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Bucks' Skiles is fantasy foe
Philadelphia, PA (Sports Network) - When nearly 40 percent of a team's shot attempts are taken by two players, finding other fantasy-worthy options on that team is a predictably difficult task.

That undertaking is further complicated by a coach who changes his rotation as much as he changes his socks like Milwaukee Bucks headmaster Scott Skiles.

Skiles is a notably rigid coach when it comes to discipline; unfortunately, he couldn't be more capricious when it comes to picking a lineup.

Case in point: Bucks forward-center Larry Sanders, a 6-foot-11 former first- round pick from VCU. Sanders' value is being stifled by inconsistent playing time.

He started the season with five straight double-digit scoring efforts in 27 minutes per game, but quickly saw his floor time decrease to 18 mpg in his next eight. He averaged just 4.1 ppg in that span.

Part of the problem is Sanders' penchant for picking up fouls. He collected four or more fouls in half of those eight games. But that doesn't explain why he played just six minutes on Nov. 21 at Miami, 12 minutes on Nov. 26 at Chicago and 14 minutes on Nov. 28 versus New York.

Sanders further proved his worth on Nov. 30, when he had an unconventional triple-double with 10 points, 12 boards and 10 blocks, starting off on a three game stretch during which he has averaged 12 points, 11.7 rebounds and 7.3 blocks in 30-plus minutes per game.

Rookie power forward John Henson has also struggled to find a consistent spot in Skiles' rotation despite flashes of potential. Henson missed five of the first six games with a knee injury but had 17 points and 18 boards at Miami on Nov. 21. That performance earned him all of 1:18 in Milwaukee's next game.

He's started the last four games but Skiles said the youngster is still "playing a little bit unsure," according to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. "John's thing is, he still doesn't know, and he shouldn't, everything that is going on out there," Skiles said. "Sometimes he gets the ball and he doesn't know what to do so he shoots it," Skiles said. It doesn't sound like Henson will be getting more minutes anytime soon.

Skiles can afford to be extremely patient with his young big men because he has veteran centers Samuel Dalembert and Ekpe Udoh. Unfortunately, both players are canceling each other out from a fantasy perspective.

Marquis Daniels is the new flavor of the week for Skiles. Daniels has started the last two games at small forward while Tobias Harris has been forced to the bench. Harris scored 18 points on 8-of-11 shooting in 33 minutes in the season opener but has played just 16 mpg since then.

The Bucks' best bet for fantasy relevance at small forward is Mike Dunleavy, but he's currently dealing with several injuries and hasn't scored more than eight points in any of his last five games.

The return of Luc Richard Mbah a Moute from right knee surgery will only further cloud Dunleavy's playing time off the bench. Mbah a Moute has played 17 mpg in his first two games back, but he's of more value to his real life team than your fantasy squad due to his ability to defend multiple positions.

Then there's Ersan Ilyasova, who was handed a four-year, $32 million contract after a breakout 2011 season (13 ppg, 8.8 rpg) but is currently riding the pine.

We can't chide Skiles for yanking the Turkish power forward from the starting five; Ilyasova averaged just 6.3 points and 4.8 rebounds on 31.9 percent shooting (.429 FT) in his first 11 games, but we can question why Ilyasova played just 13 minutes on Nov. 28 and received a DNP-CD on Nov. 30 after helping Milwaukee come back from a 27-point deficit to defeat the Bulls on the road on Nov. 26 (Ilyasova had 18 points in that game, a season-high). Or why he played 19 minutes Monday after hitting up Boston for 15 points in 34 minutes Saturday.

Right now, the only Bucks players fantasy owners can trust are top scorers Monta Ellis and Brandon Jennings, who both seem immune to Skiles' tinkering despite shooting .401 and .415 from the field, respectively.

Sanders should be owned for his potential to contribute in multiple categories, including the difficult-to-fill blocked shots, but we wouldn't bank on him getting 30-plus minutes on a consistent basis.

With 13 players allowed on an active roster, the NBA is Scott Skiles' oyster and fantasy owners just have to deal with it.




Comments? Criticism? Applause? Contact Thomas J. Harrigan at tharrigan@sportsnetwork.com.

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