Points in the Paint

Fantasy Basketball Opinions, Strategy & Tips

Upside Speculation

Posted by Erik on October 25, 2008

I’ve taken some time off after my rant about my GMTR Readers’ League team. I then went to see my therapist; who went to see his therapist and HIS therapist said that I should focus more on positive things. Think of beautiful images so that I can regain my positive outlook and my smile!

Jeez! and these guys charge by the hour…

What’s done is done. It’s time to move on.

And since fantasy draft weekend is just around the corner I decided to focus on something positive, well on a lot of things positive.

I suppose I’ve been reading a little too much GMTR (well apparently not enough, otherwise I should have picked Yao in the 8th round, where he belongs) <Stop! Let it go!> – anyway where was I? Oh yeah, a little too much GMTR (Is there such a thing?)… Pat has me conditioned to let go of the word Sleeper from my basketball blogging lexicon. A player is no longer a sleeper, if his name is plastered all over the interweb’s sleeper lists… Duh!

As much as I wanted to come up with my “sleeper central” I decided to veer away from such labels.

Since I told my therapist’s therapist that I will start to think positive…. and what’s more positive in fantasy than UPSIDE?

Upside or perceived upside is, by its very essence, is a subjective positive expectation of how a well player will perform based on particular factors.

So I decided to make an UPSIDE LIST based on my and some experts’ speculations and here are some of the blokes on my list:

Jose Calderon – His upside has been exhaustively discussed all over the place, but that’s not an excuse to keep him off this list. I suppose I will just add my voice to the multitudes who are echoing the expectations for a high assist-low turnover and percentage-efficient season with the Raptors now that he has solo reign at the PG slot. Drafts, mock and real alike have him pegged somewhere in the late second to the early third rounds. Own him this year and watch him blossom into a full-fledged fantasy force will put a smile on your face for sure.

Tim Duncan – Solid as a rock and just as exciting to watch. How can I say he’s got upside? Well his team will be missing the services and contributions of Manu Ginobili and I (and Coach Popps) will expect Old Timmy to step up his game in the meantime. Tony Parker will get his fair share of upside but Tim will be the main man to do the stepping up. He’ll log some good numbers for the first couple of months this season, so ride the situation over at SA and milk Tim’s production for all its worth.

Kevin Martin – He disappointed a lot of owners last season when he pulled/strained his groin and was out of commission for a good 21 games. He looks healthy now and there’s simply no indication that KevMart will slow down this season. He’s a great quality player on a bad (Ahem! …rebuilding!) team. As long as he doesn’t pull anymore undesirable body parts this year, his owners should be in store for a great, ultra-efficient and high-scoring season as he tries to keep the Sac Kings’ head above the waters of mediocrity.

Rudy Gay – His game isn’t too far from that of Danny Granger’s – as I’ve highlighted here. And yet he is ranked at effectively a full round after Danny’s draft position. He’s the cornerstone of what’s left of the Grizzlies. He’s a multi-cat stud who can do it all (well he could pass the ball a bit more…). He is in for a monster of a season and I consider it more than reasonable to grab him in the early third round. Go for it!

David West – Watch out Boozer and Bosh! This guy’s going to keep you company in the elite PF list by year’s end. He’s got the BEST point guard in the universe feeding him the ball so he will only get better along with Chris Paul’s development – HE’s going to get better too! Back to David. He showed that he can improve on his “D” by adding a full block every other game last season. Expect a high volume of high percentage shots from the paint to to mid-range spots all over the floor.

Brandon Roy – He is entering his 3rd season (primetime for some upside!) and he’s leading a band of young guns who stunned the basketball world last year with an amazing run. The ball will pass through his hands on the offensive end, make no mistake about it! Oh by the way, that’s a good thing. He’s efficient at doing pretty much everything in the Blazers’ back court. He’s got another “biggie” target in pseudo-rookie Greg Oden (nice for those dimes). Greg’s inside presence, combined with that of LaMarcus Aldridge’s will open some space on the wings as the opposing defense collapses on them (good for Brandon’s treys). I really like Brandon this year, I believe you should too.

Devin Harris – The Mavs tried to mold him into a “true PG”. They traded him away for a real but aging one. Now it’s the NJ Nets who will reap the full benefit of Devin’s transformation. He can pick pockets (his natural basketball talent); he can score – and he WILL, a lot! – now that he’s VC’s only reliable help; and he can pass the ball – the Avery Johnson made sure he learned to! He’s about to start a full season at the helm of the Nets’ playmaking plans. He utterly stinks of so much upside that you’ll gag during all the games this season that he will just go wild and log ridiculously fantastic numbers for your team.

David Lee – Yes dear cult fans, it is here and now. We are at the cusp of seeing David breakthrough his cocoon and wreak havoc as a solid viable PF. He won’t jump into early round draft value just yet, but he will flourish in the D’Antoni system as the official hustle guy. Expect his PT to rise and with it his fantasy contributions!

Andray Blatche – He showed some sporadic flashes of brilliance last season while Gil Arenas was away on injury-basketball-leave. Now that both he and Brendan Haywood will officially be missing considerable amounts of time, Andray will another chance to flash his athleticism and go ape-shit on both ends of the court. He will be sharing some time with Etan Thomas, but he’s got a fresher and more athletic body and he should eat more and more minutes in the Wizards’ front court.

Andrew Bogut – I know the Bucks added more talent this year with RJ, but Andrew’s been consistently improving his numbers year after year. Don’t expect a huge landslide of an upside from this guy, but DO expect some across the board. His maturity and work ethic are translating into some good development in his part. I dare speculate that Andrew should rise in the mid-tiers of Center eligible guys.

Andre Miller – In spite of the certainty that his point production will drop, I feel things are looking up for Dre. Amazing just happens when good passing PGs (which Dre is) are paired with solid scoring PFs (which Elton Brand is). His dimes will be at the brink of reaching a dollar or more every night. His steals will rise once again now that he isn’t pressured to score as much. His TOs will dip now that the ball doesn’t have to stay in his hands all that long. Still don’t believe me about the PG-PF thing? Well then refer your lazy butt to the following Paul-West of NO, Williams-Boozer of UTA, Nash-Amare of Pho and possibly Calderon-Bosh of TOR. I rest my case. While Dre won’t rise to the levels of those first and second round, expect his overall value to rise nonetheless.

Tony Parker – Read Tim Duncan several guys back. It applies to Tony too. The Spurs are perennial playoff contenders and Tony will have to bring his A-game to rack up those W’s to keep the team on that track.

Mike Bibby – His solid fantasy performances were derailed by a finger injury last season. The Hawks are now giddy at the thought of repeating their surprise playoff appearance. Bibby will need to play an increased role in achieving this goal. He, JJ, and Joshie will be the three-pronged attacking force to ensure that Hotlanta stays hot!

Kevin Durant – KD? Why? What’s up with the Seattle Supersonics? Well for one thing, it’s gone; no longer exists; kaput. KD’s going to be a solid scorer, there’s no question about that. The Thunder’s lacking of talent to surround him with, assures that. He’s not a rookie anymore and it’s not too far off of a possibility that his percentages could improve and so could his defensive game. Yup kid. Franchises are built on solid defense. Well unless Mike D’Antoni’s your coach of course. It’s actually hard to tell exactly how much better KD will get, but he will.

Charlie Villanueva – No more Yi! No more Yi! Yay! No more Yi! Charlie dazzled fantasy fans with the potential he exhibited when he was still back in Toronto. Moving to the Bucks led to a string of injuries and off-the-bench time playing behind Chinese Diva rookies. None of those things appear to be factors anymore. He looks like he should be ready to begin his trek back to the mountain of 1 trey/stl/blk. He may not reach its peak this season but he will definitely have numerous opportunities to elevate his game once again.

Ricky Davis – My friend sent me an instant message that I should rename my teams to “Team Ricky Davis” as I seem to own him in every league that I’ve drafted so far. Is that a good thing? We will have to wait and see. But I personally am going out and grabbing the guy because I do feel my investments in him will pay off in the end. Upside here folks, not a sleeper. I like him. I’m just glad that he’s a mid-to-late fantasy draftee so my teams don’t have to live or die by his nightly outputs. I still like him though. A lot.

Matt Barnes – He was never all too impressive back in GSW. This year is different over at Phoenix. He’s an ssured starter and he will be one of the select few to experience first-hand the awesome, stat-boosting effect of the the “Nash Factor”. Interview Marion and Amare for the full details of this phenomenon. Matt’s goig to be the kick-out swing over at the Suns and he will also get the license to shoot. Stevie will make sure his looks are open, actually Amare’s inside presence will also play a roll in giving him some good shots.

Mike Conley – Run! Run! Run! I’m not an insider but somehow that’s what I’m guessing coach Ivaroni will be instructing his young team of stallions. Mike and Rudy will be leading all those fast breaks and expect Rudy to make a lot of conversions and Mike’s dimes to rise a bit. He will need to learn to chip-in more on offense and efficiently too. He will many opportunities to grow this year. I honestly think that last year was more a matter of him getting bogged down by injuries and the demoralizing Damon Stoudamire drama. He should be undrafted in most smaller leagues so keep an eye on the wire for this guy.

Whooo! That’s a nice long list of things to smile about. Right?


7 Responses to “Upside Speculation”

  1. terrance said

    enjoyed this post a lot. I like upside more than sleeper. Its about what players will outperform their draft postion. Thanks for this! I think we talked about mike conley, would you put him on this list, or wait for the %s to go up a lttle more?

  2. Erik said

    Thanks T! I actually was about to fall asleep at the keyboard while I was writing it. I wasn’t actually finished when I hit PUBLISH and crashed onto my bed. I finished it and expanded the list and yes Mike’s on it. I like him this year. πŸ™‚

  3. fantasyaddict said

    Wow, you’re making me feel good. I drafter Calderon, Duncan and Bogut in the GMTR league.

  4. Erik said

    Well that’s what makes you a good drafter, I suppose. I am both excited and nervous about our opening week match-up. Good luck for the succeeding weeks! – Well you can’t expect me, in good conscience, to wish you well against me; can you? πŸ™‚

  5. Arabain said

    I’m here again!

    Ricky Davis is a great mention. I’m surprised Randy Foye, Mike Miller, Rodney Stuckey or Al Horford didn’t make the list. I also like Nick Collison, Troy Murphy (for some reason) and Spencer Hawes (grabbing him in the late rounds is a great complement to Brad Miller, the kid shows flashes of serious potential).

    By the way… I don’t see Rajon Rondo’s name getting thrown around here. I do hope this kid can improve himself – I just traded Joe Johnson and Raymond Felton for Iguodala and Rondo. Erik – was that a good move?

    As always, the blog is rolling. Thanks.

  6. endub said

    Was there some actual content in this post? I stopped reading it at the part where we were thinking happy thoughts about Megan Fox.

  7. Erik said

    @ Arabain – Mike Miller and Foye are still question marks and as far as I am concerned they are actually getting picked where they should be based on expectations. I don’t see Stuckey exploding out of the shadows until Chauncey is actually traded. Al Horford does have some sophomore upside to him but not in the “Rudy Gay levels” plus his PF/C eligibility is making him a hot commodity as it is. The other 3 big guys you mentioned are not too impressive as far as I am concerned, with the probable exception of Murphy. I consider Hawes as a fantasy flop.

    In hindsight, Rondo probably should have been included here.

    With regards to your trade, as long as your objective was to gain steals at the expense of treys, then there’s no problem with it.

    @Endub aka Nels: Content? Well apparently Megan was already too much for your content capacity to handle. Besides, what PitP lacks in cheerleader pics compared to GMTR it just made up for it with that money shot!!! πŸ™‚

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