Sleeper Spotlight: Centers
Posted by Riccardo on September 16, 2007
In a standard 2-center league, it’s common for managers to either overpay for elite talent (Yao Ming, Timmy Duncan, Chris Bosh, Marcus Camby) or end up with the dreaded center-by-committee carousel. Thankfully, last season saw the emergence of a new crop of useful young hybrid PF-Cs (Al Jefferson, LaMarcus Aldridge, Zaza Pachulia and even Darko Milicic) that should alleviate the scarcity somewhat. Still, in a standard 12-team, 2-center league, you can never get away from having to look at the Joel Pryzbillas of the world. (No, Joel is not a sleeper, he’s useless, even with Oden gone.)
Melvin Ely, Hornets – Ely just signed with New Orleans, and will back up Tyson Chandler and David West as the first big man off the bench. He was great with Charlotte when he got playing time, and West has been injury-prone.
Nene Hilario, Nuggets – Last year was Nene’s first year back from surgery. Predictably, he struggled. However, getting Marcus Camby’s backup is always worthwhile, especially when he has a huge contract and Denver has a reason to play him. Note that Hilario isn’t all that healthy himself, and got hurt during the FIBA tournament. Track his status leading up to the draft.
Chris Webber, Free Agent – Surprise! I’m not really sure if Old Man Webber will play, much less retain his C eligibility from the run with Detroit. If he lands with a team where he can get 30 minutes a night, you could do a lot worse.
Ike Diogu, Pacers – He’s been labeled as having potential ever since we was drafted by the Warriors. This will be his first full season in Indiana, and he’s backing up injury-prone Jermaine O’Neal (who may still be dealt) and Troy Murphy (who sucks) so he may finally get 30 minutes a night.
Chris Kaman, Clippers – The Clippers were a bad team last year, and are about to get worse with all-world post force Elton Brand likely out for an extended period. Kaman was a huge bust last season, but with Brand out who else is going to do the board work for the other LA team? Not Tim Thomas or Zeljko Rebraca.
Andrew Bynum, Lakers – I don’t like Bynum, but if he’s still out there in the last round of your draft take a flyer. I predict that some Lakerhead in your league will probably take him too early, possibly even before Kwame Brown (ugh).
Alonzo Mourning, Heat – Take Mourning late in your draft, then trade him by the All Star Break before Shaq comes back from his usual regular season vacation. Miami’s going to be a brutal team this year, so don’t expect anything more than 2 bpg and maybe 8 rpg.
Nenad Kristic, Nets – The injury special. He might be forgotten, having missed most of last season due to injury. The Nets are returning mostly intact, so Nenad might be the best player on this whole list.