All-Star weekend in Houston has wrapped up and was generally panned by observers. What did you think? Did you watch? I found it entertaining for the most part, but found the musical entertainment leaving much to be desired. I would like to see the slam dunk and three point contest get more high profile entrants, perhaps using charity donations as the draw. Lebron in the slam dunk? JJ Reddick in the three point? Just food for thought. We wrap up our mid-season reviews with the Southwest Division of the Western Conference.
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San Antonio Spurs-Age and injuries may be all that stand in the way of San Antonio reaching the Western Conferenc finals. With Manu Ginobili breaking down and Tim Duncan having perhaps his last All-Star caliber season, this may be the final run for the Spurs. Tony Parker remains the only real trade chip in the organization, but its hard to imagine them moving him. The Spurs have been mentioned in the Josh Smith sweepstakes, which might put them over the top if they don't have to give up any of the "big three". At 42-12, the Spurs are clicking, especially on offense, leading the league in assists and fourth in scoring. San Antonio has been getting great minutes from Tiago Splitter and Kawhi Leonard, who many also help your fantasy team... if available.
Memphis Grizzlies- I am bullish on Rudy Gay and believe the Griz made a mistake in moving him north of the border. The "giveaway" deal with Cleveland cleared them of luxury tax issues and Memphis should have left it at that. Tayshaun Prince is capable and may help fill the loss, but its certainly a step down. Marc Gasol and Zach Randolph remain arguably the best one-two punch in the paint in the West. Michael Conley is reliable at the point and backcourt mate Tony Allen is a defensive wiz. Look for Jerryd Bayless to continue to get more minutes in the backcourt and is a nice pickup, despite falling off a bit of late. Ed Davis was a nice pickup, although his fantasy value takes a hit, backing up the dynamic duo. Darrell Arthur is back and should team with Davis for a quality second unit up front. Memphis shocked San Antonio in the NBA's second season two seasons ago... and they did it without the injured Gay.
Houston Rockets- The Rockets are developing so nicely that their General Manager is getting a generous extension. Houston has done a nice job overcoming the loss of Yao Ming and failed attempts to land either Dwight Howard or Pau Gasol. Free agency was successful, with point guard Jeremy Lin and center Omer Asik major players in the Rockets revival. The big story though is the developing superstar James Harden. Make no mistake, the Rockets gave up ALOT to get Harden, but he has proven to be worth every player and draft pick. Chandler Parson is quietly having a breakout season at the three and deserves a roster spot on any fantasy team. Patrick Patterson and Marcus Morris are a nice tag team at the four, but cut into each other's fantasy numbers. Carlos Delfino is very underrated, especially in fantasy circles, but can be a nice source of offense, espcially from three point land. Terrence Jones and Donatas Motiejunas have great upside.... but not this season.... not in fantasy.
Dallas Mavericks- Dirk missing 27 games out of the gate doomed any small chance the Mavs had in being relevant this season. Mark Cuban is still wishing he had never let Tyson Chandler go, which was the end of the championship team as we knew it. Dallas thought they could convince Deron Wiiliams to return home, but were left at the alter very late in the game. As things have turned out, it may be better they missed out on Williams. O.J. Mayo has turned out as one of the top free agency pickup of the offseason, finally delivering on the enormous potential we first witnessed at USC. Elton Brand has come around of late and reportedly wants to stay with the Mavs when his one year deal expires. Vince Carter still contributes, but remains just a shell of his superstar self. Cuban managed to fill holes at the two more important positions late with center Chris Kaman and point guard Darren Collison. Kaman has struggled of late, but was the best option. Shawn Marion has shown flashes and remains a contributor in fantasy play.
New Orleans Hornets- The Hornets have done a nice job starting what will be a long process in rebuilding. Anthony Davis is their four of the future and is playing as well as could be expected from a 19 year old. Ryan Anderson was absolutely stolen from Orlando and EVERY team in the Association would love to have the best stretch four in the game. Greivis Vazquez has to be considered one of the most improved players in the league, a threat to score and dishing out high numbers of assists. What to do with Eric Gordon? Such an incredible talent, but seems destined to injury. He is still young, so its tough to consider Austin Rivers a blown draft pick yet. Perhaps Doc will help him regain his confidence in the offseason. Robin Lopez also deserves consideration in the most improved category. Brook's brother has shown enough to secure a spot in the league for a long time. Al-Farouq Aminu was a rebounding machine for a bit early on, but has fallen victim to inconsistency.
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Tom Blaz is a writer for Fantasy Alarm and co-owner of The Recruiting Eagle a website focusing on Auburn University Athletics.
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Talking Hoops: Week 23 Pickups
Talking Hoops: Injury Parade
Talking Hoops: Week 22 Pickups
Talking Hoops: Week 21 Roster Adjustment Options
Talking Hoops: Week 20
Talking Hoops: Week 19 Roster Adjustmemts
Talking Hoops: Post Trade Deadline Waiver Candidates
Talking Hoops: Trade Deadline
Talking Hoops: Pacific Division @ Midseason
Talking Hoops: Northwest Division @ Midseason
Talking Hoops-All Star Weekend
Talking Hoops: Southeast Division @ Midseason
Rising Stars Challenge- Keeper League Dream Team
Grizzlies Finally Trade Rudy Gay
Talking Hoops: Central Division Mid-Season
Projecting All-Star Reserves: Western Conference
Projecting All-Star Reserves: Eastern Conference
Talking Hoops: Atlantic Division Mid Season
Talking Hoops: Week 9 Waiver Pickups