Are You For Real?: Foye, Bargnani and Boykins
Mac and I had an animated conversation Monday about the Super Bowl commercials, so I thought we would start things off today with some quick-hitting "Are You for Real?" judgments on five commercials that got (or deserved) the most buzz.
Coke Parade Balloons
Guy: Not Real. How this is many people's favorite is beyond me. Stewie would never lose to Underdog. Underdog is utterly irrelevant except for once a year at the Macy's Day parade. Stewie is relevant every time my TiVo tapes Family Guy, and that would be every day. Worse still, Charlie Brown wins the Coke in the end. People, what is the one thing Charlie Brown never does? Win! He is on his back after every kick, naked after every pitch and he never hooks up with the Little Red-Haired Girl. If Charles Schulz couldn't see fit to have Chuck win, what gave Coca-Cola the license to do so? Apparently, the writers only understood one half of the expression "lovable loser."
Mac: Not Real. Ugh. This commercial could have been saved by Stewie pulling out some sort of futuristic weapon, blowing Underdog away and finishing it off with his patented "victory is mine" speech. That would have been a good commercial. But since when can Charlie Brown beat Stewie Griffin at anything? I know, I get it, the whole point is that Charlie Brown finally won at something but let's at least make it realistic, huh?
SalesGenie.com with Pandas
Guy: Not Real. If you are going to use over the top, stereotypical racist Asian accents, why not go all in and cast Long Duk Dong? "Ooh, sexy girlfriend!" This was pathetic.
Mac: Not Real. Did I miss something? Since when did Isiah Thomas become an advertising exec for SalesGenie.com? What a total waste of money, just like the Knicks!
Guy: For Real. The best ad of the night made very few top-10 lists. It opens classily to the sounds of Habanera aria from Carmen (always a favorite) as a pomaded man sets a mousetrap with Doritos, then proceeds directly to the low-brow when mouse-suit guy bursts through the wall and pounds the tar out of Slick. If you still have it taped, replay the punches. Brilliant sound editing.
Mac: For Real. This, for obvious reasons, was one of the only commercials that made me laugh out loud during the night.
Guy: For Real. Ugly chicks rule. Have you ever wanted a cashew more than the one Frida Kahlo's runty sister rubbed all over herself? I thought not. This ad could set the waxing industry back by decades.
Mac: For Real. Guy, it's amazing that we agree so much on basketball when you have such poor taste in women. No chick who's wearing Planters perfume can be considered ugly, my friend.
GoDaddy with Danica Patrick
Guy: Not Real. The premise only works if you actually want to see Danica Patrick naked. Put unibrow in this ad and you have a winner.
Mac: For Real. I actually liked this one, but only because this ad was highly effective. I mean, how many of you actually clicked over to GoDaddy.com to see the "too hot for TV version"? A lot, and that was the whole point.
Guy: Not Real. Mac has been crushing on Foye since this summer. When he and I discussed the point guard rankings, he was always higher on him than I was. This was well before the stress reaction in his left kneecap kept him out for 43 games. People have largely held onto Foye -- he is 82.5 percent owned in ESPN leagues -- but I am not sure why. I know he was the man at Villanova two years ago, but even there he was far from a point guard. What you get with Foye is scoring. He is strong, athletic and plays an intense style of b-ball that I love to watch. However, I don't see him getting the run he needs to deliver the fantasy goods. This is because he isn't a pure point guard. The Wolves need either Marko Jaric or Sebastian Telfair to initiate the offense. One of these two has led the team in assists in all but four games this season. The team is playing well right now, going 5-3 over their past eight. What has been working is Telfair playing point and Jaric and Rashad McCants manning the two and three spots, respectively. I don't see Foye getting 30 minutes a game at any of these guys' expense. You'd think Jaric would get bumped, but he is by far the best defender and brings size to the perimeter. He is also the only one of the three to have played with Foye. Telfair is not a good defender but he has shown he can run an offense: 12 dimes on Monday. And McCants is the second best scorer on the team. Even if Foye gets his 30 minutes, his contributions will be limited to scoring (think 13 or so points per game), 3-pointers and free-throw percentage. There is a far less heralded guard at the bottom of this column who has a very good chance of outperforming Foye.
Mac: For Real. Guy is right: I do, in fact, have what would be characterized as a mild man crush on Mr. Foye. It started during his days at Villanova, where, as Guy points out, he was "the man". But what really impressed me about Foye was his dominant summer campaign in 2006, and more importantly, the way he finished his rookie season last April (the only month in which he saw ample minutes). For those who don't remember, Foye earned the 2006 Vegas Summer League MVP, earning rave reviews for his play by scouts and fans alike. Many compared him favorably to Brandon Roy and expected the two to battle it out for ROY honors last season. While I'd hate to make that same comparison now, it still shows what type of upside this kid has. Foye and Roy have taken different paths since then, but let's not forget that Foye's growth has been stunted due to inconsistent playing time last season (I'm still struggling to explain why the Wolves wouldn't give him time last season) and the kneecap injury this season. I am fully convinced that all this kid needs is some playing time and a little experience to become a star in this league. Unlike Guy, I am expecting Foye to log a heavy dose of minutes for the remainder of the season. When the Wolves dealt Kevin Garnett this summer, they handed the keys to their franchise over to Al Jefferson and Randy Foye. To not put him on the court for 30-plus minutes would be flat-out irresponsible, and one has to figure that the 10-37 Wolves are going to look to evaluate their future talent, starting with Foye.
Now, before we get too far ahead of ourselves, Foye owners are going to have to be patient. He's still working his way back into game shape, and I don't think we're going to see him at 30-plus minutes per night until after the All-Star break. But once he's back up to game speed, I'm betting that we'll see numbers very similar to the 15.4 points, 3.5 rebounds, 3.8 assists, 0.9 steals and 1.9 3-pointers he posted in 28.8 minutes in the month of April last season. And that, my friends, is as real as real gets.
Guy: For Real. I am a believer in what we have seen out of Bargnani the past two weeks. He is a much better player than the one who disappointed so many owners the first two and a half months of the season. Over the past six games since his resurgence, Bargnani has averaged 17.5 points, 2.3 3-pointers, 5.2 rebounds, 2.2 assists, 0.2 steals and 0.3 blocks on 48 percent shooting from the field and 90.4 percent from the line. Bargnani is not going to be a beast on defense, but he is reducing his fouls. Over the course of the season he has averaged one foul every 7.8 minutes. Over his past six, that number has improved to one every 8.8 minutes. This is enabling him to stay on the floor longer, and Bargnani is making better use of his increased time. Instead of jacking 3-pointers every time he gets the ball, he is driving to the basket. He dunked on the Lakers four times en route to his career-high 28 points. When he does this, he forces defenses to respect his penetration. This will give him more room to shoot and I expect a significant improvement on Bargnani's woeful 39.6 percent shooting from the field. To summarize: You will get points, 3-pointers, excellent free-throw percentage and a much improved field-goal percentage from Bargnani. You will not get defensive categories or many rebounds, but if you are like the many who just added him to your team, I doubt you are expecting these anyhow.
Mac: Not Real. In honor of Super Tuesday, I'm going to put on my best politician face with a wishy-washy, noncommittal take, despite my "not real" labeling above. See the thing is, I truly like Andrea Bargnani. The kid has major fantasy potential because he's a rare breed who can hit 3-pointers, block shots (although he hasn't shown it this season) and drill it from the free-throw line. Not many folks can contribute in those three categories, but Il Mago can, and that will make him a fantasy favorite in years to come. Based on his play in the second half last season, I had high expectations for Bargnani coming into this season. Needless to say, he's taken a slight step back, although much of that has to do with Sam Mitchell's fluctuating lineups. There is no doubt in my mind that Bargnani can be a fantasy force if given consistent minutes; I just don't see Mitchell giving him 30-plus minutes on a long-term basis. Mitchell has been playing musical chairs with his lineups all season long, and I fear that Bargnani hasn't yet proved himself enough to be able to go through a slump and not fall victim to Mitchell's tendency to play the hot hand.
Guy: For Real. Except for those of you in smaller leagues. The nice thing about seeing Earl Boykins on your league's waiver wire (and at 0.5 percent owned in ESPN leagues, I am pretty sure he is there) is that you aren't going to need to make a move quickly. Despite some weak games to start, I think Boykins is going come back to his career norms. Let's be realistic, before this past Friday, Boykins hadn't played at all since April. The rust is going to be coming off in big flakes for the first few weeks. Sam Vincent has said he wants to up the tempo for the Bobcats and this is good news for Boykins. He is faster than Jeff McInnis and a better shooter. I don't think Boykins is going to make a big difference in smaller leagues, but for anyone in a 14-team or larger league, Boykins needs a look. If you have a deep bench, sit him there and wait out his first few weeks. After the All-Star break, I expect Boykins to play between 25 and 30 minutes a game and average 13.0 points, 1.2 3-pointers, 4.0 assists, 0.8 steals and 42 percent from the field and 88 percent from the line. Not world-beating numbers for sure, but more than ownable in the kinds of leagues I described above.
Mac: For Real. Not only is Boykins a great fit in Sam Vincent's uptempo offense, but he could actually lock up a starting gig here in just a few weeks. Think about it, just last week the Bobcats were starting Jeff McInnis in their backcourt! And it doesn't get much better when they insert Nazr Mohammed in the starting lineup for their more traditional sets. Neither of those players is good enough to fend off Boykins, who quietly averaged 14.6 points, 4.4 assists, 0.9 steals and 1.4 3-pointers last season. Boykins is better served as a spark plug off the bench, but he can be just as effective as a starter. Either way, I think he's going to log heavy minutes once he gets comfortable in Sam Vincent's offense where he'll be able to post solid numbers in points, assists, steals and 3-pointers. I don't expect him to be quite as good as last season, but he can certainly achieve the numbers Guy projects above.
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.
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