Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Fantasy Basketball Market Watch - 3/4/2008

This edition of Fantasy Basketball Market Watch is an ode to the guards. We highlight some winners and losers from the February trading frenzy as well as some young players on the rise.


Upgrades

Vince Carter, SF New Jersey Nets - Jason Kidd gets traded, implies Vince Carter's lethargic/uninspired play is the reason and suddenly Vinsanity is diving for lose balls and filling up the stat sheet. In the 7 games since Kidd was traded in mid-February, Carter is averaging around 22 points, 7 rebounds and 5 rebounds to go along with nearly 2 steals and three pointers a game. Sporting a little chip on his shoulder, he could be a pretty solid all-around contributor down the stretch as long as he doesn't turn back into "fade away jumpshot Vince."

Devin Harris, PG New Jersey Nets - Speaking of the Kidd Trade, the point guard the Nets got from the Mavs also appears quite motivated to win over the Jersey faithful. Harris who missed three weeks with a sprained ankle made a sparkling debut with the his new club putting up 21 points and 5 assists in only 20 minutes. He then followed up that performance with another 21 point outing against the Spurs on Sunday. It appears Lawrence Frank is going to give Harris a lot more offensive freedom then he received from the overly anal Avery Johnson in Dallas and this should lead to more points and three pointers without effecting his already solid assist and steal numbers.

Travis Diener, PG/SG Indiana Pacers - With Jamal Tinsley out, Diener (a former Desperation Station candidate) is making the most of the additional playing time. The Marquette star has put up some solid number over the past week averaging 15 points and 8 assists over his last 3 games. Diener averaged 30+ minutes a night over the month of February and is beginning to come into his own as a point guard. He is an adept three point shooter and can help fantasy owners in points, assists, three pointers and FT%.

Mike Bibby, PG Atlanta Hawks - Bibby is looking more and more comfortable in Atlanta with each passing game and is coming off a big week. Over his last 3 games in which the Hawks went 2-1, Bibby averaged 16 points, 10 assists, 2 three pointers and a steal. The Hawks are in the thick of the Eastern Conference playoff hunt and Bibby is a proven veteran point guard who has been there before. Given the talent surrounding him in Atlanta and the fact he will log big minutes leading a somewhat wide open offense, Bibby is an excellent under the radar trade candidate who can be a difference maker down the stretch.

Downgrades

Jose Calderon, PG Toronto Raptors - 14.5 points and 9.5 assists - that is what Calderon averaged running the point for the Raptors over the last two months in TJ Ford's absence. Yet since Ford's return 6 games ago, Calderon has seen his playing time dip under 30 minutes and his averages drop to 8.5 points and a shade under 7 assists. Guess the Raptors don't believe in the old concept of if it isn't broke don't fix it. Going forward, Ford will continue to see 20-25 minutes a night and cut into Calderon's playing time. You certainly shouldn't drop Calderon, but his numbers won't reach January/February levels with Ford in the mix.

Marcus Williams, PG New Jersey Nets - Williams' 5 game run as the unquestioned starter at point guard is over with Devin Harris back from injury. Williams put up some solid numbers while Harris was out averaging around 12 points, 7 assists, 2 three pointers and a steal a night. Frank might choose to continue to starting Williams to allow Harris to play off the ball more and maximize his scoring ability. However if Saturday night's game against the Spurs is any indication of what's to come, Harris should log around 30-35 minutes a game while Williams plays 20 minutes; producing modest point and assist totals.

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