INT. OFFICE. NIGHT
LIAM NEESON, 60, looking badass. He is on the phone.
LIAM NEESON: If you hurt my point guard, I will find you. And I will kill you...
Many years ago, a point guard slept with David Stern's wife. He vowed he would get revenge one day...
That day has come, my friends.
Not sure if you've noticed, but NBA point guards have become an endangered species.
Well, we can add another name to the list: Ricky Rubio.
Ricky Rubio, MIN, PG
One of the most hyped international players of all time, Rubio had generally been considered a disappointment in the NBA. I mean, in the Fantasy world, he's the foundation of many punt-points strategies. But in the actual game? Not so much.
A career 37% from the field, Rubio has averaged 10.1 PPG during the course of his career. While the career averages of 8.1 assists/game and 2.3 steals/game make him incredibly useful in some areas, the embarrassing field goal %, low points total and negligible 0.6 3s/game made Ricky a difficult player to rank. It really depended on your strategy...
And in real life, Rubio was certainly a good piece of the puzzle - but far from the godsend he was hyped up to be as the #5 overall pick in the 2009 draft. He's like Brandon Jennings - WITHOUT the scoring and the 3s. IMO, one of the most overrated players in Fantasy Basketball...
Well, that's all moot. Because Rubio's out for 7-8 weeks now.
So that brings us to...
Mo Williams, MIN, PG
Michael Gallagher scooped up Mo in our Yahoo F & F league. I was a little jealous until the random T-Wolves started...
Zach LaVine, MIN, PG
Whoa. Really? Didn't see that coming.
I'll analyze these guys together - since they appear handcuffed to one another in real life as well.
On Saturday night against the Miami Heat, Zach LaVine got the surprise start. In 26 minutes, Zach went 2/5 from the field with 5 points, 6 rebounds, 4 assists and a steal. Not bad. Mo Williams played 22 minutes going 1/5 for 2 points, with 4 rebounds, 5 assists and 2 steals.
This is going to go back and forth every game for the next 7/8 weeks.
Zach LaVine is an athletic FREAK, but is he ready to run an NBA offense? Absolutely not. You're talking about a one-and-done here. He averaged 1.8 assists/game and 1.1 turnovers/game in his 1 season at UCLA.
Mo Williams is a proven NBA point guard, but he's 31 years old on a rebuilding T-Wolves squad. In 23 minutes/game as Minny's backup PG this year, Mo was shooting a career WORST 36.2% from the field, averaging 7.5 PPG and 4 assists/game.
So who's it gonna be?
If I had to pick, I'd put my money on Mo Williams getting the bulk of the run in the 1-guard slot. But I don't think he's Fantasy relevant. Not for standard Fantasy leagues anyway. In deep leagues, Mo is the add here. And in dynasty leagues, Zach LaVine is the guy you want (if he's even still available).
Mo Williams is the safe pick for traditional PG stats here, but Zach has extremely high upside. He automatically becomes one of the most athletic PGs in the NBA. So if he figures out how to run an NBA offense with a short learning curve, he has beast potential...
And speaking of complex PG situations, let's move on to the Phoenix Suns...
As I wrote about here, the 3-headed PG snake in Phoenix has me dumbfounded.
I've written extensively about the usage dilemma in New Cleveland, but the same principles apply out west.
Here are the respective USG rates for Dragic, Bledsoe and Isaiah Thomas last year: 24.5, 24.9, 26.3
Here are their respective USG rates this year: 21, 22.7, 28.4
While Thomas' usage has increased, his minutes have come down to 24.4 MPG from 34.7 last year.
There's only ONE BALL, friends. (I feel REALLY bad for 2014 first round pick: PG Tyler Ennis.)
I hate to say it, but I don't see this situation getting better for any of these players (from a Fantasy perspective) - unless there's an injury or a trade.
If you own any of these players (I don't - on purpose), you're likely quite frustrated by the lack of counting stats this year - compared to last year. Curiously, both Dragic and Bledsoe have taken big hits to their field goal % as well. (I attribute the regressions to simply reverting back to their career FG%. Both players had career years in FG% last year, and I figured they were unsustainable increases.)
Isaiah Thomas is actually thriving in his 6th man role (definitely a candidate for 6th man of the year), and has a career high PER at 26.2 (which I believe is sustainable - especially with such a high USG %). But he's playing in 10 less minutes/game. So even at increased efficiency, the aggregate numbers are going to take a big hit - which is clearly the case...
Considering the ADP of all 3 players in this Phoenix PG Fantasy nightmare, expect to take a hit on any/all these players for the 2014/15 season. All an owner can hope for is PG drama, but considering how much 14/15 turbulence we've experienced for point guards already, it's certainly a possibility...
Luckily, we can always think about the future...
Dante Exum, UTA, PG
Exum started out of the gate slowly, but has been around the 25 minutes/game mark the last 3 games. He's been averaging 5 assists, almost 0 turnovers, just under 8 points/game and shooting just under 50% from the field.
What's happening here is obvious: He's getting better. He's not ready to be rostered in standard leagues yet, but put him firmly in your Watch List. Exum is coming...
Elfrid Payton, ORL, PG
NBA rookies are an exercise in patience, and Payton is an excellent example of it. The good: 6.4 assists/game, 4 rebounds/game, 1.6 steals/game. The bad: 34.4 FG%, 50 FT%, zero 3PM.
You want this guy in a punt strategy, but likely nowhere else. When Oladipo comes back, things will get even murkier...
Anyway, I'll end all this PG madness with this:
CHRIS SMITH CAREER UPDATE:
Lots of hilarity and drama ensued. My favourite story involved the one revealing that Chris Smith got a tattoo of JR Smith's FACE on his back.
You'll be happy to learn that Chris Smith entered the D-League draft.
Sadly, JR Smith's pull appears to be dwindling in the D-League.
Chris Smith was unfortunately not selected by anybody.
I guess he'll have to go back to his life of washing his brother's car on command, and getting coping tips from Johnny Drama.
Here's hoping that Chris somehow finds a way to make it back to the Knicks' roster.
Because that train wreck would just be awesome to write about.
Sometimes these stories write themselves.