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2013 Fantasy Basketball Draft Prep: 12-team Roto mock

Fantasy Writer
  •  

The season starts in -- *checks calendar * -- six days? Six days! There is still plenty of time to get your Fantasy drafts in under the wire; I've got three more myself before opening night.

Earlier in the preseason, we did our mock draft for a head-to-head, standard scoring league, and we now present the results of our Rotisserie league draft.

This draft went mostly as planned, but there were a few surprises; Brandon Jennings in the first round was an unexpected one, though I actually think he is very underrated for Fantasy purposes. Sure, the shooting percentage hurts, but he hasn't dealt with many injury concerns, and will rack up steals, assists, 3-pointers and points at a high level.

At the top, LeBron James went ahead of Kevin Durant, and I can go either way on that. I would personally lean towards Durant, simply because he is less likely to take time off later in the year, and is an absolute killer in the percentage categories, while improving his all-around game. You can't go wrong with either, and Stephen Curry's insane combination of high-volume three-point shooting, assists and points isn't a bad runner-up prize at No. 3.

Anthony Davis is flying up draft boards, and he is a borderline first-round value in category-based formats. If his preseason performance is any indication, he could be on the verge of becoming a top five overall Fantasy option.

Use this as a guide to give you relative draft values as you prepare your last-minute leagues.

The participants ...

1. Michael Hurcomb, Fantasy Editor
2. Igor Mello, Fantasy Writer
3. Nando Di Fino, Senior Fantasy Writer
4. Dave Richard, Senior Fantasy Writer
5. Scott White, Senior Fantasy Writer
6. Joe Polito, Social Media Coordinator
7. Larry Hartstein, Fantasy Writer
8. Jeff Tobin, Associate Managing Editor
9. Al Melchior, Data Analyst
10. Chris Towers, Fantasy Writer
11. Jeff Lippman, Fantasy Writer
12. Jamey Eisenberg, Senior Fantasy Writer

Round by Round
Round 1
Pick Team Player
1 Hurcomb LeBron James, F, MIA
2 Mello Kevin Durant, F, OKC
3 Di Fino Stephen Curry, G, GS
4 Richard James Harden, G, HOU
5 White Chris Paul, G, LAC
6 Polito Josh Smith, F, DET
7 Hartstein Kevin Love, F, MIN
8 Tobin Kyrie Irving, G, CLE
9 Melchior Brandon Jennings, G, DET
10 Towers Paul George, G, IND
11 Lippman Serge Ibaka, F, OKC
12 Eisenberg Derrick Rose, G, CHI
Round 2
Pick Team Player
13 Eisenberg Carmelo Anthony, F, NY
14 Lippman Marc Gasol, C, MEM
15 Towers Al Jefferson, C, CHA
16 Melchior Damian Lillard, G, POR
17 Tobin Dwight Howard, C, HOU
18 Hartstein Anthony Davis, F, NO
19 Polito Monta Ellis, G, DAL
20 White Blake Griffin, F, LAC
21 Richard LaMarcus Aldridge, F, POR
22 Di Fino John Wall, G, WAS
23 Mello Al Horford, C, ATL
24 Hurcomb Deron Williams, G, BKN
Round 3
Pick Team Player
25 Hurcomb DeMarcus Cousins, C, SAC
26 Mello Tim Duncan, F, SA
27 Di Fino Greg Monroe, C, DET
28 Richard Nicolas Batum, F, POR
29 White Pau Gasol, F, LAL
30 Polito Russell Westbrook, G, OKC
31 Hartstein Ty Lawson, G, DEN
32 Tobin Kemba Walker, G, CHA
33 Melchior Roy Hibbert, C, IND
34 Towers Larry Sanders, C, MIL
35 Lippman Mike Conley, G, MEM
36 Eisenberg Paul Millsap, F, ATL
Round 4
Pick Team Player
37 Eisenberg Jrue Holiday, G, NO
38 Lippman Ricky Rubio, G, MIN
39 Towers Dirk Nowitzki, F, DAL
40 Melchior Chandler Parsons, F, HOU
41 Tobin Chris Bosh, F, MIA
42 Hartstein Jeff Teague, G, ATL
43 Polito Andre Iguodala, G, GS
44 White Brook Lopez, C, BKN
45 Richard Joakim Noah, C, CHI
46 Di Fino Evan Turner, G, PHI
47 Mello Dwyane Wade, G, MIA
48 Hurcomb Rudy Gay, F, TOR
Round 5
Pick Team Player
49 Hurcomb Goran Dragic, G, PHO
50 Mello Kyle Lowry, G, TOR
51 Di Fino Jeremy Lin, G, HOU
52 Richard Kawhi Leonard, F, SA
53 White Tony Parker, G, SA
54 Polito Ryan Anderson, F, NO
55 Hartstein David Lee, F, GS
56 Tobin Thaddeus Young, F, PHI
57 Melchior Ersan Ilyasova, F, MIL
58 Towers Eric Bledsoe, G, PHO
59 Lippman Klay Thompson, G, GS
60 Eisenberg Kobe Bryant, G, LAL
Round 6
Pick Team Player
61 Eisenberg JaVale McGee, C, DEN
62 Lippman Nikola Vucevic, C, ORL
63 Towers Gordon Hayward, F, UTA
64 Melchior Derrick Favors, F, UTA
65 Tobin O.J. Mayo, G, MIL
66 Hartstein George Hill, G, IND
67 Polito Andre Drummond, C, DET
68 White Paul Pierce, F, BKN
69 Richard Bradley Beal, G, WAS
70 Di Fino Jeff Green, F, BOS
71 Mello Raymond Felton, G, NY
72 Hurcomb David West, F, IND
Round 7
Pick Team Player
73 Hurcomb Nikola Pekovic, C, MIN
74 Mello Maurice Harkless, F, ORL
75 Di Fino DeMar DeRozan, G, TOR
76 Richard Greivis Vasquez, G, SAC
77 White Jose Calderon, G, DAL
78 Polito Spencer Hawes, C, PHI
79 Hartstein Carlos Boozer, F, CHI
80 Tobin Luol Deng, F, CHI
81 Melchior Michael Carter-Williams, G, PHI
82 Towers Tobias Harris, F, ORL
83 Lippman Amir Johnson, F, TOR
84 Eisenberg DeAndre Jordan, C, LAC
Round 8
Pick Team Player
85 Eisenberg Victor Oladipo, G, ORL
86 Lippman Kevin Martin, G, MIN
87 Towers Zach Randolph, F, MEM
88 Melchior Kenneth Faried, F, DEN
89 Tobin Jameer Nelson, G, ORL
90 Hartstein Tristan Thompson, F, CLE
91 Polito Wilson Chandler, F, DEN
92 White Jonas Valanciunas, C, TOR
93 Richard Marcin Gortat, C, PHO
94 Di Fino Tyreke Evans, G, NO
95 Mello Tyson Chandler, C, NY
96 Hurcomb Trey Burke, G, UTA
Round 9
Pick Team Player
97 Hurcomb Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, F, CHA
98 Mello Arron Afflalo, G, ORL
99 Di Fino Dion Waiters, G, CLE
100 Richard Jimmy Butler, F, CHI
101 White Enes Kanter, C, UTA
102 Polito Kyle Korver, G, ATL
103 Hartstein Joe Johnson, G, BKN
104 Tobin Brandon Knight, G, MIL
105 Melchior Danny Green, G, SA
106 Towers J.R. Smith, G, NY
107 Lippman Danny Granger, F, IND
108 Eisenberg Kevin Garnett, C, BKN
Round 10
Pick Team Player
109 Eisenberg Patrick Beverley, G, HOU
110 Lippman Harrison Barnes, F, GS
111 Towers Steve Nash, G, LAL
112 Melchior Kelly Olynyk, C, BOS
113 Tobin Cody Zeller, C, CHA
114 Hartstein JJ Hickson, F, DEN
115 Polito Jarrett Jack, G, CLE
116 White Eric Gordon, G, NO
117 Richard Rajon Rondo, G, BOS
118 Di Fino Tiago Splitter, F, SA
119 Mello Anderson Varejao, C, CLE
120 Hurcomb Glen Davis, C, ORL
Round 11
Pick Team Player
121 Hurcomb Andrew Bynum, C, CLE
122 Mello Gerald Wallace, F, BOS
123 Di Fino Jamal Crawford, G, LAC
124 Richard Isaiah Thomas, G, SAC
125 White John Henson, F, MIL
126 Polito Ben McLemore, G, SAC
127 Hartstein Gerald Henderson, G, CHA
128 Tobin Nene, F, WAS
129 Melchior Shawn Marion, F, DAL
130 Towers Kevin Seraphin, F, WAS
131 Lippman Iman Shumpert, F, NY
132 Eisenberg Jared Dudley, G, LAC
Round 12
Pick Team Player
133 Eisenberg Danilo Gallinari, F, DEN
134 Lippman Marcus Thornton, G, SAC
135 Towers Andrea Bargnani, F, NY
136 Melchior Nate Robinson, G, DEN
137 Tobin Lou Williams, G, ATL
138 Hartstein Mario Chalmers, G, MIA
139 Polito J.J. Redick, G, LAC
140 White Manu Ginobili, G, SA
141 Richard Wesley Matthews, G, POR
142 Di Fino Robin Lopez, C, POR
143 Mello Reggie Jackson, G, OKC
144 Hurcomb Ramon Sessions, G, CHA
Round 13
Pick Team Player
145 Hurcomb Luis Scola, F, IND
146 Mello Anthony Bennett, F, CLE
147 Di Fino Omer Asik, C, HOU
148 Richard Chris Kaman, C, LAL
149 White Jason Thompson, F, SAC
150 Polito Otto Porter, F, WAS
151 Hartstein Darren Collison, G, LAC
152 Tobin Derrick Williams, F, MIN
153 Melchior Dorell Wright, F, POR
154 Towers Ray Allen, G, MIA
155 Lippman Martell Webster, F, WAS
156 Eisenberg Alec Burks, G, UTA
Round 14
Pick Team Player
157 Eisenberg Andrew Bogut, C, GS
158 Lippman Mo Williams, G, POR
159 Towers Jared Sullinger, F, BOS
160 Melchior Andre Miller, G, DEN
161 Tobin Taj Gibson, F, CHI
162 Hartstein Thomas Robinson, F, POR
163 Polito Bismack Biyombo, C, CHA
164 White Trevor Ariza, F, WAS
165 Richard Rodney Stuckey, G, DET
166 Di Fino Nando De Colo, G, SA
167 Mello CJ McCollum, G, POR
168 Hurcomb Amar'e Stoudemire, C, NY
 
Team by Team
Nando Di Fino
Rd.Pk Player
1.3 Stephen Curry, G, GS
2.10 John Wall, G, WAS
3.3 Greg Monroe, C, DET
4.10 Evan Turner, G, PHI
5.3 Jeremy Lin, G, HOU
6.10 Jeff Green, F, BOS
7.3 DeMar DeRozan, G, TOR
8.10 Tyreke Evans, G, NO
9.3 Dion Waiters, G, CLE
10.10 Tiago Splitter, F, SA
11.3 Jamal Crawford, G, LAC
12.10 Robin Lopez, C, POR
13.3 Omer Asik, C, HOU
14.10 Nando De Colo, G, SA
Jamey Eisenberg
Rd.Pk Player
1.12 Derrick Rose, G, CHI
2.1 Carmelo Anthony, F, NY
3.12 Paul Millsap, F, ATL
4.1 Jrue Holiday, G, NO
5.12 Kobe Bryant, G, LAL
6.1 JaVale McGee, C, DEN
7.12 DeAndre Jordan, C, LAC
8.1 Victor Oladipo, G, ORL
9.12 Kevin Garnett, C, BKN
10.1 Patrick Beverley, G, HOU
11.12 Jared Dudley, G, LAC
12.1 Danilo Gallinari, F, DEN
13.12 Alec Burks, G, UTA
14.1 Andrew Bogut, C, GS
Larry Hartstein
Rd.Pk Player
1.7 Kevin Love, F, MIN
2.6 Anthony Davis, F, NO
3.7 Ty Lawson, G, DEN
4.6 Jeff Teague, G, ATL
5.7 David Lee, F, GS
6.6 George Hill, G, IND
7.7 Carlos Boozer, F, CHI
8.6 Tristan Thompson, F, CLE
9.7 Joe Johnson, G, BKN
10.6 JJ Hickson, F, DEN
11.7 Gerald Henderson, G, CHA
12.6 Mario Chalmers, G, MIA
13.7 Darren Collison, G, LAC
14.6 Thomas Robinson, F, POR
Michael Hurcomb
Rd.Pk Player
1.1 LeBron James, F, MIA
2.12 Deron Williams, G, BKN
3.1 DeMarcus Cousins, C, SAC
4.12 Rudy Gay, F, TOR
5.1 Goran Dragic, G, PHO
6.12 David West, F, IND
7.1 Nikola Pekovic, C, MIN
8.12 Trey Burke, G, UTA
9.1 Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, F, CHA
10.12 Glen Davis, C, ORL
11.1 Andrew Bynum, C, CLE
12.12 Ramon Sessions, G, CHA
13.1 Luis Scola, F, IND
14.12 Amar'e Stoudemire, C, NY
Jeff Lippman
Rd.Pk Player
1.11 Serge Ibaka, F, OKC
2.2 Marc Gasol, C, MEM
3.11 Mike Conley, G, MEM
4.2 Ricky Rubio, G, MIN
5.11 Klay Thompson, G, GS
6.2 Nikola Vucevic, C, ORL
7.11 Amir Johnson, F, TOR
8.2 Kevin Martin, G, MIN
9.11 Danny Granger, F, IND
10.2 Harrison Barnes, F, GS
11.11 Iman Shumpert, F, NY
12.2 Marcus Thornton, G, SAC
13.11 Martell Webster, F, WAS
14.2 Mo Williams, G, POR
Al Melchior
Rd.Pk Player
1.9 Brandon Jennings, G, DET
2.4 Damian Lillard, G, POR
3.9 Roy Hibbert, C, IND
4.4 Chandler Parsons, F, HOU
5.9 Ersan Ilyasova, F, MIL
6.4 Derrick Favors, F, UTA
7.9 Michael Carter-Williams, G, PHI
8.4 Kenneth Faried, F, DEN
9.9 Danny Green, G, SA
10.4 Kelly Olynyk, C, BOS
11.9 Shawn Marion, F, DAL
12.4 Nate Robinson, G, DEN
13.9 Dorell Wright, F, POR
14.4 Andre Miller, G, DEN
Igor Mello
Rd.Pk Player
1.2 Kevin Durant, F, OKC
2.11 Al Horford, C, ATL
3.2 Tim Duncan, F, SA
4.11 Dwyane Wade, G, MIA
5.2 Kyle Lowry, G, TOR
6.11 Raymond Felton, G, NY
7.2 Maurice Harkless, F, ORL
8.11 Tyson Chandler, C, NY
9.2 Arron Afflalo, G, ORL
10.11 Anderson Varejao, C, CLE
11.2 Gerald Wallace, F, BOS
12.11 Reggie Jackson, G, OKC
13.2 Anthony Bennett, F, CLE
14.11 CJ McCollum, G, POR
Joe Polito
Rd.Pk Player
1.6 Josh Smith, F, DET
2.7 Monta Ellis, G, DAL
3.6 Russell Westbrook, G, OKC
4.7 Andre Iguodala, G, GS
5.6 Ryan Anderson, F, NO
6.7 Andre Drummond, C, DET
7.6 Spencer Hawes, C, PHI
8.7 Wilson Chandler, F, DEN
9.6 Kyle Korver, G, ATL
10.7 Jarrett Jack, G, CLE
11.6 Ben McLemore, G, SAC
12.7 J.J. Redick, G, LAC
13.6 Otto Porter, F, WAS
14.7 Bismack Biyombo, C, CHA
Dave Richard
Rd.Pk Player
1.4 James Harden, G, HOU
2.9 LaMarcus Aldridge, F, POR
3.4 Nicolas Batum, F, POR
4.9 Joakim Noah, C, CHI
5.4 Kawhi Leonard, F, SA
6.9 Bradley Beal, G, WAS
7.4 Greivis Vasquez, G, SAC
8.9 Marcin Gortat, C, PHO
9.4 Jimmy Butler, F, CHI
10.9 Rajon Rondo, G, BOS
11.4 Isaiah Thomas, G, SAC
12.9 Wesley Matthews, G, POR
13.4 Chris Kaman, C, LAL
14.9 Rodney Stuckey, G, DET
Jeff Tobin
Rd.Pk Player
1.8 Kyrie Irving, G, CLE
2.5 Dwight Howard, C, HOU
3.8 Kemba Walker, G, CHA
4.5 Chris Bosh, F, MIA
5.8 Thaddeus Young, F, PHI
6.5 O.J. Mayo, G, MIL
7.8 Luol Deng, F, CHI
8.5 Jameer Nelson, G, ORL
9.8 Brandon Knight, G, MIL
10.5 Cody Zeller, C, CHA
11.8 Nene, F, WAS
12.5 Lou Williams, G, ATL
13.8 Derrick Williams, F, MIN
14.5 Taj Gibson, F, CHI
Chris Towers
Rd.Pk Player
1.10 Paul George, G, IND
2.3 Al Jefferson, C, CHA
3.10 Larry Sanders, C, MIL
4.3 Dirk Nowitzki, F, DAL
5.10 Eric Bledsoe, G, PHO
6.3 Gordon Hayward, F, UTA
7.10 Tobias Harris, F, ORL
8.3 Zach Randolph, F, MEM
9.10 J.R. Smith, G, NY
10.3 Steve Nash, G, LAL
11.10 Kevin Seraphin, F, WAS
12.3 Andrea Bargnani, F, NY
13.10 Ray Allen, G, MIA
14.3 Jared Sullinger, F, BOS
Scott White
Rd.Pk Player
1.5 Chris Paul, G, LAC
2.8 Blake Griffin, F, LAC
3.5 Pau Gasol, F, LAL
4.8 Brook Lopez, C, BKN
5.5 Tony Parker, G, SA
6.8 Paul Pierce, F, BKN
7.5 Jose Calderon, G, DAL
8.8 Jonas Valanciunas, C, TOR
9.5 Enes Kanter, C, UTA
10.8 Eric Gordon, G, NO
11.5 John Henson, F, MIL
12.8 Manu Ginobili, G, SA
13.5 Jason Thompson, F, SAC
14.8 Trevor Ariza, F, WAS

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Player News
Omer Asik ready to clean up in return to starting role
by Chris Towers | CBSSports.com
(9/17/2014) Last season was a rough one for Omer Asik, who had to deal with returning to a reserve role after really shining as a starter the previous year. He should be much happier with his role this season, as the Pelicans acquired him this offseason with the intention of installing him as the starting center.

The Pelicans should have a fearsome frontcourt with Asik starting next to Anthony Davis, and Davis' presence should free Asik up to do the kind of work he excels at. Asik isn't a great offensive player, but he can be a dominant offensive rebounder, and should have many chances to clean up the boards with teams keying in on Davis offensively. Among players who have logged at least 5,000 minutes in the NBA, Asik is 22nd all-time in offensive rebounding percentage.

Asik had trouble staying healthy last season, but that was the first time he had ever missed a regular-season game in his career, so we can probably write that off as a fluke. He averaged a double-double with 1.1 blocks per game in 30.0 minutes per game two years ago, and should be capable of similar production as he returns to a starting role.

Asik should be viewed as a starting Fantasy option this season, though he may not have the upside of some other younger centers at this point. 


Tobias Harris' Fantasy value a mystery at this point
by Chris Towers | CBSSports.com
(9/17/2014) Perception is a funny thing. Just ask Magic forward Tobias Harris, who enjoyed by far the most productive season of his career in 2013-14 but was somehow viewed as a Fantasy disappointment.

Part of that stemmed from Harris' issues with availability, as he missed 20 games and got off to a slow start to the season as a result. It really took until January for Harris to find his stride, but he averaged 15.2 points and 7.1 rebounds per game from Jan. 1 on, without missing a contest.

Harris was probably better than the general perception of him a year ago, but the power of expectations hurt him. And now he enters his fourth season as something of a career crossroads, and it is hard to say just how Fantasy owners should approach him this season.

The Magic added Channing Frye and Aaron Gordon to the roster this season, further confusing what was already one of the most crowded frontcourts in the league. Harris can play both forward spots, but he is probably best used as a small-ball power forward; the presence of Frye, one of the league's elite stretch-fours certainly complicates matters for Harris, then.

At just 22, Harris still has a world of potential ahead of him. However, he probably profiles best as a reserve Fantasy option heading into the season, given concerns about his role.   


Hype may be too high for Giannis Antetokounmpo
by Chris Towers | CBSSports.com
(9/17/2014) No matter what he accomplishes in his second NBA season, Bucks forward Giannis Antetokounmpo is likely to be a historical outlier, given his age. The question is, how much of a leap can the now-20-year-old take next season.

Only 15 players in NBA history have logged as many minutes in a single season as a teenager as Antetokounmpo's 1,897, so he is occupying fairly rarified air already. His age is a big part of why he is considered a big-time breakout prospect for Fantasy purposes, but he has a long way to go from a statistical standpoint.

Antetokounmpo was good for a 19-year-old rookie, but his season averages of 6.8 points, 4.4 rebounds and 1.9 assists per game left a lot to be desired. It is easy to dream about a Antetokounmpo taking a big step forward, but that next step is never guaranteed -- for every Anthony Davis there is a Michael Kidd-Gilchrist whose development follows a slower, less linear path. 

Antetokounmpo was very good -- for a 19-year-old. However, Fantasy owners don't get extra points, rebounds or assists if the degree of difficulty is higher, so you are betting on Giannis taking a huge step forward at the age of 20. Antetokounmpo has become something of an internet darling, and his play in Summer League and the FIBA World Cup dominated much of the offseason discussion, which only helped build the hype to potentially unsustainable levels. 

He is a lottery ticket, for sure, but he is one that might not be worth the cost at this point. 


Improved jump shot all Jimmy Butler needs
by Chris Towers | CBSSports.com
(9/17/2014) Bulls guard Jimmy Butler had the breakout season many expected from him a year ago, but there were still plenty of flaws apparent in his game as he finished his third NBA season. With a better team around him, Butler just might have enough help to vault him to stardom.

Butler's jump shot abandoned him last season, especially after a toe injury forced him to miss 11 games in November and December. He was shooting 43.7 percent from the field and 38.5 percent from three-point range prior to the injury, but connected on just 39.3 percent of his shots overall and 27.1 percent from three-point range from that point on.

We can blame Butler's season-long shooting slump on the injury or his increased offensive role, but he should have neither excuse available for him this season. Butler should be healthy, and the Bulls added plenty of offensive firepower this offseason, in the form of Pau Gasol and Doug McDermott, not to mention a hopefully healthy Derrick Rose. Butler took 154 shots off the dribble last season, per Stats.NBA.com, and made just 30.7 percent of them. With a better team around him, Butler should get many more opportunities to shoot with his feet set.

Butler has the skill set to be a tremendously efficient offensive player, given how often he bullies his way to the free-throw line. Last season, Butler filled up the box score extremely well, but his poor shooting limited his Fantasy value somewhat. If a new role helps his efficiency, he could be one of the very best guards in the league in category-based formats. 


Lance Stephenson set for bigger role in new setting
by Chris Towers | CBSSports.com
(9/17/2014) Though there were fits and starts, Lance Stephenson finally began to live up to his considerable promise last season. Now in a new home in Charlotte, will Stephenson take another step forward in 2014-15?

By the end of last season, the Pacers were a mess, and Stephenson caught plenty of the blame for that. Still, he might have been arguably the team's most consistent player throughout the season, averaging between 25.8 and 29.7 Fantasy points per game from before and after the All-Star break as well as the playoffs. For as much of a mess as that team was, Stephenson emerged as something of a rock, at least for Fantasy purposes.

The Hornets are actually built in a somewhat similar way to the Pacers, so there wont' be much of a stylistic shift for Stephenson to get used to. Per MySynergySports.com, 11.8 percent of the then-Bobcats' possessions ended in post-ups, actually down from the 13.2 percent mark the Pacers' posted. Stephenson struggled at times with his post-entry passing, though his off-target feeds might find their mark more often when being lobbed in to the soft hands of Al Jefferson, as opposed to Roy Hibbert.

The Hornets might lean even more heavily on Stephenson than the Pacers did, since Indiana liked to spread the ball around with their starting five. The Hornets, on the other hand, look to be extremely top-heavy, and Stephenson will get plenty of chances to be the second or third option. We have him projected for 29.1 Fantasy points per game, and consider Stephenson a borderline top-50 Fantasy option for this season.  


Move to Houston won't alter Trevor Ariza's trajectory
by Chris Towers | CBSSports.com
(9/17/2014) Trevor Ariza parlayed a career-year into a lucrative free-agency contract with the Rockets this offseason -- stop me if you've heard this story before.

Ariza was largely a disappointment in his first stint with the Rockets, though it did lead him to the best per-game numbers of his career. Still, Ariza was obviously miscast as a primary offensive option the last time he was in Houston, and that won't be a problem this time around.

Ariza joins a Rockets team with two established stars, and will likely spend much of his time trying to fill the departed Chandler Parsons' role. That should suit him nicely, as Ariza has just enough of an off-the-bounce game to serve as the team's third ballhandler when the shot clock gets deep. Ariza attempted 11.1 field-goal attempts per game last season, and should see a boost given Parsons' role; he attempted 13.3 shots per game.

Ariza's improved three-point shot seems legitimate, as he is shooting 38.6 percent from long range over 738 attempts since 2012. However, he will no longer have John Wall feeding him for juicy corner 3-pointers; Wall to Ariza was the league's most productive corner-three combination last season. His shooting numbers may take a hit with his move.

Even acknowledging the loss of Wall's help, we know the Houston offense is set up to get every player the most efficient shots possible, so Ariza shouldn't see much of a dip in his efficiency. His ability to fill up the box score makes him a perfect No. 2 option at forward in category-based leagues, especially now that he is a high-volume shooter. 


Despite new role, don't write off Isaiah Thomas entirely
by Chris Towers | CBSSports.com
(9/17/2014) Suns guard Isaiah Thomas might see one of the biggest dropoffs in his Fantasy value from last season to this, as he joins the crowded Suns' backcourt.

The Suns might have three All-Star caliber guards in the backcourt now, with Thomas likely to backup Goran Dragic and Eric Bledsoe this season. That should put a serious dent in Thomas' value; Thomas finished 13th in Fantasy scoring among guards a year ago, but is projected to finish just 43rd this season.

Still, Thomas is definitely someone you'll want to add to your team when drafting, and almost certainly before the rest of the No. 4-type guards he is grouped with. Thomas is likely to see his numbers fall off from the 20.3 points and 6.3 assists he averaged a year ago, at least at first. However, it wouldn't be a surprise to see him end up starting upwards of 25 games throughout the year, given Bledsoe's injury-proneness. Bledsoe has missed at least 25 games in two of the last three seasons for knee issues.

Thomas probably profiles as more of a bench option for Fantasy purposes next season, but you'll be targeting him much earlier than nearly any other reserve. His upside as a handcuff option for either Bledsoe or Dragic is sky-high, and will make him well worth your attention on Draft Day. 


Eric Gordon cleared for contact
by Chris Towers | CBSSports.com
(9/17/2014) Pelicans guard Eric Gordon has been cleared to take part in full-contact offseason drills ahead of training camp, The Times-Picayune reports.

Gordon underwent season-ending knee surgery last April, but is expected to be ready for the start of the regular season. 


Jrue Holiday cleared for contact ahead of camp
by Chris Towers | CBSSports.com
(9/17/2014) Pelicans guard Jrue Holiday was able to participate in full-contact offseason drills last week, the first time he has done so since undergoing season-ending surgery last January.

"Getting out playing has been a joy," Holiday told The Times-Picayune. "I've been running and jumping and stuff, but getting my rhythm back on the court is definitely a big thing right now for me."

The Pelicans open training camp Sept. 30, and Holiday is not expected to have any limitations as the team prepares for the start of the season. Holiday averaged 14.3 points, 7.9 assists and 1.6 steals per game last season prior to the injury.


Kent Bazemore focused on conditioning in recovery
by Chris Towers | CBSSports.com
(9/17/2014) Newly signed Hawks guard Kent Bazemore did not pick up a basketball until August, preferring to focus on conditioning in his recovery from foot surgery in April.

"I think the injury was definitely a blessing," he told the Daily Press, "because I was able to step away from the game of basketball. I took myself out of my element all summer. I did stuff I'm not used to doing."

Bazemore signed a two-year deal with the Hawks this offseason, and is expected to compete for playing time on the wing immediately, as he is fully recovered from the surgery. 


 
 
 
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