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2013 Fantasy Basketball Draft Prep: Roto specialists

by | Fantasy Writer
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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
Heat C Justin Hamilton undergoes heart surgery
by Igor Mello | CBSSports.com
(1:10 pm ET) The Heat announced that center Justin Hamilton underwent a procedure to repair an atrial flutter on Monday, according to the Miami HeraldHamilton experienced light-headedness during practice which led to the diagnosis. He can participate in non-contact drills in a few days and will be re-evaluated in three weeks.

Julius Randle ready to come off the bench behind Carlos Boozer
by Igor Mello | CBSSports.com
(12:13 pm ET) Lakers rookie forward Julius Randle, who was the seventh overall pick in this year's draft, told the Los Angeles Times that he's ready to come off the bench behind Carlos Boozer this season. 

"He deserves what he gets because he's put in the time and he's been successful," Randle said. "We're both going to be on the floor, whoever starts or not; that's not really my focus or worry."


Rockets' Dwight Howard finally healthy from 2012 back surgery
by Igor Mello | CBSSports.com
(12:08 pm ET) Two years removed from a back surgery that limited his explosion in the paint, Rockets center Dwight Howard told reporters he's made significant strides over the offseason to return to a high level of play heading into the new season, according to the Houston Chronicle.

"When you have a serious injury – the back injury I suffered, it takes time to heal," Howard said. "I don't think a lot of people understood how serious the injury was. It was something that could have been career-ending. I decided to come back and play earlier than I was supposed to and I suffered a lot because of that."

Howard still managed to average a double-double in 2013-14, posting 47 of them in his first season with the Rockets. He averaged 18.3 points, 12.2 rebounds and 1.8 blocks in 71 appearances. He shot 59.1 percent from the field and 54.7 percent from the free throw line -- his best percentages since 2010-11 when he was a member of the Magic.


Report: Nuggets sign Alonzo Gee
by Igor Mello | CBSSports.com
(11:33 am ET) The Nuggets have signed veteran small forward Alonzo Gee on Monday, less than a week after he was waived by Sacramento, RealGM reports. Gee appeared in 65 games and averaged 4.0 points and 2.3 rebounds in 15.7 minutes per game in 2013-14.

Bucks, Brandon Knight still far apart in contract talks?
by Igor Mello | CBSSports.com
(11:30 am ET) It doesn't appear likely that the Bucks will reach an agreement with guard Brandon Knight, according to FOX Sports Wisconsin. Both sides have until the Oct. 31 deadline to reach a deal. 

"I'm just focusing on basketball right now," Knight said. "If it happens, it happens. At the end of the day, I'm going to be here regardless. I'm just focusing on this year and focusing on our guys. That's the main thing for me right now."


Bucks' John Henson unsure of his role this season
by Igor Mello | CBSSports.com
(11:25 am ET) Bucks forward John Henson told reporters he's unsure of the role he'll have heading into the 2014-15 season under Jason Kidd, according to FOX Sports Wisconsin. Henson will likely be working behind Ersan Ilyasova at power forward, but could slide over and play center at times, depending on certain matchups.

"My rookie year was the same way -- I didn't know what I was going to be," Henson said. "I had no idea. I just have to come to play in training camp, and hopefully I'll be in a position to help the team."


Reggie Bullock, C.J. Wilcox cleared for training camp
by Igor Mello | CBSSports.com
(11:20 am ET) Clippers guards Reggie Bullock and C.J. Wilcox are both fully healthy and cleared for the start of training camp, according to the Orange County Register. Both players missed summer league action due to injuries. Bullock was sidelined because of a knee injury, while Wilcox nursed a right shoulder injury in the offseason.

Report: Jordan Clarkson could push for starting gig later in season
by Igor Mello | CBSSports.com
(11:16 am ET) Although he will come off the bench to start the season, the Los Angeles Times reports that Lakers rookie point guard Jordan Clarkson could push for the starting job later in the year. Clarkson, the 46th overall selection in this year's draft, impressed the coaches during the summer league, averaging 15.8 points per game and 5.0 boards per game.

Mavericks not ready to name starting point guard
by Igor Mello | CBSSports.com
(11:07 am ET) Mavericks head coach Rick Carlisle is not ready to name a starter at point guard, according to ESPN Dallas. In fact, he's not concerned over the idea of splitting minutes between Devin Harris, Jameer Nelson and Raymond Felton.

"I get a lot of questions about the minutes crunch," Carlisle said. "I'm not worried about that. I just want good basketball players that want to win, and I think we have that."


Nets C Kevin Garnett taking an aggressive approach this season
by Igor Mello | CBSSports.com
(11:02 am ET) After a disappointing 2013-14 campaign where he averaged a career-low 6.5 points per game on 44.1 percent from the floor, Nets center Kevin Garnett told reporters he's ready to be more aggressive this season, according to the Record.

"This year, I'm coming in with a little more edge, a little more assertiveness," Garnett said, who is entering the final season of his contract. "Kind of [reverting] back to how I came into this league and what I've created for myself. I'm being a lot more aggressive."


 
 
 
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