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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
Wizards' John Wall to seek another opinion for 'really bad' wrist sprain
by Igor Mello | CBSSports.com
(1:49 am ET) Wizards guard John Wall told reporters he's dealing with a "really bad sprain" in his wrist, which has given him trouble dribbling the ball the way he is accustomed to, per the team's official website.

Wall's injury stemmed from a nasty fall in Game 1 against Atlanta. He consulted with team doctors and opted to sit out Game 2. In his absence, Ramon Sessions got the start and scored a playoff career-high 21 points, but it wasn't enough as Washington dropped Game 2, 106-90.

According to David Aldridge of TNT and NBA.com, Wall reiterated that his wrist isn't broken, and that he is expected to get another opinion back in Washington before the team determines a course of treatment.

The Wizards have until Saturday before determining his status for a pivotal Game 3 in Washington. The series is tied 1-1 through two games.


Grizzlies' Conley drops 22 in a triumphant Game 2 win over Warriors
by Igor Mello | CBSSports.com
(1:35 am ET) Multiple facial fractures didn't hold Grizzlies guard Mike Conley back Tuesday night against Golden State. The point guard played with a clear mask and led his team with a triumphant 22-point performance to top the Warriors 97-90 in Game 2 of the Western Conference Semifinals.

Conley went 8 of 12 from the field, including 3 of 6 from downtown, and 3 of 4 from the charity stripe. He added three assists while logging 27 minutes of game action. Conley's 22 points was his highest scoring effort in a playoff game since scoring 24 in Game 4 of the 2013 Western Conference Semifinals (May 13, 2013).


Grizzlies' Mike Conley will suit up, wear protective mask vs. Warriors
by Igor Mello | CBSSports.com
(5/5/2015) Grizzlies guard Mike Conley will suit up for Game 2 of the Western Conference Semifinals against the Warriors, according to Marc J. Spears of Yahoo! Sports.

Conley suffered a facial fracture in the opening round of the playoffs against Portland and will wear a clear mask for additional protection. He also told reporters that his sprained right foot is still bothering him, though he'll try to play through the pain.

Conley averaged 14.6 points and 6.1 assists in 80 regular-season games.

Memphis is a 10-point underdog at Golden State, VegasInsider.com.


Rockets' Dwight Howard not worried about lack of touches down the stretch
by Shawn Krest | CBSSports.com
(5/5/2015) Rockets center Dwight Howard didn't take a shot in the final seven minutes of the team's Game 1 loss. He's not worried about his lack of scoring opportunities, however. 

"I can’t focus on that," Howard said, per the Houston Chronicle. "I got to continue to be a presence on the defensive end, get more blocked shots, get more rebounds, run the floor more, do all the things I can do, not focus so much on if I’m getting the ball or not."


Wizards' John Wall a late scratch, Bradley Beal will play Game 2
by Igor Mello | CBSSports.com
(5/5/2015) Wizards guard John Wall was a late scratch Tuesday night in Game 2 of the Eastern Conference Semifinals against the Hawks, per the Washington Post. Bradley Beal, who suffered a sprained ankle during the Game 1, will play against Atlanta.

Ramon Sessions will start in Wall's place.

Wall landed on his wrist in Game 1 and initially feared he may have broken it. Coach Randy Wittman told reporters that the decision to play Wall was out of his hands and up to the medical staff.

"He's one of the toughest guys I've been around," Wittman said.

Wall has doubled up in four consecutive postseason games, and is averaging 17.4 points, 12.6 assists and 4.6 rebounds per game in the playoffs, while shooting 39.7 percent from the field and 23.1 percent from downtown in five games.

Washington was considered a 6-point underdog before the team deemed Wall out for the game.

The Wizards have a 1-0 series lead.


Clippers list Chris Paul as doubtful for Game 2 in Houston
by Igor Mello | CBSSports.com
(5/5/2015) Although Clippers coach Doc Rivers labeled point guard Chris Paul as "50-50," the team officially deemed him as doubtful for Game 2 of the Western Conference Semifinals against the Rockets on Wednesday, per the Los Angeles Times.

Paul played through a hamstring injury and scored the winning bucket to lift his club past San Antonio in Game 7 of the opening round of the playoffs. Rivers held Paul out on Monday and started his son, Austin Rivers in Game 1.

Los Angeles is a 7-point underdog at Houston, per VegasInsider.com.


Clippers' Blake Griffin steps up as vocal leader with Chris Paul out
by Shawn Krest | CBSSports.com
(5/5/2015) Clippers forward Blake Griffin doesn't usually talk much on the court, when his teammates need correction.

"I’m not ever one of those guys that’s going to yell at guys," Griffin said, per InsideHoops.com. "It’s about helping them out."

Griffin was content to leave the yelling to teammate Chris Paul, a fiery on-court leader. But with Paul out for Game 1 and "50/50" for Game 2, according to coach Doc Rivers, Griffin is stepping out of his comfort zone. 

He could be heard verbally leading his teammates during Game 1 and intends to do the same if Paul is sidelined for Game 2.




Clippers G Chris Paul (hamstring) may play in Game 2
by Sean d'Oliveira | CBSSports.com
(5/5/2015) Clippers guard Chris Paul is listed as questionable for Game 2 on Wednesday at Houston, reports ESPN.

Paul missed the Game 1 win over the Rockets after suffering a hamstring injury during the Game 7 win over the Spurs in the opening round. Guard Austin Rivers started in place of Paul.

The Clippers are 1-point underdogs at Houston on Wednesday.


Grizzlies' Conley (face) upgraded to questionable for Game 2
by R.J. White | CBSSports.com
(5/5/2015) Grizzlies guard Mike Conley has been upgraded to questionable for Game 2 of the Western Conference Semifinals against the Warriors, the Bay Area News Group reports.

Conley has yet to practice in contact drills, but it appears his chances of playing in Game 2 Tuesday have increased. He's working his way back from a facial fracture suffered in his team's first-round series. The Grizzlies will evaluate the guard before the game before making a final decision on his status.

The Grizzlies are 10-point underdogs Tuesday.


Cavaliers star LeBron James vows more aggression in Game 2
by Marty Gitlin | CBSSports.com
(5/5/2015) Cavaliers superstar LeBron James has declared that he needs to change his mindset from Game 1 to Game 2 of the team's second-round series against Chicago.

James is claiming he must pick up his aggressiveness, per The Associated Press. His original motivation was setting up his teammates, but the loss of Kevin Love (injury) and J.R. Smith (suspension) leaves only Kyrie Irving as a viable offensive force. James now figures he will be needed to attack the basket and score.

With the Cavaliers' outside threats lessened, the Bulls packed the inside in their Monday win and made it difficult for James and Irving to drive.


 
 
 
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