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   String Music:  Dec. 31, 2001
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Jefferson GeorgeString Music
by Jefferson George
When he's not trying to forget how Michael Olowokandi messed up more fantasy teams than he can remember, Jefferson George is a writer who has played fantasy basketball for eight years. Two of his teams have won their leagues. None of his columns has won any awards. E-mail him at
By now you're probably tired of all the holiday movie hype, especially with one certain blockbuster, but bear with me. Everything they say about this movie is true. The best comparison I can come up with is "Star Wars." It really is that magical and awe-inspiring, as well as deserving of repeat viewings ... But enough about "Kate and Leopold."

1997 National Champ
Mike Bibby seeks shelter from Jefferson George's harsh assessment.
To be honest, there's one movie that always will stand above the rest this time of year. Sadly, this marks the first year in a long time that I didn't see even part of "A Christmas Story." Weird, given the air time it commands every December. Not sure how I missed it. Maybe I'm reeling from the news that Ralphie's friend Flick, the flagpole licker, went on to become a porn star. (Oops, did I just call him a "flagpole licker?") Or maybe my girlfriend put some kind of channel block on our TV. Geez, you watch "Cobra" and "Stone Cold" one too many times, and your TBS/TNT privileges are revoked.

Absent any viewings of this holiday classic, I'm left with only one recourse, of course ...

Not to borrow from my fellow scribe The Gamer, but Mike Bibby is beating my fantasy team up worse than Scott Farcus ever could. Anyone see the story in USA Today a couple of weeks ago? "Bibby living royally" was the headline. Well, bully for him. The only thing Bibby can brag about is low turnovers, which I could care less about in ESPN leagues. Otherwise, his 14 points and five assists a game flat-out suck for someone drafted so high this season. "Bibby's numbers are modest," USA Today said. No kidding.

I can't say I'm too happy with Jalen Rose, either. Rose scored 26 the other day against the Wiz, but overall has had a month to forget: 15 points, four rebounds, and three assists a game while shooting a robust 39 percent. This is after 20, five, five and 44 percent in November. But hey, at least his free-throw percentage is up. Gee, thanks, Jalen.

Don't know how long Ray Allen will be out,
Tim Thomas
Small Forward
Milwaukee Bucks
but it looks like super-sub Michael Redd may be cooling off. Redd made the most of a recent six-game stretch: almost 17 points, more than 5 boards and almost two threes a game while shooting 57 percent. But in his last two, Redd has averaged only eight and a half points and shot 35 percent, although his steals and assists are up a bit. In those same two games, Tim Thomas averaged 21 points and more than three treys a game. There might be room for both guys to contribute with Allen out, but I'd watch the situation for another game or two.

Desperate for assists, I'm tempted to take a chance on Rod Strickland with Anthony Carter out. I just haven't been very impressed to this point. I guess I want to be sure I can get seven to eight assists and 11 to 12 points a game regularly, and Rod hasn't convinced me yet. He's also 35 years old, and I think he may be out of gas. Still, if you have no other options for assists and can handle poor shooting, maybe Strickland is worth a shot.

I've never been a big fan, but Bryon Russell may be worth keeping on eye on, especially with Donyell Marshall's numbers starting to slip. Russell certainly won't displace a healthy Marshall, but after being hurt for a month or so, Russell has come back with a couple of decent games. In his last five, Russell has posted unassuming numbers: 12 points, three rebounds, a three and a steal a game. But I'm looking at his 19-point, two-trey effort against the Celtics and his 18-point, four-steal showing against the Blazers. 'Don't call me Byron' is versatile enough to be a decent fantasy contributor as long as he gets minutes. More games like that, and he'll get them. Sorry, John Crotty.

Samaki Walker
Power Forward
Los Angeles Lakers
In the short-term, Samaki Walker is an obvious option among big men. With Shaq sidelined, Walker will get more minutes, boards and blocks. In his last four, Walker has averaged 12.5 points on 60 percent shooting, more than eight boards and more than three blocks a game (and that's with zero blocks in one game). The "Diesel" is out until at least Friday's action with the Suns, so Walker should give you a few decent games.

It's good to know I can count on readers for tough research. No, not the guy who knew the name of the guy who managed the restaurant above "Cheers." (John Allen Hill, and it was Melville's.) I'm talking about would-be renaissance man David Wadler, who followed my flogging of Oliver Miller in last week's family-friendly String Music with this update:

"Jefferson, I was going to say that Miller hasn't gotten PT because he's on the Harlem Globetrotters, but things have changed. Read on, young man.

Globetrotters Release Veteran Center Oliver Miller Phoenix, Dec. 24, 2001 - The Harlem Globetrotters announced today that the team has released veteran center Oliver Miller. Team officials in Phoenix made the announcement.

(JG note: This next part is the best)

"I consider Oliver to be a friend and no question a solid basketball player. Unfortunately he is one of the very few athletes, that after two months has shown no appreciation for what it takes mentally and physically to be a Harlem Globetrotter," said Mannie Jackson, Owner and Chairman of the Globetrotters. "We'll miss him and I feel horribly bad, because against a lot of advice, I saw the potential for greatness."

I can hear Mannie now: "Oliver, for the last time, you're supposed to throw, not EAT the confetti ... "

This is where I give you the update on my fantasy team. Want to guess what my New Year's Resolution is? That's right, to stop pummeling myself in public.

My big fear isn't embarrassment. My friends will say that's never stopped me from doing anything. (Singing with the band at Frank's wedding reception comes to mind.) No, I worry that these weekly musings on my mediocre team are boring you. I could care less whether it undermines my authority as a columnist. It's not like anyone listens anyway.

I won't cut off team talk altogether, of course. A lot of my league stuff creeps into weekly player evaluations already, and I'll be happy to talk up trade possibilities and pontificate on the many reasons for my fantasy team's poor play.
Ex-Bibby teammate
Michael Dickerson was struggling before landing on the injured list.
The Amazing Arizona Alumni -- Bibby and Michael Dickerson -- are featured prominently.

But it's clear that despite my top-tier status in the 10-team ESPN Honcho league and my developing turnaround in my 12-team H2H league, I have virtually no chance in my 12-team roto league. You know it's bad when you've already got three injured guys, and then Iron Man Michael Finley finally misses a game. Steven Weber isn't the only one who's cursed.

As for recent moves, I dropped three guys at once in my 10-team league, with Dickerson, Chucky Atkins and Juwan Howard getting the boot for Brian Grant, Eddie Griffin and Mark Jackson. I need assists, boards and healthy bodies, and since Atkins outlived his usefulness and Howard was just bugging me, they had to go. Even if Dickerson comes back and rains threes, I'm already in first there. See ya, Mike.

Otherwise, the only victory I can claim is crushing the top dog in my H2H league last week. My 6-2 win was especially nice because Nick, a.k.a. Big Dad, was talking trash on Monday.

"I'm sorry I'm going to have to ruin your holidays," he wrote on our bulletin board.

Yeah, you want some more of that, beeyotch? Didn't think so.

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