Headlines from the Fantasy Hardwood – 12/31/07

By Rob Shaw, Lead Expert for FantasyFanatics.com

Kyle Korver has been traded to the Utah Jazz for Gordon Giricek. Eddy Curry is now coming off the bench for an unstable New York Knicks squad. Scott Skiles has been fired after a disappointing start. Here’s a look at a few of the topics being discussed over the past week in the www.Fantasyfanatics.com fantasy basketball forum:

Injuries have been the only detriment in the career of Marcus Camby. When he is on the court, there are few centers with the ability to rack up fantasy points the way the Camby man can. Minus the three-pointers, Camby is a jack-of-all trades in fantasy hoops. He is currently leading the NBA with 14.5 rebounds and 3.6 blocks to complement 9 points, 1.1 steals, and 3.2 assists per game. His free throw shooting (60%) has been lacking, but he has been dominating in the “big man” categories. On December 26 against the Milwaukee Bucks, Camby scored 10 points, blocked 10 shots, and grabbed 11 rebounds. While the 10 blocks are astonishing, big numbers are nothing new for the Nuggets center who in the very next game scored 15 points and 16 rebounds. With his health not being an issue, Camby has been a top 10 fantasy player throughout the first two months of the 2007-2008 season.

The Miami Heat have gone cold this season, but Dwayne Wade continues to achieve in the fantasy realm. After sitting out the first two weeks of the season, Wade has returned to form, averaging 25 points, 7 assists, and 4 rebounds per game. His greatest foible lies in turning over the ball an astonishing 4.6 times per game. Another weakness lies in his inability to knock down the three-point shot. His numbers should improve throughout the season as he gets more comfortable on the court. He is currently shooting a career-worst 74% from the free-throw line. His best game came in a competitive loss on December 28 to the Orlando Magic when he scored 48 points, dished out 11 assists, grabbed 7 boards with 3 steals and 3 blocks. With Shaquille O’Neal ailing, Wade has to do all the scoring by himself, which explains the high turnover rate and the low free throw shooting (he gets tired!). This is the type of setting that leads to burnout and injuries for basketball stars (a la Tracy McGardy), so right now might be a good time to sell high on the Heat’s talented guard.

The Bulls decision to fire Head Coach Scott Skiles in reality may have plenty of implications in fantasy basketball. The greatest move so far by Bulls interim head coach Jim Boylan is moving Ben Gordon to the bench. While all eyes were on the youth on the Bulls roster, it’s actually the veterans who have been impacted the most. Gordon now becomes more lethal for the Bulls as he competes against the opposition’s second unit as the number one option for the Bulls. On the other hand, small forward Luol Deng now has a greater opportunity to become the focal point of the Bulls offense amidst the first unit. In the past 4 games, Deng has scored an average of 20 points per game, 4 assists, and 7 rebounds. After early season struggles, it appears that Deng and Gordon are on the mend. Rather than concentrating on the Bulls youth, expect the veterans to pull together to make the most of a tough season. Tyrus Thomas, Joakim Noah, and Aaron Gray do not get nearly enough run to warrant much fantasy attention. In addition, even when starting, point guard Chris Duhon is better in reality than fantasy hoops.

Top 10 Fantasy Ballers as of Week 8:
1. Chris Paul 2
2. Shawn Marion 1
3. Kobe Bryant 6
4. Caron Butler 4
5. Baron Davis 7
6. Carlos Boozer 3
7. Kevin Garnett 5
8. Allen Iverson 9
9. Marcus Camby 13
10. Steve Nash 8

15) Lebron James 10

Chris Paul has climbed to the top of the rankings thanks to his steady output of 21 points and 10 assists. Most impressive for Paul is his 3 steals per game. In his last 4 games, Paul has averaged 4.5 steals. Shawn Marion’s consistency keeps him in the top two. Kobe Bryant moved up the rankings thanks to his Christmas day performance of 38 points, 7 assists, and 5 rebounds. Marcus Camby’s triple double brings him back into the top 10, while Lebron James fell out of the top 10 thanks to his wavering free-throw shooting, and inability to score as many as 30 points in the past 4 games.


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