Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Patterson Signs With The Clippers

Ruben Patterson signed on with the Clippers today, who are trying to shore up their roster following the unfortunate injury to Elton Brand. Last season Patterson had a career year, scoring nearly 15 points per game at 54% from the field while notching 1.4 steals as a sometime starter for the Bucks.

Unfortunately,Patterson will be competing for playing time with Tim Thomas and rookie Al Thornton, which will likely prevent him from having much fantasy value. Keep an eye on him though. With a starting lineup including Sam Cassell, Cuttino Mobley, Corey Maggette, and Chris Kaman, the Clippers are sorely lacking a defensive presence. If they decide to go small Patterson may see enough minutes at the PF and SF spots to have value. Don't burn a draft pick on him, but if he starts getting at least 30 minutes per game he may be worth a look.

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Tuesday, August 28, 2007

We Like Dwight...So Please Stop Fouling Him!

Just a quick take here. Dwight Howard is one of the NBA's fastest rising stars, and one of my favorite players to watch. He is just so big, strong, and agile. Once he puts it together the kid is really going to be something special.

The problem for the fantasy world is that he is essentially the second coming of Shaq. He shoots very poorly from the free throw line, and goes there a lot. He gets you a great FG% of course, but those numbers are far outweighed by his atrocious percentages from the charity stripe. Dwight hurt fantasy teams from the line last season more than anyone else in the league, and it wasn't a close race (although Shaq's injury helped with that).

When you have him on your team you just sit there and cringe every time his opponents foul him intentionally to stop a dunk (which happens a lot). Screaming "Stop fouling Dwight!" at your TV every game is not a fun way to spend your fantasy season.

The thing that kills me is that Dwight isn't Shaq. Shaq's hands are too big for the's like a regular person trying to shoot with a softball. Dwight on the other hand actually has good form, arc, and rotation on his shot. The ball just doesn't go into the basket. Every time I see him shoot I just shake my head and wonder when it's going to start dropping for him.

If Dwight can even get up to 70% from the line he would be a fantasy monster. Until he does, avoid him like the plague. As much as I hate to admit it, it's very tough to win a roto league with him on your roster (H2H leagues, if you are tanking FT, Dwight is a great pick).

By the way, Dwight is currently at 59% from the line in the FIBA Americas Tournament. So much for improving over the summer.

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Sunday, August 26, 2007

unpossibl1's Can't Miss Sleeper Pick

The term “sleeper” is one that gets tossed around a lot in fantasy sports…almost as often as “rehab” and “Lohan”. Not a season goes by that you don’t hear about long established stars like Jason Richardson or hyped rookies like Kevin Durant and Greg Oden mistakenly being called sleepers.

So what exactly is a sleeper then? Well, a sleeper is that player that you can get late in your draft that you think will play at a much higher level than his draft position suggests. He’s that guy that is ranked too low on other draft boards, or forgotten altogether, but you can see his true potential. For example, guys like Kevin Martin and Monta Ellis would be considered sleepers from the 06-07 season. Yes, sleepers are the guys who, when they pan out, allow you to say “I told you so!” to the rest of your league. And I have a great sleeper for the upcoming season.

Before I get into my pick as the top sleeper this season though, here is a little warning:

Once a sleeper is over publicized they aren’t truly a sleeper anymore. When fantasy experts consistently put a player on their published sleeper lists that player’s value inevitably goes up, and unfortunately so does his draft position. With that rise in draft position the sleeper is now wide awake…think Chris Kaman from last season.

So be careful with your sleepers and the hype that can surround them. Don’t assume that every sleeper will hit their best case scenario stats, no matter whose “can’t miss sleeper list” they are on (even mine, as much as it pains me to say). If you feel like you have to take a guy who you have pegged as a sleeper a little earlier than you are comfortable with then it’s usually best to just let someone else take the chance while you scoop up a known commodity instead.

Now that the disclaimer is out of the way, there is one sleeper out there who you can’t afford to pass up if he is still around anywhere past the 7th round. That player is Danny Granger.

Granger made huge strides last season, particularly with his three point shot. Plus, unlike most other sleepers, Granger is locked into his spot. You don’t have to worry about him losing minutes or playing out of position too often because of someone else stealing his thunder. He is the starting SF for the Pacers, period. And with Indiana looking to move Jermaine O’Neal (and asking the world in return for him), it’s clear that Larry Bird is willing to build the team around Danny.

A conservative projection would have him putting up 15 pts, 5.5 boards, 1.8 threes, 1 steal, 1 block, with good percentages. Those are numbers that he should be very easily able to reach (especially with Jim O'Brien's free flowing offense), which means that the risk factor on him is very low. If he puts up those stats and you get him in the 7th round you are getting good value.

The great thing is that those conservative numbers are the worst case scenario with Danny. It’s very possible that he has a true breakout season and eclipses my estimate. If that happens, he would end up with stats even better than those put up by Josh Howard (19 and 7 with 1.3 threes), who was an all star last year. Wouldn’t it be nice to get that kind of talent that late in the draft? Since Granger was solid but didn’t blow anyone away last year it’s very possible that he will be there waiting for a savvy owner to pluck him up. And being a reader of the Unpossiblog, you will be that owner and can laugh all the way to your league championship.

You can thank me when your pummeled league mates are whining halfway through the season about how they should have taken him.

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Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Kevin Durant- The Real Deal?

First off, RIP Eddie Griffin. I remember it wasn't that long ago that Eddie was teasing fantasy owners with his abilities to hit the three, rebound, and block shots. It's tragic that his life was cut short.

Now, on to some business. Can you feel it? I sure can. The Fantasy Basketball season is right around the corner. I'm setting up a mock draft on the ESPN fantasy message boards and will publish the results and analysis right here.

Team USA is starting to play in the FIBA Americas Tournament, which is a great way to break up the brutally long hoops off season. Aside from seeing the health of the players though you really can't determine too much in the way of fantasy value from the tournament. International ball is just a different game. The court is smaller, the ball is smaller, the rules are different. NBA bench players like Carlos Arroyo thrive in international ball, while studs like Dwyane "My mother misspelled my name" Wade struggle. It's just a bizzaro world where you can't trust performances to translate to NBA success or failure.

However, I do think there is something has to be mentioned about the game about a month ago when the US team scrimmaged against itself. We saw top NBA talent playing against each other, and one man in particular caught my eye. Yes, Kobe hit the game winner, but I am talking about Kevin Durant here.

I typically am very wary about drafting rookies. Rookies often have a hard time adjusting to the speed of the NBA game, and as such their production can be up and down all season long. However, Durant was flat out magnificent against the NBA All Stars, showing a scoring ability and poise that I didn't expect to see for at least a few seasons. Durant finished the scrimmage with 22 points on 9 of 14 shooting, while chipping in 6 rebounds. And while the talent on the floor was of the All Star variety, the defense being played was much more intense than a typical AS game. The guys were playing for pride as well as roster spots, and KD looked right at home scoring on them.

With no one else to take the shots in Seattle I think Durant has to be strongly considered to be drafted starting in the mid 3rd to 4th round. If you are in a keeper league I could see taking a look at him in the late 2nd to early 3rd round.

I don't want to go overboard and advocate drafting a rookie too early (particularly when we have only seen one game against NBA talent), but Durant is a rare case. Not only is he NBA ready in terms of talent, but the Sonics will be his to take over from day 1. As of right now he is the early favorite to win the ROY. If you do take him though assume that his FG% will be a little low and draft around him accordingly. It will take him some time to get used to seeing NBA defenses on a consistent basis, but he should be an excellent fantasy option all season long.

I am going to start working on my annual roto ranking soon, and will go into detail here about how the process works and list the results.

Be sure to subscribe to the Unpossiblog and leave me comments here letting me know your thoughts.


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Monday, August 20, 2007

KG To Gain Center Eligibility?

The Boston Globe printed an interview with Scot Pollard a few days ago where he mentioned KG starting at C when the Celtics decide to go small. Click HERE to read the story.

Now, I can't imagine that there will be that many games where the Celtics will be able to get away with KG at the C spot, but could see him running there when they play the Suns or Warriors. Nontheless, this is huge fantasy news. If KG gets enough starts at Center to gain C eligibility in your league than his value shoots way up. In fact, if he does get C eligibility, he would unseat Kobe as the #1 overall fantasy pick. Of course, like Dwight Howard last season, KG won't gain the C eligibility until sometime during the season, but it's still something to keep in mind during your draft.

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Sunday, August 19, 2007

Unpossiblog on Myspace, Feed Subscription

I just created a myspace page for the Unpossiblog, which will be used to get the word out about the blog and allow for more interaction with readers. You can check it out by clicking HERE. If you have a myspace make sure you add me as a friend...right now the page is looking a little lonely with only Tom and myself as friends.

Also, I have updated the Unpossiblog feed so that both RSS and Atom readers can pick it up. You can subscribe to the feed by clicking the link at the bottom of this post or the one in the side panel.

More updates coming soon. Any thoughts on this template/color scheme? It's growing on me, but I am not sold on it just yet.


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Saturday, August 18, 2007

The First Pick

Welcome to the Unpossiblog, the all purpose Fantasy Basketball Blog. We are just a few short weeks away from the start of the Fantasy Basketball Season, and all the hoop heads (myself included) are waiting on pins and needles. It’s time to start ramping up your preparations for draft day, and the Unpossiblog will be here to help you along the way.

I will be focusing on Rotisserie scoring leagues, since I find those to be the most challenging and the most rewarding for the diligent fantasy freaks.

So here is our first scenario. It’s draft day. You have done your homework all summer. You watched carefully as major and minor players changed teams. You cringed as new injuries hit (Brand) and old ones lingered (Bosh). You have a sleeper list that’s 50 players deep, and can recite the depth chart and coaching staff of every team. This year you are going to be the one who makes the Kevin-Martin-in-the-10th-round type pick that wins your league.

Your draft room opens, and you have…the 1st pick? You have a tough decision to make right off the bat. This year, perhaps more so than any other in recent memory, there is no consensus number 1 pick. Leagues usually aren’t won in the first round, but they certainly can be lost there. Make the right selection and you will have a top talent to power your team all year long. Make the wrong pick and you could find yourself out of the running by January. So who do you take?

There are at least 5 players who could easily go number 1 overall. In no particular order, those players are: Gilbert Arenas, Kobe Bryant, LeBron James, Kevin Garnett, and Shawn Marion (If Dirk Nowitzki has center eligibility in your league you could make a case for him as well). If you take any of those guys no one can rightfully question your pick.

What’s that you say? Top 5 isn’t good enough? You want to know who the first pick is? Ok, here it is. Let’s break down the contenders, in reverse order of how they should be drafted:

5. LeBron James: Sorry witnesses, LeBron isn’t the King yet. James went #1 in most drafts last season, though the smart players took him and then used his inflated value to rob their league mates via trade. This year that won’t be possible. Experienced players are well aware of LeBron’s woes at the free throw line and won’t be willing to pay for him like they did last year. So LeBron has to go 5th. You can’t have the number 1 overall pick hurting you that badly from the line, especially when he doesn’t dominate in any other categories.

4. Shawn Marion: I love Marion in fantasy basketball. He is the definition of underrated and you are getting a steal if you get him anywhere outside of the top 3. However, the problem with Marion is that he is essentially the anti-LeBron. Because he doesn’t have the big name recognition of the other guys in the top 5, you will get less for Marion on the trade market than he is worth. Not that you typically would want to trade him, but there are situations where trading a top talent can give you the depth you need to win your league. You generally won’t have that option with Marion.

In addition, Marion’s value is directly tied to Steve Nash’s health. In the 6 games that Nash missed last season, Marion’s FG% plummeted to 43%. He has become accustomed to getting open looks and easy dunks with Nash, and would require a period of readjustment if the aging former MVP went down.

3. Kevin Garnett: Most people think KG’s production will take a dip now that he is playing with Paul Pierce and Ray Allen. That’s not going to happen. KG had his best season when he finally got some help in Minny in the form of Sam Cassell and Latrell Sprewell, and you know what they say about history repeating itself. And of course, we can’t forget that the East features a wealth of scrub teams for KG and co. to feast on.

There is something that is often overlooked in fantasy basketball, and that is the competitive fire. KG has that fire perhaps more than anyone else in the league, and now he has a real chance to get to the finals. The already intense former MVP will be taking out the frustration of all those losing seasons in Minnesota on the rest of the league. The only question mark with KG is whether or not his body will continue to hold up now that he is north of 30.

2. Gilbert Arenas: MCL. Those three little letters haunted Gilbert during the playoffs last season, when he was forced to watch from the sidelines. Agent 0 had a career year last season and catapulted himself into the upper echelon on stars. The late season injury has left a bitter taste in his mouth and Gil will be looking show the league that he is 100% and ready to dominate again.

However, Gilbert’s FG% is a concern, as he shot just 42% last season and is only a 43% career shooter. With the amount of shots he takes that could spell disaster for a team that doesn’t have a plethora of high FG players around Gil (similar to AI a few years ago). I could see taking KG here instead of Gil if you have a few other low FG players high on your wish list for later rounds. Still, if it was my pick I take Arenas and then just select very carefully in later rounds.

1. Kobe Bryant: Many fantasy players will pass on Kobe as a result of the drama going on with his trade request tirade over the summer. Those players forget that Kobe thrives off of playing through adversity. During the 03-04 season Kobe’s best games came when he was flying in at the last minute from the court room in Colorado.

Like Arenas and KG, Kobe has a competitive fire, determination, and confidence to overcome all obstacles. He has lost roughly 15 pounds over the summer, which should do wonders for his explosiveness and durability. Gone are the days when Kobe was a FG anchor, as his 46% shooting last season was adequate enough. The addition of the steady hand of Derek Fisher should get Kobe the ball in prime scoring positions, which will only help his FG%. The Lakers are still Kobe’s team though, and until Andrew Bynum comes around they will only go as far as Kobe can drag them. You don’t have to worry about anyone else taking away from Kobe’s production, which should guarantee another terrific season.

The only way I could see taking someone else number 1 is if Kobe is used too much by Team USA this summer and comes into the NBA season worn down, a la Elton Brand last season. At the end of the day, Kobe was the top fantasy player by the end of last season, and I think he will be sitting on the throne again this year.

All right hoops heads, that’s it for the inaugural edition of the Unpossiblog. Keep an eye on this space for the next edition where we will continue to break down the upcoming fantasy basketball season.