Tag Archives: Andrea Bargnani

RotoExperts Draft Kit: Top 25 Centers

If only free throws were this easy for Dwight...

From the RotoExperts 2011-12 NBA Draft Kit

These rankings were written on Dec. 17 and published Dec. 20. I’ve done several drafts in the last few days and have noticed that you are going to have to reach for Greg Monroe, JaVale McGee and DeAndre Jordan if you want them. Joakim Noah is falling and offering great value.  

For years, the center position has been the most important one in Fantasy Basketball. These days, with so many power fowards manning the middle often enough to earn eligibility at the position, it isn’t as crucial to burn early picks on true centers. Pau GasolAmar’e StoudemireKevin Love and David Lee are just a few examples of players who are power forwards most of the time but pick up center eligibility in most leagues.

For the purposes of these rankings, we have including only the players who are expected to play the majority of their minutes at the true center position this year. As always, it is important to examine your own league’s positional eligibility rules prior to drafting. The following rankings are based on a nine-category, head-to-head league format (PTS, REB, AST, STL, BLK, 3FG, FG%, FT%, TO). We break down players into tiers as well to help you organize them within your overall cheat sheets. These rankings take into account not just stat projections, but injury risk, competition for minutes and other intangibles.

ROTOEXPERTS.COM CENTER RANKINGS

TIER 1

1. Dwight Howard, ORL

Projected Stats: 22.7 PPG, 13.9 RPG, 1.5 APG, 0.0 3FG, 1.3 SPG, 2.5 BPG, 3.5 TO, 59.1 FG%, 59.8 FT%

To the casual player, Howard is the No. 1 center in the league by a mile. In Fantasy, it certainly depends on the format. He’s more of a second or third-round value in rotisserie leagues. In a head-to-head or points-based format, he challenges Chris Paul for the No. 3 overall selection. Howard’s dominance in rebounds, blocks and field goal percentage sets your team up perfectly in H2H leagues, as you can punt free throws and surround him with complementary pieces in the other categories. Howard also averaged 1.4 steals last year, an underrated part of his game and an amazing number for a center.

Continue reading


Fantasy & Free Agent Fest: Atlantic Division

In the days leading up to the start of free agency on Dec. 9, Damn Lies & Statistics will be taking a look at each team’s potential moves, top fantasy players and more. We’ll start with the Atlantic Division.

BOSTON CELTICS
Fantasy-Worthy Players Under Contract (H2H Draft Round in Parentheses): G Rajon Rondo (2/3), F Paul Pierce (3/4), G Ray Allen (7/8), F Kevin Garnett (8)
Key Unrestricted Free Agents: F Glen Davis, G Delonte West, F Troy Murphy
Key Restricted Free Agents: F Jeff Green
What to Look For: Boston is a team looking to win right now. Allen and Garnett come off the books for the summer of 2012, so this is it. Unfortunately, since the core of the team is aging and expensive, there are few moves Danny Ainge can make outside of trading an asset like Rajon Rondo. Rumors are already starting to percolate that the Celtics could move Rondo for Chris Paul. Crazier things have happened under Ainge’s reign as GM. For now, the team will likely hope Jeff Green doesn’t get any big offers and try to fit him into a reasonable new deal. Davis is likely gone and West could return on the cheap. With the doddering Jermaine O’Neal as the team’s only center, expect the C’s to grab a few cheap big men. The bottom line is that barring a major trade, the fantasy values are set in stone here. However, we’re very wary of spending high picks on Garnett or Allen, and even Pierce, considering the condensed nature of the 66-game schedule. They will have to be rested regularly and are injury risks.
The Damn Lies Bold Recipe: Let both Davis and Green walk, re-sign West, lure Chuck Hayes on the cheap and maybe use the mid-level on Carl Landry or Tayshaun Prince. Fill out the roster with a Roger Mason or Theo Ratliff, and try to win with this group. Dwight Howard and Chris Paul ain’t walking through that door. Continue reading


2011-12 Damn Mock I: Fifth Round

The Damn Lies Mock Draft rolls along, and the fifth round certainly presents some challenges. We’re coming to the point of the draft where players with one or two glaring flaws are selected, such as Stephen Jackson or Brandon Jennings with their noxious field goal percentages. Or perhaps a Kevin Garnett with too many miles on him, or Andrea Bargnani, who refuses to rebound adequately for his size and position. It is starting to get interesting checking out each team, and it’s certainly only going to be tougher from here on out. We’re just getting started, though; keep checking back for more.

The rules: Jeff, Tom and Greg are taking four teams each in this 12-team league, which is a nine-category rotisserie league (FG%, FT%, PTS, REB, AST, STL, BLK, 3FG, TO) that will draft the following: 1 PG, 1 SG, 1 SF, 1 PF, 2 C, 1 F, 1 G, 2 U. We’ll be building each team ourselves based on this format. Hope you enjoy, and feel free to mock us in the Comments.

FIRST ROUND | SECOND ROUND | THIRD ROUND | FOURTH ROUND

DAMN MOCK I FIFTH ROUND

49. Team 1 (Greg) – David West – Team 1 is shaping up fine, and I think the right tactic is to grab best available and that would mean West goes off the board. Before injury prematurely ended his season, he was averaging 18.9 points, 7.5 rebounds, 0.9 blocks, 1.0 steals and was shooting 51 percent from the field and 81 percent from the line, third round stuff if I’ve ever seen it. Don’t lunch on him as he is one of the most consistent power forwards in the game. Continue reading


Damn Lies Midseason Report: Atlantic Division

A cheap ploy for us to get page views, and Nets forward Kris Humphries.

We’re gonna mix it up a bit this week at Damn Lies. Now that the season is roughly halfway over (emphasis on ‘roughly’), we thought it would be fun to hand out grades to each player who has made an impact, positive or negative, on the fantasy landscape. Think of these as sort of the Golden Globes to our annual postseason awards, The Dammies, only with fewer scientology jokes. This isn’t very scientific, in the sense that the three of us were liberal arts majors and are much more comfortable making stuff up rather than postulating an actual theory, which I can rarely do without pulling a muscle. For each team, we’ll assign grades based on how players have lived up to fantasy expectations. If a guy has disappointed or has been hurt more than not, he could get a ‘D’ or ‘F’ even though his numbers aren’t totally awful. If someone went undrafted in every league but has come out of nowhere to offer solid value, he could get an ‘A’. Or not. It’s really up to us. Don’t think to much about it.

I’ll start with the Atlantic Division, and we’ll have a new division per day. Enjoy! Continue reading


I’ll Be Damned: A Chilly Goodbye

Time for another installment of I’ll Be Damned, in which I travel around the NBA marveling at things that make my roto-head hurt. After being granted a waiver by the World Wide Web Consortium, I don’t have to submit this column in a What I’m Thankful For format. After calling their help center and whining about Darren Collison for 17 straight minutes, they relented and let me proceed as I wish. Every other writer writing about anything at all this week wishes they were me.

But I am thankful for one thing: Brad Childress. The man was a riot on many levels and will be sorely missed. Watching football on Sundays while curled up in the fetal position weeping won’t be the same. Yes, I have a fantasy football problem. But when anything becomes less funny I get depressed (I’m thinking of you, The Office). Long live the Chill. And the Chill Dress.

Back to basketball…

I’ll be damned that…

…Andrea Bargnani is averaging just 4.8 rebounds.
I knew this guy was soft, but that’s ridiculous. Transparently, Bargs is making the leap this year as many predicted with Chris Bosh out of town. He’s averaging 21.7 points, including 28.3 in his last three. But his other numbers aren’t what we want. We drafted Bargnani as one of our centers and he is anemic on the boards. His blocks are way down (0.7). He has just one block in his last six games. The shooting percentage is decent (45.9) but very inconsistent. I say it is time to try to push him off on another owner for someone of a little more substance. Continue reading


Fox Unbalanced: A Cacophony of Cockamamy Claptrap

Wes Craven's Scream was originally based on a screenplay about Greg Fox checking box scores.

Just when I thought I had this fantasy basketball thing all figured out, I’m thrown for another Froot Loop on Wednesday night. I hate starting these pieces by whining about my own team, but how can I not as the Unhappy Hairstons continue to get injured like its their job? A lot of this could have been avoided. I’ve had this awkward infatuation with Roy Hibbert since he left Georgetown for the bright lights of Indianapolis.  I so desperately wanted him this year and he was staring me in the face in the sixth round. So what did I do? I took Mo Williams, that’s what! Mo’s 2010-11 campaign has thus far been nothing short of a Wes Craven film. Tonight, he strained his groin, no doubt while lunging to strangle Byron Scott who benched him in the fourth quarter of Tuesday night’s win in New Jersey, and will probably have to wear a truss for the remainder of the season. Meanwhile, Hibbert and his 15.8 points, 9.3 rebounds, 3.8 assists and 3.3 blocks are the perfect reward for my jangled nerves.

As Tom and Jeff have said repeatedly, it is still early and ground can be made up. It is in my nature to panic, as my fingernails can attest. It’s in my genes. My father panicked, his father panicked and his father before him was a noted ‘fraidy cat’ in the old country, so what chance did I have, really?

All I can do at this point is help you, my loyal readers, by looking at a few guys to target as well as a few to thank for their contributions before bidding adieu. Continue reading


Damn Lies Fantasy Preview: Toronto Raptors

 

Mess with the bull and get the horns, Lorenzo!

 

Well, it was bound to happen. Welcome to the 2010-11 season, Raptors fans. I would like to introduce you to your franchise player, Andrea Bargnani. My brother from another madre. Gone are the days of a soft 20 and 10 from Chris Bosh, and here are the days of an even softer 18 and 8 (plus 1.5 blocks and 1.5 threes!) from Bargnani. To be honest with you, from a fantasy standpoint Bargs might have better year-end value this season than Bosh. Wouldn’t surprise me one bit. But then again, he’s a fellow paisan.  My love for him doesn’t go as deep as my adoration for Danilo Gallinari, but no one’s ever complained about being Tom Lorenzo’s No. 2.

LIES
Jose Calderon is the highest paid Raptor, yet it’s Jarrett Jack who’s earning his pay at the point guard. Calderon burned fantasy owners last season and it’s pretty evident from the early mocks I’ve been in that they’ve yet to forgive and forget. He was nothing more than a mediocre point guard, when healthy. Jack wasn’t much to write Rome about, but at least he played all 82 games. That being said, neither interest me that much. If I can grab Calderon in the 10th I might give him a look. Hey, how about giving Marcus Banks a look?

DAMN LIES
Linas Kleiza has returned to the NBA! Woo-hoo! I wonder, yes, it’s true, I wonder what kind of value he’ll have in Toronto. I mean, it’s not as if he was a terrible player when he left for Greece. With Denver he was good for about 10 points, 4 rebounds, and over a three per game. Not terrible. But then again that was in Denver where the ball was dominated by Carmelo Anthony and for almost the entire 2008-09 season he was in a timeshare with J.R. Smith. Look at the Raptors roster and tell me you can’t see Kleiza playing 22-25 minutes. That could turn into a productive value add, no? Yeah, you’re probably right.

STATISTICS
Not only do I like the numbers that Bargs can put up this season, but I may just take Leandro Barbosa as my second Raptor. Barbosa is a guy who can give you 15+ points and add 1.5 threes and close to 1.5 steals. How’s that for a 10th rounder! Seriously, though, after Bargnani who do you take? Amir Johnson has nice upside and I can see him posting big blocks numbers, but nowhere else has his game developed. He’s a last round pick as far as I’m concerned. Julian Wright intrigues me as someone who could steal some balls, but he too is unproven. Then there’s DeMar DeRozan. I would definitely take a shot on DeRozan in the final few rounds, but he’s got some holes in his game. I like how efficient he is (49.9 FG%, only 0.8 TOs), but he can’t shoot the three-ball, doesn’t dish the ball, and isn’t a good rebounder. Nice value, but I’m not crazy about him. Again, after Bargs tell me who you would take next. Barbosa?

DEPTH CHART
PG: Jarrett Jack, Jose Calderon
SG: DeMar DeRozan, Leandro Barbosa
SF: Linas Kleiza, Julian Wright
PF: Amir Johnson, Ed Davis
C: Andrea Bargnani, David Andersen

Up Next: Charlotte Bobcats

Full Schedule


Daily Lies & Statistics: Passers Need Not Apply

The final few weeks of an NBA regular season is simply a feeding frenzy for those given the green light to hoist shots at will. Case in point: Al Harrington. I think Harrington was the kid in school who started the ol’ ‘one for you, one for me… two for you, one-two for me’ routine at the corner candy store. But he is also the guy who is leading many a fantasy team to a championship.

Al Harrington has installed a Pop-a-Shot in his backyard to simulate his ideal game conditions.

Last night he erupted for 26 points (3-9 3-pt fg) and 17 rebounds in New York’s 103-98 loss at Utah and has averaged 24.3 points, 8.3 rebounds and 3.0 3-pointers per contest over his last three. And the best thing about Big Al is that his owners never have to worry about him deferring to a teammate.

Harrington was not alone in the monster game department last night. Let’s take a look-see.

Carlos Boozer: For some reason, Boozer never gets talked about as being an elite power forward. When healthy, he not only dominates the glass, he is also a force offensively in the interior. Last night he was healthy enough to dismantle the Knicks with 26 points (11-16 fg) and 14 rebounds. A free agent at season’s end, he could find himself with a max contract in July.

Deron Williams: Boozer’s partner in crime posted a cool 23 points (5-8 3-pt fg) and 14 assists against the defensively challenged ‘bockers last night. The Jazz are fighting for playoff position and have a leader in Jerry Sloan, who coaches every game as if it were Game Seven.

Andrea Bargnani: Oh those big men who shoot threes and block shots. Bargnani is in elite company with the Anthony Tollivers of the world. Last night he racked up 16 points, nine boards and added three 3-pointers and a block as the Raptors scored an all-important 103-101 win in Charlotte.

Ray Felton: I can always count on Felton to post huge lines when I don’t have him in my lineup. Last night he tortured me with 18 points, five rebounds and seven assists while knocking down a season-high four 3-pointers.

Brook Lopez: Led the Nets to their third win in four tries with 22 points and 12 boards over a stunned San Antonio team. To be fair, the Spurs were playing without Manu Ginobili in this one and fell asleep in the calming environs of Izod Center during the six-minute timeout of the third quarter.

Courtney Lee: It’s not every day that a smoking hot Asian woman can tally 19 points and six rebounds in an NBA game, but the proof is in the pudding.

DeJuan Blair: The rookie dominated the backboards to the tune of 11 points and 11 caroms in only 17 minutes of work. The question is, why did he only clock in for 17 minutes, Gregg Popovich?

Pau Gasol: Gasol took his life in his own hands by registering 26 points, 22 rebounds and two blocks in a 108-100 loss to the stumbling Hornets last night. Kobe will not put up with any teammate of his posting those kinds of numbers and promises to freeze the big Spaniard out of the next three games.

Chris Paul: The Chris Paul we drafted with a top 2 pick finally gave a Chris Paul performance with 15 points, four boards and 13 assists in the win over the Lakers. Paul could win many fantasy championships over the course of the next two weeks.

Dirk Nowitzki: Nowitzki’s night was a thing of beauty as he finished with 34 points (4-5 3-pt fg, 16-17 ft), 10 rebounds and 10 assists as the Mavs defeated the Nuggets 109-93 and have flown past them into the #2 spot in the Western Conference.

Shawn Marion: Marion, a first round pick by many as little as three seasons ago, is kind of a forgotten man. He has been playing well of late and last night finished with 21 points (9-13 fg) and two steals. He and Andrei Kirilenko should go bowling together and talk about the good old days.

J.R. Smith: While Carmelo Anthony and Chauncey Billups combined on a foul 6-for-30 from the floor, Smith gave the Nuggets a puncher’s chance with 27 points (10-16 fg), a steal and a block. Smith, not known for his court vision, could help teams in need of threes down the stretch.


The Damn Lies Panel: Let someone else draft them

WEDNESDAY’S QUESTION: What is the starting five on your Let Someone Else Draft Them team?

Greg Fox:
Allen IversonOn 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.

Tom Lorenzo:
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.

Manu GinobiliI 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.

Jeff Andriesse:
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.

Carmelo AnthonyCount 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.


Top 25 Centers: Rankings and Analysis

By Tom Lorenzo and Jeff Andriesse

The center position is on one hand the most important position in fantasy basketball, but on the other hand the most boring. You can understand why we would get excited about anyone who offers anything other than the standard PTS-REB-BLK-FG% stat line and nothing else. Like Andrea Bargnani, or Mehmet Okur, or Sidney Crosby. I don’t necessarily buy that the center position is thin, because most leagues allow for hybrids like Tim Duncan, Al Jefferson and even Al Harrington to be eligible at center. You can get decent centers in the middle rounds, as long as you secure at least one stud early on. Tom and I like Dwight Howard, but then again we are confident in our ability to draft a good team around him. If you lack that confidence, go ahead and pass on Superman (like how I just challenged you there?). Howard is probably the fourth overall pick in head-to-head leagues, and could be taken anywhere after eighth in roto leagues. As always, check your league’s positional eligibility list before making your own cheat sheets. For this exercise, format is based on standard eight-category rotisserie style (FG%, FT%, PTS, REB, AST, STL, BLK, 3FG).

2009-10 Center Rankings

Tom’s Top 25 Jeff’s Top 25
1. Dwight Howard 1. Dwight Howard
2. Amar’e Stoudemire 2. Amar’e Stoudemire
3. Pau Gasol 3. Al Jefferson
4. Al Jefferson 4. Pau Gasol
5. Brook Lopez 5. Tim Duncan
6. David Lee 6. Brook Lopez
7. Tim Duncan 7. David Lee
8. Andris Biedrins 8. Al Horford
9. Al Horford 9. Andris Biedrins
10. Andrea Bargnani 10. Mehmet Okur
11. Emeka Okafor 11. Nene
12. Nene 12. Marcus Camby
13. Mehmet Okur 13. Emeka Okafor
14. Luis Scola 14. Spencer Hawes
15. Andrew Bynum 15. Andrew Bogut
16. Marcus Camby 16. Andrea Bargnani
17. Spencer Hawes 17. Luis Scola
18. Andrew Bogut 18. Joakim Noah
19. Marc Gasol 19. Chris Andersen
20. Joakim Noah 20. Andrew Bynum
21. Greg Oden 21. Sam Dalembert
22. Kendrick Perkins 22. Kendrick Perkins
23. Chris Andersen 23. Marc Gasol
24. Tyson Chandler 24. Jermaine O’Neal
25. Brad Miller 25. Brad Miller

BREAKING DOWN THE CENTER POSITION

Three Questions for Tom

Jeff: Going by your rankings, you are liking Andrea Bargnani this year. Is he taking that next step?

Tom: I like the step he took last season. The best think about Bargnani is that as a center he has the ability this year to block 1.5 shots and knock down 1.5 threes per game. He’s not the best scorer or rebounder on his team, but with that combo of blocks and threes you can live with 15 and 6. The other thing I like from Bargnani is that he is an efficient shooter. Last season he shot 45 percent from the floor and 83.1 percent from the free throw line. It’s tough to find an 80+ percent free throw shooter at the center position anymore! I look at him as the Troy Murphy of 2009-10, in terms of value this season.

Jeff: We both rank Dwight Howard first, which might make veteran fantasy players cringe. Are we just really confident in our abilities to draft a solid team around him (more likely!) or are the worry-warts right about his free throw percentage being too much of a cross to bear?

Tom: I just don’t see how owners in H2H leagues can be afraid of drafting a big time shot blocker and rebounder like Howard in the first round. He not only dominates in both of those categories, but he’ll finish in the top 20 in scoring and the top 10 in field goal shooting. That’s a nice foundation to build off of. I think too many owners forget that you don’t have to win the week 8-0 in order to dominate. No one is going to win 8-0 each week. If you anchor your team with Howard you are well on your way to winning four categories. That’s a nice start. You can add the steals, assists, and threes later. In roto, it’s more of a challenge. But when you’re talking about H2H there is not better center in the game than Howard.

Jeff: I look at Greg Oden‘s name and visions of games where he has more fouls than points or boards still dance in my head. Are you buying Oden as a fantasy player this season?

Tom: I am buying on Oden this season. The price is at an all-time low, which makes him that easier to buy. He’s got the chops to add big numbers on the boards and in blocked shots. He also can put the ball in the basket. He won’t be a 20 and 10 guy, but I’ll buy at a full season of 10 and 10 with 1.5 blocks and a 55 percent showing from the field. The key really is where you buy him. I have no problem taking a flier on him as my third center in the 11th or 12th round. The upside is worth it to me. I mean, would you rather draft the upside of Oden or the low ceiling of Ronny Turiaf as your third center?

Three Questions for Jeff

Tom: Seeing that you have Tim Duncan ranked fifth, just ahead of David Lee and Brook Lopez, are you not worried that the Spurs are going to cut back his minutes a bit in order to keep his legs fresh come playoff time?

Jeff: I’m looking at Duncan’s career stats and the last five years have been nearly identical. Between 33 and 35 minutes, 19-20 points, 11 boards, three assists and around 50 percent from the field. His blocks dipped last year from his usual two to 1.7, but there’s no reason to worry that Duncan won’t continue to be Tim Duncan. Duncan is a master of body control and certainly knows his limits, and 34 minutes per game during the regular season should be perfect for him if the Spurs are looking to make a postseason run. If, at worst, Duncan averages an 18 and 10 with 1.5 blocks, you’re still doing pretty well. All of that said, I don’t suggest taking him until late in the second round, but he remains a No. 1 center.

Tom: Are we crazy? What makes Joakim Noah a better selection than Brad Miller?

Jeff: There are much crazier calls out there than this. Noah averaged just 24 minutes a game last year yet still finished ahead of Miller in Yahoo’s player rankings. If Noah gets close to 30 minutes per game – and why not? – he could come close to 9 and 10 with close to two blocks and hardly any turnovers. He shot better than 55 percent from the floor last year, and his 67.6 FT% is not enough to hurt you since he doesn’t get to the line that often. Miller is Miller, a solid fantasy guy but also 33 years old with gradually dwindling statistics. If Noah and Tyrus Thomas blossom this year, Miller will move even more into the background in Chicago, and Noah will be the better fantasy C when all is said and done.

Tom: With Marc Gasol at No. 23 and Sam Dalembert at No. 21, are you more worried about Zach Randolph taking stats away from Gasol than you are about Elton Brand stealing boards and blocks from Sammy D?

Jeff: I like a little bounce-back year for Sammy. I think Brand’s presence can only help him, as he was dreadful without Brand in there last year. I’m thinking 8 PTS, 9-10 REB and 2 BLK for Dalembert this year, more along the lines of his career norms. Those two blocks move him up my list, as that’s more than Gasol, Tyson Chandler or the aforementioned Miller provide. In terms of why I have Gasol that low, I’m down on all the Grizzlies this year after they imported the double-edged poisonous sword of Randolph and Allen Iverson. Marc is not going to like playing with Randolph down low, nor is Mr. Iverson going to be too keen on dropping the ball down low to either of them. And when OJ Mayo and Rudy Gay realize they aren’t getting their’s, well… I suppose somebody has to suffer the consequences of this debacle, and I’m knocking Gasol down a few pegs in a case of collateral damage.

If you have comments, questions or suggestions for Jeff and Tom, feel free to leave them in the comments section. Also, be sure to follow Tom and Jeff on Twitter and check out RotoExperts.com for the most comprehensive fantasy sports coverage on the web.


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