By Anthony Peretore.
As an avid follower of the stock market, I can’t help but notice the similarities between stock prices and the value of fantasy players. Each can change at the drop of the dime and can boost/kill your portfolio/fantasy team at any given moment. Thus, I have tied the two hobbies together and present to you a short list of which Eastern Conference players to buy, sell, and hold. Enjoy…
Those players flying under the radar that you might want to consider adding to your roster
F Austin Croshere, Indiana (27.1 MPG, 8.3 PPG, 6.9 RPG, 39.1 3PT FG%)
This buy hinges entirely on what the Pacers will eventually get in return for Ron Artest. If Indy goes out and makes say, an Artest-for-Al Harrington deal, forget about Croshere. But, if they instead elect to acquire youth and/or draft picks, Austin’s your man. A power forward that can drain the three is always a valuable commodity off the bench. However, while Croshere may turn out to be a semi-steal, remember that rookie Danny Granger is waiting in the wings. Keep a close eye on this situation if you do intend to proceed with this pick up.
F Josh Childress, Atlanta (7.8 PPG, 4.9 RPG, 1.5 SPG, 51.2% FG)
Anyone notice Childress getting 28+ minutes in his last 8 games? Yeah, I know it’s tough to see a 113 lb. forward flying around your TV, but the boxscores don’t lie. In that stretch, the former Stanford product has been averaging 10.3 PPG, 5.5 RPG, and 1.8 SPG. While these numbers don’t exactly blow you away, remember that Childress is only in his second year and seemingly improving each night. If you’re playing in a fairly deep league and in search of a decent F (attention all you Darius Miles owners), JC may turn out to be a nice gamble.
F/C Melvin Ely, Charlotte (9.4 PPG, 5.2 RPG, 0.7 BPG, 44.4 FG%)
How long is Bernie Bickerstaff going to wait before pulling the plug on Primoz Brezec? Sure the guy had a nice season last year, but no one can honestly envision this guy as a staple in the frontcourt for the next 8-10 years, can they? Ely, on the other hand, is a ferocious player who seemingly picks up the slack every night that Brezec shits the bed. Check the numbers—in the ten games in which he’s warranted 20+ minutes, the former Fresno State product has put up 12.4 PPG and 6.3 RPG. Add to it that the ‘Cats have won four of those contests (pretty damn good when you only have 6 wins), and there is no reason not to give Ely the nod. The same goes for you fantasy managers.
PG Marcus Banks, Boston (No Stats Available)
This may be a bit of a stretch, but I honestly feel that Banks will be a solid contributor by the time the All-Star Break rolls around. Right now, Delonte West is the team’s starting point guard, but would be much better suited coming off the bench as a 2-guard (ala Ricky Davis from a year ago). The problem is that Boston really hasn’t had much of a choice thus far with rookie Orien Greene and hair stylist Dan Dickau as the team’s only backups. Enter Marcus Banks—a guy ridiculed throughout his career for not knowing how to run and offense, yet at the same time possessing some of the best defensive skills at his position. Also, after being discussed in more potential trades than Ron Artest on a Pacers’ message board, MB has to have a chip on his shoulder the size of Burma. In my mind, this all equates to Banks eventually being given one more opportunity to be the team’s starting point guard. If he handles it, fine. If not, Danny Ainge will certainly be doing some tinkering this February.
Those players you are waiting for to turn it on but would be better off on someone else’s team
F Marvin Williams, Atlanta (5.5 PPG, 4.4 RPG, 38.9 FG%)
If you’re sitting in front of your computer every night waiting for Williams to put up these spectacular numbers, there’s a better chance of Adrian Brody getting “Nose of the Year” honors. Don’t get me wrong, Marv is going to be a stud in this league but at this juncture he’s just much too raw. Plus, with 17 other players playing the exact same position on this team, Mike Woodson and co. have reinvented the term “logjam”.
G/F Jalen Rose, Toronto (9.8 PPG, 3.1 RPG, 2.6 APG, 34.4 FG%)
Imagine how you would feel if you walked into work every day making some ridiculous amount of money when you were only worth say, 1/16th of that. And every day these young kids come in and whoop your ass in practice, call you “Old Man Winter”, and put little blue pills in your locker, while running off giggling like little school girls. In other words, this probably isn’t a guy you want on your squad.
PG Stephon Marbury, New York (39.1 MPG, 17.7 PPG, 6.4 APG, 1.1 SPG, 44.0 FG%)
If I were Marbury, I’d be scared to death that by February I’ll be coming off the bench for some Western Conference team, taking 12 shots per night, making 2, and getting booed all the way to my bedroom. Believe me, if Larry Brown enjoys putting the reigns of his team in Marbury’s hands, then Joey McIntyre is a good singer. Translation: Steph is going to be traded, no one will be dumb enough to give him 35+ minutes, so trade him now.
G Allen Iverson, Philadelphia (44.2 MPG, 34.0 PPG, 7.8 APG, 2.2 SPG, 45.0 FG%)
You’re now wondering if I’m sitting in front of this computer tripping on acid. The answer is no. I love AI, don’t get me wrong, but 44.2 minutes and 11.8 free-throw attempts per night? It’s amazing he’s still alive. Let’s put it this way, Russell Crowe managed to kill that tiger he fought in Gladiator but if he had to do it 82 times, do you really think he’d end up as lucky? I really hope we don’t have to see Iverson in a suit and tie this season, but at 30 years of age and being attacked more and more every night, something has to give. Remember, no matter how good your team is now, come May when Iverson is nursing 22 different injuries do you really think you’ll manage to win it all? Better safe than sorry.
These are the players that are overachieving, surrounded by trade talk, chronically injured, being pushed by a rookie, etc. but should continue playing well despite the distractions.
C Zaza Pachulia, Atlanta (11.9 PPG, 9.4 RPG, 0.9 SPG, 41.8 FG%)
For any of you who drafted Zaza, consider yourself extremely lucky. In a league that is currently very thin at the center position, stumbling across the Hawks’ big man has undoubtedly provided a nice boost for your team. And if you’re scared to hold on to him at this point or are contemplating a trade for Ha Seung-Jin, stop it. Pachulia is one of the best back-up centers the fantasy world has to offer and at just 21 years of age, he’s only getting better.
G/F Gerald Wallace, Charlotte (14.6 PPG, 6.2 RPG, 2.1 SPG, 1.3 BPG, 52.1 FG%)
I realize this guy has a hard time avoiding injuries while eating a bowl of Cheerios, but there aren’t too many guys in the league that boast high steal and block numbers from the 3 position. And with Bernard Robinson Jr. posing the biggest threat to him off Charlotte’s pine, it’s safe to say that Wallace will get all the run he needs.
F Joey Graham, Toronto (20.2 MPG, 6.8 PPG, 3.2 RPG, 0.5 SPG, 47.2 FG%)
Eventually something is going to happen with this guy, I can just feel it. And whether it involves him acquiring a starting spot and playing 35 minutes a night or sabotaging Charlie Villanueva’s ankle brace, it’s going to be pretty cool to have this guy on board.
PF Al Jefferson, Boston (17.7 MPG, 7.9 PPG, 5.2 RPG, 0.9 BPG, 53.4 FG%)
As a Celtics fan, let me be the first to say that Big Al should certainly be getting more run at this point. While Jefferson does remain a liability on the defensive end, his low post skills are far too valuable to keep rotting on the bench. I envision Danny Ainge trading Mark Blount or Raef LaFrentz at some point this season and when that happens, Jefferson should begin to warrant the minutes he rightfully deserves.