Here you go ladies and gents, the first shiny installment of Pick n’ Roll for your reading enjoyment. Every week we’ll be hitting you up with a list of what’s new, puzzling, or downright exciting in the wide world of fantasy hoops. Our first installment covers preseason action and what it may mean for your drafts.
Ok, we all know its preseason – scrubs are getting massive burn as coaches try to separate the wheat from the chafe on the sticky end of their benches. Everyone knows that the preseason isn’t necessarily the best barometer for what the regular season rotations are going to look like (said Captain Obvious), but that doesn’t mean there’s not some juicy info hiding under the surface of every box score. So there’s your caveat emptor; please treat this whole article with a big fat dose of it’s only preseason. That said…
DeJuan Blair baby! Could he be this year’s Paul Millsap? Quite possibly. He’s averaging 17 points and more than 9 rebounds a tilt for the Spurs, and has shown a nice scoring touch to boot. He could see more regular-season action than anticipated if Pop decides to let him do some of the heavy lifting and save the vets for the playoffs. McDyess is biblically old, so that might not be a bad idea. If he’s not already on your deep sleeper list you can add him now.
Roy Hibbert is going to be massively over-drafted in late drafts this year. He’s looked very solid in the middle for the Pacers, averaging 16 and 8 with a ridiculous 4.3 blocks a contest. Temper that info with the fact that two of his three games have come against the up-tempo Nuggets. He went into draft season as a 12th round-plus kind of deep reserve, but I wouldn’t be surprised to see him start going as high as the 9th round, especially in keeper formats. Don’t reach too far for him, but if you can get him at a reasonable pick he could pay very handsome regular season returns. And he blocks out the sun, that’s always a bonus – his new nickname in this space is now officially Rickets.
The Nets under-19 backcourt. Man, that team has a lot of youngsters pushing for minutes. Courtney Lee has looked very solid, and is still pretty much a lock to be starting at SG. You can draft him with confidence. Chris Douglas-Roberts and Terrence Williams have also looked good though, and Bobby Simmons is going to get beat up for his lunch money at some point. Probably by CDR, who has looked rock solid so far, averaging 18 points a game on huge FG%. Terrence Williams is still very much a deep sleeper candidate, and his preseason has been up and down (as one would expect), but I expect his defense and play-making to get him on the court at some point this season. He’s a fine candidate for a last-round fling in a deep league, or a top spot on your watch list.
The Blake Griffin watch begins — alert set to yellow. Griffin has only played in a couple of games so far, and is rumored to be coming off the bench to start the season, but he’s looked good in limited minutes. Skills as advertised: FG%, rebounding, great motor. Don’t reach for him, but he could a solid late-draft big.
Lou Williams has looked like a solid scoring option for Philly so far. His value for late-draft steal production is obvious, but he hasn’t really produced in the assist department, and I don’t expect that to change. I’m having terrible visions of Andre Iguodala with multiple double-digit turnover nights too, so don’t say I didn’t warn you. That’s not the triple double we’re looking for Andre, seriously.
Speaking of steals, Brandon Jennings looks like a heck of pick-pocket. That six-steal game against Detroit made my ears perk up. He’s going to have to do some work to wriggle his way into meaningful minutes under Skiles, but he’s probably too good to keep off the court. Keep in mind that while he might be a great pick-pocket he’s no stick-up man — his shooting has been very much spray-and-pray so far (.288 from the field Brandon, really?!)
Don’t sleep on my man Thabo Sefalosha. He’s back on the court for the Thunder, and back to producing a mouth-watering amount of defense for a SG-eligible player. James Harden’s going to get minutes, but I don’t think the Thunder will want to keep Thabo’s D off the court. He played 30 mpg for the Thunder last season, and I expect him to get close to that again this season, even with Harden in the mix. I’ll set the fearless forecast at 27 mpg.
Channing Frye and Amare Stoudemire could quite possibly be the worst defensive front court pairing in the entire NBA. Frye has been decent, and as advertised a nice sneaky source of threes from a C-eligible player, but I caution folks to temper their enthusiasm. The Suns will need to play some defense, and that’s going to limit Frye’s usefulness and minutes. Still, a solid late-round snoozer (I can’t call a guy with that much recent hype a sleeper, so snoozer it is).
Greg Oden wants to be the man in the middle for the Blazers this year. So far, he looks like that guy. Grampa is averaging a robust 15 and 10 with 1.25 blocks on a predictable .594 from the floor and a pleasantly tangy .818 from the line. His ADP this year is hovering around the 10th round, and if that’s where you draft him I think you’re getting a great deal (PnR update – yeah, last night sucked some, C’est la vie).
That’s all for now folks. See you next week, and don’t draft any wooden nickels.
Adam Laforet is one of a growing number of fantasy experts who write for the Cafe. You can catch up with Adam in the Cafe's forums where he posts under the name of Fenris-77.
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