While I was freezing my posterior off waiting in line I couldn't help but compare the situation to fantasy basketball. There are a few guys out there right now who can be had at a major discount, but they come with some risk. If you trade for them there is the chance they will leave you out in the cold and without the stats you were hoping for. The flip side is that your gamble could pay off and lead to a very Happy New Year for you. Come on Tamer, let's flip through the catalog and see which bargains we will be getting up ridiculously early for.
Through 16 games: 32.1 MPG, 15.8 PTS, 45.4 FG%, 72.2 FT%, 2.3 AST, 7.6 REB, 1.4 STL, 1.1 BLK
Coming into the season, Jefferson was expected to still be the same dominant player he was before missing the last 32 games of the 2008-09 season with a complete tear of the ACL in his right knee that required reconstructive surgery. Jefferson, however, has struggled mightily to regain his old form and in the process has disappointed the many fantasy owners who drafted him as their top pick late in the first round. Is Jefferson struggling because he is trying to get back into playing shape or is he simply not the same player he was before he tore up his right knee last February?
Over his last six games, Big Al is averaging 16.8 points, 9.8 rebounds, 2.2 assists, 1.3 steals, and 1.3 blocks per game. He is also shooting 48.9 percent from the field and 76.5 percent from the free throw line. All of these numbers are either better or virtually the same as the numbers he has put up for the entire season. In addition, except for the significant drop in points they are almost identical to what he did last season. As his knee gets stronger and he regains his explosiveness I see Jefferson averaging at least a 20 and 10 over the last 60 plus games of the season with strong shooting percentages and his usual contributions in the other categories. That sounds like a Mother Lode player to me.
Through 14 games: 37.4 MPG, 16.6 PTS, 41.7 FG%, 28.1 3PT%, 83.8 FT%, 1.1 AST, 7.0 REB, 1.4 STL
After two strong fantasy seasons in a row, Butler has fallen off considerably this year. Except for rebounds and turnovers, his numbers are weaker in every single fantasy category compared to the last two seasons. Will he be able to turn his season around and produce like he has the last two seasons or is he destined to disappoint fantasy owners this year?
His shooting percentages, however, are down across the board as well which is just as big a factor in his drop in scoring as the decrease in his field goal attempts. Unlike with the field goal attempts, it is hard to blame the decrease in Butler's shooting percentages on Arenas. In addition, you would think that Butler would produce more assists with Arenas scoring 20 points per game, but instead his assists per game are by far the lowest of his career. I think the simple answer as to why Butler is struggling is that he is just off to a bad start. Barring the unlikely scenario that he is declining at the age of 29 with only 500 games played in his career I foresee Butler turning it around and providing fantasy owners with the production they expected coming into the season. Butler gets another Mother Lode from me.
Through 18 games: 33.8 MPG, 19.4 PTS, 58.5 FG%, 74.6 FT%, 6.8 REB, 1.1 AST, 1.2 BLK
Fantasy owners drafted Stoudemire late in the first round because they were expecting him to revert to his 2007-08 form when he averaged 25.2 points and 9.1 rebounds per game. Instead he has not even approached his disappointing numbers from last year (Stoudemire averaged 21.4 points and 8.1 rebounds per game in 2008-09). Were fantasy owners too optimistic about Amar'e coming into the season or will they be rewarded by season's end for investing a first round pick in him?
In 2007-08, Stoudemire averaged 8.3 points more than the Suns second leading scorer. Why? Well he averaged 15.3 field goal attempts per game which was 2.8 more then anyone else on the team. He also averaged 8.7 free throw attempts per game which is 5.7 more then