Sunday, April 5, 2009

Dial It Up From Distance

All Denver Nuggets' shooting guard J.R. Smith has done over the past 10 games is average 23.1 points while burying an absurd 53.9% of his shots and hitting 43 three-pointers. There isn't a hotter shooter in the NBA right now, and while he's probably not available, he's probably the only Denver candidate outside of Carmelo Anthony that I'd feel comfortable starting in weekly leagues during the team's four-game Championship Week slate.

Smith has been quite a find in fantasy leagues this season, as just last night, he set a career high for three-pointers made in a season (162). As a matter of fact, he's got career highs across the boards - points (15.0), rebounds (3.7), assists, (2.9) and steals (1.0). His increased proficiency combined with a REAL point guard coming to town has given Smith an exciting new ceiling of potential the rest of this season and in the future. Chauncey Billups has really changed the direction of this man's career.

What's more, Smith has been on a gradual incline over the past couple of seasons, getting to the point where we expected something special this year. He disappointed early on, but has since gotten adequate playing time (read: Iverson left town and Coach George Karl saw the light) at 27.9 minutes per game in 2008-09. The increase in three-pointers made hasn't gone unnoticed either: 149 (2006-07), 157 (2007-08) and currently, Smith has 162 threes in 2008-09.

Looks like Smith isn't just a solid option in your fantasy leagues this week... he may be a end-of-the-bench keeper candidate and a top-50 player for 2009-10. He's HOT HOT HOT!

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