- Neil Tardy, Fantasy Basketball
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What, did the NBA actually act on Paul Pierce's request (in the Boston Globe) and raise the rim? I kid, but only because I'm trying to figure out what happened to all the 3-pointers, and I got nothing.
Seriously, at this stage of the 2009-10 season, 3-pointers are down considerably. Look at it this way: Eight players are averaging at least 2.1 triples per game. That list is headed by Danny Granger, who has missed about half the season now. In 2008-09, 15 players averaged 2.1 or more 3-pointers.
Or you can look at it from the perspective of team defenses, the way we typically look at things in the Forecaster. Last season, 12 NBA teams allowed at least 7.0 treys a night. So far this season, only seven teams are yielding 7.0 3s per night.
Maybe things will even out as the season progresses, but it's an interesting contrast. Plus, it leads me to this week's headliner, Matt Barnes.
One game after replacing Mickael Pietrus in the Orlando lineup, Barnes tallied a double-double (17 points, 11 boards) at Minnesota on Jan. 1. The next night, he went for a season-high 23 points and five 3-pointers at Chicago. It's worth noting that, before the outburst against the Bulls, Barnes was a miserable 19.3 percent (16-of-83) from long distance this season. Still, I can see him averaging about 1.5 3s going forward with starter's minutes.
And after seeing this quote from Magic coach Stan Van Gundy, I like Barnes' chances of sticking in the lineup: "He's the only guy on our team that runs, first of all," Van Gundy told the Associated Press. "Nobody else will run, they jog. He's different than our other guys because he cuts, and he will rebound the ball all the time. He does a lot of things that our other perimeter players don't do."
As a starter for the Magic, Barnes is well down on the team's list of offensive options. Still, I think he's worth adding in any league of at least 12 teams. And I really like him for Week 11. More on that in a bit.
"O" (offense) and "D" (defense) matchup ratings are based upon a scale from 1 (poor matchup) to 10 (excellent matchup), and are calculated using a formula that evaluates the team's year-to-date and past 10 games' statistics, their performance in home/road games depending on where the game is to be played, as well as their opponents' numbers in those categories. The Games T / H column lists the team's total number of games played as well as home games (T / H), and lists the cumulative rating from 1-10 of that week's matchups.
Week 11 at a Glance
This is Nate Robinson's year -- at least it was for the first day of it. Hours after the ball dropped on 2010, Nate dropped 41 on the Hawks. Unfortunately, you won't get much of a chance to see whether Robinson can stay in Mike D'Antoni's good graces; the New York Knicks are the only NBA team that plays just two games in Week 11. Eleven teams have four games.
The Forecast: It's Their Week
Matt Barnes, SF, Orlando Magic (@IND, TOR, @WAS, ATL): Get Barnes -- who is available in 98 percent of ESPN.com leagues -- and get him active this week. Raptors and Wizards opponents have hit the fifth- and seventh-most treys, respectively, while Hawks opponents are second in 3-point shooting percentage.
Omri Casspi, SF/PF, Sacramento Kings (PHO, @GS, DEN): Turns out the Kings have another hot rookie. Casspi, who has started nine of the past 10 games, seems to be getting better on a nightly basis. He's averaging 22.0 points, 8.7 rebounds and 3.0 3s in his past three games, and is at 17.0 points per night as a starter overall. Though he's finally getting some love from fantasy owners, Casspi, incredibly, remains available in almost 90 percent of leagues. But perhaps more people will jump aboard his bandwagon this week, given that he's facing the league's two worst scoring defenses in the Warriors and Suns. On top of that, Warriors opponents are tops in total rebounds and Suns opponents are sixth in 3-pointers.
Jonny Flynn, PG, Minnesota Timberwolves (GS, IND, @CHI): Ever notice that schedules that include the Warriors tend to skew favorable? I thought you did. Flynn hasn't been great, but he's getting better (16.1 points, 3.5 assists, 1.2 3-pointers and 45 percent shooting over his past 11 games), and this slate of games offers him a chance to take another step. Warriors opponents are second in assists, Pacers opponents are tops in steals and Bulls opponents are fourth in 3s.
Corey Maggette, SF, Golden State Warriors (@DEN, @MIN, SAC): Maggette is currently the second-most-added free agent, but he still can be had in about one-quarter of ESPN.com leagues. Speaking of percentages, Maggette has 'em: The veteran has topped 20 points and 50 percent shooting in nine of his past 10 games. And for the season he's better than 80 percent from the line while attempting 7.4 free throws per game. With Timberwolves and Kings opponents ranking seventh and eighth, respectively, in field goal percentage, Maggette should keep it up.
The Forecast: They're Weak
Kenyon Martin, PF, Denver Nuggets (GS, CLE, @SAC): I'm quite surprised to see Martin available in more than 80 percent of ESPN.com leagues. That number is starting to drop, though, as K-Mart has a mini-run of four straight double-doubles. Martin reportedly worked hard over the summer, so maybe he's starting to see the fruits of his offseason conditioning. This schedule seems neutral, but since Martin is averaging 2.0 steals over his past five games, I'll note that Warriors opponents are third in thefts.
Andre Miller, PG, Portland Trail Blazers (@LAC, MEM, LAL, CLE): With Steve Blake (pneumonia) out for at least the first part of the week, Miller should see plenty of minutes for the, uh, Frail Blazers. I can definitely see activating Miller this week, but his numbers could be held down with this set of games. While Grizzlies opponents are second in shooting, Cavaliers and Lakers opponents are last and next-to-last in that regard. In addition, Cavs opponents are only 28th in assists.
Michael Redd, SG, Milwaukee Bucks (NJ, CHI, @LAL): Can Redd become a big-time scorer again? He's giving us glimpses, the most recent being a 27-point outburst versus the Thunder on Jan. 2. In 10 games since returning from extensive knee problems, Redd has topped 15 points just three times, but he has done that by scoring 25, 32 and 27 points in those games. When Redd is on, he can torch anyone; the Thunder are actually a pretty strong defensive unit this season. That said, if you're looking to buy low on Redd, you might want to see whether his value slides a bit further against this schedule before making a move. Although Bulls opponents are fourth in 3s, they're only 27th in field goal percentage. Lakers opponents are 29th in shooting and 23rd in triples.
Neil Tardy is a fantasy basketball analyst for ESPN.com.