Jul 3, 2012 Shooting Guard Updates
The Houston Rockets selected shooting guard Jeremy Lamb with the twelfth pick in the 2012 NBA Draft.
Lamb’s career stats at Connecticut:
75 Games, 14.1 points, 4.7 rebounds, 1.7 assists, 1.0 steals, 48.1 FG%, 80.5 FT%
Fantasy Advice: The Rockets recently traded Chase Budinger and the only real threat at small forward is Chandler Parsons. While Lamb is probably more of a shooting guard type player, if he can adjust quickly he should be able to carve out some nice minutes in a platoon with Parsons, much like Budinger did last season. He’s 6’5, but he’s got a 6’11 wingspan which should help him if the Rockets decide to give him some run at small forward in a small lineup. It’s really his only hope of getting solid minutes since the Rockets still have Kevin Martin full time at shooting guard.
Lamb is a great offensive threat with an excellent shot. He managed to hit 60% of his two point shots last season. He’s got a good three point shot too and he can stroke it from well outside the three point line, but he’s going to have to keep working on it to develop into elite status. He attempted 6.2 threes per game last season, but only hit them at a 33.6% rate. He’s a solid career free throw shooter at 80.5%.
As we get further down the list of the players drafted in 2012, it gets much more difficult to make early fantasy predictions. It does appear that Houston is going with youth, so anything is possible for Lamb this season. Keep an eye on summer league and training camp to get a feel for his role.
Jul 3, 2012 Center Updates
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.
Jul 3, 2012 Point Guard Updates
The New Orleans Hornets selected guard Austin Rivers with the tenth pick in the 2012 NBA Draft.
Rivers’ career stats at Duke:
34 Games, 15.5 points, 2.1 assists, 3.4 rebounds, 1.0 steals, 43.3 FG%, 65.8 FT%
Fantasy Advice: Austin Rivers is the son of Celtics coach Doc Rivers and many people believe that much of his hype was based on name alone. While some of that may be true, the guy still has a pretty solid set of skills. He is a dynamic scorer who can create his own offense off the dribble and works best with the ball in his hands.
He’s primarily a shooting guard, but that spot is already covered in New Orleans by Eric Gordon. Rivers will either have to work hard at developing his playmaking skills to pick up minutes at point guard or he’s going to be more of a sixth man type player.
The book on Rivers is that he’s a mediocre jumpshooter and doesn’t play much defense. The Hornets eventually hope to convert him into a point guard, but he had more turnovers than assists in his year at Duke, so it remains to be seen if this will happen. Rivers does have a good handle and can take it to the basket with the best of them, but if defenses play off him and force him to rely on his jumpshot, he’s going to be in trouble. He’s also got a bit of a weakness with his free throw shooting, only managing about 65%.
Rivers’ fantasy value solely depends on what the Hornets decide to do with Jarrett Jack and whether or not they feel comfortable moving Rivers into the point guard spot. My guess is that he comes off the bench and has a hard time picking up the offense in his first year at the NBA level, which pretty much makes him a late round fantasy flier.
Jul 2, 2012 Center Updates
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.
Jul 2, 2012 Shooting Guard Updates
The Toronto Raptors selected SG Terrence Ross with the eighth pick in the 2012 NBA draft.
Ross’ career stats at Washington:
69 Games, 12.3 points, 4.7 rebounds, .9 steals, .7 blocks, 45.2 FG%, 76.3 FT%
Fantasy Advice: Terrence Ross was a surprise pick by the Raptors at number eight, especially with Austin Rivers still on the board. I’m not sure what the Raptors see in Ross, but there must be something.
Ross has a good three point shot, launching 5.5 per game last season and hitting 37.1% of them. Whether or not he can consistently get to the basket remains to be seen. His defensive stats of .9 blocks and 1.4 steals per game are fairly impressive and point to a well rounded fantasy asset. He also showed good rebounding ability with 6.4 a game last season. He pretty much amounts to what most fantasy owners describe as a typical ‘three and D’ type player. He’ll play some tough defense and be asked to hit the occasional three pointer, which isn’t the type of player most fantasy owners are looking for.
He’s a pretty solid athlete at 6’7, 200 pounds with 3% body fat. He also put on a show with a 38 inch vertical.
Ross is going to be a fantasy wildcard in Toronto, so his final draft position will depend on training camp and how the Raptors handle the other small forward/shooting guard competitors on the roster during free agency. They still have DeMar DeRozan at SG and it’s going to be pretty difficult to start Ross over DeMar, so it could be tough to find many minutes initially for Ross.