Over at Ridiculous Upside, Keith Schlosser has an update on one of the most intriguing players still unsigned for the coming season… Delonte West.
Despite his (late) efforts to catch on with an NBA team, such an opportunity never quite presented itself. Training camp is now underway, but West has signed on in China, believing his best possible offer is available overseas. At this point, he’s probably right.
Teams in China end their season in February, opening up the door for West to come back to the states and sneak onto an NBA roster. Should he count on such an opportunity presenting itself? That is the question.
Given his well-documented history of instability and bad off-court behavior, it isn’t surprising that no team wanted to take a chance on West for this season… nor would it shock me if, as Schlosser suggests, West never returns to the NBA.
But if he does keep his head on straight for a full season in China, he’ll be a very intriguing free agent come next February. He could potentially follow in the footsteps of JR Smith or Kenyon Martin – players that returned from China to take on key roles for teams with playoff aspirations.
Note to Coach Carlisle: you’re doing it wrong. If you’re going to pay $35 grand for the privilege of kicking a basketball, at least get your money’s worth. Next time, I want to see something more like this:
Let’s say you’re one of many fantasy owners left without a center due to DeMarcus Cousins’ temper tantrum. (And as an aside, wouldn’t it be awesome if the box scores listed Cousins as DNP – knucklehead or something similar?)
Don’t fret. There are productive fantasy center options popping up every day, in the least likely places. The D-League, for example. One time D-League defensive player of the year Greg Stiemsma stepped into the Celtics’ starting lineup on Monday, in place of an injured Jermaine O’Neal, and racked up 13 points, seven boards, two blocks and two assists in just 21 minutes against the Wizards. With O’Neal’s injury history, one could make a pretty compelling case that Stiemsma will log a lot of minutes in that spot, and possibly take the starting job before too long. On that potential alone, he should probably be owned in more than, uh, zero percent of all Yahoo! leagues and 1.1 percent on ESPN.
Another surprisingly-productive big man – New York’s Josh Harrellson – arrived as a largely unheralded second-round pick out of Kentucky. But when Amar’e Stoudemire went down with an ankle injury, Harrellson got an opportunity and, against the Kings on New Year’s Eve posted his first career double-double in his first career start 14 points, 12 boards, 4-8 3pt. A three-point shooter on the offensive end and a banger on defense, Harrellson could emerge as a poor man’s Troy Murphy as the season progresses. And though he won’t be in the starting lineup for long – Stoudemire should be back this week – there will be plenty of minutes available in New York’s frontcourt; both Stoudemire and Tyson Chandler have extensive injury histories.
Dallas’ Ian Mahinmi is also worth a look in some leagues, as it seems Rick Carlisle is splitting playing time between him and Brendan Haywood more or less evenly this season. Mahinmi has logged 20 or more minutes in four straight games and just missed a double-double 10 points, 9 boards against Oklahoma City on Monday.