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Fantasy Hoops: Summer Stock Report
Posted By Tommy Beer On August 24, 2012 @ 12:00 pm In All,Fantasy,Main Page,NBA | No Comments
Many of us are busy prepping/cramming for our fantasy football drafts, which always entails plenty of preparation. However, for the prudent student, it’s never too early for some extra-credit hoops homework. Thus, after releasing my Top-100 Overall list last month, I’ve put together a list of players at each position that have seen their stock spike this summer…
Kyle Lowry – Toronto Raptors:
Due to the combination of an assortment of injuries and illnesses that sidelined him over the final two months of the regular season and his falling out with Rockets management and coaching staff (which resulted in Houston shipping him off to Toronto), it appears many have forgotten just how much of a fantasy force K-Low was when healthy last year. Over the first half of the 2011-12 season (33 games), Lowry averaged 15.9 ppg, 5.3 rebounds, 7.5 assists, 1.9 steals, and 1.8 three-pointers. Those phenomenal all-around stats had him ranked seventh overall in 9-category leagues during that stretch, behind only Durant, LeBron, CP3, Kevin Love, D Wade, and Steph Curry. With the Raptors, Lowry may have to split some minutes with Jose Calderon, but it is well known that Toronto has been looking to dump Calderon’s salary for a while now, so that impediment to 35+ minutes a night may be removed sooner rather than later. Either way, Lowry will likely remain undervalued on draft day, and it would behoove savvy GM’s to take advantage.
Steph Curry – Golden State Warriors:
Curry is the ultimate boom-or-bust guy. Many GM’s in the past have been burned by spending a top-20 pick on the sharpshooter with the fragile ankle. I fully acknowledge I am higher on him than most heading into next season, and I am willing to roll the dice, especially if he falls into the 3rd or 4th rounds. The math is pretty simple actually; if he stays healthy and starts 70+ games next season, I guarantee you he finishes amongst the Top-10 overall in 9-category leagues. Reports of his workouts this summer have been encouraging (although every player claims to be in the “best shape of their lives” each August), and we’ll obviously keep an eye on his status in training camp and the preseason, but I’m ready gamble on a guy that possesses such incredible fantasy upside. For his career, including his disappointing 2011-12 season, Curry averages 17.5 ppg, 5.8 apg, 4.1 rpg, 1.7 steals, while shooting a mind-boggling 47.3% from the floor, 45.5% from the three-point stripe, and 90.1% from the free-throw line. Consider this – Only 4 active NBA players (minimum 180 games played) have career averages of at least 17 ppg and free-throw percentage of 87% or higher: Kevin Durant, Ray Allen, Dirk Nowitzki and Steph Curry. And of those 4 players, Curry possesses the highest FT% and highest three-point percentage (and only Kevin Durant boasts a higher FG%)…
Mo Williams – Utah Jazz:
Opportunity and playing time, just as much as talent and skill, are the keys to fantasy success in every sport and at every position. Be at shooting guard, or first base, or quarterback, an athlete can’t produce and contribute to your fantasy squad unless he sees the field/court, etc. The more he plays, the better chance he puts up solid stats. Well, out in Salt Lake, Mo Williams has a legit opportunity to play heavy minutes at PG. With Devin Harris traded to Atlanta (in the Marvin Williams deal), the only PG’s left on the Utah roster are Earl Watson and Jamal Tinsley. Those two averaged 6.7 ppg last season – combined. Mo Will has a chance to put a stranglehold on the starting job if he plays well. And, it should be noted, the Jazz have some solid offensive options, especially down low, which will likely lead to plenty of easy assists. The last time Williams started and played 34+ minutes a night consistently was back in 2009 with the Cavs. He poured in 17.8 ppg for Cleveland during the 2008-2009 season, was among the league-leaders in three-pointers, and shot over 91% from the free-throw stripe.
Jeremy Lin – Houston Rockets:
The hype surrounding “Linsanity” was immense, as Lin jerseys flews off the shelves and TV ratings of Knicks games rocketed skyward. Soon thereafter, Lin graced the cover of Sports Illustrated for two consecutive weeks and then landed on the cover of Time Magazine as well. What seems to have been lost in the periphery, off-court action was the incredible on-court performance Lin produced when finally given the opportunity to play. A few stats and random factoids to pass along in order to jog your memory: During his 25 games as a starter, Lin averaged 18.2 points, 7.7 assists, 3.7 rebounds, and 2.0 steals… Jeremy became the first player since LeBron James in 2003 and sixth NBA player since 1970 to record at least 20 points and eight assists in his first two NBA career starts…Lin was the first player in the NBA to record at least 20 points and seven assists in his first three starts since 1991… In a virtuoso performance against the then-defending champion Dallas Mavericks, Jeremy became just the fifth player in the last 15 seasons to reach at least 28 points, 14 assists and five steals in a game… Some seem all to willing to brush off this remarkable run as fluke, but I’m not sure why we would expect a players first 25 starts to be the best stretch of his career? Don’t young players usually get better with age and experience? I’m not saying Lin is a lock to match those incredible numbers (he most certainly is not); but he’ll be the starter in Houston and will be looked at as a team leader and asked to run the show. Bottom line, there is lots to like here.
Lou Williams – Atlanta Hawks:
Despite coming off the bench and playing just 26 minutes a night last season in Philadelphia, Lou Will led the Sixers in scoring (14.9 ppg). Over the last two seasons combined (139 games), Williams have averaged 20.8 points, 5.0 assists, 3.2 rebounds, 1.8 three-pointers, and 1.0 steals Per-36 minutes. Now that the Hawks have traded away their starting two-guard and leading scorer Joe Johnson, there is very little in the way of competition for Sweet Lou. Thus, it’s safe to assume he’ll see 30+ minutes a night in Atlanta.
Honorable Mentions: Goran Dragic, JR Smith, Aaron Afflalo, Klay Thompson
Rookie to Target – Damian Lillard – Portland Trailblazers:
With Raymond Felton shipped off to New York, the Blazers starting PG job is up for grabs and the smart money says Lillard takes the gig and runs with it. Heading into camp, it appears his primary competition will be Nolan Smith and Ronnie Price, so it’s not as if the highly-touted rookie has to unseat superstar veterans. He was a scoring machine while at Weber State (24.5 ppg as a junior) , and although we can’t put too much stock into college numbers, I’ll highlight two stats that should be intriguing to fantasy GM’s: Lillard nailed nearly three triples per game (shooting an incredibly impressive 41% from downtown); yet also attacked the basket on a nightly basis, attempting eight free-throws per game and converting at an 89% clip from the charity stripe. The combination of starter’s minutes and an enticing skill set is undeniably promising.
Andrei Kirilenko – Minnesota Timberwolves:
After spending last season in Russia, AK47 is back stateside, after the David Kahn and the T-Wolves agreed to pay him a startling $10 million annually. With Michael Beasley leave Minnesota via free agency, the Wolves have limited depth at the wing positions, which means Kirilenko could see significant playing time if he plays up to expectations. During his last season in the NBA, when he played for Utah back in 2010-11, Kirilenko averaged 11.7 points, 5.1 rebounds, 3.0 assists. And, as we well know, AK47’s true value is his all-around defensive versatility. For his career, Andrei has averaged 2.0 blocks and 1.4 steals per game.
Glen Davis – Orlando Magic:
The Magic have gutted their roster. The frontcourt, in particular, was carved up this offseason. Dwight Howard was traded to the Lakers and Ryan Anderson landed in New Orleans. Someone is going to have to start down low in Orlando and play a ton of minutes. One of the main beneficiaries of this mess will be Big Baby (and the fantasy owners that are smart enough to draft him). Davis’ Per-36 minute averages last season were certainly promising: 14.3 points, 8.4 rebounds, and 1.1 steals. Logic dictates Davis will see at least 35 minutes a night for the depleted and beleaguered Magic next season.
Kenneth Faried – Denver Nuggets:
Nuggets neophyte Kenneth Faried started 39 games last season, averaging 11.0 points, 8.2 rebounds and 0.95 blocks in those games. Additionally, he played 20+ minutes on 34 occasions, averaging 11.9 points, 8.6 rebounds and 1.03 blocks in those contests. Furthermore, among rookies his 7.7 rebounding average and his .586 field goal percentage ranked 1st and his 1.02 blocks ranked 3rd. With a full season under his belt, it’s safe to assume Faried will see both his playing time and his production increase in 2012-2013.
Rookie to Target — Royce White – Houston Rockets:
I’ll go a bit under the radar here and nominate my favorite rookie from the 2012 draft class, Mr. Versatility, Royce White. Those that followed White during his lone season at Iowa State know that we are talking about a truly gifted all-around talent. Royce played point-forward for the Cyclones and led his team in just about every statistical category you could imagine. He finished the season averaging 13.4 points (shooting 53.4% from the floor), 9.3 rebounds, 5.0 assists, 0.9 blocks, and 1.2 steals. To help put those numbers in perspective, consider this: Royce White averaged more points than Michael Kidd-Gilchrist; more rebounds than Andre Drummond; and more than twice as many assists as Austin Rivers. In addition, with the Rockets amnestying Luis Scola and not landing a stud like Dwight Howard to replace him and use up that cap space, Houston’s new coach Kevin McHale will likely be forced to rely on youngsters, which is great news for White…
JaVale McGee – Denver Nuggets:
McGee was blissfully enjoying the best season of his career in Washington last season (averaging 11.9 ppg, 8.8 rpg, and 2.5 bpg), before a midseason trade sent him to Denver. JaVale saw a reduction in his PT upon arriving in the Rockies, coming of the bench for 15 of the 20 regular season games he played for the Nuggets. However, he remained productive and efficient. His Per-36 minutes averages in Denver were impressive: 18 points (shooting 61.2% from the floor), 10.1 rebounds, and 2.7 blocks. Even if McGee is plays just 30 minutes a night, he’ll be productive enough to keep fantasy owners happy. And this summer the Nuggets inked McGee to a long-term extension, which leads one to believe they are confident in all that he brings to the table.
Serge Ibaka – Oklahoma City Thunder:
Here’s a stat that I think sufficiently sums up Ibaka’s impact last season: Despite playing just 27 minutes a night, Serge Ibaka blocked 241 shots last season. That’s more than Dwight Howard & Josh Smith COMBINED… Like McGee, Serge also signed a sizable extension this summer. If Ibaka ever sees even 30+ minutes a night – Yikes.
Rookie to Target — Anthony Davis – New Orleans Hornets:
Easy choice here, as Davis is undoubtedly the top prospect in the 2012 Draft class… Davis’ offensive game is still raw, but the upside is certainly appealing. Just 6’2” as a sophomore in high school, AD has impressive ball skills for a big man and solid form on his jumper. Nonetheless, regardless of whether or not his offense improves dramatically, Davis will make an immediate impact on the defensive end of the floor. A rebounding machine at Kentucky (10.4 rebounds per game) and a defensive dynamo (4.7 blocks and 1.4 steals per game), the #1 overall pick is expected to step in and make significant contributions in those categories from the very start of his initial NBA season. Unfortunately, you’ll likely have to reach early on in your draft to secure his services, as the big man’s undeniable upside will have fantasy GM’s salivating on draft day.
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