WEDNESDAY’S QUESTION: What is the starting five on your Let Someone Else Draft Them team?
On my list of things to do this weekend, #4 behind pick up bag of Tootsie Roll pops is avoid Allen Iverson like the plague. I’ve made no bones over the years of my distaste for his game and overall personality, despite many seasons of freakish all-around numbers. He has formally arrived in Graceland, and when he’s not helping old ladies cross the street, he’ll join fellow newbie Zach Randolph in attempting to ruin the careers of the talented Hasheem Thabeet, Rudy Gay, OJ Mayo and Mike Conley. Speaking of Conley, with Iverson bullying his minutes, I think I’ll take a pass on him too.
Joining AI in my backcourt is Vince Carter. Now surfacing in Orlando, he will be asked to be second or third fiddle, something the cranky Carter is unaccustomed to. Vinsanity turns 33 this season, his wheels aren’t what they used to be and he now has talent and depth around him. More pedestrian numbers in the 19.0-point, 4.0-rebound, 4.0-assist range will likely be his max. Have I mentioned what an awful defender he is? If the Magic get off to a bad start, this marriage could be doomed.
Andrea Bargnani could average 20 and 10 for the next 15 years and I’d still recommend letting someone else draft him. With the addition of Hedo Turkoglu and Jarrett Jack, along with the return of a healthy Chris Bosh, the Raptors have way too many weapons to let this 7-foot stiff heave threes all day. Ok, I’m still a little bitter after choosing him as a breakout candidate in his dismal ’07-08 campaign, but I just can’t let bygones be bygones. Anyone around here know what a bygone is?
Unless it’s the final few rounds, I won’t be touching the Artest Formerly Known as Ron. I don’t think this is the combustible situation that many think it is; I just don’t think Artest is a good offensive player. He is still capable of helping in the steals department and he’ll probably chuck up enough threes where he’ll knock down one or two per night, but his field goal percentage and random missed games will crush his owners. His minutes will be limited by the potential of many Laker blowouts and there are way too many solid bench options if he becomes a little nutty as he is wont to do.
I’ll round out my Avoidable Five with Kevin Garnett who began his downward statistical spiral in his first and only year on my team (’07-08). KG, in my opinion, has been one of the three or four most valuable players in the league the past few years, but that and $2.25 will get you on the fantasy basketball subway. Rasheed Wallace, strangely enough, is now in Beantown to spell the 33-year old Garnett, who was already getting spelled way too regularly by the likes of Glen “Big Baby” Davis. A serious knee injury kept him out of last year’s playoffs, and with more than 1,000 games logged, I seriously doubt that new cartilage is beginning to sprout. If he somehow lasts through the first five rounds I’ll consider him, but we all know the likelihood of that happening.
Baron Davis has not and will not find his way onto any of my teams. Just once since 2001-02 has Baron Davis played in more than 67 games in a single season. In his 10 seasons in the Association he’s shot 40.9 percent from the floor and just 69.7 percent from the free throw line. He’s killer on your percentages, can’t stay healthy, and if you play in a turnover league he might just kill you — emotionally. He just doesn’t do it for me.
I still can’t imagine what the mock drafters over at Mock Draft Central are seeing in Manu Ginobili this year that I’m not seeing. His current ADP over at MDC is 36.6. Really? I think there’s a little bit of selective memory going on over there. Doesn’t anyone remember that he missed 38 games last season and even when he did play he looked like he had thrown up the white flag. I can’t see Ginobili playing at full speed if he expects to suit up for 70-plus games this season. Look for the Spurs to limit his minutes with hopes that he’ll remain healthy enough to up his game during the playoffs. In the middle of the third round? No thanks.
Stephen Jackson played well over his head last season, and with his demands to be traded I just don’t see a system out there that suits his game better than Golden State’s. Imagine him in Cleveland or back with a team like the Spurs. Maybe they can keep him from dipping below the 40 percent mark from the floor or maybe they’ll help him tone down his 4-4.5 turnovers per game, but at what expense? There are just far too many problems going on in S-Jax’s head right now and I don’t have the gut to see if he can get it together.
Partly because his current ADP is 39.7 and also because he is already injured, I won’t be drafting Marcus Camby. He plans to be ready for the Clips season opener, but I’m not taking him in the late third. Six rounds later I might consider Camby, especially since he’s a top tier shot blocker and one of the best rebounders in the league. But he’s injury prone and — his ankle! Again! Haven’t we heard this story before?
I don’t know if it’s something personal, but I never draft Mehmet Okur. He doesn’t rebound enough for me or block many shots for a guy 6-11. Great, he can make three-pointers. But I can get a younger three-point shooting big with 1.3 blocked shots in his back pocket in Andrea Bargnani a few picks later. Bargnani has yet to reach his potential, while with Okur we know what he is. I also don’t like that Okur is part of that messy Millsap/Boozer situation in Utah. Think Jerry Sloan won’t opt to play Boozer at center and Millsap at the ‘four’ in stretches? Also, as a little draft tip for you guys, you can get similar value out of Channing Frye nearly 80 picks later. You can have Okur, because I’m in no rush to grab him.
Ever get back together with an ex-girlfriend thinking she’s changed, only to get burned again, and worse? That’s the relationship I have with Gilbert Arenas, and thus won’t be returning his phone calls this preseason. Gilbert vows he is healthy and going to pass first this year, but his brain bone ain’t connected to his knee bone, so he can’t make any guarantees there. While Arenas has the potential to return major value, he can also expedite your squad’s demise.
In a similar vein to what Greg was talking about above, O.J. Mayo is a leper to me now that Allen Iverson has infested the Grizzlies. Will there be a single happy, productive player on this roster? Mayo has a right to expect a larger role this year, but with A.I. he will have trouble matching his impressive numbers from his rookie season. Zach Randolph and Rudy Gay will be politely asking Mike Conley for the ball as well, so we’re looking at some disappointing and rather surly fantasy options in Memphis. I’ll be avoiding Mayo, but remain fascinated as to how all of this is going to play out.
Count me among the few who considers Carmelo Anthony overrated in fantasy. I’m not suggesting that Anthony won’t improve on his ’08-09 digits (22.8 PTS, 6.8 REB, 3.4 AST, 1.1 STL, 44.3 FG%, 79.3 FT%, 1.0 3FG, 0.4 BLK) but what I am saying is that he doesn’t dominate any category other than scoring, assuming he brings his average back up around 25 per game. He’s now played in 66 games or less in two of the last three seasons, so there’s another cause for concern. Folks are grabbing him 38th over at Mock Draft Central, but I’m steering clear of the guy who was ranked 104th last year in Yahoo.
“Resting him for the playoffs”. Whether it be Ginobili, Steve Nash, or Kevin Garnett, we’ve heard that phrase bandied about a lot this preseason. I’m all for bandying, but this is a disturbing trend. As a case in point, consider me oil and Tim Duncan water. If I’m going to invest a second-round pick for someone who might sit out completely once a week, I’m probably not going to win my league. While Duncan’s averages will still hover around his usual 20, 11 and two blocks, his games played will shrink into dangerous territory. Right now, I’m equating him to a Rashard Lewis and imagining he’s suspended for at least 10 games.
I was already avoiding Greg Oden purely based on the dump he took on my roster last year when I wasted a sixth-round pick on him. But that’s a purely visceral reaction. What’s really keeping me away is this sudden new-found drooling over Oden by fantasy geeks because the child-man is tearing it up this preseason. He’s already gone from a major injury risk who could be had late, to a darling sleeper selection in the middle rounds. I’m in neither camp, so I’ll be building my teams sans-Oden while others worry about what to do with him and when that next knee injury is coming.
Who are you avoiding in drafts? Who is going too high or too low? Let us know your thoughts in the Comments section.