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Thursday December 7, 2006 11:31 pm

Stat’s All Folks: Let’s Get Spicy!

Eddy CurryStat’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. 

Note that you won’t always see the superstar player written about in this column, otherwise it would be LeBron James or Steve Nash every week.  So, check out who’s bullish and who’s bearish coming into the week.

Statistics are through November 29th – December 5th.

POINTS

BULLISH

Eddy Curry, C, New York Knicks
Last Week’s Numbers of Note: 4 G; 25.3 PPG; 60.3 FG%; 60.8 FT%

I’ll admit and say that I was a non-believer.  And to some degree I still am – I’ll chalk that up to me being a disgruntled Knicks fan.  But, I simply could not believe that Eddy Curry scoring as much as he was the week before was the real deal.  If Howie Mandel was in front of me, I would have emphatically said, “NO DEAL!”  But, you can’t argue with seven games in a row of 20+ points because instead of Curry’s physique blowing up, his post game is.  Buy into it because head coach Isiah Thomas has, recently saying that Curry was the key to the team and that’s music to every Curry owner’s ears.  Hopefully it doesn’t turn out to sound like an American Idol tryout.

Elton Brand, PF, Los Angeles Clippers
Last Week’s Numbers of Note: 4 G; 25.3 PPG; 64.9 FG%; 77.1 FT%

There was a lot of speculation as to why Brand wasn’t doing as well as many expected, which to me was as ridiculous as saying that David Stern has a great relationship with the NBA Players Association.  Yes, his legs are probably a bit tired from international play during the offseason, but the man still averaged a double-double.  Sure he was only scoring 17 points a night and not last season’s 25, but can anyone really complain about 17 and 11 per contest?  I guess so (shrugging shoulders).  Well, he’s been more than shutting the haters’ mouths up by putting up back-to-back 30+ points per night in his last two games.  How do you like him now?

Other Blue-Chippers for the Week
Carmelo Anthony, SF, Denver Nuggets – 2 G; 36.5 PPG
Kobe Bryant, SG, Los Angeles Lakers – 3 G; 34.0 PPG
Joe Johnson, PG/SG, Atlanta Hawks – 4 G; 33.5 PPG

Keep An Eye On
Andres Nocioni, SF, Chicago Bulls – 3 G; 25.0 PPG
Josh Howard, SG/SF, Dallas Mavericks – 4 G; 19.5 PPG

BEARISH

Jason Terry, PG, Dallas Mavericks
Last Week’s Numbers of Note: 4 G; 10.0 PPG; 33.3 FG%; 75.0 FT%

The Jet has slowed down in the past week and having trouble putting the ball in the hoop, hanging single digit scoring performances in two of four games against the Washington Wizards and Sacramento Kings.  Then again, he was probably too busy chasing around Agent Zero, Gilbert Arenas and Mike Bibby, respectively.  If you own Terry, don’t sweat it, he’ll be taking off again soon as he’s option numero dos on the Mavs behind Dirk Nowitzki.

Adam Morrison, SF/PF, Charlotte Bobcats
Last Week’s Numbers of Note: 4 G; 3.5 PPG; 28.6 FG%; 100.0 FT%

What happened?  Did someone shave Morrison’s moustache off, draining all his power and ability to shoot and score from the floor?  Is a bald upper lip the kryptonite to Morrison’s game?  Nah, let’s just call it your normal rookie inconsistency.  Morrison not only still has the stache, but he still has the promise of finishing up top on the Rookie of the Year list when all is said and done.

Other Duds for the Week
Brad Miller, C, Sacramento Kings – 4 G; 5.8 PPG
Gerald Wallace, SG/SF/PF, Charlotte Bobcats – 3 G; 7.3 PPG

Buyer Beware
Rasual Butler, SF, New Orleans Hornets – 1 G; 33.0 PPG
Charlie Bell, PG/SG, Milwaukee Bucks – 3 G; 20.0 PPG

Deron Williams

ASSISTS

BULLISH

Deron Williams, PG, Utah Jazz
Last Week’s Numbers of Note: 4 G; 8.8 APG; 2.0 TO

As a rookie last season Williams was having some trouble with the offense.  So much so, he was sent into head coach Jerry Sloan’s doghouse - what?  The third overall pick in the draft, John Stockton’s heir apparent was demoted to essentially playing with the JV squad?  Yup!  But, how did Williams respond to second unit duty?  He came out strong, rocking and rolling like Elvis in the latter half of last season and the shaking and baking has continued into this current one.  Williams should keep up his strong play and could be singing Viva Las Vegas come February at the All Star Game.  Uh huh huh.  Believe it.

T.J. Ford, PG, Toronto Raptors
Last Week’s Numbers of Note: 3 G; 8.3 APG; 3.0 TO

Ford is the equivalent of a Velociraptor – small, fast, and fearless.  It looks like the style of play that GM Bryan Colangelo brought from the Phoenix Suns to the T-Dot is slowly coming together and it all starts with Ford.  In the last two games Ford dropped 13 and 10 dimes, respectively.  With the athletes and perimeter shooters on the Raptors, Ford should continue to set his team up nicely and work his way to becoming Steve Nash East.  The Canadian air should help and if Ford starts growing out his hair, well, some hardware might be coming Ford’s way.  And I’m talking about scissors, not the MVP trophy.  Hold.

Other Blue-Chippers For The Week
Chris Paul, PG, New Orleans Hornets – 1 G; 18.0 APG
Steve Nash, PG, Phoenix Suns – 3 G; 13.0 APG
Jason Kidd, PG, New Jersey Nets – 3 G; 10.0 APG

Keep An Eye On
Tony Parker, PG, San Antonio Spurs – 3 G; 6.7 APG
Eric Snow, PG, Cleveland Cavaliers – 3 G; 6.7 APG

BEARISH

Leandro Barbosa, PG, Phoenix Suns
Last Week’s Numbers of Note: 3 G; 3.0 APG; 2.3 TO

Okay, now I’m feeling that the Earth’s orbit is probably aligned.  Coming into the season we all knew that Barbosa was a shooter and a scorer.  A passer?  Umm, not so much.  A couple of assists could be comfortably asked for, but Barbosa was averaging about six a night in the first month of the season.  But lately, his scoring has jumped with his assists going down, which is what most expected.  Basically, the assists were gravy on the meat.  Take the points, treys, and percentages and the assists whenever they come.

Other Duds For The Week
Damon Jones, PG, Cleveland Cavaliers – 3 G; 1.7 APG
Nate Robinson, PG/SG, New York Knicks – 4 G; 2.3 APG

Buyer Beware
Chucky Atkins, PG, Memphis Grizzlies – 3 G; 6.3; APG
Sergio Rodriguez, PG/SG, Portland Trail Blazers, 3 G; 5.7 APG

REBOUNDS

BULLISH

Carlos Boozer, PF/C, Utah Jazz
Last Week’s Numbers of Note: 4 G; 11.0 RPG

Cleveland’s most loved, and by most loved I mean most hated, power forward is loving the frosty temperatures of Salt Lake City, which only makes sense since he’s from Alaska.  In any case, Boozer is putting up numbers that would have former Jazz power forward Karl Malone rubbing his finely coiffed beard and smiling.  Boozer is scoring down low and cleaning the glass like his palms were made of Swiffer-like material.  Next up?  The oh so pretty breakaway slam dunk with one hand behind the head, Mailman style!  Hold the Booze!

Reggie Evans, PF, Denver Nuggets
Last Week’s Numbers of Note: 2 G; 10.5 RPG

If there’s anything we know about Evans, it’s that he can grab some basketballs if given some burn on the floor.  Prime example came this past week when he played over 30 minutes with Nene out and grabbed 16 boards.  But, consider that in only 20 minutes of play that Evans is averaging 8.3 rebounds, it should be no surprise if he ever gets double digits in that category, something he’s done in four games of the twelve he’s played.  If you’re in a deep league or need boards in a standard league, buy, buy, buy!

Other Blue-Chippers For The Week
Tyson Chandler, C, New Orleans Hornets – 1 G; 17.0 RPG
Amare Stoudemire, PF/C, Phoenix Suns – 3 G; 13.0 RPG
Dwight Howard, PF/C, Orlando Magic – 4 G; 12.8 RPG

Keep An Eye On
Erick Dampier, C, Dallas Mavericks – 4 G; 10.3 RPG
Andrew Bogut, PF/C, Milwaukee Bucks – 3 G; 9.7 RPG

BEARISH

Yao Ming, C, Houston Rockets
Last Week’s Numbers of Note: 3 G; 6.3 RPG

How does someone 7’6” tall only grab six rebounds a night?  At the very least someone that tall should board his height.  I guess Yao is still suffering from the stigma of getting rejected by 5’9” Nate Robinson of the New York Knicks.  Obviously, this poor performance this past week is something that should be a rare event.  Sort of like Nate’s block on Yao.

Ben Wallace, C, Chicago Bulls
Last Week’s Numbers of Note: 3 G; 5.7 RPG

Wallace ends up here for the second straight week as he actually did worse than the 6.3 boards in three games he played last week.  If you’re a Big Ben owner, you have no choice but to hold him and ride out this underwhelming performance.  Sort of like buying a ticket to a Brad Pitt movie.  If you try to trade Wallace, you won’t get fair value at this point, so take the headband off your forehead, put it over your eyes, and start wishing.  Maybe chanting “there’s no place like ‘fro” while clicking your kicks three times might help as well.  It couldn’t hurt.  At least not as much as grabbing Big Ben in the third round.  Ugh!

Other Duds For The Week
Mehmut Okur, PF/C, Utah Jazz – 4 G; 5.8 RPG
Troy Murphy, PF/C, Golden State Warriors – 4 G; 5.5 RPG
Al Harrington, SF/PF/C, Indiana Pacers – 4 G; 4.5 RPG

Buyer Beware
Chuck Hayes, SF/PF, Houston Rockets – 3 G; 12.0 RPG
Juwan Howard, SF/PF, Houston Rockets – 3 G; 12.0 RPG
Quentin Richardson, SG/SF, New York Knicks – 4 G; 9.8 RPG

THREE POINTERS

Andres NocioniBULLISH

J.R. Smith, SG, Denver Nuggets
Last Week’s Numbers of Note: 2 G; 4.0 3PTM

Smith is hitting from the beyond the arch at a rate of three per contest this season, by far his best in his career.  Don’t expect this to change as Smith has recreated himself in Denver as a top second option on offense after league scoring leader Carmelo Anthony.  The duo is like a perfect Yin and Yang on offense as Anthony scores down in the post, opening shots for Smith and Smith hits his J’s, opening the post for Anthony.  But because of Melo’s seniority and track record on the Nuggets, Smith is more Robin to Melo’s Batman. 

Andres Nocioni, SF, Chicago Bulls
Last Week’s Numbers of Note: 3 G; 3.7 3PTM

Nocioni AKA Chapu has improved every facet of his game, it’s great knowing that I called it last season and even went so far as to say he’ll improve the way fellow countryman Manu Ginobili has.  However, at this rate, Chapu might actually be better than Ginobili, at least on the offensive side.  Before last season, Nocioni only hit 0.3 treys a game.  Last season, it was 1.1 triples and this season it’s almost a deuce.  If you need threes, Chapu is a great mid-level target in trades as I don’t see him slipping, especially since offense is something the Bulls aren’t exactly in highly supply of.

Other Blue-Chippers For The Week
Bruce Bowen, SF, San Antonio Spurs – 3 G; 4.0 3PTM
Raja Bell, SG, Phoenix Suns – 3 G; 4.0 3PTM
Steve Nash, PG, Phoenix Suns – 3 G; 3.3 3PTM

Keep An Eye On
Charlie Bell, PG/SG, Milwaukee Bucks – 3 G; 3.3 3PTM
Devean George, SF, Dallas Mavericks – 4 G; 2.0 3PTM

BEARISH

Shawn Marion, SF/PF, Phoenix Suns
Last Week’s Numbers of Note: 3 G; 0.3 3PTM

The thing that separates Marion from most frontcourt players is his ability to do everything besides rack up the assists numbers.  However, in the past week, the Matrix fell off with his ability to hit from beyond the arch as he hit one-third of his career average.  Naturally, if you have Marion you don’t get him off your team for any reason, but the I put him here to note that he only hit 1-for-10 from three-point land and is shooting 27.4% from there for the season as opposed to the 34.3% for his career.  As I intimated, hold the Matrix, but maybe lower your three-pointers made expectations.

Buyer Beware
Rasual Buter, SG, New Orleans Hornets – 1 G; 7.0 3PTM
Eric Williams, SG/SF, San Antonio Spurs – 3 G; 2.0 3PTM

STEALS

BULLISH

Josh Howard, SG/SF, Dallas Mavericks
Last Week’s Numbers of Note: 4 G; 1.8 SPG

After missing eight games in November, Howard is back and healthy again.  Naturally he’s getting his points, boards, and treys, reminding people of a younger Michael Finley, a Mavericks favorite from the recent past.  And just as Finley did, Howard is putting up very good steals numbers.  Expect the level of rock-ripping to continue to be as steady as Obi-Wan Kenobi.

Other Blue-Chippers For The Week
Chris Paul, PG, New Orleans Hornets – 1 G; 5.0 SPG
Allen Iverson, PG, Philadelphia 76ers – 2 G; 4.0 SPG
Luther Head, PG/SG, Houston Rockets – 3 G; 2.7 SPG

Keep An Eye On
Quinton Ross, SF, Los Angeles Clippers - 4 G; 2.3 SPG
Monta Ellis, PG/SG, Golden State Warriors – 4 G; 1.5 SPG

BEARISH

Caron Butler, SF, Washington Wizards
Last Week’s Numbers of Note: 3 G; 0.3 SPG

While Butler’s ability to score is not as known as Gilbert Arenas’ and his rebounding prowess is lost when compared to Antawan Jamison’s, something that always had Butler stand out from the group is his adeptness to steal the ball.  Just like Shakira’s hips don’t lie, neither does Butler’s 1.5 career steals average.  Last week, was an off-week, so hold on to Butler.  As Nocioni is a good mid-level choice in a trade for triples, Butler is a good mid-level player to look into if you need steals.

Other Duds For The Week
Luke Ridnour, PG, Seattle Supersonics – 4 G; 0.5 SPG
Sam Cassell, PG, Los Angeles Clippers – 4 G; 0.3 SPG

Buyer Beware
Marko Jaric, PG, Minnesota Timberwolves – 2 G; 2.0 SPG
Jordan Farmar, PG, Los Angeles Lakers – 3 G; 1.7 SPG

BLOCKS

BULLISH

Alonzo Mourning, C, Miami Heat
Last Week’s Numbers of Note: 3 G; 4.0 BPG

Mourning, who will turn 37 in February is playing like he’s back at Georgetown where he played his college ball.  Thanks to another Shaquille O’Neal injury, Zo is getting some substantial minutes on the hardwood and he’s doing what he needs to and that’s to reject shots like their loan applications.  For the season he’s putting 2.7 stamps of disapproval in offensive players’ faces and I don’t expect the swatting to stop.

Other Blue-Chippers For The Week
Marcus Camby, C, Denver Nuggets – 2 G; 3.0 BPG
Dwight Howard, PF/C, Orlando Magic – 4 G; 2.8 BPG
Kendrick Perkins, PF/C, Boston Celtics – 3 G; 2.7 BPG

Keep An Eye On
Desagana Diop, PF/C, Dallas Mavericks – 4 G; 2.0 BPG
Darko Milicic, PF/C, Orlando Magic – 4 G; 1.8 BPG

BEARISH

Gerald Wallace, SG/SF/PF, Charlotte Bobcats
Last Week’s Numbers of Note: 3 G; 0.0 BPG

Nine straight games without a block!  Crash is averaging 0.3 blocks a game thus far, a very Bizzaro-like number to his super 2.1 rejections last season.  Wallace is still playing comparable minutes from last season, but across the board, his numbers are down.  Methinks there is an Emeka Okafor and Sean May effect here.  Last season, both players were injured for most of the season and Crash needed to step up his production to compensate.  Since Okafor and May are healthy, Wallace hasn’t been called on to step up, which is a bad thing to fantasy owners that own him.  I don’t see it getting better, so once he has a good string of games, I’d trade him for as fair compensation as you could get.

Buyer Beware
Eduardo Najera, SF/PF, Denver Nuggets – 2 G; 2.0 BPG
Rashard Lewis, SF, Seattle Supersonics – 4 G; 1.8 BPG

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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