As we do every Saturday afternoon, we’ll examine the lessons from the Week That Was, review our Depth Chart Updates, the Upcoming Schedule and make our picks of Sits and Starts for the upcoming week.
Today, we will take a closer look at the fantasy impact of the hot starts of the New York Knicks and Minnesota Timberwolves and the slow starts of the Indiana Pacers and now offence-less Los Angeles Lakers plus a round-up of the week’s injuries.
The Week That Was
Lesson #1: Bye, Bye Princeton
Yesterday, in a knee-jerk reaction, the Lakers fired their head coach, Mike Brown, after just 5 games. In his place they promoted assistant Bernie Bickerstaff (previously a head coach with the Sonics, Nuggets, Wizards and most recently the Bobcats). Bickerstaff is only an interim solution with names from Phil Jackson to Jerry Sloan to Mike D’Antoni all being rumoured as potential replacements. My guess is that the over-reaction was probably fuelled by player mis-content (cough, Kobe Bryant, cough).
The primary issue prompting the change was Mike Brown’s use of the Princeton offence. As we noted last week, the issue in Lakerland was not the offence but the defence. This concentration on the offence is likely to continue to draw attention away from the defence and thus the coaching transition will likely be less than smooth. The change should have little impact in fantasy (at least until we know who the coach will be) as the Laker stars were all performing to expectations but creates some added uncertainty.
Based on one game’s observations, we note that they did not run a single Princeton offence play and played mostly pick-and-roll. Most of the play revolved around the familiar entities — Kobe Bryant, Pau Gasol and Metta World Peace took a combined 50 shots. Dwight Howard was left behind, which was surprising given the undersized Warrior frontline, and was the only starter not to play in the 4th quarter. The bench did not really get involved until the game was out of hand. Rookie Darius Morris though may have moved ahead of Steve Blake on the Laker depth chart as he played longer stretches throughout the game but his ultimate role will not be known until Steve Nash returns.
Where Bickerstaff (or whoever the new coach is) can have an immediate positive impact is with that second unit and especially, Antawn Jamison, who has been a non-factor so far. It will be extremely difficult to get less from them. The Lakers have a soft schedule this week and a great opportunity to get the bench more involved. If Jamison has been dropped in your league, keep an eye on the Lakers this week to see if he suddenly finds a role.