SleepersFebruary 21, 2008

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Sleeper Watch

By Phil Londen

Touted by some fantasy observers in the preseason as a deep sleeper, Hakim Warrick has recently been making the case that he deserves a roster spot in almost any format. Developments in Memphis this season have cleared the way for Warrick to carve out more playing time and he has responded.

This season he has had to adjust to a new coach, Marc Iavaroni, who has had a relatively fluid starting lineup. Warrick has gotten his shot to make his presence known in Memphis since the departure of Pau Gasol to the Lakers at the beginning of February. Warrick was not initially inserted into the starting lineup, but his minutes have steadily risen.

In five starts since the departure of Gasol, Warrick has averaged over 33 minutes per game. As a starter he has averaged 18.6 points on 58 percent shooting with 8.0 rebounds, 0.4 steals, and 0.8 blocks. His free throw shooting (47 percent) and turnovers (1.8) have been troublesome as a starter but he is a 73 percent career free throw shooter and eventually should settle in around his career average.

Warrick is an extremely athletic forward who has recently been praised by Coach Iavaroni not only for his offense but for his defense as well. With the Grizz out of the playoff picture, look for Iavaroni to give the third year forward from Syracuse extra run as the rebuilding continues in Memphis.

When not worshipping at the idol of Steve Kerr for bringing the Diesel to the Valley of the Suns, Phil can be found posting in the cafe under the name plonden.
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