Basketball draft prep: 5 overvalued and undervalued fantasy picks

As a long-time sufferer of acid reflux disease, I’ve been provided lists by countless GIs of what foods to avoid. For those of you not in the know, it’s the standard peppermint, chocolate, citrus fruits, caffeine and tomato sauce that seemingly cause most of the intestinal angst. But I’d bet my last Indian Head penny that your local proton pump inhibiting pusher hasn’t gotten to the true root cause of the problem. Namely, the ownership last season of Top 15 selection Allen Iverson, or the purchasing in 2007-08 of first-rounder Kevin Garnett, or the 2006-07 debacle that was Peja Stojakovic.

Despite more than a modicum of fantasy basketball success over the years, as a perennial Marcus Camby owner, nobody’s innards have churned more than mine.  With that in mind, I’m here my fellow GERD sufferers to put an end to your digestive woes by imparting the only wisdom I have at my disposal, my list of five players who will get selected too high in your drafts along with five guys who owners will miss the boat on.

Five who will be Picked too High

5. Ron Artest, F, LAL
2008-09 stats: 17.1 ppg, 5.2 rpg, 3.3 apg, 1.5 spg, 0.4 bpg, 40% FG, 75% FT, 2.2 3-pt FG

The poster boy for Modern Psychology surfaces in El Lay, where he will continue to cause all kinds of turmoil. He’s still a more-than-capable defender and one of the toughest players in the league, but the Artest formerly known as Ron is officially a detriment on the offensive end. His play on the court is often secondary as the Long Island City product is just as likely to appear on an episode of Dr. Drew as he is to arrive to the Staples Center for a 7:05 tip. Someone will take him in the top six rounds. If he’s available in the eighth, that wouldn’t be a bad spot.

4. Shaquille O’Neal, C, CLE
2008-09 stats: 17.8 ppg, 8.4 rpg, 1.7 apg, 0.7 spg, 1.4 bpg, 61% FG, 60% FT, 0.0 3-pt FG

You’ve got to hand it to the big phony, I mean fella, who two years ago in Miami looked like he was cooked. The trade to Phoenix brought about a renewed vigor and last season saw him record his best totals since ’05-06. Now he is the missing piece, at least in Danny Ferry’s eyes, for a Cleveland title run. But my jury is officially out. Shaq will do some good things this year as he will be motivated to help LeBron. However, his minutes will be kept to a minimum as the Cavs try their best to keep him healthy. Minutes will also be reduced as they will be involved in several lopsided games, so let the other owners in your league duke it out for his services in the top eight rounds.

3. Marcus Camby, F/C, LAC
2008-09 Stats: 10.3 ppg, 11.1 rpg, 2.0 apg, 0.8 spg, 2.1 bpg, 52% FG, 73% FT, 0.0 3-pt FG

The Cambyman has parlayed his length and athleticism into a prolific fantasy career as one of the top rebounding and shot-blocking big men of his era. Unfortunately for his long-suffering owners, with the exception of the ’07-08 season, he has missed tons of time due to various ailments. Now 35 and vying for minutes with Chris Kaman and Blake Griffin, those 20-rebound, 6-block, 4-steal days could be few and far between. Someone in your draft will jump on him in the top four rounds… don’t be that someone.

2. Richard Jefferson, F, SAS
2008-09 stats: 19.6 ppg, 4.6 rpg, 2.4 aps. 0.8 spg, 0.2 bpg, 44% FG, 81% FT,1.6 3-pt FG

Let me first say that I love Jefferson as a player. If Cleveland would have gone after him last season at the expense of Wally Szczerbiak‘s expiring contract, Cadaver fans and Kobe haters would likely still be lighting cars on fire in downtown Cleveland. Jefferson is a perfect fit for the Spurs, but the ball will be shared way too much for him to put up the same scoring totals he has been amassing throughout his career. He has never been confused with Fat Lever in any other category, so draft accordingly in the 90-100 range.

1. Kevin Garnett, F, BOS
2008-09 stats: 15.8 ppg, 8.3 rpg, 2.5 apg, 1.1 spg, 1.2 bpg, 53% FG, 84% FT, 0.0 3-pt FG

Garnett’s days as a high draft choice should have ended last season following a statistically brutal 2007-08 campaign, but those nostalgic owners who love big names continue to corral him in the Top 20. Not only are his overall totals way down from his fantasy salad days in Minnesota, he now barely plays 30 minutes a night and will be rested on a regular basis as this could be the Celts’ last hurrah. KG ‘s team-first approach brought about a new attitude to the C’s and everyone has bought in. But as we all know, winning basketball doesn’t always translate well to fantasy. At best a fourth-round pick.

Five who will be Picked too Low

5. Andrew Bogut, C, MIL
2008-09 stats: 11.7 ppg, 10.3 rpg, 2.0 apg, 0.6 spg, 1.0 bpg, 58% FG, 57% FT, 0.0 3-pt FG

Bogut missed most of the ’08-09 campaign with a stress fracture in his back that required surgery. Owners are bound to sleep on him because they’ll be afraid he won’t be recovered and simply because he is so goofy looking. I’m expecting this hard worker to revert to ’07-08 form, which included 14.3 points and 1.7 blocks per game. Milwaukee has little in the way of offense and Bogut should be its primary source of points in the paint. There’s no way he goes earlier than 60-70.

4. Brook Lopez, C, NJ
2008-09 stats: 13.0 ppg, 8.1 rpg, 1.0 apg, 0.5 spg, 1.8 bpg, 53% FG, 79% FT, 0.0 3-pt FG

No one will benefit more from the absence of Vince Carter than the happy-go-lucky Lopez, who is a star in the making. He has all the tools to post an 18-point, 10-rebound, 2-block season, which is what I predict will be his final totals. There are few centers I would take ahead of him and he’ll probably last until the seventh or eighth round.

3. Monta Ellis, G, GSW
2008-09 stats: 19.0 ppg, 4.3 rpg, 3.7 apg, 1.6 spg. 0.3 bpg, 45% FG, 83% FT, 0.3 3-pt FG

If you don’t pounce on Ellis in the top seven rounds, little Yerry will be making a big mistake, Yerry. Before he shredded his ankle in his infamous water balloon fight in the winter of ’07, Ellis was quickly becoming one of the toughest guards to defend off the dribble in the history of the game (That’s right, I said it). Even if his jets aren’t all the way back, his quickness and skills will still be good enough for him to average well over 20 points and nearly 2.0 steals, while shooting near 50 percent from the field.

2. Courtney Lee, G, NJ
2008-09 stats:
8.4 ppg, 2.3 rpg, 1.2 apg, 1.0 spg, 0.2 bpg, 45% FG, 83% FT, 1.1 3-pt FG
At the other end of the Carter trade, the talented Lee will have first crack at the starting two guard spot for the Nets. Lee was quite the find out of Western Kentucky for the Magic, but Otis Smith decided he’d rather have a gunner to ruin what they had going for them. Lee should go in the top 11 rounds, but he probably won’t. A 15 ppg season is not out of the realm.

1. Anthony Randolph, F, GSW
2008-09 stats: 7.9 ppg, 5.8 rpg, 0.8 apg, 0.7 spg, 1.2 bpg, 46% FG, 72% FT, 0.0 3-pt FG

If Don Nelson weren’t the head coach and if I was more confident that a stiff wind wouldn’t bowl him over I’d have Randolph as a sure-fire breakout candidate. As it is, the lanky forward should see enough daylight, albeit sporadic daylight, to be a poor man’s Gerald Wallace this year. I’d be shocked if anyone touched him in the top 10 rounds. Hang in there with him and expect some monster weeks.


3 responses to “Basketball draft prep: 5 overvalued and undervalued fantasy picks

  • Give Me The Rock » Blog Archive » Four For Friday

    […] Damned Lies and Statistics has 5 overvalued and undervalued fantasy picks. […]

  • Anton Trees

    I’m not sure Courtney Lee has it in him to be a notable fantasy guy. I’ll concede he had a significantly diminished offensive role in Orlando, and he’ll be called on to score more with the Nets, but his per-36 numbers are terrible — just 12 points, and 3 boards.

    He’s a quality player, just not a stat machine (bar steals). Kind of like Battier.

  • Bex

    A couple friends and I just had a fantasy draft, and of course Shaq was picked in the second round (?!). Same w/ KG. I couldn’t believe Bogut was still sitting there in round 7, so I took him. In any case, you deinitely have your finger on the pulse of what most owners will do..

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