Thursday, January 20, 2005

Rookie Revue

Drafting a rookie in your fantasy basketball draft is always a risky move. Save for the occasional stud, you generally won’t want to take a rookie until very late in the draft. Drafting second-year players, however, can be a great way to get nice return on your draft picks. Look at some of the sophomores drafted this year, where they were drafted and how they look on the player rater so far:

LeBron James
Average Draft Position: 13.95
Player Rater: 3rd

Dwayne Wade
Average Draft Position: 36.57
Player Rater: 8th

Kirk Hinrich
Average Draft Position: 51.09
Player Rater: 30th

Chris Bosh
Average Draft Position: 74.72
Player Rater: 52nd

Luke Ridnour
Average Draft Position: 111.07
Player Rater: 78th

So on that note, I thought it would be a good idea to check in on this year’s rookie class, and see what we might be able to expect for next year.

Emeka Okafor, F/C (CHA)
15.2 ppg, 11.2 rpg, 1.3 blocks, 45% FG, 59% FT
Okafor is going to be a top-10 center for probably the next 10 years. You can count the number of centers who are automatic double-doubles on one hand – even if you have a finger amputated. The big let-down for Okafor has been his poor block numbers, but that should improve with time and with a better team developing around him.
Next year’s draft prospects: 4th to 6th round.

Dwight Howard, PF (ORL)
10.3 ppg, 9.9 rpg, 1.6 blocks, 50% FG, 64% FT
When you look at Howard’s numbers, they really remind you of Chris Bosh’s rookie campaign. I think that’s about where Howard is headed. Remember, Bosh was the same age last year as Howard is this year, too.
Next year’s draft prospects: 5th to 7th round.

Ben Gordon, G (CHI)
13.4 ppg, 2.3 rpg, 1.8 assists, 1.4 3PM, 43% FG, 84% FT
Gordon can certainly score, but other than points and threes, he hasn’t shown that he’ll help you in any other categories whatsoever. He may be a Cuttino Mobley type, but it’s too soon to tell.
Next year’s draft prospects: Anywhere after the 10th round.

Andre Iguodala, GF (PHI)
8.9 ppg, 5.9 rpg, 2.8 assists, .6 3PM, 1.6 stl, .8 blocks, 47% FG, 75% FT
Iguodala is one of those guys where you look at his stats, and aren’t very impressed, but then you look at overall player raters and he just manages to be way higher than you’d expect. It’s hard to recommend a guy that doesn’t score 10 ppg, but next year he should be able to cross that barrier, and his steals and threes point to him being a Doug Christie type.
Next year’s draft prospects: 8th to 10th round.

Josh Smith, SF (ATL)
7.9 ppg, 5.2 rpg, 1.6 assists, 1.9 blocks, .9 steals, 50% FG, 64% FT
Well I couldn’t get through this post without discussing Josh Smith, whom my fantasy basketblog cohort apparently has a total crush on. Basketball-wise, I mean. Probably. But yes, he’s a human highlight reel, and should be among the blocks leaders for years to come. He needs to score more, but with Antoine Walker out of the picture next year, he should get his shots.
Next year’s draft prospects: 6th to 10th round.

Deeper Sleepers

Anderson Varejao, PF (CLE) – Given minutes, he’s a blocks/boards monster.
Luke Jackson, G/F (CLE) – Maybe he’ll be better when he’s not hurt. Maybe.
Al Jefferson, PF (BOS) – Shown signs of greatness, particularly lately. Plus Sports Guy loves him.
Devin Harris, PG (DAL) – It’s a crowded backcourt. If it uncrowds, he’ll be a nice pick.
Trevor Ariza, SF (NYK) – His 18-point, 9-rebound performance vs. Chicago last week raised my eyebrows, for sure.

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