Sweet Lou in Hotlanta
Lou Williams deserves mention as a breakout candidate on the strength of his per-minute stats (per-40 minutes last season, he averaged 22.7 points, 2.0 threes, 5.6 FTM, 3.7 rebounds, 5.3 assists and 1.3 steals). He averaged 14.9 points in just 26 minutes off the Sixers' bench last year, and with the starting SG in hand he's stepping into an offensive void for the newly-disemboweled Hawks, who have morphed this summer from Southeast Conference birds of prey into prey themselves (for Wolves and Grizzlies, and perhaps some lucky Bobcats or desperately hungry Wizards). Just beware his career 42.1 percent shooting average, which decreases as his 3-point totals increase.
Ray Allen's Replacements
Jason Terry and Courtney Lee were terrific additions for Boston, giving them a burst of outside shooting and playmaking, but once Avery Bradley (shoulder surgeries) returns there won't be enough minutes to go around. If you draft Terry and he plays well in November, think about flipping him before Bradley is healthy and Terry's numbers start rounding down. Courtney Lee hasn't progressed as much as I thought he might in the past few years, but his numbers are still solid-- last season, per 40-minutes, he averaged 15.0 points, 2.0 three-pointers, 3.6 rebounds, 2.0 assists and 1.5 steals. The low boards and assists hurt, but he shoots 82.6 percent from the FT line and 43.3 percent from the field, which isn't bad given his high volume 3-point shooting. The issue for his fantasy value, as stated, is the surplus of SGs in Boston.
Sessions' Eternal Dilemma
Ramon Sessions has shown what he can do with starter's minutes -- in 23 starts last season, he averaged 13.7 points on 46.3 percent shooting, 0.8 three-pointers, 3.7 rebounds, 7.0 assists, 0.8 steals and 2.9 turnovers. One thing to watch closely is Sessions' proficiency from downtown -- he's a 33.3 percent shooter for his career, but shot well over 40 percent with both the Cavs and Lakers last year. The addition of 1.0 three per game would be huge for his fantasy value, but (as fantasy owners are only too used to hearing) his role is seriously threatened, this time by the presence of second-year PG Kemba Walker. New coach Mike Dunlap is reportedly installing offensive sets that highlight Walker's strengths, and there's a good chance Sessions will find himself coming off the bench in Charlotte. Draft him with due caution.
Green on Green
Jeff Green's contract with the Celtics isn't official yet but it's a foregone conclusion, so it's time to examine his outlook next season. He has a well-rounded game that theoretically could translate to solid fantasy value, but his numbers with the Thunder make me wary, and now he's stuck in a bench role for the Celtics. Why wary? Consider that Green's two best seasons were with OKC in 2008-09 and 2009-10, when he averaged over 37 minutes per game. Even during those halcyon years, he returned 7th-round and 5th-round value, respectively. He's a poor rebounder for someone with his size and athleticism, he's a middling 3-point shooter (33.7 percent for his career), and he won't get you many assists, steals or blocks. Add in the aforementioned bench role in Boston, and what is there to like?
Captain Kirk's Revenge
Kirk Hinrich's return to Chicago may excite nostalgic Bulls fans, but his isn't a name that quickens the pulse of fantasy owners. In spite of his rather boring numbers, however, you can do worse than drafting him in the final rounds. Derrick Rose may not return to action until March, according to a recent report, and Hinrich's versatility means he'll log heavy minutes at both PG and SG this year. He's a career 37.8 percent shooter from downtown, and will contribute just enough 3-pointers (1.5 for his career), rebounds (3.2), assists (5.4) and steals (1.2) to be worth a bench spot in average leagues. The best news is that Hinrich says he's finally healthy, after being limited by a variety of ailments the past few seasons.
Ben Gordon's heroic postseason efforts with the Bulls haven't been forgotten, and he can still score in bunches when healthy, but nobody should expect him to re-live his glory days. He scraped rock-bottom with the Pistons the past three seasons due largely to injuries (though it seems apathy also played a role) and was finally traded for fellow veteran-disappointment Corey Maggette. Gerald Henderson slots as the Bobcats starting SG this year, which leaves BG as a designated gunner off the bench. He could embrace the role and thrive as a focal point of the second unit, but I'm not counting on it.
Mo Minutes = Mo Value
Mo Williams has a stranglehold on the starting PG job with his new team, the Jazz, but I'd caution fantasy owners against overpaying for him on draft day. Let's begin with last season, when he averaged over 28 minutes off the Clippers' bench and posted 13.2 points, 1.8 threes, 1.9 rebounds, 3.1 assists and 1.0 steals. Those numbers were good enough for ninth-round fantasy value. The last time he posted significantly higher value was 2008-09 with the Cavaliers, when he was unleashed for 35 minutes per game and consequently returned fourth-round value. Unfortunately, his FG percentages have slipped in recent seasons, his assist-to-turnover ratio is rather poor for a PG (for his career, 4.9 vs. 2.3), and he hasn't grabbed more than 1.0 steal per game in four years. He's also injury prone, having missed 18.4 percent of his total games for his nine-year career. I peg him as a decent pick in the sixth round of eight-cat leagues, and a value pick in the eighth, on account of his scoring and 3-point shooting.