OpinionDecember 28, 2011

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Pick ‘n’ Roll Episode One – Birds on the Wire

By Adam Laforet

New year, new season, but now with added crazy. Once again Pick ‘n’ Roll will be taking a weekly a look at what’s new and strange in fantasy hoops. Waiver wire decisions, trade fallout, who’s hot – you’ll find it all here. The winter of Stern’s discontent is going to be a fantasy hoops whirlwind and fortune favors the prepared (and the bold). The compressed schedule means we’ll see a host of odd games from no-name guys and lot of prime talent playing shortened minutes and taking games off. In short, it’s a great time to be a hoops junkie. Without further ado lets dive into the early results and see if we can’t spot a hanging chad or two.

Trip-Dub Club, now recruiting members…

Is Spencer Hawes the second coming of Moses Malone? In a word, no. However, the boy does have talent, and perhaps we shouldn’t rough him up too badly because it’s taken him some time to get things rolling. Hawes isn’t going to regularly push a trip-dub of course, but he is planning to walk on water and turn Coke to Pepsi during half time on All Star weekend. Personally, I’d settle for solid regular production and a consistent starting role, which I think is very much in the cards this year. So if you drafted a guy like Kaman, who’s riding the pine in Charlotte, or just need some depth at C, then grab Hawes while you can. If he gets 32 mpg he’ll be good for around 13 and 8 with decent blocks. He’s got the chops to produce solid dimes for a big and he can hit the three a little, so there’s upside there too.

If Hawes isn’t the second coming of Moses Malone, perhaps Boris Diaw is. Diaw was our other early almost-trip-dub candidate, but in his case it was a little easier to see coming. Diaw has always been a great distributor for a forward, and increased minutes in a talent starved Bobcat’s lineup should give him lots of opportunity. If Diaw isn’t already owned in your league then go out and grab him – he’s going to be worth owning in standard leagues for sure, and even on some shallow league teams where his production fits. Diaw is going to play, and a line of 12-6-6 with a three, a block, and a steal while shooting .500 from the floor is right around his career numbers.

It came at me outta nowhere officer…

Norris Cole? Yes. Yes you should add him, even in standard formats. It’s got a little risk since he’s bound to have rookie bumps in the road, but now is the time to add those fantasy season changing guys, and Cole might be one of those. Or he might crap out, but that kind of spice is why we play the game.

Spencer Hawes. Story on page one (see 3 inches above).

Andre Miller. The Miller-Lawson back court in Denver looks pretty awesome, and I think Miller will look good all year. Add him where you can and enjoy nice PG2/3 production from a waiver add. On a related note, trade for Lawson wherever possible. He’s as good as he looks. On another related note, this is all sad news for Afflalo owners, who now have to deal with decreased production as well as remembering how to spell his name.

Ryan Anderson. Oh yeah. He’s not a sexy pick up, but he could also lead the league in threes. So there’s that. Besides, who isn’t interested in 17 and 8 with (dare I say it) three threes a game plus a block and a steal? So he shoots .430 on the season, you didn’t think it was all sunshine and lollipops did you?

They have a basketball team in Toronto?!

You bet they do, and there’s a couple of gems there who may be available in your league. First though, let me congratulate everyone who used a late draft pick to draft Jose Calderon. Jose has looked killer running the pick and roll so far and I think he’ll be solid all year (plus is looks like he can shoot again). Moving on to the gems though, let me advise you all to add Amir Johnson in pretty much any format, and Ed Davis in even moderately deep formats. Johnson was a surprise starter at center in the Raps’ first game, and given the stellar results I think that trend continues. A line of 13 and 9 with a steal, nearly two blocks, and .550/.800 shooting is very possible. Davis is a little riskier because his minutes may fluctuate, but he could easily go for 10 and 6 with high FG% and 1.5+ blocks with the upside for a lot more.

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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• Other articles by Adam Laforet
Pick n’ Roll – Opening Tips by Adam Laforet (posted on 10/30/2009 in Articles)
Pick n’ Roll – Is There a Doctor in the House? by Adam Laforet (posted on 11/07/2009 in Articles)
Pick n’ Roll – Hot Off the Presses by Adam Laforet (posted on 11/17/2009 in Articles)

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