I have a few thoughts to throw out there about the Superbowl before getting to the Review.
First off, one of my pet peeves on the football season is (and has been since they started using it several years ago) the inexplicable usage of an old Joan Jett rock anthem, “I Hate Myself For Loving You,” as the theme song for Sunday Night Football on NBC, reworded to say “Waiting All Day For Sunday Night.” Really? Because most of us have been watching football all day, and now are continuing it on Sunday night. But, alas, it not only lasted throughout the season, but carried onto the big game with yet another rewording, “I’ve Been Waiting All Week For a Superbowl Fight,” complete with Faith Hill punching the air. Ugh. I hear Hank Williams Jr. needs a gig.
Secondly, the league MUST do something about the halftime show. It’s seriously out of control. The break between the two halves is WAY too long, and I found myself twice saying aloud, “just how long IS this show going to be?” Well, that and, “just how many cameos is this show going to have?”
Finally, this was not only the best officiated game on the season, but the best officiated Superbowl I can remember. I was, actually, quite stunned. I generally find myself slapping my head a number of times during a game and saying something to the effect of, “how did you MISS that CALL?!” Not last night. Even the borderline calls were, frankly, within the letter of the rule, and I didn’t see any clearly missed calls.
So, why am I talking about the Superbowl in a blog dedicated to fantasy basketball? Because the playing of football’s biggest game marks the point in the season when fantasy basketball owners suddenly begin to take the game seriously. Before now, it has merely been a casual interest, but now they will begin to work in earnest to win the league. In other words, the competition just got tougher. Let’s Review…
Biggest Surprise: Brandon Jennings (MIL) – The Bucks went on a surprising win streak over this two week span, including upset wins against the Lakers and Heat. Jennings was a huge part of this, averaging 19.5 ppg on .408 shooting and 3.1 three pointers per contest in this span.
Biggest Turn Around: Dwyane Wade (MIA) – He’s back. That’s all that need be said. And, thankfully, he’s no longer shooting threes, which he was (painfully) settling for before taking some time off to heal.
Biggest Disappointment: Rajon Rondo (BOS) – He missed much of this two week span, and was a huge disappointment in his return game against the Knicks (in a rare Boston win no less). But, Sunday against Memphis, we saw signs of the old Rondo as he amassed a cool 14 dimes. Hopefully he’ll be my turn around player in two weeks.
Shooting Guards / Small Forwards
Biggest Surprises: Anthony Morrow (NJ) and Paul George (IND) – For Morrow, he was initially just a fill-in for the injured rookie sensation Marshon Brooks, but has become a multidimensional scoring threat in his own right. For Paul George, who knew that growing two inches in the offseason would turn him into such a physical presence. Both are really stepping up their game, and both are worth owning if you can get them.
Biggest Turn Around: Dorell Wright (GS) – Fantasy owners were dropping Dorell Wright after he disappointed miserably in weeks 1 and 2. Then, over weeks 3 and 4, he showed a glimmer of hope, and became one of the most traded players. Over the past two weeks, he’s averaged 15.5 ppg on an incredible .507 from the field. His outside stroke has returned, netting 2.8 threes per contest, and now owners aren’t dropping or looking to trade him.
Biggest Disappointment: Stephen Jackson (MIL) – What happened here? When did the spirit of Dennis Rodman and Ron Artest inhabit his body? Quick, someone call an exorcist!
Power Forwards / Centers
Biggest Surprises: Marcus Camby (POR) and Drew Gooden (MIL) – Starting with Gooden, it’s hard to express just HOW surprising his numbers have been over the past two weeks. The Bucks (and fantasy owners) were dealt a severe blow when Bogut went down for, essentially, the remainder of the season. Gooden stepped in, with fairly low expectations. He has, instead, put up 5 sparkling performances in six games. Most recently, against the tough Bulls defense, he tallied 24 points on 7/13 from the field and going 10/10 from the line. His defense needs work, though, as he only averages 6.5 boards and 0.8 blocks. As for Camby, the old man’s still got it. He’s a defensive powerhouse, averaging 12.5 boards and swatting 3.0 shots per game over the last 2 weeks. Be aware, though, that he won’t help you on offense if you own him, as he doesn’t score a lot and shoots low percentages.
Biggest Turn Around: Amar’e Stoudemire (NY) – Melo has missed some time, and Amar’e responded. Sort of. He’s not quite up to the level we expected, but then I doubt he achieves that until Baron Davis takes over at the point…IF Baron Davis takes over at the point.
Biggest Disappointment: Channing Frye (PHO) – Yes, I’m a Suns homer and a Frye fan, so allow me to espouse on the problems Frye is having. First of all, he’s seeing fewer and fewer minutes on the floor. Alvin Gentry is determined to turn the Suns into a defensively minded team, and frankly Frye’s defense isn’t great (he blocks shots well, but usually at the expense of leaving his defensive assignment). Secondly, an attempt was made to insert rookie Markieff Morris into the starting rotation to see how he responded to tougher competition (the result… not so good). Finally, Frye has gone ice cold from behind the three point arc. The biggest positive to his game was that he hit threes as a seven footer, making him difficult to defend. Now, he’s clanking threes, meaning you have a seven footer nowhere near the rim to grab the rebound. There is hope, though. In Saturday’s game, it was clear that someone had gotten in his ear, as he was taking the ball to the hole more often.