Commentary

Are You For Real? Mohammed, Korver, Green

Updated: January 2, 2008, 12:17 PM ET
By Guy Lake and Brian McKitish

After taking a week off for the holidays, Guy and I have been itching to get back into the game, so much so that I think I even ruined one of Guy's holiday outings because I wanted to discuss how Tyrus Thomas would be affected by the firing of Scott Skiles. Yes, we are obsessed, but that's probably because we are well aware that things can change quickly in the fantasy game. Think about it: The last time we spoke, Nazr Mohammed wasn't even owned in the deepest of fantasy leagues. Since then, he's been one of the most added players in the fantasy game. The same goes for Kyle Korver (whose value could be rekindled with the trade to Utah) and Jeff Green (whose recent promotion has folks all sorts of excited). Mohammed, Korver and Green are hot commodities right now, but will they be able to live up to all the hype?

Nazr Mohammed, C, Bobcats

Guy: Not Real. After his last two games (5.0 points, 6.5 rebounds, 1.0 steals and no blocks in just 19.5 minutes) I hope my verdict isn't catching any of you by surprise. Let's get a couple of things on the table. First, Mohammed just isn't that good, no matter how well he played immediately following his trade from the Pistons to the Bobcats. It sounds simple, I know, but look at his history. In nine seasons he has never averaged double figures in scoring. Additionally, he is a poor shot-blocker for a center. Yeah, I know he had three blocks against the Jazz and four the next game against the Knicks. However, these teams are the easiest to swat in the league. The Jazz are 30th and the Knicks 28th in blocks allowed. Since then, Mohammed has blocked one shot in five games. Mohammed is a solid rebounder, but it is hard to hit the glass when you are parked on the pine. This brings me to the second reason Mohammed is not real: He's not starting. Coach Sam Vincent is juggling his lineup, looking to get back to the preseason hope that the Bobcats are a playoff team. Vincent told the Charlotte Observer that playing Mohammed at center and Okafor at power forward causes defensive issues for the team, "Playing Emeka defensively along the perimeter is something he's not comfortable with." So when facing 4s with range, the Bobcats will send Mohammed to the bench and slide Gerald Wallace to power forward. Power forwards with range? How many can there be? Chris Bosh, Rashard Lewis, Kevin Garnett, Antawn Jamison, Zach Randolph, Jermaine O'Neal, Josh Smith and Rasheed Wallace come to mind, and those are just some of the guys in the East. Mohammed is not a good add in midsized and small leagues. Deep leaguers can take a chance, but even here I think he will disappoint.

Mac: Not Real. You hit it on the head, Guy. Mohammed simply isn't very good. There's a reason why this guy has bounced around from team to team in his 10-year professional career. The funny thing is, the story has been fairly the same everywhere he's landed. He has a few solid weeks but quickly falls by the wayside once his minutes tail off due to ineffective and inconsistent play. It appears as though he's going down the same path again in Charlotte. Look, there's no debating that Mohammed can blow up for a few huge games, and so far he's done just that with the Bobcats, averaging 11.0 points and 9.1 rebounds with a steal and a block in 27.3 minutes with his new team. The problem is, Sam Vincent (like many head coaches before him) is already starting to realize that having Mohammed in the starting lineup isn't going to necessarily make his team any better. As Guy mentioned, Mohammed has shown his true colors in his past two games, as the Bobcats have decided to roll with a smaller lineup rather than going with Mohammed and Emeka Okafor in the same frontcourt. That said, Vincent appears to be looking for a lineup that works, so he could easily bring Mohammed back into the starting lineup. But even if he does, I'm afraid that any success Mohammed might have will be short lived. Sure, you can use him as a short-term filler, or maybe even a bargaining chip in trade negotiations (if people still actually believe in him), but I'd much rather own a big man who can potentially offer long-term value, like Josh Boone or Kurt Thomas.

Kyle Korver, SG/SF, Jazz

Guy: For Real. Korver isn't going to blow up with the Jazz, but his value will be better than with the Sixers. The Jazz desperately need outside shooting (they score an NBA-worst 3.8 3-pointers per game) but I don't see him playing much more than the 25 minutes per game he registered in Philadelphia. Korver will be loved in Utah. He hustles, loves the game, and will stretch defenses for a team that, outside of the underperforming Mehmet Okur, has had no outside threat to keep teams from packing in against Boozer and clogging the lanes. Despite filling a need, Korver is unlikely to average the 30 minutes per game he needs to have major value. The Jazz have a glut of players at the 2 and 3. Korver isn't going to get a ton of minutes at small forward, his traditional position, with Andrei Kirilenko and Matt Harpring already there. In his first game with the Jazz, Korver played alongside either Harpring or Kirilenko, indicating he will often play the 2. This means reduced value for Ronnie Brewer and C.J. Miles. With teammates looking for him more in Utah than they did in Philly, Korver will be good for about two 3-pointers, 10-12 points and a steal per game with the Jazz. For a lot of teams, that will be real enough. Understand, however, that the minute crunch will keep him from giving you much more than this.

Mac: Not Real. It appears as though I may be in the minority with my opinion, but I'm failing to see where Korver's value is going to improve now that he's in Utah. Yes, the Jazz rank dead last in 3-point field goals this season, and yes, they desperately need someone to spread the court on the offensive end, but Jerry Sloan also likes guys who can get after it on the defensive end, and that doesn't really fit Korver's style of play. Add in the fact that the Jazz already have themselves a very capable shooting guard in Ronnie Brewer, a more than capable small forward in Andrei Kirilenko and a few solid backup options in C.J. Miles and Matt Harpring coming off the bench, and we have ourselves quite the logjam over in Utah. Don't get me wrong, I definitely love this move for the Jazz (I also love it for the Sixers), because it will undoubtedly help them on the offensive end. Still, let's think about this. Here we have a guy who's going from a young and shallow team with very limited offensive options to a deeper team that already has a lot of offensive firepower. That doesn't sound like a recipe for increased value to me. Granted, Korver is the kind of player who cannot create his own shot, so moving to Utah and playing with Deron Williams and Carlos Boozer should help free him up on the perimeter, but I'm afraid that's the only silver lining I see here. Korver had averaged 10.0 points, 1.5 3-pointers and 0.8 steals in 26.4 minutes with the Sixers this season, and while he may hit a few more 3s with his new team, I don't see him improving much in any other area, not when his minutes are likely to suffer a bit due to Utah's aforementioned depth at his position. To sum it up, if you didn't see it fit to have Korver grace your fantasy squad before this trade, I don't see why he'd be fit to join your squad now. Of course, if you need a 3-point specialist, you can never really go wrong with Korver, although you could have acquired him before the trade and you would have still come away with very similar statistics.

Jeff Green, SF, Supersonics

Mac: For Real. It's taken him nearly two months, but P.J. Carlesimo has finally realized that he needs to evaluate his younger players to see what he'll have in future seasons. His first order of business? Permanently inserting rookie Jeff Green into the starting lineup. This move has the fantasy community scrambling to get their hands on the talented rookie. Thus far, Green has done his part, turning in two fine efforts since joining the starting lineup Saturday night. Averaging a very solid 15.0 points, 7.0 rebounds and 1.3 blocks in three games as a starter, Green is looking like a very nice addition in fantasy leagues now that he's guaranteed to see ample minutes alongside Kevin Durant in Seattle. Now, before we get too carried away, it should be noted that Green is much more likely to be capable in many categories rather than dominant in any single one. That's just the nature of his game, but that doesn't mean that he can't be an efficient fantasy player. To help give you an idea of what we may see out of Green with his extended minutes, I've gone through his game logs and pulled out the games in which he's been on the court for 25-plus minutes. His stats in those 13 games are as follows: 12.5 points, 6.8 rebounds, 0.7 steals and 0.7 blocks. Given that he'll likely be securing 30 or more minutes a game as a starter, I don't think it's out of the question to see Green averaging 13-14 points with six to seven rebounds and around a steal and a block per contest.

Guy: For Real. So often in the fantasy game the only stat that really matters is minutes played. This is especially true with all-purpose players who can do a bit of everything. When these jacks-of-all-trades get the time, their contributions can really add up. Otherwise, they are hung with the master-of-none label and end up in your league's bone heap. Delonte West is such a player; Travis Outlaw and Matt Barnes are others. With minutes, these players are ownable in leagues of all sizes. Jeff Green is another in this mold, capable of contributing in scoring, rebounding, assists, blocks and steals. This season, in 23.4 minutes per game, Green has averaged 9.0 points, 5.2 rebounds, 1.3 assists, 0.6 blocks and 0.5 steals on 45.5 percent shooting from the field and 67.0 from the line. Brian listed Green's averages as a starter, and they are close to what I have projected for 35 minutes of playing time. Those numbers suggest that averages of 13.4 points, 7.7 boards, 1.8 dimes, 0.9 blocks and 0.7 steals are likely. Green isn't the kind of guy who will blow you away, but is a great bench player for teams needing production in a number of areas. He should be owned in all leagues with 12 or more teams.

Guy Lake and Brian McKitish are fantasy analysts for ESPN.com. Guy can be reached at GuyLake@TalentedMrRoto.com while Mac can be found at Littlemac@TalentedMrRoto.com.

Brian McKitish is a fantasy basketball analyst for ESPN.com and is a two-time Fantasy Basketball Writer of the Year, as named by the Fantasy Sports Writers Association.