By Michael De Leon and Erik Ong
With the Spurs bringing in so many new players this offseason, I collaborated with fellow Bloguin blogger Erik Ong of Points in the Paint and the Four Fingers Fantasy Guide to see how those changes would affect the real world and fantasy value of our big three and two of our newest additions.
Tim Duncan is another year older and coming off a knee injury. Last season Duncan was a second round draft pick at the latest. While nursing an injury, Duncan averaged the same amount amount of points and only saw a slight dip in rebounds and blocks. Now 15 pounds lighter and with a clean bill of health, is Duncan still considered a draft top selection or will his age and knee brace see him drop to the third round?
The "Big Fundamental" has been called many uninspiring things in fantasy basketball circles, from "old" and "over the hill" to "boring". Those comments are from the disenchanted members of the "gum on my seat bleachers". The point is Tim still has enough in his fantasy tank to come up with reliable season this year. It may not be the 20-10-2 vintage Duncan we would love to see, but we should receive enough consistent, quality performances from him every night. Consistent enough for him to be a reliable source of points, rebounds, blocks, and FG%. Yes his FT% leaves a lot to be desired and Coach Pop tends to limit his minutes and even games close to the Playoffs, but those drawbacks are worth his reliability for a majority of the regular season. He is still arguably one of the best partners for Dwight Howard in the second round when drafting for a Big-ball team in head-to-head. Rounds to draft: 2nd to 3rd.
While he may be considered a top three point guard in the league, Tony Parker hasn't gotten a lot of respect nor love from the fantasy experts in the past. It's probably because he lacks an outside dimension to his game and also because he's not as an aggressive a steals producer as many would prefer. Last season's performance should merit Tony a decent upgrade in a lot of rankings as far as I am concerned. He improved on his assists and his FT%. I think he should continue that trend this season. The scoring should still be there. I wouldn't be surprised if he led the team in that department. His big boon in fantasy is truly appreciated through his 50% shooting from the field. An ability, or skill that few point guards in the NBA possess. What may end up hurting him is that point guards who have higher assist numbers, especially Rajon Rondo and Derrick Rose could be taken ahead of Parker. Rounds to draft: 4th to 5th
Manu is coming off an injury-plagued season and there is a lot of concern about how much more his body can take. Real value and fantasy value may differ greatly, but health is an issue in both situations. But, love him or hate him, Manu's fantasy value is undeniable. He provides the unique (relatively) ability to chip in 1.5 treys and 1.5 steals plus 4-5 dimes from the SG position. Again, his style of play, driving fearlessly (almost suicidal) into the lane; makes his fantasy owners cringe and cover their eyes as they pray that he doesn't twist or tweak anything when he lands. But to me, his passion is actually part of his charm. I just wish he'd try to stay healthy longer and more often. The good news, for now, is that he's starting the season healthy. Assuming he can play 78 games or more he should be a fantastic middle round pick for rotisserie drafters out there. I'm sure 78 games would certainly be something Spurs fans would be ecstatic with as well. Rounds to draft: 4th to 5th
Richard Jefferson was brought in not to be first or second fiddle, the roles he's been used to playing his entire career, he'll likely be playing fourth fiddle. Be that as it may, his role is vital for the team to be successful this year and to make a deep playoff run hopefully netting the Spurs a fifth championship and Jefferson his first. He'll have to add some scoring when other players are going cold and the Spurs will need his athleticism to content with some of the younger, quicker teams.
Jefferson is a brilliant acquisition for the Spurs, and as Mike has pointed out RJ should be play a key role for the team to make that "one last run". In terms of fantasy, he has never been too much of a popular pick. This is primarily due to his "scoring-only" reputation. That's a bit harsh. He did average 1.4 treys per game last season. Sadly, that's about it. He is truly an example of how real-life greatness does not translate into fantasy value. He is what he is, a scorer. Considering how low he's actually currently being drafted in most mock drafts, I think RJ should provide you good value when you're trying to swing around for a boost in the points category in the later rounds. Rounds to draft: 8th to 9th
I've been told often this offseason that the signing of Antonio McDyess is a very underrated acquisition. Part of that could stem from the fact that McDyess is one of the oldest Spurs and fans don't quite know what his role will be since the frontcourt seems pretty stacked. What you can count on is that McDyess should provide some veteran leadership, will help on the boards. His extended range should work well with Tim Duncan, who likes to operate in an uncrowded paint.
We know what he's here for. To add a physical presence in the paint beyond that of Tim Duncan's. I sincerely doubt that he will get to duplicate his performance last season when he was still with Detroit, but he should still be able to contribute his fair share of boards and blocks with the bonus of low turnovers for your fantasy team. He's at best, a third-string center as far as fantasy goes. I consider him to be a decent last round pick when I am seeking a solid back-up center for my team. I am not sure how he will jell with Duncan in the Spurs' frontcourt, but as a last pick Dice should end being a rather low-risk option. Round to draft: 13th.
Hopefully my real world analysis combined with Erik's fantasy analysis will be telling in what to expect when you are watching the Spurs from your couch or when you are monitoring them in your fantasy leagues. Thanks to Erik for collaborating with me on this and for the latest in fantasy news and updates, be sure to check out Points in the Paint.