Every player in every fantasy league has their Dwight Howard “theory.” Most in H2H leagues will draft Howard in the top 4 or 5 picks and simply punt the FT% and turnover categories. Some, however, are anti-punt and refuse to touch Howard regardless. In Roto leagues there are those who will drop Howard completely off their list of targeted players, those who will drop him down to the later rounds, and those who are bold enough to take the FT% hit and take him early in the 2nd round. Ideally, if you’re in a Roto league and you can combine Howard with top pick Kevin Durant you’re probably a lock to finish in the top 3 in your league. Howard made just 59.2% of his free throws on 10 attempts per game, while Durant made 90.0% of his free throws on 10.2 attempts. Together they combined to make 74.7% of their free throws. Not only is that manageable, but that would put you in the top 3 or 4 in your league in FT%. My point is, you should never outright banish a player from your draft board. It’s not a likely scenario that you can couple Howard and Durant, but if at all possible you can do so in complete dominance. With that being said, you also might want to draft defensively and make sure that the Durant owner in your league doesn’t get Howard. That would be a tough team to challenge.
Rashard Lewis had just an awful season last year. His 3-point shooting is the only category which he was able to give you plus-value. In each of his first three seasons with the Magic, Lewis has seen his minutes, field goal attempts, points, rebounds, assists, threes, free-throw percentage, and blocks decline. Once a top 20 fantasy player, Lewis is now among the Ray Allens of the league who are good for help in a few areas, but not reliable in most others. They should have called him Bust-ard Lewis. That is, if he wasn’t teammates with…
…Vince Carter. VC wasn’t a complete and total bust, well, unless you want to talk about the first half of the 2009-10 season. If that’s the case, you can call VC a VC-cup (whatever that means). Prior to the All-Star break, Carter averaged just 16.5 points on 39.7% shooting from the floor. There was a period of time, let’s call it “January,” where Carter averaged 8.7 points on 27.4% shooting in 10 games. Yuck! Carter’s minutes too have been in a sharp decline, going from 38 to 36 minutes two years ago, only to have him average just over 30 minutes last season. He wasn’t even able to average one steal or four rebounds per game last year with the Magic. It wouldn’t even be fair to say he’s among the aging veterans like Paul Pierce and Tim Duncan who are seeing their role decrease, because both of those players are still effective. I would put Carter in the 8th or 9th round of most fantasy drafts, though that doesn’t mean I’m taking him.
Carter might have a little competition at shooting guard this year as the Magic re-upped J.J. Redick‘s contract over the summer. I look at Redick as a category filler only, though. He can give you about 10-12 points, 1.5-2 threes, and shoot 85+% from the free-throw line. Other than that, he doesn’t play any defense, rebound, or dish the ball well enough. Jameer Nelson is an interesting selection. He is a year removed from a major injury and a season in which he averaged 16.7 points, 2.0 threes, 1.2 steals, 5.4 assists, 3.5 rebounds, 88.7% shooting from the line and 50.4% from the field. I would take those numbers in the 6th round if I knew I was getting them. Problem is, Nelson hasn’t played in 70 games since the 2006-07 season. He’s definitely an injury concern. His back-up Chris Duhon is good for some assists, if he plays, but he’s a terrible shooter and he can really hurt you in the FG% category. Brandon Bass is an efficient big, but we’ve yet to see him get significant minutes. Ryan Anderson is a big man with a nice 3-point stroke, but he too not been able to get on the court long enough to make an impact. Mickael Pietrus doesn’t do enough besides hit 3-pointers and steal a ball or two to make enough of an impact. Besides, his shooting percentages can really hurt you. Quentin Richardson was brought in during the offseason to add another deep threat. He can hit close to two 3-pointers per game, steal a ball, and he rebounds well for his size, but he too has some holes in his game. I would look at Q-Rich as waiver add when you’re chasing specific stats.
PG: Jameer Nelson, Chris Duhon
SG: Vince Carter, J.J. Redick
SF: Quentin Richardson, Mickael Pietrus
PF: Rashard Lewis, Brandon Bass
C: Dwight Howard, Marcin Gortat
Up Next: Los Angeles Clippers