Tag Archives: DeJuan Blair

Start, Drop & Roll: Week 5 advice

hey Chris, I'm wide open every time, man

We’re getting into that part of the season when many beleaguered owners begin to lose faith and start to not pay as much attention to the waiver wire and free agent pool. Don’t be one of these owners! Be more like your Start, Drop & Roll author, who thinks whining about his fantasy basketball team should be a profession. On to some sage Week 5 guidance.

Start ’em:

Nicolas Batum, SF, Portland: I, for one, can’t make up my mind on Batum this year. He has been on the wrong end of a congested swing rotation in the Great Northwest, but is making the most of his opportunities. Gerald Wallace missed the Blazers’ last game with a sprained finger and Crash has never been known to make speedy returns. Batum should offer a nice across-the-board return in a four-game week. Continue reading

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.



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

I’ll Be Damned: Category Hunting

Rudy can fail, but you might have to take that chance if you need threes and/or steals.

I hate daily-lineup fantasy leagues.

I’m sure I’m in the minority, but I just can’t stand how the best players on the free agent list end up going to whoever happens to be on line when news breaks. You’re on the computer all day and have no life? Congrats, you’re a great fantasy player!

I’m being dramatic, but these leagues where you can pick up as many as five players in a week if not more just get under my skin. I much prefer leagues that lock lineups every Monday and/or use a free agent auction budget for pickups.

But since most of the fantasy leagues on Yahoo! and ESPN and such are daily-lineup formats, you might as well use it to your advantage. I don’t love the term “streaming” and associate it more with pitchers in fantasy baseball, but streaming in hoops is a strategy if your league allows it.

I thought it would be helpful this week if I offered up the top waiver pickups based on individual categories. If you need something specific, take a gander at these potential additions… Continue reading

Fox Unbalanced: Eyenga of the Tiger

Welcome to Cleveland, Christian. Do you want to go back to the Congo, yet?

Not to be confused with DJ Mbenga, my new favorite player is Cavaliers swingman Christian Eyenga. The Congolese sharpshooter can do a little bit of everything and has quietly been filling stat sheets with regularity since being inserted into Byron Scott’s starting lineup a few weeks ago.

Has anyone seen this guy? He is listed as being 21 years old, but I believe he earned a Purple Heart along with Greg Oden in the War of 1812. He has scored in double figures in four of his last five games, converted a 3-pointer in six of his last seven, averaged 1.8 steals over his last six and 1.7 blocks over his last eight. There is currently no one pressing him for his starting job, and being from the most war-torn part of the world prepared him well for the post-LeBron era in Cleveland. If he is mysteriously available in your league, hop on him like a cheap suit.

While an Eyenga lovefest has swept the nation, there were plenty of other happenings in the League of Extraordinarily Tall Gentlemen. Let’s take a look-see at some of last night’s eye-opening lines. Continue reading

Damn Lies Fantasy Preview: San Antonio Spurs

The beginning of the final verse of Frank Sinatra‘s “My Way” perfectly encapsulates the 2010-11 San Antonio Spurs: “And now, the end is near, and so I face, the final curtain.”  It’s been a great run, but this is one old team.  Timmy Duncan, fantasy legend and one of the greatest power forwards of all time, is 34 going on 70.  Manu Ginobili is listed at 33, but has felt the impact of the Medicare donut hole.  Tony Parker Longoria is only 28 but with Abe Vigoda‘s ankles.  I won’t even get into Richard Jefferson and Antonio McDyess.


Getting up there in age, Manu Ginobili is trying anything to cover up his bald spot.


While things have been looking kinda bleak since being bounced in the second-round of the ’09-10 playoffs by the Suns, something funny happened on the way to the Alamodome.  Reinforcements, namely George Hill, DeJuan Blair and Tiago Splitter, have rejuvenated hope in Southern Texas, and the Spurs may just have one final run left in them.  Duncan has fallen off the last few years, but still produced 17.9 points, 10.1 rebounds, a surprising 3.2 assists and 1.5 blocks and should come somewhat close to repeating those numbers this season.  No longer a high fantasy pick, you’ll still get value out of the future hall-of-famer in the late third/early fourth round.  I’m sure I’ll pass on him as much as I’m sure that I’ll regret it.

Word to the wise: Never count Ginobili out.  For my money this is one of the 10 best shooting guards in my lifetime and a multi-category beast.  I would have donated a kidney if it meant the Knicks would sign him, just to change the organization’s culture.  He is passionate about winning and despite the injuries and the proclivity to produce more off the bench, keep those 16 points, 4.0 rebounds, 4.0 assists, 1.5 steals and nearly 2.0 threes per game in mind in the eighth round or so.  Parker was crushed by injuries last season and was never able to get it going.  His lack of steals and inability to knock down the three keeps him as a better point guard in real life than in fantasy, but he ain’t half bad.  He’ll make up for the those categories by being one of a handful of lead guards capable of shooting 50 percent from the field (.490 career), and is an injury to Duncan away from becoming more aggressive on the offensive end.  Don’t forget when this happened in ’08-09, and Parker was dropping 30 a game like it was nobody’s business.

Ready to take on a much larger role this season is Hill, who will likely be involved in an even minutes split with Parker and Ginobili.  The third-year man is loaded and a solid sleeper this season, especially given the injury history of his backcourt mates.  I think I’m going to casually look his way in the 12th or 13th round and it wouldn’t surprise me to see him finish the year averaging 14 points and 4-5 assists with decent threes and steals.  Jefferson is an interesting case.  Like Parker, he has always been a better real-life player than a fantasy one.  He didn’t seem to fit in at all last year and his numbers (12.3, 4.4, 2.0) suffered.  I think he is a bounceback candidate, but won’t do enough to warrant consideration before the  13th round.  Even though he will probably not start, I will take a look at Blair long before Jefferson.  Per minute, the beast from Pitt is one of the top rebounders in the league and his field goal percentage should be sublime.  Not only would Parker reap the benefits of a Duncan injury, Blair is capable of physically decimating his opponents with more court time.  If the Splitter thing doesn’t work out, I’d like to see Duncan slide to center and Blair start at PF.

Speaking of the 6-11 Splitter, he comes to the Spurs already polished, having played professionally in Spain, where he was League MVP in ’09-10. The Brazilian is expected to share minutes in the middle with McDyess, but should prove the more worthy of a larger role as the season progresses.  Tough to say where he should be drafted, but my guess is that he’ll be a solid third center and a nice mid-to-late round grab.  McDyess has battled injuries most of the past 10 years and has admirably continued to produce.  He just doesn’t belong on fantasy rosters anymore.

PG: Tony Parker, George Hill
SG: Manu Ginobili, James Anderson
SF: Richard Jefferson, Matt Bonner
PF: Tim Duncan, DeJuan Blair
C: Tiago Splitter, Antonio McDyess

Up Next: Oklahoma City

Full Schedule

Daily Lies & Statistics: Griffin’s Done, Dude

"Man, I cannot wait to wear this thing..."

Here we go again. First it was Greg Oden, and now…Blake Griffin. Yup, the first-overall pick of the 2009 NBA Draft is out for the season. And he was this close to coming back, wasn’t he? Now it seems that Marcus Camby can now take his house off the market. Just in time, too, cause his stomach is better and so are his fantasy owners — 20 rebounds (10 offensive) in 32 minutes last night against the Hornets. So no Griffin means no worries for Camby, but what does no Chris Kaman mean? Well, with Kaman missing his second straight game (back) we were able to see some more of DeAndre Jordan! Apparently, the second show is not the same as the first — 7 points and 7 rebounds in 20 minutes last night. His game is made for deep-leagues. Not us normal sized leaguers!

So there you have it: your 2009-10 Clippers. It would seem to me that next season Griffin is, at best, a late-round draft selection. With what we saw from Oden in his sophomore campaign, it would suck to take Griffin in the 6th or 7th round and have him get hit with the bug again.

Over Time, This Game Will End

The news of the night might have been Griffin’s injury, but the game of the night belonged to the Rockets and Timberwolves. Just hours before his 25th birthday, AaronBrooks played what might have been the best game of his young career — at least that I can think of. Brooks played 59 minutes in this triple-overtime affair, and scored 43 points on 14-of-30 shooting, 6 threes, 5 assists, 3 rebounds, a steal and a turnover. It really was a sight.

On the other side of the ball Al Jefferson took advantage of the extra 15 minutes and posted 26 points and 26 rebounds. He was strong off the glass, to say the least. Rookie Wayne Ellington was the spark-plug down the stretch, providing 17 points, 3 treys, and six rebounds. He won’t be getting 34 minutes again anytime soon, but if you’re in a deep league you should definitely take notice. A great game overall.

The LINES!!!

Randy Foye: Another nice start — 18 points, 2 threes, 8 assists, 4 rebounds and a steal in 45 minutes. He’s officially good, right?

Antawn Jamison/Caron Butler/Brendan Haywood: Three double-doubles between them, and together they combined to pull down 40 of their team’s 48 rebounds.

Steve Nash: He got a busted up lip, left the game to get stitches and returned! Even though he logged just 27 minutes, Nash still had 20 points, 9 assists, 4 rebounds and a bandaged upper lip. He just gets better, doesn’t he?

Danny Granger: Finally, a game we can point to and say he’s back — 33 points on 11-of-22, 5 3-pointers, 8 rebounds and a steal in 40 minutes. This was also good news for Mike Dunleavy who is now in his more comfortable role as the third option on the Pacers — 30 points on 9-of-14 shooting, 4 threes, and 8-of-8 from the line. He Dunleavy and then he Dun-returned!

Earl Watson: His 14 points and nine assists pushes A.J. Price a little further off his back. Watson had a nice back-to-back set — 12.5 points, 8 assists, 1.5 steals and 1.5 blocks. He’s a nice option if you’re desperate.

Tyler Hansbrough: Heeee’s baaaaack…and in the starting lineup, nonetheless. He played just 10 minutes in a “matchup” start, so it was nothing much to write about. But it is interesting to see Roy Hibbert come off the bench. Hibbert played fairly well in his 23 minutes of action — 14 points, 8 rebounds and 2 blocks. I like the big 7-footer still. I’m crazy like that.

Devin Harris: Playing through a sore wrist, Harris shot 5-of-13 from the floor. He’s just not finding the bottom of the net. I would see if I can get him on the cheap. I’m not talking about giving up value, but if you can pry him away…do it.

DeJuan Blair: Taking advantage of Tim Duncan’s day of rest, Blair turned into a monster in the paint — 28 points on 11-of-17 shooting, 21 rebounds (tet ten offensive), 2 blocks and 2 steals in 31 minutes. I would say that you should hurry up and grab Blair, but is anyone else convinced while Duncan’s healthy Blair can reach at least 12 and 10? I’m not.

Kevin Durant: With his 35 points last night Durant touched the 30-point mark for the 10th time in his last 12 games. Bingo, bango.

Kobe Bryant: The back spasms didn’t stop him from playing 35 minutes and hitting the game winning bucket. They did, however, seem to hinder him — 10 points on 5-of-11 shooting, 2 rebounds, 1 assist and 1 steal. But he played 35 minutes!

Josh Howard: He found himself back in the starting lineup after missing last week’s game against the Jazz with a thigh injury — 18 points, 3 treys, 5 rebounds a block and a steal in 35 minutes. You probably like him more than I do, so please feel free to start him.

Matt Barnes: Dare I say he was….”magical.” Barnes scored a game-high 28 points on 11-of-18 shooting with 3 treys, 9 rebounds and 3 steals. I’m sure it helped that Vince Carter (shoulder) was out, and also that Howard, Nelson and Lewis combined to score 22 points on 7-of-23 shooting from the field.

Rudy Fernandez: After missing the last 19 games, Fernandez returned to the court last night against the Bucks. He played in just 15 minutes, but I’m sure we’ll be talking about him over the next week. He just needs to get a little more run before we start seeing some valuable lines. Also, Brandon Roy left last night’s game with a strained hamstring. Hey, I’m no doctor but it looks like the kid’s going to be all right.

Dwyane Wade: The wrist looks good — 35 points on 10-of-15 shooting, 15-of-15 from the line, 9 assists, 7 rebounds and 3 steals. He took no three-point attempts for the second straight game and only the second time this season. Takin’ it to the hole — the title of his autobiography.

Two games tonight — enjoy!

Remember that Kevin Garnett (thigh), Rasheed Wallace (foot) and Greg Fox (shoulder) are all out. KG and Sheed are expected to return next week. Fox should be out for the next three weeks.

Daily Lies & Statistics: Making a lasagna for one

What a fantastic day yesterday as Allen Iverson Waterworks, Inc. staged another fabulous press conference for their client, one Allen Iverson. He’s returning to play for the 76ers, in case you hadn’t heard, and Philadelphia is fulfilling Philly’s prophecy that if you talk about how Iverson will boost ticket and jersey sales over and over and over ad, um, nausea, then the public will just sort of do it. And whoop. Dee. Doo. Philadelphia is relevant again in the NBA, in the sense of: they could go .500 this season if everything breaks right. But the Sixers don’t really mean it in that sense, do they? They mean it in the sense of: let’s see how much money we can squeeze out of the denizens of our fine city.

Allen Iverson was a wreck yesterday, laying it on thick for the lapdogs and winning over the hearts of a population in full Reflection Mode. Iverson was a magnetic superstar for this humble suburb of South Jersey for many years, and it’s not surprising that fans are drawn to him again.

I was weeping myself during Iverson’s remarks. But that’s only because I’m a Lou Williams owner. Williams, already out two months with a broken jaw, is now in danger of never being a fantasy factor again this year, especially if Iverson starts playing well. With only Jrue Holiday and Willie Green to overtake in the backcourt, that’s a distinct possibility.

And what of Andre Iguodala? Isn’t this his team now? Because Iverson left two years ago? Does he really want to go back in time? Now that he’s a better player than Iverson, I highly doubt it.

Incidentally, there were three games last night. Despite getting outrebounded by 23, Boston won at San Antonio, 90-83, in a statement game. Denver blew out Miami, 114-96, and Houston held on for a 111-109 win at Golden State.

Here are the notable performances:

DeJuan Blair – 18 points, 11 rebounds, 2 blocks in 22 minutes. An exceptional showing against Boston’s frontline, and this kid is due for a great season both backing up and playing alongside Tim Duncan.

Kevin Garnett – Not usually notable when he does something well, but he has been particularly good lately. In his last five games, he is shooting an obscene 72.0 percent from the field while averaging 18.2 points. He had a 20-7-5 last night and is settling into a nice Chris Webber late-in-his-career mode (elbow jump shooter who is savvy enough to pass well and grab a few rebounds).

Chris Andersen – 9 points, 10 boards, 2 steals, 3 blocks. That’s the Andersen we’ve come to know and look at funny. 15 blocks in his last five games.

Carl Landry – Continues to flat-out ball with 22 points, 9 rebounds, 2 steals, 3 blocks, 8-10 FG and 6-6 FT vs. the Warriors. That I don’t own him in any league makes me break into cold sweats at night.

Vladimir Radmanovic – 20 points, 8 rebounds, 6 assists, 4 threes, 3 steals last night. He’ll go 2-2-1 next game, so I’m not going to go crazy recommending him, but this was a nice line. The Warriors are getting some bodies back, but Radmanovic is outplaying Corey Maggette right now.

Don Nelson – Back on the Warriors bench but he is still suffering from the rocking pneumonia and the boogie-woogie flu. He’s been told to stay home, and fantasy owners couldn’t be happier. Get better, Nellie, but take your time.

Okay, I gotta go. For your information there’s an inflammation in my tear gland. Also, I’m wanted in several states for the murder of Andris Biedrins‘ career.

The Damn Lies Panel: Deep Sleepers

TUESDAY’S QUESTION: Who are your deep sleepers heading into the season?

Will BynumJeff Andriesse:
It might seem foolish to choose someone from Detroit’s crowded backcourt to be a deep sleeper, but my bromantic feelings for Will Bynum know no bounds. My position is buoyed by the lack of a true point guard on the Pistons, as Rodney Stuckey, Ben Gordon and Richard Hamilton will likely share the guard minutes at first before everyone realizes this isn’t going to work. Enter Bynum, who by December will have outplayed Stuckey and possibly all three so badly in practice that they’ll have no choice but to play this sparkplug. Stash him away.

The Houston Rockets roster is a post-apocalyptic wasteland, so take your pick of sleepers from the obvious (Trevor Ariza) to the Australian (David Andersen). My guy is Carl Landry, possibly the eventual starting power forward but undoubtedly Houston’s most dynamic frontcourt player outside of Luis Scola. Landry is an energy player who just needs playing time to put up some worthy fantasy stats, and his main competition seems to be Andersen, Chuck Hayes and Pops Mensah-Bonsu. Landry has averaged 12.7 PTS, and 4.9 REB this preseason in 20 minutes per game, and he is a strong percentage guy from the floor and the line. It might be hard for Houston to keep him off the floor.

I’m heaving a hail mary with this one, but Ersan Ilyasova strikes me as an intriguing guy. After refining his game in Europe the last few years, this Turkish power forward has stumbled into what he may think is a Tuesday night pickup game but is in fact the Bucks frontcourt. Kurt Thomas, Hakim Warrick, Joe Alexander and Luc Richard Mbah-a-Moute hopefully don’t strike the fear of whatever diety they worship in Turkey into Ilyasova and he can become a decent contributor. From his tepid preseason, it looks like Ersan has to earn the trust of mad scientist Scott Skiles, meaning he must learn defense and toughness, but Skiles is giving him a long look. Things could get even better for Ilyasova later in the year if the Bucks decide to move Thomas’ expiring contract.

Danilo GallinariTom Lorenzo:
Legend has it that if you stand before a mirror, shut off all the lights and say “Gallinari” three times you’ll awake the next morning with a major mustache. I, for one, refuse to believe that it can do anything to improve my already perfect set of whiskers. I do, however, believe that Danilo Gallinari is well on his way to being one of the better value picks this season. As a rookie, ‘The Rooster’ showed a great shooting touch (44.8 FG%, 44.4 3PT%, 96.3 FT%) in limited run. This season I expect to see similar shooting rates from the 21-year-old stallion. Knicks coach Mike D’Antoni acknowledged that Gallinari will likely start the season coming off the bench, but he envisions him starting at some point in the season. I’m guessing that this is a ploy to get Jared Jeffries some early PT in order to package his contract up with Nate Robinson for an expiring contract. But now I’m just making stuff up. Gallinari is going undrafted in 71.6 percent of Mock Draft Central drafts. Even though he’s coming off the bench, it’s not out of the question that he’ll see 22-25 minutes per game. With that you can expect one of the league’s top FT%, 1.5 threes, and a dozen points. Again, not bad for a guy who will most likely go undrafted in your league — not mine!

Anthony Morrow is better than at least one player on your team (12-team, standard rosters). You can be sure of that. The second-year sharpshooter has legit range (led the league in three-point shooting last season at 46.7 percent) and a knack for filling up the stat sheets on occasion. This preseason he has been one of the more impressive players, averaging 19.7 PTS, 3.3 REB, 1.3 STL, 0.83 TO, 54.8 FG%, 51.5 3PT%, and 95.0 FT%. Once the smoke clears and the Warriors figure out where Stephen Jackson is going, you’re going to wish you had jumped on Morrow when you had the chance. There’s no need in holding onto Tracy McGrady (97.0 percent owned in MDC) when you have a young scoring freak like Morrow going undrafted in your league.

DeJuan Blair knows how to use his body. Nothing sexual about that. Just the straight up truth. He’s been tearing it up in preseason play with limited action. In 18 minutes he’s putting up 14.5 points, 7.8 rebounds, 1.4 steals, 0.8 turnovers, and a 61.4 percent showing from the field. In a situation like San Antonio where you have Tim Duncan (who is looking to lighten his load) and Antonio McDyess (who has had some serious knee trouble in the past), Blair is the perfect spark-plug big to come off the bench for 20-25 minutes per night to provide an inside presence. I can see him posting 12 and 8 with a field goal percentage in the upper-50s. Easily. Give Blair a look in the final round of your draft. If you’re not sold on him the least you can do is follow his progress during the first week. You might be surprised at just how good he can be.

Corey BrewerGreg Fox:
After helping Florida to its second national championship in 2007, Corey Brewer was on everyone’s radar as someone who could step right in to an NBA system and be productive. Two egregiously bad years and some nagging injuries later, the 6-9 ectomorph is ready to assume the position. Not only is he expected to start for the T’Wolves, No. 1 scoring option Al Jefferson is coming off of knee surgery and is hindered by an achilles issue, and No. 2 option Kevin Love probably won’t see significant action until Christmas following hand surgery. Brewer can do a little bit of everything. He just needs the confidence and minutes to prove it. This is his time.

I talked about him yesterday in our impressive young big man piece and I’ll stand by it today – Roy Hibbert will have a nice year for the Pacers. The NBA hasn’t had a place of late for plodding big men, but the Georgetown product is more than that. He is skilled enough on the offensive end to potentially command a double team, and he can rebound and block shots with the best of them. If he wins enough minutes, his ceiling for this year could be extremely high. Even in the 20-25 minute range, he can be a dirt cheap source of swats.

Although he’s been in the league 15 years, James Harden is ready to turn his career around with the Thunder. Oh wait, he’s only 20? Despite a beard thick enough to make Chuck Noland in Castaway look twice, Harden enters his rookie season with Oklahoma City and will have every opportunity to make a name for himself. The only time I watched him play last season, he was pitiful in the Pac-10 championship game, but the Thunder thought enough of his talent to grab him with the third pick in the draft. After Kevin Durant, they have little in the way of offense and Harden will be expected to fire away at will. The FG percentage could be ugly, but he should emerge as a double digit scorer and 3-point threat before too long.

Who are your sleepers? Leave them in the Comments section.

The Damn Lies Panel: Young Bigs Making Waves

We’re nearly a week away from the start of the NBA season. Can you believe it? It seems we’ve been doing preseason prep forever. Since Kobe Bryant hoisted the championship trophy in a motion that could have doubled as the introduction of a tapeworm to my digestive tract, we’ve seen a flurry of activity. The Draft, trades, free agent signings, injuries, preseason games… let’s put it this way: I hope you’ve been doing your cheat sheets in pencil. With most people drafting this week, we’ve said a lot of what needs to be said either on this blog or over at the mothership, RotoExperts.com, where you’ll find the Draft Kit to End All Draft Kits. But there remain plenty of lingering issues to address. So here we are.

Tom, Greg and I will pose one question per day this week to ourselves, and, while looking in the mirror to practice, answer them, then post them here for your perusal. We wish you the best at your draft – it is the best day of the year, after all – but caution you that the draft itself is one small part of a championship season. If you’ve already drafted, we’re here to give you a head start on attacking your waiver wire or making killer trades. Either way, if you have anything at all to add to the discussion, leave us some comments. Good luck!

MONDAY’S QUESTION: Which young big has impressed you the most this preseason to the point where you are going to actively target them in upcoming drafts or the waiver wire?

Jason ThompsonTom Lorenzo: Last year I championed for Tyrus Thomas from the moment the season tipped off. This year I’ve been steering the Jason Thompson bandwagon. He’s been a beast this preseason, posting 13.3 points, 11.5 rebounds, 2.3 assists, 0.8 blocks, and 0.5 steals on 50 percent shooting from the floor. Sure, his 55.6 percent showing from the free throw line is a bit concerning, but he’s only been getting to the line 2.2 times per game. It’s also a little worrisome that he’s picking up 4.3 fouls per game, but his foul rate continues to improve as the preseason chugs along. Just last Saturday he poured in 20 points, pulled down 20 rebounds, and dished five assists against the Warriors. His game still needs some improvement, but the Kings frontcourt lacks any depth and as skilled as Thompson is, I could see him finishing in the top 5 in rebounding, posting nightly double-doubles and shooting over 50 percent from the floor. Sounds like a steal for a guy with an ADP of 107.23 (per Mock Draft Central).

Roy HibbertGreg Fox: He may be a poor fit on the up-tempo Pacers, but I’ve always been impressed with Roy Hibbert’s ability. This 7-3 redwood can be a menace in halfcourt sets, and I think Larry Bird and Jim O’Brien realize they need to be more deliberate at times. In five preseason games and in just less than 25 minutes per, he has registered 11.8 points, 6.4 rebounds and 3.4 blocks, while shooting a shade under 50 percent from the field. Shot-blocking always comes at a premium and Hibbert has the potential to be one of the league’s best as evidenced by his silly 20-point, 11-rebound, 8-reject performance in 33 minutes off the bench against Denver in Taipei. He is in the mix for playing time with Jeff Foster, Josh McRoberts and Tyler Hansbrough (insert slow white-man joke here), so big Roy should get serious consideration. Inconsistency is to be expected, but 10.0 points, 8.0 rebounds and a minimum 2.0 blocks from a late-round afterthought isn’t awful.

DeJuan BlairJeff Andriesse: Perhaps I need to get out more, but I’m making googly eyes at DeJuan Blair these days. Much was made about the Spurs stealing Blair in the second round of the draft, and after their theft of Richard Jefferson from Milwaukee, it really isn’t fair. Now Blair is already serving notice that he could be one of the top rookies in this class, averaging 14.2 points and 7.8 boards while shooting 61.9 percent from the floor in five preseason games. And he played only 10 minutes in one and 11 in the other. Let’s throw those two games out and take his numbers in the other three, when he averaged 24 minutes: 18.3 PTS, 11.7 REB, 59.5 FG%. But forget the damn lies and statistics, I care more about opportunity. And I think there will be some this year for the tenacious rookie. Greg Popovich is going to rest Tim Duncan this year and, probably, Antonio McDyess as well. Blair will see court time, and be particularly effective when Duncan is taking a day off. Blair isn’t a shot blocker, but he’s already showing that he belongs. He’ll make Popovich feel much better about resting his studs. Blair is one of my deep-league targets, for sure.

What’s your answer? Let’s hear it in the Comments section.

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