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Friday November 10, 2006 1:35 am

Stat’s All Folks: Finally a Full Week!

Zach RandolphWith a full week’s worth of games to examine, I can see a little more clearly now as to how NBA players’ production is shaping up early in the season.  Granted, only several games have been played for each player, but in the early going, it’s best to anticipate trends and depending on your personal risk factor, make moves towards winning a championship.  Remember, no one every won by standing still, so you’ll need to move.  It’s just a matter of which moves give you the better potential for reaping reward.  Analyzing a full week, helps me help you assess which players are moving up and which are falling down.

Stat’s All Folks will be a week-to-week stock market look at the standard cumulative categories – points, assists, rebounds, three-pointers made, steals, and blocks.  I’ll be calling out the “bulls” and “bears” in each category, in order to help you assess your portfolio of players on your fantasy basketball team(s) and whether you should sell, hold, and/or diversify your assets.

Statistics are through November 2nd – 8th.  

POINTS

BULLISH

Zack Randolph, PF, Portland Trailblazers
Last Week’s Numbers of Note: 4 G; 27.5 PPG; 53.3 FG%; 90.6 FT%

Uh oh, don’t look now, but Randolph may have finally learned his lesson that being “the man” for your team is something to take seriously.  Blessed with game down in the box, Randolph didn’t always seem interested in being all that he could be in recent seasons after breaking out during the 2003-04 season when he went for 20/10.  The following two seasons saw Randolph average about 18/9, but because of how downright ugly the Trailblazers as a franchise has been, it seemed players were just going through the motions, including Randolph.  Well, the only motion that seems to be associated with Randolph these days is the snapping of the net as Randolph is draining baskets on the regular. Randolph is on pace for a career season and why shouldn’t he achieve that?  Who else is going to be “the man” in Portland this season?  Brandon Roy is close to it, but at this stage, he’s more like Robin to Randolph’s Batman.

Kevin Martin, SG, Sacramento Kings
Last Week’s Numbers of Note: 4 G; 23.5 PPG; 52.6 FG%; 96.7 FT%

I have to give props to Tom Ziller of Sactown Royalty for calling the explosion that Martin would have in scoring this season.  No wonder Ziller has one of the best team blogs out there.  Martin, indeed, has exploded and taken off in the early going and with no real perimeter threat on the floor besides Mike Bibby, Martin should continue to be a reliable scorer for the season.

Other Blue-Chippers for the Week

Gilbert Arenas, PG, Washington Wizards – 3 G; 36.0 PPG
Allen Iverson, PG, Philadelphia 76ers – 4 G; 31.3 PPG
Joe Johnson, PG/SG, Atlanta Hawks – 3 G; 28.7 PPG

Keep An Eye On

Wally Szczerbiak, SG/SF, Boston Celtics – 3 G; 28.7 PPG
Luol Deng, SG/SF, Chicago Bulls – 2 G; 23.0 PPG

BEARISH

Amare Stoudemire, PF/C, Phoenix Suns
Last Week’s Numbers of Note: 3 G; 7.7 PPG; 53.3 FG%; 77.8 FT%

Stoudemire has been nothing short of a disappointment.  Umm, does that qualify as “Understatement of the Early Season”?  Regardless, for those that learned anything from Chris Webber having the same knee injury several years ago, passing on Stoudemire in drafts was the move to make as the risk outweighed the reward.  But, a lot of people fell in love with the potential reward of about 25 points and nine boards from the center spot and who could blame them?  Well, no worries, it’ll happen… sometime in April.  If you’re a gambler, Stoudemire’s value probably won’t be as low as it is now, so make a proposal to the Amare owner in your league.  If you’re the Amare owner in the league, listen to offers, but hold on Stoudemire unless you’re just floored by a deal.  Remember, April time is playoff time, so while the stock stinks now, it should rise and reach its peak in time for a championship run, which will leave your team smelling like roses.

Jason Richardson, SG, Golden State Warriors
Last Week’s Numbers of Note: 4 G; 11.8 PPG; 31.4 FG%; 68.8 FT
%

Things are pretty much still up in the air when it comes to new coach, Don Nelson’s offense, except for Baron Davis’ role, which is to do what he does best – score a lot of points, dish out a lot of assists, and kill fantasy owners’ percentages.  But where does that leave Richardson?  Losing about ten points on his scoring average and losing minutes to preps-to-pros second year guard, Monta Ellis.  And since Nelson is putting his small-ball offense on the shelf, that means that Mickael Pietrus will also eventually take minutes away.  J-Rich?  More like J-Poor.

Other Duds for the Week

Elton Brand, PF, Los Angeles Clippers – 4 G; 11.0 PPG
Stephon Marbury, PG, New York Knicks – 4 G; 10.3 PPG

Buyer Beware

Zaza Pachulia, C, Atlanta Hawks – 3 G; 19.3 PPG
Carlos Arroyo, PG, Orlando Magic – 4 G; 18.3 PPG

ASSISTS


BULLISH 

Andre Miller, PG, Denver Nuggets
Last Week’s Numbers of Note: 3 G; 9.0 APG; 2.7 TO

At one point, Miller was considered right up there as one of the best point guards in the league when he played with the Cleveland Cavaliers.  Then, he played for the “old, drag you down and depress you more than a French film” Los Angeles Clippers and his career trend of moving upward fell hard.  Luckily, he got out of the Clip Joint after only playing one season with them, going to the high altitude of the Nuggets.  While he hasn’t garnered the same accolades that was heaped on him when he played with the Cavs, Miller has been steady for the Nuggs.  Running an offense that moves up and down the court, as well as having the right personnel to execute and finish on breaks is helping Miller’s assists numbers.  Last season’s 8.2 dimes per contest is a good baseline of what to expect this season.

T.J. Ford, PG, Toronto Raptors
Last Week’s Numbers of Note: 3 G; 7.7 APG; 3.0 TO

Thus far it’s looking like the trade between the Raptors and Milwaukee Bucks that exchanged Ford and Charlie Villanueva is working out well for both teams.  Charlie V. is doing his thing in Bucks country and Ford is doing his in another country – the cozy confines of Canada.  If the GM Bryan Colangelo is trying to bring the Phoenix Suns type offense that he put together personnel-wise, getting Ford to run the point has been an obviously great acquisition.  Ford won’t win any back-to-back MVP awards, let alone one, but Ford is built for an offense that runs as he’s one of the quickest players in the league.  And the returns thus far on Ford have been as expected, eh?

Other Blue-Chippers For The Week

Steve Nash, PG, Phoenix Suns – 3 G; 11.3 APG
Chris Paul, PG, New Orleans Hornets – 3 G; 11.0 APG
Allen Iverson, PG, Philadelphia 76ers – 4 G; 9.0 APG

Keep An Eye On

Jamaal Tinsley, PG, Indiana Pacers – 4 G; 6.8 APG
Jarret Jack, PG, Portland Trailblazers – 4 G; 6.3 APG

BEARISH

Jameer Nelson, PG, Orlando Magic
Last Week’s Numbers of Note: 4 G; 2.8 APG; 4.3 TO

Nelson, along with Raymond Felton and Deron Williams is part of a group of point guards that many fantasy owners had high hopes for coming into the season.  However, thus far, Nelson has been coming through on the hype.  While scoring point guards are pretty much the rage right now (for example, the top two scorers in the league – Allen Iverson and Gilbert Arenas – are point guards), they’re still dropping dimes at an above average rate.  Nelson just isn’t doing his job and that assist-to-turnover ratio is ugly with a capital U.

Jason Kidd, PG, New Jersey Nets
Last Week’s Numbers of Note: 2 G; 2.5 APG; 2.5 TO

Kidd is a perennial triple-double threat, logging one his first game out this season with a 14-10-10 line.  However, since then Kidd has games of three and two assists, respectively.  Actually, let me take that “respectively” back as there is nothing respectable about one of the best points guards to ever lace them up only averaging a few assists per contest in the past week.  Kidd is a lot better than this, so we’ll have to chalk this up to Kidd just having a bad week.

Other Duds For The Week

Speedy Claxton, PG, Atlanta Hawks – 2.3 APG; 3.7 TO
Smush Parker, PG, Los Angeles Lakers – 4 G; 1.0 APG; 1.3 TO

Buyer Beware

Dee Brown, PG, Utah Jazz – 1 G; 5.0 APG; 2.0 TO

REBOUNDS

BULLISH 

Tyson Chandler, C, New Orleans Hornets
Last Week’s Numbers of Note: 3 G; 13.3 RPG

Chandler is a perfect example of a player needing different surroundings in order to thrive.  Chandler is known for being a rebounding fool, if he ever stayed out of foul trouble that is, as well as an excellent shot swatter (He is?  See below in the BLOCKS category).  In New Orleans, there isn’t as much pressure from the media, plus it’s Chris Paul’s world and everyone is just trying to catch his pass to score on a dunk.  If there’s going to be any scrutiny for a new player, it’s going to fall on Peja Stojackovic to see if he can regain the scoring and shooting form he had with the Sacramento Kings.  So, Chandler can just sit back, set up down in the blocks, get his towel and spray ready, and just clean the glass.

Rashard Wallace, PF, Detroit Pistons
Last Week’s Numbers of Note: 4 G; 12.3 RPG

Well, someone has to get the boards for the Pistons with Ben Wallace going bye-bye for the Windy City and a pair of horns; some might say bullhorns, others, like those in Detroit, may say devil horns.  But either way, Wallace is gone and the Wallace of the Rasheed kind is there to get more rebounds. 

Other Blue-Chippers For The Week

Chris Bosh, PF/C, Toronto Raptors – 3 G; 15.3 RPG
Drew Gooden, PF, Cleveland Cavaliers – 3 G; 13.0 RPG
Shawn Marion, SF/PF, Phoenix Suns – 3 G; 13.0 RPG

Keep An Eye On

Udonis Haslem, PF, Miami Heat – 3 G; 11.0 RPG
Carlos Boozer, PF/C, Utah Jazz – 4 G; 10.8 RPG

BEARISH

Boris Diaw, PF/C, Phoenix Suns
Last Week’s Numbers of Note: 3 G; 3.0 RPG

Ouch.  Even with Amare Stoudemire struggling, Diaw isn’t doing much better as far as fulfilling preseason expectations go.  It may be getting less burn on the court, but even if you up the numbers to meet his minutes per game from last year, Diaw is being dudly right now instead of studly.  Will it change?  Not with an effective Kurt Thomas and “on-the-verge of exploding” Leandro Barbosa there to put Diaw on the pine and further back in the rotation.  And, what if Stoudemire gets it together sooner than later?  Things aren’t looking good for Diaw right now.

Other Duds For The Week

Troy Murphy, PF, Golden State Warriors – 4 G; 2.0 RPG
Amare Stoudemire, PF/C, Phoenix Suns – 3 G; 4.0 RPG

Buyer Beware

Paul Pierce, SG/SF, Boston Celtics – 3 G; 11.0 RPG
Corey Maggette, SG/SF, Los Angeles Clippers – 4 G; 10.0 RPG

THREE POINTERS

BULLISH

Morris Peterson, SG/SF, Toronto Raptors
Last Week’s Numbers of Note: 3 G; 3.0 3PTM

“Okay, Mo-Pete, it’s easy.  In half-court sets, throw it into the post to Bosh.  Wait for the defense to collapse down, set up, and wait for CB4 to pass it back out and hit the shot.  On fastbreaks, yes, we remember how explosive you could be from your days at Michigan State, but leave that to Parker.  You set up behind the arch and T.J. will find you after he penetrates down the middle of the floor.  When he does find you, just shoot it.  Basically, Mo, what I’m saying is shoot the ball from the outside.  Can you do that, son?”

“You didn’t even have to ask.”

Joe Johnson, PG/SG, Atlanta Hawks
Last Week’s Numbers of Note: 3 G; 2.7 3PTM

Am I talking crazy when I say that Joe Johnson could be an MVP candidate?  Okay, okay, only four games have passed for the Hawks, but they are 3-1 with many thanks to Johnson being Mr. Everything – scoring, boarding, passing, stealing, and relative to this category, popping triples.  Last season, he didn’t hit treys as much as he could, but it was only the year before when he played with the Phoenix Suns that Johnson was going downtown at a 2.2 per game clip.

Other Blue-Chippers For The Week

Ray Allen, SG, Seattle Supersonics – 4 G; 3.5 3PTM
Gilbert Arenas, PG, Washington Wizards – 3 G; 3.3 3PTM
Rashard Lewis, SF, Seattle Supersonics – 4 G; 3.3 3PTM

Keep An Eye On

Mike Miller, SG/SF, Memphis Grizzlies – 3 G; 2.7 3PTM
Kyle Korver, SF, Philadelphia 76ers – 4 G; 2.5 3PTM
Martell Webster, SG/SF, Portland Trailblazers – 4 G; 2.3 3PTM

BEARISH

Kobe Bryant, SG, Los Angeles Lakers
Last Week’s Numbers of Note: 4 G; 0.3 3PTM

Twenty-four (Kobe’s new jersey number) divided by three (this category we’re talking about) equals eight (Kobe’s old number).  Am I practicing my numerology skills, attempting to find some sort of symbolism to why Bryant isn’t hitting threes the way he can?  Maybe, but I think we can pretty much guess why Bryant is lacking in threes-made.  He’s just not taking as many as of yet.  Last season, Kobe attempted 6.5 treys per game.  This short season, he’s only taking 2.3.  Plus, other players are picking it up, such as Luke Walton, Andrew Bynum, and Ronnie Turiaf, so Bryant doesn’t need to shoulder the scoring load he had last season.  I’d expect Bryant to take less moneyball shots this season.

Buyer Beware

Brent Barry, PG/SG, San Antonio Spurs – 4 G; 3.0 3PTM
Sebastian Telfair, PG, Boston Celtics – 3 G; 1.7 3PTM

STEALS

BULLISH

Caron Butler, SF, Washington Wizards
Last Week’s Numbers of Note: 3 G; 3.0 SPG

Butler is an underrated defender to fantasy-folk, but those he’s guarded since his days at UConn certainly know how good he is.  He won’t average three steals a game on the regular, but close to a deuce isn’t out of the question considering this is his fifth year in the league and second with the Wizards.  Butler should feel more comfortable serving fantasy owners’ ripping the rock needs.

Shane Battier, SF, Houston Rockets
Last Week’s Numbers of Note: 4 G; 2.0 SPG

Speaking of underrated, Battier is probably the epitome of it, much in the way Doug Christie used to several seasons ago.  Now, I don’t know if Battier is married, but I’ll do a pre-emptive strike deal and tell him - do not, I repeat do not, proclaim your love for your wife in a public forum.  Keep it special and private.  Otherwise, your career will be over and Rick Fox will find you and beat you up.  In any case, talk about beating up, Battier takes a pounding as he’ll give up his body to take charges, hustle for a ball going out of bounds, and frustrate offensive players.  Battier has the ability to jump into passing lanes, but also strip the ball from a post player or while defending a player face on.  He’s a perfect fit for the Rockets who need him to just be himself.

Other Blue-Chippers For The Week

Ron Artest, SF, Sacramento Kings – 4 G; 3.5 SPG
Ben Wallace, PF/C, Chicago Bulls – 2 G; 3.0 SPG
Gilbert Arenas, PG, Washington Wizards – 3 G; 3.0 SPG

Keep An Eye On

Jarret Jack, PG, Portland Trailblazers – 4 G; 2.5 SPG
Speedy Claxton, PG, Atlanta Hawks – 3 G; 2.3 SPG

BEARISH

Jason Kidd, PG, New Jersey Nets
Last Week’s Numbers of Note: 2 G; 0.5 SPG

Yes, I put Kidd in another bearish category.  Just as he’s one of the best passers in the history of the NBA, he’s also one of the better ball-swipers as well.  I think we all need to admit that Kidd just isn’t… well, a kid anymore.  His skills are diminishing, but the fact that he’s still one of the better point guards in the league is a testament to just how good he’s been.  If you own Kidd, understand that he’ll play less minutes this season to get first round draft steal, Marcus Williams ready for the position.  Kidd is still a fantasy factor, but it’s fading.

Buyer Beware

Chris Wilcox, PF/C, Seattle Supersonics – 4 G; 2.0 SPG

BLOCKS

BULLISH 

Emeka Okafor, PF/C, Charlotte Bobcats
Last Week’s Numbers of Note: 3 G; 3.0 BPG

Admit it, you thought that Okafor was being a baby last season because he couldn’t play with a sprained ankle.  I mean, how does a basketball player whose normal routine should include dealing with ankle sprains basically miss the whole season?  Well, it happened, so we’ll move on, which is something that Okafor has obviously done.  Okafor seems like his old self, boarding and blocking like he’s making up for his lost season last year.  And because of last year’s injury, Okafor was probably drafted in a great value spot, having his current owners jumping higher than Emeka swatting basketballs like they were volleyballs. 

Etan Thomas, PF/C, Washington Wizards
Last Week’s Numbers of Note: 3 G; 2.7 BPG

All Thomas needed was a chance to start.  And after going toe-to-toe with Brendan Haywood, figuratively and literally, during the preseason and in practice, Thomas earned his place in the starting rotation.  As long as he continues to start, Thomas is going to have some real value in the blocks category.  For those of you that remember Thomas from his days of patrolling the paint with Syracuse, Thomas can be that good.  Okay, wipe your mouth now.

Other Blue-Chippers For The Week

Jermaine O’Neal, PF/C, Indiana Pacers – 4 G; 4.7 BPG
Ben Wallace, PF/C, Chicago Bulls – 2 G; 3.0 BPG
Steven Hunter, PF/C, Philadelphia 76ers – 4 G; 3.0 BPG

Keep An Eye On

Andris Biedrins, PF/C, Indiana Pacers – 4 G; 2.5 BPG
Andrew Bynum, C, Los Angeles Lakers – 4 G; 1.8 BPG

BEARISH

Tyson Chandler, C, New Orleans Hornets
Last Week’s Numbers of Note: 3 G; 0.3 BPG

Chandler’s career Per 40 minute block average is 2.3, but because of foul trouble, Chandler could not (and probably never will) average that many minutes per game.  Still, Chandler is known for getting at the ball, but he’s simply not doing that this season so far with the Hornets.  Unless it’s coming off the backboard first, that is. 

Buyer Beware

Sean May, PF, Charlotte Bobcats – 3 G; 2.0 BPG
Shaun Livingston, PG, Los Angeles Clippers – 4 G; 1.8 BPG

Next week should bring us a bevy of new players to assess, as well as see which players moved between the bullish and bearish market.  I’ll be here every week during the regular season, trying to become the Gordon Gekko of fantasy basketball.  Be my Bud Fox.

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