“If you ever go to Houston, boy you better walk right…” (Bob Dylan, 2010)
Speaking of walking right, what’s the deal with Yao Ming‘s foot(s)? He hasn’t played in a regular season game since the 2008-09 season, but by all reports he’s healthy and ready to play his 24-minute-per-game ceiling. On Sunday against the Nets he played 18 minutes, scoring 10 points on 5-of-7 shooting and pulling in five rebounds. Solid, yet unspectacular. Yao has the talent to be a top fantasy performer, yet he doesn’t have the legs to last an entire season. At least that’s what most skeptics (and realists) believe. Right now Yao is going in the later rounds, typically in the 9th. I would not take him a round sooner. Not this year. If he plays 75 games this season, we can talk about moving him up. But I’d prefer a Roy Hibbert or even a Serge Ibaka to Yao right now. In fact, I would probably take Greg Oden over Yao. Please send hate mail to NotGregFox@GregOden.Mail.
Aaron Brooks lead the league in 3-pointers made last season, hitting 209 treys (39.8%). He also provided 5.3 assists, 19.6 points, and a respectable 82.3% from the free-throw line. A few problems I have with Brooks is that for a point guard he only steals 0.8 balls per game and that he’s a career 42.1% shooter from the floor. Not impressed. I’d like to say that he improved as a defender in the second half of last season, but I can’t do that without lying to you. The thing about Brooks is that he’s such a huge plus from the 3-point line and, as a mid-rounder, he can fill up the scoring category for you. It’s just that he doesn’t play much defense. Still, I like Brooks as a category chaser.
What do we think of Kevin Martin? It’s been three seasons since Martin has played in 62 games in a single season. Hated it! Martin is a dynamic scorer, we can all agree on that. But to assume that he’s in for the long-haul this season seems a little optimistic. Yes, 20 points, one steal, 1.5 threes, and 90% shooting from the free-throw line is a realistic projection, but to lose him after just 50 games is a pretty big hit. I don’t own Martin in any of the 12 teams I’ve drafted thus far, and I don’t intend on making any trades to acquire him. I’m almost more interested in drafting Gilbert Arenas this season. And you know what a train wreck he is.
Luis Scola is the poor man’s LaMarcus Aldridge. The great thing about Scola is, though, that you can get him a few rounds later than Aldridge. If I could guarantee that Yao were to get hurt this season (I’m no god, Bubs), I might even take Scola ahead of Aldridge. But, that’s not the case. You could probably count on about 15-16 points, 7-8 rebounds, 50-plus percent shooting from the floor, close to 80% from the line, and close to a block. Not bad. Shane Battier is a block-steal-three kind of guy, but the rest of his numbers aren’t impressive at all. He’s a last-round draft pick. If Courtney Lee were guaranteed 25 minutes he could be a great 1.5 steal and 1.5 3-pointer provider. The problem is, until Martin gets injured (which will happen), he doesn’t have much value. Brad Miller is a back-up center, nothing more (until the Yao injury). Kyle Lowry is a nice deep-league sleeper. Not a 12-team kind of guy. Chase Budinger will be a waiver add at some point, but he’s not worth drafting.
PG: Aaron Brooks, Kyle Lowry
SG: Kevin Martin, Courtney Lee
SF: Shane Battier, Chase Budinger
PF: Luis Scola, Jared Jeffries, Patrick Patterson
C: Yao Ming, Brad Miller, Chuck Hayes
Up Next: Detroit Pistons