Fantasy Basketball Answers
The Answerman is the first and only fantasy basketball
and romance advice columnist on the net. He’s here at Insidehoops.com to answer
all your questions (or at least the interesting one).
I loathe mid-season award columns, specifically from fantasy basketball columnists.
All they do is tell you who is playing well – which any serious fantasy basketball
player already knows. “Kevin Garnett is having a good season? Oh darn, surprisingly
someone in my league already has him.” It's almost like telling you that Tyra
Banks is hot and you should try to hook up with her.
However, feeling obliged to give some type of mid-season column, here are my “All-Pleasant
Surprise” and “All-Disappointment” teams along with explanation of how you could
have better predicted their performances before your fantasy basketball draft.
All-Pleasant Surprise Team
PG: Sam Cassell. He’s over 20 points, he’s up 1.5 assists from last season and
most impressively, he picked up 3 field goal percentage points and 7 three-point
percentage points. How should we have known?
He gets to play with Kevin Garnett now. Garnett is a better finisher than anyone
he played with last year – upping his assists. Moreover, Troy Hudson, a back-up
in Orlando, became a fantasy commodity playing point guard in Minnesota. An existing
fantasy player like Cassell was bound to improve.
SG: Jason Richardson. He’s up 3 points, 1.5 rebounds and 4 field goal percentage
points. How should we have known?
After Antawn Jamison was traded, Gilbert Arenas vacated and Earl Boykins went north it became clear that Richardson would get more shots. Obviously, Richardson should not have been picked ahead of Pierce, Iverson, McGrady, or Allen, but he deserved to be in consideration in that second tier of shooting guards.
SF: Antawn Jamison. He’s not actually up in any category. The surprise is that
I thought he was done upon being traded as a starter in Golden State to the bench
in Dallas. However, he is having an extremely solid season in Dallas. How should
I have known?
There are just some teams that allow big stats from multiple players. In football,
three years ago, everyone who had a St. Louis Ram did well. In basketball, it's
Dallas and Sacramento. Get any of their top 5 or 6 players on your squad and stats
PF: Zach Randolph. Randolph is up across the board. How should we have known that
8.4 points and 4 rebounds would become 21 points and 11 rebounds?
Anyone who watched the Portland vs. Dallas playoff matchup last year knew that
Zach Randolph would be a force, eventually. The real key was Maurice Cheeks “announcing”
that Randolph would be a starter before the season started. This was huge. Teams
seldom “announce” that a specific player will start. Typically they just announce
a lineup or make no indication at all. This was an indication that: 1) Randolph
will be getting minutes and 2) Portland is committing to him as a special player.
Next season – if any player gets a specific announcement, react accordingly.
C: Erick Dampier. Dampier went from 8 points and 6 rebounds to 11 points and 11
rebounds. That’s a jump from obscurity to good fantasy center. How should we have
The biggest difference in Dampier’s game this year is 8 minutes. He was playing
24 minutes per game last year, splitting time (rebounds and shots) with Adonal
Foyle and Troy Murphy. This year, Foyle and Murphy are hurt. Someone has to clean
the glass for the traditionally good rebounding-poor shooting Warriors. It's on
Dampier and he is responding.
Remember, two of the most important pieces of information before drafting a player:
games and minutes played. Dampier’s value increased along with his minutes.
PG: Tony Parker. Parker is at 14 points, 5.4 assists and 3.4 rebounds. His stats
are at best marginal for a point guard, however he was widely a 6th or 7th round
selection. Why should we have known better?
You could have looked at his stats from last year. They were about the same. The
system run in San Antonio does not create big assists for the point guard. It's
not Parker’s fault, but he is not a good fantasy point guard. Those who selected
him too early watched the Finals, heard him compared with Kidd and thought he’d
be good. You all thought wrong.
SG: Kobe Bryant (here come the angry letters). Bryant is down 9 points, 1.5 assists,
and 2 rebounds per game from last season and has a stint on the injured list.
Why should we have known better?
You should have known better because I told you before the season started. The injuries and surgeries were bad signs. Couple that with the sharing of shots in Los Angeles and you’ve got a poor fantasy season.
Remember, good team play leads to poor fantasy play. We want selfish players, who shoot whenever they touch the ball and only pass when it will lead to an assist.
SF: Ricky Davis. Is he really a small forward? Am I cheating? Deal with it. He
is down 7 points and 2 assists from last year. He was a hair below upper-echelon
players last year. Now, he doesn’t belong on fantasy rosters (though, that could
change depending on how the new Celtics coach uses him). Why should we have known
Davis was the selfish player we fantasy owners wanted last year. When Cleveland
drafted LeBron James and Paul Silas was hired, the ball was coming out of Davis’
hand. Davis had to either become a “team player” - which we don’t want - or not
adapt, which would have led to a trade. Eventually the latter occurred and he
has lost his value.
You’ve got to be aware of team dynamics before drafting.
PF: Chris Webber. Webber’s stats are 1st round stats and he is among the most
elite players in the league. Too bad for owners that he hasn’t done anything yet.
Most Webber-drafters are at the bottom of their leagues and frantically read the
Sacramento Bee every morning for updates on Webber’s health.
You cannot draft oft-injured players. My number is 40. If a player misses a total of 40 games over his last 2 seasons, he must be avoided. If you drafted Webber before the 5th round you made a huge mistake.
C: Shaq O’Neal. The issues with Webber and Bryant both should have been taken
into consideration before drafting O’Neal.
We all should know that Shaq is a generous player who moves the ball and will give up shots for teammates. With Malone, Payton, and Bryant, Shaq’s scoring would take a hit. We also all should know that Shaq only plays for portions of the season. However, we all know that Shaq is the only center who provides stats worthy of an early pick.
Next season, do not jump the gun on drafting Shaq. He can be had after the 3rd
round. By that time you should have enough good players to make up for his missed
Congrats to all of my award winners. Remember, if you have any questiosn, ask