October 24, 2012
NBA fantasy preview 2012Ryan Wolstat gets you set for your NBA fantasy draft
By RYAN WOLSTAT, QMI Agency
TORONTO - There’s no lockout in this sport, this time around, so it’s fantasy hoops time again.
If your draft(s) have not happened yet, here’s a primer that hopefully will help you pick a winner this season.
This week, we’ll focus on players poised for breakout years and those you might want to avoid, for various reasons.
Kyrie Irving, Cavaliers – The rookie of the year should only take another step forward. Perhaps all the way into elite PG category.
Damian Lillard, Trail Blazers – The second coming of Damon Stoudamire? Lillard could win rookie of the year and should post something similar to Stoudamire’s ridiculous rookie campaign (ie. 16 points, 7 assists, 4 rebounds).
DeMarcus Cousins, Kings – Already dominated last year, but should bring his poor field goal percentage up closer to 47%. If that happens, he’s top 15 calibre.
Paul George, Pacers – Tallest SG in the league, gets steals, blocks and rebound, along with traditional SG categories.
Gordon Hayward, Jazz - Had a brilliant April and should pick up from there. On way to becoming just as impactful in NBA as he was for Butler in NCAA.
Jeff Green, Celtics – Looking great after missing the entire year.
Ramon Sessions, Bobcats – Will see a ton of minutes, getting lots of starts and will score, get assists and hit threes.
Markieff Morris, Suns - Gets blocks, threes, rebounds and points and will take over for Channing Frye, who is out for the season.
J.J. Hickson, Blazers – Was excellent as the starter last year and should hold off Meyers Leonard all season.
Luol Deng, Bulls – Will be go-to guy for Bulls until Derrick Rose comes back.
Taj Gibson, Bulls – Is better than Carlos Boozer, and will play a big role.
Omer Asik, Rockets – Should produce huge rebound and block numbers.
Greivis Vasquez, Hornets – We aren’t buying that Austin Rivers is a PG, so Vasquez will get a lot of starts.
Terrence Jones, Rockets – Rookie should contribute across the board.
O.J. Mayo, Mavericks – Expect the old Mayo to reappear.
AVOID UNLESS THEY DROP
Dirk Nowitzki, Mavericks – A gamble in the first round since he might be rusty when he comes back from injury.
Stephen Curry, Warriors – Awesome player, but his ankles are brittle.
Steve Nash, Lakers – If he’s there in the third round, great, but Lakers are stacked so he might get a lot of rest and won’t score a lot.
Brandon Roy, Wolves – Get him late or not at all, not the same player he once was and knees are in bad shape.
TRAINER'S ROOM TICKER/INJURY UPDATES
New Lakers PG Steve Nash rolled his ankle the other night, but is fine. Dwight Howard has also returned to action for the club … Amare Stoudemire will be out about a month due to a knee issue … Washington PG John Wall is still a month away from action … Sixers centre Andrew Bynum continues his recovery from knee surgery … Jeff Green and Eric Maynor are two players who missed last season who are back and looking great … Stephen Curry’s ankles are acting up again and Andrew Bogut has not been cleared to play yet. Not good signs for the Warriors … George Hill and Danny Granger should be 100% by the season-opener against the Raptors.
WOLSTAT’S TOP 10
There’s a lot of injury risks at the top, but here’s how we’d rank the top 10 fantasy players:
1. LeBron James – Only getting better
2. Kevin Durant – No shame being No. 2
3. Chris Paul – Knees a concern, but should be fine.
4. Al Jefferson – Bit of a logjam in Utah, but he’s been a beast.
5. Kevin Love – Will miss a month or else he’d be higher.
6. Russell Westbrook – Only getting better, but turnovers a concern.
7. LaMarcus Aldridge – Better talent around him should see him have big year.
8. Dwyane Wade – Again, durability issues a worry.
9. Dwight Howard – Can Lakers teach him to shoot free throws?
10. Josh Smith – In a contract year, should stuff the stat-sheet like never before.
HOT AND NOT
Surprises and disappointments (in the pre-season)
Marvin Williams, F, UTA
Shot 55.6% from three and 53.8% overall so seems to be fitting in well in Utah.
DeAndre Jordan, C, LAC
Shot over 70% from the field, though FT% was a brutal 29.5%.
Andre Drummond, F/C, DET
Won’t play like this in regular season, but rookie piled up blocks, boards and a few points on a great FG% (65.1%) for Pistons.
Carmelo Anthony, F, NYK
Sure he leads pre-season scorers, but he’s shooting just 38.2% and 27.3% from three-point land.
JaVale McGee, C, DEN
Game has plummeted since moving to Denver. Couldn’t shoot from floor or line in pre-season.
Richard Jefferson, F, GS
Has become a complete non-factor with Harrison Barnes, Brandon Rush and Klay Thompson there. Hasn’t done much to earn confidence of management.
Antawn Jamison, F, LAL
Looked all but done in Cleveland and hasn’t played better as a Laker (28.2% shooting).
Post-draft pickups, rating out of 5
Gerald Green, Pacers, G/F, 3 stars
Pacers are team on the wing with Paul George and Danny Granger set to see heavy minutes, but Green can fill it up and will get his chance.
Mike Dunleavy, Bucks, G/F, 3 stars
Contributes across a lot of categories and with Carlos Delfino gone, could get lots of time in Milwaukee.
Andray Blatche, Nets, F/C, 2 stars
Try not to chuckle. Blatche is in shape and has looked good. Blatche was 70th in Yahoo’s rankings two seasons ago so could be worth a shot.
Robin Lopez, Hornets, C, 2 stars
Anthony Davis isn’t big enough to be a full-time centre yet, so Lopez could be the starter early with Ryan Anderson pushed to a sixth-man role. Lopez has had a good pre-season, including a recent 14-point, 11-rebound performance.
Kevan Seraphin, Wizards, F/C, 2 stars
With Nene unlikely to play a full season due to injuries/motivation isues, Seraphin will get some starts. In 21 starts last season he averaged 14.1 points, 7.2 rebounds and 1.8 blocks.