- Tom Carpenter, Fantasy and Insider
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We're almost at New Year's Day, so I got to thinking about what resolution I could make to help my fantasy teams. After I came up with a good one, I started thinking of resolutions I'd like to see from people in the NBA who could help my fantasy teams directly. Here's a look at my resolution and those I'd love to see implemented by players and a certain coach.
Tom Carpenter, ESPN: "I will not hesitate to offer a good trade when I see one."
In a league where I'm dead last in rebounds and have the most 3-pointers, I had a trade in mind a couple of weeks ago. It was Jason Richardson (and the 19.3 ppg and 2.5 3-ppg he was averaging for the Phoenix Suns) for Brook Lopez (and his 19.3 ppg and rebounding potential). Then I decided to sleep on it. By the time I got back online the next day, J-Rich's fantasy prowess had taken a major hit because he was traded to the Orlando Magic. I quickly tossed the offer out there anyway and was rebuffed with a message saying, "I probably would have taken this before the Magic trade." Richardson went from sell-high candidate to buy-low in about an hour's time. He's going to do better than the 10.6 ppg, 1.2 3-ppg and 39.6 field goal percentage he's posted in his first five games with the Magic, so go ahead and try to get him on the cheap now. Unfortunately, I'm stuck with the low end because I didn't pull the trigger when I had the window of opportunity. Don't hesitate on a good trade when it's available.
Brook Lopez, New Jersey Nets: "I will remember how to rebound."
I seriously can't remember the last time I've been this confused by a player. Lopez is 7 feet tall and weighs 265 pounds. He averaged 8.1 rebounds per game as a rookie and 8.7 last season. He's currently averaging 6.2 and has reached double digits only twice, the last time being 11 rebounds on Dec. 1. I still see him as a buy-low guy, because it's almost incomprehensible that he won't turn things around in the second half of the season. On the other hand, he's shown absolutely no signs that he's going to step up, so it's far from a certainty that he'll average 8-plus boards the rest of the way. For perspective, 6-foot-8 forwards Rudy Gay (6.2 rpg) and Wilson Chandler (6.4 rpg) are producing as much or more than the 7-foot Lopez.
How about a little perspective on just how prone to injury Martin is. He has played in all 30 of the Rockets' games this season, but in his first six seasons, he never made it this far into a campaign without missing a game. Martin doesn't just get dinged up, either. He's missed large chunks of the past three seasons. His games played over that stretch? 61, 51 and 46. There aren't too many players out there who are more likely to be felled by injury, so that makes him a must-sell. Plenty of other owners will gladly pony up for 23.4 ppg, 2.3 3-ppg and 8.5 FT attempts at 91 percent. Let them worry about his body giving out again.
You know you're a chucker when you're shooting 39.1 percent from the field, and it's a significant improvement on your rookie run (37.1 field goal percentage). That doesn't mean he has to be uptight and not shoot the rock when open. Realistically, if he just shaved off two bad shots a game, he'd be on the right side of 40 percent from the floor and not that bad of a drag on roto teams.
Dwight Howard, Orlando Magic: "I vow to stop being passive-aggressive this year."
D-Ho is supposed to be the super-nice Superman. Then why does he dominate the NBA in technicals like he dominates the glass? One of the great things about Howard is his reliability. He missed just three games during his first six seasons, all during the 2008-09 campaign (two with a sore knee and one to rest for the playoffs). Yet, after picking up his league-leading 11th technical foul Monday night, he is just five techs away from a one-game suspension. He better get a grip on his emotions or David Stern is going to strip him of his cape for a game or two when you're in your fantasy playoffs. It's not enough to affect his trade value, but it could be a concern if you see your team running deep in the postseason.
Larry Brown: "I won't ever coach another NBA team again. I'm done killing the value of your fantasy players."
I referred to Brown's "dastardly grip" on fantasy players in my blog last week. A few hours later, it was announced that Brown and Bobcats owner Michael Jordan had agreed that Brown would step down as head coach. Later, I had a dream that MJ had read my blog and realized at that moment that he needed to can Brown. A man can dream, right? It doesn't really matter why Brown was let go; what's important is that his replacement, Paul Silas, is far more likely to get better fantasy stats out of all his players, especially Tyrus Thomas. The youngster, who has Josh Smith-type potential, had a tantalizing 14 points and 5 blocks in 22 minutes off the bench in Silas' debut Monday night. A more telling stat might be Thomas' 6 turnovers; it's likely that Brown wouldn't have left him on the floor to get his fifth turnover, much less his sixth. It'll probably take a trade of Boris Diaw or Gerald Wallace to really get Thomas' stats cranked up, but losing that "dastardly grip" is a good start. Thomas is a perfect player to have tossed in as an extra in a bigger trade.
Tom Carpenter is a fantasy basketball analyst for ESPN.com.
5dDavid M. Hale