Note: This column was supposed to go up on Monday, but thanks to Hurricane Sandy I wasn’t able to put this together until today.
With the 2012-13 NBA season right around the corner I thought it was time to fire up the basketball batsignal and put together the knights of the fantasy basketball roundtable. Joining myself at the table are two of my buddies from South Jersey Anthony Sterchele and Doug Cherwien. So without further ado, let the roundtable begin!
Two Guard Sleepers
AS: 1.) Kyle Lowry. He was by all means a top 10 pg with the Rockets last season before his injury. Now he moves to a team in Toronto with another inside/outside big man much like Luis Scola (Bargnani) for him to rack up some easy dimes. His big man rebounding ability for his small guy frame will benefit anyone who drafts him.
2.) Aaron Afflalo. High percentage 3-Point shooter moving to a team that shot the most 3-pointers in the NBA last season.. need i say more?
SD: 1.) Paul George. He can fill up the stat sheet like Lebron lite on some games and he’s going to get 30+ minutes per game this season. With Danny Granger trending downwards George could blossom into a star this season.
2.) Goran Dragic. His per 36 minute points and assists last season were 15.9 and 7.2 (per basketball reference). Even though the Suns are going to be a basement dweller this season Dragic does have options around him and could make a nice tandem with Beasley if he returns to a similar player that we saw at Kansas State.
DC: 1.) Big fan of Klay Thompson this year. The 3 point upside could win you percentage, single handedly.
2.) I really like Jrue Holliday. That floor is going to open up for him with Bynum in the paint. And with the exodus of Lou Williams and Iggy the opportunity will be there for points and assists as long as turner gets going.
DC: 1.) I think Kenneth Faried is an excellent call. He’s playing on a team with a lot of talent and his late season surge last season shows a lot of promise. A little small for a 4 but he’s quick enough to make up for that.
2.) At center, I’m going to go with Deandre Jordan. Not necessarily for point scoring here but you need blocks and boards, Deandre is your man. High field goal percentage as well, just be careful if he gets to the stripe for 2, because they’re both not going in.
AS: 1.) Nikola Pekovic: He was dominant in the second half of last season. Now with Love sidelined for the first month of the season look for Pekovic to continue his dominance.
2.) Marcin Gortat: Gortat was quietly a top 5 center in the NBA last season. Losing Nash could hurt, but Dragic is a great replacement.
SD: 1.) Kenneth Faried: He averaged 10.2 points with 7.2 rebounds last year and only averaged 22.4 minutes. George Karl loves his work ethic so I expect him to see much more playing time this season. He could contend for the rebound title.
2.) Al Horford: This is purely just based off of the fact that he only played 11 games last season and most fantasy players have forgotten about his almost double-double average in the four seasons prior to last year.
2 Busts At Guard:
SD: 1.) Eric Gordon: I just don’t have any faith in his ability to stay healthy for just a small chunk of the season. It just feels like every season is going to be the same old story with Gordon.
2.) Raymond Felton: Even though Melo has promised that he will play off of the ball more this year I can’t envision that scenario actually taking place so Felton’s stats will take a big hit. We’re still not sure if he’s going to be in shape for the long haul this season after he hit one too many buffets in Portland.
AS: 1.) Jeremy Lin. I’m not feeling Linsane anymore. He finds himself on a team with much less talent around him than last year in NY. Plus he will be the main focus for other teams defensively this year. He’s a turnover machine.
2.) Ray Allen: Quite frankly he’s just not that important to this Miami team (in fantasy terms) that already has Dwayne Wade at shooting guard. Allen is 37 years old and hasn’t been healthy for 2 years. Why would that change?
DC: 1.) Andre Igoudala had stellar potential in Philly but never came into superstardom. The team change doesn’t help as there will be lots of talent handling the ball in Denver, not something he had to worry about in Philly.
2.) Monta Ellis, I think his production dips as Brandon Jennings comes into his own this season.
2 Busts At Forward/Center:
AS: 1.)Amar’e Stoudemire: I wish this wasn’t on my list here, but New York’s “big three” cant play together. Amare will still get you 17-19 ppg, but is that enough for a second or third round pick?
2.) Nene Hilario: Plantar Fasciitis is what will possibly sideline Nene for the Wizards opener, and plantar fasciitis isn’t something that just goes away with time…. wait thats exactly what makes it go away, but how much time?!!? Avoid
DC: 1.) I think Danny Granger has bust potential with Paul George dipping into his production.
2.) I also feel Glenn Davis has been getting a lot of attention but I’m not a big fan. His playoff numbers last season won’t continue.
SD: 1.) Andrew Bogut. Combine a player who has an injury history with a franchise who has arguably had the worst luck in the history of the league and it’s a recipe for disaster. Bogut will never be able to shoot the ball like he once did after his freak elbow injury two seasons ago. Even if he stays healthy he’s not worth a spot on your team.
2.) Tyson Chandler. The classic case of a player being a better actual basketball player instead of a fantasy player. Carmelo is the opposite of this.
Who should be the first point guard off of the board, Chris Paul, Deron Williams, or Russell Westbrook?
SD: Deron Williams. He finally doesn’t have to feel the pressure of doing everything for his team which means he’ll be able to become more of a facilitator, but make no mistake this is DWill’s team. When the Nets need a big bucket the ball will be in his hands. The same can be said for Paul, but he was in pass first mode for the first 40 minutes of games last year before taking over in crunch time. Russell Westbrook fascinates me, but I would put Williams above him.
DC: I take CP3 here. Westbrook can score no doubt but the assists aren’t there like the other two. Deron while he saw a raise in scoring last year he actually lowered his field goal percentage. Now, with a better team around him I don’t think he’ll be scoring like he did last year. To top it off, Paul is a thief averaging two and a half steals a game. He fills out quite a few categories well.
AS: Deron Williams. He does it all. If you want CP3 you won’t be rewarded with too many 20+ point games, but he will get you 10+ assists. Westbrook will score 25+ routinely, but can he dish out 7+ assists every night? Deron Williams can do both for you, every night.
What other rookie would you draft besides Anthony Davis?
DC: I like Damian Lillard a lot. I think he can rejuvenate that Portland team. And he is going to score. He’s a Possible rookie of the year candidate. I also like Bradley Beal shooting in Washington.
AS: Damian Lillard. Lillard can ball, but aside from that he finds himself in a position with a top 3 PF (Aldridge) in the NBA who has been in dire need of a PG who can get him the ball. Lillard can do that, and knock down the 3 ball with consistency.
SD: I’ll third the case for Lillard. I’m intrigued by the fact that he played all four years of college at Weber State and is walking into a situation where he can facilitate for a potential young playoff team. He has Aldridge, Nicolas Batum, and Wesley Mathews to pass the ball to AND he can score 20+ points per night.
If you could have one player from the Lakers who would it be?
AS: Dwight Howard. He recovered quicker than expected. He could be on the court opening night. Almost a guaranteed double-double every game along with his 2-3 blocks, though he will hurt your entire team with his free throw shooting woes.
SD: Pau Gasol and I’m not saying that just because I kept him in my league. He’ll still touch the ball the same amount. With D12 aboard I think Pau will be a benefactor of the softer defense on him. Plus with Howard down low Pau will be able to show off his passing skills.
DC: Kobe, plain and simple. Nash will rack up assists on this team but Kobe is still the leader and will still be the closer he has been. Dwight Howard is now not the first, second, and possibly third option on offense. Even with lingering injury issues, he’s the one that I want.
Is Steve Nash underrated, or is he going to be a disappointment in the fantasy world?
SD: I’m putting the checkmark next to disappointment because he barely scored in Phoenix last year and he’s now the fourth offensive scoring option. The assist numbers will be nice, but you can find better value where he’s getting drafted.
DC: He’s going to play somewhat of a different roll because of all the talent around him, assists will be easy to come by, but the scoring won’t be there like it was. Not enough ball.
AS: Well he couldn’t shoot the ball any less than he did for the Suns last year, so his fantasy value can only go up when you surround him with NBA caliber players.
Is Blake Griffin overrated?
DC: I don’t think so. He’s a solid 20/10 guy with a few assists thrown in. He is the clippers best post presence and plays well with Paul. Plus who is better for commercials in the NBA than Blake.
AS: In Fantasy world. No. A stat sheet can’t lie. He put up dominate numbers, but if you were trying to start a franchise… Blake wouldn’t be the guy I build my team around.
SD: If dunks were a category he wouldn’t be, but unfortunately for him it isn’t. Griffin is a double-double machine, but he doesn’t block for a big man and doesn’t fill out the rest of the box score, so I find him to be a little overrated.
Which former 76er will have a better season Lou Williams or Andre Igudoala?
AS: Lou Williams. He landed in Atlanta, a team that desperately will need to fill the void of losing Joe Johnson this offseason. While Igudoala got thrown into a haven that collects SF’s (Iggy, Chandler, Gallinari) like a hobby… that is unless you consider him a shooting guard, but don’t you have to be able to shoot to be that.
SD: Lou Williams. He finally gets to play starting minutes for a team so his numbers are bound to trend upward and I have no idea what role George Karl will carve up for Iguodala.
DC: I’m going to go with Lou Williams. I think he will benefit from Jeff Teague and Josh Smith in that offense. And he’ll be taking Joe Johnson’s role, who got a lot of opportunity to flourish.
Are you avoiding Linsanity this year?
SD: Have you seen the Rockets lineup besides James Harden? Yes I’ll take a pass.
DC: Not a chance Lin hell I’m passing on him. No more Melo to hog the ball.
AS: I will be avoiding it for the first 8 rounds yes. After that .. fair game.
Who are your eight Eastern Conference playoff teams (in no order).
DC: Boston, Brookyln, Chicago, Indiana, Atlanta, Miami, New York, Philadelphia
AS: Heat, Celtics, 76ers, Knicks, Nets, Pacers, Bulls, Wizards
SD: Miami, Boston, New York, Philadelphia, Indiana, Brooklyn, Chicago, Milwaukee
Give me your eight Western Conference playoff teams (in no order).
AS: Thunder, Lakers, Spurs, Grizzlies, Clippers, Nuggets, Mavs, T-Wolves
SD: Oklahoma City, LA Lakers, LA Clippers, San Antonio, Denver, Dallas, Memphis, Portland
DC: LA, Dallas, Houston, Memphis, San Antonio, Denver, Oklahoma City, Phoenix
Name game! Who would you rather have:
Al Jefferson or Marc Gasol?
SD: Marc Gasol because he has Z-Bo to shovel the ball to for assists and he should see his points rise this season.
DC: Gasol, I like that he’s an active steals blocks rebounds guy plus the points are there that team is set to explode.
AS: Marc Gasol. He gets better every year. A little worried about his numbers dropping minimally with a full season next to Randolph, but it’s a safe pick. I still fear Jefferson will get hurt every year.
Blake Griffin or LaMarcus Aldridge?
DC: Aldridge, but it’s really a toss-up.
AS: Lamarcus Aldridge. His ability to shoot the ball away from the basket and his free throw percentages give him the edge.
SD: Griffin only because I know what he can do with Paul distributing the ball to him, we haven’t seen what Lillard can do on a professional court.
Rondo or Kyrie?
AS: I’m a huge fan of Kyrie and what he’s done for Cleveland, but is this serious? Rondo without question. He puts up LBJ numbers without all the scoring. Irving lost minutes last year due to him being a defensive liability at the end of games.
SD: The gap will close this season because Kyrie will vault into a top 20 player, but I have to go with the most undervalued player in the league in Rajon Rondo. He’s has had 24 straight regular season games with double digit assists and he can rebound, and he can score.
DC: Kyrie Irving, what’s not to like about this kid. Young talent who scores and fills at least three other stat categories.
Greg Monroe or DeMarcus Cousins?
SD: Monroe because he has a consistent head on his shoulders. I think the Kings are a combustible unit and will fall apart before the all-star break.
DC: Cousins, I think he could be one of the talks of the league this year. His field goal percentage is off the charts if he works on those post moves a little more we could see an explosion this year.
AS: Cousins. His upside is averaging 20/10 this year. quite possible. He was in my opinion a better center than Bynum was at times lad year.
Klay Thompson or Michael Beasley?
DC: Beasley, I think he gets it going in phoenix. He’s been asked to shoot more which can only help his offensive cause.
AS: Klay Thompson will make a leap in his second year in the NBA. His great range and consistency from three point range intrigues me. You never know what to expect from the head case known as Michael Beasley.
SD: Beasley finally gets the chance to be an alpha dog which is a role he hasn’t played since his K-State days.
Brandon Jennings or Monta Ellis?
DC: Jennings, love the talent and with Monta there it opens up the floor for Jennings.
SD: Monta Ellis. His assist numbers can be sneaky good and he’ll rack up steals. As long as you can afford to have his wild shooting percentage he’s worth a roster spot. I wish that Ellis could just play on a team that didn’t have a valuable point guard so he could assume that role.
AS: Jennings. Ellis is too much of a free shooter. Sure there are times where he will get 35 points, but plenty times he Ellis will score 17 points on 4 of 18 shooting. Jennings will rack up more assists as well.
Lebron or Durant?
AS: LeBron. Where do I start? He is the most versatile player that I have ever seen. He shot the ball 53% from the field last year and his field goal % has gone up every single year in his career but once. He towers over Durant in assists, and can score just as much on a nightly basis. Rebounding is a flush and adding Ray Allen for some open threes will only help LBJ get more easy assists.
SD: Lebron and it’s not even close. He’s a once in a lifetime talent who leads his team in points, rebounds, and assists. And he can throw in multiple blocks and steals per game. Durant is a once in a lifetime scorer who has the ability to rebound because of his size, but Westbrook is the facilitator there.
DC: Lebron James, no one fills out the stats sheet quite like Bron Bron.
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