Fantasy Basketball Advice
The Answerman is the first and only alternative fantasy basketball and romance advice columnist on the web. He is here on insidehoops.com to answer all your questions.
No one really ever messes up in the first two rounds of their draft. Pick Garnett, Duncan, Shaq, Kobe, McGrady, Nowitzki and you'll be fine. It's like sex and pizza. Even if the pick is bad, it's still pretty good.
No one can really messes up the last round either. Whoever you pick will be dropped within the first three weeks of the season. Anyone you passed up will still be a free agent for a little while and since they were your last pick, you expect them to stink anyway.
The measure of a successful draft are the middle rounds; rounds 4-7. Generally these are picks 50-80. Here are five middle-rounders to draft and five to avoid (I know I promised 10 a-piece last week, but who wants to read all of that).
Draft Andre Miller. Here is a guy who averaged 14ppg, 4.5 rpg, 6.3 apg, and 1.73 spg on 45% shooting. Those numbers were better than those of Mike Bibby, Chauncey Billups, Tony Parker, and Gary Payton. For point guards, since I still consider Iverson a shooting guard, Andre Miller is behind only Jason Kidd and Steve Francis. He should be available in the 4th round.
Before you start yelling Baron Davis at me...
Avoid Baron Davis. Assuming everyone reads the Answerman and are all smart enough to leave him undrafted before round 4, I advise you to be extra patient and stay very far away. He has missed 32 and 25 games over the last two seasons, respectively.
Freak injuries don't bother me. Everyone gets hurt, they get surgery, they recover, they play. Guys who miss more than 40 games over two years are a problem.
Davis will mysteriously miss games in the middle of the week without telling you. He will be on your bench because you cannot trust him. Avoid injury-prone players, they will sink your team.
Draft Kerry Kittles. I am not a big Kittles fan, but I love Kittles on the LA Clippers. He is good for 1.5 steals a game. He averaged 4.0 rpg for the Nets last year, which is solid for a guard. He's good for a three each game and he will even see some ball handling while Marko Jaric is hurt.
If you miss out on a player like Ray Allen, you can pick up Kittles in the 5th round and (aside from scoring) get only 1 less rebound with more steals and a better fg%.
Avoid Chauncey Billups. He was the Finals MVP. That will make him overrated in your fantasy draft. You be the smart one. Stay away. The points are nice. He was under 6 apg. Not terrible. He was under .400 for a fg% and had just 1.08 spg. That is bad. You want a point guard that steals and passes. It's what point guards do. He doesn't do either well enough to justify that fg%. Stay away.
Draft James Posey. How many people are sleeping on this guy? The 14ppg is not good, but the 5 rpg (as a guard), and 1.63 spg on 47% shooting are great. If you miss out on Artest in the first two rounds, Posey will be there in the fifth waiting for you. You will get the same rebounds, be within .4 on the steals and get a better fg% than Artest. (Do not misread - draft Artest first, but if you miss him, Posey is a replacement).
Avoid Rashard Lewis. The big problem with Lewis is the rebounding - well and the shot blocking, and the steals, and the fg%... pretty much everything except for the scoring. The 17 ppg is going to impress you. However, once you get past that, you're below 7 rpg, which is horrendous for a forward and the 43% fg is awful. He is only above average in the scoring.
Don't get tricked by scorers.
Draft Donyell Marshall. Toronto is sending all kinds of mixed signals about starters and bench players, etc. There is some talk that Marshall will be coming off the bench. I'm not worried. He was off the bench in Utah and played solid. He finds a way.
Marshall isn't a star. He gets no plays called for him and relies on leftover baskets and rebounds, yet somehow he managed 10 rpg, 1.1 spg and 1.5 bpg. Somehow no one knows or cares about him. That's good.
It's very rare to have a player with 1+ steal and 1+ block. There's Nowitzki, Garnett, Marion, Kirilenko, Kenyon Martin, Camby and B.Wallace. Only Camby and Marshall will be there past the 3rd round. Only Marshall fits into my "no injured players" rule.
Avoid Rasheed Wallace. Rasheed was a very important player for the Pistons last year. He solidified their defense and offense. He is a great team player. He makes good passes, helps on defense, gets in position and doesn't demand shots. He is a bad fantasy player. Wallace is like a wing-man. The guy who is always around while friends are getting girls, helps them with the beers and introductions, distracting her girl-friends, but never seems to go home with any numbers.
Last season 16ppg, 6.8 rpg (ech), 2.3 apg, .9 spg, 1.7 bpg (not bad) on 43.5% shooting. He's an 8th or 9th round pick - where he won't be available because someone will take him in the fifth.
Draft Zydrunas Ilguakas. Big Z is always around in the middle of the draft. Nobody ever drafts him because they think he is still an injury risk or they never heard of him or they don't want to sound stupid saying his name.
Say it loud and say it proud - "I'll take Big Z"
Why big Z? Compare him the the 2nd Center that will be taken in your draft -Yao Ming.
Yao: 17.5 ppg, 9.0 rpg, 1.5 apg, .27 spg, 1.9 bpg, .522 fg%
Z: 15.3ppg, 8.0rpg, 1.3apg, .48spg, 2.48bpg, .483 fg%
Yao wins. Not by much. Yao is gone in the 2nd round along with Ben Wallace. When round five comes around and you are still center-less, Big Z will do the job. He will likely be competing for your roster spot with Magliore. Big Z scores, blocks, and shoots better. Keep that in mind.
Avoid Sam Cassell. I love Sam Cassell. I campaigned to have him voted on the All-Star team last season. He's getting old, and injuries will hurt him more and more. Sorry Sam. Cannot draft you this year.
Here's a bonus one for you. Marquis Daniels looked great down the stretch for Dallas last season. Dallas has announced that he is the starter. Sounds a lot like Zach Randolph last season. He won't get you 20 and 10... but if he gets the minutes, 15, 5, 5, and 1.5 steals sounds about right.
That's all for now. Next week I'm opening up my Inbox. Any questions, write the Answerman@insidehoops.net