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Happy St. Patty’s Day!  I really wish I was a Thunder fan.  They really impress me.  They played really well without Kevin Durant, showing great ball movement and some of the best teamwork we’ve seen in the NBA this year.  Then tonight, they beat the Spurs.  They’ve now beat San Antonio, Dallas, Utah, Portland, and Detroit this year.  That’s not too shabby when early on, some people though they might break the all-time loss record.

Monday’s best:  It was a pretty slow night, and our award goes to Chris Paul.  His Hornets lost at home, but he ended up with 29 points, 6 rebounds, 11 assists, and 6 steals.  His 11-11 from the line wasn’t to bad either.

Monday’s worst:  Tyson Chandler. He played 38 minutes!  How you play that many minutes as the second best player on your team and score 4 points is beyond me.  Only 7 boards too.  I didn’t watch the game or anything, but maybe this is why they lost?

Keep an eye on:  The Hornets and a possible bad end-of-season scenario.  They’re clearly playing bad ball, losing 3 of 5, including losses at Atlanta and Chicago.  The rest of March is a cakewalk for them besides Denver, but in April they get Utah, Phoenix, and Dallas at home, and Miami, Dallas, Houston, and San Antonio on the road.  They’re only a game and a half ahead of the 8 seed, and while I don’t think they’ll miss the playoffs at all, a couple more losses in March could severely hurt their seed and put them dangerously close to the lottery…

What to watch for Tuesday: Magic at Cavaliers is a good game on NBATV.  Pistons at Mavs should be a good one too, and is a big game for Dallas as things suddenly got interesting again at the bottom of the Western playoff picture this weekend.


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Friday night was something special.  We saw an epic battle between the Lakers and Hornets, in which Chris Paul fouling out might have cost the Hornets a big upset, yet another 140-point outburst by the Suns, and one of the truly amazing single performances in recent years by none other than LeBron James.  I really hope you got to see at least part of one of these games.

Friday’s best:  LeBron takes the cake here, and it’s not close.  The man scored 16 points in less than three minutes at the beginning of the third quarter.  He finished with 55 points, 5 rebounds, 9 assists, and 8 threes.  About half of those threes were at least a couple feet behind the line.  Truly amazing.  But let’s not look past Paul’s 21 points, 5 rebounds, 16 dimes, and 4 steals and Leandro Barbosa’s career-high 41 points (on 16-21 shooting!), 7 rebounds, 7 assists, and 6 steals.  Two extremely outstanding lines that would easily top most other nights.  Oh, and Randy Foye had 36 points, 6 rebounds, 3 assists, and 4 steals too.

Friday’s worst:  Peja Stojakovic.  He had 5 points on 2-11 shooting (1-8 beyond the arc) in 29 minutes.  If he had connected on just a couple more shots, the short-handed Hornets would have taken down the mighty Lakers in Hollywood… oh well.  He’s just so inconsistent, it has to be maddening for his owners.

Keep an eye on:  The Chicago Bulls.  Big win tonight at home against the Nuggets, in the first game after acquiring Brad Miller and John Salmons... and they didn’t even play.  Maybe it was a big chemistry booster.  Maybe they can make noise in the playoffs.  Maybe they should try to climb a few spots and get out of facing the Celtics or Cavs in the first round.

What to watch for tomorrow: The best game on the docket tomorrow is easily New Orleans at Utah.  One team coming off a pretty tough loss tonight in OT traveling to play a team in an emotional turbulent time, toppling the defending champs Thursday and losing their owner and influential Utah man Larry H. Miller.  Should be a pretty interesting game, and definitely an emotional one for the Jazz and their fans.  I wish Miller’s family and the community to best as they recover from this tough loss.


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In a deal that appears to be mostly financially-driven, the Hornets sent Tyson Chandler to their once stand-in hometown of Oklahoma City for Chris Wilcox, Joe Smith, and the draft rights to DeVon Hardin.

I think in a pure basketball sense, it’s a good move for both teams.  Obviously, the Hornets may have lost the value end of it, but they get back a saavy veteran and a guy who can hold his own down low.  Chandler was having a bad season anyway, and Wilcox hasn’t been getting off the pine.

Fantasy-wise, Chandler will start in OKC, sending Nick Collison to the bench.  He takes a big hit in value and Nenad Krstic becomes droppable in every league.  Of course, either could see minutes at the four, but it won’t likely be many.

As for New Orleans, Wilcox will just take Chandler’s place in the starting lineup.  Smith will likely back up David West, and Hilton Armstrong will continue to see his limited minutes backing up Wilcox.

Big winner?  Wilcox, because he’ll actually get to play some minutes.


Russell Westbrook LayupIn one of my deeper leagues, I’m the proud owner of Oklahoma City’s Russell Westbrook.  Though I can rarely find a spot for him on my active roster, I’ve been a big fan of what the kid has been able to do thus far.  And while he’s not putting up OJ Mayo-like scoring numbers, SLAMOnline gets dirty with the numbers behind the scenes.

Through his first 14 games (this excludes the Thunder most recent game vs. Phoenix), Westbrook has been on the floor for 52 percent of the total minutes Oklahoma City has played. When comparing the team’s production per 100 possessions when the rookie is on the floor as opposed to when he is off the floor, the Thunder scored 10 more points and allowed 16 less points. That means for everyone 100 possessions that Westbrook was on the floor for those games the Thunder were at +25.9 when compared to the time that he was on the bench.

Factor in the point that this team is dreadful and Earl Watson isn’t exactly the point guard of the future, and I think this kid is going to have a huge second half for fantasy owners.  We could be looking at about 16/5/6 with about two steals a game.  If he can somehow increase those assist numbers even more, you’re looking at a Rajon Rondo with higher scoring.  We could all use something like that at the end of our bench.

Russell Westbrook: Playing Like The ROY? [SLAMOnline]


Dropping Dimes is trying out a new feature. Fantasy 30 intends to rank all of the NBA teams in terms of fantasy power. A list like this tends to lead to a lot of disagreement and discussion, but the hope is that these rankings will be fluid and updated as the year goes on. Thanks to Ron Chow for the assist. In addition to publishing updates on the Fantasy 30, once in a while we hope to produce sister articles that focus on a specific team and its roster.

#1: Los Angeles Lakers: Kobe Bryant ranks as a top four fantasy player this year. The Lakers employ two fantasy-worthy starters for center in Pau Gasol and Andrew Bynum. Lamar Odom has played well coming off the bench. Jordan Farmar has sleeper point guard potential, and the team also employs three-point threats like Derek Fisher and Vlad Radmanovic. All of this adds up to the Lakers being top dog early in the year.

Click to continue reading Fantasy 30, Version 1


Baron Davis and his beard taking a jumperMost of us fantasy fanatics are in some sort of consolation play this week. After all, only two teams in each league can vie for the championship. How are things over in the “real” NBA? Well, the Golden State Warriors are playing almost .600 ball and are still trying to claw into playoff position. How’s that for a tough break?

In my league with family and friends, the teams in the consolation bracket battle for draft position next year. The winner of the consolation playoffs gets the first overall pick, the runner-up gets second pick and so on. It’s enough incentive for everyone to continue setting their lineups, and it’s enough of a prize that people take it seriously enough to put forth the effort. If you have a league with little GM turnover year to year, this is something you can do so that everyone can enjoy fantasy hoops right to the very last day, not just the finalists.

Perhaps the NBA should adopt a consolation playoff format and the winner gets first pick in the draft. This certainly would guard against bad teams tanking it at the end of the season.

Click to continue reading Consolation Playoffs in the NBA?


Al Horford 2x champSo the NBA schedules games on Christmas and Easter, but they always, always, ALWAYS avoid the night the NCAA crowns their Men’s Division I champion. Why? “One shining moment…”

Even the biggest NBA die-hards will check out college ball around this time of year. The tourney kicks off draft hype. With players like Derrick Rose, Kevin Love, Brandon Rush etc making it to the Final Four this year, it’s been an excellent time to check out these blue chip prospects. Tyler Hansbrough has been named Player of the Year in quite a few places, but most have his pro potential listed pretty low.

So with no NBA action scheduled for Monday, April 7th, it seems like a good time to reflect on the rookies.

Click to continue reading 2007-08 Rookie Crop


Kobe Bryant damn I'm good
The shoot-out in the wild Western Conference has been great to follow, has it not? The top nine teams are separated by only 6.5 games. Every day the standings shift. Right now Phoenix sits in sixth while Dallas ranks seventh! This bodes well for fantasy owners as the best teams in the West should all be playing meaningful games down the stretch. Here’s a rundown of each team’s fantasy playoff schedule.

Click to continue reading Playoff Primer 2008: Western Conference


Ben Wallace - Fantasy BasketballWhat a week it has been.  Obviously, the Cleveland-Chicago-Seattle deal set the NBA ablaze last night.  I personally can’t wait for tonight’s Cavaliers game where they currently have six active players.  Seven if Anderson Varejao comes back early.  Eight if they let me suit up.  Either way, LeBron James could easily go for 50 points tonight, so keep an eye on the box score.

Everyone else?  There has defintely been some adjustments in certain player value over the past 24 hours.  Let’s see who’s stock is up, and who’s may not be as hot as it once was.

Fig Cap: Someone’s getting their headband back!

Click to continue reading Trade Deadline Fall-Out


Nothing too huge to mention here, but I thought it was interesting to see the minutes that the Sonics have been giving Wally Szczerbiak as of late.  Check out the box scores from the last several games.

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It seems that Wally World is only safe starting every other game.  What should be noted is that the Sonics have only won one of the past seven games - one of them that Szczerbiak received sub-20 minutes.  He’s likely on the waiver wire in most leagues, so keep an eye on this development.  That is, if anything even develops.


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