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Saturday December 23, 2006 12:38 am

Stat’s All Folks: Yao = Best Center

Who, you?  Yes, you, Yao!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. 

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 December 14th – December 20th.

POINTS

BULLISH

Yao Ming, C, Houston Rockets
Last Week’s Numbers of Note: 4 G; 34.8 PPG; 50.9 FG%; 91.2 FT%

Usually, the top scorers are coming from everywhere BUT the center position.  Indeed, the dominating scoring big man in the middle is a dying breed, but Yao Ming refuses to lay down softly and go the way of the Thighmaster.  Face it people, Yao is here to stay unlike the Suzanne Somers product and he is undeniably the best center in the NBA.  In his four games last week, Yao scored no less than 32 points in each contest and was feeling it so much he even attempted a trey from downtown!  He miseed, but that’s about the only shot he’ll ever clang off the rim.  And unlike other players that make a living down in the post, Yao hits his free throws allowing him to accumulate points from the charity stripe.  Obviously, hold on to Yao like your league championship depended on it because it just might.

Other Blue-Chippers for the Week
Carmelo Anthony, SF, Denver Nuggets: 2 G; 38.0 PPG
Gilbert Arenas, PG, Washington Wizards: 3 G; 36.7 PPG
Kobe Bryant, SG, Los Angeles Lakers: 4 G; 35.3 PPG

Keep An Eye On
Caron Butler, SF, Washington Wizards: 3 G; 27.7 PPG
Andre Iguodala, SG/SF, Philadelphia 76ers: 3 G; 21.3 PPG
Stephon Marbury, PG, New York Knicks: 4 G; 19.0 PPG

BEARISH

Mike Bibby, PG, Sacramento Kings
Last Week’s Numbers of Note: 3 G; 14.3 PPG; 32.7 FG%; 80.0 FT%

Last season, Bibby dropped an average of 21.1 points per contest.  This season his scoring average has fallen almost five points to 16.8 ppg.  Digest this – last season Bibby had at least 20 points in 44 games out of 82 and at least 30 points in 15 contests.  This season, he’s had at least 20 points in only seven of 23 games thus far and scored at least 30 only once.  If you’re a Bibby owner who had higher expectations for him, I’m sure your body wants to reject this information, but considering his lingering wrist injury, the development of Kevin Martin, and the capability of John Salmons backing Bibby up this decrease in production isn’t too surprising.  If you can move Bibby to someone who thinks he can rebound, do the deal.  Otherwise you’re going to have to hold on to Bibby until he puts a string of 20’s on the board to get good value.

Carmelo Anthony, SF, Denver Nuggets and Paul Pierce, SG/SF, Boston Celtics

Anthony is serving a 15-game suspension handed down to him from the NBA for his involvement in last Saturday’s brawl in Madison Square Garden.  Pierce will be out for at least three weeks due to a stress reaction in his left foot.  So, two of the top scorers in the league will be out well into next month.  Bah humbug!

Other Duds for the Week
Andrei Kirilenko, SF/PF, Utah Jazz: 4 G; 9.8 PPG
Tayshaun Prince, SF, Detroit Pistons: 2 G; 9.0 PPG
Al Harrington, SF/PF/C, Indiana Pacers: 3 G; 8.0 PPG

Buyer Beware
Gerald Wallace, SG/SF/PF, Charlotte Bobcats: 3 G; 23.7 PPG
Marcus Camby, C, Denver Nuggets: 3 G; 20.0 PPG
Monta Ellis, PG/SG, Golden State Warriors: 4 G; 18.0 PPG

ASSISTS

It's time for Shaun Livingston to start on the regular!BULLISH

Shaun Livingston, PG, Los Angeles Clippers
Last Week’s Numbers of Note: 3 G; 7.7 APG; 2.0 TO

Since Sam Cassell is bothered by a sore left heel and only able to play limited minutes, Livingston has been starting and making the most of the opportunity.  In his last nine games, which he’s started, Peoria’s Finest is averaging 13.1 ppg, 4.4 rpg, and what you should like best about Livingston – 7.6 dime drops a contest.  Do you think he’s ready to be the starter from here on out?  Yeah, me too.  Since Livingston’s value is probably undervalued right now because he hasn’t been named the starter at the one moving forward, try to steal him away from his current owner because it’s inevitable that Livingston gets the call to start every game.

Other Blue-Chippers For The Week
Steve Nash, PG, Phoenix Suns: 3 G; 10.7 APG
T.J. Ford, PG, Toronto Raptors: 4 G; 10.0 APG
Chris Paul, PG, New Orleans Hornets: 4 G; 9.5 APG

Keep An Eye On
Raymond Felton, PG/SG, Charlotte Bobcats: 3 G; 9.3 APG
Rafer Alston, PG, Houston Rockets: 4 G; 8.5 APG
Boris Diaw, PF/C, Phoenix Suns: 3 G; 6.7 APG

BEARISH

Kirk Hinrich, PG, Chicago Bulls
Last Week’s Numbers of Note: 3 G; 3.7 APG; 3.7 TO

Hinrich is a weird fantasy player to own because you know he’s good, but you’re not always sure why.  You know he can score, dish off, rip some rocks, and hit triples.  However, he doesn’t do any of these things to any great degree.  But, one thing is for sure, as the primary ball handler for the Bulls, Hinrich needs to get more than the few assists he averaged last week, especially knowing that Hinrich averages 6.5 for his career.  But, he should right his ship and get a little more consistent, so hold on to Hinrich, even though you’re not sure why.

Other Duds For The Week
Chucky Atkins, PG, Memphis Grizzlies: 4 G; 3.3 APG
Sam Cassell, PG, Los Angeles Clippers: 2 G; 2.5 APG
Smush Parker, PG, Los Angeles Lakers: 4 G; 2.3 APG

Buyer Beware
Speedy Claxton, PG, Atlanta Hawks: 3 G; 10.0 APG
Ben Wallace, C, Chicago Bulls: 3 G; 7.0 APG
Ruben Patterson, SF, Milwaukee Bucks: 3 G; 5.7 APG

 

REBOUNDS

BULLISHDavid Lee gets grimy!

David Lee, SF/PF, New York Knicks
Last Week’s Numbers of Note: 4 G; 15.5 RPG

As my friend Evan says, Lee is just straight up raw.  Not in the sushi sort of way, but in the Big Daddy Kane stylo.  Lee goes to work on the boards and is non-stop with what football scouts would call a “motor.”  In his four games last week, Lee grabbed 8, 15, 20, and 19 boards, respectively.  Lee didn’t start the first two games and still grabbed the eight and 15.  You see how well he does on the glass when he does start?  Very Dennis Rodman-like.  In under 30 minutes of burn per game, Lee is averaging a double deuce of 11.0 points and 10.1 rebounds.  Hopefully, Isiah Thomas is smart enough to keep him starting.  Oh wait a minute – did I say “Isiah” and “smart” in the same sentence?  Sorry, David.

Other Blue-Chippers For The Week
Ben Wallace, C, Chicago Bulls: 3 G; 17.0 RPG
Emeka Okafor, PF/C, Charlotte Bobcats: 3 G; 14.3 RPG
Dwight Howard, PF/C, Orlando Magic: 3 G; 13.7 RPG

Keep An Eye On
Josh Smith, SG/SF, Atlanta Hawks: 3 G; 11.0 RPG
Al Jefferson, PF/C. Boston Celtics: 3 G; 10.3 RPG
Erick Dampier, C, Dallas Mavericks: 4 G; 10.0 RPG

BEARISH

Shawn Marion, SF/PF, Phoenix Suns
Last Week’s Numbers of Note: 3 G; 6.7 RPG

Marion getting under seven boards a night is a weird thing to see in the boxscore, let alone as an average for a whole week as the Matrix has the ability to get ten rebounds on the regular.  What’s happening?  Nothing, just a stud fantasy baller having a dry spell.  Marion is unequivocally one of the top fantasy players to own and will remain that way thanks to his versatility in contributing in every category except assists.  The Matrix will come back strong, so hakuna matata on the oardbay orryway.

Other Duds For The Week
Brad Miller, C, Sacramento Kings: 3 G; 4.3 RPG
Andres Nocioni, SF, Chicago Bulls: 3 G; 4.3 RPG
Al Harrington, SF/PF/C, Indiana Pacers: 3 G; 3.0 RPG

Buyer Beware
Dale Davis, C, Detroit Pistons: 2 G; 11.0 RPG
Mike Miller, SG/SF, Memphis Grizzlies: 4 G; 8.5 RPG
Tony Allen, PG/SG, Boston Celtics: 3 G; 7.3 RPG

 

THREE POINTERS

BULLISH

Mehmut Okur, PF/C, Utah Jazz
Last Week’s Numbers of Note: 4 G; 3.5 3PTM

The thing that Okur possesses that separates him from other fives in the league is his ability to drain triples and in the past week he went nuts.  He was also the main reason the Jazz were able to make up a fourth quarter 21 point deficit to beat the Atlanta Hawks recently.  Since Carlos Boozer is the primary post player for the Jazz and an effective one at that, Okur will find himself open many times from behind the arch during the season to hit three-pointers galore.

Other Blue-Chippers For The Week
Gilbert Arenas, PG, Washington Wizards: 3 G; 4.0 3PTM
Mike Miller, SG/SF, Memphis Grizzlies: 4 G; 3.5 3PTM
Michael Redd, SG/SF, Milwaukee Bucks: 3 G; 3.3 3PTM

Keep An Eye On
Rafer Alston, PG, Houston Rockets: 4 G; 3.0 3PTM
Rasual Butler, SG/SF, New Orleans Hornets: 4 G; 2.5 3PTM
Charlie Bell, PG/SG/SF, Milwaukee Bucks: 3 G; 2.3 3PTM

BEARISH

Jason Richardson, SG, Golden State Warriors
Last Week’s Numbers of Note: 2 G; 0.5 3PTM

Richardson needs to get a pass here since he’s just coming back from injury.  However, looking at his shooting performance in the two games he’s played since coming back from the shelf it’s not very encouraging at all.  In his first game back, J-Rich only hit three of ten shots, including 0-for-2 from the land of treys.  In his next game, it was just an absolutely horrid showing in a Pauly Shore movie kind of way.  Richardson shot the ball 19 times from the field, but only hit four baskets, which included only making one of seven triple attempts.  J-Rich is at a low value right now and some in your league might think that Monta Ellis is going to stay the starter at the two, but Don Nelson has already said that Ellis will be coming off the pine, especially considering his recent sprained left foot.  Trade for J-Rich now!  He’ll be fine and start scoring and hitting a couple of treys per game before you know it.

Buyer Beware
Jason Kapono, SF, Miami Heat: 4 G; 2.3 3PTM
Anthony Roberson, PG/SG, Golden State Warriors: 2 G; 2.0 3PTM
Matt Barnes, SF, Golden State Warriors: 4 G; 1.6 3PTM

 

STEALS

BULLISH

Gerald Wallace, SG/SF/PF, Charlotte Bobcats
Last Week’s Numbers of Note: 3 G; 4.0 SPG

Can you feel it?  It’s that flow of hope and anticipation in Gerald Wallace owners who drafted Crash in the third round or thereabouts because of his ability to steal the ball as well as block it.  After a rough start to the season, Wallace is starting to come on in the categories he was drafted for.  Buy or sell, I can’t say for sure at this point because I’d wait to see how the rotation shakes out on a consistent basis since rookie Adam Morrison is still establishing himself and Sean May is displaying the ability to start on a regular basis, both of which will impact Crash’s time and opportunities on the court.  Since May will be out for about a week, an assessment wouldn’t be fair at this point.  So, if you’re a Wallace owner and he goes off in the next week, sell very high.  Otherwise, I’d wait and monitor the situation.

Other Blue-Chippers For The Week
Dwyane Wade, PG/SG, Miami Heat: 4 G; 3.7 SPG
Chauncey Billups, PG, Detroit Pistons: 3 G; 3.5 SPG
Ben Wallace, C, Chicago Bulls: 3 G; 3.3 SPG

Keep An Eye On
Caron Butler, SF, Washington Wizards: 3 G; 2.7 SPG
Andre Iguodala, SG/SF, Philadelphia 76ers: 3 G; 2.3 SPG
Earl Watson, PG, Seattle Supersonics: 4 G; 1.5 SPG

BEARISH

Tony Parker, PG, San Antonio Spurs
Last Week’s Numbers of Note: 3 G; 0.3 SPG

The thing I don’t get about Parker is that he is one of the best penetrators in the league, able to get to the rim almost at will thanks to his quickness.  So, if he’s so fleet of foot, why isn’t he fleet of fingers as well and steal the ball more than a career average of 1.0 and for this season an unimpressive 0.9?  Well, even if he can’t steal the ball as much as Parker owners would like, you have to give it to him for stealing away Eva Longoria from all of our dreams.  Thief!

Buyer Beware
Speedy Claxton, PG, Atlanta Hawks: 3 G; 3.7 SPG
Charlie Bell, PG/SG/SF, Milwaukee Bucks: 3 G; 3.0 SPG
Hakim Warrick, SF/PF, Memphis Grizzlies: 4 G; 1.8 SPG

 

BLOCKS

BULLISH

Marcus Camby, C, Denver Nuggets
Last Week’s Numbers of Note: 3 G; 5.3 BPG

I’ll keep it simple in these last two blurbs.  Camby = monster ball swatter.

Other Blue-Chippers For The Week
Emeka Okafor, PF/C, Charlotte Bobcats: 3 G; 4.7 BPG
Alonzo Mourning, C, Miami Heat: 4 G; 4.5 BPG
Yao Ming, C, Houston Rockets: 4 G; 4.0 BPG

Keep An Eye On
Josh Smith, SG/SF, Atlanta Hawks: 3 G; 3.3 BPG
Tyson Chandler, PF/C, New Orleans Hornets: 4 G; 2.7 BPG
Samuel Dalembert, C, Philadelphia 76ers: 3 G; 2.3 BPG

BEARISH

Brad Miller, C, Sacramento Kings
Last Week’s Numbers of Note: 3 G; 0.0 BPG

Miller = underachieving seven footer on the defensive end.

Buyer Beware
Travis Outlaw, SF/PF, Portland Trailblazers: 2 G; 2.5 BPG
Antawn Jamison, SF/PF, Washington Wizards: 3 G; 2.0 BPG
Andrea Bargnani, SF/PF, Toronto Raptors: 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.

Stat’s All, Folks is taking the week off next week to enjoy the holidays and be with family.  I wish you and your families my best wishes.  See you in the new year!

 

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