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I’m back in the annual NBA Fantasy League with a group of friends after finishing 3rd last year due to injuries to key players in the semi final round. Trying to hopefully gain a high pick after being ranked 12th and 11th in the previous Yahoo drafts, Yahoo indeed screws me up again by giving me the 10th pick this year!!! Well, maybe in 9 years I’ll end up with 1st pick somehow :).

Here’s this year’s picks for me:

  1. Chris Paul – I chose Paul over Kidd just because of his younger age.
  2. Rashard Lewis – Amare and Yao both gone back-to-back at that tail end of the first round, 3rd year in a row I have Rashard. Hope he’s as good as last year.
  3. Carlos Boozer – 20-10 guy in an out.
  4. Mike Bibby – Yeah, I know he was injured on the 26th of October. I last read the news before he was injured and didn’t bother checking during draft time on the 27th.
  5. Raymond Felton – Hoping for a big year from Felton.
  6. Tyson Chandler – Looking quite healthy and always a rebounding champ threat when on the court.
  7. Samuel Dalembert – Bibby and Dalembert played all 82 games last year. The moment I pick them, one is out 2 months and this guy has a stress fracture on his foot that has not healed properly.
  8. Boris Diaw – This is the only player I know of who ever got G, F, C eligibility on Yahoo 2 years back. Impressive stats if Amare even misses a few games.
  9. Larry Hughes – Trying to gamble that Hughes still has a resemblance of his old-Washington-Wizards skill left at 9th pick.
  10. Marvin Williams – Looked good in pre-season stats.
  11. Jamaal Magloire – Maybe a chance to shine in front-court challenged New Jersey?
  12. Desmond Mason – Back in starting role in Milwaukee.
  13. Steve Francis – Think that Stevie Franchise in the 13th round was possible 2 years ago?
  14. Shavlik Randolph – I thought he was ok last year when Webber went out for awhile.
  15. Louis Williams – Heard he was tearing up summer league.

Since that fateful draft day, I have traded Bibby and Dalembert for Okafor, dropped Randolph, Willams and Magloire to pick up Derek Fisher, Martell Webster and Rashad McCants.

I don’t think this lineup is as strong as mine last year considering last year I picked Rashard in the 4th, Butler in the 6th, Deron in 8th and Mo Williams at 9th (this year all those players were gone way before 5th round); I’m just hoping this team has some surprises in it to make a splash this year.

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Average Rating: 4.5 out of 5 based on 258 user reviews.

Every year, about 10 – 12 of us play [tag]NBA Fantasy League[/tag] in [tag]Yahoo Sports[/tag], and this year is no different. We’re playing weekly head to head games with 9 cats (PTS, REB, AST, FG%, FT%, 3PT, STL, BLK, TO). This year, just like last year, I got near the end of the draft at 11th pick out of 12 people (last year I was 12th out of 12th … it’s a conspiracy I tell you :) ). So without further ado, here’s my starting 15 players (10 starters, 2 utilities, 3 bench):

[tag]Allen Iverson[/tag] – What can you say about this guy, plays through pain, and still shows no sign of slowing down even though he’s hit 30.

[tag]Yao Ming[/tag] – Foot injuries a concern, but as he showed second half of last season, he’s ready to be the next dominant center of the league when healthy.

[tag]Gerald Wallace[/tag] – Injuries also a concern throughout his young career, but the only player last year to average at least 2 STL and 2 BLK per game, also improved his shooting this year.

[tag]Rashard Lewis[/tag] – Had him last year, absolutely loved his numbers.

[tag]Chris Webber[/tag] – First healthy season in quite awhile last year, not sure if he can stay that way, but a pretty good gamble at 5th pick.

[tag]Caron Butler[/tag] – Ditto with Rashard, had him last year, good numbers and STL from a F position.

[tag]Ben Gordon[/tag] – Mostly for scoring needs, and boy can he score.

[tag]Deron Williams[/tag] – Showed flashes of brilliance second half last year, hope he can maintain that consistency the whole year.

[tag]Maurice Williams[/tag] – Starting PG at Milwaukee now that TJ Ford is gone. Gonna be monitoring him to see how well he does, if not then Steve Blake might be taking over.

[tag]Antonio McDyess[/tag] – Now that Big Ben has moved on to Chicago, many are predicting big things and a more involved role for Dice.

[tag]Delonte West[/tag] – Yes, I know there’s Telfair, and Rondo has been doing great in the preseason, but last year he was a great all around player for the C’s, and he can play the 2 also. Don’t see his value dropping too far. Only concern is his back problems during preseason.

[tag]Chris Wilcox[/tag] – When he was traded to Seattle last year, he was an absolute beast. He’s been outplayed by Nick Collison in preseason, so we’ll see how it goes.

[tag]Nene[/tag] – A gamble really, I’m betting on Camby and KMart not really being able to play 82 games either this season.

[tag]Sean May[/tag] – Looks like he’s gonna be getting good minutes in Charlotte these days.

[tag]Adam Morrison[/tag] – The only rook I could get (was aiming for Brandon Roy, but he was taken already). Looks like he’ll struggle in other cats besides scoring.

Average Rating: 5 out of 5 based on 175 user reviews.

A group of friends including the 3 of us who write here play in an annual NBA fantasy game at Yahoo Sports. This year is no different, and we’re drafting our players on October 14. Just for discussion’s sake, here’s my top fantasy players (notice the word: fantasy, this is not my real life most valuable player rankings). We’re playing in a 9 category league, which includes PTS, AST, REB, STL, BLK, FG%, FT%, 3PT and TO.

I’m going to divide this into 3 sections, first section being players I would actually consider taking should I have the first pick overall, second section would be players I would select should the players in section 1 not be available with my first pick, and the third section are the usual top fantasy performers that I would like to have on my team.

[Edit: Decided to take out the order of players, conflicting rationale as to who should be first. This list is now in no particular order]
Section 1: I would consider any one of these as first pick overall for my fantasy team

LeBron James – PTS, REB, AST, STL, FG%, 3PT
Finally, someone who can compete with KG for top spot. At the beginning of last season, LBJ was even averaging 2 BLKS for awhile. Still a bit too much TO’s, but it should drop a bit now he doesn’t have to play point so much.
Kevin Garnett – PTS, REB, AST, STL, BLK, FG%, FT%
Very versatile and will contribute to lots of categories. Gained some bulk and will play more PF this year. Very versatile and will contribute steals and blocks as well. Also has less TO’s than LeBron.

Dirk Nowitzki – PTS, REB, STL, BLK, FG%, FT%, 3PT
You could argue that Dirk should the top pick based on his stats, especially if he’s center eligible again this year.
Shawn Marion – PTS, REB, STL, BLK, FG%, FT%, 3PT, TO
Marion must be the most underestimated fantasy player of all time. In a 9 category league, he’ll help you in almost everything except for assists. He’s got an impossibly low number of TO’s for such a key guy. People will shun him because he scores only 19 or so PPG, plus the fact that Amare is there to grab all the rebounds, but as usual he’ll prove people wrong.

Section 2: I would pick any of these guys should the guys above not be available with first pick
Kobe Bryant – PTS, REB, AST, STL, 3PT
Kobe must be burning to prove that last year was bad just because of his injuries.

Tracy McGrady – PTS, REB, AST, STL, 3PT
With a stronger supporting cast and an always improving Yao Ming, T-Mac should have a great year this season.

Section 3: Players I’d like to have on my team (in no particular order)
Steve Nash – PTS, AST, FG%, FT%, 3PT
Steve Nash will help in categories that are usually not focused on, such as the percentages and 3PT cats, so he’s a great pickup. The only concern is his health as he ages.
Ben Wallace – REB, STL, BLK, FG%, TO
The reigning defensive player of the year, like Nash, will give you production in hard to get categories such as TO’s plus the STL’s and BLK’s. Tough as nails, and should be a very consistent contributor to your fantasy team.
Tim Duncan – PTS, REB, BLK, FG%, TO
Duncan has such a balanced and good team, that it will probably lower his production in most categories, but his C eligibility is very useful in any fantasy league. If consistency is what you require, this is the guy to take. Oh, and he takes very good care of the ball and has low TO’s.
Dwayne Wade – PTS, REB, AST, STL, BLK, FG%
Flash is quite a complete player, but Miami has loaded up with players who have a history as ball-hogs. Let’s see if that affects his production at all. Gotta cut down on those TO’s too.
Andrei Kirilenko – PTS, REB, STL, BLK, FG%
Last year’s injuries cost him some games, expect AK47 to come back strong this season, giving contribution to a variety of categories in fantasy leagues.
Allen Iverson – PTS, AST, STL, 3PT, FT%
Nobody can argue that AI is a great player on the court, but can he keep his body together with all the beatings he takes on a regular basis. High TO’s can kill your fantasy team, and that is what AI provides.

Jason Kidd – PTS, REB, AST, STL, 3PT
If his knee holds up, and he returns to form, J-Kidd should be a regular triple-double machine, especially with a healthy RJ and VC running the wing with him.

Shaquille O’Neal – PTS, REB, BLK, FG%
Nothing much to explain here. The most dominant centre out there, even at his age. Yet, can his body hold up for a whole season? Also consider the fact that Shaq doesn’t seem to like regular season games that much anymore. With Zo healthy and Antoine Walker around to help in the front court, expect Diesel’s minutes and numbers to go down.

Yao Ming – PTS, REB, BLK, FG%
Probably less production overall than Shaq, but will probably play more games than Diesel.Yao has a full season playing together with T-Mac under his belt, and has grown stronger this pre-season. Expect his numbers to grow.

Jermaine O’Neal – PTS, REB, BLK, FG%
Without Reggie, JO is the leader of this team. He should take charge and improve on his numbers from last season.

Amare Stoudemire – PTS, REB, BLK, FG%
Frighteningly fast and strong, and yet in fantasy leagues, he’ll only contribute to 4 categories.

I guess I’ll stop there. Of course there are others I’ll still consider for my selections in Section 3 there, but there’s too many of them, and I’m tired of typing right now )

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Average Rating: 4.6 out of 5 based on 220 user reviews.

The best team in the NBA just got even better with the addition of prized free agent Michael Finley. I had a gut feeling that somehow he’d end up choosing the Spurs over the other teams, mainly because it has the best chance of winning another NBA championship within the next few years. Sure, Miami and Detroit will contend in the East, but realistically, can either of them match up with the Spurs?

Some thoughts:

- Even if Shaq decides to go on a rampage and leads Miami to a championship next year, will he be able to do it 2 or 3 years in a row? With the Spurs, they’ve got a core team that’s still quite young and can afford Finley more shots at the championship than Miami.

- Will Antoine Walker and Jason Williams play nice and fit in to the Miami system? Those two can be trouble on and off the court.

- Can Detroit beat the Spurs in a 7 game series? Yes, they play tough on both ends of the court, and could’ve won if they had home court advantage. But is it possible for them to get home court advantage? The Spurs have a virtual lock on the West, nobody can touch them, while in the East, Detroit will have to tackle Miami and Indiana for best record. Even harder to get the best record for the whole NBA.

I believe Finley made the right decision. After all, he’s still making $52 Million for the next 3 years, that’s just over $17 M per year. What does salary have to do with anything anymore. He calculated where the best chance was for winning and went for it. I say good for him.

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Average Rating: 4.7 out of 5 based on 294 user reviews.

” Toronto and Minnesota may be working on a trade that would send Raptors swingman Jalen Rose to the Timberwolves. Makes sense, considering Raptors general manager Rob Babcock used to work for Kevin McHale in Minnesota. No word on who Toronto might receive in return for Rose — although Wally Szczerbiak’s name seems to keeping being mentioned by those who like to speculate.

The Raptors are also pursuing Utah point guard Keith McLeod, a restricted free agent. McLeod averaged 7.8 points per game on 35 percent shooting from the field last season. The Raptors already attempted to sign Chicago‘s Chris Duhon to fill their third point guard spot, but the Bulls matched.”

I want to put up the link, but it doesn’t work for some reason, so I’m just posting the news. Sczerbiak for Rose? What do you guys think? Who’s McLeod?

Average Rating: 4.7 out of 5 based on 191 user reviews.

What’s your take on the Raptors this year? While most Eastern teams get better, the Raps added two rookies. The two rookies better be good. )

Average Rating: 4.5 out of 5 based on 225 user reviews.

After watching a 1/2 hour introduction process for the players and coaches for both teams, I was treated to a funny picture: Tim Duncan vs Vince Carter, and Kevin Garnett vs Grant Hill in the front court, while Kobe Bryant and Tracy McGrady took on Allen Iverson and LeBron James in the backcourt. LeBron vs Kobe and Yao Vs Shaq I could live with, but the other 3 out of the 5 positions were completely out of whack.
PG: TMac = 6’7″ vs AI 6’0″
SF: TDuncan = 7’0″ vs VC 6’6″
PF: KG = 6’11″ vs GHill 6’8″

The East were at a height disadvantage, and it looked funny on the court. Oh well, at least it’s an entertaining picture :). Thankfully the coaches soon went to different lineups that gave better matchups for both teams. VC had the play of the half when he was running the break, lobbed the ball off the backboard and threw down a vicious one handed tomahawk as he caught the ball back himself.

After trailing by as much as 17, the East, thanks to AI’s change of pace put the game away in the last 2 quarters. It didn’t help much that Duncan and Garnett didn’t play a single minute in the 4th quarter. It wasn’t a flashy game or anything, and the scoring was pretty much balanced, and was quite competitive with some defense here and there. Hey, it almost looked like a normal NBA game :)

Average Rating: 4.4 out of 5 based on 241 user reviews.

I managed to catch the ending of the skills challenge where Steve Nash beat out Earl Boykins for the win, then proceeded to watch the 3 point challenge as well as the slam dunk contest. The 3 point contest wasn’t too much fun to watch; nobody broke the 20 point mark at all, and many of the shots seem to clank of the back iron… maybe there’s something wrong with that rim, or maybe it just wasn’t a great day for the shooters. Imagine Ray Allen not getting to the second round.

The slam dunk contest was a bit more interesting. The first round saw Chris Andersen get booed for attempting too many dunks and failing before finally making one, and one of the highlights of the competition: Amare Stoudemire lobbed the ball off the backboard, Steve Nash then heading the ball ala soccer back towards Amare, who then proceeded to reverse jam it. That was quite a sight, and brought the house down. Of course, the real story of the competition was Josh Smith, who won it. This guy dunks with grace and flair (left handed too), and showed respect to Dominique Wilkins by wearing his retro No. 21 jersey.

Looking forward to watch the actual All-Star game today, hope it’ll be fun to watch.

Average Rating: 5 out of 5 based on 294 user reviews.

Last Friday, about 3:50 pm, just I was packing up and getting ready to leave the office, I happened to be browsing In one of the threads, there was a post about VC going to New Jersey. Before this, there has been no rumour whatsoever about VC going to NJ, tt was always Portland, New York or New Orleans. So imagine my surprise when I opened up the thread and read something to this effect : “It’s done …”.

I quickly went to the end of the thread and behold, a link to one of Canada’s sport sites, which reported VC going to NJ for Aaron and Eric Williams, Alonzo Mourning andamp; 2 first round draft picks.
My initial thoughts were: “why?”. Aren’t those guys backup role guys, and didn’t Alonzo ask NJ for a trade to a contender? Last time I checked, the Raptors were in 2nd last position in the weakest division of the whole NBA, and didn’t seem like they were in a rush to win the championship this year. The 2 draft picks seemed the only redeeming thing, but then I found out that these were going to be mid-round picks at best.

A quick analysis of this says that Rob Babcock must be out of his mind. Trading a 27 year old, 5 time All-star for three 30+ year olds and probably mediocre picks. This couldn’t be the best value the Raptors could get for Carter could it? I mean, VC has lost value, but is his worth that low right now? Unless… another trade is in the works, maybe someone wanted Alonzo as part of another deal. So I just let that thought pass for the weekend.

After almost a week, still no news on Alonzo, many people are saying he might not report in at all. The other trade that people have been waiting for doesn’t seem like it will materialize anytime soon. Eric Williams has played a couple of games since that trade, and he seems a nice fit for the current Raptors, rebounds well, plays hard, and can score a bit. Aaron Williams has gotten something like 12 minutes in 2 games, so can’t judge him yet.

I’m trying to be positive about the Raptors even though it’s hard. If Aaron Williams and Alonzo don’t play, and the Raptors don’t improve their scouting and draft badly the next 2 years (nothing suggests they will draft wisely at all, case in point: Rafael Araujo), it will seem like the trade was only VC for Eric williams, which hardly seems fair. But again, maybe another trade is in the air, maybe Jalen will be traded, Alonzo bought out of his contract and sent somewhere. The Raptors could save cash and go for big name free agents in the next few years, and who knows, Rafael Araujo will turn out to be great in 2 or 3 years and team up with Chris Bosh to form something like Shaq andamp; Garnett for us… maybe the next 2 or 3 draft picks will then turn out to be like LeBron, Dwayne Wade andamp; Dirk Nowitzki… That seems like a dream, but considering the drama that has been unfolded around the Raptors this season, a fan deserves to dream.

Average Rating: 4.7 out of 5 based on 285 user reviews.

Yesterday was quite an interesting day for the Raptors. I’m not really an expert on these college players or international players that have entered the NBA Draft, but I do generally keep track of discussion boards and know who the top players are.

Well, I know that by the 6th pick, all of 3 our first options were gone (point guards). I was expecting at least one of them to fall down to 8th spot where the Raptors were picking. “This is not bad”, I thought, since some of the top prospects who were expected to go higher actually were still there, and even if one of them went to Chicago with the 7th pick, for sure the Raptors would get another good prospect.

To my surprise and great disappointment, the Raptors ignored the player who everyone thought should be selected, and selected a Center who was projected to go as low as 18. I couldnt’ believe what I heard and proceeded to turn off the TV and just felt gloomy in general. I mean, if they wanted this guy, why not trade down with someone and at least get some sort of compensation? Anyway, I went to bed and didn’t think much more about it.

The next day I woke up, checked the boards and got a new perspective on what the Raptors have done. Apparently, they did try to trade down and get some compensation, but with no takers. And people were also starting to realize the rationale behind the decision. This guy was a hard worker, fights under the rim, and backs up his buddies, which if you follow the Raptors on a semi-regular basis like I do, you know thats what the Raptors are missing. Insted of taking what people expected them to do, they picked what they needed.

So my point is this: In life, we are often pressured by people’s expectations of us. And we try to please people, which is not necessarily bad, but when we start pleasing people and forget about what’s best for us, then it can get ugly. I mean, the Raptors could’ve gone for the best available player (a Shooting Forward) to satisfy people, but in the end, that person would only find himself fighting for minutes with a logjam of people who can play that position (Vince Carter, Jalen Rose, Lamond Murray, Morris Peterson), which in turn wouldn’t be good for the Raptors. By filling a need, they have made sure that the Raptors will be better of, even if people are upset right now. Similarly, by not falling into the trap of people’s expectations of us, but trying to be the best we can in our own way, we will be better off in the long run.

Average Rating: 4.9 out of 5 based on 236 user reviews.

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