Tag Archives: Fantasy Preview

Fantasy & Free Agent Fest: Pacific 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. In the final installment, Greg Fox examines the Pacific Division.

GOLDEN STATE
Fantasy-Worthy Players Under Contract (H2H Draft Round in Parentheses): G Stephen Curry (1/2), G Monta Ellis (2), F Dorell Wright (4), F/C David Lee (4)
Key Unrestricted Free Agents: F Al Thornton
Key Restricted Free Agents: G Reggie Williams
What to Look For: The Warriors remain the most exciting group of fantasy players since the salad days of the Pittsburgh Pisces. New head coach Mark Jackson is already preaching defense, but those who remember the 6-3 turnstile can’t take that too seriously. What Jackson was was a terrific lead guard, who controlled the flow of a game and made everyone around him better. If his wisdom can rub off on Stephen Curry, then the third-year point guard will deliver first-round value. Hell, I felt he was brutal last year, and he still finished as a borderline first-rounder. His backcourt mate, Monta Ellis, if he can stay out of the emergency room following his nightly 48-minute high-wire acts, can also return silly dividends. Always a big-time scorer with strong percentages, Ellis has added a 3-point shot to his repertoire in recent years. Small forward Dorell Wright was arguably fantasy’s MVP last season, coming out of nowhere to produce terrific across-the-board numbers. Don’t go spending a third-round pick on the guy as he is bound to disappoint this time around, but keep him on the radar in the fourth or fifth round. As for disappointments, Warrior big men David Lee and Andris Biedrins impaled their owners a year ago. Lee was a second-round choice for many, but a Wilson Chandler incisor to Lee’s forearm contributed to his derailment and he should bounce back nicely in 2011-12. Biedrins may have to look for work elsewhere as Golden State brass seems to be tiring of his Claude Rains impression. Keep a close eye on power forward Ekpe Udoh, who could steal some minutes in the middle and provide decent rebounds and blocks.
The Damn Lies Bold Recipe: Nothing against Biedrins, but it is not going to work for him in the Bay area. The unfortunate thing is that the Warriors are stuck as they would have to sell him at 10 cents on the dollar and they may be better off using the amnesty clause on him. This team is in need of some hard-nosed players, willing to take a charge, as well as a big man who can change some shots. Tyson Chandler comes to mind, but the Warriors can’t afford him. DeAndre Jordan, Tayshaun Prince, Carl Landry, Chuck Hayes and Luch Richard Mbah a Moute all seem to fit this team’s needs. Time to take the plunge. Continue reading


Damn Lies Fantasy Preview: Orlando Magic

 

Anyone who refuses to draft Dwight Howard needs to have their head checked!

 

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.

LIES
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…

DAMN LIES
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.

STATISTICS
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.

DEPTH CHART
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

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Damn Lies Fantasy Preview: Portland Trail Blazers

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.

 

Reader Greg Oden sent in this picture of him and his pooch "Conley" reading Damn Lies and Statistics. (Ed. note: this was the only "usable" photo. *wink*wink*)

 

LIES
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!

DAMN LIES
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.

STATISTICS
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.

DEPTH
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

Up Next: New York Knicks
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