Who’s your 20-10 guy for the 2nd-3rd round?
Posted by Erik on September 9, 2008
Carlos Boozer VS Al Jefferson
I enjoyed juxtaposing Baron and Gilbert in my previous blog entry and it got my creative juices flowing, so I decided to do a PF/C 2nd-3rd round coin toss next. Now we’ve got “Big Al” of the Timberwolves VS. “The Booze” of the Jazz, both of whom are good quality mid to late 2nd round targets. These guys are both in 20+Point and 10+ Rebound club, have relatively similar stat lines, and enjoy the fantasy flexibility of being playable at either the PF or C positions. On paper Elton Brand is theoretically supposed to be part of this rumble, but I personally have EB pegged as a 1st round choice this year so he sadly can’t make it a 3-way battle.
Carlos Boozer turns 27 this Nov 20th and has been playing in the NBA for 6 seasons now. He’s due to crest and hit his prime. Alluded to as the “new Karl Malone” of the Utah Jazz, with Deron Williams as being his “new John Stockton”; Carlos gave a solid season last year. In the 81 games he played, he managed to average 21.1 PPG, 10.4 RPG, 2.9 APG, 1.2 SPG, 0.5 BPG, 54.7 FG%, 73.8 FT%, 2.6 TOs/G. He provided fantasy owners with good value as he was drafted mostly in the 3rd round, but 81 games of the stat line above says he’s 2nd round viable this year. I expect slight upward bumps in his scoring and rebounding this year, as he and Deron get even better under Jerry Sloan (the master of the PG-PF pick and roll).
His biggest drawback as a PF/C pick is that he only chips in a block for your fantasy team every other game, which is way below par as far as expected C stat contributions are concerned. His shortcomings in the block category is what makes it difficult to pick the Booze over other options in the C position, but as far as PFs go, he is a definite quality pick because he fills up the other “big man” cats pretty nicely.
The biggest edge Boozer has over Jefferson can be summed up in two words… Deron Williams. He has a primo PG dishing the ball to him night in and night out, so you know that he’s going to get those easy baskets. Quality PGs who are good playmakers do have a tendency to bring out the best in their teammates and Deron is no exception.
Al Jefferson attracted a lot great expectations from Fantasy Managers once the “KG trade” was signed and sealed last year. Big Al proved any doubters he may have had wrong by coming up with an admirable 82-game season and showing everyone that he’s indeed the real deal. He logged in averages of 21.1 PPG, 11.1 RPG, 1.4 APG, 1.5 BPG, 0.9 SPG, 50 FG%, 72.1 FT%, 2.0 TOs/G. He’s the best player on the Timberwolves roster and their number one go-to guy, so expect a lot of the plays to still revolve around getting the ball to him in the low post.
He’s only 23 and has been in the NBA for only 4 seasons, so there’s still room for him to improve. I don’t think he’s peaked yet in terms of what he’s capable of producing. In terms of supporting cast, the T-Wolves acquired Mike Miller and Kevin Love to bolster its roster. Mike Miller is a good addition as far as Al’s fantasy value is concerned. Mike’s outside shooting will help provide some more elbow room for him in the inside. Kevin’s young, a rookie and I feel doesn’t pose any serious threat to stealing any of Al’s last season thunder.
In RotoEvil’s T-Wolves team preview it projects that Big Al’s going to have a tough time repeating last season’s production and even recommends he be drafted somewhere in the late 3rd to the 4th round. I, on the other hand, still put Al on an upside note.
So Boozer’s got the bigger FG% impact and I’m pretty sure Deron’s presence on the court has a lot to do with this edge, but Jefferson’s 1.5 blocks (3 times that of Boozer) and 1 steal a game give him the clear defensive edge. Both guys have had some health issues in the past so we can call it a wash on that end. Oh yeah, Boozer played in the Olympics. So did he get tired sitting on the bench while Al watched the Dream Team games on TV? That gives Al more off season rest but Carlos more tuned up for NBA play. I can’t get past Jefferson’s defensive upside over Boozer, so I guess that makes him my late second round 20-10 PF/C of choice. Who’s yours?