Steve Alexander

Offseason Beat

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Pre-draft Trip Around the NBA

Friday, October 26, 2012


As promised, here is a not-so-quick trip around the NBA.  My apologies for the lack of stats, but you can simply click on each player to see his latest news blurb.  Had I done any more research, this would have probably finished around the middle of Week 1.

 

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Atlanta

 

Josh Smith is the big man to own in ATL and he’s going anywhere from No. 4 to No. 10 in fantasy drafts.  I like him at No. 5 or 6 in most, but his free throw percentage is a bit of a bummer.  Lou Williams should score a lot off the bench, Jeff Teague is a value point guard and Al Horford is a nice PF/C combo (and slightly banged up/calf).  We still don’t know who’s starting at SG & SF, but I’m not racing out to draft Kyle Korver, Devin Harris or DeShawn Stevenson, regardless of who wins the job.

 

Boston

 

Jason Terry is available late in drafts and is in great shape.  I am targeting him in most leagues (and not Courtney Lee), unlike in the past, when he required an earlier draft pick than this year.  Terry could be both the starting shooting guard and backup point guard for the C’s.  Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce are ready to roll, and Rajon Rondo, despite the lack of scoring, threes and poor percentages, is still a top point guard option.  Brandon Bass appears to have his hands full with rookie Jared Sullinger, but I still think Bass is the starter.  Jeff Green has had an amazing preseason and is generating some Sixth Man of the Year buzz.  I’m not sure he’ll be that great in the regular season with Pierce in his way, but less minutes for Pierce would be a good thing for the Celtics. 

 

Brooklyn

 

Deron Williams, Joe Johnson, Gerald Wallace, Kris Humphries and Brook Lopez are all locked and loaded into the starting lineup, and all are expected to be solid fantasy players.  Lopez has been quite impressive in the preseason, actually rebounding the ball, and his stock is rapidly climbing.  Johnson and Wallace could be on the verge of canceling other out, while Humphries will have to keep his rear-view mirror focused on Andray Blatche.  Blatche and MarShon Brooks probably qualify as the sleepers on this team, but neither is worth drafting in most leagues at this point.  But an injury to a starter could make either player immediately valuable.  As for Lopez, I’m planning on owning him a lot and not making as much fun of his rebounding this year.  We’ll see if he plays along.

 

Charlotte

 

Byron Mullens hit two more 3-pointers on Thursday and looks like he’s primed for a fun fantasy season.  If you need boards, blocks, threes and some points late in your draft, don’t hesitate to take him.  Tyrus Thomas will back him up, but as long as Mullens is healthy, forget about Thomas.  Kemba Walker is playing well and is locked in as the starting point guard, but his field goal percentage will be dreadful.  However, Ramon Sessions will also play plenty of point guard, which is a concern for both players (timeshare).  Some combination of Gerald Henderson, Sessions and Ben Gordon is going to play shooting guard.  Gordon may start, but that’s just a guess.  I’m not drafting Henderson anywhere this year, as all he seems capable of is scoring 13 points and not doing much else.  Michael Kidd-Gilchrist hasn’t exactly torn it up this preseason and I think he’s being drafted higher than he should be.  I’m staying away at this point.  And while Bismack Biyombo is going to block some shots again this season, I just don’t trust him, and would much rather draft a player like Glen Davis, Samuel Dalembert or Mullens instead.  

 

Chicago

 

Let me just throw it out there.  If Derrick Rose (knee surgery) plays more than 15 games I’ll be surprised and I also think there’s a 50 percent chance he won’t play in a single regular-season game, therefore I see no point in drafting him.  Kirk Hinrich (minor groin injury) should be a serviceable PG available in the last few rounds of your draft, while the front line of Joakim Noah, Carlos Boozer and Luol Deng should all see a boost in scoring with Rose out.  Nate Robinson is the deep sleeper here, along with Jimmy Butler, while I trust Richard Hamilton no farther than I can throw him.  If Hamilton is MIA again, look for Butler to emerge.  Taj Gibson is a decent way to use a late-round flier, but make sure there’s not a better option out there when you draft him.  He’ll be highly frustrating to own as long as Noah and Boozer are healthy.  Mullens or Jae Crowder could end up being better picks in the end.

 

Cleveland

 

C.J. Miles vs. Alonzo Gee is the big position battle here at small forward, and while Miles appears to have won the fight, I’m still taking Gee to win the war.  Both players are worth a look in your draft, but not until you’re nearing the end.  I see Tristan Thompson having a breakout year at power forward, while Anderson Varejao hopes to pick up where he left off last year.  He had 14 double-doubles in 25 games before being shut down with a broken wrist last year.  Kyrie Irving is going to be asked to carry the team on his shoulders this year, and he just might do it.  Irving just had all four of his wisdom teeth removed and is questionable for opening night.  While I wouldn’t bet my house on it, I am pretty sure he’s going to play in that one.  Rookie Dion Waiters hasn’t gotten off to a great start, but should be a good player by the end of the year.  But he’s still not on my target list in drafts this year.

 

Dallas

 

There’s plenty of news coming out of Dallas these days.  Darren Collison, in my opinion, is locked, loaded and ready to bounce back in Big D.  And you won’t have to spend a high draft pick on him.  O.J. Mayo is going to score a ton of points, hit a lot of threes and be very fun to own this year, after being corralled on the Memphis bench over the last few seasons.  I am not targeting Shawn Marion given that it’s 2012, while little known Jae Crowder is now one of the most popular sleepers out there.  The rookie has hit double figures in five straight preseason games and is bombing 3-pointers.  Don’t target him early, but if you find yourself at the end of your draft wanting to take a sleeper with upside, Crowder might be a good pick – at least until Dirk Nowitzki returns from his knee surgery in a few weeks.  Elton Brand suddenly looks like a great pick with Nowitzki out and Chris Kaman (calf) iffy for opening night.  And Brandan Wright (minor ankle injury) is going to get some nice run, making him a deep sleeper for now.  Delonte West is basically being kicked off the team, which should promote Roddy Beaubois to backup point guard.  Roddy B’s value took a jump today, but I’m still not ready to draft him in standard 12-team leagues.  Just keep an eye on him.   And in case you’re wondering about Vince Carter, I see no reason to draft the big-named role player at this point. 

 

Denver

 

Ty Lawson is the starting point guard, but Andre Iguodala is an assist-machine, leaving me slightly worried about Lawson’s dimes.  And when I say slightly, I mean that Lawson is still one of the league’s top point guard options in fantasy.  Iguodala will be playing SG and looking to score more, while the boards, assists, threes and steals will still be there.  He feels undervalued to me and I would not be surprised to see him easily return solid second-round value.  Danilo Gallinari is great, but I don’t trust him much due to his injury history, and am not going out of my way to get him.  If and when he goes down, Wilson Chandler (who is coming off hip surgery) is going to be a popular pickup in all leagues.  Kenneth Faried should be a beast at power forward this year and I’m a fan of owning him.  The Nuggets have a three-headed center with JaVale McGee, Timofey Mozgov and Kosta Koufos all likely to see minutes from night to night.  McGee is still the best of the bunch, but no longer looks like a top center option, simply because he’s not guaranteed more than 20 minutes a night.  Having said that, he should still block a ton of shots and could win George Karl over at some point this season.  I don’t see a super-sleeper in Denver, but Anthony Randolph will at least be worth keeping an eye on, as usual. 

 

Detroit

 

Point guard Brandon Knight should take a step forward this season and will be available after the big names are gone.  I like the idea of targeting him and Darren Collison later in drafts if you don’t get your point guards early.  Rodney Stuckey should start at shooting guard and is a sleeper based on his low ADP, while Tayshaun Prince should start at SF for Detroit.  Both Prince and Stuckey should be available late in your draft, and while they’re not guaranteed to be great fantasy players, they should at least be serviceable.  Jonas Jerebko and Jason Maxiell are the power forward options for the Pistons, but neither is a must-own in fantasy, while Greg Monroe is an up-and-coming center.  I’d like him a lot more if he blocked some shots, but that’s just not his thing.  Maybe Corey Maggette is worth keeping an eye on, but he’s already injured and will probably stay that way for most of the year.

 

Golden State

 

Stephen Curry is the textbook definition of risk vs. reward and his right ankle, made of Cool Ranch Doritos, is already a huge concern.  I’m fine with owning Curry this year, but am not really comfortable gambling on him until the fourth round, and he’ll likely be gone by then.  But if he can stay healthy and play in 70 games or so, he should easily flirt with first-round value.  Klay Thompson is one of my favorite players to draft this year and should have a big season with lots of 3-pointers and other goodies, and is uncontested at SG.  Small forward is another story, as rookie Harrison Barnes, Brandon Rush and Richard Jefferson are all going to see minutes there.  I like Rush as the starter, but this has timeshare written all over it, so temper your expectations on all of them.  David Lee is going to have another big year and Andrew Bogut should be a solid center once he’s finally healthy after a broken ankle last year.  He’ll be available late and should be owned in all leagues, but beware of his terrible free throw shooting.  If Bogut and Curry are injured throughout the season, Festus Ezeli and Jarrett Jack are going to be the guys you’ll want to add in their place.


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