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.
This week we take a deeper look into some of the players that are frequently mentioned by our Twitter followers. If they are on their minds, they should probably be on yours, too.
The Week That Was
Lesson #1: Points: Greivis Vasquez, Jose Calderon & A.J. Price
Greivis Vasquez was a pre-season sleeper based on his strong finish to last year. He became the starter for New Orleans in February and over his final 33 games put up a very respectable 9.4 points with 6.1 assists. Just as importantly, he improved his shooting accuracy to 44.1 FG% (up from 41.8% in the prior 33 games) and kept his turnovers down to 2.4. If there was a complaint it was the accuracy of his 3-point shot at just 30.9%. Nothing about this performance looks unsustaintable as they were in line with his career per minute numbers and he is still young at 25.
So far this year, he is bettering his assist rate by another 2 assists per 48 minutes without adding any turnovers. Despite his FG% falling to 35.1%, he is scoring more at 12.3 ppg but most of that can be attributed to the extra minutes — he has only added one point per 48 minutes. The FG% is down primarily to increasing the number of 3P attempts without any additional success. I would expect his FG% to rise if he had a better backcourt partner than Austin Rivers, e.g. Eric Gordon. Vasquez is a legit fantasy point guard and should be owned in all standard leagues.
Jose Calderon on the other hand is a veteran with a longer track record. And, that track record is excellent. He is second only to Steve Nash in point guard efficiency (FG% and A/TO). For his career, he has 48.1 FG% and 5.7 A/TO. His value was down heading into this year due to losing his starting spot on the Raptors to Kyle Lowry. When Lowry rolled his ankle, Calderon returned to the starting spot and put up some gaudy fantasy lines, which has attracted the interest of fantasy managers.
In four games as the starter he has averaged 14.5 pts, 11 AST and 2.8 3PM with his trademark efficiency: 46.8 FG%; and 3.3 A/TO. Given enough minutes, Calderon can put up top 50 numbers, but there is the rub. When Lowry returns, his minutes will disappear. In four games coming off the bench, he played just 20.3 minutes per game with just 8 points and 2.8 assists. In Lowry’s last fully healthy game, Calderon only saw 14 minutes, so 20 minutes is probably the top end of the range. His efficiency still plays in deep leagues but he is droppable in standard leagues once Lowry returns.
Before I move onto A.J. Price, there is a lot speculation about the Raptors trading Calderon, which would be great for his fantasy owners. As of today, I only see one viable destination: the Indiana Pacers. Indiana desperately needs a pass-first point guard to maximize the value of David West and wake up Roy Hibbert. The move would also allow Indiana to shift George Hill to his more natural shooting guard position and relieve Paul George of extra ball handling duties, where he is struggling. But the Pacers are over the cap and have little in the way of tradeable salary, with the exception of Danny Granger. A Calderon and Linas Kleiza for Granger and D.J. Augustin works under the cap and I think for both teams but there are several complications. First, Indiana needs to do something now, not 3 months from now when Granger might be healthy. Second, Augustin can’t be traded until February. Third, the trade involves the Raptors admitting that they are not a playoff team this year — not likely since they traded their first round pick if it falls in the lottery. All of this is to say, I don’t see a Jose Calderon trade anytime soon.
The worst of this group is A.J. Price. Price had a successful training camp in the regard that he became one of the league’s 30 starting point guards for a month or so. Of course, his team is the woeful Wizards, who have yet to win a game with him at the controls. My issue isn’t with his assists or turnovers but the simple fact that he can’t shoot, yet still does. He is now shooting 32.9 FG%, which actually isn’t that far from his career rate of 37.1%, but on 11.3 attempts — that is a category killer. I have no reason to believe that he will improve that number (given his career average) to something not hurtful. Oh, and once John Wall returns, he loses the one thing he has going for him, which is all of those minutes; if Shaun Livingston doesn’t take them first. Don’t be fooled by a couple of nice lines for on an awful team. You can safely drop Price in all but the deepest formats.