Starbury, Your Boy…
Posted by Riccardo on October 31, 2007
Pardon the PTI reference.
If you play several fantasy hoops leagues you’re liable to have the “Your Boy” players. You know, the players that show up on more than one of your teams, and sometimes all of them. These guys either tend to be your pet sleeper picks, or the guys you fall back on when your draft goes bad at a certain position and you’re forced to reach for the last guy at a position that you can trust your fantasy season on. There’s nothing worse than being forced to go with Speedy Claxton as your top PG because you passed on Kidd, Nash, Paul and Deron slept right on through Mo Williams, Andre Miller, TJ Ford, Starbury and Ray Felton. (That said, I actually like Starbury this year, but that’s another article altogether.)
So, these are My Boys:
Corey Brewer, F, Wolves: Yes, he’s just a rook. The youth movement in Minny has left Corey with the starting job. The guys he has to hold off to keep his job? Rashad McCants, Ryan Gomes and Big Fat Antoine Walker. McHale took him with the 7th overall pick in the 2007 draft, so it’s a good bet that they’re going to let him play. It’s not like the Wolves are going to win more than 20 games anyway. Brewer’s probably going to hurt your FG% if he shoots too many Js, but I like to think of him as Tracy McGrady back in Orlando – iffy shooter, great defensive numbers (blocks, steals) and can go off against poor defensive teams on pure athleticism. There are a lot of those in the NBA these days. He’s on ALL my teams, and he goes undrafted in a lot of leagues (granted, the Big Fat Antoine Walker could have not gotten rid of Ricky Davis yet).
The Baby Als, forwards (Al Horford, Hawks; Al Thornton, Clips): Sort of the same player. Both rooks. They tend to get taken in the same round, although I’ve seen some ridiculous reaches for Horford. Neither kid is starting out of the gate, but both figure to get a lot of PT since they’re both on awful teams which are thin at the PF/C spots. Great potential for maybe double digit points, 6 rebounds and a blocked shot with good %s. Horford’s stuck behind Zaza Pachulia and the Williams boys (Marvin and Shelden). Thornton has it better. With Brand out, he’s behind the immortal Tim Thomas, who’d really an SF and can’t board. He should get his C eligibility once Kaman proves that 2005 was a fluke (and I’m betting it was). Thornton can also can the 3, and went 4 for 4 in one preseason game. I have one or the other Al on every one of my teams. You should take these guys in the 9th round or later.
Emeka Okafor, PF/C, Bobcats: Okafor turned into my “reach” center after the elite Cs were off the board by the 3rd round. I doubt that he’ll score a lot, but 9 boards and a swat and a half each night are what you want from him. I have ‘Meke on 2 out of my 4 teams (I lucked into Dwight Howard in my H2H league in the 3rd round). Yes, he’s an injury risk, but so are Camby and Yao and Bosh and Gasol. All of those guys are top-24 picks, and all they’ll do on Okafor is score more (except for Camby). I rarely need elite scoring from the C spot.
Earl Watson, G, Sonics: People are staying away from the Sonics PG mess for good reason. Ridnour, Watson and West have all been decent PGs. The difference is that Watson can actually play some D (hence his good swipe numbers). I’m counting on the Durant-as-SG experience to end quickly (he’ll get torched by good SGs – Kevin Martin killed him, so imagine what Kobe or Carter or RayRay would do) and West will be the regular Sonic SG. Even if Wally World starts out the season in that spot, he’ll be injured soon enough (and his defense is almost as bad as Durant’s). I’ve got Earl in 2 leagues, for his feed and steal ability. He also hits 3s, but at a huge cost to your FG% (40% tends to do that to ya). I’ve seen leagues where he’s gone undrafted.
Darko Milicic, PF/C, Grizz: New team for Larry Brown’s Human Victory Cigar, and I don’t think they signed him to let him ride the pine behind Stomile Swift. All he has to do is stay away from foul trouble. You take Donnie Darko for his superior swattage, but I think he’ll make decent strides in his board and scoring efforts. Having a pretty good PG platoon running the new uptempo Memphis offense should help. As a fan, you can’t help but think that a Navarro-Miller-Warrick-Gasol-Milicic lineup would be a great matchup against Phoenix or Golden State. Have him in 3 leagues, and he usually goes pretty late, around the 9th round or so.
Andrea Bargnani, F/C, Raptors: I love his guy’s nickname – Il Mago, The Magician. The top pick of last year’s draft should take great strides this year, improving across the board and outperforming his 6th round cost. I’d like to think of him as a Memo Okur clone. Hits a 3 or two a game, boards in the high single digits, scores in the high teens, blocks a shot a game and shoots a high percentage from both floor and line. Memo’s a 4th rounder. Why’s Il Mago going two rounds later? Got him in 2 leagues. (Unrelated note: I like the new Raptors logo! Much better than that cartoon dinosaur.)
Starbury, PG, Knicks: Look, I don’t like the man, but he has his uses in fantasy. He hits 3s, passes the ball, steals the ball and scores a bit with less turnovers than you’d think. He’s also in a contract year. Yes, he said he’s gonna go play in Italy. Regardless if he wants a new NBA contract or wants to go hawk shoes in Rome, he’ll want to have a good final season in New York (and it’s a lock that he won’t be a Knick next year). With more offensive weapons (Randolph, Curry, Lee, Crawford and even Balkman) and no other PG worth a crap on the roster (Nate Robinson is awful) he’ll still get 35+ minutes a night and is well worth the 8th round pick as your 2nd or 3rd PG. I have him in 2 leagues.
Spare Centers (Joel Przybilla, Blazers; Jamaal Magloire, Nets; Desagana Diop, Mavs; Kendrick Perkins, Celtics): Yeah, I know there are a couple others, but I can’t bring myself to recommend Theo Ratliff, Brendan Haywood or your favorite and mine, Grandpa Alonzo Mourning (who will still probably block enough shots to be relevant, but who has no upside). The four guys up there have a bit of upside (ok maybe not much for Magloire, but c’mon the guy was an All Star center for one year). Przybilla has to stay healthy and motivated, Diop will be decent for blocks and rebounds until Dampier gets back, and who knows what Perkins will do? There guys are usually drafted in the last round or not at all in most leagues, and the shotblocking center spot tends to be thin enough that keeping a spare tire is usually worthwhile if you have no better sleepers. No, I can’t be bothered to link to these guys. I have at least one of them in every league.