Happy Thanksgiving weekend, dearest ETB readers. Remember to set your lineup for the trio of Turkey Day games, but much more importantly, please keep those affected by these tragic terrorist attacks in Mumbai, India, in your thoughts and prayers.
Fantasy Week 13 – Top 20 Quarterbacks
1. Tony Romo, Dallas Cowboys vs. SEA 2. Drew Brees, New Orleans Saints @ TB 3. Peyton Manning, Indianapolis Colts @ CLE 4. Philip Rivers, San Diego Chargers vs. ATL 5. Kurt Warner, Arizona Cardinals @ PHI 6. Brett Favre, New York Jets vs. DEN 7. Aaron Rodgers, Green Bay Packers vs. CAR 8. Matt Cassel, New England Patriots vs. PIT 9. Jay Cutler, Denver Broncos @ NYJ 10. Chad Pennington, New York Jets @ STL 11. Eli Manning, New York Giants @ WSH 12. Matt Ryan, Atlanta Falcons @ SD 13. Donovan McNabb, Philadelphia Eagles vs. ARZ 14. Kerry Collins, Tennessee Titans @ DET 15. Tyler Thigpen, Kansas City Chiefs @ OAK 16. David Garrard, Jacksonville Jaguars @ HOU 17. Trent Edwards, Buffalo Bills vs. SF 18. Jeff Garcia, Tampa Bay Bucs vs. NO 19. Kyle Orton, Chicago Bears @ MIN 20. Ben Roethlisberger, Pittsburgh Steelers @ NE
Rest of the Week 13 fantasy football ranks after the break…
It’s rare that we see deals with name-brand players mid-season in the NBA. This isn’t an elaborate series of one-on-one machinations like baseball. It’s basketball, a dynamic, fluid team game won or lost more often than not because of an intricate chemistry among players who have logged hundreds of hours on the court together. In basketball new teammates need time to gel, to learn a complex series of defensive rotations and offensive sets, to adapt to and memorize their teammates’ tendencies, skills and weaknesses on both ends.
But as Knicks fans know all too well, basketball isn’t just won or lost on the court either.
Also unlike baseball, the presence of a salary cap makes every transaction high on risk and strategy. That combination of factors is why the trade deadline usually comes and goes without incident, let alone the early season. It creates a general atmosphere of reluctance. That’s what made Count Donnie Walsh‘s pair of trades this weekend shocking and fascinating. But we shouldn’t be surprised at Walsh shipping Jamal Crawford and Zach Randolph out of town – he had no choice. As for why the Clippers and Warriors were willing participants? That’s slightly more confusing.
Now that the dust has settled (for now), ETB examines and grades the transactions from all three angles.
Find out how the Clippers, Warriors and Knicks fared after the jump…
Apologies in advance, Tim, for singling you out when others were simply listed alongside their depressing NBA peers, but the error of omitting you from ETB’s list of the NBA’s Most Depressing Players of 2008 is a wrong that must be righted.
Tim Thomas’ star has diminished to nothing more than a fading twinkle in the NBA solar system. Because of that, he not only escaped our top-10 and dishonorable mentions lists, but also the ever-watchful eyes and minds of our readers. He’s been a forgotten man in the forgotten destination known as Clipper Land, but after being involved in last week’s trade that sent him and teammate Cuttino Mobley packing for New York in exchange for Zach Randolph, Thomas is again in the headlines, albeit temporarily.
And what a sad, sad thing it is that he’s again been jettisoned, this time as nothing more than expiring-contract meat, bound to toil away on a team with no real desire to do anything more this year than to improve its chances of landing a high lottery pick next summer and to bide its time to pounce on LeBron James.
The seventh-overall pick of the 1997 NBA Draft, Thomas will be making his second (and surely short-lived) stint with the Knickerbockers. As a Knick from 2003-05, he actually enjoyed one of the more offensively productive stretches of his underwhelming 12-year career, averaging 13.9 points in 95 games over 1 1/2 seasons. With NYC’s roster a little depleted, Thomas will get minutes and every opportunity to post a sub-40% field-goal percentage. Don’t be surprised if he’s chucking 4 – 6 triple tries a night, playing time allowing.
Thomas deserves credit for hanging around this long, and he’s certainly had his moments over the years, but there’s no getting around how depressing the guy has slowly but surely become. Early in his career, it was always flashes of great potential, followed by prolonged bouts of listlessness and one-dimensional contributions. He’s never offered much in the way of peripheral stats–career averages of 4.2 boards, 1.6 assists, 0.8 steals, 0.4 blocks (at 6-10), and 36% for threes–and his career scoring of 11.8 isn’t so hot either. Over 12 seasons he’s never been healthy enough to play in all 82-regular season games, and is now on his fourth team since leaving the Milwaukee Bucks in the summer of ’04.
All of this from a guy Ray Allen once said “could be the best player in the league.” That, dear friends, is downright depressing.
Cleveland Cavaliers GM Danny Ferry has had one restless, sleepless night after another since the apple of his franchise, one LeBron James, came to town and somehow exceeded a world of expectations almost immediately.
Keeping James content in his hometown state has by all accounts been an uphill battle: the Cavaliers haven’t exactly been considered a model franchise that’s a desirable location for premier NBA talent in a long, long time. And if that ping-pong ball with their logo hadn’t magically dropped into the King’s coronation slot back in ’03, there’s little to believe they’d still be nothing more than an Eastern Conference also-ran.
But James changed that, he took them to a NBA Finals appearance, and has them poised for a possible return this season, backed by what looks like his strongest overall supporting cast yet. So here we are.
There’s been some missteps and strike outs along the way, but credit Ferry for retooling the backcourt around Mo Williams and Delonte “ETB Favorite” West and for at least giving head coach Mike Brown some decent frontcourt options to plug in around James and Big Z.
Having finally surrounded James with more proven talent, Ferry’s next challenge, as you may have heard about by now, is convincing him to stay in Cleveland come 2010. Nobody really knows where James’ mind is at, but he’ll clearly have the opportunity to make a move if he’s so inclined. The endless scuttlebutt, of course, has him logically moving into the biggest market in the US and perhaps the world, The Big Apple, to join the New York Knicks.
It makes total sense, right? The world’s most marketable athlete in the world’s biggest marketing city. The big Madison Square Garden stage, the bright lights, yada yada yada.
As we saw this evening, however, as James’ Cavs whipped the Knicks 119-101, New York might promise the opportunity for more endorsement deals and a brighter star, but the franchise itself remains in disarray and for the most part resembles one of those Cleveland teams James was dragged down by in his first few seasons.
More on LeBron James and the NY Knicks after the jump…
Given the debacle that continues to unfold with the struggling Charlotte Bobcats franchise, there’s no way of knowing if Michael Jordan will ever be offered another front-office position should the day come that he and his current organization part ways. Four words of caution, however, should another franchise ever consult Jordan about making a high lottery pick:
Kwame Brown. Adam Morrison.
“Coffee with No Cream” Brown was, of course, the first-overall pick in the 2001 draft by the Washington Wizards and the first selection by the front-office version of Jordan. Needless to say that one worked out incredibly well for all parties involved.
Jordan’s second “first pick,” this time as Manager of Basketball Operations for the Bobcats, is shaping up to be another winner: Adam Morrison, who was taken third overall back in ’06 ahead of guys like Brandon Roy, Rudy Gay, and Randy Foye. That class hasn’t yet shaped up to be an incredibly strong one just yet, but even then many wondered whether the gangly, mustachioed, 70s porn-star wannabe that was Morrison would be able to replicate the prolific offensive success he enjoyed during his college days in Gonzaga after graduating to the NBA.
The early results indicate that no, he most certainly cannot.
The 6-8 swingman played in 78 regular-season games during his rookie season, averaging almost 30 minutes a night and wrapping up the season with pers of 11.8 points, 3 boards, 2.1 assists, 37% FG, and 33% from behind the arc. As far as defensive stats and impact goes, well, I’d rather not rub that aspect of his game in. Those aren’t the kind of stats one expects from a guy with such lofty draft status, but hey, chalk it up to being a rookie.
Unfortunately for Morrison and the Bobcats, a torn ACL in the preseason brought his sophomore campaign to an early close, and the rawwrr in Charlotte turned more into a kitty-cat meow than it already was.
Now 24 years old, slightly more clean-shaven, and fresh off a long-overdue haircut, Morrison is slowly working his way back into the offensively challenged Bobcats rotation; his minutes and effectiveness have wildly fluctuated on this Larry Brown-led team. (Go figure.)
Somewhat to my surprise, Morrison has seen action in all 13 of his team’s games thus far (I’m not trying to jinx you, Adam… really), averaging 7.6 points, 2.1 boards, 1.4 assists, and 41% FG–underwhelming numbers, sure, but actually an improvement on his shooting percentages from his rookie season. Of course, that probably has something to do with less shot attempts. He did enjoy a fairly decent three-game stretch about 2 weeks or so ago in which he totaled 7 triples in tallying 45 points on 52% shooting. And in the Bobcats’ 93-84 win on Monday against the 76ers, he logged almost 23 minutes and finished with 10 points (on 50% FG), 2 triples, 5 boards, 2 assists, and a steal. It’s not much, but the ‘Cats will take what they can get for now.
Including this season, Morrison will make over $16 million during the final 3 years of his rookie contract: will he ever develop into the kind of player Jordan and the Bobcats envisioned when they drafted him? It’s hard to imagine him as anything more than a role player off the bench or a spot-starter, but there is value in guys who can step onto the floor and provide some instant offense. Morrison will never be much of a defensive player, but he probably won’t be asked to do much more on that end of the floor besides to try and not embarass himself.
No–if this kid is to make any sort of mark at this level, it’ll be in the scoring column; for that to happen, he’s going to have to do something about that field-goal percentage. We’re seeing it right now in the Chicago Bulls’ Luol Deng: a dire need to counter-adjust to the adjustments the rest of the league has made to his game. Time will tell if he’s capable of doing it.
- Bright Side of the Sun – Another week of the Blogger Power Rankings are up for debate.
- MLive – Antonio McDyess is set to rejoin the Detroit Pistons on December 3.
- Canis Hoopus – Speaking of Detroit, that buyout plan didn’t work out as advertised.
- Knickerblogger – The split personalities of Stephon Marbury, a real American hero.
- Hoops Addict – Chris Bosh has been killing it–his Raptor teammates, not so much.
- Blaze of Love – A list of some pretty ugly, often poorly-tattooed NBA players.
- HoopsHype – The Dallas Mavericks are going nowhere and might be out of moves, too.
- Mr. Irrelevant – So, who’s buying one of those sharp Chicago Zephyrs throwback jerseys?
- JBomb – Attn Charlotte Bobcats: a dummy’s guide to playing offensive basketball.
- The Dreamshake – Yao Ming > Dwight Howard, according to this Houston Rockets writer.
- ESPN – Charles Barkley and Dick Vitale headline this year’s list of Basketball HoF inductees.
- Sports Illustrated – An early look at the star-studded NBA free agent class of 2010.
- Fast Break – Don Nelson’s isolation-oriented offense: a good thing or a bad thing?
- Basketball Prospectus – Judge Scott Brooks by Kevin Durant’s development.
- Behind the Blazers Beat – Shaq being Shaq (read: total asshole).
2 CommentsPosted by Brian Spencer on Nov. 24, 2008 at 5:15am in NBA
Rasheed Wallace, the self-described “anchor of comedy on the team,” has long been one of the best sources of sound bites in the NBA. On the court he oscillates between profanity-laden, tech-inducing tirades of intensity and moping up and down the court for games at a time. Off the court he’s as consistently congenial and amusing as they come. Here’s ‘Sheed dropping nicknames for his Piston teammates from Rip “Hollywood” Hamilton to Tayshaun “Compton Kid” Prince. My favorite? Kwame “Coffee With No Cream” Brown.
Ladies and gentlemen, I present to you the worst team in the Western Conference: the Los Angeles Clippers. The term “worst” is going to be highly subjective, especially where fandom is concerned. Does it mean the team that will have the fewest wins this season? Given the NBA is entertainment, does it indicate how entertaining they are? Is it just which team would be most painful to be a fan of? Is it which team you would expect to lose to all others if they played tomorrow? Is it merely which team is the furthest from being a legitimate title contender? Is it which team has sustained their gross ineptitude the longest? How much should youth, potential, and financial flexibility factor in? There are a lot of things to weigh, and “worst” is going to mean something slightly different to everybody. To us it means the Clippers.
There’s some debate between the Thunder and the Clippers in this spot, especially after the Clips walloped OKC in their first meeting this season, but nobody should be shocked at the ranking. LAC has been synonymous with futility for a very, very long time. Even including their Buffalo years you could count the franchise’s stars on one hand: Elton Brand, Bob McAdoo, Randy Smith, Danny Manning… am I missing anybody? World B. Free maybe? The team moved to Los Angeles in 1984 and since then they have made only four playoff appearances – meeting expedient elimination in the first round thrice. After a rough summer that saw Elton Brand and Corey Maggette replaced by Baron Davis and Marcus Camby, that doesn’t figure to change this season. With Donald Sterling in the director’s chair there’s little hope it will any time soon.
The Los Angeles Clippers
2007-08 Record: 23-59, 12th in the West 2008-09 Salary: $58,302,552
The Clippers will only go as far as Baron Davis will take them, but the man Los Angeles fans should be watching closely is Al Thornton. A 6-8 forward, he’s the closest thing this team has to a promising young player. The second-year forward is extremely athletic and has the ability to be a big-time scorer. He’s an intense player who also has strong defensive skills and decent rebounding ability with great quicks and ups. In the early going Thornton has shown an ability to put up points at the NBA level, but at 24 years of age is still wildly inconsistent. On offense Thornton is blessed with a great first step for a man his size, though his passing and ball-handling leave something to be desired. As a four-year college athlete he lacks some of the dramatic upside of other top draft picks, but it’s not hard to imagine Al averaging 20+ points a game with nice peripherals in the very near future.
The only other significant part of the LAC youth movement is Eric Gordon, a 19-year-old guard out of Indiana. At 6-3 he could theoretically play shooting guard alongside Baron, but he really has the frame of a point. It remains to be seen if he can man up at the defensive end on NBA point-guards or shooting guards, while his passing skills and leadership may not be ideal for a true point. In limited minutes we haven’t seen much from the kid at the NBA level, but we do know that Gordon is a shooter with decent athleticism and a scorer’s mentality. Eventually he should have a solid inside/outside offensive game.
The Baron Davis signing would have made a lot more sense had the Clippers been able to retain Elton Brand, but he’s still a marquee player and a legitimate franchise leader. A former All-Star point guard, Davis was the first significant free-agent signing from outside the organization since Bill Walton in the late 1970s. He’s a competitor and an entertainer who can put people in the stands and keep them entertained when they get there. While his efficiency and health are causes for concern, B Diddy is the rare point who can do it all on offense. He’s just as comfortable sticking jumpers as he is dropping dimes, and he has a flare for the dramatic in both. He’s also a major physical presence at the point – in the post capable of backing down smaller guards with ease and an absolute bull when he takes it to the rack. Baron is also a class act on and off the court, and the UCLA product is a hometown hero who relishes the chance to be a team leader and make the players around him better… as well as to dabble in Hollywood.
Things are looking up off the court as well. In the last few years the Clippers have opened a state-of-the-art practice facility in Playa Vista, they’ve brokered new television deals with local stations, they’ve appeared on national television more than ever before, and they’ve gone out and given big money to free agent Baron Davis and brought in high-profile, big-money PF Elton Brand (which was a good sign even if he left).
Hey, maybe team owner Donald Sterling is finally loosening his legendarily tight purse strings. That’s a good thing, because LA doesn’t have a lot of big contracts to worry about. Baron Davis and Chris Kaman will be getting big money through 2011-12, but outside of that pair the Clippers have no guaranteed contracts past next season. If they can go out and wisely spend some money on the talent-rich free agent classes of the next few summers and fit other vets with Baron, Thornton, Gordon, and Kaman they might just be able to turn things around. Maybe.
Your fantasy football playoffs are just a few short weeks away, so here’s the preface for this edition of ETB’s vaunted weekly position ranks: if you’re still in the hunt, better not f*** up! And if you’re not, don’t be that guy who sulks in the corner and stops setting their starting lineup each week.
There’s absolutely nothing worse than “that guy,” and we know you know what we’re talking about. It’s not even about having pride in your loser of a fantasy squad–nope. It’s about having some respect for the guys who are still fighting for a playoff berth by at least putting your best foot forward in your season-ending head-to-head matchups. If you lay down like Marc Bulger facing a pass rush in a collapsing pocket, thereby giving your opponent an easy victory, you could very well be costing one of us a precious opportunity to gain ground on said opponent.
Know what I’m saying?
So please, do your fellow fantasy football leaguers a solid and make sure you have someone who’s actually playing on Sunday in your starting lineup. Leaving RBs, WRs, and TEs in there who are on IR or have been benched is just insulting.
Lecture over. With that out of the way, don’t forget that tonight sees the Cincinnati Bungles host the Pittsburgh Steelers, so plan accordingly. (By the way, this is the lowest we’ve ranked Brian Westbrook in a long, long time–start him at your own risk. And we can’t rank Reggie Bush any higher until we’ve seen him on the field, how many snaps he’s getting, etc.)
Fantasy Week 12 – Top 20 Quarterbacks
1. Peyton Manning, Indianapolis Colts @ SD 2. Jay Cutler, Denver Broncos vs. OAK 3. Aaron Rodgers, Green Bay Packers @ NO 4. Drew Brees, New Orleans Saints vs. GB 5. Kurt Warner, Arizona Cardinals vs. NYG 6. Philip Rivers, San Diego Chargers vs. IND 7. Tony Romo, Dallas Cowboys vs. SF 8. Brett Favre, New York Jets @ TEN 9. Eli Manning, New York Giants @ ARZ 10. Kyle Orton, Chicago Bears @ STL 11. Jake Delhomme, Carolina Panthers @ ATL 12. Ben Roethlisberger, Pittsburgh Steelers @ CIN 13. Matt Ryan, Atlanta Falcons vs. CAR 14. Donovan McNabb, Philadelphia Eagles @ BAL 15. Jeff Garcia, Tampa Bay Bucs @ DET (Sneaky Play) 16. Tyler Thigpen, Kansas City Chiefs vs. BUF 17. David Garrard, Jacksonville Jaguars vs. MIN 18. Jason Campbell, Washington Redskins @ SEA 19. Matt Cassel, New England Patriots @ MIA 20. Chad Pennington, Miami Dolphins vs. NE
Rest of the Week 12 fantasy football ranks after the break…