Happy December everyone. It was only Sunday’s NBA action that could take my mind off a pathetic performance by the Jets. Some observations.
It’s a Giveth after a brief Taketh, but Steve Nash returned after missing just one game due to a bruised thigh and posted 26 points on 11-of-20 shooting and nine assists. Nash has been pushing for the Suns to get closer to their old style, which would benefit both Nash owners as well owners of any player that plays against the Suns for the remainder of the season.
Then, we can approriately start referring to the Suns as the “West Coast Knicks.”
Carmelo Anthony came out of Sunday’s win over Houston in the second quarter due to a problematic right elbow that was hurting so bad, he couldn’t lift his kids after the game. Anthony said that he’ll be OK and that he will play on Tuesday, but pulling himself out of a game against Western Conference foe that early is cause for concern.
Still, you can’t exactly bench if he says he’s going to play.
In other Taketh news, Tracy McGrady is meeting with the Grim Reaper, aka Dr. James Andrews, on Monday to discuss his nagging left knee injury. He’s a mortal lock for rotator cuff surgery.
Gratuitous gut-wrenching quote:
“I’m just not ready to play. With the limping and everything, I’m not healthy enough to play anymore.”
Player for Sale:
I’m not sure Andre Iguodala‘s stock will get too much lower and some frustrated owners may have lowered their asking price after an eight-point performance on Sunday. He was highly overrated entering the season but his numbers are far below what they should be and examining why could hold the key to his future value.
After shooting 46 percent from the floor through his first four seasons, Iguodala is under 40 percent in the season’s first 17 games and below 25 percent from 3-point range (career 33 percent). Players do not simply lose their shooting touch that sharply at 24 years old.
The wonderful thing about small sample sizes (and using them to outwit an unsuspecting rival) is that a few terrible/excellent games that are merely anomolies can throw numbers completely out of whack.
For example, Iguodala has had three games thusfar this season where he had made less than 30 percent of his shots (5-of-17 on opening night, 1-of-7 on November 5 and 2-of-12 on November 14). Throw out those games and he’s shooting 44 percent from the floor – not far behind his career norms.
Of course you can not just discount three awful games, but last season Iguodala shot less than 30 percent in five of his first 17 games and he still bounced back to shoot nearly 46 percent from the floor.
The bottom line is that Iguodala was not poised to make a huge leap forward this season for numerous reasons, but now is a time where you can possibly get him on the cheap. He’s still a massive source of steals and gives a strong combination of assists and rebounds as a guard. As his percentages rebound, so will his scoring.
Owned in only 24 percent of Yahoo! leagues and an astonishing six percent of ESPN leagues, Trevor Ariza is widely available swingman who is gradually pushing his way into must-own territory. He 14 points, six rebounds, five assists and one block in a victory over the Raptors.
While his averages aren’t spectacular, keep in mind that he has logged 21 minutes or more in 10 of the last 12 games and he will be on the floor quite a bit during the Lakers’ numerous blowouts. Plus, he’ll play an even bigger role should an injury occur to practically anyone and could pay big dividends in the final weeks of the season as the Lakers rest their higher-priority players.
Ariza is definitely better than most of the swingmen languishing on benches throughout fantasy leagues. Heck, even Hakim Warrick is still owned in 33 percent of Yahoo! leagues.
Fuck You Coach Cheeks*
The disconcerting trend of Sam Dalembert’s minutes continued as he played only 15 minutes – the fourth straight game his minutes have declined. It seems Maurice Cheeks is favoring a small lineup with just one big guy, who would be Elton Brand, of course. It’s worth nothing that the evaporation of Dalembert’s minutes has co-incided with Brand’s improving play and I’m wondering if there is a correlation.
As a result, something called a Marreese Speights got 18 minutes and played reasonably well with six points and seven rebounds.
* Name of coach will change for each roundup