 11 minute highlight reel!

Every once in a while a player comes along worth the price of admission to an NBA game.  Welcome Anthony Davis to a short list of players worth watching alone – (MJ, Dr. J, The Bird, Magic, Shaq, Lebron, Kobe, Durant, VC (for a short span), Iverson, Yao, Lin)

We wondered where Davis had room to grow – well he’s so far setting career highs in pts, rebs, steals, blocks and and FG%.  He’s clearly the best player in fantasy and the most interesting collection of skills and body type to come around in a long time.  Who do you compare Davis to?  He’s a super athletic 7 Footer with guard like agility, incredible shot blocking, and shooting range out to an unfair distance.  He can post guys athletic enough to guard him on the perimeter and face up and go around guys big enough to defend him in the post.

I mean you’d really have to work hard to NOT win the league with a healthy Anthony Davis on your roster this year…

GUARDS

Klay Thompson has been a revelation and surprising steal so far.  In addition to upgrading his scoring he’s chipped in with assists and steals and has been dropping 3’s and shooting the ball.  Still his peripherals remain subpar – but he looks to be a solid source or pts and 3’s.  John Wall is a great complement to Davis and Klay should cover for his lack of the three ball – holding it down with elite PG numbers.  Dragic has been an enigma so far this year (and by enigma I mean NIGHTMARE) – the least of the 3 PGs in PHO – (Andy don’t complain anymore about Bledsoe) we think he’ll come around – but so far a disappointing start.  Wiggins has potential but should not be starting on an NBA or fantasy roster as of yet.

Forwards

Luol Deng provides some solid stats though no longer the all around fantasy utility man he once was.  Ryan Anderson is back and a great complement for 3’s to Davis getting plenty of opportunities with AD going wild.

And Then there was the wasteland.  Ilyasova needs out of MIL bad.  Ersanity is a distant distant memory.  KG should have retired rather than leave Boston – basically a shell of his former self and no longer even a locker room contributor because of his ineffectiveness on the court.  Spencer Hawes was supposed to provide versatility in LA – but has been underwhelming as have the Clippers – even the best teams need to shake things up every year.

Bench Mob

The Bench is pretty underwhelming unfortunately though Kevin Martin is still scoring and making 3’s at least.  After that – Jameer Nelson should be better but has been marginalized in DAL.  Stauskas and Harkless bench picks have been waived as Glenn tries to mine the waiver wire for help.  So far unsuccessfully…  All three teams here will face some challenges filling out their roster – but as long as their stars stay healthy – they should all be fine.  Benches only matter when someone gets hurt after all..  But then, this IS the NBA – where EVERYONE gets hurt…

PROGNOSIS

Look – I’m NOT counting out ANY team with the best player in fantasy hoops by FAR.  But if there was a way to NOT win with a god like Anthony Davis – this is probably one of the rare combinations.  Davis will at least provide relevance in almost every category – but perhaps one of the 3 balling Forwards (Anderson/Klay) should be dealt for help – another big – or a 2 for 1 for Wall…

Something needs to be shaken up – to keep AD from being a mere highlight rather than contender in CHIBA!  It just ain’t right!  Save AD!

And with that I leave you with a completely unrelated and yet hilarious link that I highly recommend you click on so that when I yell BUH-LAH-KE or AY_AY-RON at next year’s auction we can all laugh.

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CHIBA 2014 – PART 3

November 12, 2014

Team LEON

NEMESIS: the inescapable agent of someone’s or something’s downfall.

Thus is how I view Leon Tachauer though as far as NemeSES go – it’s not like he has any rings to polish during those long cold offseasons.  Thinking of him and his long everlasting and unrequited desire to be a champion at SOMETHING keeps me warm during the cold winter nights.

Then again a Nemesis is someone you respect and ASIDE from the RIDICULOUS offers that Leon can at times float by you – Leon is a worthy adversary that seems to always put together a solid team – language barrier notwithstanding.  I’ve always got one eye on his squad.

Topless Birds

The Doppleganger

I can't tell the difference between TP and Leon either!

I can’t tell the difference between TP and Leon either!

The headliner of the Topless Birds is none other than somewhat look alike Tony Parker.  Acquired for a pitiful $8 – if Parker makes 3’s like he has early in the season – he could be in for a late renaissance fantasy season.  But as with all Spurs you have to adjust for the games he will sit and the rationing of minutes he will receive  as part of the Spurs aging graceful plan.

The Dynamic Duo

Harden and Ibaka reunited!

Harden and Ibaka reunited!  Ahem…

Harden and Ibaka are the 2 real anchors of this team – representing more than half of Leon’s salary cap at $55 and $50 apiece.  And a very good complement they are providing production at all 7 categories.  Take Note fellow CHIBA owners – this is how you build the foundation of a roster!

BIG Men

Complementing Leon’s Duo are bigs Greg Monroe and Larry Sanders – for another $50 – Leon’s Big 4 in other words comprise 3/4 of his salary.  But once again you have to like the upside.  If Sanders comes back and blocks shots – he will be near the top of that scarce category.  If you’re going to double down on something – do it on big man stats (REB/BLK/FG%) – guards are ALWAYS available on the FA wire.  But this pair unlike the first 2 come with question marks.  From Sanders instable off-court behavior last season to Monroe’s PT situation in Detroit.

Depth Chart

Collison and Jennings were bottom of the barrel point guards for cheap (well Jennings wasn’t that cheap $16).  Both have question marks though both can produce given the opportunity.  They will both need to beat out challenges on their own teams as well as win the trust of their coaches.  I’d gamble on one – but both is asking for at least one loss.  Jeff Green and Demarre Carroll are filler – though Green has some usage potential in BOS and should be in a good situation as long as he does not get traded…  Plumlee is a half decent center – who if you’re starting means bad news for your team.

Exum is a nice stash for the 2nd half though it may have been better to wait to pick him up and he’s no sure bet for value this year.  Gordon was a good pick that still may prove to have something left in a good situation in NO. Jason Smith is a nice piece on the Knicks that should start getting more PT and Ben McLemore is a lottery bust so far but still a talented piece.  Not Leon’s best reserve draft by any stretch but still a good effort.

GOOD TONY/BAD TONY

lowballers

This team has as good a balance as any team – though it clearly relies on a big 4 for production and is vulnerable to any injury to one of the key players.  Assuming they stay healthy – it’s all up to the depth around that core.  If they produce it will be the good balance with strong showings in all categories – if not – it will be a balance of mediocrity.  Blocks should be an asset for trading for help – and if things don’t start out good a 2 for 1 deal for one of the core could be the best plan.  I assume Leon will be in contention as he is every year and THIS YEAR I even look forward to his first offer of Darren Collison for Kobe Bryant.

TEAM AGNELLO and the RIM PROTECTORS

dmc

Over the years much has been proscribed to Mike Agnello’s seemingly magical ability to stroll into a room full of laptops and software and internet connections with a crumpled up piece of looseleaf which we of course then worship like some sacred document.

The Truth is obviously that Mike is a supremely prepared fantasy enthusiast – because his roots come from that other pursuit which is data intensive and even more demanding – gambling.

BIG and SMALL

First of all Agnello ended up rostering a star combination of centers in DMC and Al Jefferson.  This combination provides everything except for 3’s and a huge amount of points and rebounds as well as a great base FG% to build on.

On the other end PGs Jrue Holiday and Mike Conley – were 2 solid rosters for guys that maybe have a little less hype this year but clear opportunity and the youth to still yet take another step forward.  Neither makes a ton of shots from long distance however which would have been an even better fit.

Once again about 3/4 of the salary cap for 4 players – but a good mix of stats and a strong basis to build around.

THE MIDDLE

So how about the rest of that roster.  Well if there’s one thing that seems a bit overlooked it’s the Forwards.  Derrick Favors was a nice solid roster – but a bit pricy at $32…  then there were discount pickups on Jared Sullinger, Danny Green (3’s) and Bogdan Bogdanovich (3’s and the Agnello Special).  Some upside here – but not necessarily 3 guys you want in the starting lineup of a contending team.

The Bench

Julius Randle had some potential.. doh!  Morris and Porter have opportunity and Khris Middleton is a starter (for now).  Some spot starts here but nothing amazing to write home about.

PAPER TIGER

It’s nice to have a sycophant.  Every Damon Wayans needs a Kadeem Hardison (not just for the comedy but also for the confidence).  While Leon may worship at the altar of all things Agnello – I prefer to simply hold him in high respect.  And this season he’s put together an interesting roster that certainly has a chance to contend.  I like the Big Small balance – and if there’s a category that can be covered over or punted it’s 3’s (moreso than blocks).  Look out for this team in 2014/15.

TEAM CURRIED BAGEL SAMOSA KNISHES – DOSHAN PATEL

It’s hard to imagine that once – two of the most opinionated, stubborn and confrontational owners in CHIBA were once a TEAM.  And they even had success together!  Separately they’ve yet to find their stride.  Perhaps there was some intangible balance they provided eachother that they couldn’t see?

The KEVIN DURANT PROBLEM

nba_a_kdur4_cr_400x600

Personally I didn’t want KD this year.  I knew he’d go for somewhere between $40 and $50 – and at $50 I thought there was no room for profit – and at $40 it was minimal.  Plus you have to make sure you draft a team that can hold the fort down until your savior arrives.  The question is does Dosh have enough to stay close enough to make a run with KD?

D ROSE and the RECOMEBACK

rose

Well I can understand at $22 that the price was enticing – but it’s just hard to say that D Rose will be able to play a full season at this point.  And even if he does – at what cost to his game will making sure he stays healthy be? I always like the 2nd year after an injury and though technically this is the 1st year – I don’t have a good feeling about this and not just because he burnt me last year..

THE REAL MAN

Chris Bosh was highlighted, circled, bolded and italicized on my list.  F/C eligibility and the center of the Heat’s Lebron-less offense – sign me up.  Somehow I lost track of Bosh (someone stashed him for a LONG time on their list) – and he ended up on Dosh’s team. (Dosh/Bosh – I can’t be the first one to think of this..)  This could be the acquisition of the season for Dosh as Bosh is off to a first round value start at the heady price of $27.

Then again it IS Chris Bosh so let’s temper expectations a little…

HOLDING DOWN THE FORT

It’s a solid roster through and through that has a credible chance to weather the season until KD returns.  I’d feel better with a real PG to go with Rose – though Isaiah Thomas won’t lack for minutes in PHO and production.  Hayward and Derozan are solid contributors.  Noel will be a strong blocks contributor, and Jordan Hill has been knocking down shots early in the year and very involved in the Laker offense.

Old man David West is the kind of player that won’t give up even in a fruitless effort in Indiana.  And Kawhi Leonard is the future in SA even though his emergence probably means more in real basketball than it does in fantasy.

BENCH HELP

Mozgov will definitely be startable in DEN getting minutes and providing pts, rebs/blks and FG%.  Fournier has an opportunity but not so much talent in ORL.  Wes Johnson reportedly worked out with Kobe in LA but will anyone but Kobe get stats in the Lakers lost cause?

OUTLOOK

This team rates pretty high – but it’s title hopes rest on the knees of Derrick Rose, the healing ability of Durant’s foot and the heart of Chris Bosh.  2 out of those 3 seem like good bets to disappoint.  Still this is a contending team – and if they are anywhere near the top half of the standings when Durant returns – look out!

Unfortunately for KD – the BASED GOD Rules!  F KD!


CHIBA 2014 – Auction Review – Part II

November 4, 2014

Let’s pick up where we left off with more original owners from back in the day:

The Furious Eight? by Le Chen

Yes CPIII and Melo – but on a team owned by Le Chen this team centers around #17 and the reunion of those star crossed lovers – Jeremy Lin and Carmelo Anthony.  Perhaps the steadying presence of CPIII will make them work together this time?  Well it’s fantasy so maybe it works this time around?

The Man?

noring

Carmelo Anthony.  Face of the Knicks.  And a player I just have a hard time loving.  Last year for one night I watched him put up 62 points against the Bobcats and I will admit that I rooted for every shot to go in.  But even that night was weirdly awkward – with Melo basically taking a ridiculous number of shots with no semblance of any offensive continuity or system – though he made everything in sight.

I’m not sure what to say – he’s undoubtedly a great scorer – with the ability to create his own shot, to make the 3, the pull up, the baseline, post moves and even a nice little finishing game around the rim.

What he’s not is a defender.  What I question is his ability to lead – to inspire, to motivate – to be the GUY.

So when do we see that next step? – when do we see him use his game, his talents to lift up those around him?  The Knicks are betting he will do this in the next 3-4 years while they upgrade the talent around him.

But more realistically and perhaps cynically I think they are hoping he will sell enough tickets and put out a good enough product to keep the MSG machine humming until the next cycle of players.  And as a NY fan though technically NOT a Knick fan (anymore) – that’s a disservice to the die hard blue and orange.

Mark my words – the Knicks ain’t winning anything with Carmelo Anthony.  (not much of a limb but there it is)

Jeremy Lin – Part III – LA STORY

Jeremy has a new home - will Linsanity find one too?

Jeremy has a new home – will Linsanity find one too?

I’m sure Jeremy Lin wishes Linsanity never happened at times.  It’s a 30 day run on the biggest stage in basketball that is unforgettable but his present and future will always be measured against that lofty standard.

And the reality is that he is most certainly an NBA point guard with a plus ability to run the pick and roll, to drive and finish to his right, and the court vision and passing ability to get good shots for this teammates. However in real life he’s neutralized by aggressive defense – has trouble bringing the ball up against pressure, isn’t a great spot up shooter, can’t go left, and is at best an average defender – and at worst a liability.

From a fantasy perspective – at his peak and with minutes and usage he provides potential rewards in points, assists, steals, and a few 3’s thrown in for good measure.  In LA the opportunity is there – the question is does he have the ability to seize it once again.  It may not be the best situation but neither were the Knicks 2 years ago.

So far in the season it’s been a mixed bag of results – but I’d hold off on writing him off just yet…

The Old Guys

Deron Williams and Paul Pierce were unlikely teammates in Brooklyn last year reunited on the F8.  They are keys to Le’s season as well.  Can Deron recapture at least SOME of his mojo or have injuries and age caught up to him and has he gone from elite PG to simply very good?  Supposedly healthy for the first time in years – the fate of the Brooklyn franchise rests on his gimpy legs.

As for Pierce – a long time favorite of mine – you also have to wonder if this could be the last of his legs.  A decent situation in WAS could rejuvenate him and the young Wiz could really use his veteran leadership both on and off the court.  As the Raptors round out in the playoffs last year there was a reason the Brooklyn Nets got him – and I’d be careful to count out a guy who bounced back from once being poked full of more holes than swiss cheese.

The Wrap

Hey this squad is pretty nice.  Terence Jones – an underrated fantasy all around performer.  Al Horford a beast coming off of injury.  Le needs one more big man to solidify Rebounds and Blocks for balance.  The PG trio should keep them at the top of the Ast Stl categories and there are enough varied sources of 3’s to be competitive in the long distance category.

A contender but a flawed one – and of course – Jeremy Lin and Melo are big keys to the season.  Also this name could use some work.  Melo and Lin and this is the best we could come up with?

FINAL FOUR FRIENDS by Steve Lowenthal

Not the same injury but you get the point... Doh!

Not the same injury but you get the point… Doh!

Sadly a few days into the season – Russell Westbrook broke a bone in his hand – leaving this team in some injury trouble early in the season.  It looked like Russ was headed for a monster season without running mate Kevin Durant for the early part of the season – now they’ll hopefully be back around the same time for the Thunder.

Handle with Care

I hope this doesn't happen!

I hope this doesn’t happen!

While the Westbrook injury seems a little freakish – there are unfortunately quite a few injury risks on this squad.  First of all the Centers on this team Bogut and Brook are always on alert for going down at any time (even in their sleep).  Lopez is already out with an ‘unrelated’ foot injury – and Bogut while looking spry hasn’t played a full slate of games in many many years.  In addition PG – Carter Williams is recovering from injury and trade acquisition Dwyane Wade has many many questions about his ability to play a full slate of games.

Sometimes a few smart injury risks can pay off in fantasy – but trust me from a gambler who tempted fate (see last year’s fiasco) – when you take TOO many risks – you LOSE.

LOVE AND BASKETBALL

K Love was a top 10 fantasy force last year with his elite REB numbers, as well as points, FG%, 3’s from the F spot, and even assists.  The question with the move to the Lebrons is how will it affect his usage and performance?

The answer so far seems to be not too shabby.  The points will almost definitely come down – but the 3’s may even go up and the Rebs seem unaffected.  In addition once the motion offense gets going the assists could even spike with so many excellent options to finish on the other end of passes.

PAU! PAU! PAU!

Gasol seems like a great value at $16 but that depth in CHI on the front line makes you wonder.  Early returns seem to indicate he’ll get enough minutes to be worth more than that.  Andre Iguodala seems underutilized in GS – at $2 he was a steal in terms of what he can do on the court.

JAVALE McGee is ALL IN FOR PERRY JONES III!

javale

Javale is a nice lottery ticket to hold for blocks and rebounds.  Wroten will provide some much needed depth at Guard especially with the early injuries.  Dalembert if he’s in your active lineup is indicative of a bad situation becoming dire.  Not too bad – but no immediate help here.  (Ed. note: $50 FAAB on Perry Jones III means Steve agrees with me..)

OUTLOOK

This man knew how to play hurt…  Do the Final Four Friends have some Willis in them?  (Cuz they GONNA get HURT..)

NOT SO GOOD.  IF the Westbrook injury allows for a quick and full recovery.  IF Wade can last all season without missing significant time – the same for both centers.  If MCW can get back sooner rather than later and find a reason to play on a terrible Sixers team.

Simply too many IFs on this squad – I think dealing one of the injured players for some present value makes sense here – for a guard to hold it down until Westbrook returns – maybe some wheeling and dealing is the key here – because standing pat this is a losing hand.

 

TEAM LLOYD

I said "SHABAZZ NAPIER"!

I said “SHABAZZ NAPIER”!

 

Controversy reared it’s ugly head with Lloyd’s phone in draft from Vegas.  OBVIOUSLY not a great situation though he had one ear of the auctioneer which was more attention than I seemed to get at times!  Honestly we need to figure this out – it won’t be the last owner that has attendance issues and I for one would never want to miss a CHIBA season.  One thing that I think is necessary is perhaps the team missing needs a backup body present at the draft.  While it’s hard to find someone who can execute a plan at least you can have someone who can act as a surrogate in case of any issues that can be on the phone with the distant owner (instead of the auctioneer).  Or we need a direct and ultra speed internet connection and we need to construct a ROBOT LLOYD with webcam, mic, speakers and a fake body and arm that he can control remotely to bid.  We can set up an Oculus Prime interface so Lloyd can experience the auction in virtual reality.  And…  (I lost you guys at Oculus didn’t i?)

Forgoing that better use of online tools and perhaps a space with a more stable connection would allow us to communicate the proceedings in a clearer fashion.  And I’m convinced I can come up with an auction program where every owner has a virtual buzzer and we can have a giant screen as well as a consistent timer for bids.  It’s time to move into the 21st century guys – and I’m on the case for SALLY and CHIBA 2015.  More on this later…

Lloyd’s Gambit

frabz-spends-hours-pre-ranking-his-list-for-fantasy-basketball-draft-c-282818

Trying to run the Torres Gambit without even being in the room is ballsy to say the least – but the better part of wisdom would’ve been to try to roster your team as fast as possible.  But you know Lloyd – he’s gotta stick to his guns and execute his plan until it works – I expect nothing less next year – and I wouldn’t bet against him getting it right and killing us all one season!

What Happened

Well a solid collection of Forwards was acquired in Batum, Faried, Young and Ross.  Joakim Noah was a great roster at $31 at center.  But the guard situation aside from Jeff Teague is dire.  Calderon is out early, Tyreke is a nice pickup for $6 and Shabazz Napier is a hope – though he looked like he had some upside in the preseason.

Bench Help

There is thankfully bench help.  Crawford will get minutes and provide pts and 3’s.  Lamb may have an opportunity in OKC to set up early in the season with the injuries to the Big Two.  The Lakers are starved for something and that something may well be Swaggy P!

Outlook

Need to trade a forward for a guard.  Starved for points – but should have assists and threes. to bargain with.  $35 unspent is just not uh.. GOOD – and I wonder what other difficulties we were unaware of that may have caused this uncharacteristic mis-step from Lloyd.  It’ll take some good deals and some aggressive FAABing but at least there is a core here to possibly build on.

Suggestion:  Wheel and Deal like crazy.

Watch some classic Alan and Jerome on a loop until Part III.  If my team doesn’t start playing better – there may never be a part IV due to lack of enthusiasms…


CHIBA 2014 – Auction Review – PART 1 – Putting the CHI in CHIBA

November 2, 2014

Back by popular demand!

So we took a year off here at the SALLY CHIBA blog – inspiration is a fickle thing.  But with one of the most anticipated NBA seasons in a while thanks once again to LeBron James return home – BASKETBALL is definitely back and my favorite sport.

So let’s dive right in – we’ll break this up into 4 parts – I’ll cover every team and somewhere along the way we’ll try to tie this all together into some kind of silly theme.  Keep the encouragement coming – I’ve forgotten how much time and effort it takes to do these – and I have a standard to uphold after all…  I assume you all appreciate it – and while it is fun sometimes – it gets hard around part III!  I do love looking back at the old articles and I’m glad there’s a geeky legacy we’re leaving behind for our CHIBA and SALLY descendants… (haha!)

Some shots will be fired – after all such is the spice of any review – and if you can’t take it – don’t read it.  (or write your own blog!)

Let’s start things off with the biggest target of all – our BELOVED CHIBA Commish – Miles Chatain and his SUPER JACKASSES???  (no insult necessary it seems…)

SUPER JACKASSES by MILES CHATAIN

I love my seat next to Miles on CHIBA day every year.  We’re the ALL BUSINESS table between Miles orchestrating and running things and me keeping an accurate record of events while also trying to build a team and track the auction.

Sometimes I do wonder what it would be like to sit somewhere else.  I’d like to sit back with a piece of paper and a pencil and a target list a la Agnello and just have fun.  But who am I kidding?  That’s just not my nature.

In any case I had a front row seat to the Miles 2014/15 Auction and it was not a pretty sight this year.  (sorry Miles!)  Perhaps the commute from Carolina got to the Commish – or was it the too early Bloody Mary – but I sensed a lack of certainty that usually is palpable from across the table.  When Miles makes a questionable decision I raise my eyebrow – but my first instinct is to think maybe I’M WRONG not him.  (the rest of you JACKASSES are ALWAYS WRONG when I disagree with YOU).  So what happened? – well IF it’s any consolation it wasn’t as bad as it could’ve been?

Or WAS IT?  Carlos Boozer – the fantasy kiss of death (or nutpunch as it were…)

THE CENTER

Big D in Houston just doesn’t get as much respect as he should.  Perhaps Kobe is right and he is a bitch a$$…  but from a fantasy perspective – he’s a former highest rated player on the board and a huge anchor you can easily build a successful CHIBA team on.  Plus looking healthy for the first time in years – he could put up some monster REB/BLK/FG% numbers.  Even the Price $55 for Howard was great value for a potential top 5 producer.

VALUES

Lance Stephenson was a steal at $13.  This was one of the picks that got pushed past me by the auctioneer who had a few quick runs that upset me (but my own fault in the end).

Asik and Valuncianas were solid values at $8 and $4 respectively.  Doubling down on the REB/BLK/FG% – the Jackasses should be looking down on us in the BIG categories.

WTF?

Damian Lillard $53 – yes we all know WHY he went for this much – but for the record Lillard went for almost TWICE my listed value – more than DMC, more than Wall, More than Kevin Love…  Just goes to show you the importance of understanding the dynamics of market value and avoiding needing the last player on the board.

NOTES

Marcus Smart is a stash situation – may not survive this roster if Miles needs to bolster his guard rotation early in the season (not worth a spot IMO).  Jabari is intriguing – but MIL’s depth seems to limit his upside potential.  Boozer could have value – but no real upside there. JR Smith is a disheartening player to watch much less root for.

BENCHWARMERS

Channing Frye was a steal in the Reserve.  Meeks, Bells and Miles seemed to be 3 overcompensation.  Still I guess you need to space the floor for Bitch A$$ Howard.

THE TRADE – Wade for Rubio was a great one.  Traded some uncertainty (injury), and addressed a weakness AST/STL.  Even though from a nominal standpoint Wade is worth more than Rubio it still helps this team in the standings (which is the standard we should all be thinking of with deals).

THE VERDICT!

ONE MORE DEAL AWAY from contention.  Solid Roster – needs one more rotation guard to go with Lance/Rubio/Lillard.  If Lance and Rubio step up and the BIGS perform as expected – could be a contender.  Still many questions and as dicey a squad as I’ve seen the defending champs (MANY TIMES) field.

KOKOMO’s STEAK AND SEE FOOD by TIM SMITH

Andre is a FAN of NICKELODEON...

Andre is a BIG FAN of NICKELODEON…

Let’s move on to Tim Smith – in fact this part 1 will be the CHI member of the old CHIBA. TJ Smitty was the wildcard at the auction holding on patiently to his $$$ and splashing around in the mid to late game.  Waiting was NOT the best strategy this year – which we’ll get into later – and I think he had his eye on building around one player in particular this season…

BANG the DRUM

Sidebar: I LOVE CHIBA.  I don’t want to change it – but on the other hand – our values ARE OUT of whack without FT% or one more guard weighted category.  BIGS that SCORE and BLOCK will always be overweighted in CHIBA because of their 4 category (out of 7) strengths.

Hence ANDRE DRUMMOND – my man crush from the reserve 2 years ago (see my blog entry from CHIBA 2013) is a first round player.  I’m not saying that Andre Drummond is not an awesome player – or potentially a building block – but he’s not yet top 10 in the NBA as he is in CHIBA rankings.

Drummond is Dwight Howard 2.0 – unpolished, athletic, huge but perhaps a more prolific dunker and master of the alley oop.

But should he be a $60 Fantasy NBA player?  It’s not crazy – but it is a little imbalanced.  Food for thought…

Tobias Harris and the Tim Smith Too Early Hype Machine

A week into the season but it sure looks like Timmy Smith may have HIT this year on one of his young stars blowing up predictions (only not a year or two early!).  For $3 Harris looks like a must start every year and one of the main scoring options in ORL until Oladipo returns.  (who Tim conveniently owns – GO MAGIC!)

MUST LOVE MONTA ELLIS

In the Lillard Lite moment of the auction – Monta Ellis was the lone semi PG left on the board leading to a $43 price for the Dallas Maverick.  Monta is a nice player – and has a cozy new home in DAL – but better Gs could’ve been bought for this price.

MUSINGS

Oladipo was a steal – damn you ORL for not giving more detailed projections of his injury status.  But $9 was more than a fair price for even half a season!  Something fishy about Ty Lawson – I don’t like this year.  But solid PG and a very fair price.  Z Bo and Mason Plumlee were good solid pieces – don’t know about Gallinari in Denver – but he has the potential to be a 3 pt monster.

BENCH

Love JJ Redick – always a startable 3 or 4 game week player.  Rudy Gobert is a nice stash and start for big week blocks and a possible great value if opportunity strikes.  KJ McDaniels and KCP are possible guys with minutes providing some depth that unfortunately CHIBA teams often need.

SURVEY SAYS!

My projections put Timmy as a strong team with good balance even in the categories he is weak on (3’s and Blocks) he has potential upside with some of his depth that can address these issues.  A team to watch this season for sure.

TEAM PAUL By THE BLEACHER REPORT

Much like the Bleacher Report where our very own CHIBA MEDIA MEMBER (BRING BACK OFF THE GLASS!) now hangs his typewriter – TEAM PAUL is an interesting combination of NBA players.  And by interesting I mean all over the place.

KING IN THE NORTH

There's a NEW King in the North!

There’s a NEW King in the North!

First of all I love Kyle Lowry.  It’s amazing to me that he and Dragic were both once HOU Rockets and somehow they didn’t keep one.  Lowry is underappreciated but a fantasy contributor and a FUN player to watch.  He bounces out on the court like a bowling ball – weaving through pins and occassionally knocking them down.  Lowry came at a fair price even at $42 but my question is – IS HE the guy you want to anchor your squad?

BIGS

But maybe you don’t need an anchor if you have solid and prime depth at other positions?  Well in Marc Gasol and Roy Hibbert – Paulie got 2 solid big men.  Gasol is another underrated contributor who dishes out a surprising number of assists and posts decent point and block numbers.  Hibbert is an enigma but with upside and void to fill in IND.  Having both is nice luxury and a solid complement to Lowry.

RUN DmC (YOU MUST CLICK THIS)

OMG…

The one question I have about the Chandler Parsons signing is = isn’t a little like signing Dirk Lite?  We have 2 skinny 3 pt shooting forwards.  Chandler brings a little more energy and hustle while Dirk is more accurate a shooter and a reliable crunch time scorer.  But they don’t appear to complement each other at all?  From a fantasy perspective that’s a nice number of 3’s from your Forwards – but do you and the MAVS really need BOTH?

Then again watch that video again – HE does put the C in DMC…  But Dirk clearly carries the group…

GUARDS!

Kemba Walker could be poised for a nice step up on a rejuvenated CHA team that got it’s first taste of success last season.  And rookie Elfrid Payton has a lot of promise and opportunity early in the year to impress.  Not the 3 PG’s I would target going into the auction but not a completely unhappy trio.

BENCH

Pekovic could be a steal in the reserve – as he’s starting and should be able to hold off Gorgui Dieng for a while.  Tristan Thompson is intriguing as he’s playing for a contract and provides energy, rebounding and a fit on the loaded CLE roster.  Perhaps he could develop into a Marcus Camby type player (minus the ability to block shots?).

OUTLOOK

This team has something here – decent depth – not reliant on a single player – good centers and guards.  What missing is a PF type player – though Amir Johnson should prove to be startable – and John Henson has potential.  Statistically and oddly this squad projects to be strong in Assists and Blocks.  But light on steals and possibly FG%.  It’s a mixed bag – and a team with Quality – but perhaps not the right mix?  A trade or two to balance this team out would be my recommendation.  Though Paul and the word trade can be difficult word pairing to get into a sentence that doesn’t include the famous Paulie trade response – “Let me get Back to you..”…

 


2012 CHIBA Auction Review

October 30, 2012

Not that CHIBA!  Although – sweet logo…

First of all – the obligatory – great day – great group – great fun – yada… yada.. yada.  2nd best day of the year – and I don’t mean 2nd Place – I mean – the OTHER BEST DAY.

I have waited two years for this second CHIBA auction after I completely and miserably failed in the first go around.  In addition to making a few mistaken assumptions about the rules – I completely whiffed on understanding the impact of the nomination list mechanic.

I can still remember the awful panicked, helpless feeling like it was yesterday.

Well – that was NOT going to happen again.

Step 1 – PARANOIA

I pretty much e-mailed Miles every day in the week leading up with a different scenario that I had a nightmare about the previous day in order to make sure that no single unexpected thing could surprise me on auction day.

It’s success was double edged as the constant barrage of ignorant questions about tiny minutiae may have had the bonus effect of distracting as well as annoying the commish from his prep.

Step 2 – IF YOU BUILD IT…

Ooops – wrong spreadsheet…

With knowledge in hand – take the aborted spreadsheet from last year – and MAKE sure that this time it serves as a manageable and useful tool to make my auction day easier.  That meant making the interface for player assignment easier – and creating a quick dashboard of easily ingestable data that would help me make real time auction decisions.

Was that a success?  Well – not completely.  I had to scrap a system I tried to code and interface within Excel to make assigning players to teams easier and elegant b/c I just couldn’t get it to work properly.  (next year)  And though I toyed with lugging a monitor to the draft so as to take in more information at a glance – I deemed it unlikely that we would have enough space at Brother Jimmys.

So I opted to scale things down – keep them simple – and though it was a little frantic in the beginning – my work paid off later in the auction – when I was able to keep track of every team’s MAX bid, average per slot, positions filled and needed – and projected statistical production.

Step 3 – THE PRICE IS RIGHT

I assumed that MOST of the league would be working off of Monster values.  They’re just too good in general – though flaws in the database exist in overvaluation of injured and injury prone players (b/c of per game weights), rookies, and a general valuation tendency that I think weighs a little too top heavy.  I wanted to make sure my valuations were distinct – and that they clearly took into account players I liked and disliked.  Thanks to the ability to enter custom per game projection data I was able to create distinct values within the Monster interface and import them into my tool.

I also ingested every team blog, YouTube video, tweet, and preseason statistic that I could.  In addition sites like VORPed provided some incredible and easy to digest breakdowns useful for understanding FG% and 3PT shooting tendencies.

Step 4 – “VISION WITHOUT EXECUTION IS HALLUCINATION” – Thomas Edison

Finally I spent a good deal of time thinking about how the auction would flow – and what strategy teams might employ with the nomination process.  I projected a mix of teams both pushing out value and holding back key players.  I did make the ASSUMPTION that as soon as team’s spent their money – they would release their top players into the pool (as is rational) – but was thrown off when some teams (Agnello) held back assets even when there was no reason to do so (that benefited them).  I correctly projected that Lloyd (specifically) and a few others would hold back $$$ in an attempt to add a key piece(s) at the end of the draft for great value.  So my intention was to hold back the key asset at my disposal – LBJ – and operate under the assumption I would try to hold money to get him at value until there was no chance I could roster him.  Doing so – affected other team’s in-auction decisions in ways which helped create value for me.

Having to nominate first was a definite problem with the plan – and I would like to submit that in future auctions the teams with the top 3 players should always have to be the first 3 teams to nominate.  If I had Lebron and the was able to make him the LAST nominated player – it would have been tough for someone to hold out long enough to stop me (assuming I practiced auction discipline).

In general I planned to not even get involved in bidding on players I didn’t REALLY like unless the price was at a substantial discount (20%+) – and to let values go if the player wasn’t one of my targets.

I also modeled a few roster constructions with salary slots around some players I really liked – for example if you roster LBJ – you want to make sure you allocate your money to bigs – and b/c of his assist production – you can probably slot a cheap 2 guard that shoots 3’s in lieu of an expensive point.

JEREMY LIN – TWO WRONGS = RIGHT

Yes – I was dead set on obtaining him.  In order to set some limits on myself in case the bidding got irrational – I modeled out my projection for his best case scenario – which was 18pts, 1 Trey, 4 REB, 7.8 AST, 1.5 STL, 0.4 BLK, and 44% FG.  I’m almost positive he won’t hit ALL those numbers (especially the FG%) – but at least it allowed me a number that I could safely use as a limit to keep me from blowing up my entire auction.  That number by the way was $35 – though I might’ve passed a few dollars under if my team was already capped out.  The worst case scenario would be if Leon had thrown him out early with too many $$$ for everyone to play around with.  I successfully used triple reverse psychology to ensure that didn’t happen (haha!).

AUCTION DAY

“I know you don’t smoke weed, I know this; but I’m gonna get you high today, ’cause it’s (SUNDAY); you ain’t got no job… and you ain’t got shit to do.”

At the start I can only recall the feeling of pure panic as players were drafted left and right at values WAY over my projections.  Were my values completely off base?  I watched player after player go for 2 rounds with nary a discount to be had.  I took it out on Tom – though I’m not sure what the business about attaching my name to bids and no one else.. (make that panic AND paranoia..)

Also the lack of discipline about teams clearly announcing who won a player at what price and the position they were assigning was totally fucking up my ability to keep track of what was going on while still staying on the subsequent bid.  (umm.. next year – we improve this?)

I broke my first rule of many on the day in my acquisition of Nene – $20 was a good price if he were healthy to start the season – but concern over my valuation being out of wack made me temporarily insane.  Don’t get me wrong – I love a healthy Nene.  But I hate the words “Plantar Fascitis”.

I waited a long time for my second player – and I was getting really concerned about all the talent coming off the board.  So when Iguodala came up – I got mixed up in a bidding war with Miles – and ended up deciding within the second that I wanted him.  No value there – but a player that apparently my subconscious really wanted.  $39 is $5 more that I should’ve been still bidding – but I did feel more comfortable securing what I considered a productive and safe asset.

My next two players were where I started getting happy.  Bogut at $14 and Asik at $13 I feel are steep discounts.  One b/c of injury and the other b/c of track record (or the lack thereof).

At that point $120+ $$ left – 3 big men secured and and all arounder in Iggy – I was in good shape.  The question I was thinking was – could I get Lin AND hold out for Lebron?  That was answered pretty quickly when I couldn’t pass up Ginobili at $15 and Steve threw out Damien Lillard – who I could NOT resist.

When Lin finally rolled out – I was still holding out the possibility of waiting it out for LeBron (though my nominating order of 1st was a definite disadvantage) – and rostering him at $27 sealed my chances of pulling out the Lloyd gambit on the biggest prize of all.  (which in retrospect I realize I had 0 chance of pulling off).

I was very happy to fill my forward slots out with Ilyasova and Pierce at good prices – though i do wish I passed on one of them to have more $$$ for the end game shopping.  Instead I had to take my last $26 and grab Kyle Lowry at close to value to ensure that I didn’t get frozen out.  I liked the player – but I didn’t love how I executed the end game.  Clearly there is still much to learn.

In the reserve draft – I was very happy to get Jared Dudley who has G/F flexibility and solid production to contribute.  I sweated out Andre Drummond as I believe he may be a monster later in the season when DET let’s him loose.  Jeff Green was Paul Pierce insurance – though I think he may have a bigger role in the Celtic rotation than many project – and Steve Novak is always a useful piece – or a throwaway that I will replace with another stash and hope FA that potentially fills a need.

“I LIKE MY SQUAD!!!” – anonymous 20th Century philosopher/poet

Fuck Yeah!

Overall – I’ll say it – I like my squad.  I was super high on rooks Lillard and Drummond.  I got my Nugget in Andre Iguodala.  All 4 of my guards dime.  I’ve got a pair of quality bigs if Bogut and Nene get (and stay) healthy.  I regret not having a Heat/Laker or Net (for TV purposes) – but who am I kidding – I’ll be watching  Rocket games this season anyway.

Injuries are a clear risk – Gino is already hurt, Nene and Bogut have no timetable (wtf does that mean?).  Pierce could break down any season now – Lin still has lingering knee issues.  Also – this team may not shoot well – and is dependent on better than expected scoring from Asik, Lillard, and Iggy.   But I can’t complain – if I go down – it’ll be in players that I believe in.

BARGAINS

“Crazy Eddie, his prices are IN-SA-A-A-A-A-ANE!”

Deandre Jordan $2 – absolutely insane – and one of my targets based on the supposed addition of some low post moves…

Deron Williams $21 – Lloyd strikes again!  But his actual value is $49 based on money left on the table…

Nikola Pekovic $8 – then again this was a $10+ steal by Lloyd so let’s call it a minor win.

Varejao $6 – Yeah I’d like to exchange Nene for him right now and I paid 3x the price…

GWall $9 – Man I really wanted a Net.  And then Deron Williams had to hate on Lin – and now I’m thinking – F the Nets..

Kaman $4 – THIS was the guy I traded to Leon for Anthony F@$^-ing Morrow last year.  And he was damn good in the 2nd half!

Thaddeus Young $2 – I was PRAYing he fell to the reserve draft.  Dosh deserves him for believing in him a long time ago – but this year – he PAYS off.

PREMIUMS

Dion Waiters $14 – I like him… as a reserve round pick.  $14?  notsomuch

Brandon Knight $14 – I have him penciled in here as a PG to pick up for a $1…

Josh Smith $63 – I love Josh Smith – but assuming he stays away from the 3 PT line (where he doesn’t belong) where’s the upside at this price?   (answer – there is none)

Derrick Rose $15 – yeah uh this one’s a head scratcher.  Although here’s a little something to make you feel better Mikey:

Lou Williams $12 – was there a funnier moment than when Andy realized that he had bought the wrong Williams and it wasn’t Deron???

RANDOM THOUGHTS

Rondo – I think I listened to too many SportsGuy podcasts about Rondo winning the MVP.  I was high on him…

Gallinari – totally underrated – a bizarre 2011-2 for him – and an anomalous 3PT% that he will definitely improve.  Good things happening in Denver and Gallo will be a big part

Anthony Davis/Ibaka – wanted 1 of the 2 sooo bad – but couldna afford either

Bargnani – 3pt production from Center?  If I had taken Duncan/Boozer/Millsap/Faried types at F – I would’ve paid up for Bargs.  Also – a perfect guy to pair with Rondo.  AND – I think is set for a very good year in TOR.

Greivis Vazquez – been a fan since the Maryland days.  Was sad that it looked like he wasn’t getting a shot in the NBA.  But then he DID get a shot – and he didn’t disappoint.  Has some work to do – but turning into a solid NBA PG.


A Video Collection of my CHIBA 2012-13 Team to Be Named Later…

October 29, 2012

So you just drafted your fantasy team and you can’t wait for the 48 hours before the season kicks off?  What to do to satiate your fix?  Watch YouTube highlight videos of your just drafted team!

With the power of video – you can start getting hyped up for your upcoming fantasy season before reality sets in and instead of highlight reels you’ll be fed a steady diet of injury reports and Coach’s Decision – DNPs…

Looking back on the auction – perhaps I watched a few too many of these videos BEFORE that fateful day.

You’ll see what I mean…

Without further ado – here’s a video collection that will probably only REALLY interest ME – but on the plus side – I can always click back to this post for a vision of what could have been…

Everything starts and ends this season (of course) with Jeremy Lin.

Here’s my favorite of the plethora of Lin highlight videos available online.  It comforts me to know – that no matter what  – we’ll always have this.

Seriously – I watch this video too often for my own good…

Moving on – in no particular order – here’s the video that almost made me spend $5 on Andre Drummond.  The regular season will most likely provide much needed perspective as to why you should not base your perception of a player on a highlight video (of preseason games)…  Then again – if you do click on the video – are you seeing what I’m seeing?

My apologies to Miles for taking his favorite player.  He’s about to become my favorite player – on a team that I think could show us all there’s a different path to an NBA title.

Did you know that there were enough Omer Asik highlights to make a 9 minute video?  Neither did I…  The title of this video is Asik and Destroy – ’nuff said…

And there you have it – I won’t torture you with episodes of Damien Lillard’s License to Lillard Youtube Series – or Manu Ginobili mullet flashbacks.

Instead – looking forward to some new highlights – starting this week.


CHIBA Fantasy Basketball Wrap – 2011/12 Season Review

May 15, 2012

The Season that WAS

All things end badly. Or else they wouldn’t end… sigh.

The past NBA season was different to say the least.  As expected the schedule increased injury rates, affected playing time, and saw some teams play 3 games in 3 nights.  On the plus side – NBA action was easy to find every single day.  Someone somewhere will figure out what some of the statistical effects were of the short lockout season.  One thing I took away is that guys who were able to survive and thrive for most of this 66 game season – are probably guys that you can count on to be in condition for next year.

There were other interesting trends to consider for next season.  Normally I wouldn’t write about my opinions around players – but for next season – what I call the ‘Honeymoon’ season – (and I’ve had 5 Honeymoons!!!)  my plan is always to put together the ultimate “I Like My Squad”.  Unlike other dominant fantasy dynasties – I don’t believe in hogging up titles two years in a row – it’s just not the right way to play the game.

So attempt to outbid me for Jeremy Lin next season at your peril.

Let’s take a look back at the 66 game season that was:

MOST IMPROVED PLAYERS

Ryan Anderson

An 8th round pick by Andy – and a guy I agonized over in the 7th.  It will be interesting to see if he can put these numbers up sans Howard (or possibly surpass them).  But Anderson was a monster this year putting up 2.7 3’s per game, to go along with 7.7 REB, and 16 PPG.  The FG% at 43.9% is damaging especially from a forward spot – but who’s complaining when you’re basically winning a category.  The NBA’s MIP – and deservedly so – Ryan Anderson should be on your boards for a 3/4 round value in auctions next year.

Paul George

Another astute 8th round pick by Miles – if only they’d fed him a few more minutes in Indiana (he averaged 29 mpg).  44% shooting, 1.4 3’s, 12 PPG, 5.6 RPG, 1.6 SPG, and half a BPG?  Given 5 more minutes a game and an expanded role on Indiana’s team – Paul George is a hot swingman to add to your roster for Forward stats out of the G position.  Certainly worthy of a 4th round value – look even higher if he breaks out in this year’s playoffs.

Kenneth Faried

The Manimal is one of my ‘guys’ next season.

The Manimal got his shot late in the year in Denver and did not disappoint.  Some of you may recall that I identified his potential early in the season after attending a Nugs-Kings early season game.  The kid is energy personified in an athletic body.  He’s a high flying finisher with a nose for the ball – and while he’ll never be a tremendous shot blocker – (he chips in 1 per game) he chips in steals and shoots a high percentage.  Watch closely what happens with DEN’s lineup – as McGee could steal some stats and PT – but odds are the Nugs will find some time for this kid.  Solid 7th round value – and 5/6 if he becomes a part of the regular rotation.

Ricky Rubio

He doesn’t need to be called out – and I’m sure he will go for a premium – as he is one of the most interesting and exciting players to watch in the NBA.  Needs a lot of work on his shot selection (35% FG ewww..) – but is an assist and steal machine.  Can make the 3 ball – and I’m sure can up his PPG from 10 to 15.  Chips in on the glass at 4 RPG.  Not the guy you want as your #1 PG – but a GREAT #2.  I would guess around a 4th round value possibly higher because of hype.  I promise you if I hadn’t had 4 PGs in the bank in round 9 – I would’ve drafted him.  Next season – my PGs (projected) Lin, Rubio, and the mystery PG…  Rubio is the stuff that makes League Pass golden.

Kris Humphries

Hell hath no wrath…

What can I say about the Hump?  He averaged 11 REBs and 1.5 BPG.  Put up almost 14 PPG, a steal, and shot 48%.  He was a must start in 4 game weeks – and hard to pass up even in 3 game weeks.  Durable, consistent, productive.  Given a landing spot somewhere where he can keep his 35 MPG – you can expect much of the same – and hopefully that’s in Brooklyn.  Also a class act that persevered through the ugly booing for inane reasons.  Humphries was a key element of my title winning squad and one that I would welcome back (at the right price).  A solid 5th round value next year.

Greg Monroe

An absolute animal this year in DET – and under the radar.  I attended a NYK- DET game with the Dawg – just pre-Linsanity (dammit!!!).  As mentioned in a previous e-mail – the Dawg was more than suspect about the merits of Greg Monroe.  We weren’t blown away – but even the Dawg had to admit Monroe had some serious game.  Fantasy wise – he’s more than that – 52% FG, 10 RPG, over a steal, 15 PPG, 2 AST, and almost a block.  Lack of block upside is the only thing keeping out of the elite.  Next season – when you’re looking for a quality big man to handcuff with your PG – you’ll be looking long and hard at Monroe as a late 2nd round value.  Given a little more emphasis in a crazy DET lineup – he could even surpass those expectations.

DMC

DMC is Crazy Y’all! He’s Crazy!!!

An absolute great get by Le in the 5th round – DMC almost pouted himself into suspensions or the doghouse all year.  But in the 2nd half he was a force to be reckoned with.  The kid has amazing touch – a real post game – and the strength and size to rebound with the best of them.  18 PPG, 11 RPG, over a block, 1.5 SPG!  It may be a few years before he’s mentally stabilized (or he goes crazy) – but he’s already 2nd round material – and he has the potential to be a 1st rounder as a featured scorer with big time rebound numbers in Anaheim.

WELCOME TO THE 1st ROUND!

Andrew Bynum

Since I already covered this – won’t rehash the details again.  But Bynum has to be on your radar as one of your top players – even if you must downgrade him for injury potential.  He looked pretty solid all season – though the knee lubricant injections sound like something you would do to your car and not your franchise center.  Hope he doesn’t get to deep in the playoffs – and that he stays in shape and motivated for next season.  Then watch the efficient and prodigous scoring, rebounding and blocking machine go to work!  In my opinion – there’s even more upside – if he ever unshackles himself from Kobe Bryant…

Paul Millsap/Al Jeff

We’re covering both Utah big men here – because I suspect one will emerge – and other will slide back a little.  Millsap’s advantage is mainly in steals, but Al Jeff is a polished post player with blocks upside.  My vote is for Al Jeff to be your more attractive late 1st round value – with Millsap a steady 2nd.  Don’t forget young talent Derrick Favors looming – meaning one of the two could be headed out of Utah.  Still you can’t go wrong with either player – both models of big man consistency.

BIGGEST (NON-INJURY) DISAPPOINTMENTS

Kevin Martin

Almost always an underrated players b/c scoring SGs are so maligned (rightfully) in CHIBA.  Martin still made his 3’s but saw his Points go down to a pedestrian 17 PPG (damn you McHale!) – along with a deadly drop in FG% to 41%.  I’m listing him here b/c I’m not totally buying that ‘shoulder’ injury that doesn’t require surgery.  Coming soon to a reserve draft near you.  Can you believe someone burned a 5th round pick on him??

Amare Stoudemire

Amare’s next career is easy on the knees…

Has to be listed here despite his injury too – because his production was down across the board – and he just looked like a shell of the Amare we saw in the first half of last season.  The sad truth is that we may never see that Amare again – and his game was so dependent on his athleticism – that it will take quite some time before he can replace what he’s lost with a more consistent jumper and different ways to finish other than skying higher than everyone and throwing it down.  He showed some progress – but the drop from a 1st rounder to 7th/8th round value next season is almost assured – and he could even be a reserve round value if his injury history scares away enough people.  Only the blindest of Knicks optimists like ex-Knick City Dancer, Steve Lowenthal can possibly believe in a Jesus like resurrection for New York’s tallest honorary Jewish offensive basketball player.

Ray Felton

When I think of a worst case scenario for Jeremy Lin – my nightmares inevitably look like Ray Felton’s lost season in Portland.  Stats down across the board – no one to pass to – nor any offensive flow.  Just a lost dazed look.  He recovered somewhat at the end of the season – showing that there’s still a useful PG in that stout body – but not in time to rescue the 4th round value Andy sunk into him.   Alot depends on his situation – but he’s no longer a #2 PG – and barely a #3.  Another possible reserve round gem next season given a better situation.  Some have considered Felton might come crawling back to the Garden for the vet’s minimum – but why would he do that?  It’s no longer the PG friendly place where he padded his stats – instead he should RUN not walk to the most PnR friendly offense he can find – or even better stalk Mike D’Antoni to wherever he goes (even if it’s Italy).

Jrue Holiday

Although he finished strong – he was hurt by a deep rotation and the emergence of another similar player (Lou Williams) taking minutes and usage away from him.  He’s bounced back – but until Philly either shortens the rotation or decides to let him handle the ball more in their offensive sets – he’s a risky pick  Certainly no longer a 2nd rounder as Paulie took him – look for him as a value a few rounds later.  A solid #2 PG – but can’t trust him as a #1 again.

Dirk Nowitzki

A lost season – they should’ve just given Dirk the season off to rest and recuperate.  Slight downticks in every category – except 3’s – and a huge downturn into 45% FG territory from his high 40’s career wise – and 51% last year. I thought he was a 3rd round steal by Le – but he was actually a slight disappointment.  If Lebron wins the title next season – I’m staying away from his victory lap season.  Looks to me like the Dirk will now be saving his best game for the few post seasons he has left in him – now a mid-round fantasy 7 footer…

Danny Granger

Once a first rounder (can you believe it?) now he’s just a cog – though still one of the main cogs – but not a superstar – nor top round pick.  Still bangs his 3’s but at declining FG% – and unable to sustain his assist and steal rates as his usage drops. Only a small disappointment for Mikey’s 3rd round pick (though part of the crucial 2-3 swing that you just can’t miss on) – he won’t go for that level of value again.  Too much more talent in Indy – and Paul George’s gains should come at Danny Granger’s expense.  Granger is a late third round value at best.

Carmelo Anthony

We can’t really talk about the past NBA season (at least in NY) without talking about Carmelo Anthony can we?  He was awful in the first half of the season – slowed by nagging injuries – and a weird detachment from the team.  He got healthy – got rid of the coach that was ‘holding him back’ and heaping too much praise (and worse giving too many touches!) on some weird looking mini-Yao Ming dude.  Then in the last month of the season he started putting it together and put up some crazy numbers.  So which was the true Melo?  From a fantasy standpoint – he was a disappointment – with steep drops in FG%, and points.  However he elevated his APG to 3.6.  And that last month – he was a first round value by any valuation.  I’d say split the difference and treat him as a 2nd rounder again next season – but you know if we can see a continuing willingness to dish, rebound and play defense.  Some more selective shots – he could sacrifice some more of his PPG and be a better fantasy player…  I’m rooting for it – but I’d bet against it.  Third round value – 2nd round risk – 1st round – HAHA!

The Year of Lin

You’re Welcome.

Yes there’s been enough written about him.  The information cycle is in real time – and the amount of content that we get so varied and deep when someone captures the imagination, that it leaves little for analysis with perspective once the masses have moved on.

I’ll remember this past season not for my CHIBA title – or the Knicks – or the eventual Heat championship.  But for Jeremy Lin – who for two magical weeks from February 4th until the 23rd (Miami game) was perhaps for certain games the best and certainly the most scrutinized basketball player in the world.

I’ll remember exactly where I was on 2/4 the Saturday before the Super Bowl – sitting down to dinner, realizing the Knick game was actually on YES (stupid TWC) – tuning in and seeing Jeremy getting early PT and telling my wife – hey they’re giving this kid some run.  I’ll remember the amazement as ‘the kid’ put up 25 pts and carried us to a tough win over a somewhat sleepy Nets team.  One game fluke?  Who cared?  There was something about the way he played in that game – Assertive would be the best word – that made me wonder – did we just find an NBA caliber PG?

I’ll remember putting the following Knick games on must watch status (watching on bootleg internet, on the radio and even in scary bars) – and an improbable win against a Utah team that we caught off guard – followed by a fun game against WAS with the Knicks starting to show real cohesion and teamwork on both ends of the floor and this kid from nowhere at the center of it all.

At the peak of it we just HAD to go out and watch – and I’ll remember high fiving, screaming, losing my voice at Exchange with Le and I constantly in bewilderment “No Fucking Way!”.

Knicks Lakers.  At the Garden.  Against Kobe.  With celebs all over the arena.  With every excuse to fail under the microscope – he goes out and has the night of his life.

If the story ends with only this year – this game is the final scene of the movie.  It can’t – and it didn’t get any better than that.

Two games later the rest of the bandwagon arrived with a three point dagger to clinch a game in Toronto on Valentine’s Day.  It was beyond basketball at that point.

By the time the DAL game rolled around on National TV the whole country was focused on questions of who? how? and where did this kid come from?

It was all over, though no one really knew it at the time, with the return of Carmelo on February 20th (coincidence?) – and a loss to the Nets and the vengeful and inspired Deron Williams.

From that point on – it was up and down – as teamwork began to falter just as the competition began to heat up.  No blame to assign because who really knows what was happening behind closed doors and in whispered conversations and leaked comments.  Still it was must watch TV – for the rest of the month.

And then all of a sudden it was over- Lin went down – and the Knicks were left short handed with the playoffs still at stake and at risk.

And to be honest – without Lin the air went out of my balloon.  I still CARED about the Knicks – but not as passionately- I watched games down the stretch – and rooted for the Knicks to win – but it just wasn’t the same.

I love the Knicks – but Jeremy Lin transcends basketball.

To be completely honest – for what he means as a symbol, a role model (on the court) – for Asian-Americans,  and to anyone who has been discouraged from following their dreams –  means more to me than the Knicks.

I know he has his doubters – and that there are valid reasons to consider that “Linsanity” was a once in a lifetime anomaly.

To that I simply say – consider all that this kid has overcome being overlooked and undervalued all his life in pursuing his dream.

Through it all, he has kept working to improve and never lost his belief  in himself.

And you think he’s going to fail now?

“(Lin’s) got these moves—he’s so fast and he’s not playing high, he’s playing so low that he’s attacking your knees with this dribble. It’s in a place where as soon as you make a move he just blows past you. To be that low, to have it that far out with your arms, it’s pretty rare. I’ve never seen it.”Iman Shumpert

“(Jeremy Lin) does what needs to be done. If they need scoring, he provides that. He’s very unselfish, once he gets inside he’s looking to pass the ball. but when there’s an opportunity to let him score he’s doing that as well. He’s just unflappable. It’s amazing that a guy has no experience, coing into the NBA been cut by 3 or 4 teams that he can fnd his niche seemingly overnight. and how he’s rejuvenated this franchise.” –Walt Frazier

“(Lin’s) taking a beating, but he’s like a clock, he just keeps on ticking. He never gets frustrated, he just gets up and makes plays. It’s not about where he went to school, it’s about what’s inside his heart, and he’s shown that. He’s bringing passion for basketball back to the city of New York.” –Charles Oakley

“Jeremy Lin reminds me so much of Walt Frazier. It’s how Jeremy controls the game, gets the ball to the right people for easy baskets, the lobs he’s throwing to Tyson Chandler — it all reminds me of Clyde. People said Dave DeBusschere was our missing piece, and he was, but to me the biggest thing we did was make Clyde a starter and give him the ball.” — Willis Reed

“People are always saying he deceptively quick, deceptively athletic, and I don’t know if that’s just because I’m Asian or what it is, but obviously there’s going to be stereotypes that you have to fight.” – Jeremy Lin