Greg Oden has played in all 82 games over his first three seasons in the league. Not exactly what the Blazers were hoping to get out of him, but we can’t quite label him the Sam Bowie of the 2007 NBA Draft. He’s still just 22 years old and has a few more knee surgeries to go before we can call him a bust. The 21 games he played in last season were quite impressive, actually. He put up 11.1 points, 8.5 rebounds, 2.3 blocks, shot 60.5% from the field and 76.6% from the line. And that was in just 24 minutes of action. You can’t quite commit to owning Oden this season. It has to be something of a “yeah, my team looks good so why not take a shot in the 11th round” sort of deal. If Oden is your second center, you’re in trouble. But I say that as someone who drafts him every year, and who selected him in the 10th round of a Roto league just yesterday. So take that for what it’s worth.
Brandon Roy missed 17 games last season with a bum hamstring. His loss was tougher on fantasy owners because you likely had to use an early 2nd-round pick to get him. Roy is known as one of those do-it-all fantasy contributors (blocks need not apply). On his career he’s just around the 20/5/5 mark, with 1.0 threes, 1.1 steals, 46% shooting from the floor, and a notch under 80% from the line. A healthy Roy is definitely worth a mid-2nd round selection. This year, however, he’s been going in the mid- to late-3rd round. If he can play in 75+ games this season then you are looking at an excellent value. The only problem is that he’s only played in 70 or more games twice in his four-year career. Keep your fingers crossed!
One player on the Blazers who often gets forgotten is LaMarcus Aldridge. The reason is because he’s a better on the court player than he is a fantasy player. Aside from his scoring (17.9), modest rebound numbers (8.0), and center eligibility, Aldridge doesn’t really provide much value. He can shoot close to 50% from the floor, but he’d prefer to stay at about 48-49%. His long 6-foot, 11-inch frame doesn’t care too much for blocking shots (0.6). And now with three legitimate centers on the Blazers roster it’s almost as if he doesn’t need to board and block. It’s almost like he’s a lighter version of David West, which isn’t saying much since we know how soft West can be. At best I would look at Aldridge in the late-6th or early-7th round. But, to be honest with you, I don’t see myself actually looking at him at all. Sorry, bro.
There is a lot of interesting talent on Portland. Point guard Andre Miller had a disastrous start to the 2009-10 season, but turned it around in the second half and finished with decent numbers (remember that 52-point game against Dallas?) He’s good for some assists and steals, but cannot shoot the three-ball. His backup Jerryd Bayless is a nice spark-plug scorer off the bench, but he won’t have any value unless something happens to Miller. The Blazers signed Wes Matthews this offseason, though he too has some competition in Roy and my favorite sleeper pick (sorry, Bubs) Nicolas Batum. I like Batum mainly for his threes (1.5), steals (0.7, but he’s better than that) and percentages (51.3 FG%, 40.9 3PT%, 84.3 FT%). If he gets 28-30 minutes then lookout! Disgruntled wing Rudy Fernandez is also in the mix somewhere, though unless he’s moved he’s not worth a look. Marcus Camby has some competition in Greg Oden, but he should still be able to add bulk rebounds and blocks, as usual. Some are taking Camby in the 5th round, but I would feel more comfortable waiting until the 7th round, if possible.
PG: Andre Miller, Jerryd Bayless
SG: Brandon Roy, Wes Matthews, Rudy Fernandez
SF, Nicolas Batum, Luke Babbitt
PF: LaMarcus Aldridge, Dante Cunningham
C: Greg Oden, Marcus Camby, Joel Przybilla
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