Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Ushering in 2008-09

Contributed By: Jim Johnson

Beavers basketball coach Bobby Finstock kept things pretty simple in the 1985 classic Teen Wolf:

“There are three rules that I live by: never get less than twelve hours of sleep; never play cards with a guy who has the same first name as a city; and never get involved with a woman with a tattoo of a dagger on her body. Now you stick to that, and everything else is cream cheese.”

It’s safe to say coach Finstock was a terrible fantasy basketball owner.

No one has time to decipher between the NBA’s Smiths (Craig, J.R., JaJuan, Jason, Joe and Josh), Johnsons (Amir, Anthony, DerMarr, Joe, Linton and Trey) and Wrights (Antoine, Brandan, Dorell, Julian and Lorenzen) after spending at least 12 hours in bed, no one knows anyone named after a city (without Googleling it) and pretty much everyone in the NBA has a tattoo, making Finstock’s starting lineup a joke, starring Brent Barry.

When the NBA fantasy season opens Tuesday, owners will need nothing but extra time to bolster lineups in a transitional year. Gone out of the top tier in drafts are former stalwarts Kevin Garnett, Steve Nash, Jason Kidd and Shawn Marion, and in are Chris Paul, Amare Stoudemire, Dwyane Wade and Dwight Howard (trust me on Superman).

The Kobe and LeBron shows are still drawing hot tickets, Dirk is still a first-rounder and even Elton Brand is reappearing early, but this season’s script will be written by up-and-coming stars who were attending prom when Shaq was averaging 30 points, 14 boards, four assists and three blocks a game, while shooting at a 57 percent clip in Hollywood.

Owners on the turn — 12th and 13th picks in standard 12-team leagues — are bragging about Deron Williams and Chris Bosh combinations, and the bad high school products are starting to frustrate less, because they are less (See Eddy Curry, Kwame Brown, Darius Miles). Turns out a year in college helps fantasy owners’ stress levels, too.

How good will Greg Oden be, along with the rest of the disappointing 2007 draft class (sans Durant and Horford)?

Will Mike D’Antoni’s departure from Phoenix have as much of an effect as his arrival in New York?

Will drafting Amare over LeBron at No. 2 come back to haunt me?

And can I just start the entire team that’s playing against the Golden State Warriors on any given night?

Fantasy drafts are complete, and preseason NBA trips to China, Spain and Bismarck, ND, are becoming distant memories.

It’s time to start up the message board ribbing and question owners in your league who name their teams “Testiculus Coconutus” or “70s bball shorts.”

Have an owner offer you a Joel Przybilla for Andrew Bogut trade offer because you went to the University of Minnesota and you hate Fosters beer? Feel free to bury them on the message board and offer back Daniel Gibson for Tyson Chandler, because “three points is better than two.”

Enjoy the season, because it should be filled with pleasant — and highly skilled — surprises by players not named Shaq and Hill.

And hold the cream cheese. I’ll stick with 12 or less hours of sleep, playing cards with normal people and getting involved with tattooless woman, while housing my fantasy league.

Jim Johnson is a contributor to fantasybasketball.com

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