Print and Go Back 2004 [Print without images]

Sunday, November 30, 2003
Fantasy Spin: Rose to Raptors

by Graham Hays
ESPN Fantasy Games

The deal: Chicago sends Jalen Rose, Donyell Marshall and Lonny Baxter to Toronto for Antonio Davis, Jerome Williams and Chris Jefferies.


Jalen Rose
Shooting Guard
Toronto Raptors

Jalen Rose -- SG, SF
Percent owned: 98.8
03-04 Player Rater: -3.02 (102nd)
02-03 Player Rater: 0.81 (29th)
Rose needs a fresh start like holiday shoppers need parking spaces. Lost in the shuffle this season as Bill Cartwright (and Pete Myers) attempted to carve out expanded roles for Jamal Crawford, Kirk Hinrich, Eddy Curry and Tyson Chandler, Rose wasn't getting enough looks to merit a spot on fantasy rosters. Sure, it's tough to argue that a guy shooting 37.5 percent from the floor should shoot more often, but Rose lost looks before he lost his shooting touch. After missing an extended period of the preseason with sprained thumb ligaments, he averaged just 12.4 shots in Chicago's first five games -- a figure that increased to just 12.5 shots after 16 games. Rose hasn't averaged fewer than 17.5 shots since the 1999-00 season. Scorers shoot their way out of slumps, and repetition shouldn't be a problem on a Raptors team with no player save Vince Carter averaging more than 9.7 shots a game.

Fantasy Verdict: Conventional wisdom will likely be that Rose rebounds in Toronto, but fantasy owners may still be able to find many Rose owners willing to trade him for a fraction of his potential value. Rose wasn't quite as good in rebounds and assists with Chicago as his reputation might suggest, but with little doubt about his sidekick role in Toronto -- not to mention the team's point guard woes -- there's reason to think he could return to the five-board, six-assist averages he posted in Indiana. Buy now.

Donyell Marshall
Small Forward
Toronto Raptors

Donyell Marshall -- SF, PF
Percent owned: 66.7
03-04 Player Rater: -2.51 (89th)
02-03 Player Rater: -0.40 (45th)
Imagine the irony if the player who keeps Rose from regaining all his shots is one of the guys coming along from Chicago. All right, so maybe that's irony as Alanis Morissette might define it, but it's still a possibility. The Raptors need offense, and they won't be picky about which newcomer provides it. Marshall couldn't get consistent minutes behind Chandler, Kendall Gill and Scottie Pippen, but Lamond Murray and Morris Peterson aren't quite as imposing. Projected over 48 minutes, Marshall averaged 16.4 points, 11.6 boards, 2.4 blocks. 1.5 steals and 1.3 3-pointers in 16 games with the Bulls this season. The only problem with those gaudy totals is he averaged just 25 minutes per game, his fewest since the 1996-97 season in Golden State. The point is Marshall is a fantasy stat-stuffer when he gets court time, as evidenced by last season's Player Rater numbers.

Fantasy Verdict: Rose is the safer bet, but Marshall is the one fantasy owners may have a better chance of adding to their roster. And by dealing Davis, Williams and Jeffries, the Raptors have left themselves with little more in the post than Chris Bosh, Meng Bateer and the ghost of Hakeem Olajuwon. Neither Marshall nor Bosh can really handle playing center, but that's not really an issue most nights in the Eastern Conference. The point for fantasy owners is it sure looks like the Raptors need both of them on the court for a lot of minutes every night. Buy now.

Other Raptors
  • Only Allen Iverson, Baron Davis and Tracy McGrady average more field goal attempts per game than Vince Carter -- and it's worth noting that only McGrady is hitting better than 41 percent. With Rose around to take 15 or 16 shots a game, Carter may lose a shot or two a game. But if the addition of a proven second option improves the quality of Carter's remaining looks, fantasy owners may not have to worry about a noticeable scoring dip. Given the state of Toronto's offense, there's certainly room for addition without subtraction.

  • The Raptors appear ready to let Bosh sink or swim. He averaged 42.3 minutes in Toronto's last three games and won't get many breathers unless the team makes another move for frontcourt depth. That's good in the short term -- Bosh could easily notch fantasy owners 16 points, 10 rebounds and two blocks -- but it may cause him to hit the wall earlier than expected this spring.

  • Along those lines, it's worth at least mentioning Baxter. He didn't show much in Chicago to suggest a bright fantasy future, but he may get minutes by default in the post for Toronto. Any potential fantasy value will depend on his ability to imitate Jerome Williams' rebounding numbers.


    Antonio Davis
    Chicago Bulls

    Antonio Davis -- PF, C
    Percent owned: 62.8
    03-04 Player Rater: -5.19 (153rd)
    02-03 Player Rater: -7.57 (164th)
    Davis gets his wish of moving closer to home, but fantasy owners may not get their wish of a return to productivity for the big man. While he averaged 9.5 rebounds in 15 games with Toronto, he averaged just 8.6 points on 8.0 field-goal attempts and 38.3 percent shooting. Why should fantasy owners care that Davis is an undersized center who doesn't have a wide variety of post moves? Because those factors force him to rely on mid-range jump shots, and those jumpers have found the net with decreasing regularity in recent seasons. While this season's field goal percentage is admittedly awful, it's in line with his recent production. This is the sixth season in a row his field goal percentage has dropped, and he hasn't hit more than 44 percent of his shots since his high-flying days with the Pacers in the 1998-99 season.

    Fantasy Verdict: Having Eddy Curry around will at least give Davis some low-post support, no matter who is charged with guarding the opposing center. But having Curry -- and Tyson Chandler -- around should also keep Davis from averaging as many minutes as he saw with the Raptors. Expect his shooting percentage and points to climb a little, both because history suggests they will and because he should get some easier looks in Chicago, but Davis won't maintain those rebound numbers if he looses minutes and he hasn't been a true factor in blocked shots in a few seasons. Sell now.

    Jerome Williams
    Small Forward
    Chicago Bulls

    Jerome Williams -- SF, PF
    Percent owned: 19.2
    03-04 Player Rater: -4.60 (141st)
    02-03 Player Rater: -5.70 (125th)
    A fun player to watch and a fantasy sleeper at times, Williams averaged 8.5 rebounds and 1.3 steals in just 27 minutes a game for Toronto. A limited offensive player to begin with, Williams lost both minutes and field goal attempts to Bosh this season, greatly reducing his fantasy impact. At 30-plus minutes a game, Williams is a decent end-of-roster guy, the sort who can help a team make up ground in rebounds and steals. With anything less than 30 minutes, he's simply too great a liability in every other category.

    Fantasy Verdict: Guess what? He's not going to get 30-plus minutes behind Davis, Curry and Chandler. Williams will be a nice role player -- and certainly has the hustle skills to attract the attention of new coach Scott Skiles, but he won't be a fantasy factor. Sell now.

    Other Bulls
  • Davis gives Skiles ammunition if he wants to motivate Curry with minutes on the bench, although in the end, Curry's ultimate fantasy value is entirely up to Curry. If he rebounds like he can -- and not like the guy who pulled down a total of six in the last two games -- he won't lose minutes to anyone.

  • Rose wasn't taking that many shots, so it's tough to see Crawford picking up a lot of extra looks, but at least the trade should give him a little more job security. With Rose out of the picture, Skiles could give Hinrich some minutes at point, while still keeping Crawford on the court at two-guard in those situations. And even two or three extra field goal attempts per game might be enough to get Crawford back in the good graces of fantasy owners who drafted him expecting a breakout season.