Thu Oct 22 07:30pm EDT
We're approaching the final weekend before the NBA regular season tips off, meaning there will be a flurry of draft activity in the coming days. With that in mind, let's take a look at percent-owned numbers in Yahoo! leagues as of Thursday and identify immediate pick-ups to to consider, as well as last-round notables and Watch List recommendations.
The Best of What's Left - players currently rostered in 60% of leagues or less
Augustin(notes) (CHA - PG,SG) 56% owned
The news of Raja Bell's injury should have sent you immediately to the wire to scan for Augustin. If you haven't previously, then go take a look now... Bell's misfortune means great things for Augustin's fantasy impact, whether he starts or not. In the 24 games where he saw at least 30 minutes as a rookie, he averaged 16.5 points on 43 percent shooting, 2.2 threes, 5 assists, 1 steal, and 4.3 free throw attempts (while shooting 92%). I'd easily roster Augustin over Jamal Crawford(notes), who is currently 84-percent owned.
• Channing Frye(notes) (PHO -
PF,C) 34% owned
So let me get this straight - a three-point shooting center that has been named the starter in the Suns' run-and-gun system is owned in just over one-third of leagues? Move quickly in the event that he's currently available in your league... Frye has made half of his threes in the preseason (1.9 makes per game) and chipped in 12.7 points, 4.4 boards, and 1.2 steals-plus-blocks in 26 minutes per game. His situation alone means you should roster him now and see what happens later.
• Anthony Morrow(notes) (GSW -
SG,SF) 35% owned
Don Nelson is leaning towards giving a starting gig (SG) to Morrow, and efficient volume offense would no doubt be the result of such a move. In his 17 starts as a rookie last season, he averaged 16.7 points on 48 percent shooting, 2.2 threes, 4.6 boards, 1.1 steals, and just 1.4 turnovers in 35 minutes. The typical disclaimer regarding Nellie's whims applies here, but his stellar preseason production (20.3 points, 3.3 treys, percentages of 56/54/96) should help inspire some confidence. I'd roster him well ahead of someone like Peja Stojakovic(notes) (76% owned).
• Yi Jianlian(notes) (NJN - PF) 49%
I can't necessarily blame you for being scared of Yi's career shooting percentage of 40 percent. What you need to be aware of, however, is that efforts over the summer to improve his post game and keep him closer to the basket appear to be manifesting themselves in his preseason performance. He's attempted just two threes in six games, helping his shooting percentage stay at a relatively-high 45 percent, and his averages in 25 minutes aren't too shabby (11.2 points, 7 rebounds, 1.3 steals, 0.7 blocks). You want growth potential at the end of your bench, and Yi offers exactly that, as the Nets want nothing more than for him to succeed.
Gomes(notes) (MIN - SF,PF) 39% owned
Gomes figures to be the biggest beneficiary in the wake of the Kevin Love injury. His steady-but-unspectacular line took on new offensive life in last season's second half (16.3 points, 1.3 threes after the break), and that trend will need to continue for this desperately thin roster. Although there aren't a lot of defensive stats to be had here, the boards at least should come up a bit as he plays more power forward.
• Roy Hibbert(notes) (IND - C) 55%
Hibbert was reasonably effective as a starter in his rookie season (9 points, 4.1 boards, 1.2 blocks) when you consider that foul trouble limited him to just 17 minutes per in those 42 games. He has followed up a big-time summer with a very solid preseason (13.2 points, 5.8 boards, 3.7 blocks in 25 minutes). Although the foul trouble isn't going to go away completely, the 23-year-old has very solid fantasy potential in one of the league's most friendly systems.
• Andres Nocioni(notes) (SAC -
SF,PF) 18% owned
Nocioni is going to play plenty while Francisco Garcia is sidelined, whether he starts or not. In 23 games down the stretch for the Kings last season, Noc averaged 13.7 points, 2 threes, 6 boards, and 1.3 steals-plus-blocks in 31 minutes. I'd roster Nocioni in favor of players like Corey Maggette(notes) (76% owned) and Al Thornton(notes) (72%).
• Brendan Haywood(notes) (WAS -
C) 52% owned
It's easy to forget about Haywood since he only appeared in six games last season, but it's not like he wasn't productive in those six games (9.7 points, 7.3 boards, 2.5 blocks). His numbers in 80 games from 2007-08 are indicative of his skill-set (10.6 points on 53 percent shooting, 7.2 boards, 1.7 blocks in 28 minutes) and he can provide excellent back-of-the-rotation help if you need a bump in big-man stats.
• Antonio McDyess(notes) (SAS -
PF,C) 52% owned
'Dyess won't top 30 minutes per game this season, but he's never needed that much playing time to be successful in the first place. Over the past three seasons, in 27 minutes per game, he's averaged 8.8 points, 8 boards, 1.5 steals-plus-blocks, and a microscopic 0.9 turnovers. There's not tremendous upside here, but there's also little-to-no downside.
Other Notables - Watch List nominees for standard leagues and/or deeper-league options
• Brandon Jennings(notes) (MIL -
PG) 38% owned
While his 34-percent shooting and 2.8 turnovers in the preseason is a reminder that Jennings still has a ways to go, it's abundantly clear that he's already among the most dynamic players on the Bucks' roster. It's only a matter of time before he's playing more than Luke Ridnour(notes), and that may even be from the outset.
Azubuike(notes) (GSW - SG,SF) 49% owned
While it appears that Azubuike will begin the season as a reserve, he still has solid glue guy potential, particularly if the Stephen Jackson(notes) "situation" gets even more out of hand. In 32 minutes per game overall last season, Azubuike averaged 14.4 points on 46 percent shooting, 1.3 threes, 5 boards, 1.5 steals-plus-blocks, and 81-percent foul shooting.
• Anthony Parker(notes) (CLE -
SG,SF) 25% owned
Parker is set to reprise his role as a glue guy extraordinaire for as long as Delonte West's(notes) status remains in limbo. In 235 games over the past three seasons, Parker has accumulated the following line in 33 minutes per game: 11.9 points on 46 percent shooting, 1.5 threes, 4 boards, 2.6 assists, just 1.2 turnovers, 1.1 steals, and 83-percent foul shooting.
• Danilo Gallinari(notes) (NY -
SF) 21% owned
All the off-season signs were positive regarding Gallinari, but then he showed up to camp far from "game shape" and has shot 31 percent thus far in the preseason. He'll come off the bench to start the season and may not have much of an impact early, as he continues to work on his conditioning, but he's absolutely someone to track as the season progresses.
• Drew Gooden(notes) (DAL -
PF,C) 23% owned
Gooden will split the starts at center with Erick Dampier(notes), meaning he's technically a match-up play, but he should at least be a good one. There are plenty of boards available on this team of jump-shooters, and he's averaged 12.3 points, 8.5 boards, and 1.5 steals-plus-blocks in 396 career starts.
• Andersen Varejao (CLE -
PF,C) 34% owned
Just a friendly reminder that Varejao is still the starter and still looking at roughly 30 minutes per game. In 29 minutes per game last season, he averaged 8.6 points on 54 percent shooting, 7.2 boards, 0.9 steals, 0.8 blocks and just 1 turnover per game.
• Corey Brewer(notes) (MIN -
SG,SF) 8% owned
Brewer has emerged as a near-lock to start with a strong preseason (14.3 points, 4.3 boards, 1.8 steals). An up-tempo system is clearly the best fit for him, as he's still a very raw offensive player - it should be noted that he's shooting just 37 percent from the floor in preseason games. He's in a fantastic position in terms of opportunity, however, so that shouldn't be ignored.
• Hakim Warrick(notes) (MIL -
SF,PF) 33% owned
Warrick's fantasy contributions don't run deep, but his proven ability to at least score the ball is somewhat unique on the Bucks' roster as of this point. His per-30 minute averages over the past three seasons include 14.4 points on 51-percent shooting and 6 boards.
• Chris Douglas-Roberts(notes)
(NJN - PG,SG) 8% owned
Terrence Williams(notes) got the early buzz, but it's CDR that has likely played his way into the starting lineup during the preseason, averaging 18.5 points on 51-percent shooting in six games. Don't bank on many supporting stats after some offense, however - his per-36 minute averages as a rookie last season included 0.2 threes, 3.1 boards, 3.2 assists, and 0.7 steals.
• Andray Blatche(notes) (WAS -
PF,C) 18% owned
Blatche is at least worth watching while Antawn Jamison(notes) works his way back from his shoulder injury. The latest on Jamison is good, however, and there's only real upside here if Jamison has some kind of major setback.
• DeJuan Blair(notes) (SAS -
SF,PF) 17% owned
I'd be doing you all a disservice if I didn't at least point out Blair's preseason production, which includes 14.7 points, 8.2 boards, and 1.7 steals in just 18 minutes per game. While he may have already pushed the issue in terms of some consistent minutes, there won't be a lot available behind Tim Duncan(notes) and Antonio McDyess night-in and night-out.
• Carl Landry(notes) (HOU -
SF,PF) 16% owned
While Chuck Hayes'(notes) defense may earn him the starting spot alongside Luis Scola(notes), Landry's energy and production will ensure that he gets his fair share of the minutes, as well. In the 40 career games that he's seen at least 23 minutes of playing time, Landry has averaged 11.9 points on 60-percent shooting and 6.1 boards.
• Julian Wright(notes) (NOR -
SF,PF) 15% owned
The 22-year-old has struggled in the preseason, but the team would like nothing more than to keep him in the starting lineup and limit Peja Stojakovic's minutes. His per-30 minute averages through the first two seasons of his career include 5.7 boards, 1.4 steals, and 0.7 blocks.