Well, all good things must come to an end – and that includes the VBT’s run of top-3 VRR results! Also, please welcome Jordan Hill to fantasy studhood, with nearly one added win worth of awesome this week. Where did that come from? This week, with nothing pressing, I’ll get started on this year’s Performance Reviews, starting with the best decisions of the keeper round. But first, barfed-out tables of numbers!
The Slamson Memorial Virtual Round Robin
|Team||VRR Record||VRR %||Actual Record||Actual %||Difference|
|Bodacious D||108-34-1||75.9 %||8-5-0||61.5 %||-14.4 %|
|Ball Shaggers||96-47-0||67.1 %||8-5-0||61.5 %||-5.6 %|
|Sweet Sassy Molassy||89-53-1||62.6 %||10-3-0||76.9 %||14.3 %|
|DryHeat||88-54-1||61.9 %||10-3-0||76.9 %||15.0 %|
|Meat Ballers||86-57-0||60.1 %||5-8-0||38.5 %||-21.6 %|
|Lipsticked Pigs||85-58-0||59.4 %||12-1-0||92.3 %||32.9 %|
|The Bombay Runners||82-56-5||59.1 %||5-8-0||38.5 %||-20.6 %|
|nutria on viagra||53-88-2||37.8 %||3-10-0||23.1 %||-14.7 %|
|Slamson||52-89-2||37.1 %||10-2-1||80.8 %||43.7 %|
|Green Machine||47-94-2||33.6 %||3-10-0||23.1 %||-10.5 %|
|The Very Bad Team||36-105-2||25.9 %||1-12-0||7.7 %||-18.2 %|
|Rhymenoceros||27-114-2||19.6 %||2-10-1||19.2 %||-0.4 %|
The Objective Stud
|K. Love Min||1.223||138||35||49.3||28||87.5||9||39.1||11||38||17||4||2||1.31|
|J. Lin Hou||1.055||157||33||52.4||23||85.2||13||44.8||0||19||22||4||2||1.38|
|J. Hill LAL||0.942||122||29||61.7||17||89.5||0||NaN||16||32||5||3||7||1.00|
|M. Gasol Mem||0.926||144||25||44.6||20||87.0||0||NaN||7||25||24||5||4||4.00|
|R. Gay Tor||0.925||165||38||39.2||17||81.0||9||50.0||7||28||7||9||5||0.54|
|A. Afflalo Orl||0.855||117||23||59.0||23||92.0||10||55.6||1||13||17||2||0||1.89|
|A. Drummond Det||0.831||145||30||73.2||1||14.3||0||NaN||26||35||3||9||5||0.60|
|T. Lawson Den||0.808||140||30||46.2||16||72.7||2||18.2||6||13||44||7||2||3.38|
|D. Howard Hou||0.782||150||21||48.8||31||58.5||0||0.0||16||45||11||3||16||0.79|
|D. Favors Uta||0.754||138||31||58.5||8||44.4||0||NaN||15||35||6||9||9||0.75|
|C. Parsons Hou||0.710||164||31||52.5||15||83.3||5||29.4||5||14||17||4||5||1.70|
|S. Hawes Phi||0.709||126||22||43.1||12||80.0||7||46.7||9||29||12||3||5||1.50|
|R. Rubio Min||0.702||132||8||34.8||6||85.7||2||66.7||4||17||45||9||0||3.46|
|A. Iguodala GS||0.690||107||13||65.0||5||83.3||7||70.0||1||9||23||7||1||4.60|
|S. Blake LAL||0.676||132||13||41.9||7||77.8||5||38.5||0||15||47||6||0||4.70|
|K. Thompson GS||0.669||105||25||65.8||3||100.0||13||61.9||3||8||7||0||3||3.50|
|C. Paul LAC||0.659||110||15||36.6||15||93.8||2||16.7||1||17||40||10||1||4.44|
|L. James Mia||0.654||99||40||70.2||17||81.0||5||62.5||1||12||13||2||1||1.08|
|K. Durant OKC||0.654||121||20||43.5||30||90.9||7||41.2||3||15||20||3||0||1.54|
|J. Harden Hou||0.648||126||21||40.4||30||88.2||7||33.3||4||13||21||5||2||1.50|
The Objective Turd
|J. Johnson Bkn||-0.559||115||14||30.4||6||60.0||2||16.7||4||6||8||0||0||2.00|
|H. Barnes GS||-0.432||78||15||46.9||3||50.0||2||40.0||0||9||4||3||0||0.57|
|R. Foye Den||-0.337||100||9||28.1||2||100.0||5||29.4||1||3||7||2||3||2.33|
|J. Jack Cle||-0.323||82||13||41.9||3||75.0||1||16.7||1||9||12||3||1||1.50|
|A. Burks Uta||-0.311||86||10||31.2||6||100.0||1||20.0||2||5||9||3||0||3.00|
|N. Hilario Was||-0.259||95||14||48.3||14||60.9||0||0.0||5||11||5||4||2||0.50|
|R. Felton NY||-0.257||106||11||37.9||2||100.0||1||11.1||1||5||17||3||3||1.89|
|V. Oladipo Orl||-0.255||77||14||35.9||6||85.7||3||50.0||0||7||10||4||1||0.83|
|J. Green Bos||-0.252||122||16||40.0||17||85.0||2||15.4||3||13||3||0||2||0.38|
|J. Smith NY||-0.244||108||11||25.0||6||54.5||6||28.6||7||13||6||4||1||6.00|
|P. George Ind||-0.235||95||22||45.8||11||91.7||2||14.3||3||12||4||2||0||0.67|
|T. Parker SA||-0.231||92||22||56.4||8||66.7||0||0.0||1||3||16||1||0||1.23|
|E. Bledsoe Pho||-0.224||76||15||44.1||7||100.0||1||14.3||1||9||10||3||0||2.00|
|S. Battier Mia||-0.203||76||4||36.4||5||100.0||2||33.3||1||10||0||5||3||NaN|
|K. Lowry Tor||-0.154||93||9||33.3||3||75.0||5||29.4||1||8||12||5||0||6.00|
|S. Marion Dal||-0.130||98||11||50.0||3||75.0||2||33.3||5||16||4||4||1||0.67|
|D. West Ind||-0.128||78||13||48.1||4||80.0||0||NaN||4||15||4||1||5||1.00|
|T. Evans NO||-0.127||81||18||50.0||9||56.2||0||0.0||1||8||13||3||2||4.33|
|K. Leonard SA||-0.112||77||14||51.9||1||50.0||3||30.0||2||18||6||6||0||1.50|
|E. Turner Phi||-0.105||143||30||40.5||13||86.7||1||9.1||2||18||13||1||0||1.00|
1. Weekly Leaders: Minutes (DeMar DeRozan, 170), FGM (LeBron James, 40), FTM (Jeff Teague, 34), 3PTM (Jeremy Lin/Klay Thompson, 13), ORebs (Andre Drummond, 26), DRebs (Dwight Howard, 45), Ast (Steve Blake, 47), Stl (Eric Gordon, 11), Blk (Dwight Howard, 16)
2. Performance Review – Best Keeper Decisions: The standard format, long established for at least one year, is to give one “best decision”, etc., to each regardless of merit. If you made twelve great decisions, sorry, you only get one. If you made zero great decisions, well, then your least-bad decision shows up here! Please note that this is completely subjective and NOT eligible for review or challenge. All commissioner decisions are FINAL!
Ball Shaggers: Whew! One team in and I’m already having a tough time. The Shaggers released a lot of guys it made sense to release, but who gets credit for dumping John Salmons? I’m somewhat tempted to give them the Second Thoughts award here for NOT keeping the injured Rajon Rondo (who they picked up off of the waiver wire in an IW stash at the end of the season), but instead I’m going to go with dropping Jeff Teague. Not that I’m dissing Teague – he leads the team in assists by a large margin – but by dropping him at 196 keeper points, the Shaggers managed to pick him back up in the draft for 168 keeper points. It’s only 28 points, but that means the Shaggers get to keep a pick about three rounds higher if they want to keep Teague again next year.
Bodacious D: Bo D kept a ton of players this year, but in the early season it appears to have been a pretty good strategy, as 5 of those kept players are in the top-28 in Yahoo ranks so far. Of all of those decisions, perhaps the least automatic was keeping Andre Drummond. Drummond wasn’t exactly a world-beater last year. His per-minute numbers were great, but with only 20 minutes per game he was only right on the edge of sustainable. This year his minutes have shot up to 35 per game, and in addition to his 12+ rebounds per game, he’s shooting at a dunktastic 66% from the field. Sure, his free throw percentage is disgustingly bad, but he doesn’t get fouled very much and Detroit isn’t really good enough to draw a bunch of Hack-a-Drummond strategies. (Also noted: the “Hack-a-” prefix is almost as worn out as the “-gate” suffix. Whatcha gonna do?)
Dry Heat: The Dry Heat had some easy decisions in the keeper phase, like holding on to James Harden at “still cheap”. That original Harden pick is going to have to go down as easily one of the top five value draft selections in the league, ever. But the best decision this year came from the Dry Heat’s patented Find-A-Cheapie from last year’s draft in keeping Tristan Thompson. For only 46 keeper points, the Dry Heat held on to the guy who, by Yahoo rank (with which I often disagree a bit) is the fourth-best player on his team. I think Dwight Howard, despite his miserable Yahoo rank based on his poor FT shooting is clearly more valuable, so Tristan is more like the #5 guy on the Dry Heat in the early going. Not bad for a cheapie, even if he has no chance of ever being Harden Redux.
Green Machine: One of two brand-new managers, Green Machine was staring down a pretty rough roster for his very first league action in the keeper round. Still, keeping LeBron simply can’t count as your “best” move, because even a constipated turtle isn’t going to have to be told to shit or get off the pot when faced with the “do I keep LeBron” question. So I’m going to call the best move dropping Pau Gasol. With a new roster, it’s probably tempting to hold onto some star power, and with Kobe out until who-knows-when, Pau was the likely answer to fill the scoring hole. It hasn’t really happened. Gasol is mired under 12 points per game at this point and shooting under .400. 10.7 rebounds is nice, but it’s probably not worth 212 keeper points if it comes along with a center killing you at FG%.
Lipsticked Pigs: Anthony Davis and Chandler Parsons were no-brainers to keep (though I’ll admit I didn’t see Davis sitting at the top Yahoo overall rank three weeks in), but the Pigs made several decisions that have paid off. Mike Conley looked expensive to me, but up to this point of the season he’s been worth every penny, and while Kenneth Faried looked tempting at 108 keeper points, I’m not sure his stats this year are enough to justify holding on to him there. But the best decision was probably keeping DeMarcus Cousins. Cousins has always been a question mark due to his potential attitude problems and poor FG%. Well, this year, both appear to have improved considerably, with his shooting coming up to .475 (and, barely, with the most FGM on the team). Cousins is also finding his defensive acumen, currently putting up career high averages in both steals and blocks. He’d certainly have gone in the first round, so spending the picks to hold on to him looks to have worked out.
Meat Ballers: Our second rookie team was also saddled with a rebuild roster and a lot of not-so-tough decisions. However, a few of them were close calls, and I think that so far the one that has turned out the best is the decision in dropping Bismack Biyombo. Biyombo is a tempting guy, basically because he’s a freak athletic PF who is perceived as being just about the turn the corner and become Serge Ibaka at any time. Except, that really hasn’t happened and there’s at least a little reason to worry that it never will. Things weren’t helped by the arrival of Al Jefferson in Charlotte this offseason despite his only playing in three games thus far due to injury, as Biyombo’s minutes have gone down a bit, his blocks are down, his minimal scoring is down, his free throw percentage continues to plummet…none of the signs are very good in the early weeks for this third-year player. And you could have kept him for only 50 points but considering that he’s completely unowned, it was smart to resist that temptation.
nutria on viagra: I’ve had some disagreements with nutria’s keeper strategy in years past, but this year outside of not quite getting the Dunleavy keep I’m mostly on board. The ABRs are known for their love of local familiar players, and they had two of their all-time favorites on their keeper-eligible list this year that they managed to let go. In the early going, Dirk is looking like his old self, especially behind the three-point line, though he’ll need to keep this up for an entire season for me to be convinced he’s got that game back (and no, he’ll never rebound the same again). But the single-favorite nutria player would probably have to be Manu Ginobili, who at 233 keeper points was too dear by far and nutria made the right decision in dropping Manu Ginobili. Best of all, they got him back in the draft at 76 keeper points, a net of 157 points. That’s like the difference between a 2nd round pick and a 14th round pick. Nice.
Rhymenoceros: Rhyme Time only kept two players this year, and I can’t bring myself to be enthused about either decision, so this is going to have to be about who he let go. Even there, a lot of the decisions were either obvious or wrongly decided. But there is one that probably worked out even though I’d likely have gone the opposite direction, and that is dropping Harrison Barnes. Barnes is notable for being that guy who was so obviously going to be the #1 overall pick in the 2011 draft during the 2010 high school season, only to underwhelm in his freshman (and sophomore) year at UNC and ultimately fall to #7 in the 2012 draft. And for anyone who expected him to step it up during his second NBA campaign, well, it just hasn’t happened. His minutes, not really acceptable for fantasy purposes last year, have dropped in favor of big $$ free agent Andre Iguodala and although he’s scoring a tad more than he did last year, it’s not enough to justify spending 93 keeper points on him, and Rhymenoceros called that one correctly.
Slamson: Our lion-suited friend spent a ton of keeper points this offseason, holding onto four players who were worth 200+ keeper points. I probably wouldn’t have gone with all four of them, but the one I probably least-likely would have held onto has been in the short term the best decision – keeping Paul Millsap. Millsap was heading into a situation where it looked like he might end up backing up Al Horford in Atlanta, but the Hawks have continued this year in steadfastly refusing to get a center so that they can move Horford to his natural PF. That means minutes for Millsap, and he’s ranking high across the board for Slamson: Minutes (4th), FGM (2nd), FTM (4th), ORebs (5th), DRebs (2nd), Assists (3rd!), Steals (3rd), Blocks (T-3rd). He was expensive, but he was a big keep.
Sweet Sassy Molassy: Swat Sissy Melissa made a ton of really nice decisions this offseason. Holding on to Kyle Lowry was a solid move I probably would have let go by. Sneakily dropping Anderson Varejao and then picking him up at a 75-point discount was totally solid (if risky, as I was targeting Varejao hard in the draft). And, well, let’s say SSM picked the right year to abandon ship on the S.S. Deron Williams, because that iceberg might have been a good deal bigger than Captain Jason Kidd thought. Williams is no longer the player he once was, putting up his lowest assist totals since his rookie year in ’05 (and only barely half his best year), a drop-off in scoring to 7.7 points below his career average, and perhaps most worrying, losing that explosiveness best illustrated by his freefall to only 1.5 FTA per game – 1/3 of his career average and less than 1/4 of his best year. Let’s just say the Brokenlyn Nyets are not going to be buying their championship this year.
The Bombay Runners: While I’d like to say that the Roaches’ best move was to hold on to Tobias “Fünke” Harris for the singular reason that he knows what I’m talking about when I say that, but I really feel I should find an actual fantasy decision to base this on. It really comes down to dumping one of two overpriced yet tempting players, but as Iguodala was up near 300 keeper points, dropping him wasn’t too tough a decision. Paul Pierce, on the other hand, was more reasonable, and it wasn’t immediately obvious that dropping Paul Pierce was a good move. As of last year he was still scoring (18.6 pts), hitting threes (1.9 @ 38%) and dishing up assists (4.8), but this year those numbers look like 13.5, 1.1 @ 33%, and 2.6, and that ain’t worth 200 keeper points, so good on ya’ there.
The Very Bad Team: If you had asked me after the keeper selections were made, I’d have told you that this was going to be the easiest call of the Crumpets for me – the answer was going to be Nikola Vucevic (and not only because I hinted to him that there was one player on his roster that absolutely had to be kept). In fact, I told the VBT that I agreed with basically all of his decisions except one – I had no idea why he bothered with keeping Kyle Korver. Well, it looks like I was wrong. Korver is ranked 16th overall as of now, and that has a lot to do with his ridiculous 27-of-54 shooting (do the arithmetic on that percentage!) from downtown. He has also been a solid contributor in several other categories – not only FGM/FG%, but also DRebs, assists, and steals.
3. Pre-Rookie Watch Results 2: This week was a bit more exciting than last week, especially with four players to keep an eye on in two games. And these were no slouch games, either – we were looking at four of the top teams in the country with three of the top three prospects in the 2014 draft. Of course, I decided to pick a few other guys and grade those top prospects a bit later so that they could get their feet under them…they probably didn’t need the wait. But, despite them stealing the show, here are my reviews of the guys I assigned last week:
Andrew Harrison: Tall (6’5″) “point” guard, but probably not really ready to lead a team. His drives look bad – not only are they slow and awkward and into traffic, but he has had trouble both scoring off of them and passing off of them. Harrison is simply not a playmaking PG at this time, and not a scoring PG. So what’s the point of a PG who mostly swings the ball around the perimeter? On top of that, he has moments of terrible defense. Calling them “moments” may be generous. He gave terrible effort on at least three transition plays resulting in MSU buckets. He doesn’t even consider giving help D or doubling in the post. The funny thing is that he doesn’t really look overmatched on the court – he doesn’t really stand out like “hey, look at me, I’m the worst player on the floor!” - but the results are just not there against a good Spartans team. Maybe there’s hope for the future but for now I don’t much care for what I’m seeing.
Gary Harris: Started the game as the best player on the floor. Layups, floaters, jumpers – everything was falling early. He’s got a lot of speed – enough to blast by the field for a dunk in transition. Has a good handle to top it off and at least has the ability to move well without the ball on offense. Unfortunately, after the first ten minutes or so of the game he more or less disappeared on offense, only popping up here or there. On defense, he’s pesky. He doesn’t allow his man too much room, he gets into passing lanes (3 steals, including a game-changer in transition late in the fourth), and he looks like he’s got the instincts to be a good help defender. It’s a really nice package, all things together. The problem, if there is one, is that he’s a shooting guard but probably isn’t going over 6’4″, so he’s a bit small for the position. But seeing his package today, I wouldn’t be shocked to see him go late lottery.
Rasheed Sulaimon: Doesn’t start for Duke, but plays the majority of the minutes. Is supremely quick. Offensively, looks to have a decent shot, and a very nice handle and drive – fast but under control. Has not showed much in the way of passing, but is definitely not playing primarily on the ball despite apparently having the tools to do so. At the end of the game he became far, FAR more aggressive on offense, effectively so, keeping Duke in the game late. Sulaimon is a very active defender and is the best man-to-man perimeter on-ball defender I’ve seen this year. More than likely, that will be the calling card that gets him into the NBA. He’s a bit small for the SG anyway at 6’4″, so he’d be very useful guarding guys like Russell Westbrook. Speaking of Westbrook, with Sulaimon’s handle, if he could be taught to run an offense (and that’s a big if) he could potentially slide over to the PG.
Wayne Selden: On the night, was probably the best of the prospects (at least, of the prospects assigned this week). Listed at 6’5″ but is very strong and may be an inch taller than that. He did look two inches taller than Sulaimon. Selden is a do-it-all player at the wing. He crashes the offensive boards, he can shoot with confidence (and hit), he can drive. Surprisingly, his best skill is passing. He was only credited with four assists on the night, but I came away from this game that Selden is the absolute best entry passer I have ever seen in college. He’s that good. I didn’t get a very good feel for his defense – he spent a lot of time guarding guys who were not the Duke focus on offense, but he did get beat a couple of times and had one play early in the game where he had his hands down on the ball handler, allowing an easy pass to a cutter for a layup. But he’s got the athleticism to do it, and he looks like a consummate team player, so I’m not worried about the defense just yet in his second game of college. Could be a top-ten pick if he comes out.
2. Pre-Rookie Watch 3: This week we’re going to step the prospects back a bit and take a look at three senior power forwards – guys we definitely know are going to be in the draft even if all of them are likely second rounders.
The first game (VCU vs. FSU, Thursday 11/21, 4:30 PM, ESPNU) will only feature one player – Juvonte Reddick.
The second game (Texas Southern at Stanford, Thursday 11/21, 7:00 PM Pac-12 Bay Area) will feature Stanford’s Dwight Powell going up against Texas Southern double-transfer Aaric Murray (who was once considered a top-ten prospect before he has apparently burned every bit of goodwill he once had going for him).
Get those DVRs fired up! You can watch a game in about an hour if you fly through the commercials!