Pre-Season Fantasy Spotlight Part 2
Andray Blatche should not scare fantasy owners off based on his character concerns or role in coming off the bench. In 2010-11 and 2011-12, Blatche was a 15 point per game, 6 rebound player who would toss in a couple of assists and blocks every game. Now as a jump-shooting big man, his field-goal marks would never be where owners wants them to be, but fantasy players take note of Blatche's new inside game being showed off in the preseason thus far. A career- .457 marksmen from the floor, Blatche is shooting .588 and attempted about five free-throws per game. The Nets' up-and-down tempo suits Blatche's athleticism and quickness well, areas where teammates Kris Humphries and Brook Lopez aren't nearly as strong.
Former top recruit in the college ranks, Byron Mullens, is finally living up to the potential playing for the Charlotte Bobcats. Mullens is the Bobcats lone offensive threat in the frontcourt, but not in the post like most 7-footers. He has developed a keen 3-point shot to stretch the floor, showing off his skills in Summer League and again in the preseason thus far- the big man has 14 makes from distance in four games, which exceeds his total for all of last season already. Now, Mullens playing on the perimeter will not help your team in free-throw totals, but he is playing with surprising toughness on the glass with nearly 6 boards per game in the preseason. With more minutes in the regular-season expected, look for Mullens to have a career-year as he begins to tap into his potential.
Andrei Kirilenko is back in the NBA after a one year hiatus and should be back on fantasy rosters everywhere. Kirilenko is a nimble small forward that will surely fill the stat-sheet and garner plenty of minutes for a Minnesota team lacking talent at his position. He gives owners critical production in defensive stats with better than a block and steal per game, 2-3 assists and will help out on the glass with about 5 rebounds per game. If you can find a scoring punch on the wing elsewhere to pair with Kirilenko, he is a must have for the starting lineup.
Jason "The Jet" Terry has plenty of weight on his shoulders, replacing Ray Allen's scoring and giving the once-again aging Celtics a boost off the bench; the sixth man is a role Terry has thrived in each of the last five season, averaging better than 15.5 points, 3-4 assists and a couple of 3s and steals to chime in every night. But as the 14-year veteran enters the 2012-13 season, he no longer has the up-and-down style that Dallas ran in his previous eight seasons. Boston is more methodical in their approach, specifically in the half-court so draft Terry with the expectations of seeing his numbers fall across the board.
Michael Kidd-Gilchrist did not get drafted as a top pick for no reason, but he should not be one of the highlights of your fantasy roster. Kidd-Gilchrist is a defensive stopper with a non-stop motor, but one lacking some serious skills on the offensive end. Thus far in four preseason games, MKG is shooting just .360 from the floor, including zero made 3-point field goals. There is some decent production on the glass and on the defensive side of the ball in steals and blocks, but not enough to compensate for his lack of any offensive production.
Luol Deng has struggled to say the least bit in the preseason thus far. We are not going as far to say as do not draft Deng, but his numbers without Rose is the lineup are sure to be less efficient than with the former MVP point guard. Deng will get more shots from the floor, but the quality of these looks won't be as good and Deng has never had strong perimeter skills to begin with. Expect Chicago to slow it down and play in the half-court through bigs Carlos Boozer, Joakim Noah and Taj Gibson more often.
By NBA-DRAFT.com Staff Writer - 10 - 21 - 12