Ludicrously early mock drafting is a time-honored tradition here at Roto Arcade, and it continues this week. We're taking a look at the early rounds of '09 fantasy drafts, assuming standard rotisserie settings. Your drafters are Matt Romig, Matt Buser, Justin Phan, Brandon Funston, Dalton Del Don and Andy Behrens.
Andre Iguodala(notes), Philadelphia 76ers GF - Round 3, Pick 1. Iguodala has played all 82 games in back-to-back seasons and -- like the other two pieces of this roster (Paul, Wallace) -- he fills the stat sheet thoroughly. Last year, the 25-year-old gave you 18.8 points, 5.7 boards, 5.3 assists, one three-pointer and 1.6 steals per game. A return to the '06-'07 free throw percentage (82.0) would be appreciated; Iguodala shot just 70.3 percent from the line after the break in '09.
It's no picnic drafting at the turn, by the way. Center is a tricky fill. None of the available names seems worthy of the 25th overall pick, but I'll listen to arguments in comments. (Behrens)
Carmelo Anthony(notes), Denver Nuggets SF - Round 3, Pick 2. With LeBron and Butler already rostered, perhaps 'Melo isn't the right fit here. But my fondness for elite scorers trumped my fondness for Derrick Rose(notes) (he'll be great, not merely good). And of course we're always looking to please Trigga Play. That's secretly the core mission of this blog. Anthony is a high-volume shooter who can still deliver excellent percentages (see '05-'06 to '07-'08). He'll also give you seven boards, a steal and a three. (AB)
Joe Johnson(notes), Atlanta Hawks G - Round 3, Pick 3. Johnson’s 2008-09 campaign was nearly identical to his previous season, and when you’re averaging 21.4 points, 5.8 assists, 4.4 boards and 1.9 threes, that’s a good thing. He may have to lose some shot attempts to the newly acquired Jamal Crawford(notes), but few guards offer Johnson’s consistency and durability. (Del Don)Josh Smith(notes), Atlanta Hawks F - Round 3, Pick 4. Smith’s numbers were down across the board last season, but that just means he’ll come cheaper at the draft table in 2009-10. It was nice to see him shoot a career-best 49.2 percent from the floor, and his career-worst 58.8 percent from the charity stripe should improve back to the 70.0-range this year. The big concern was the drop in blocks last season, but if Smith gets that back in the 2.5 range (last year marked the first time he was ever below 2.0 BPG in his career), he could be a steal. If rumors prove true of a trade to uptempo Phoenix, that would be even better. (DDD)
Kevin Martin(notes), Sacramento Kings SG - Round 3, Pick 5. It’s maybe a few picks earlier than I’d like to take Martin, but remember, this team is consciously trying to negate Dwight Howard’s(notes) negative free throw percentage impact. Along with Nowitzki, Martin is another excellent piece of that puzzle. Last season, Martin and Howard were the only players in the league to average more than 10 free throw attempts per game. But, instead of being a coin-flip bet to make the shot each time he stepped to the charity stripe, he delivered a stellar 86.7 percent success rate, nearly 30 percent better than Howard. Of course, Martin also brings nice value in PTS, STL and 3PM. If he can play 70-plus games, I think we can make this Dwight Howard thing work in a roto format. (Funston)
Brook Lopez(notes), New Jersey Nets FC - Round 3, Pick 6. The biggest jump in value in a player’s career is most often from his rookie campaign to his second season. I expect that to be the case for Lopez, who was a borderline top 50 fantasy player in his inaugural NBA tour of duty. And he was inside the top 40 overall in the second half of the season. With Vince Carter(notes) gone, he’s expected to absorb more of the scoring load. Assuming his points output reaches a positive roto impact level this season (a two-point jump in scoring average would do the trick), he should offer six beneficial stat outputs from the center spot: PTS, REB. BLK, FG%, FT%, TO. With Granger and Kidd already in tow, Lopez is a good fit here. (BF)
Jason Richardson(notes), Phoenix Suns GF - Round 3, Pick 7. Coach Alvin Gentry will look for Richardson to pick up much of the slack left behind after the Suns dealt a rejuvenated Shaquille O'Neal(notes) away to the Cavs for the corpse and expiring contract of Ben Wallace(notes). JRich will have one of the best distributors in the game at his side along with a workable nucleus of Amar'e Stoudemire(notes), Leandro Barbosa(notes), and Earl Clark(notes). Keep in mind that he is only 28 years old and still has a lot of run-n-gun left in him. Expect him to approach his '07-'08 level of production that ranked him among the top 15 players in the league. (Phan)
Mehmet Okur(notes), Utah Jazz FC - Round 3, Pick 8. With the future of the Jazz's frontcourt very much up in the air heading into the free agency period, we can only draw two assumptions from the situation that apply to next season: 1) Okur will be the team's starting center, and 2) it is highly unlikely that both Carlos Boozer(notes) and Paul Millsap(notes) will be wearing Jazz uniforms. Okur will surely be a bigger part of the offensive scheme than he ever was in the past, and with a floor rank value in the mid-40s, there is little risk but a lot of reward to be had here. (JP)Gilbert Arenas(notes), Washington Wizards SG - Round 3, Pick 9. By the time the regular season rolls around, Agent Zero will be a full year removed from left knee surgery. He's got some wiggle room up and down from here, depending on the updates, but there aren't a lot of players left in the pool with his potential in terms of nine-category roto impact. From 2004-2006, Arenas' per-game rankings were 11th, ninth and sixth. Even though he's not likely to climb all the way back up the mountain, he merits pick No.33 ... particularly in early July. (Buser)
Vince Carter, Orlando Magic SF - Round 3, Pick 10. VC's contributions are a nice complement to the two bigs (of varying repute) that are already on board here (Al Jeff and Murph). You have to give Carter at least a bit of relative credit for playing out this past season as he did, and all the variables are lining up for some serious motivation to succeed this coming season. Something of particular note for fantasy purposes is that, in replacing Hedo Turkoglu(notes) in Orlando, he certainly shouldn't miss a beat in terms of usage. (MB)
Antawn Jamison(notes), Washington Wizards SF - Round 3, Pick 11. Jamison is one of those guys you never get excited about drafting, but for fantasy purposes his owners very rarely feel like they're due a refund. His one season as a role player in Dallas didn't work out, but since then he's been good for in the neighborhood of 20 points, nine boards, one steal and 1.5-2 3-pointers per game. A healthy return for Arenas will likely drain a bit of Jamison's offensive production, but he was a 19.8 ppg scorer in the Agent's last full campaign. (Romig)
Rajon Rondo(notes), Boston Celtics PG -- Round 3, Pick 12. We've got a couple good passers on board here with Brandon Roy(notes) and Kevin Garnett(notes), but no true point guard yet, which brings us to Rondo. His playoff run was otherworldly at times -- three triple-doubles, one 19-assist game and two near 30-point efforts. So of course the Celtics are (allegedly) shopping him around. Rondo doesn't shoot FTs particularly well, but he's not a volume shooter from the line, so his lone category weakness is easy to overcome. (Mig)
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- Dwight Howard