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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
Clifford: Stephenson 'not a star,' but has 'talent to become a star'
by Michael Hurcomb | CBSSports.com
(11:49 am ET) Hornets guard Lance Stephenson was benched for the fourth quarter for a second straight game during Wednesday's 105-97 loss against Portland, which extended the team's losing streak to seven games. 

After the loss, coach Steve Clifford said Stephenson's issues adjusting to his first season with the Hornets is partly due to him trying to live up to expectations.

"To be fair, one of the things that's made it more difficult for him is that he came here and people proclaimed him as the next superstar," Clifford said Wednesday, per ESPN. "He's not a star. He's a guy that has talent to become a star. To be a star in this league, you have to do it over years."

Stephenson has struggled to find a consistent rhythm and role in Clifford's offense. Stephenson is fifth on the team in scoring, averaging 9.7 points per game, which is a significant drop after averaing 13.8 points per game in 2013-14 for Indiana.

He is also shooting just 36.8 percent from the field after shooting 49.1 percent last season. Although, it's not all bad for Stephenson, who is averaging career highs in rebounding (8.1 rpg) and assists (5.4 apg).

"I've been around Kobe [Bryant] and [Tracy] McGrady. They were superstars. I was also around Allan Houston and Latrell Sprewell. They were two-, three-year All-Stars," Clifford said. "[Stephenson has] got a lot of work to get to that level. Everybody proclaimed him as this guy, and if you remember the first time we got him, I said he's got to develop into that."


Celtics guard Marcus Smart will not be back Friday
by Michael Hurcomb | CBSSports.com
(10:49 am ET) Although Celtics rookie guard Marcus Smart returned to practice Wednesday, he will not return to action Friday against the Bulls, the team announced Thursday. It will be the eighth straight game Smart is sidelined.

Melo doesn't anticipate he will be out 'too long'
by Michael Hurcomb | CBSSports.com
(10:33 am ET) Knicks forward Carmelo Anthony, who missed his first game this season Wednesday against the Mavs due to back spasms, won't put a timetable on his return, he told the New York Post. However, he indicated he doesn't expect to miss too much time.

"I could barely walk or do anything yesterday so I’m doing a little better," Anthony said Wednesday. "I’m walking. They said these things are hard to gauge. I just don’t know how long I’ll be out.

"I don’t think it will be too long. I think the spasms will go away. But I’m not going to play with spasms."

Anthony likely will undergo tests once the team returns to New York. Coach Derek Fisher said the team doesn't have a clear diagnosis on Anthony and won't until his back starts to improve.

"I’ve never felt this way before," Anthony said. "Nothing happened that I can remember [in the Houston game]. I really tried to play through it, but then I just couldn’t move."


Tyson Chandler pulls down 25 rebounds vs. former team
by Michael Hurcomb | CBSSports.com
(9:28 am ET) Mavericks center Tyson Chandler set season highs with 17 points and 25 rebounds during a 109-102 win Wednesday against the Knicks, who he played for over the previous three seasons.

"At the beginning of the year, you always look at the calendar and mark it," said Chandler, who finished three rebounds shy of the career high he had with the Knicks exactly two years earlier against Brooklyn, per The Associated Press. "But honestly once you get caught up in the season, it's not as big as it's made out to be."

Chandler is averaging 10.8 points and 11.7 rebounds in 14 November games. He's surpassed double digits in rebounds nine times in November. Wednesday was the first time this season he totaled more than 20 rebounds.


Lakers SG Kobe Bryant scores team-high 22 vs. Grizzlies
by R.J. White | CBSSports.com
(1:11 am ET) Lakers shooting guard Kobe Bryant scored a team-high 22 points on 5 of 15 shooting, including 2 of 5 shooting from three-point range, in his team's 99-93 loss to the Grizzlies Wednesday.

Bryant sank all 10 of his free throws to help boost his scoring total on a night where he struggled with a low shooting percentage for the second time in three games. He only managed to pick up four rebounds and two assists in 35 minutes in the loss, the team's third straight. The Lakers will look to get back on track Friday against the Timberwolves.


Grizzlies C Marc Gasol doubles up vs. Lakers
by R.J. White | CBSSports.com
(1:02 am ET) Grizzlies center Marc Gasol scored 19 points on 5 of 10 shooting from the field and 9 of 10 shooting from the free-throw line while grabbing 11 rebounds in his team's 99-93 win over the Lakers Wednesday.

Gasol has picked up double-doubles in three of his last four games, but he was unable to rack up 30 points for the third straight game Wednesday. He did fill out his line with four assists, three blocks and two steals in his 37 minutes of action. The Grizzlies take a three-game winning streak into Portland Friday.


Suns PF Markieff Morris doubles up vs. Nuggets
by R.J. White | CBSSports.com
(12:57 am ET) Suns power forward Markieff Morris scored 15 points on 6 of 17 shooting while grabbing 10 rebounds in his team's 120-112 win over the Nuggets Wednesday.

Morris' double-double was the third of the season but his first since Nov. 4 and he also managed season highs in two categories, racking up seven assists and four blocks in 36 minutes. He also picked up three steals in the well-rounded effort. The Suns have another date with the Nuggets scheduled for Friday.


Nuggets C Timofey Mozgov posts 18-13 line vs. Suns
by R.J. White | CBSSports.com
(12:52 am ET) Nuggets center Timofey Mozgov scored 18 points on 8 of 13 shooting while grabbing 13 rebounds in his team's 120-112 loss to the Suns Wednesday.

Mozgov has started to turn up his performance over the last six games, delivering five double-digit scoring performances and three double-doubles during that stretch. However, the Nuggets weren't able to come through with a sixth straight win. The center also managed three steals and two blocks in 32 minutes. He'll match up with the Suns again Friday.


Thunder G Jeremy Lamb delivers sharpshooting line vs. Jazz
by R.J. White | CBSSports.com
(12:42 am ET) Thunder guard Jeremy Lamb scored 21 points on 7 of 8 shooting, including 3 of 3 shooting from three-point range, in his team's 97-82 win over the Jazz Wednesday.

Lamb played just 24 minutes off the bench but nearly led the team in scoring in Wednesday's win, easily eclipsing his previous best of 58.8 percent shooting from the field. However, he did foul out in the game while also racking up four rebounds, three steals, two assists and one block. The Thunder snapped a six-game losing streak with the win, and they'll look to build upon Wednesday's success Friday against the Knicks.


Jazz SF Gordon Hayward scores team-high 24 vs. Thunder
by R.J. White | CBSSports.com
(12:33 am ET) Jazz small forward Gordon Hayward scored a team-high 24 points on 8 of 15 shooting in his team's 97-82 loss to the Thunder Wednesday.

Hayward delivered a strong shooting performance but also turned the ball over eight times, doubling his previous season high in turnovers in the loss. On a positive note, he did manage to tally eight rebounds, four steals and three assists in 36 minutes. The Jazz will be looking to end a four-game losing streak Saturday against the Clippers.


 
 
 
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