Tuesday, August 30, 2005

Offseason Overview: Houston Rockets

The time is now for the Houston Rockets. They’ve got one of the best playmakers in the game, a top center, and now a very healthy group of veterans and role players surrounding them. They’re my sleeper pick for NBA Champs this year, but what about for fantasy purposes? Let’s take a look:

The stud: Tracy McGrady, G/F
T-Mac is one of the safest picks to make in the early/middle first round, and has the full FBB seal of approval. Over the last four years, he’s put up at least 25/6/5.3 with 1.4 3’s, 1.4 steals, and 0.6 blocks every year. For a guy who takes over 20 shots a game, his FG% is respectable, hovering around 44% most of the time. While Yao may have the biggest fan base, make no mistake – this is McGrady’s team.

The support – Yao Ming, C
Is Yao Ming a first round pick this year? It’s a tough call. While his 18.3 ppg ranks third among centers, his 8.4 boards ranks 7th, and his 2.0 blocks is 8th. Yao is certainly a top fantasy center, but he didn’t really make the leap many were expecting from him last year. He’s going to have to really push up the boards and blocks this year if he wants to remain a top pick in fantasy drafts.

The supporting support – Bob Sura, G
I’m not sure who this guy really is, but it’s certainly not the Bob Sura that I remember. He was trudging around the league the first 8 years of his career, not making much of an impact anywhere, and then all of a sudden, in 27 games with Atlanta and the end of ’03 he put up ridiculous stats, including a couple of triple-doubles. Last year in Houston he didn’t score too much, but averaged over 5 boards and 5 assists while helping in 3’s and steals as well. Sura is nice roster filler and should be drafted this year.

The sleeper – Stromile Swift, F/C
Oh, boy. If there’s one guy that you’ll hear me gush about way too often, it’s Stromile Swift. Here’s a guy that qualifies at C, and puts up great numbers every time he gets minutes. For example, last year in games where he played over 25 minutes, he put up 15/6.5 with 2.3 blocks and a steal. Now that he’s out of fantasy hell in Memphis, we’re hoping that Swift gets about 30 mpg so he can put up numbers like that.

The slacker – Juwan Howard, F
It may finally be time to say goodbye to Juwan Howard as a viable fantasy player. Last year he failed to put up 10 ppg for the first time in his career, and there’s not much reason to think he’ll turn things around now.


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