Articles By Corby Yarbrough
Week 1 of the NBA season is in the books, the hype is over and now teams begin to develop their chemistry and settle in for the long haul. As week 2 got underway Monday night, the Chicago Bulls were able to record a big home win against the previously undefeated Trail Blazers behind Luol Deng's career-high 40 points in a matchup of Athlon Sports' Nos. 7- and 12-ranked teams.
Games with some of Athlon's top-ranked teams are few and far between at the front end of the week, but the action starts picking up by week's end.
The Nuggets and Mavericks highlight the early part of the week with two games against each other in two key Western Conference tilts of our Nos. 6 and 8 teams.
Dallas is getting solid play from Tyson Chandler and Brendan Haywood down low, while Aaron Afflalo's hot play from the preseason has carried over to the regular season as the Denver shooting guard is averaging 14 ppg while shooting 56 percent from the floor and 82 percent from the free throw line.
The two teams, both 2-1, face off in Denver Wednesday and in Dallas on Saturday. The Mavericks will be off in between, while the Nuggets play host to the Clippers on Friday night.
Another Western Conference contest has No. 10 San Antonio traveling to No. 15 Phoenix Wednesday night. This should be a high-scoring affair as both teams are scoring over 102 a game and allowing 104.
The Trail Blazers end their Midwest run to Chicago and Milwaukee by returning to the Rose Garden to play host to No. 9 Oklahoma City Thursday. Portland might have as tough a time in Milwaukee on Tuesday as it did in Chicago on Monday and could return home a 3-2 team after leaving 3-0. Oklahoma City was blown out by Utah on Sunday and will try to rebound against the host Clippers before its matchup with the Blazers.
Staying in the Western Conference for two more games, the Suns come out of their game with the Spurs and turn right back around and play an up-and-coming Grizzlies team. No. 14 Memphis has a big game tonight at top-ranked Los Angeles and heads to No. 18 Golden State before taking on the Suns.
The Warriors, meanwhile, hope to have the services of guard Stephon Curry (ankle) back in a week in which they take on Memphis and No. 13 Utah at home before a road trip to Detroit Sunday night.
No. 11 New Orleans has a three-game stretch this week that begins at No. 17 Houston Wednesday, returns home Friday to play host to No. 3 Miami and finishes at No. 16 Milwaukee. The Hornets are off to a great start at 3-0 and take on a winless but dangerous Rockets team first, and matchups with the Heat and up-and-down Bucks should give us a pretty good idea where the Hornets stand after two weeks.
Milwaukee also needs to establish itself as one of the teams in that second tier in East. There are really only three competitive tiers in the East as it stands — Boston, Miami and Orlando in tier 1, Atlanta in tier 2, Chicago and Milwaukee in tier 3 and then two of the remaining nine teams that will fight for the right to get ousted in the first round by the top tier.
The Bucks have a busy week with games against Portland tonight, at No. 2 Boston on Wednesday, at Indiana on Friday before coming back to play host to the Hornets Saturday. This will be the second and last time the Bucks and Hornets play this year; New Orleans won 95-91 last Oct. 27 in the season opener for both squads.
— Corby A. Yarbrough @AthlonCorby on Twitter
There are many ways to play fantasy basketball — rotisserie, head to head, lineups that can be changed any time and lineups that lock just prior to Monday night’s tip. With that in mind, Athlon Sports will give you the Fantasy Dime each week. These are 10 things to assist you before you have to lock in that lineup for the week.
Miami Heat garbage time
Players such as Eddie House and James Jones are finding a few ways to rack up some numbers. One is by just being on the floor with any of the Big Three in Miami. The other comes when those three are off and they are the go-to guys when the starters have taken care of business and are riding the pine for the rest of the game. House (PG/SG) is averaging 24 minutes with 11 field goals made — six being 3-pointers — and has seven boards, eight assists and five steals. Not a bad play in deeper leagues. Jones (SF) is even better. In 28 minutes a game, he has 14 field goals — 13 of them treys — six boards, three assists, three steals and two blocks. He is shooting 48 percent, while House is at 39.
The “Project” is working early
No. 3 overall pick Derrick Favors, considered a project pick, is not doing too badly in the absence of Troy Murphy (back). He is shooting 58 percent from the floor while averaging 21 minutes, 10.3 points and 10 boards in three games. Murphy should return by week’s end, but Favors is a name to keep an eye on before and after Murphy gets back into the lineup. He has a tough week this week, however, with games against Charlotte and then on the road at Orlando and Miami.
It’s all Wright in Golden State
Dorell Wright came on as a late sleeper after he nailed down the starting small forward position. Reggie Williams was expected to be the sleeper name at that spot and on that team, but Wright is getting 35 minutes a game, shooting 52 percent with 19 points a game, and has hit 11 3-pointers with 16 boards. He is a good play this week at home against Memphis, Utah and on the road at Detroit as all three are allowing 99 ppg or more.
Take your time, Bynum
It was strange to see Lamar Odom’s average draft position where it was entering the season. The forward had an ADP of 87 despite finishing as one of the top 60 players in most formats last season. This year, in nine-category formats, he is the 22nd-best player at 16 ppg, 13.7 rebounds, 3.3 assists, three 3-pointers made and a 67-percent shooting clip. Andrew Bynum has been cleared to run and can start practicing in a few weeks, and perhaps Odom’s ADP was low due to looking at the long haul and Bynum being there later on. Odom has had inconsistency issues in the past, but he’s there now while Bynum isn’t, and if he can even stay close to this pace he will be a good play even when Bynum returns. He’s an especially good play this week as the Lakers have four games.
For the love of guard
So point guards are fun to figure out, huh? For every Rajon Rondo, Russell Westbrook or Derrick Rose there’s a Shaun Livingston, George Hill and Roddy Beaubois. Livingston was supposed to be the man in Charlotte, but D.J. Augustin’s performance coupled with Livingston’s keen injury has slowed that down. Tony Parker just signed a four-year extension, thus ending the hopes of Hill becoming the starter in San Antonio. Beaubois is recovering from a broken foot and won’t return until December. So there’s a better chance that Jason Kidd will hit a 65-foot jumper before Beaubois … oh, wait, Kidd did hit said jumper
Livingston is playing 13 minutes a game and right now is no threat to Augustin, who averages 40 minutes with 17 ppg, 5.3 apg, 3.0 rpg, 2.7 treys a game, shooting 43 percent from the field and 11-of-11 from the line. Hill is still the best option of the three despite Parker’s extension. Parker is at 32 mpg, while Hill is a 27. So he’s still getting minutes to go along with 11 ppg, 5 apg, 2.0 steals and 2.0 boards. Beaubois should be in no other lineup than a deep, keeper league lineup.
T.J. Ford is also cutting into Darren Collison’s time unexpectedly. He’s getting almost 22 mpg with 7.3 ppg, three assists and 1.7 steals. It’s not so much that Ford is waiver-wire worthy as it is the fact that he is taking numbers away from Collison, who is at 27 mpg, 13.7 ppg, 5.7 apg, 2.3 rpg and 1.3 spg. Collison is 30th when it comes to guards and minutes played.
Grab these guys
SG Aaron Afflalo has kept his preseason streak going well into the regular season. The Nugget is averaging 14 ppg, 3.3 apg, 2.3 rpg while shooting 64 percent from the field and 82 from the line.
Guard Kirk Hinrich is averaging 37 minutes for the Wizards with 10 ppg off of five 3-pointers made, 3.0 apg and 1.0 spg. He should continue to see playing time with Gilbert Arenas sidelined, and has good matchups with Philly, New York and Cleveland all allowing 98 ppg or more so far.
PG Luke Ridnour is filling in well for the injured Jonny Flynn in Minnesota. He is logging 30 minutes a game with 13.3 ppg, 5.3 apg, 1.0 steals and an added bonus of five boards a contest. He might be a tough play this week, however, with games at Miami, Orlando and Houston and hosting Atlanta in between.
And for a complete flyer if Zach Randolph (tailbone) is out any length of time, Darrell Arthur is a good play in Memphis. The MRI came back negative for Randolph, but he is already banged up early in the season and center Marc Gasol missed the opener with an ankle injury. He returned to play in the second game, but it still is a good opportunity for Arthur to sneak some minutes. He is averaging 17 ppg over 29 minutes, shooting 60 percent from the floor, 100-percent from the stripe and has 14 boards in three games.
Da buona a bad
Translation: Marco Belinelli has gone from good to bad.
The Italian got the starting SG gig in New Orleans, and it looked like it was all going to be roses alongside Chris Paul. He started off great with 18 points, six boards, 40 percent from the field and 100 percent from the stripe in 35 minutes during the season opener. But it has tailed off since then, shooting 25 percent from the field with a total of eight points and two boards in the last two games. His minutes also dropped to 23 a game. Marcus Thornton may re-assume the role he was slated to have before the season began.
Ben Gordon is probably going to be a tough one to figure out this season. He is part of a crowded backcourt in Detroit, and his consistency could be a question mark. Case in point was Saturday night against Chicago. Gordon, a former Bull himself, scored 21 points in the first half as the Pistons built a 21-point lead. He was 5-of-5 from the field and went to the line for a 10-of-10 performance. Then the second half began. He missed all five of his shots, did not get to the line and coughed up the ball five times. Chicago’s pressure was certainly a factor, but it has to be disturbing to Ben Gordon owners that trapping him on the perimeter like that can cause him to completely disappear from a game. The Pistons went on to lose by nine. He is averaging 21.7 ppg in 27 minutes, but games against Boston, Atlanta, Charlotte and Golden State make him a tricky play this week.
Cousins Cruising … for now
Rookie DeMarcus Cousins has been better than expected in the early part of his career. Through three games he is averaging 13.3 ppg, 7.3 boards and 2.3 apg while shooting 46 percent from the field and 78 percent from the stripe in 25 minutes a game. The Sacramento PF/C is getting this action early due to the injury to Samuel Dalembert. Well, Dalembert returned Friday night with six minutes, got 16 minutes Saturday — starting the second half — and could send Cousins back to the bench. So keep an eye on both players as the week goes on. The Kings only have two games this week, hosting the Lakers and Grizzlies.
Valley of the Bust
So many fantasy players were leery of PF/C Channing Frye this season. There was no way the Phoenix Sun could duplicate the numbers from a year ago, right? After a 2009-10 in which he shot 44 percent off of 172 made 3-pointers, Frye has started off 2010-11 by hitting 3-of-11 3-pointers — 6-of-18 from the field altogether — for a total of 19 points through three games. The 6-11 Frye is averaging 3.6 boards and 1.6 blocks as well. So the label of bust or one-shot wonder that he had attached to him might be justified since he was only shooting 17 percent from beyond the arc in the preseason. Keep this in mind: Frye made 172 treys last year and had made just 20 of 70 attempted in the first four years of his career.
— Corby A. Yarbrough @AthlonCorby on Twitter
We are only four days into the season, and by night’s end we will probably have already seen a possible preview of the Eastern Conference finals — twice.
The Miami Heat and their big three of LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh looked like they had only played three minutes together in the preseason. Oh, that’s right — that is all they played. They were a turnover, poor-shooting machine yet were still a possession away from walking out of Boston with a win Tuesday night.
So, conference finals preview No. 1 was a little lackluster. The two teams get another crack at it Nov. 11 in Miami. Now we get possible conference finals preview No. 2 tonight as the Heat make their home debut against and Orlando Magic team that cruised past a (insert any disparaging adjective here) Washington Wizards team Thursday night.
It’s James, Wade and Bosh vs. Dwight Howard, Vince Carter, Jameer Nelson and Rashard Lewis. This will be the 1-1 Heat’s third game in four days, while the 1-0 Magic played none of their starters — who shot 69 percent for the game — in the fourth quarter.
“(The Magic) to me have the best chance to beat the Miami Heat in the East (Conference),” said TNT analyst Charles Barkley. “I don’t know how the Celtics are going to hold up over the long haul. To me, this is the most clear and present danger to the Miami Heat.”
Orlando does not see Boston until a Christmas Day tilt in Orlando.
On tap this weekend
The Heat-Magic matchup is the clear-cut favorite for game of the weekend, but there are a few others to take a look at.
• The Knicks travel to Boston tonight as Amar’e Stoudemire and New York try to make the Celtics a 1-2 team in this early Atlantic Division tilt.
• Sacramento is at New Jersey tonight, and both teams are 1-0. Savor that for a second.
• The general consensus is that it is the Lakers out West, with seeds 2-8 up for grabs. With that said, the Denver at New Orleans game tonight could be a 2-7 preview or a 4-5 preview, and hey, you still get to see Carmelo Anthony in a Nuggets uni for a little while longer. And the same can be said for Saturday night’s game between Denver and host Houston and the Hornets' trip to San Antonio.
• Charlotte travels to Milwaukee as both will be playing the second of back-to-back games in an early-season matchup of Eastern Conference teams that will probably battle for the fifth and sixth seeds way down the road.
• An 0-2 Utah will be on two days rest as it tries to get off the mat by playing host to Kevin Durant, Russell Westbrook, Jeff Green and the Oklahoma City Thunder Sunday night on NBATV.
Last year’s No. 1 overall pick finally made his debut and showcased his spectacular athleticism with 20 points, 14 boards, four assists and a steal in 38 minutes of action for the Clippers.
Barkley offered up his take of Wall during the network’s pregame coverage of the rookie’s debut against the Orlando Magic Thursday night.
“(Tonight) is going to be the first time in (Wall’s) life he’s going to play against someone as good as him,” he said.
This year’s No. 1 overall pick was the only highlight of a lackluster performance from the Wizards. He scored 14, dished out nine, stole three and grabbed one board in 35 minutes of work. Wall shot 6-of-19 from the field.
The third overall pick this June played 31 minutes and scored 16 with six assists, seven rebounds and a block for the 76ers.
The third overall pick, considered a project for the Nets, played 20 minutes and grabbed a board a minute as well as eight points.
A hamstring has slowed the fourth overall pick as he was limited to 18 minutes for the Timberwolves. He registered a steal, assist, four boards and 13 points in those 18 minutes, however.
The fifth overall pick by the Kings played 26 minutes and got eight boards, five assists and 14 points. Cousins and Favors will face off tonight as the Kings travel to New Jersey, and Cousins will get a chance to show the Nets he should have been the first big man taken instead of Favors.
The ninth overall pick for the Utah Jazz is averaging 22 minutes for the 0-2 Jazz with 7.5 ppg, 5.5 rebounds and 1.5 blocks.
The Heat are the best ever
At least through one game the Miami Heat are part of something that’s officially the best ever.
TNT’s coverage of the Miami-Boston game was the most watched regular season game ever on cable — earning a 4.6 share with 7.4 million viewers and 5.3 million households seeing the game. It topped a Bulls-Lakers game from February 1996.
The Lakers-Rockets game that followed drew a 2.4 share, giving TNT the most watched opening night doubleheader in its 27 years of covering the Association.
Close out that tab
A bar in Hollywood, Fla., offered to cover the tab of every patron there should the Miami Heat lose to Boston. Well, the Heat did, and the bar coughed up more than $4,000. Whiskey Tango All American Bar & Grill covered the bill — up to $25 — of anyone who signed up 30 minutes before the season opener.
Confident the team would go 82-0, the bar made the offer before the season began. And their confidence remains with the 1-1 Heat heading into tonight’s Sunshine State clash with Orlando, as the establishment’s offer stands for the entire regular season.
NBA is king of social media
The reports are in, and according to sportsfangraph.com the NBA is head and shoulders above the rest when it comes to social media. The Association has 2,126,337 Twitter followers and 5,686,593 Facebook fans for a total of 7,812,930 — outpacing second-place soccer team Barcelona by 1,898,400.
Of the “big four” leagues, the NFL is ninth with over three million, the NHL is 17th with a shade over 1.4 million and Major League Baseball is 19th with a little over 1.2 million fans and followers.
And the NBA has teams that are more connected than entire leagues as the Lakers ranked third, the Celtics 14th, the magic 18th, the Cavaliers 37th, the Bulls 40th and the Heat 50th.
Monta Ellis’ 46 points on Wednesday marked the highest-scoring opening night in the NBA since Michael Jordan scored 54 in 1989.
The “other” Russian in the New York-New Jersey area, Knicks center Timofey Mozgov, had a less than stellar debut when he collected four fouls in seven minutes of play. He did pull down three boards.
Bucks rookie forward Larry Sanders @LarryLuv_8
"Who ever said reach for the clouds is kinda dumb, cuz I'm 21 and I'm moon walkin on the sun"
Kings rookie center DeMarcus Cousins @boogiecousins
"Shoutout to our pilot for making that amazing landing ...thank you lord!"
After terrible weather swept across the Midwest and southeast Tuesday with wind gusts as high as 81 mph. Through all of this, the Sacramento team plane was flying into Minnesota for its Wednesday-night opener.
Bobcats center Nazr Mohammed @NazrMohammed
"Damn! Since when did everyone get to speak at the ring ceremony?!?! When I won it I had something to say lol"
Tweeted while watching the Lakers get their championship rings before their opener against Houston.
Magic forward Rashard Lewis @Rashard_Lewis
"Pure motivation watching the lakers get that ring"
Also tweeted while watching the Lakers get their championship rings before their opener against Houston.
— By Corby A. Yarbrough @AthlonCorby on Twitter
Rotisserie NBA leagues can be a funny thing when trying to evaluate how a fantasy draft went. Add keeper status to that league and it becomes a real crapshoot.
Preference becomes the word of the day in these situations. If you really have your eye on a player in a keeper league — a rookie, a guy coming back from an injury or a major breakout candidate who just has not risen up the ADP charts yet — then it is your call as to when you go get him. But ADP can be a useful tool to gauge just how early you should make that call.
Preference also rules the day in rotisserie when it comes to particular categories you may need to address earlier than one would expect. If you feel solid at every category or know you had better jump on a player who excels in a particular category, you may have to sidestep the ADP chart and go get the guy to help in that category.
With that said, Athlon Sports conducted its annual NBA keeper draft with 168 players being selected over 12 rounds.
This is a 14-team league that operates in a head-to-head format, but rotisserie is still key as the manager who wins the most categories each week wins the game. It is a nine-category league with one keeper from the previous year held over in the round in which he was selected. Keepers can only be kept for one year before re-entering the draft pool. The league starts eight (PG, SG, G, SF, PF, F, C, C) and benches four. The keepers are denoted with an asterisk. Yahoo determines the position eligibility.
In a two-center league, and without an abundance of solid centers, managers find themselves going for centers early either to make sure they don't miss out on the position or to go ahead and hoard the spot with the strategy of making up for missing at other positions down the line.
It is somewhat akin to drafting in two-quarterback football leagues; do you get one QB early, get both early or take the other talent that will fall to you because quarterbacks will be scooped up? The high number of players with power forward/center eligibility certainly helps when going for the center spot during the draft.
1st Round (Picks 1-14)
- Team 1 - Kevin Durant, SF, OKC
- Team 2 - Chris Paul, PG, NO
- Team 3 - Dirk Nowitzki, PF, DAL
- Team 4 - Danny Granger, SF/PF, IND
- Team 5 - Amar'e Stoudemire, PF/C, NYK
- Team 6 - Pau Gasol, PF/C, LAL
- Team 7 - LeBron James, SF, MIA*
- Team 8 - Brook Lopez, C, NJ
- Team 9 - Josh Smith, PF, ATL
- Team 10 - Dwyane Wade, PG/SG, MIA*
- Team 11 - Dwight Howard, C, ORL*
- Team 12 - Kobe Bryant, SG, LAL*
- Team 13 - Chris Bosh, PF/C, MIA
- Team 14 - Carmelo Anthony, SF, DEN*
The first round was pretty much a no-brainer when you have those who kept first-round picks from a year ago electing to draft from the back half of the league.
Kevin Durant, the No. 1 fantasy player in many leagues, was able to go first in this league as he was thrown back in the pool after his one year as a keeper. With LeBron James, Dwyane Wade, Dwight Howard, Kobe Bryant and Carmelo Anthony being kept as first rounders and Stephen Curry as a sixth rounder there were few debates. Chris Paul, who can be debated as the No. 2 against James, was the easy choice with the King being kept. It's the same for Dirk Nowitzki and Danny Granger.
The first debate came between Pau Gasol or Amar'e Stoudemire, and the second between Brook Lopez, Josh Smith or Chris Bosh. Gasol and Stoudemire are going around 13th overall in most normal drafts and it is a preference pick since both have PF/C eligibility. Lopez went first in this league due to the two-center rule, leaving the last debate of the first round between PF Josh Smith or PF/C Chris Bosh. The better player went ahead of the chance at getting dual eligibility as Smith went ahead of Bosh.
2nd Round (Picks 15-28)
- Team 14 - Brandon Roy, SG/SF, POR
- Team 13 - Al Horford, PF/C, ATL
- Team 12 - Al Jefferson, PF/C, UTA
- Team 11 - Jason Kidd, PG, DAL
- Team 10 - Gerald Wallace, SF/PF, CHA
- Team 9 - Andrew Bogut, C, MIL
- Team 8 - Rajon Rondo, PG, BOS
- Team 7 - David West, PF, NO
- Team 6 - Deron Williams, PG, UTA*
- Team 5 - Steve Nash, PG, PHX*
- Team 4 - Derrick Rose, PG, CHI
- Team 3 - Andre Iguodala, SG/SF, PHI
- Team 2 - Joe Johnson, SG/SF, ATL
- Team 1 - Tim Duncan, PF/C, SAN*
The draft starts to settle down a little more with just three keepers skewing the 14 picks. PGs Deron Williams and Steve Nash were kept along with PF/C Tim Duncan.
Preferences might have superseded logic all across the second round.
The round starts with a bang as players like Rajon Rondo, Gerald Wallace, Jason Kidd, Andre Iguodala, Monta Ellis and Chauncey Billups, all normally being drafted ahead of Brandon Roy, were bypassed for the Portland triple threat. Roy played in 65 games last year after a bone bruise sidetracked his season until a return in the playoffs. He is obviously proven, but in a two-center league and with other SG/SFs like Iguodala or Ellis out there, this was the first reach of the draft.
Preference for centers lead to the two Als going back to back as PF/Cs Horford and Jefferson were selected — Horford going first despite most ADPs having him behind Jefferson.
Rondo, a top 16 pick on average, slid back to the middle of the second. The Boston PG went 21st overall, being picked two spots past Jason Kidd. It should be noted that Gerald Wallace and Andrew Bogut both went ahead of Rondo due to both managers having kept PGs (Wade and Curry).
Wallace was taken ahead of Iguodala for two reasons: 1. He was the eighth-ranked player vs. the 26th-ranked player in this format last year. 2. Wallace stayed mostly healthy, and his role and place on the team seems more settled than that of the 76ers' roster.
Bogut was the second-biggest reach after Roy. Injuries to his hand and arm kept him out of the preseason, and he will have to deal with the pain from the injury for the foreseeable future. With Andrea Bargnani, Nene, LaMarcus Aldridge, Zach Randolph and Marcus Camby all out there and having PF/C eligibility vs. just center status, or even Marc Gasol or Nene, who have just center eligibility as well, they were probably the better choices there.
PF David West, averaging out at about 35th overall, was taken as the 22nd overall pick. The Hornet ranked 9th last year in this format, but was the only option the team had once Paul went down. He did rank 23rd the year prior with a healthy Paul, but there are more options in New Orleans now just as there were more options on the board at 22.
Rose, who is much better as a "real" basketball player, Iguodala and Joe Johnson closed out the round. Iguodala and Johnson went right around where most ADPs have them, while Rose was picked about eight spots too soon. If his shooting percentages can rise and he can hit from beyond the arc, Rose could be a steal at the spot, however.
3rd Round (Picks 29-42)
- Team 1 - Tyreke Evans, PG/SG, SAC
- Team 2 - Andrea Bargnani, PF/C, TOR
- Team 3 - Chauncey Billups, PG, DEN
- Team 4 - Carlos Boozer, PF/C, CHI
- Team 5 - Russell Westbrook, PG, OKC
- Team 6 - Monta Ellis, PG/SG, GS
- Team 7 - Zach Randolph, PF/C, MEM
- Team 8 - David Lee, PF/C, GS*
- Team 9 - Chris Kaman, C, LAC
- Team 10 - Darren Collison, PG, IND
- Team 11 - Antawn Jamison, SF/PF, CLE
- Team 12 - Rudy Gay, SF, MEM
- Team 13 - Lamarcus Aldridge, PF/C, POR
- Team 14 - Nene, PF/C, DEN
The third round was relatively uneventful as most managers found gifts in their lap due to the premature selections of other players. Bargnani, Boozer and Randolph all went about where they were slotted and, again, in a two-center league, their value shoots up. However, the ADPs say Kaman and Aldridge went about 30 and 20 spots ahead of where they could have been had. In a 12-team league consider them late fifth rounders.
Jamison, with an ADP in the low 50s, was selected at the 39th spot. It's too early, says the ADP, but who knows what to expect in Cleveland this year with LeBron's departure. Someone is going to have to pick up the pieces, and it's as good a chance as any that it's Jamison, but you might want to hold off until the fourth round to get him.
Billups jumped on the Rondo slide as he fell past West, Rose and Tyreke Evans, becoming the sixth point guard re-drafted. It gave Team 3's manager — new to the league and with no keeper — Nowitzki, Iguodala and Billups to start his franchise with. Not too shabby.
Westbrook and Collison should both thrive and are solid values in the third round. Gay was selected almost exactly where his ADP has him — 40th.
NOTE: Stoudemire and Westbrook were traded to Team 13 for Bosh and Horford.
4th Round (Picks 43-56)
- Team 14 - Brandon Jennings, PG, MIL
- Team 13 - John Wall, PG, WAS
- Team 12 - Devin Harris, PG, NJ
- Team 11 - Aaron Brooks, PG, HOU
- Team 10 - Marc Gasol, C, MEM
- Team 9 - Gilbert Arenas, PG/SG, WAS
- Team 8 - Manu Ginobili, SG, SA
- Team 7 - Marcus Camby, PF/C, POR
- Team 6 - Blake Griffin, PF, LAC
- Team 5 - DeMarcus Cousins, PF/C, SAC
- Team 4 - Paul Pierce, SG/SF, BOS
- Team 3 - Stephen Jackson, SG/SF, CHA
- Team 2 - Jason Richardson, SG/SF, PHX
- Team 1 - Andrew Bynum, C, LAL
This is a keeper league, so some of the ADPs are thrown out the window when you think it's time to take a shot at a guy. The fourth round is clearly where that started this year. This is also the round where you begin the debate of: Do I start forming a complete roster or do I take best available and figure it out in the end?
This June's No. 1 overall pick John Wall was also the first rookie selected in this league. Everyone expects his shooting percentage to be low and his turnovers to be high, but the keeper value wins the day. In a normal league, Wall's ADP is around 50 so it's not that big of a reach when Team 13 wasn't going to pick again for 24 picks. And if Wall's his guy then he's his guy.
Wall's Kentucky teammate, DeMarcus Cousins, was on the other end of when NOT to reach for a keeper. With an ADP of about 102, the PF/C from Sacramento went 54 picks too soon. He averages out at around a ninth-round pick, and you might want to bump that in a keeper format, but more than four full rounds of a jump is a bit much. If you like a guy, you like a guy, but just know the value. Cousins might be able to jump up from his projected 102 spot as Samuel Dalembert is currently injured, and the rookie might be able to sneak in a few more minutes and even hold down the spot for a Kings team projected to finish last in the Pacific Division.
Paul Pierce, Stephen Jackson and Jason Richardson were all great value picks — each going past their ADP.
Team 11 got a gift, according to the ADP, when Devin Harris went right before Aaron Brooks — Brooks is eight spots ahead of Harris on average. The dual-eligible Gilbert Arenas was the last point guard taken in the round.
5th Round (Picks 57-70)
- Team 1 - Mo Williams, PG, CLE
- Team 2 - Andray Blatche, PF/C, WAS
- Team 3 - Jeff Green, SF/PF, OKC
- Team 4 - Baron Davis, PG, LAC
- Team 5 - Ray Allen, SG, BOS
- Team 6 - Paul Millsap, PF, UTA
- Team 7- Raymond Felton, PG/SG, NYK
- Team 8 - O.J. Mayo, SG, MEM
- Team 9 - Eric Gordon, SG, LAC
- Team 10 - Troy Murphy, PF/C, NJ
- Team 11 - Vince Carter, SG/SF, ORL
- Team 12 - Luis Scola, PF/C, HOU
- Team 13 - Emeka Okafor, C, NO
- Team 14 - Kevin Garnett, PF, BOS
The ADP says centers Andrew Bynum and Andray Blatche should have gone at the end of this round, but Team 1 and 2 would not pick again for 30 picks, and the two-center league left them to make a choice. Bynum and Blatche were the best available (Team 2 kept PF/C Joakim Noah as a 7th rounder) so their hands were forced.
Troy Murphy had to be selected at some point. His ADP is 40 and he went off the board at 66 due to the word "indefinite" being associated with his name after a back strain has him sidelined. There was no timetable for his return during the draft, but with 20 weeks of fantasy basketball ahead before the playoffs start, the risk of waiting two rounds later than the New Jersey Net PF/C should have gone is worth it.
Outside of Murphy there are a few other question marks in this round.
Reports have Raymond Felton struggling to operate in Mike D'Antoni's fast-paced offense. He was selected right where his ADP says to, but keep an eye on him and his progress in grasping the offense. His struggles will affect the production of both himself and Stoudemire.
The Luis Scola issue is an interesting one. His production skyrocketed with the absence of Yao Ming last year to injury. If Yao is back and logging significant minutes, what does that mean for Scola? He doubles as a PF/C and could keep the production going when Yao gets doubled. Keep this in mind: When Yao was healthy in 2008-09, Scola played 30 mpg and was the 62nd ranked player in this format. So history says he's a good value with the 68th selection.
Okafor has an average ADP of 94, so he could have been had over the next two rounds instead of at 69th. Again, this is where you need to know your league and know your roster requirements and what other managers already have. Okafor could have been had at 72nd by Team 13, but there was no guarantee he would've still been there at 97th — his next pick after 72.
In hindsight, five centers were selected between Okafor and pick 97; however, only Roy Hibbert (88) and Yao Ming (90) had a higher ADP of the five chosen than Okafor.
6th Round (Picks 71-84)
- Team 14 - Serge Ibaka, C, OKC
- Team 13 - Caron Butler, SG/SF, DAL
- Team 12 - Jrue Holiday, PG, PHI
- Team 11 - Luol Deng, SF, CHI
- Team 10 - Trevor Ariza, SG/SF, NO
- Team 9 - Stephen Curry, PG/SG, GS*
- Team 8 - Roy Hibbert, C, IND
- Team 7 - Kevin Martin, SG, HOU
- Team 6 - Rashard Lewis, SF/PF, ORL
- Team 5 - Andrei Kirilenko, SF/PF, UTA
- Team 4 - Yao Ming, C, HOU
- Team 3 - Anthony Randolph, PF/C, NYK
- Team 2 - Tony Parker, PG, SA
- Team 1 - Carl Landry, SF/PF, SAC
First thing to remember when you look at this round is that Stephen Curry was a keeper — selected in the eighth round (96th overall), dropped and picked up on waivers, and waiver pickups in this league become sixth-round keepers. In normal drafts this year Curry has an ADP around 9th overall.
Curry is a good jumping-off point for this round when you see that Serge Ibaka was the first player taken in the round. The Thunder center has an ADP of around 129 and was picked 71st here — 58 spots ahead of where he was "supposed" to be. Curry had an ADP of around 93 as a rookie, was taken 96th in this league last year and has since moved to the 9th overall spot.
Can Ibaka make an 87-spot jump this year? Well, no, because he was drafted 71st. It's highly unlikely, even in a two-center league, that the shot-blocking, rebounding machine that is Ibaka becomes the No. 1 overall pick in the 2011-12 drafts. Team 14 did have 26 picks in between this one and his next, and only one center on his team, but it's too early for a two-trick pony that is still very raw to be taken here.
Roy Hibbert was still available, and was able to be scooped up six picks later by a team that already had Brook Lopez and PF/C David Lee. In a two-center league, Team 8 just became pretty dominant at the C spot.
Taking a shot at Yao Ming with the 81st pick is worth it. If his feet can support his frame, he could return to being a standout fantasy center. His ADP is around 90, so Team 4 might have had a shot at him with the fourth pick in the next round, but you need to make a move in a two-center league and you can never anticipate what other managers might do. See Team 8 taking his third center earlier in the round. Another owner might follow the same strategy.
Caron Butler (72), Jrue Holiday (73) and Luol Deng (74) were all taken before their ADPs of 77, 82 and 87 said to. Whereas Kevin Martin (78), Rashard Lewis (79), Anthony Randolph (82) were all value picks compared to their ADPs of 58, 67 and 75. Trevor Ariza went 75th with an ADP of 76.
Andrei Kirilenko has an ADP of 92 in the mess that is Utah in regards of who can you count on to produce outside of Deron Williams and Al Jefferson. AK-47 was picked 80th with an ADP of 92, so Team 5 might have had a shot with the 90th overall pick.
Things are not busy now on the Kings' front line, but once Dalembert returns, and if Cousins has emerged, where will Carl Landry get his numbers? His ADP is around 100 and he was selected 84th here. Team 1 had only one SF and one PF, so to get an SF/PF here was probably the right move. Lamar Odom, with the same eligibility and a ADP of 87, would have been the wiser choice, however.
7th Round (Picks 85-98)
- Team 1 - Jason Terry, PG/SG, DAL
- Team 2 - Joakim Noah, PF/C, CHI*
- Team 3 - Elton Brand, PF/C, PHI
- Team 4 - Evan Turner, SG/SF, PHI
- Team 5 - Tiago Splitter, SF/PF/C, SA
- Team 6 - Jamal Crawford, PG/SG, ATL
- Team 7 - John Salmons, SG/SF, MIL
- Team 8 - Hedo Turkoglu, SG/SF, PHX
- Team 9 - J.J. Hickson PF/C, CLE
- Team 10 - Lamar Odom, SF/PF, LAL
- Team 11 - Al Harrington, PF/C, DEN
- Team 12 - Michael Beasley, PF, MIN
- Team 13 - Ben Gordon, SG, DET
- Team 14 - Andre Miller, PG, POR
Value, rookies, upside and one reach highlighted the seventh round.
Jason Terry, Jamal Crawford, John Salmons, Hedo Tukoglu, Lamar Odom, Michael Beasley and Andre Miller all went later than their ADPs said they should and made the seventh round a shooting guard-dominated affair.
The rookies reappeared in the seventh round and were still considered reaches against where their ADPs said they should go. However, by the seventh round — with Kevin Love already in tow as a keeper, which also meant no Round 8 pick — Team 4 was able to take a risk on Evan Turner to fill out the eighth spot in his starting lineup. His ADP says he should go 107 and he went 88th here.
Tiago Splitter went right after Turner and was a bigger reach — taken 89th against his ADP of 137. But he has three-spot eligibility as a SF, PF and C. The 2007 first-round pick of the Spurs is coming off an MVP season in the Spanish League who can be a benefit in multiple categories. Upside, keeper league and multi-eligibility made this a must for Team 8, which wouldn't pick again until the 108th pick. Team 8 did however reach for both of the top two center-eligilble rookies this year by 54 and 48 spots ahead of what their ADPs are. So here's hoping for two major debut seasons.
J.J. Hickson is considered one of the key sleepers this year for the LeBron-less Cavs.
Ben Gordon, who battled injuries last season, was the only reach without much upside. He has an ADP of 111 and only SG eligibility in a crowded Pistons backcourt. There was a run on SGs in the seventh and five with dual eligibility. Gordon's teammate PG/SG Rodney Stuckey has an ADP of 99, and New Orleans' 2-guard Marcus Thornton's ADP of 84 might have worked better at this spot.
Keep an eye on Thornton, however, as his minutes are limited in preseason and his contributions early this season might be as well. He has been beaten out by Marco Belinelli — after Thornton was selected — for the starting 2-guard spot.
8th Round (Picks 99-112)
- Team 14 - Greg Oden, C, POR
- Team 13 - Wesley Johnson, SF, MIN
- Team 12 - Terrence Williams, SG/SF, NJ
- Team 11 - Jason Thompson, PF/C, SAC
- Team 10 - JaVale McGee, PF/C, WAS
- Team 9 - Anthony Morrow, SG/SF, NJ
- Team 8 - Channing Frye, PF/C, PHX
- Team 7 - Mike Conley, PG, MEM
- Team 6 - Robin Lopez, C, PHX
- Team 5 - Leandro Barbosa, PG/SG, TOR
- Team 4 - Kevin Love, PF/C, MIN*
- Team 3 - Samuel Dalembert, C, SAC
- Team 2 - Tyrus Thomas, PF, CHA
- Team 1 - Shawn Marion, SF/PF, DAL
Greg Oden has an ADP of 109, so being picked on the front end of this round is the right spot as Team 14 secured his third center and will get great value for the pick if Oden can just stay healthy one year.
That set off a run on sleeper picks.
Another reach for a rookie comparatively speaking to his ADP of 125 was that of Wesley Johnson. The Syracuse product, who should be able to score in multiple categories for the T'Wolves, was selected 100th by Team 13, who oddly enough would not have picked again until pick 125. Could he have made it back? It's hard to say with the number of rookies that had already gone before pick 100, so a move probably needed to be made here.
Terrence Williams has an ADP of 122, so the do-it-all Net might not be a big reach at 101st considering Team 11's next pick was not until 123rd. It is kind of funny that the ADPs work out in back-to-back picks that both team owners could have had their selections at their exact spots in the next round, but the chance of that working out are right around slim and none.
Jason Thompson goes 102nd with an ADP of 140 and might find life as a King a little tough with the drafting of Cousins and the trade of Dalembert to go along with the acquisition of Carl Landry last season. Thompson, a former starter, will need an injury — which has already happened to Dalembert — or for Cousins to underperform to find many minutes this season.
JaVale McGee has sleeper attached to his name going into this season, but with an ADP of 108 it's not really that sleepy. The 7-footer who narrowly missed the cut for the U.S. National Team this summer is a blocking and rebounding machine. Now if he and Flip Saunders can get on the same page in Washington he will be able to live up to his potential in a pretty barren frontcourt.
Channing Frye joined Troy Murphy as the PF/Cs that fell the most according to their ADP. Murphy went 66th with an ADP of 40, while Frye went 105th with an ADP of 93. Murphy fell because of his back strain injury, while Frye fell because he is considered a one-trick pony — a center-eligible player who can knock down 3-pointers. And his fall might be justified as he shot 17 percent from beyond the arc this preseason.
Anthony Morrow, Mike Conley, Robin Lopez, Dalembert and Shawn Marion were all selected right around where they should have been. Tyrus Thomas was a value by about 11 spots when he was picked 111th.
Kevin Love was a great value keeper pick. The T'Wolves center has an ADP of 49 and was kept at the 109th spot.
9th Round (Picks 113-126)
- Team 1 - Corey Maggette, SG/SF, DAL
- Team 2 - Rodney Stuckey, PG/SG, DET
- Team 3 - Beno Udrih, PG, SAC
- Team 4 - Mike Dunleavy SG/SF, IND
- Team 5 - Dorrell Wright, SG/SF, GS
- Team 6 - Marcus Thornton, SG, NO
- Team 7 - Anderson Varejao, PF/C, CLE
- Team 8 - Jameer Nelson, PG, ORL
- Team 9 - Travis Outlaw, SF/PF, NJ
- Team 10 - Nicolas Batum, SG/SF, POR
- Team 11 - Boris Diaw, SF/PF, CHA
- Team 12 - Andris Biedrins, C, GS
- Team 13 - Wilson Chandler, SF/PF, NYK
- Team 14 - Mike Miller, SG/SF, MIA
Value was the key word for round 9.
So Stuckey and Thornton were brought up earlier as potentially better picks than Gordon at 97th overall. Well, not only did they not go in the eighth, they were held over to the 9th and became spectacular values. Stuckey (ADP of 99) went 114th and Thornton (ADP of 84) went 118th. Again, keep an eye on Thornton to see if his preseason performance — or lack thereof — warrants the high ADP.
Jameer Nelson was another good value with an ADP of 99 to be selected at 120.
Corey Maggette, Anderson Varejao, Jameer Nelson, Nicolas Batum, Boris Diaw, Andris Biedrins, Wilson Chandler and Mike Miller all went past their ADPs to be solid ninth-round selections. (Miller was selected prior to his injury).
Beno Udrih just missed going two spots ahead of his 117 ADP, but that's just being too picky.
Dorrell Wright is considered a reach at 117 with his ADP of 140. However, he beat out Reggie Williams for a starting spot, and being a starter for Golden State should equate to good fantasy numbers — particularly this late.
The only reach of the round was Travis Outlaw. His ADP is 140 and his contract is five years, $35 million that he signed this year. He has the potential to be in the 3-spot for the Nets, but potential has been attached to Outlaw quite often. If he delivers, he's a good pick at 121, but could probably have been had at the 132nd selection by Team 9 in the next round.
10th Round (Picks 127-140)
- Team 14 - Jose Calderon, PG, TOR
- Team 13 - Danilo Gallinari, SF, NYK*
- Team 12 - James Harden, SG, OKC
- Team 11 - Gordon Hayward, SG/SF, UTA
- Team 10 - J.R. Smith, SG/SF, DEN
- Team 9 - Corey Brewer, SG/SF, MIN
- Team 8 - Greg Monroe, PF/C, DET
- Team 7 - Mehmet Okur, C, UTA
- Team 6 - DeJuan Blair, PF/C, SA
- Team 5 - J.J. Redick, SG, ORL
- Team 4 - Hakim Warrick, SF/PF, PHX
- Team 3 - Linas Kleiza, SG/SF, TOR
- Team 2 - Richard Hamilton, SG/SF, DET
- Team 1 - Louis Williams, PG/SG, PHI
What do you want? What do you need? What do you got?
League managers start tidying up in this round and from here on out. Some go for spots to secure depth. Some go for fliers, sleepers, bounce-back players or just simply prefer particular players.
Jose Calderon, with an ADP of 110, was great value as a third PG at the 127th selection. J.R. Smith and his 3-point prowess is a good steal at 131 with his ADP of 101.
James Harden went about eight picks ahead of his ADP but at this point if you are in the vicinity of the ADP you're doing alright.
Need a barrage of 3-pointers and a player who spells the oft-injured Vince Carter? Then J.J. Redick is your man. A solid pick here at 133 overall.
Butler hero Gordon Hayward is a solid shooter, but is he strong enough for the NBA? At pick 130 and with all of his other spots solidified this is the definition of "taking a flier."
The same can be said for Corey Brewer. If he could find some consistent play on the offensive end to go along with his strong defensive play he would shoot up the ADP charts. So the upside is there.
Mehmet Okur, this late in a two-center league, went 26 spots past his ADP of 108 due to his Achilles injury late last season. If he can rebound from that then he becomes a great value here.
Danilo Gallinari, with an ADP of 53, was the keeper of the draft at 128th overall — a 75-spot coupon.
Team 8 now has every type of center in the league. He got stud Brook Lopez in the first, used David Lee as his keeper, a boatload of potential in Roy Hibbert in the sixth and potential bust Channing Frye in the eighth. So to complete the run, he took rookie center Greg Monroe, who could develop into a solid post for the rebuilding Pistons.
DeJuan Blair slipped in the 2009 draft when he came out of Pittsburgh and got his revenge in 18 mpg by collecting more than six boards, seven points, .6 steals and .5 blocks a game. If his minutes are not infringed upon, and with center eligibility to go along with PF, he's a solid pick here.
There's no one in particular to turn to in Toronto to find some offense, so Linas Kleiza is just as good as any to do so. He returns from a year in Greece after four years with the Nuggets and can get the boards and the 3s to be a key contributor this late in a draft.
A deep bench, age and injuries might make it a tough road for Richard Hamilton. But when Rip is healthy he contributes in multiple categories.
Hakim Warrick is an up-tempo player and his move to up-tempo Phoenix should be a good one. Someone in the Valley of the Sun has to replace Amar'e Stoudemire and it would seem more likely to be Warrick than it would be Hedo Turkoglu.
Lou Williams, the former starting PG in Philadelphia before a broken jaw and a guy named Jrue Holiday stepped in, closes out the 10th round. He brings dual eligibility and could fill the sixth man role pretty well in Doug Collins' offense.
11th Round (Picks 141-154)
- Team 1 - Reggie Williams, SG/SF, GS
- Team 2 - Amir Johnson, PF, TOR
- Team 3 - George Hill, PG/SG, SA
- Team 4 - Yi Jianlian, PF/C, WAS
- Team 5 - Shaquille O'Neal, C, BOS
- Team 6 - Taj Gibson, PF, CHI
- Team 7 - Roddy Beaubois, PG/SG, DAL
- Team 8 - D.J. Augustin, PG, CHA
- Team 9 - Mike Bibby, PG, ATL
- Team 10 - Jeff Teague, PG/SG, ATL
- Team 11 - Rasual Butler, SG/SF, LAC
- Team 12 - DeMar DeRozan, SG/SF, TOR
- Team 13 - Chase Budinger, SG/SF, HOU
- Team 14 - Chuck Hayes, PF/C, HOU
Sleepers of the world unite!
Nearly the entire 11th round is filled with them as most teams are content with their lineup and looking for a diamond in the rough here and there.
Reggie Williams struggled through the preseason with a groin injury, but should thrive as the sixth man for Golden State.
Amir Johnson and DeMar DeRozan continued the late run of Raptors. Johnson was given over $34 million this year to try and become the new Chris Bosh at power forward, while DeRozan should get the nod at the shooting guard spot ahead of Barbosa — taken 41 picks earlier.
George Hill is considered the future PG in San Antonio, and it could come later this year if he continues to play well and force Tony Parker out of town. Either way, Hill will see plenty of minutes. Roddy Beaubois and his broken foot are in the same, well, shoes, as Hill is. Once healthy, he should be able to push Jason Kidd for minutes, perhaps pushing him out of Big D.
In other who will replace whom news, the Atlanta point guard situation was addressed in back-to-back picks. Mike Bibby has the spot now, but it is only a matter of time — particularly the time it takes for Jeff Teague's ankle to heal — before Teague takes over the spot and should flourish with the talent the Hawks have around him.
Taj Gibson did a solid job as a rookie for the Bulls last year and will get another opportunity while Carlos Boozer is sidelined with his hand injury.
Shaun Livingston's knee is still not healthy, so D.J. Augustin still has his shot at holding down the point in Charlotte. He has the likes of Steven Jackson, Gerald Wallace and Boris Diaw around him, so he should be able to do a lot more than he did in the 18 minutes a game he played last season.
Rasual Butler? He's still in the league? Well, yes, and he ranked 95th in this format last season in 33 minutes of action per game. Check out this stat line: 84 percent from the stripe, 145 treys, 979 points, 240 boards, 16 assists, 36 steals, 68 blocks and just 79 turnovers. Not a bad multi-category find with the 151st pick.
Yi Jianlian joins the unproven frontcourt of JaVale McGee and Andray Blatche in Washington. He is 7-feet, 250 pounds in a two-center league, but with Marreese Speights, Brendan Haywood, Drew Gooden and Spencer Hawes out there, and also PF/C eligible, they might have been a better call.
Shaquille O'Neal might have been a nostalgia pick as he is old, not the starting center and on a team that is not consistent enough with its centers to be considered solid fantasy plays.
Rockets closed out the 11th round in back-to-back picks. Chase Budinger became a sleeper pick after an impressive preseason. The second-year player averaged 12.1 ppg during the preseason and might find more minutes with the aging Shane Battier in front of him and Trevor Ariza's move to New Orleans creating more opportunities.
Hayes might find the minutes hard to come by. He plays behind Luis Scola and Yao Ming as a PF/C eligible player. Hayes manages to hang in there despite his disadvantage being 6-6, but his game does not translate well to the fantasy world.
12th Round (Picks 155-168)
- Team 14 - Marreese Speights, PF/C, PHI
- Team 13 - Donte Greene, SG/SF, SAC
- Team 12 - Austin Daye, SG/SF, DET
- Team 11 - Brendan Haywood, C, DAL
- Team 10 - Drew Gooden, PF/C, MIL
- Team 9 - Omri Casspi, SG/SF, SAC
- Team 8 - Richard Jefferson, SF, SA
- Team 7 - Marco Belinelli, SG, NO
- Team 6 - Timofey Mozgov, C, NYK
- Team 5 - Jarrett Jack, PG/SG, TOR
- Team 4 - Carlos Delfino, SG/SF, MIL
- Team 3 - Rudy Fernandez, SG, POR
- Team 2 - Derrick Favors, PF, NJ
- Team 1 - Tayshaun Prince, SF/PF, DET
And then there was one ... final round.
Wait long enough and you can get starters later than their backups were selected. Of course at the time the "backups" were selected they weren't backups, but these are the breaks.
Marco Belinelli is a prime example. He beat out Marcus Thornton for the starting SG spot in New Orleans, and playing alongside Chris Paul is a good thing, especially as a 12th-round pick.
Donte Greene and Omri Casspi are Sacramento SG/SF that are part of a three-man timeshare with Francisco Garcia. Greene has the starting nod at the the 3 right now, but there is too much uncertainty with the Kings to know which one to take. If any good came of this problem it is at least the fact that it was not addressed until the 12th round. Just watch the depth charts, the playing time and the waiver wire to figure out what to do with the Kings.
Austin Daye grabbed the starting PF spot for the Pistons and is already listed as a SG/SF. Since you can't lose eligibility, the second-year player from Gonzaga should be a three-spot player. He posted 15.9 ppg over 28 minutes a game this preseason.
Jarrett Jack gets the point guard job in Toronto over Jose Calderon (taken 37 picks earlier)
Carlos Delfino and Corey Maggette are in a battle at the small forward spot to start the season. Delfino was the Bucks' starter last season and in the 30 minutes he got per game he collected 134 3-pointers, 80 steals, 202 assists and 394 boards.
Rudy Fernandez is a backup shooting guard for Portland. He would like to be nothing for Portland as he badly wants the team to release him so he can return to his homeland of Spain. Since he doesn't want to be in the NBA there is probably no reason to draft him in fantasy NBA.
Marresse Speights has potential in a crowded Philly frontcourt that includes Elton Brand, Spencer Hawes and Thaddeus Young. Speights' PF/C eligibility gives him the nod over an unproven Young and an injured Hawes. Need proof there are question marks in the 76ers' frontcourt? Brand wasn't selected until the 7th, Speights — a non-starter — was picked in the 12th, while Young and Hawes went undrafted.
Haywood is a blocking machine who finished 85th overall in this format last year. He has to rotate with Tyson Chandler and doesn't contribute much more than blocks, but to get one of the league's leading blockers this late in a roto league is a good pick.
Drew Gooden can be a double-double guy on a consistent basis, and playing with a healthy Andrew Bogut and Brandon Jennings should make this PF/C-eligible player a good value at pick 159.
Richard Jefferson's selection by Team 8 with the 161st pick was preceded by this comment: "If LaDanian Tomlinson can do it, why not Richard Jefferson?" And it's a valid point. Once he was one of the league's top scoring threats before falling off in every category last year. Sound familiar? Jefferson might be able to return to his old form — his minutes will not, however — and he could either be a sneaky sleeper or Team 8's first drop of the year. There were better options out there, but it's worth the risk.
So one of the Knicks' centers should not have gone but did go. And it was Timofey Mozgov, who gets the starting nod. The "other" Russian in the New York-New Jersey area, with all the headlines going to new Nets owner Mikhail Prokhorov, Mozgov signed with the Knicks in July and gets the job over Rony Turiaf and Eddy Curry. So it's not the greatest of accomplishments that he won the job, but the rookie could benefit playing alongside Stoudemire, Gallinari, Chandler and Felton.
It is a keeper league, meaning there is some value in taking a shot at the top rookies drafted into the NBA this season.
Wall went first in the NBA draft and was the first rookie taken in this league — 44th overall. Evan Turner was taken second in June and 88th overall here. So that left the third overall pick, Derrick Favors. The Nets' power forward, a 19-year-old project for the rebuilding New Jersey squad, has been inconsistent at best this preseason. But in a keeper league and as a team's last pick, Favors is worth a look with the 167th overall pick.
And the Mr. Irrelevant of the Athlon Sports fantasy draft is... Tayshaun Prince. He was Mr. Consistent up until last year in his eight-year career. He had never missed a game before back and knee injuries sidelined him for 33 last season. If healthy, he gives you high percentages, a decent amount of boards, assists and steals. Not too bad for pick 168 of 168.
So there you have it. The Athlon Sports fantasy draft has concluded just in time for the tip off of the 2010-11 season.
Now get to that waiver wire.
And here are some names we at Athlon Sports are surprised still sit on the waiver wire.
Aaron Afflalo, SG, DEN
Carlos Arroyo, PG, MIA
Kirk Hinrich, PG/SG, WAS
Ty Lawson, PG, DEN
Luke Ridnour, PG, MIN
Brandon Rush, SG/SF, IND
Ramon Sessions, PG/SG, CLE
C.J. Watson, PG/SG, CHI
Shane Battier, SF, HOU
Ed Davis, PF, TOR
Jamario Moon, SF, CLE
Charlie Villanueva, PF, DET
Thaddeus Young, SF/PF, PHI
Ron Artest, SG/SF, LAL
Josh Childress, SG/SF PHX
Grant Hill, SG/SF, PHX
Quentin Richardson, SG/SF, ORL
Thabo Sefalosha, SG/SF, OKC
Spencer Hawes, C, PHI
Jermaine O'Neal, C, BOS
Darko Milicic, PF/C, MIN
Corby A. Yarbrough
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