Fantasy Basketball 2014: Good Knight
Who’s been punching above their weight over the last week and is worth a look-in for most fantasy basketball formats? Here’s a few often overlooked players worth a lazy stream at the very least.
Don’t look now but everybody’s favourite highlight reel maker (what’s the term for this sort of player, ie Knight or Kris Humphries or Pau Gasol? The dunkee? The posterized? We need a term for someone ALWAYS getting wrecked on highlights on the bad end of it. Getting ‘Knighted’, ‘Humped’ or ‘Pauwned’?) has quietly been extremely productive for the train wreck Bucks. They’re stuck in the lottery headlights and basically any team coming up against them is able to pencil in a win as they’ve lost 9 straight – by an average of just over 15 points per game!
You could argue Knight hasn’t really been helping the team as he’s hardly been a willing passer (just a 1.6 assist to turnover ratio), but fantasy is a different beast to reality (cough Monta Ellis) so we’re thankfully going to concentrate on his stats only, as that’s what we give a flying Buck about round here.
Hard to believe that Knight started the season with SIX straight single digit scoring performances and yet here he is averaging more than 15 points per game on the season. Over his last 15 games he’s killed it to the tune of 20.7 points, 4.6 rebounds, 5.2 assists, 1.3 steals, 1.9 threes and respectable 46/81 splits.
Despite averaging a career low 30.3 minutes per night on the season, he’s averaging career highs in free throw percentage (83.3% on 3.7 attempts per game – more fantasy gold), rebounds, assists, steals and points – not bad for someone who is still available in 25% of Yahoo leagues.
The team stinks at just 7-33 on the season – that equates to a winning percentage LOWER than Tim Duncan’s career three point percentage of .179. Luke Ridnour is banged up and Nate Wolters has essentially been bolted to the bench since 2014 ticked over, so Knight will continue to play between 35-40 minutes per game, which is the most important stat in fantasy basketball.
Ramon Sessions has been a journeyman tease ever since his ridiculous ending to the 2008 season, where he started the last seven games (they lost them all) on a lousy Milwaukee Bucks team. Sessions won a few people a league or two as he averaged 16.3 points, 6.5 rebounds, 2 steals and a godly 16.3 assists on 56/77 splits over his last four games to the season. Over the past 10 seasons, only Rajon Rondo, Chris Paul, Steve Nash and Sessions have had a streak of at least four games of 13 or more assists. See, anyone can make up their own streak-stat.
For daily leagues, the ankle injury to Kemba Walker is set to shelve him for around 2 weeks so you can safely assume Sessions will continue to play upwards of 30 minutes in that time.
The talent and opportunity is there for Sessions. He’s incredibly good at driving to the basket and drawing contact, as advertised with his 4.3 free throw attempts per game over his career, at a 79.7% clip. That’s a higher rate than Tony Parker, David Lee, Serge Ibaka and Joakim Noah and that free throw percentage on that many attempts is a massive asset if you can get it cheap in roto.
It’s not unfathomable that he puts up averages similar to what he did last season when given at least 30 minutes per contest; in those 16 games he put up 19.4 points, 3.5 rebounds, 4.8 assists, 1.3 steals and 43/87 splits. Those numbers are eerily similar to Kemba Walker’s averages this season of 18.7 points, 4.2 rebounds, 5 assists, 1.4 steals and 42/80 splits.
Remember to check out his NBA Jam Session too – not those bloody annoying long shaped basketball cards that never fit in your sleeves or folder – but the Ramonster dunk on the one and only Lebron James.
Sometimes I struggle to write positive things about players who I openly dislike.
I wrote about Nate Robinson a few weeks back and took the chance to drop the odd e-jab at him, putting the boot in whenever possible. Fantasy basketball is different, however, as JR Smith a player can be the most frustrating, mind-numbing annoying SOB on the court, but when they knock down a three then grab a steal leading to an assist, everything is forgotten.
Gerald Green is a prime example of this due to his tantalising talent but frustrating alter ego, it’s the Jekyll and Hyde syndrome that affects so many players. As an unabashed Suns fan I’ve seen every one of their games this season – and Green has been a model citizen both on and off the court – and his fantasy game has made him relevant after failing to do so in his first seven seasons in the NBA. Anyway I’m rambling as I tend to do.
Glen Davis hasn’t had the struggle Gerald Green has – besides with a keyboard – but he has yet to deliver a full season of noteworthy fantasy stats.
Is this the year? It very well could be, as he’s clearly not helping the Magic win games, but they need/want to play him big minutes to showcase him for a potential trade to a contender.
Davis’ counting stats are the sort of bonus numbers you could slot next to a strong free throw shooter like Kevin Martin or Eric Gordon, ie someone who’s not going to rebound much but they’ll score close to 20 points most nights with threes and the odd steal. It will surprise many to see that since 2014 rolled around, Davis has produced 15.1 points, 9.2 rebounds, 1.1 steals and just 1.5 turnovers.
As always, with a fringe fantasy player such as Davis, there’s invariably going to be weaknesses.
His shooting percentages are bad – not Josh Smith bad – but not something you can hide if you’re in roto leagues and you’re middle of the pack in FG/FT%. He also isn’t going to block many shots from the PF/C spot – so pairing him with a guy like Serge Ibaka is a nice play, as collectively they put out very nice complimentary stats.
Hey if he gets traded and his fantasy value goes belly up (sorry about that one), you can always do the opposite of what Big Baby does at the buffet table, and pass.
Follow Sam on Twitter @macetastic and feel free to ask any NBA related questions, whether fantasy or reality.