Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Tourney Time

I’m not going to pretend that you guys are all going to be watching the NBA nonstop for the next few weeks. I’m well aware that that most, if not all of you will be paying far more attention to the NCAA tournament, and hey, I can’t blame you. Still, you can pick up some nice fantasy knowledge for next year by closely watching some of these kids. Remember, this year’s tourney stars are next year’s 20-minutes per game, just barely not-having-value rookies.

If there’s one thing I pride myself in, it’s picking that late-lottery rookie that will manage to have value in the coming season, and picking them late in the draft. Two years ago I grabbed Dwyane Wade in the last round, last year it was Andre Iguodala, and this year I snagged Charlie Villanueva late (and then held on to him until January, when I dropped him, and watching him then go on a massive tear. Not that I’m bitter.). So what’s the trick? I dunno. I just manage to find guys that I like. With Wade, it was his mid-range jumper that impressed me when I watched him in the tourney. Iguodala had a nice all-around game, and I thought his defense would keep him on the court. I liked Villanueva, but it wasn’t until he started hitting three’s in training camp that I really warmed to him.

The guys who are drafted in the Top 5 are all going to get drafted in fantasy leagues, and will not catch anyone by surprise when they get PT. But correctly guessing which late-lottery/mid-first-round guys are going to have value can be a huge help to your squad.

Anyhow, here are some guys who, admittedly, I’ve never seen before – but who I’m going to be looking at closely in the NCAA tournament:

Brandon Roy, Sr., Washington – Roy has a bunch of positives going for him. Number one, he puts up great percentages for a non-forward. He’s shot over 50% from the field in all four seasons at Washington. This year, he’s even pushed his FT% over 80%, which is very encouraging. The other thing that I really liked, while reading about Roy, is that he’s handled the point position (either as a true PG or a “point-forward”), which means he can be trusted with the ball. Less mistakes as a rookie means more playing time in the NBA.

Josh Boone, Jr., UConn – I like Boone more than teammate Hilton Armstrong simply because I’m very wary of anyone who comes out of nowhere to be a draftable player. Boone has been highly touted for a couple of years now, and though he’s yet to set the world on fire in college, his shot-blocking ability should be drawing your attention. And remember, even though his stats aren’t magnificent, he’s had to share the ball this year with Armstrong, Rudy Gay, Marcus Williams, Denham Brown and Rashad Anderson. His FT% is a major concern, however.

Kevin Pittsnogle, Sr., West Virginia – Hey, any time a big man can shoot 85% from the stripe, I’m interested. He can shoot, and shoot well, and so he’ll get interest from NBA teams – and from me. But I’m not all that impressed with what I’ve read, and if he’s going to impress me in the tournament it’s going to be by playing on the inside.

Shelden Williams, Sr., Duke – You can talk all you want about JJ Redick, but my guess is the Duke player with the most impact next year will be Williams. His blocks and boards are enough to make him worth a look as a fantasy option. Two teams – Seattle and Minnesota – could draft him and plug him right in to their starting lineups.

The one thing you’ll notice about all of these guys is they’re all juniors or seniors. My guess is, if you’re an underclassman, unless you get drafted in the top 5, you’re not going to be playing much your first year until you prove yourself. NBA teams might be able to be patient, but when you’re year-to-year like most fantasy teams, you don’t have the luxury. Good luck with your brackets!


Anonymous bigmrpig said...

Carlos Boozer: Team high in minutes played, started at center, went 30 and 10.

Is Boozer back or what?

10:45 PM  
Blogger Jeremy said...

Now that I have my Bracket set, I still have the conundrum about Josh Howard and if he'll be coming back. If he isn't going to be returning then I should drop him for the likes of Marcus Banks, Kendrick Perkins or Jeff Foster.
I think that I need some decent rebounding so Foster may be the most reliable bet, as he can help clean up the Oreb category.

Anyways, any word on his status and thoughts on if he'll play. Also, if anyone has insight to the seriousness of Gerald Wallace's injury (again) then that would be appreciated; you can't drop a guy who plays like a top-20 player when healthy, though he's only healthy about half the time!


2:41 AM  

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