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Friday March 7, 2008 6:51 pm

Beyond the Arc: Week 20




Posted by Brandon Haraway Categories: Disses, Editorial, Injuries, Props,

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I think over the last few weeks, the NBA fan has taken over me and pushed the fantasy fan aside.  I mean, if you are a true sports fan, how can you not be on the edge of your seat as we enter the last few weeks of the regular season?  At the time I’m writing this (Friday afternoon, before the games) only seven games separate #1 from #9 in the West.  And #10 isn’t out of it yet either.  This is great.

Have we seen a better race to the finish in any sport?  Baseball is always close because so few teams make it.  But could a team sitting in 9th today end up in the Finals?  It’s not out of the realm of possibility.  This year was a HUGE win for the NBA.  They stayed away from any controversy (Spygate and steroids anyone?) and pulled off a huge humanitarian effort/All-Star Weekend.  What a great year it’s been and kudos to David Stern and all his people in the league office.

Let’s jump into the schedule for the next week (3/10-3/16):

The Fig Cap: Maybe some of this hot action will get KG in the mood, er, groove.

Four games:  Atlanta Hawks, Boston Celtics, Cleveland Cavaliers, Dallas Mavericks, Denver Nuggets, Houston Rockets, Los Angeles Clippers, Miami Heat, Orlando Magic, Philadelphia 76ers, Portland Trailblazers, San Antonio Spurs, Seattle Supersonics, Toronto Raptors, Utah Jazz
Three games:  Charlotte Bobcats, Detroit Pistons, Golden State Warriors, Indiana Pacers, Los Angeles Lakers, Memphis Grizzlies, Milwaukee Bucks, Minnesota Timberwolves, New Jersey Nets, New Orleans Hornets, New York Knicks, Phoenix Suns, Sacramento Kings, Washington Wizards
Two games: Chicago Bulls

Hot

We have to start with top MVP candidate Chris Paul.  In his last five games going into Friday night, he was averaging 23 points and 13 dimes a game.  Sprinkle 4.2 rpg and 3.2 spg on top of that with some low turnover totals, and we are looking at the Stud of the Week.  Oh yeah, 52% from the field from a PG doesn’t hurt either.

February’s Stud of the Month is still on fire.  Next year, we may be looking at the third or fourth round for Monta Ellis as his value has exploded this year.  His last five games: 25 ppg, 5 apg, 7 rpg with 1.6 spg on 59% shooting.  On the year, 53% shooting.  All this from a high-volume SG.  I once said I didn’t see much value in a guy like Ellis.  Guess I turned out to be wrong.

The Jason Kidd Effect is helping out Da Big German in Dallas.  Dirk Nowitzki is putting together some nice post-All-Star numbers, as in his last five contests he’s poured in 28.8 ppg and 9 rpg.  The 1.5 bpg are nice too, but let’s hope that FG% comes up a bit for your PF.

Kevin Garnett showed the world he can still take over games offensively in that big win over the Celtics Wednesday.  Maybe he’s also finally off the fantasy snide, as in the last five, his numbers have taken a slight upturn.  He’s a little closer to 20 ppg and 10 rpg, even though most experts figured he’d be closer to 12 boards a game.  His percentages have been fantastic lately though, and the defensive numbers are there too.  Hopefully we see more like his last two games…

Hedo Turkoglu has to be the most improved player right?  Last five games: 21.2 ppg, 6.4 rpg, and 5.6 apg on great percentages.  Who can argue with those dimes from a swingman not named LeBron James?  Another dude you’ll be drafting in the first four rounds next year.

Now for the first of our two overperforming big men this week.  In my book, Al Horford is the Rookie of the Year.  If he keeps putting up numbers like this, Kevin Durant is really no competition with his low shooting percentage and high turnovers.  In his last five, Horford has gone for 14.4 ppg and 11 rpg on studly ratios.  Now if only we can get those blocks up a bit…

We close out our hot list with another big getting big minutes resulting in big numbers.  I called this weeks ago, even before Yao Ming went down, but now that Luis Scola is getting some burn, he’s getting some nice lines.  In his last five, 14.4 ppg and 7.4 rpg.  He had a 14-rebound game in there as well.  Scola can get you some steals too and fits in Rick Adelman’s offense great.

Cold

We have five previously studly but recently dudly guys for you this week.  We’ll start in Mike Bibby’s new digs in Atlanta.  Yes, he was hurt.  Yes, he is adjusting to a new offense.  But 15 ppg in the last five?  The Hawks don’t have a real big scorer, so I think Bibby should be scoring a little more.  The 8.2 dimes he dished in those games are getting better, but we need to see the scoring pick up a little.  It isn’t like he’s playing in a jam-packed offense.  And his team isn’t winning.

Trade Dwyane Wade now.  I really hope I don’t ruin anyone’s offers by saying this, but he needs to be dealt in non-keepers right now.  Chances are he gets shut down for the year in the not-too-distant future because Miami probably would rather have the #1 pick than another injured version of their superstar.  In his last five, just 5.6 apg and 2.2 rpg?  He’s not exactly playing well either.  It may be too late to deal him for much.

Rashard Lewis is turning into quite the one-dimensional player nowadays.  The 3.4 threes a game he’s made in the last five is great, but that’s about it.  That equals 10.2 points on its own, and that is right about half of his total ppg.  The 5.4 rpg are a bad sign too from a guy you are playing in a forward spot.  He’s truly becoming a three-point specialist in the mold of Peja Stojakovic in his golden era.

The last guy on this week’s short cold list (sorry, guys were HOT this week) is none other than my least favorite fantasy PG, Tony Parker.  He should be yours too.  Why?  4.4 apg is why.  Less than 59% from the line is why.  Just do me a favor and stay away from him next year in any draft you aren’t in with me.

Injury Report

Zydrunas Ilguaskas informed the Cavs this week he’d be out for a while as he tries to get his back in form before the playoffs.  Don’t expect him back soon.

Zach Randolph was playing well, but hasn’t played in a few games because of a bum foot.  He should be back soon though, so don’t expect David Lee to keep starting.

In the play that got Dirk suspended, Andrei Kirilenko got hurt pretty bad and will miss this weekend at least.

Mo Williams missed his game Wednesday and is day-to-day with an abdominal strain.

Consider David West day-to-day after he left Monday’s game early with a sprained ankle, and missed Wednesday’s contest.

Kevin Martin missed his Wednesday game as well with a bruised thumb.  He’s day-to-day.

This may be the start of another bad Ron Artest episode as he’s day-to-day with a “sore foot.”

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