Steve Alexander

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Lockout Fallout For Fantasy

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Well, this lockout thing is about as major a buzzkill as I've experienced in the last 10 years or so, at least related to work. So now that I've listed the top 125 players heading into the next season, whenever it may happen, here's a list of guys who may benefit from a lockout, as well as those who could suffer.

While I didn't put the Kardashian boys on the list, you have to think Lamar Odom and Kris Humphries (who is marrying Kim on Saturday) may completely forget that they play basketball for a living. The preseason schedule came out today but there isn't much of a chance that any of the games will be played. In order to reach a deal, there has to be a sense of urgency from at least one of the sides. While the players appear to be more willing to make something happen than the owners, there is still no sense of urgency. And with many owners content to lose the entire season and break the players, it sounds more like the opposite of a sense of urgency to me. It looks like it's going to be a long year, which makes me sad. Even though the lists are numerical, the following players are listed in no particular order.

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15 Players Lockout Might Help

1. PG Ty Lawson – Nuggets

Lawson is going to play in Lithuania, which means he won't be sitting on the couch eating bon-bons, but will get some more professional experience instead. And he's young enough, and good enough, that he could end up being one of the league's top point guards once we return to action. I'd like him more if Andre Miller wasn't around to back him up, but Lawson looks like the starter in Denver.

2. PG Jeff Teague – Hawks

There's no word of how Teague might spend the next year, but even if he doesn't play, Kirk Hinrich will get another year older and the Hawks have a new owner. Teague is the future and showed glimpses of what he can do last year and in the playoffs. I fully expect him to be handed the reins for the Hawks.

3. PG Rajon Rondo – Celtics

Rondo's shoulder injury is still not fully healed, but a full year of rest should really help him out. I'd be surprised if he signs to play overseas and expect him to come back ready for a full return to form after the lockout. And if he spends his time working on developing a real jumper, look out.

4. PG Stephen Curry – Warriors

Curry sprained his ankle about five times last year and could use rest as much as anyone. He's also going to mature over the next year and should be ready to become a better point guard than the one we've seen up to this point. He's already a borderline first-round fantasy pick and I see no reason why that would change.

5. PF Tyler Hansbrough – Pacers

Hansbrough made it through just 29 games his rookie season and 70 last year, but is a hard worker and should continue to improve during his time off. He also split time as a starter and bench player last season, but should take over the starting power forward job upon a return to action. No, he won't be a top fantasy option, but he should be ready for a very solid third year. Sleeper pick.

6. SG Dwyane Wade – Heat

Wade has said he's going to play during the lockout, but we still don't know where. We also don't have any guarantees that it will happen, and given the fact he's averaged between 35 and 39 minutes per game in each of his eight seasons, a year off should bring him back completely reenergized. If he plays a ton during the lockout you can probably scrap this prediction, but my guess is he'll get plenty of much needed rest over the next year or so, and could end up being worth the No. 1 overall pick in fantasy.

7. SG Kobe Bryant – Lakers

There's a lot of chatter about Kobe playing in China during the lockout, but like most other players not named Deron Williams, it's far from a done deal. Kobe's knee and finger could really use a year off, and while he'll get another year older (he's almost 33 and will likely be 34 before he plays another NBA game), the rest would do him as much good as any player in the league.

8. C Greg Oden – Blazers

Oden is still recovering from knee surgery, with no timetable on when he might be ready to play again. But one thing is clear – the longer he goes without playing professional hoops, the better the chances are of him resuming his career. Simply put, no player would benefit more from another year off than Oden.

9. F Rudy Gay – Grizzlies

Gay is coming off some pretty serious shoulder surgery and is still not ready to go. He's also averaged 40 minutes per game over the last two seasons. There's no word of him playing overseas, so rest, rehab and working out could allow him to have a big (and healthy) year upon his return.

10. PG Chris Paul – Hornets

After appearing in just 45 games in 2009-10, Paul played in 80 games last season, averaging 36 minutes. His balky left knee continues to be a concern and given his minutes count over his career, a year off would serve Paul and the knee well. It could even add a couple years to his NBA career. He also dealt with a concussion, along with ankle, wrist and thumb injuries last season, but amazingly missed just two games.

11. PF David West – Hornets

West is coming off major knee surgery and while he says he'd be ready for this season even if it started in time, you have to think a full year to rest and rehab would be great for him. He's getting up there in years (almost 31, likely 32 when he plays NBA again), he could come back at 100 percent instead of 80 percent after the lockout.

12. C Dwight Howard – Magic

Something tells me Dwight is going to work hard during the lockout and he's another heavy-minutes guy who could use a break. Additionally, let's say he spends a couple hours a day shooting free throws after working out and lifting weights. If it happens, and it certainly could, a Dwight Howard hitting 75 percent of his free throws could be a fantasy owners dream come true. It also sounds like he could spend much of the next year working out with Hakeem Olajuwon, which is another reason to love the lockout for Dwight.

13. F Gerald Wallace – Blazers

There's a reason he's known as "Crash" and his body has been battered for the last seven seasons, many of which were spent out of position at power forward. He played 41 minutes per in 76 games in 2009-10, and then 39 minutes per game last year in Charlotte. His minutes were down a bit in Portland, and a year off with a full-time slot at small forward could work wonders for Wallace.

14. G Tyreke Evans – Kings

Plantar fasciitis is no joke, and while I'm not convinced a year off would actually cure it, it can't hurt. While I am a little concerned about Evans taking it too easy during the lockout and putting on some couch weight, I doubt his agent will let it happen. And if a year off does allow his foot to improve, Evans could be ready to fully explode in year three.

15. PG John Wall – Wizards

Wall doesn't appear to be heading overseas and it's clear his young legs could use some rest. He should also mature during the break and is another guy who will be a top point guard once the NBA returns to action. It's clear from this list that point guards are going to plentiful in fantasy drafts, meaning you don't have to take one with your first or second pick in order to put together a solid team.

Keep reading for 15 players who could be hurt by the lockout.

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Steve "Dr. A" Alexander is the senior editor for the NBA for and a contributor to The 2014-15 NBA season marks his 13th year of covering fantasy hoops for Rotoworld. Follow him on Twitter - @Docktora.
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