Fantasy Basketball: Will Mid-Season Coaching Changes Impact Your Fantasy Team?

John LorgeSenior Writer IDecember 8, 2008

Not much is expected out of interim head coaches in the NBA. Develop young talent, win a handful of games, and attempt to show you deserve an interview in the post season. When a team fires their head coach, its more-or-less a white flag for the remainder of the season. 

If you have a member of the Thunder, Raptors, Wizards, or Timberwolves on your roster, should you hold a white flag up for your fantasy team?  Let’s take a closer look.

Scott Brooks, Oklahoma City Thunder

On November 29th, Brooks shook-up the Thunder's lineup, inserting Russell Westbrook and Chris Wilcox in exchange for Earl Watson and Nick Collision. Since the move, Westbrook has played over 30 minutes every night and scored 30 points on December 6th against the Miami Heat.

Westbrook is a dynamic combo-guard who plays above-the-rim and gets easy points on fast breaks as he averages 1.8 steals per game. Westbrook's predecessor Watson has still managed to post two double digit assist games coming off the bench.

None of the bigs on the Thunder are worth owning. Wilcox and Collision don't deliver consistency on a nightly basis and their minutes see too much flux.

Wings Jeff Green and Kevin Durant have continued to improve under Brooks. Both play lots of minutes, and clearly Brooks in in-place to let the future develop. Durant tied a career high with 41 points against Golden State Monday night.

If you can get your hands on Westbrook, Durant, or Green, you will have a player with plenty of opportunities to score and accumulate stats. Grab Watson if you need assists, his 6.0 per game are top 20 in the league.

Jay Triano, Toronto Raptors

In Triano's first two games, there hasn't been much to suggest things will change for the Raptors. This isn't good for fans who were expecting a playoff run, but for fantasy owners they can take a sigh of relief.

The Raptors host two of fantasy basketball's most coveted players in Chris Bosh and Jose Calderon. So far Bosh hasn't played his 40 minute per game average, but if he gets hot like he’s capable, Triano will ride him.

There would be no reason to curb Calderon's game. Any coach would love a point guard who dishes 9.6 assists per game, limits turnovers, and shoots great percentages.

Jermaine O'Neal is fully back from injury as he put up 24 points, eight rebounds, and six blocks against the Portland, on December 7th. Before the injury O'Neal was blending nicely with Bosh and he will continue to do so.

The question mark for Toronto is former No. 1 pick Andrea Bargnani. Many owners picked up the forward after he entered the starting lineup mid-November, but Bargani hasn't had a double-digit scoring night through three games in December. 

With O'Neal back and healthy, you may want to attempt to deal Barnani before his is at zero. 

Ed Tapscott, Washington Wizards

Caron Butler and Antawn Jamison have been two of the most consistent players for fantasy owners this season and Ed Tapscott hasn't altered their success.

Jamison is a double-double machine, and his field goal percentage is the best it’s ever been when playing over 30 minutes per game. Butler fills up the stat sheet on a nightly basis, with points, rebounds, assists, and steals.

Young pros Andray Blatche, JaVale McGee, and Nick Young have all began to blossom is the absence of Gilbert Arenas and Brendan Haywood this season. 

Blatche and McGee have split time during the season but both have struggled with foul trouble. McGee is more explosive, blocking more shots, while Blatche has a more well-rounded game. If either of these guys could find a way to play 30 minutes a night, they would produce for owners. 

Nick Young started out the season hot, but hasn't had an explosion since Tapscott too over the reigns. He's a developing three-point shooter, but won't have much value after Arenas returns. 

Kevin McHale, Minnesota Timberwolves

In a move similar to Greg Popovich taking over the Spurs, former Timberwolves executive Kevin McHale is now the head coach. In 2005, McHale led the Timberwolves to a 19-12 record. Even though McHale will be developing the future, he will want to win now. 

Keep an eye on Kevin Love and Mike Miller in the box scores. Up to this point, Miller has underachieved in comparison to his last few years with Memphis. With a new coach and coming off an ankle injury, owners may be uncertain of Millers value, and you could acquire him at a discount.  

Through four games in December, Love has posted two double-doubles. We haven't seen the famed passing ability much out of Love this year, but as he adjusts to the NBA offense and speed of the game, expect him to display it more and more. Many tried to compare Love to McHale before the draft, now he will get to learn directly from the former Celtic.

Al Jefferson will sustain his 20 and 10 average, and if Love can develop he will take pressure off Jefferson. Randy Foye should continue to develop as he's scored over 20 points in four of his last eight games.