Ryan Knaus

NBA Fantasy Trends

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Charlotte Fever

Wednesday, March 19, 2008




Maybe they're pacing themselves—Pacers point guard Travis Diener was finally benched after an 0-of-9 shooting performance last Friday. He has scored 22 points in his last five games combined, shooting a putrid 7-of-41 (17%) during that stretch. Feel free to cut him in all formats.

The Flip side of the coin is that Flip Murray got promoted, though he isn't setting the world on fire as a starter, managing 13 points, two rebounds, three assists and 1.5 steals in his two starts. He's not a terrific shooter (41% for his career), but he's scored double-digit points in six of the last seven games and should steadily improve while starting. He could be a worthwhile source of points, steals and assists before very long. Owners in deep leagues should consider scooping him up right now, though most can afford to wait a while and see whether his numbers pick up.

Jamaal Tinsley—all evidence supports the notion that Tinsley won't play again this year. He can't even participate in limited, non-contact drills, so stick a fork in him and move on. Let his fate be a lesson to us all for next season…sell high!

Should you trust Pietrus?—The Warriors have three steady fantasy options, Baron Davis, Stephen Jackson and Monta Ellis. Fantasy owners start any other Warrior at their own risk, though Mickael Pietrus has been surprisingly steady in recent weeks.

Pietrus has played 30+ minutes in five straight games, a somewhat unbelievable streak given Don Nelson's infamously fickle rotations. He's converted the extra minutes into compelling averages of 12 points on 47% shooting, 1.1 three-pointers, 7.8 rebounds, 1.6 steals and 0.8 blocks, numbers most owners would be glad to have at their disposal. There's always the very real possibility that Pietrus' run as a starter will end, but it seems unlikely since he's playing well and Chris Webber is expected out through the end of the regular season.

The rise of Pietrus has also been the demise of Matt Barnes and Brendan Wright, though as a rookie Wright never really stood a chance in Nellie's system. UPDATE: Pietrus was benched on Tuesday and finished with four points on 1-of-6 shooting in 16 minutes. Nellie has proved once again how futile it is to try to figure out Golden State's rotations. Unless you have tarot cards and a streak of self-delusion, your guess is as good as mine whether Pietrus will start again.

Hakim he gets to play and I don't?—Hakim Warrick has been the biggest beneficiary of Pau Gasol's departure from Memphis, but his strong play hasn't guaranteed him a spot as a starter. Grizzlies coach Marc Iavaroni has recently switched to a smaller lineup, shifting Warrick to the bench where his minutes are constricted. Rudy Gay and Mike Miller fill the forward spots while Juan Carlos Navarro shifts into the starting five.

Warrick is still a potent offensive player, particularly on the post, and the Grizzlies will play him close to 30 minutes even if he's coming off the bench. He should hover around 15 points and six rebounds per game, but unfortunately a toothbrush has more versatility than Warrick does. Consider him a border-line option in the majority of leagues, but keep a close eye on the Grizzlies rotations since a move back into the starting five is quite possible. And if Darko Milicic, Juan Carlos Navarro, Mike Miller or Rudy Gay are injured, pick up Warrick immediately.


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Despite residing in Portland, Maine, Ryan Knaus remains a heartbroken Sonics fan who longs for the days of Shawn Kemp and Xavier McDaniel. He has written for Rotoworld.com since 2007. You can follow him on Twitter.
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