Lavoy Allen to Start at Center While Bynum Is Out

John Finger of reports that Lavoy Allen will start at center and Thaddeus Young will start at power forward while Andrew Bynum continues to heal.

Source: – Allen, Young to start if Bynum not ready

Fantasy Analysis:  Up until now, Lavoy Allen had been buried on the depth chart and was nothing more than waiver wire material, but it seems like the staff still has confidence in him, which makes him a decent late round flier.  Nobody really knows how much time Bynum is going to miss, but the Sixers would be wise to control his minutes throughout the season, which should leave plenty of scrap minutes for Allen to gain value and continue to show his skills.

The real loser here is Spencer Hawes.  I have Hawes as a late round grab, but his worth seems to hinge on Bynum’s health.  I’d bump Hawes down a little.

Thaddeus Young should also get a boost with this news.  Young has been nothing more than a last round flier.  He has the talent but he just needs minutes.

The forgotten man in this situation is Kwame Brown.  He’s still dealing with a calf strain, but once he heals he could be the better option to start at center, which would probably send Allen back down the depth chart.

Honestly though, I can’t really see putting too much fantasy faith in any of these guys.  If I had to pick one to take a flier on it would probably be Thaddeus Young.

Jonas Valanciunas – What Is His Fantasy Value?

The Toronto Raptors drafted Jonas Valanciunas with the 5th pick in the 2011 NBA draft and then stashed him away in Lithuania for the 2011-2012 season.  Toronto currently has him penciled in as their starting center this season with Andrea Bargnani moving to power forward.

I’ve been reading the hype on Valanciunas, but after watching some of his YouTube clips it seems like he’s being a bit overrated.  The first thing that jumps out after watching him is how thin he is for a seven footer.  In this clip, Pau Gasol is posting him up and the size difference between the players is very noticeable.  Pau Gasol is only listed at 250 pounds and it looks like he’s got Valanciunas by at least 30 pounds, maybe more.  Here’s Serge Ibaka posting up on Valanciunas.  Ibaka is listed at 235 and still looks to have 15-20 pounds on Valanciunas.

I just don’t think Valanciunas is going to be able to stay on the court as a starter in the NBA until he puts on some muscle.  He’s going to continually get into foul trouble trying to guard bigger centers and when he’s on the bench, he isn’t scoring points for your fantasy team.

While his defense and rebounding will be poor, he does have some good offensive ability as seen in this video.  After watching that, it strikes me that he’s more cut out to be a stretch four type player rather than a center.  It wouldn’t surprise me if the Raptors kept Bargnani at center and moved Valanciunas to power forward.

The real problem with drafting Valanciunas is that most owners want blocks and rebounds from their center position, which aren’t Valanciunas’s strong points.  He’s going to be more in the Brook Lopez, Andrea Bargnani type mold, which isn’t a horrible thing if you are building your team and only want an offensive center.  At best, I think that Valanciunas is a weak second center in a deep two center league, but probably nothing more than bench depth on a fantasy team until he’s had some time to adjust to the size and speed of the NBA.

NBA Rookie Draft Ranking and Fantasy Outlook: Meyers Leonard

The Portland Trail Blazers selected center Meyers Leonard with the eleventh pick in the 2012 NBA draft.

Leonard’s career stats at Illinois:

65 Games, 7.7 points, 4.7 rebounds, 1.1 blocks, 56.7 FG%, 72.9 FT%

Fantasy Advice:  The most important quality Leonard possesses is his size, 7’1, 245 pounds with just 5.7% body fat.  He’s got a standing reach of 9’0 and a wingspan of 7’3.  He’s actually ended up in a situation in Portland where he can get some early minutes and work his way into a starting job.

On the human side, Leonard lost his father at a young age and was raised by his mother, who has some fairly serious health problems herself.  His only other close family is his older brother who’s done a couple tours of duty in Afghanistan with the Marines.  Leonard grew up poor in a small town and might have a pretty serious drive to succeed in the pros.

Even though he’s got size, he’s also got some mobility and quickness, as well as a pretty decent jumpshot and incredible leaping ability.  He’s got decent footwork which should provide a solid base to develop an offensive game.  His most valuable fantasy asset early should be his shotblocking ability.

Leonard is one of those guys that I watch the highlight videos and wonder how he could have fallen so far in the draft.  I think most of it might have simply been the fact that everyone else was looking for guard help rather than needing a center.  Leonard could be one of those special cases of a big man that develops a well rounded game, and possibly does it quickly.  I think he could be a decent draft day gamble and a must draft in keeper leagues.


NBA Rookie Draft Ranking and Fantasy Outlook: Andre Drummond

The Detroit Pistons selected PF/C Andre Drummond with the ninth pick in the 2012 NBA Draft.

Drummond’s career stats at Connecticut:

34 Games, 10.0 points, 7.6 rebounds, 2.7 blocks, .8 steals, 53.8 FG%, 29.5 FT%

Fantasy Advice:  The Pistons got really lucky when 18 year old Andre Drummond fell all the way to the ninth pick in the 2012 draft.  He’s a huge kid at 6’11, 280 pounds, but he checks in at only 7% body fat.  He’s got a monstrous  7’6 wingspan.  He’s going to be a defensive force paired with the talented Greg Monroe to form a pretty strong Piston frontcourt.

While Drummond clearly has the skills and physical attributes, the one concern that scouts seem to have is about his mental toughness and motivation, but remember he’s still just 18 years old.  Many critics said the same thing about DeMarcus Cousins and look how he turned out.

One thing that could really hold Drummond back is that 29.5 FT%.  That’s just incredibly bad, but there’s no reason to think that he can’t at least get it up toward 50%.  If he does develop an offensive game, this will have to be the first thing that he improves or opponents will simply resort to hacking him and killing your free throw percentage category.

Fantasy owners will seek out Drummond for his shotblocking and rebounding ability.  He’s clearly a bit of an offensive project, so don’t expect that part of his game to help your fantasy squad for a few years.  Drummond probably won’t contribute enough across the board to make him anything more than a late round flier, however keeper league owners should definitely try and find him a spot somewhere on their bench or reserve list since big men sometimes a take a year or two to find their place.

Lakers Pick Up Andrew Bynum’s 2012-2013 Option

The Los Angeles Lakers have picked up the 2012-2013 option on Center Andrew Bynum.  (Chicago Tribune)

Fantasy Advice:  Bynum has improved himself into one of the top fantasy centers in the game and should only get better if he can stay healthy.  His ultimate fantasy value this season will depend a lot on what the Lakers decide to do with Pau Gasol, but it could also be affected by a possible trade.   There were several Magic-Lakers rumors last season and you know the Lakers always have something up their sleeve.  At this point though, it looks like Bynum will be a Laker.