SleepersNovember 30, 2005


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Sleeper Watch

By Mike Antoine

Though Jose Calderon is not a household name, the rookie guard for the Toronto Raptors has already earned a reputation in the fantasy basketball world as a good source for assists. Unfortunately, that’s pretty much all he was good for from a fantasy perspective as a backup guard. Through the first 14 games, Calderon averaged an impressive 5.9 assists per game. But he complimented that with only 6.1 points, 2.0 boards, 0.2 threes, and 0.6 steals per game, along with a 40% FG percentage on 5.4 shots per contest. Not exactly overwhelming stuff.

But there is good news. In game number 15 of the season, Calderon started at point guard, shifting Mike James over to shooting guard and sending Jalen Rose to the bench. Said coach Sam Mitchell, “We have to try this for two, three games, maybe four games, whatever. If it doesn’t work, we’ll try something else. We’ll keep trying things, changing the lineup until we can find the group of eight or nine guys who can give us the best chance, night in, night out, to win.” And can you really blame the 1-14 Raptors for doing so?

According to 82games.com, through the first 15 games of the season, Jalen Rose has a negative 12.5 Net Value to the team when he’s on the court (versus when he’s off the court). Negative 12.5 is some ugly stuff. That ranks him down there with Rafael Araujo (who is at negative 12.8). Jose Calderon, on the other hand, is at least in the positive range at positive 1.2.

Now let’s take a closer look at Calderon’s stats in games in which he has played 30+ minutes.Through the first 15 games of the season, Calderon has played 30+ minutes in five games. And here’s his stat line: His already impressive assists average jumps to 8.2 per game. His scoring goes up to 8.4 points per game. And he finishes off the stat line with 3.2 boards per game, a 41% field goal percentage on 7.8 shots per game, and a 91% free throw percentage on 2.2 shots per game. His steals, threes and blocks remain meager. His turnovers, however, do jump to 3.2 per game.

So, what once was a situation that was mildly palatable if one needed assists has, at least for the short-term, become a tad more enticing and one to keep an eye on … especially if the guard can retain an 8+ assist average with those types of minutes. Expect, as Calderon earns more time on the court, to see his name quietly filling up the stat sheet, and more fantasy owners looking to the waiver wire to snatch him up.


 
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