If you haven’t noticed, we’ve slowed down a tad here at TFN. Thinking of closing shop, or doing a complete overhaul, actually, and Pandamonium will at least be doing a re-design soon. At the behest of one of my four readers (who is actually some guy from www.indycornrows.com who doesn’t really like me…whuddup, Dale!) I’ve decided to churn out a fantasy basketball draft advice column.
I know what you’re thinking: There’s an NBA season? And people are going to watch it? And people play fantasy basketball? Or maybe you’re just thinking: Great, I already auto-picked my team last week, and we’re good without your craptacular advice…you can save it you damn deadbeat.
Either way, you get what you pay for, which is increasingly, well, nothing.
Draft Day Pointers
1. Don’t get wrapped up in “multi-cat” guys over true stars: Look, I know multi-cat guys are great to have. I love the idea of a “utility knife” type of player. But if you’re drafting Gerald Wallace ahead of Steve Nash, Chris Bosh or Rajon Rondo (and they’re all ranked behind Wallace in Yahoo’s pre-season list) you need your head examined.
2. Screw that stupid philosophy about avoiding guys who can kill you in one cat: For years Yahoo! has underrated Dwight Howard because of his horrible free throw shooting. Screw that. He’s the most dominant big man i the game. You want him on your fantasy team. Same for Rondo. Screw that. He’s the best passer, statistically and maybe actually, in the league. You want him on your fantasy team. Maybe you pair them both up and just concede that your team is going to suck at the FT% cat, but be unstoppable in rebounds and assists. I think I’m cool with that.
3. There was just a lockout, people…some of these guys are going to be fat and suck: Seriously. Especially guys who just got paid…*cough…ZACH RANDOLPH…cough*…
4. Don’t assume that a change of scenery automatically makes a guy more valuable: David West is STILL coming off of a knee surgery. Tyson Chandler is STILL incapable of offensive stats. Lamar Odom is still married to the ugly Kardashian. Not much has changed in those, and many other cases.
1. Chris Paul, LAC: More proof that a change of scenery doesn’t matter: CP3 should be just as dominant as ever in a Clippers’ uni.
3. Steve Nash, PHO: 15/11 and a member of the 50/40/90 club last year. No clue why people are scared off by his age and terrible team. He’ll be just fine.
4. Deron Williams, NJN: Scoring went down for Jersey, but apg skyrocketed and TOs stayed about the same. You’ll just have to hope awful shooting as a Net was an abberation.
5. Russell Westbrook, OKC: League’s best rebounding PG gets you relevance in five cats. Luckily though,”shot selection” isn’t a cat we keep track of in fantasy basketball…
6. Derrick Rose, CHI: Probably never going to be a double-double guy, but the sky’s the limit for the reigning MVP; he’s gotten better in each of his three seasons.
7. John Wall, WAS: 16/5/8/2 (steals) is a pretty sick line for a rookie. If Wall can cut the TOs and up the FG% he’s headed for top-3 status sooner rather than later.
8. Monta Ellis, GSW: Still PG-eligible, Ellis will give you big points, decent assist numbers, and solid percentages. He’s got to beat a sexual harassment rap at some point, which may distract him.
9. Stephen Curry, GSW: Curry, the other tweener, PG-eligible Warrior, is not as good as everyone thinks he is. And he just re-injured his surgically-repaired ankle.
10. Jrue Holiday, PHI: A long-armmed freak like his former college teammate, Westbrook, Holiday showed marked improvement last season, his second year in the league.
1. Dwyane Wade, MIA: Seems perennially-injured, but 76 or more in three straight seasons is encouraging. Plus he does literally everything well, except shoot threes.
2. Kobe Bryant, LAL: Yoko split, so now Ko-BOT can get to work. If there’s one thing you know about the Mamba, it’s that he goes to work (80+ gps in four of the last six seasons). If there’s another thing it’s that he can score (7 straight 25 ppg seasons and counting).
3. Eric Gordon, NOR: EJ should put up fantastic numbers as option 1A in NOR. Not sure if his body can take it (yet to play a full year as a pro).
4. Andre Iguodala, PHI: Iggy does it all but score in bunches. But the utility numbers make up for it.
5. Joe Johnson, ATL: Speaking of scoring, JJ fell off last year following his payday. He shot his worst from beyond the arc since his rookie season.
6. Kevin Martin, HOU: If Martin can stomach almost being traded for Pau Gasol he can provide you with good scoring and decent percentages.
7. Tyreke Evans, SAC: You’re going to have to deal with a bad assist:TO line, and a lingering foot injury, but Evans has the ability and opportunity for a bounce-back year, and he’s got PG-eligibility.
8. Paul George, IND: Totally not joking. Totally am a homer. PG could averaged the coveted 2 blocks/2 steals per game if he continues to get starter’s minutes as he did near the end of last season. He averaged 1.4/2.0 in the playoffs.
9. Marcus Thornton, SAC: If anyone really thinks John Salmons is going to start they haven’t seen newly re-signed Thornton in action this pre-season, and apparently weren’t watching after the Kings acquired him last season and he put up 21+ ppg, 2 3PTMpg and 2 spg.
10. Ray Allen, BOS: Great, if you understand what you’re getting…that’s 3PTM and impeccable percentages across the board.
1. LeBron James, MIA: Still the King in my book. If you draft Kevin Durant over him your league must penalize for bad three point shooting.
2. Kevin Durant, OKC: Durant’s nickname in fantasy should be “the next best thing.” But he’s a helluva consolation prize if you don’t land LBJ, who kicks his ass in quite a few more cats.
3. Carmelo Anthony, NYK: Anthony hasn’t had to try for most of his career and is still one of the best offensive players of his generation. Prime candidate to be out of shape, but it shouldn’t matter. If his rebounding numbers stay where they were last year, and he regains his NYK three point shooting percentage…watch out.
4. Rudy Gay, MEM: Won’t wow you with scoring, but Gay was surprisingly good across the board last season, showing no real weaknesses except for apg, which at 2.8 were still above average for a wing player.
5. Gerald Wallace, POR: 71 games played is a coup for the do-it-all Wallace. They don’t call him “crash” for nothing.
6. Paul Pierce, BOS: Like his teammate, Allen, you’re paying for offensive numbers, including percentages.
7. Danny Granger, IND: New additions, maturation of Paul George may cut into Granger’s shot attempts. But he can still heat up quickly and knock down threes.
8. Dorell Wright, GSW: Could stand to shoot a little better, but that’s about if for Wright, who won’t blow you away or greatly disappoint you.
9. Luol Deng, CHI: Being the fourth wheel in a “Big Three” ain’t easy. But Deng (not fellow Duke alum Carlos Boozer) was quietly the Bulls’ third-best fantasy option last year.
10. Danilo Gallinari, DEN: Don’t sleep on Gallinari. With Wilson Chandler still in China, Gallinari will have a chance to shine as the Nuggets’ go-to scorer.
1. Kevin Love, MIN: There’s nothing to dislike about Love’s game from a fantasy perspective. He’s basically an exaggerated version of 2008-09 Troy Murphy, who probably finished in the top 5 for PFs that season.
2. Dirk Nowitzki, DAL: What to expect from Dirk following the title? How about another 23/7? He’s done that for seven straight seasons. The percentages are great too.
3. Al Horford, ATL: Horford’s improved every year, and can do all the things a big guy should be able to do, fantasy-wise.
4. Amar’e Stoudemire, NYK: Injuries and incredibly-stupid Tweets will always be an issue for Amar’e. But he’s missed just four games over the last two years and there’s no “idiot penalty” in fantasy basketball (even though there should be).
5. Josh Smith, ATL: Smith really seemed to improve his free throw shooting, which combined with his defensive numbers helped vault him into the top-5 for PFs by the end of the year.
6. LaMarcus Aldridge, POR: Aldridge had a career-year last season, averaging 22/9 with a steal and a block on good percentages. But he’s coming off of a heart procedure, and that sucks, even if his minutes won’t be restricted.
7. Pau Gasol, LAL: Short of chemistry problems, Gasol should be back to his ultra-consistent ways this year.
9. Blake Griffin, LAC: Still a lot to work on for the youngster, but double-doubles should be fun and easy with the help of new addition Chris Paul.
10. Tim Duncan, SAS: The Big Fundamental was off last year; he definitely showed signs of aging as he averaged career lows in points and rebounds per game. Still, where he’s being drafted, I’ll take the 14/9 and two blocks on 50% shooting.
1. Dwight Howard, ORL: Ignore the free throw numbers and realize the sheer magnitude of Howard’s dominance. He’s a 5-cat wonder who will single-handedly hold down your blocks, FG% and rebounding slots.
2. Al Jefferson, UTA: Big Al quietly had a great year last season, and the talk is he’s put in work this off-season to improve this year.
3. Serge Ibaka, OKC: Actually more effective as a PF, Ibaka averaged over 3 bpg in 33 contests at the four last year…still center eligible though.
4. Joakim Noah, CHI: I hate him. You hate him. Any coach trying to teach little kids how to shoot free throws hates him. But his defensive lines are nice, I’ll admit.
5. Chris Bosh, MIA: Bosh finally agreed to play center, but he’ll still likely stand around and shoot jumpers. That’s okay. I’ll take his 19/8/50%/81% at my center spot.
6. Marcin Gortat, PHO: One of the NBA’s most dominant centers in limited action last year: Gortat averaged 14/11 on 56% shooting in 13 starts at center.
7. JaVale McGee, WAS: McGee is often unjustly hyped up. That doesn’t mean I don’t like his blocks (2.4), FG% (55) or his ability to throw down sick dunks off of John Wall lobs.
8. Roy Hibbert, IND: Big Roy has a lot of work to do. But with one coach, hopefully from start to finish, 15/8 isn’t out of the question.
9. Andrew Bynum, LAL: If not for the injuries and the likelihood that he’s now a great big fat person, Bynum would be near the stud category. Near double-double last year and two blocks with 57% shooting.
10. DeAndre Jordan, LAC: I don’t think Jordan revolutionizes his game…but I think Chris Paul just might do it for him.