Not many people would call a 31-year-old who qualifies as a rookie a sleeper, but Anthony Parker fits the bill. Parker had a cup of coffee with the 76ers and Magic in 1999 and 2000 but has since spent his time in the CBA, Italy, and Israel. Five years toiling in the European Superleague earned Parker the label of the best player not playing in the NBA.
Parker worked his way up the European ranks and in 2005 and 2006 he won the Euroleague MVP. Recent Olympics and World Championship results should show people that winning in Europe should mean something, and Parker has led his Israeli team to domestic and Euroleague championships. New Raptor GM Bryan Colangelo likes the fact that Parker is one of the few winners on the Raptors squad, and so does Sam Mitchell since Parker is averaging 32 minutes a game, only one minute a game less than team leaders TJ Ford and Chris Bosh.
Parker can help across the board in almost every stat category. Right now he is averaging 13 points, 2.3 rebounds, 2.5 assists, and a steal. But Parker has long range ability, and with the playing time that he is being given, his confidence and stat line will grow.
Parker plays well with new imports Garbajosa, Calderon and Bargnani, and will eventually see playing time with Slokar as well. Keep in mind how brittle TJ Ford is and the fact that Calderon has limited skills, and you can conclude that there is not much of a risk of Parker’s playing time getting reduced in the near future.
Right now Parker is sitting on my bench, but I can see him getting some starts for my fantasy squad in the future.
Patrick Martin is one of a growing number of fantasy experts who write for the Cafe. You can catch up with Patrick in the Cafe's forums where he posts under the name of Mookie4ever.
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