With the All Star game just hours away and DeMar DeRozan about to make his first appearance, it’s made me think back to the players who have represented the team over the years and wonder how he stacks up to them. In Raptors history, we the fans, have been graced with three other players who have gone on behalf of the Raps to the All Star Game. As we’ve been reminded of recently, Vince Carter put Toronto on the NBA map. Not only with his high flying dunks and his Half-Man/Half-Amazing play, but also because VC was the Raptors first ever All Star back in 2000. Talk about a stat line I’d like to have on my fantasy team! Vince posted some sweet stats in that 2nd season, averaging 25.7 PTS, while shooting .465 FG%, .791 FT% and 1.2 – 3PM, with 5.8 REB, 3.9 AST, 1.3 STL and 1.1 BLK on the year.
To prove the power of Vinsanity around the NBA, the very next year many eyes were brought to a quiet warrior named Antonio Davis, who went to the All Star game as a reserve center alongside Vince and became our second All Star back in 2001. He finished that season with 13.7 PTS, shooting .433 FG%, .754 FT% with 10.1 REB, 1.4 AST, 0.3 STL and 1.9 BLK per game. His ability to control the paint on both ends and stretch the floor with a 15-18 ft. shot, helped to anchor the franchise to its best record in franchise history at 47-35.
3 seasons later, AD’s departure from the team marked the arrival of Chris Bosh, who managed to slide on his first Eastern Conference All-Star team jersey in his third season with the Raps back in 2006. By then, Vinsanity was in the Raptors rear view and Linsanity was still just a bizarro mirage waiting to come to life in the ACC’s distant future. At the time CB4 made fans happy again, posting an impressive 22.5 PTS, while shooting .505 FG% and .816 FT%, with 9.2 REB, 2.6 AST, 0.7 STL and 1.1 BLK throughout the year. He followed that season by tying the franchise record of 47-35 to secure a division title in 2006 – ’07, ending a four year playoff drought, only to bring back the ghost of VC, who had the pleasure of knocking the Raptors out in the first round. Ultimately, Bosh took his talents to Miami in a low-risk/high-reward pursuit of championship rings, playing behind LBJ and D.Wade as the 3rd option on the team, but 1st in their hearts…or at least on their jerseys.
In the meantime, the Raptors were left in a state of flux, searching for players to help the #1 option on the team to shoulder the burden that comes with it. Andrea Bargnani, who was set to the task of being our #1, wasn’t able to handle the responsibility to grow into that leader and lacked the durability required to receive other teams tough play on a nightly basis. Yet during that time, DeMar quietly matured in front of our eyes and now, in his 5th season with the Raptors, has continued finding that next step in the process that has led him to his first All Star appearance. Through 50 games this season he’s averaging 22.4 PTS, while shooting .428 FG% and .798 FT% adding 1 – 3PM per game, with 4.6 REB, 3.8 AST, 1.2 STL and 0.4 BLK. Who knows where his numbers will settle by season’s end, but you can be sure that it’s definitely been DeMarvelous for DeRozan this year.
After last week, I felt I’d continue on that path just a little bit by looking at how two of our former All Stars are doing in the league now. The fantasy season is quickly coming to its end and for most of us the trade deadline fast approaches. These are your last days to take a shot to try to finagle a quality player from one of your opponents. This is where any knowledge of their foolhardy obsession for a team or player can be used against them if you play your cards right. If you play in a league with friends, I suggest inviting your target buddy over to enjoy the All Star game with a big bottle of scotch, lots of ice, a laptop, and a proper game plan for who you want. Remember, all is fair in love and fantasy sports.
Gotta Have Em!
DeMar DeRozan – Current player rating drops this week from 47th down to 49th, and is owned by 100% of the leagues at ESPN. Despite the dip in player rating, DeMarvelous has increased his scoring and steals output over the last 7 games, averaging 29.7 PTS off of .443 FG%, with 4.0 REB, 5.0 AST, 1.7 STL per game, while shooting .861 from the charity stripe. He has also maintained his three pointers made at a respectable 1.3 per game. His rebounding took a hit as of late, losing an average of almost 1 per game. That said, his numbers leading into the All Star break are entering Black Mamba territory as he continues to look comfortable as the team’s #1 option.
Kyle Lowry – Current player rating dips slightly from 11th last week down to 12th, and is owned by 100% of the leagues at ESPN. His numbers over the last 15 games have dropped across the board, due to struggling offensive performances against the Mavericks, Clippers, Nuggets and Jazz. However, when looking at the last 7 games we can see that despite maintaining a .422 FG% his 18 PTS including 1.3 three pointers made and .857 FT%, with 9.3 AST, a beastly 6.3 REB, and 1.3 STL is something any fantasy owner would gladly trade for. The question is, can you give enough to get him?
Chris Bosh – Current player rating of 26th, projected to go 42nd and owned by 100% of the leagues at ESPN. Bosh’s numbers have certainly dropped from his playing days with the Raptors, I guess that’s the price you pay for championship rings. Still, his current value stems from his inability to hurt your fantasy team by adding something to every category. Despite his seemingly pedestrian 14.8 PTS with 7.5 REB, 1.5 AST, 0.7 STL, and 0.7 BLK over the last 15 games, it’s his ability to add nearly 1 three pointer per game while shooting .530 FG% on the season (though currently down to .451 over the last 15) that makes him a must. This guy is a steady eddy (as Jack Armstrong would say) who breaks out every so often for a big game to give his fantasy owners a thank you for understanding his role on the Heat. No longer a first round draw, CB is still a must have on any fantasy team. A perfect trade to make for any owner looking to bolster their percentages and 3’s, with the ability to give away rebounds and points.
Keep An Eye On
Amir Johnson – Current player rating drops from 68th down to 71st and is owned by 40.1% of the leagues at ESPN. As was the case last week, health has been the main concern for Amir who missed the last two games before the break. His numbers over the last 15 games have made some owners click the drop button on him, only scoring 6.0 PTS off .448 FG% and a poor .571 FT%, with 6.4 REB, 1.2 AST, 0.6 STL and 1 BLK. His time off leading into the break was paramount and should give his body the rest it needs to get right. I’d look for Amir to come back fired up ready to prove those numbers were due to injuries when he returns. This would be a great time to trade low for him and burn your buddies about it later! If he’s available on your waiver wire, look to hop on him when he gets back into the lineup.
Jonas Valanciunas – Current player rating drops from 106th down to 108th and owned by 93% of the leagues at ESPN. Currently posting 11.9 PTS off .500 FG% with 9.7 REB and 1 BLK over the last 15 games is good, but the .571 FT% is a bit of a concern. If you look over the last 7 games his percentages drop drastically to .348 FG% and .462 FT%, though he’s attempted to offset this recent run of poor shooting (only 7.3 PPG) by increasing his rebounding output in that stretch to an impressive 11.7 REB. I assume his struggles come from hitting a conditioning wall right now, something that he didn’t get to experience last year due to a hand injury. Hopefully Big V recharged that battery of his during his All Star break down in the Big Easy and is ready to finish this season up strong. This may be the time to trade JV if you are concerned with how much he has left in the tank, but don’t be surprised if it bites you in the ass and leaves you wishing you didn’t. The next few weeks will be interesting to see if he will bring his game up into playoff form or if he will run out of steam from the course of the long NBA season.
Patrick Patterson – Current player rating rises from 153rd up to 150th and owned by 1.8% of the leagues at ESPN. 2Pat was able to take advantage of Amir being out of the lineup and has looked impressive over the last 7 games averaging 15.3 PTS, while shooting .500 FG%, .800 FT% and adding 1.3 three pointers along with 6.0 REB, 1.3 AST and 1 STL per game. With Casey at the helm, it’s hard to guess how he will distribute the floor time when Amir comes back, but there’s a chance that it will affect Paterson’s production. In the meantime, keep riding him on the short term, or keep him on that list of players to add when you need an extra game to help get that win.
Terrence Ross – Current player rating drops from 133rd down to 136th and owned by 18% of the leagues at ESPN. It was great to see Flight 31 represent at the Dunk Contest All Star Saturday Night, helping the East to a victory in the new team format. I look to see his numbers come up from the 10.6 PTS, shooting .412FG% and .857 FT%, with 2.0 REB, 0.9 AST, 0.6 STL and 0.7 BLK he’s currently averaging over the last 15 games, now that the dunk contest is behind him and he can get back to business. Regardless, his ability to knock down the three ball currently at 1.7 per game, is a genuine contributor to that category and worth a rotation into your lineup on any open night if you need a boost there. Just be cautious if you are close in FG% battle when adding him.
They Try and Try
Greivis Vasquez – Current player rating drops from 188th down to 194th and owned by 31.3% of the leagues at ESPN. General Greivis hasn’t found the changes in his numbers that fantasy owners were hoping for. After solid back to back outings against the Mavs and Bobcats about three weeks ago, he’s gone back to his inconsistent ways. Over the last 15 games his 5.2 PTS, off .353 FG%, with 3.2 AST, and 1.2 REB has shown his continued struggles with his game. It’s surprising that he is still owned by over 31% of people playing at ESPN, either they aren’t playing anymore or they’re related to him. If it’s the later, they just need to say “Sorry cus’ but I had to pick up Kirk Hinrich instead.”
Vince Carter – Current player rating of 106th, projected to go 152nd and owned by 11% of the leagues at ESPN. It seems that for Vince, the past has passed and the present hasn’t been a gift so far this season. He’s still successfully contributing to the Mavs off the bench, but his fantasy numbers have something left to be desired, especially when compared to his time with the Raptors. His averages this season of 11.3 PPG, .408 FG%, .822 FT%, 3.3 REB, 2.8 AST, 0.7 STL and 1.5 three pointers made can still add some value on the right night. When looking at his last 7 leading into the break though, his 10.5 PTS off .349 FG%, and .625 FT% shows that any night can be a gamble to get those numbers right now, in fact his field goal percentage this season is a career worst. That said, his 1.8 three pointers made and 1.5 STL over the last seven also shows that Vince still has some tricks up his sleeve that might be worth the gamble picking up if you need 3’s and aren’t worried about your FG%.
NOTE: All Star selection Joe Johnson’s current fantasy rating is 107th, that’s BELOW Vince Carter’s currently at 106th… Where was Lowry’s again?