I look forward to Mike’s weekly visualized tiers and rankings for two reason: 1) it’s an incredibly helpful reference tool, and 2) I get to be the nitpicking asshole who disagrees with him. Accordingly, today’s post discusses some of the most underrated and overrated players going into week 8.
PG: Jameer Nelson (3rd tier, 3 games)
Jameer Nelson has been white-hot lately, clearly he’s determined to make me look bad for criticizing him. Over the last 14 days he ranks 21st overall in Yahoo! leagues, largely due to a tear that began when Oladipo joined Orlando’s starting five. Arron Afflalo’s move to the 3 position has allowed Nelson to thrive next to the rookie phenom and capture the interest of potential trade deadline contenders. Subsequently, Jameer’s been playing a ton of minutes (40 last night), and I’d expect this heavy usage to continue until he’s dealt.
Nelson’s averages from that past two weeks:
- 42%fg, 79%ft, 3.2 3ptm, 15.7pts, 3.2rbd, 6.2ast, 1.8stl, 0.3blk, 2.0to
This output is on par with most 2nd tier point guards, including Jrue Holiday and Goran Dragic. Jameer is locked into big minutes and has been cooking with gas recently — view him as a 2nd tier PG this week, especially with mushy Utah and Sacto defenses on the horizon.
PF: Amir Johnson (4th tier, 3 games)
The Rudy Gay trade completely ignited Amir Johnson, the hottest player in the NBA over the past two weeks — he’s shooting a ridiculous 71% from the floor. Impressively, Amir’s been this efficient despite taking 12.5 shots and scoring 20 points per game; maybe Toronto moved Gay in order to unleash Amir Johnson. If he continues to play around 30+ minutes a night, Johnson — a career 58% shooter — could be set for a full-blown breakout.
Johnson’s averages from the previous 2 weeks:
- 71%fg, 87%ft, 0.2 3ptm, 20pts, 9rbd, 1ast, 0.7stl, 1.8blks, 1.7to
To put things in perspective: Wilt Chamberlin shot 73% from the floor in 1972, a mark that still stands as the most efficient NBA season ever. Obviously Amir will cool off eventually, but as long as he’s shooting like Wilt Chamberlin why not roll with him.
Conveniently, Amir also plays excellent defense — he’s blocked at least one shot in six consecutive games and ranks tenth in blocks over the last two weeks.
Although Johnson qualifies as a ‘sell high’ candidate, I’d probably hang on to him for his tremendous upside. After all, somebody’s got to pick up all those shots Rudy Gay put down when he left.
PG: Patrick Beverley (3rd tier, 3 games)
I actually think Beverley is a very good NBA player, but he just doesn’t bring enough to the table to qualify as a worthwhile fantasy asset. It’s common knowledge by now that he’s an excellent defender, but Beverly’s anemic offensive game pisses away nearly all of his upside. He can’t score and he doesn’t make plays; with Lin set to return soon, I don’t think Beverley is even worth owning. Check out his averages from the previous 2 weeks:
- 41%fg, 71%ft, 0.9 3ptm, 9.4pts, 4.7rbd, 2.1ast, 1.7stl, 0.4blk, 1.1to
- 43%fg, 81%ft, 1.9 3ptm, 16pts, 2.3rbd, 2.5ast, 0.7stl, 0.2blk, 2.0to
The Manimal has been one of the most disappointing players of 2013 so far; overrated hardly describes Faried’s status, as he frustratingly under-performs on a nightly basis. Despite a wealth of opportunity and physical talent, Faried has only managed these nauseating averages in the past two weeks:
- 2 weeks: 50%fg, 44%ft, 0 3ptm, 8.1pts, 7.0rbd, 0.3ast, 0.4stl, 1blk, 1to
- season:53%fg, 57%ft, 0 3ptm, 10pts, 8.6rbd, 0.8 ast, 0.7stl, 0.8blk, 1.1to
Faried’s minutes have dipped below 21 per game recently, and, frankly, he doesn’t deserve more playing time. There’s simply no excuse for going 43% from the line — seriously Ken, you’re a fucking professional. From a fantasy perspective, he’s a mediocre defender and a lousy scorer; it’s a shame to see so much upside go to waste. I’d take 4th tier PF’s such as: Tristan Thompson, Amir Johnson, and Taj Gibson over Faried.