Thursday, March 26, 2009

Waiver Wire Watch (3/26/09): Streaming

Fantasy playoffs have officially started for those of us in Yahoo leagues. I am sure many managers (including myself) have suffered late-season injuries, and thus are in dire need of replacements or a miracle.

So really, now (actually maybe last week) is the time to buckle down and decide on who you still want on your team. There's no room for continual zeroes when a steal or rebound could be the difference between a first round failure and a championship. Today I want to look at a practice that could potentially win you your league: streaming.

1.) the act of adding/dropping players daily in order to attain higher totals stats across various categories...

I know there are many opposed to streaming
; at initial glance, it appears like a convenient way of accumulating more stats. Honestly, I used to get annoyed when I looked down at the recent transactions section only to see that the "DETROIT BALLAZ" exchanged half their team for free agents every single day.

That being said, streaming is still a legitimate option as long as it's practiced with care and caution. If you're going to stream, make sure you put in your due research before arbitrarily picking up a player. Nothing annoys me more than when I see a manager pick up a player, and drop him three minutes later because he decided that another free agent was better. Meanwhile, the rest of the league is now stuck with a free agent that can't be acquired until the waiver-period ends. Careless streaming will hinder other managers from streaming, thus creating negative feelings get the point.

Anyways, if you are one of those managers that's had your team destroyed by injuries
, you have to play to the strengths of the players you have left. Look at your matchup; if your opponent has Kobe, Durant, Dwight Howard, and averages 800+ points a week, then don't go looking for free agent scorers if your team barely reaches 600pts a week. Also look at the actual NBA matchups; anytime you see a team playing against NY, GS, LAC, or PHX, know that that free agent might be a good pickup. Likewise, if Player X scored 22 pts and went 5/6 from beyond the arc in his last game against Golden State, understand that he probably won't do that again against the Celtics.

Below I've listed some of the players that are on my "stream list"
. Again remember to be thorough (give it more than 4 seconds thought) in your research of free agents. Hopefully these guys can help you on your way to a fantasy championship.

Courtney Lee (10% owned): Courtney Lee has received much praise from his teammates, coaches, and critics as of late. Despite being a rookie, he plays both ends of the court with the composure of a veteran, and because of that, Stan Van Gundy gets him his minutes. In his last five games, he's averaged around 33 minutes and 15 pts a game, has 9 steals, 9 3's, and shot very well from the line and field. Another good sign is that he's doing this even though Orlando has no significant injuries (other than Jameer, who won't be coming back soon). If you need threes or steals, stream him (maybe even consider making him a permanent fixture).

Steve Novak (11% owned): Novak is a guy that frustrates me. In 6 of his last 8 games, he's made 3 or more 3pters. In those other two games, he's had zero points. I've streamed him into my line-up twice, and both those occasions just happened to be the nights where he's scored zilch. However, from an objective point of view, chances are they he'll light it up from 3pt land if you add him into your line-up. Again, if you need threes, look into picking him up.

Will Bynum (5% owned): Taking full advantage of a golden opportunity, Bynum has played himself into relevance in the absence of AI and Rip. In his last 5 games, he's averaged 16pts, 4.4 assists, and 1.4 steals whil shooting .500 from the floor and 83% from the line. If Hamilton is out for an extended amount of time, Bynum is a great option to stream.
It seems like Curry is trusting Bynum more and more as each game goes by. Will plays like a poor man's Allen Iverson (and kind of reminds me of a chubbier Lyndsey Hunter); he's not scared of contact, but is also unselfish.

Anderson Varejao (36% owned): Here's another guy that might deserve to be a permanent member of your team. Ben Wallace is out with a broken leg, giving Anderson the starting PF gig. Other than his questionable FT%, Varejao has been putting together some solid numbers. He's had two games in a row of 16-11, and has shot 22/39 in his last five. I don't see any reason for him to stop his current production anytime soon. As much as I don't like him in real life, I've been streaming him consistently.

Chris Andersen (39% owned): I've given plenty of praise to Andersen in the past. And even though he's not producing as consistently as he was last month, he's still a great source for blocks. With Nene, Kenyon, and the recent emergence of Balkman, Denver's front court is stacked pretty deep. However, Kenyon is known for being injury prone, and Nene is about to serve the 2nd game of his suspension tomorrow night. If you don't have him, at least add him for tomorrow's game.

Flip Murray (15% owned): Murray is a scoring machine. Since Marvin Williams went down with back issues, Murray has seen a boost in minutes and production. He's averaging 19.6ppg in his last five games, and has also made 10 threes. Marvin Williams isn't due back for at least a couple more weeks, so you can count on Murray being a solid plug in any given night. I must warn you that his FT% is very inconsistent; if you can't take a risk with that category, I wouldn't risk it with him.

Others to be streamed: Kyle Korver, Rodney Carney, Anthony Randolph, Quentin Richardson, Craig Smith, Eddie House

Before I end, I'd like to leave you with a video I found from BDL's Bedlam Tournament

He is the only Celtic I like

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Basketball Randomness

I've spent the day watching NBA action while simultaneously attempting to study for a probability exam I have coming on Wednesday. Other than feelings of pure frustration at discrete and continuous random variables, here are some other thoughts that crossed my mind:
  • Dwayne Wade came through in the clutch once again; this time my hometown Pistons were the victims. That block on Stuckey's last possession was questionable, it looked like a foul to me. But Wade deserved all the breaks he got. Final line: 39 pts, 6 assists, 4 blocks, 2 stls, 2 threes, and 56% from the field. Ridiculous.
  • Jeff Van Gundy is why the ESPN commentating crew is entertaining. But that's only because he looked like the most boring/exhausted man while coaching in the NBA.
  • I know I'm repeating common knowledge here, but the Clippers are horrible. The only player that looked like he was trying was Eric Gordon.
  • Jose Calderon dunked. Jose Calderon can dunk?!
  • The Raptors' commentators at CBC are extremely annoying.
  • Michael Jordan cries? Now that's fatherly love.

Friday, March 20, 2009

Jordan 23 vs. 39

I want to make it clear for all readers out there that I am a die-hard Michael Jordan fan: always have been and always will be. About once a month, I have this irresistible urge to get my Jordan fix. I'll goto Youtube, type Michael Jordan into the searchbox, and watch random videos until my addiction is temporarily satisfied.

Today, I came across my favorite Jordan commercial - Gatorade's "23 vs. 39".

I remember watching this when it first aired on television; I sat mesmerized at the sight of two Michael Jordans. When it ended, I turned towards my dad dumbfounded and muttered, "Did you see that?". Even having watched it numerous times, I'm still left giddy like a child at the end.

Gatorade sparked every basketball fan's imagination with the release of that commercial. Which Jordan was better? The young and freakishly athletic MJ of the 80's? Or the seasoned and wily veteran MJ of the late 90's? Was Jordan more dangerous when he got to the basket at will? Or when he turned into the assassin with the development of his unguardable fade-away jumper? While watching, you want to stop it so you can savor it, but at the same time you want to see what happens next. It's like you can't even handle it all: a brain overload. The dramatic lighting of the court, the playful trashtalk, and the UNC MJ cameo at the end - all tasteful touches to the perfect commercial.

I can't fully express the amount of joy this commercial brings me. I can only hope you enjoy it too.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

The NBA. Where Dwayne Wade Happens.

From last night's game against the Chicago Bulls...

Simply Amazing.

Dwayne Wade has been a demi-god as of late. Fantasy owners every have been reaping in his insane stat lines he puts up every other night; I know I regret not conjuring up some offers to send for him.

But look beyond the numbers, and at the man behind them. In all honesty, I wasn't completely on the "Wade 2.0" bandwagon after the Summer Olympics. Despite his superstardom, I still believed he was injury prone, and incapable of leading a directionless and limited Miami team anywhere.

I remember watching a Heat game early in the season; they were playing against the Blazers, and it was one of those games that was close all the way til the final minutes. But even though the score was close, it seemed like the Heat were destined to lose that game, and they did. Despite Wade's monumental efforts (36pt, 8asts, 6reb, 3blks, 2stls) that night, he was all that the Heat had. All their offense, all their energy came from this one guy. At that point, I predicted Wade would have a frustrating season. One of those seasons where he has to clock in 40ish minutes a night, put up ridiculous numbers, still lose, and wind up injured half-way into January due to all the wear-and-tear. Wade was good, but I did not think he was that good.

Wade has proven me wrong.

It's unbelievable what this man can do night-in and night-out. Playing full-throttle at , Wade has been a force at both ends of the court: breakaway dunks, acrobatic layups, highlight-reel blocks, and last-second buzzer beaters. What's even more amazing is what he's done with what would otherwise be a bottom-dwelling team. Wade hasn't had consistent help all year. Shawn Marion struggled with injuries early on, and only played for a while with the Heat before being shipped to Toronto. Chalmers and Beasley have both shown flashes potential, but neither are reliable on a nightly basis. Jermaine O'neal has managed to avoid sitting out thus far, but he's no longer the post presence he used to be. Taking all this along with a rookie coach into account, and you'll recognize the magnitude of Wade's accomplishments this year.

2008-2009 was supposed to be the year of Dwade's "comeback"

I say it's more than that. Wade has reached another level.
I'm on the #3 bandwagon. Wade for MVP!

Friday, March 6, 2009

This is why I added Chris Andersen to my Fantasy Team

So there's like 3 weeks left before fantasy playoffs, and my team is one spot out of the last playoff position. Being in an extremely competitive league where every win matters, I picked up Birdman to get my team some help in the blocks category.

And then I came across this video.

It made my day.

You gotta feel bad for Fernandez...and his face

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Mike Taylor Throws One On the Grizz

So I've never heard of Mike Taylor before today...

but yea can we get this guy a bid for the dunk contest next year?

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Motown Muddle

I am a Detroit Pistons fan. Though I can't say that I've always been one, I am now a Detroit Pistons fan.

It pains me to see our once glorious team struggling to stay above .500. And with all the other opinions out there of what's wrong with the Pistons, I've decided to give my two cents:

Issue #1: Post-Presence
One of Detroit's biggest problems has been a problem even through most of their Golden Ages: lack of a dominant post presence. The Pistons don't have anyone that can consistently create havoc for opposing defenses within seven feet of the basket.

Rasheed is talented, I agree; he can rebound, block, shoot, etc etc etc...but he doesn't like to bang in the post anymore (I won't even go into all his emotional issues). He'll occasionally grab an offensive board and put it back in. Other than that, Sheed resorts to fade-away hooks and long-range threes. Antonio McDyess is another aging veteran that doesn't do damage in the post. Dice get's pick and pop offense, which only sets him up for those 12-17ft jump-shots. Jason Maxiell wants to bang with the big boys, but is realistically too small to ever be a dominant presence on the block. I know everyone was also getting excited for Amir Johnson, with how much Dumars hyped him over the last few years, but it's abudantly clear now that Amir is primarily a defender (one that can't stay on the floor for more than 10 minuntes because of foul trouble).

Issue #2: Allen Iverson
I feel bad for Allen Iverson; for I guy that's put in so much heart into the game, he's getting the majority of the blame for the Pistons' struggles. However, the AI-bashing isn't completely unwarranted. AI has always needed the ball in his hands to be effective. Along the same lines, he's not meant to be a point guard. For the majority of his career, he ran around the floor with four other scrubs, and did whatever he wanted to on the offensive end. For this reason, AI should be coming off the bench for Detroit and running with the 2nd team, where he can be the focus. It's no surprise that Detroit has won two straight against Orlando and Boston without AI in the lineup.

Dumars brought in Allen for his expiring contract. He was a one-year experiment with huge potential-upside, and few long-term consequences. It's safe to say that the experiment is a dud; Iverson doesn't have the "updside" that Detroit needed.

Issue #3: Athletic Wing
Neither Tayshaun nor Rip are the type to beat their man off the dribble and get to the bucket. Most sucessful teams have a guy that can draw contact and get free throws. AI, can get to the bucket, but screws up offensive chemistry. Stuckey can also get to the bucket, but cannot finish consistently enough. There's really not much more to say about this.

No Need to Panic
Detroit is in a slump, but is in no way in a bad position. With AI and Sheed's large contracts coming off the books at the end of this year, Dumars is in a prime position to snipe some quality players through 2009 and 2010 free agency.

For Pistons fans,
take pride in their recent two-game win-streak, but don't over-read it. Hamilton is playing his mind out right now, bringing back memories of Rip circa 2004. But he's not a guy that can bring the Pistons to elite status all by himself. Stuckey is an up-and-coming point guard, but he's not ready to lead a championship-caliber team yet. The Pistons will make the playoffs, and lose in the 1st or 2nd round to a much more deserving and better team. There's no shame in losing in the playoffs when your team is reloading. The Pistons' resurrection won't come this year, but is primed to arrive soon.