With the season fast approaching and NBA fantasy drafts coming even sooner, I talked to fantasy analyst Erik Ong of Give Me The Rock about where fantasy owners, and specifically Spurs fans, should look at drafting Spurs players.
While it is easy as a Spurs fan to make impulse decisions, like drafting Tim Duncan with the first overall pick or Tiago Splitter midway through the draft, Ong says it's best to be patient. picking up key pieces early on before you draft your fan favorite.
While Duncan may have gone in the first round years ago and even a lottery pick before then, you should be able to draft him in the third round after you've gone after some multi-category all-stars.
"Tim Duncan is in decline but it is shorter or smaller in increments in comparison to the other big men. Tim Duncan is quite good in the first half of the season, but his numbers go down in the second half of the season because Pop rests him more," Ong said. "He actually played two less minutes per game in 2009-2010. That being said, we've only downgraded him slightly, we have slotted him in temporarily at 30th overall, which is still pretty decent with all these young guns popping up."
"As far as the four spot, it's quite tight in the second round, so he's going to slide down a bit. As far as consistency and reliability, I'd still say Tim Duncan is still your money bet, followed by Manu. "
Some Spurs fans may be surprised not to see Tony Parker over Tim Duncan and Manu in fantasy drafts since he did have a full offseason of rest after a season where he struggled with injuries and saw his numbers come down drastically. But while many will say Parker is on the decline, Ong isn't one of them.
"We've got Tony Parker listed as our bounce back candidates. We fully expect Tony to give us those 20 points and 50 percent field goal shooting this year," Ong said.
That's good news for Spurs fans who saw him average 16 points in only 56 games last season. But what about George Hill and his emergence. Ong advises not to sleep on Hill as he may provide some solid fantasy points as a late draft sleeper.
"I like George Hill, I see him as a potential late round flyer," Ong said. "George will be a key factor in providing a solid rotation for your guards."
Speaking of guards, James Anderson is expected to make an impact in his rookie season, but will that translate to fantasy and should over-eager fans look at drafting him late?
"Not in a 12 man league, but maybe in a league with more depth," Ong says. "I expect Manu to take a lot of the minutes at the two, and from the depth charts I've been studying, Manu is slated as the started shooting guard. I think (small forward) is a better position for him."
Another player we are all ready to see in the silver and black is Tiago Splitter, but with Pop's rookie treatment, will Splitter get enough playing time to shine for your team.
"Up top, I'm very happy for your team now that you got some young blood to transition from your solid, ever dependable Tim Duncan." Ong said. "I'm very excited for Tiago Splitter and of course DeJuan Blair is awesome, he showed some flashes of brilliance."
"From what I've seen so far, Blair looks pretty good and he's insanely athletic so he's got some promise over there. Fantasy wise, he's going to get challenged by the NBA-readiness of Tiago Splitter," Ong said. His fantasy and real progress is going to be hampered by Tiago's instant impact."
For more Spurs fantasy analysis, make sure to listen to the audio interview as it has even more fantasy information, including draft advice on Richard Jefferson.
And if this doesn't make you ready for your draft, go check out the 2010 Draft Guide and the player rankings at Give Me The Rock.