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2013 Fantasy Basketball Draft Prep: Roto specialists

by | Fantasy Writer
  •  

As the sport of basketball continues to evolve, we're getting closer to the day when everybody in the NBA does a little bit of everything. Centers shoot threes, point guards grab rebounds and small forwards dish out assists. These stat sheet fillers are great for Fantasy purposes, but in the Rotisserie format, there comes a time when you need someone who's great at one thing rather than good at several things.

That's where these guys come in.

Below is a list of players who aren't flying off draft boards, but should still prove useful in a long Roto season. Maybe Andre Drummond and Larry Sanders have you crushing the competition in blocks and rebounds, but you'll need a lights-out free throw shooter to make up for their deficiencies. Or maybe James Harden and Jrue Holiday are scoring in bunches but ruining your turnover category. Depending on how your season unfolds, you might think it wise to punt on certain categories in favor of maintaining others. But if you decide to try to maintain balance between all the relevant stats consider using one of the guys below to counteract your stars' weaknesses.

Scoring

Poster Boy: Nick Young, Lakers

Similar Options: MarShon Brooks, Celtics; Jordan Crawford, Celtics

This is for the scenario where you've filled your roster with team-first guys, who put up all sorts of numbers but might not be selfish enough to put you over the top in points. Enter Nick Young -- a guy who for 30 minutes per game is capable of thinking he's Kobe Bryant. His usage peaked between 2010 and 2012 with the Wizards, when he averaged more than 14 field goal attempts per game. Young should get back to those levels with the Lakers. When you look at the rest of his career stats, you see why he has had trouble sticking on a team and why he made it onto this list. He averages 1.9 rebounds, 1.0 assists and 0.5 steals per game for his career. So if you're comfortable in other categories, consider Young a cheap source of points on one of the more talent-deprived teams in the West. Somebody has to lead L.A. in scoring while Kobe's out, and Nick Young is just the guy to do so.

FG percentage

Poster Boy: Brandan Wright, Mavericks

Similar options: Nick Collison, Thunder; Kosta Koufos, Grizzlies

Some of the best Fantasy options have to take a lot of shots to succeed. This group of bigs should come in handy if the majority of your Roto production comes from inefficient scorers, such as Brandon Jennings and Monta Ellis. Mavericks' backup Brandan Wright has the highest potential for blocks and points, but all three of these guys are good at only shooting from point-blank range. Wright's youth alone should garner him some playing time, as he'll be one of the guys backing up Drik Nowitki, who missed 29 games last season. Collison will likely lead these three in playing time, but his basketball value falls more into non-stat categories, like setting screens and swinging the ball. All three have hovered around the 60 percent mark the last two seasons, so consider them strong candidates to help revive your field goal percentage category.

Rebounds

Poster Boy: Reggie Evans, Nets

Similar options: Jason Thompson, Kings; Omer Asik, Rockets

Just because a guy is tall, doesn't mean he's a natural at snatching rebounds. LaMarcus Aldridge and Chris Bosh both shoot a high percentage and can score, but neither is known for their rebounding. That's why you might pair them with Reggie Evans. This guy epitomizes the title of "specialist," and is in the league for only one reason: He's a scrap-tastic rebounding machine. If there's one thing the revamped Nets team will need, it's hustle, which Evans brings in droves. He grabbed 20 or more rebounds in nine games last year while averaging 11.1 boards in 24 minutes per contest. He's one of the few dirty work experts left in the league, and he should have plenty of opportunities to take out the trash on an older team with long-term aspirations. Once again, this is the only reason he'll see the floor, so consider Evans an "in case of emergency" option – only smash the glass if you're desperate, because his 10-15 boards will cost you in every other category.

Assists

Poster Boy: Shaun Livingston, Nets

Similar Options: Beno Udrih, Knicks; Pablo Prigioni, Knicks

After a year of isolation offense found them bounced in the first round to the Derrick Rose-less Bulls, it's not a far cry to say the Nets could use some ball movement. Surrounded by proven scorers and finishers, Shaun Livingston finds himself in the perfect scenario to have one of his best years. The Nets added big-time shot takers in Paul Pierce, Kevin Garnett and Jason Terry, and their new coach has the second most assists in NBA history. With Deron Williams sidelined by ankle issues, Livingston is already showing some promise by leading the Nets in assists so far this preseason. Their third point guard, Tyshon Taylor, still has a ways to go before he's able to lead a playoff caliber lineup like Brooklyn's. Livingston's skill set makes him a good fit to help run the offense while Williams is hurt or resting. If you find yourself in need of assistance, you could do worse than a pass-first guy on a team of shoot-first veterans.

Blocks

Poster Boy: Greg Stiemsma, Pelicans

Similar Options: Bismack Biyombo, Bobcats; Terrence Jones, Rockets

Some big men score and grab rebounds, but don't do much for you in the shot blocking department – we're looking at you Kevin Love and David Lee. Luckily, there are a few guys in the league who earn a living solely on the defensive end. Greg Stiemsma is one of these guys. New Orleans brought him in to replace Robin Lopez, and the 6-foot-11 center has shown the ability to anchor defenses in the past. In his two years playing NBA ball, Stiemsma has averaged 3.2 blocks per 36 minutes, so a larger role with the Pelicans should improve his block totals. Biyombo is another one of these block specialists, but he'll be stuck behind Al Jefferson in the Bobcat's lineup, making him more of a desperation play. Terrence Jones, on the other hand, isn't your stereotypical block guy, but he's talented enough to swat a few while contributing to other categories.

Steals

Poster Boy: Corey Brewer, Timberwolves

Other Options: Avery Bradley, Celtics; Mario Chalmers, Heat

Fitting the mold of a steals guy, Corey Brewer has long arms, quick feet and a relentless motor on defense. He averaged 1.4 steals per game in a reserve role for the Nuggets last season, so that number should increase as he takes on a larger responsibility with the Timberwolves. Minnesota will again be without Chase Budinger, so Brewer is looking like a lock for the starting job. While he's always been an erratic, yet willing three point shooter, Brewer did shoot 49 percent from two-point territory last year, and sharing the court with Ricky Rubio should only help his scoring. The 6-foot-9 guard has the length to be a menace in the passing lanes and the quickness to finish at the other end, making him a nice option for steals and low-end scoring.

Free-throw percentage

Poster Boy: Chauncey Billups, Pistons

Similar Options: Francisco Garcia, Rockets; Jodie Meeks, Lakers

When you've made 89.4 percent of your 5,017 free throws, you've earned yourself the title of specialist. Chauncey Billups is the kind of fringe player you might want to own if you also start Dwight Howard, DeAndre Jordan or any other perennial free throw clanker. Billups is set to play a larger role, especially given injuries to fellow Detroit guards Rodney Stuckey and Brandon Jennings. He's one of the most proven free throw shooters in the NBA, and should help out with a few steals and three pointers from time to time. Francisco Garcia and Jodie Meeks are two other free throw aces who can help you out with threes and points.

Three-pointers

Poster Boy: Randy Foye, Nuggets

Similar Options: Dorell Wright, Trail Blazers; C.J. Miles, Cavaliers

If the majority of your points are coming from stars like Tony Parker, Dwyane Wade or John Wall, chances are you're going to need some help from beyond the arc. Randy Foye finished 7th in the league last year with 178 made three pointers, making him a strong candidate to help out your Roto team from downtown this season. He'll be one of the Nuggets' few options for fire power off the bench, so one can reasonable expect him to keep pace with his last year, when he averaged 5.4 three point attempts per game. What separates Foye from other run-of-the-mill shooters is the fact that he can be a volume shooter and still hit at a high percentage. He'll likely be given the green light to fire away playing alongside non-shooter Andre Miller of Denver's second unit, so look for Foye if you need some help from deep.

Turnovers

Poster Boy: Steve Novak, Raptors

Similar Options: Matt Bonner, Spurs; Thabo Sefolosha, Thunder

When you consider the fact that Rajon Rondo, James Harden and Kobe Bryant led the league in turnovers per game last year, you can see why it might be hard to keep this number down while thriving in other categories. That's why you employ the help of these one-trick ponies (or two if you count Thabo Sefolosha's defense). All three of these guys take good care of the basketball simply because when they get it, they're usually sitting in the corner ready to shoot. Steve Novak is the Michael Jordan of not turning the ball over, averaging just 0.2 giveaways per game for his career. All three will help you keep turnovers down while giving a slight boost in shooting categories.

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Player News
Josh Smith excited to reunite with Dwight Howard on Rockets
by R.J. White | CBSSports.com
(8:14 pm ET) Small forward Josh Smith is excited to be joining the Rockets and to reunite with good friend Dwight Howard, FOX26 in Houston reports.

"It's an exciting time for me," Smith told FOX26 Sports. "Being able to be reunited with a good friend and one of the best teammates I ever played with, I think we can definitely do something special. Playing beside the best two-guard in the game right now in James Harden, what more can you ask for."

Smith and Howard played on the same AAU team in Atlanta.

"I think I can add to their toughness," Smith said. "I think I can add to their versatility at the four position, being able to pass the basketball and score the ball down low. Just add another basketball IQ, which will help when we make it to the postseason."

Smith averaged 13.1 points, 7.2 rebounds, 4.7 assists, 1.7 blocks and 1.3 steals in 28 game with the Pistons before being waived Monday.


Report: Magic to send Devyn Marble to NBADL
by R.J. White | CBSSports.com
(5:39 pm ET) The Magic plan to send shooting guard Devyn Marble to the Erie BayHawks of the NBA Developmental League in the next few days, the Orlando Sentinel reports.

Marble has played in four games this season but hasn't seen any action since straining his right rotator cuff in early November. Now healthy, the guard doesn't have a clear path to playing time with the Magic.


Spurs SF Kawhi Leonard (hand) ruled out Thursday
by R.J. White | CBSSports.com
(5:36 pm ET) The Spurs have ruled out small forward Kawhi Leonard for Thursday's game against the Thunder with a bruised right hand.

Leonard believed he'd be able to play Thursday, according to a previous report, but coach Gregg Popovich made it clear Monday he didn't expect to have the 2014 NBA Finals MVP available. Leonard has averaged 15.2 points, 7.6 rebounds and 2.5 assists in 22 games.

The Spurs are a 5-point favorite at home against the Thunder Thursday, per Vegas Insider.


Hornets' Lance Stephenson, Jannero Pargo out Friday
by R.J. White | CBSSports.com
(5:27 pm ET) The Hornets have ruled Lance Stephenson out for Friday's game against the Thunder due to a pelvic strain, the team announced Wednesday. Stephenson will be missing his fifth straight game with the injury.

The team also ruled out point guard Jannero Pargo due to lower back soreness. Pargo has made just nine appearances this season, averaging 4.6 points on 42.9 percent shooting.

Center Al Jefferson is the third player on the injury report for Friday's game, being listed as probable to play with a left groin strain. He was able to play through the injury Tuesday, scoring 12 points in 31 minutes of action.


Warriors C Festus Ezeli (ankle) questionable Thursday
by R.J. White | CBSSports.com
(5:15 pm ET) Warriors center Festus Ezeli is questionable to play in Thursday's game against the Clippers due to a mild left ankle sprain, the San Jose Mercury News reports.

Ezeli suffered the injury in the third quarter of Tuesday's loss to the Lakers and didn't return but did say after the game that he could have come back into the game. The center also indicated Tuesday that he expected to play Thursday.

The Warriors are a 2-point underdog in Los Angeles against the Clippers Thursday, per Vegas Insider.


Knicks' Carmelo Anthony, Amar'e Stoudemire to play Thursday
by R.J. White | CBSSports.com
(5:11 pm ET) Knicks forwards Carmelo Anthony and Amar'e Stoudemire indicated that they will play in Thursday's game against the Wizards, Newsday reports.

Anthony dealt with knee soreness last week and has missed two of his team's last seven games. Stoudemire was given the team's last two games off to rest.

The Knicks are a 5-point home underdog according to Vegas Insider.


Thunder list Kevin Durant (ankle) as out for Christmas Day game
by Larry Hartstein | CBSSports.com
(4:04 pm ET) The Thunder listed forward Kevin Durant as out for Thursday's game at San Antonio, reports The Oklahoman. "His status could change, but for now the team is listing him as out," the paper said.

Durant apparently will miss his fourth straight game with a sprained ankle. He's averaging 22.4 points, 5.0 rebounds and 3.6 assists in nine games played.


Heat F Chris Bosh (calf) expected to sit out on Christmas
by Larry Hartstein | CBSSports.com
(1:42 pm ET) Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said he doesn't expect forward Chris Bosh (calf) to play Thursday against the Cavaliers, reports Yahoo Sports. Bosh has missed six straight games with the injury.

He's averaging 21.6 points and 8.2 rebounds in 23 games.


J.R. Smith not looking good for Thursday's game
by Larry Hartstein | CBSSports.com
(1:32 pm ET) Knicks guard J.R. Smith doesn't expect to be ready to play Thursday against the Wizards, reports Newsday. A heel injury has sidelined Smith for seven straight games.

He's averaging 10.3 points and 3.3 assists in 25.1 minutes per game.


Report: Josh Smith commits to sign with Rockets
by Larry Hartstein | CBSSports.com
(1:16 pm ET) Forward Josh Smith, stunningly waived by the Pistons on Monday, has committed to sign with the Rockets when he clears waivers at 5 p.m ET, reports Yahoo Sports. An earlier report indicated Houston promised Smith he'd be a starter.

Smith averaged 13.1 points and 7.2 rebounds for Detroit while shooting a career-low 39.1 percent in 28 games. The Rockets were among several teams reportedly interested in landing Smith.


 
 
 
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