OpinionAugust 12, 2011

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2011 Fantasy Rookies: The Shallow End - 2 comments

By Adam Laforet

This offseason is excruciating. We had a draft though, and now that the draft is in the books we can start suffering through the long salary cap summer of David Stern’s discontent. The wheels of fantasy hoops roll on though, and it’s never too early to start prepping for next fantasy season. That is to say, whatever portion of a season we actually get to enjoy. This year’s draft was pretty bare of top-tier, franchise-changing, talent, but there are still a few rookies who deserve mixed league consideration, and a bunch that will have enough impact to be deep league worthy. Today we’re going to stick with the mixed league candidates.

I’m going to toss a stats projection in for each guy, but keep in mind these are gut calls and not the result of some fancy-schmancy projection system; plus, they’re optimistic on the minutes projections, and once we start getting feedback from camps and whatnot things will have to be adjusted. The links on the player names will take you to that player’s Comprehensive Stats page from Draft Express, for those who like to do some of their own research. Enough chit-chat though — let’s jump in the talent pool and see who you can target for mixed league play.

The Shallow End

These are the guys who warrant your consideration for standard 12-14 team mixed leagues.

1. Kyrie Irving – PG, CLE

As the future at PG for the Cavs, Irving will get burn right out of the gate and should play more than enough minutes to make a useful mid-to-late round pick. He’s not a freak athlete like Westbrook or Rose, but he’s a canny player and has a better jumper than either of those guys. I think you’ll see decent FG%, excellent FT% on a mid-range number of attempts, around 1.5 threes per, with solid Ast and Stl to round things out. He should be a solid PG2-3 for most teams.

Roughcut Forecast:

46% FG, 85% FT, 14 Pts, 1.5 Threes, 3.5 Reb, 5.5 Ast, 1.6 Stl, 3.5 TOs (guessing 30 mpg)

2. Derrick Williams – SF/PF, MIN

I’ll admit I’m not a charter member of the DW fan club, but the dude’s got skills and the Wolves can afford to play him big minutes. He’s going to have good FG% but mediocre FT% and do a little bit of everything else except dimes (which will suck). His upside is to join the One Three/Blk/Stl Per Game Club, but I think the reality will fall a little short of that in his rookie season.

Roughcut Forecast:

48% FG, 73% FT, 16 Pts, 0.7 Threes, 6 Reb, 0.7 Stl, 0.7 Blk, 2.5 TOs (guessing 30 mpg)

3. Bismack Biyombo – PF/C, CHA

I’m going out on a limb here, but I think that Biyombo can play right away for the ‘Cats and bring some potentially game-changing defense and shot blocking (plus some sashimi-raw offense, but whatevs). You know he rebounds like a pro, and he blocks out the sun, so he should be a very useful late round grab for teams who need some defensive stats. It’s tough to roster a guy who’s wildly unlikely to score more than six or eight points a game, but I think the defense could make it worthwhile. The upside is there for close to three blocks a game, eventually.

Roughcut Forecast:

50% FG, 50% FT, 7 Pts, 8 Reb, 2.2 Blk (guessing 22 mpg)

4. Tristan Thompson – PF, CLE

Thompson wasn’t going to make this list, but the trade of Hickson to the Kings opens enough room for some fantasy impact. Thompson has the defensive chops to hold on to playing time there too, so things look good. Thompson is going give you decent FG% and scoring, but his FT% plus solid attempts could be a real eyesore. He’ll get you the standard Reb/Blk production you need from a big though, and could be a sneaky source of Stl, so consider your caveat emptor-ed. At best though, he’s a late-to-last round kind of guy.

Roughcut Forecast:

48% FG, 49% FT, 11 Pts, 7 Reb. 0.8 Stl, 1.2 Blk (guessing 28 mpg)

5. Kemba Walker – PG, CHA

Yes, DJ Augustin is the incumbent, and he can play some, but I think Kemba’s speed, defense, and playmaking ability will earn him solid minutes anyway. I think you’ll get pretty standard PG-type production here — just don’t count on the three ball. If Kemba can resist the temptation to hoist too many long balls his FG% should be simply poor, rather than apocalyptic-ally bad. Think Brandon Jennings. Anyway, grab Kemba late for some upside at PG.

Roughcut Forecast:

42% FG, 80% FT, 12 Pts, 4 Reb, 4 Ast, 1.5 Stl, 3 TOs (guessing 25 mpg)

6. Jimmer Fredette – PG, SAC

Do the Jimmer! I expect the Kings to be Jimmering pretty hard next season and he should accrue enough counting stats to be mixed league worthy. That said, he’s going to Jimmer all over their defensive efficiency, and Jimmer plays the position that Tyreke Evans thinks he should be Jimmering in, so it’s all a bit of a Jimmer really. Jimmer. Sorry, I’ll stop now. Fredette (there, that’s better) should be solid for points and threes on decent percentages, with perhaps a soupcon of Ast. He won’t be any great shakes in the defensive cats, but that shouldn’t surprise anyone. Grab him late-to-last.

Roughcut Jimmer:

44% FG, 88% FT, 14 Pts, 2 Threes, 2 Reb, 2.5 Ast, 0.5 Stl (guessing 22 mpg)

That’s all for now folks, but we’ll dive into the deep end on the talent pool for our next installment. Oh, and in case you’re wondering, Rubio is getting his own article (eventually), which is why he’s not on this list.

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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2011 Fantasy Rookies: The Deep End by Adam Laforet (posted on 08/18/2011 in Articles)
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2 Responses to “2011 Fantasy Rookies: The Shallow End”

  1. User avatar RedHopeful says:

    Good job Adam. However, got a few questions as you seem a bit more positive about some of these guy’s playing times. For instance, are you not worried that Byron Scott will bring Irving and Thompson along a bit more slowly than most? Also, how is Williams going to see 30 minutes a game with Beasley and Love in the way?

  2. User avatar Fenris-77 says:

    The playing time thing is definitely on the optimistic side, no doubt. However, that’s always the trick with rookies – we draft them because of what they’ll do if the get playing time. These guys, IMO anyway, are all good enough to grab some serious minutes if they play well. I agree that Beasley and Love present some issues for Williams, but he can get time at both the 3 and the 4, and Beasley, honestly, is too much of a headcase for me to be all that worried about how much PT he’ll grab. If Williams plays even adequate defense then Beasley will likely be left out in the cold, minutes-wise. I also think that we’ll see Love play at least a little of C to free up some PF minutes.

    The Cavs are simply too bad for Scott to be able to sell a slow development, especially for Irving. On a better team I might be worried, but the Cavs are simoly awful, and I think even Scott eill see the need to get their high picks some immediate burn.


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