Wednesday, August 31, 2005

Offseason Overview: Memphis Grizzlies

Lots of names, but not a lot of fantasy help. So it’s been in Memphis for the past few years, and it doesn’t seem like things will be much different this year. While the cast has changed, the story remains the same, with very few players that you can plug into your lineup on a consistent basis. That said, let’s see if we can find a few gems:

The stud: Pau Gasol, F
After bursting onto the fantasy scene as a rookie, Gasol has spent the last three years disappointing his owners by failing to live up to the statistical standards he set for himself in his first season. Sure, the problem is the minutes, not the player, but nonetheless you have to assume that he won’t hit 2 blocks or 8 boards until the strategy changes. He’s going to be a nice pick around the 4th round, but no sooner.

The support: Damon Stoudamire, PG
OK, I’ll admit, this is pretty much a total guess. Between Stoudamire and Bobby Jackson, it’s hard to say for sure that Stoudamire will get enough minutes to really be a worthwhile fantasy player. Nonetheless, he hits a lot of three pointers, so he will certainly find his way onto plenty of fantasy teams this year as a second PG.

The supporting support: Mike Miller, G/F
Players like Mike Miller can be extremely frustrating to own, but you’re not going to find them on the waiver wire too often. Sure he won’t help much in boards, assists, or defensive categories, but he shot over 50% last year and managed 1.8 3’s per game.

The sleeper: Shane Battier, SF
Battier isn’t really a sleeper, as I don’t expect him to blow up this year, or even really improve on his numbers at all. But I think that a lot of FBB players overlook Battier simply because he doesn’t excel in any one category. But he averages around 10 ppg, 6 boards, a block, a steal, and a three, with good percentages. He won’t hurt you anywhere – and that’s more than you can say for a lot of players on fantasy rosters.

The slacker – Eddie Jones, SG
The end may be nigh for Eddie Jones as a viable fantasy option. Last year, he was in pretty much the perfect situation for himself – as a spot-up third option behind Shaq and Dwayne Wade. But his scoring dropped by 5 points, and he didn’t really look all that great. Now he’s in a crowded Memphis backcourt, and I can’t see him getting anywhere near the 35.5 mpg he got last year. Look for Jones to be bouncing on and off the waiver wire all year long.

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