David Lee entered the 2010-2011 season as a consensus top-20 statistical performer. A series of setbacks, including an infected elbow laceration, have all amounted to what has been a disappointing first half.
Entering the tail end of February, Lee has his Warriors on the outside looking in on a playoff spot. But a second half surge from the talented big man would go a long way to ensuring Lee and co. to catch a glimpse of postseason action.
Over the previous two seasons, Lee has lauded himself as one of the game’s premier rebounders following consecutive years of 11.7 rebounds per contest. The 10’-11’ season is playing to a different tune, as opponents have seen Lee’s tenacious rebounding ability take a hit as he’s pulling about 9.5 boards nightly as well as shooting a career low 49 percent from the field.
Prior to the aforementioned elbow injury in November, Lee’s year has been marred by a slow start that saw him struggle to post double figure scoring outputs in October (10.7 PPG). He turned it around, and closed out the 1st half of the season strong by compiling 18 consecutive double-digit scoring performances.
Lee will continue to anchor Golden State’s interior game, which promises to foster a return to dominance for one of the NBA’s most dominant low post players.
Like Lee, Portland’s newly acquired Gerald Wallace has struggled to meet the expectations following a dominant ’09-’10 season while playing for Charlotte. Wallace has seen a dip in every statistical category, which has been a large factor in his team’s disappointing season, following a year that witnessed the Bobcats making the franchise’s inaugural playoff appearance.
A year ago, Wallace was lauded as one of the game’s top all-around contributors as he was among Charlotte’s leaders in almost every category ranging from his 18.2 PPG to his 1.5 steals per night. A deep statistical analysis of Wallace shows that his year-long slump can be illustrated in his struggling PER (Player Efficiency Rating) which hovers at 14.8 contrasted by his 18.3 last season (League average at 15).
The change of scenery will likely spark an impressive stretch run from the veteran forward. He can expect substantial playing time for a Trail Blazer team that needs a short-term replacement should Brandon Roy’s surgically repaired knees slow Portland’s star shooting guard. At the opposite end of the west coast is Ron Artest, who like Wallace, will be relied upon to deliver in March and April.
This spring will be a vital turning point in the career of Lakers’ veteran forward Ron Artest. As Artest’s alma mater St. John’s climbs back into basketball relevance, it seems that he is amidst a meteoric fall from the upper tier of small forwards. The Los Angeles wing man is scoring at a career low rate (7.9 PPG, 15 PPG career) and his shooting percentages are a far cry from where we’re accustomed.
At 39.7 percent from the floor, Artest isn’t even considered a scoring option for the Lakers which leads fans to believes that the 31-year-old will either fade into the bowels of coach Phil Jackson’s bench, or make one last push as a capable shooter. There isn’t much promise following five games where Artest posted five points or less as a starter, but March will serve as the most telling chapter in the roller coaster career of Ron Artest.
Written by Conor Gereg exclusively for www.thefantasyfix.com.