Tuesday, October 25, 2005


Here we are, about a week-plus until the glorious start of the NBA season, and some of us are having deja-vu all over again. We open up our favorite basketball news sites, and the first thing we see is a report on the injured Chris Webber. The next thing we see is a report on the injured Grant Hill. What is this, 2004? Or 2003? Or 2002?

You get the picture.

Neither Webber nor Hill has been drafted in the past few years without their potential owners taking a deep breath, closing their eyes, and saying a quick prayer. And that won’t change this year. But let’s take a closer look at each player and see where you’re going to have to start thinking about taking them.

Chris Webber, PF
Boy, there hasn’t been a more frustrating player to own – for fantasy players or NBA owners – over the past few years. But when you get right down to it, Webber is still a talented player and a huge fantasy asset when he’s healthy. Not counting his rough start in Philly last year, Webber is a pretty consistent 20-10-4 player, with about 1 steal and 1 block, and decent percentages. How many other 20-10-4 guys are there in the league? One. And he’s the perennial number one pick in all fantasy leagues – Kevin Garnett. The only other player that really comes close is Dirk Nowitzki, a top-5 pick in most drafts.

Now, we’re not saying that C-Webb should be thought about in the first couple rounds of your draft. But at the same time, he could be undervalued going in to the year. Right now he’s at 50 –and falling - on the ESPN live draft results. DM and I held off until 61 before picking him in our mock draft. But look at that talent. And granted, he played only 67 games last year, but you know what? That’s more than Kobe Bryant, Tim Duncan, Peja Stojakovic, and Pau Gasol played last year. And he ended up 44th on the ESPN Player Rater (by totals) despite his missing time and his horrendous play in Philadelphia.

Webber might be a huge risk, but when you’re gambling – and let’s face it, fantasy sports is gambling – the biggest winners are the ones who take the biggest risks – and win on them. Feelin’ lucky? Take him in the fourth. But no one is going to question you for letting him slip by.

Grant Hill, SF
Grant Hill is another story altogether. His stats from last year paint a pretty sad picture. While last year was great from an overall basketball standpoint for Hill – his 67 games played and 19.7 ppg were both highs for Hill since coming to Orlando – it was pretty sobering from a fantasy standpoint. His 4.8 rpg were probably the most stunning number, for a guy who had averaged around 8 boards in his career. The 3.3 assists were just as disappointing, as his career average was closer to 6.

While hopes were that he could return to his 20/8/6 historical averages, Hill’s numbers last year were eerily similar to Desmond Mason’s. You’ve got to think that Hill won’t be able to return to the stats that owners were hoping for when they took him last year. Of course, when healthy, he’s still got some value. But if his best case scenario is about 6th round value … and this abdominal injury doesn’t look like it’s gonna clear up anytime soon … can you really justify taking him before the 10th round? I don’t think you can.


Blogger p_bulatovic said...

I thrive off of these two players, particularly Grant Hill. I make it a goal to draft Hedo Turkoglu in all of my leagues for one particular reason, one why or another he's a certified breakout player. The reasons are simple, he's versitile enough to still lots of minutes off the bench, and when Grant Hill goes down, yes when, he starts and delivers.

You can imagine my joy (from a fantasy perspective ONLY) upon hearing of Hill's abdominal injury.

I'm not exactly sure who Webber's backup is (Lee Nailon? Hunter? a few no names..) but i'm sure who ever emerges would be someone to keep an eye on.

11:06 PM  

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