Aaron Bruski

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NBA Draft Day Review: Part 2

Friday, June 28, 2013



31. Allen Crabbe, Cal – SG – Blazers


Crabbe faces more competition than he can handle from a fantasy perspective with Damian Lillard, C.J. McCollum, Wesley Matthews and Nicolas Batum ahead of him.  But he is one of the best 3-point shooters in this year’s draft and when one considers the lack of NBA-level talent on the Blazers’ roster, it’s conceivable he finds his way into the rotation at some point.  Just keep his name in the Rolodex if injuries strike down the road. 


Recommendation:  Worth a look in massive Dynasty leagues


35. Glen Rice, Jr., NBADL – SF – Wizards


Rice will enter this season with very little chance at playing time in a loaded wing set that includes Bradley Beal, Otto Porter and Trevor Ariza.  And there are plenty of red flags for Rice, who was kicked off his college team for disciplinary reasons and doesn’t play hard or smart.  But like his father, he can shoot the lights out as he averaged a 40 percent clip from distance in the D-League, where he took over last season.  If he can straighten out the deficiencies and keep from being a liability, and walk in a straight line off the court, then he could have some super-deep league value as a 3-point shooter. 


Recommendation: Worth a look in super-deep Dynasty leagues and massive redraft leagues


37. Tony Mitchell, North Texas – SF/PF – Pistons


Mitchell had a first round grade by many and fell into the second round amidst concerns about his intangibles, and is your prototypical boom-or-bust prospect with plenty of athleticism.  He won’t get any immediate access to playing time behind Greg Monroe and Andre Drummond, but beyond that he has just Charlie Villanueva to compete with on the current roster (Jason Maxiell is a free agent).  He won’t likely make an impact in fantasy leagues of any type this season, but the lack of depth in Detroit puts him one injury away from relevancy – if he can hack it. 


Recommendation:  Worth a look in super-deep Dynasty leagues if he has a noteworthy preseason


39. Jeff Withey, Kansas – C – Blazers


Withey has a ways to go before he hits the fantasy radar – namely he has to make a name for himself during Summer League and training camp – but with J.J. Hickson’s future in doubt and LaMarcus Aldridge popping up in trade rumors, there could be an opening for a senior that averaged 13.7 points, 8.5 rebounds and a whopping 3.9 blocks per game last season for Kansas. 


DraftExpress called him possibly the best defender in the NCAA last season, but noted his struggles on offense and the chance his sub-par athleticism has neared its ceiling as a senior.  If he can beat out Joel Freeland for backup center duties, the next rung up on the ladder in Meyers Leonard is still more ‘potential’ than ‘productivity.’  There is upside for boards and blocks here but he’s going to have to address the physical issues before he will get enough minutes to accumulate any fantasy value. 


Recommendation: Worth a look in massive Dynasty leagues




***The Celtics traded Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce and Jason Terry for Gerald Wallace, Kris Humphries, MarShon Brooks and three first round picks, among other spare parts. 

***The Sixers traded Jrue Holiday for No. 6 pick Nerlens Noel and the Hornets top-5 protected first round pick in 2014.



Gerald Wallace – Crash. As in 20-car pileup.  It was hard to watch Wallace lose all of his confidence and wear his contract like a scarlet letter all season long, which was only exasperated by the Blazers grabbing Damian Lillard with the pick it cost the Nets to get him.  Always prone to streaky shooting from year-to-year, it was still shocking to see him attempt just 6.6 shots per game last year in a sizable 30 minutes per contest (his lowest total since he played nine mpg for Sacramento in 2003-04). 


Part of that was having heavy-touch guys all around him in Brooklyn, but the other part of that was him running away from the ball.  With a history of his shot coming and going, and the potential that he is asked to do much more in Boston, fantasy owners shouldn’t outright ignore Wallace this year. 


His defensive numbers didn’t slip much, if at all last season, and while a repeat of past top-50 campaigns is probably asking for too much – a bounce-back campaign likely sees him wander into the top-75 per-game rankings.  Owners will want to adjust for the injury risk and chance he’s over the hill, but as of right now he looks like a good late-round value if he’s not overvalued by the crowd that thinks he’s still Bobcat Wallace. 


Kris Humphries – If it's possible for Humphries to pull out of his lateral spin, a change of scenery playing for a team going through reclamation shock might be the way to do it.  But still, it’s hard to ignore his disappearance last year and if we’re drafting today he’s well off the standard league radar.  Don’t be surprised if he’s moved again, as Charlotte’s name continues to come up in the rumor mill. 


MarShon Brooks – Brooks took a nosedive in Brooklyn last year when he proved his rookie season to be a fluke, as he was no longer one of the team’s only scorers and the Nets were no longer playing in a garbage-time environment every night.  Yes, the Celtics are going to lack depth and they’ll need scoring, but they already have a defensive liability with poor shot selection in Jordan Crawford, among others, and there’s no guarantee Brooks can earn significant minutes.  I’m waiting for multiple solid reports that he has turned the page before I’m paying too much attention here. 




Kevin Garnett – KG dropped from a top 15-25 per-game play in 2011-12 to a top 35-50 guy last season, but playing in just 68 games he just missed being a true draft day win for fantasy owners.  His numbers all stayed within a normal range with the exception of a seven-point drop in free throw percentage (78.6) over the past two seasons, but signs of decline were evident as he took incremental hits in many categories. 


It comes with the territory for a 37-year old player, who will now get perhaps his last shot at a title playing in Prokhorov’s billion dollar playpen.  The Nets have bodies in Mirza Teletovic and rookie Miles Plumlee to help spell Garnett during the season, but they could really use Andray Blatche (UFA) back next season and it’s unclear if they will want to pay him. 


Either way it’s fair for owners to expect a similar 26-29 mpg role for KG, and with some injury risk he looks like a guy to start considering in the late-middle rounds.  It’s not going to help that he’s surrounded by guys capable of cutting into his touches, but Garnett doesn’t need the ball in his hands to be effective and he may also see a rebounding bump playing next to phobic glass cleaner Brook Lopez


Paul Pierce – Every year there is a group of older players that are undervalued in drafts because of the threat of decline, and as usual Pierce helped carry the torch for those of advanced age.  He had a top-40 finish on a per-game basis and played in 77 games, though he often looked like he was falling apart in the process. 


Moving over to Brooklyn he’s going to see a distinct change at the point guard position with willing scorer Deron Williams versus pass-happy Rajon Rondo.  He’s also going to contend with open mouths to feed in Joe Johnson, Kevin Garnett and Brook Lopez.  If the Nets are wise they move Johnson way off the ball and into spot-up position behind the arc, and while Garnett doesn’t demand many touches both Williams and Bropez will – so the days of Pierce dominating the ball like he did late last season are pretty much over.  Targeting him somewhere in the later-middle rounds to start makes sense. 


Jason Terry – The Jet gets out of Boston and it’s doubtful that either party is crying after the one-year experiment gone wrong.  Terry is a long-shot to win any fantasy awards coming off the bench in a loaded lineup, but he is in striking distance of the top-75 if he can secure 27-30 mpg and add about 3-4 shot attempts per game over last year’s 8.2 mark. 


Despite his often invisible role for the Celtics, his shooting numbers held strong and his value will be buoyed by his 3-point shooting.  Like Gerald Wallace, there’s some value in the late rounds if your adversaries aren’t drafting him like he’s Dallas Terry. 




It took some tweeting by our own resident Sixers expert Adam Levitan to chill me out on my empathy for Philly fans, who appeared to be gut-punched following the trade of Jrue Holiday to the Pelicans for the plummeting No. 6 pick Nerlens Noel


It didn’t help that Adrian Wojnarowski originally tweeted that the first round pick was going from the Sixers to the Pelicans.  He eventually set the record straight during the middle of the chaos, but still, the outcry from analysts everywhere (this guy included) was a dying trumpet sound. 


As Levitan pointed out, however, hanging on the middle rungs of mediocrity is a sure path to nowhere in the NBA.  Getting a potential big-time talent in Noel and a top-5 protected pick from a likely cellar dweller in the Hornets to be used in a loaded 2014 draft isn’t a bad call.  And yes, Holiday is an above average point guard in the league on the upswing, but the net effect of this swap just positions them better as they tank the season – with the side benefit that Michael Carter-Williams gets a year to try and become a serviceable starting NBA point guard.  They'll likely have the Hornets pick and their own lottery pick to reload with and they got younger in the process. 


It's not a guaranteed success but hanging onto Holiday and winning 49 games wasn't bringing the next Julius Erving through that door.  It's the same type of move the Sixers made with Andrew Bynum, which incidentally failed in spectacular fashion.  And this move may not work out either. 


It's a bold and ballsy decision, but as they say it's better to have lived than to never have gotten out of the first round (or so the legend goes).


As for Holiday’s value, he’s certainly not going to New Orleans to step aside for Greivis Vasquez or anybody else, and the only real concern I’d have about his value is that the Pelicans don’t ride him nearly as hard as Doug Collins did in Philly.  Eric Gordon could also try to take the air out of the basketball (or take his ball and go home), but with relatively little depth there should be enough touches to go around.  He’ll have plenty of weapons to space the floor with, too. 


Owners can move into next year with the same expectations, as his improvement will likely outweigh any decrease in usage.  As for Vasquez, he was a fantasy system guy in that turnover leagues killed him and his peripherals weren’t strong – keeping him in the 65-100 range on a per-game basis.  Now that he’ll be moved into a swing backup guard role and off the ball, he’s going to struggle to maintain standard league value as long as injury-prone Gordon is healthy. 

Aaron Bruski has covered hoops for Rotoworld since 2008 and has competed in national fantasy sports competitions for nearly two decades. In 2015 he was named FSWA Basketball Writer of the Year. You can also find his work over at ProBasketballTalk, where he received critical acclaim for his in-depth reporting of the Kings' relocation saga. Hit him on Twitter at Aaronbruski.
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