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Fantasy Basketball: Sixers edition

DISCLAIMER: Some of these posts may look familiar to the loyal readers from Sixersoul. You are not crazy. These posts were taken from my old site, edited and added to Liberty Ballers. This helps us avoid starting with a blank blog and it also gives any new readers a chance to accommodate themselves with the writing, so they know what to expect at Liberty Ballers. If you've read this before, bare with me. The posts will be brand new after these first 3-4 posts.

Fantasy basketball. It's where the Henderson Bumholes reside. It's where three months of research doesn't help. It's where a certain someone always takes Samuel Dalembert three rounds too early. It's where setting your alarm for two in the morning, to see if a player cleared waivers happens. It's where "my sleeper is better than your sleeper" happens. It's where losing a championship by one steal happens.

Fantasy basketball is must for any die-hard NBA fan. I was invited to join a league my freshman year in high school and life as I knew it, changed forever. For better or worse, fantasy has always been there. I prepare for months. I participate in numerous mock drafts. I work the waiver wire, and I tally up stats on Sunday nights to see if I pulled out the victory. Although we're still 24 days from opening night (thank god for football and fresh prince re-runs), it's never too early to break down the upcoming season, fantasy-style. Since this isn't a fantasy blog, we'll just be looking at the Sixers, and what to expect fantasy-wise. As the season gets closer, I'd be happy to do a brief fantasy preview (something like top 100 rankings and sleepers) for the entire league, as long as the that's what the majority of my 5 readers want.

Anyway, here's what to expect from our beloved Sixers.

Andre Miller:

'Dre miller. He's always been undervalued; in both fantasy and real-life. In most drafts, he always goes later than he should (see list below) because he isn't a standout in some of the "sexy" categories like points, threes and steals. To be completely honest, I wasn't drinking his Kool-Aid until I started watching him on a nightly basis. I always passed on him in drafts because I thought; he was ugly, overweight, old and could only get you assists. Then last year, when I found myself with Leo Barbosa as my lone point guard after ten rounds, I had to take Miller. Well, he ended up having a horrible start (13 points, 3.9 assists on 45% through 10 games), so I dropped him and he helped another team make the championship. I dropped him for Lou-Will, by the way. Lou is a way cooler player, but it was a bonehead move. Rick Kamla, your still my boy, but that's the last time I ever listen to your advice.

Here are the questionable point guards that were selected before 'Dre:

T.J. Ford-Can he stay healthy? Plus, he has a capable Jarret Jack behind him.
Stephon Marubury-Stephon shouldn't even be drafted.
Raymond Felton-Felton might put up similar numbers to Miller. The difference will be, more turnovers, a huge drop in FG% and a ton more 3's. While Felton is still improving, he'll have to continuously look over his shoulder for rookie D.J. Augistine.
Jason Terry-
First of all, Terry probably might not be eligible at the one guard this season since he'll start at the two with J-Kidd at the one. If he is and you’re faced with choosing Terry or Miller, it will come down to your team's need. Terry will score more than Miller, turn the ball over less and hit quite a few more threes. If that's what you need take Terry, but in fantasy threes are a lot easier to come by than assists, so Miller would get the slight edge.
Randy Foye-
Foye could be a breakout candidate and his numbers should be similar, or slightly better than Terry’s. Again it’s about need. Does you need assists and high FG% from your point guard or threes and points? Like I said before, it’s much harder to find a point guard who shoots a high percentage and dishes out 8+ dimes a game than a guy who scores 15 points and hits 2 threes.
Mike Bibby-
Bibby quietly came on at the end of last season, but the Vin Disiel look-a-like is past his prime.
Kirk Hinrich-Two words. Derrick Rose.

If you’re in a nine category league, Miller only hurts you in one category (threes) and is above average in three of the nine. He's a better option than any of the guys listed above, considering Miller was only one of five point guards last season to have 6.9+ assists and shoot at least 49% from the field. The other four were, Chris Paul, Deron Williams, Jose Calderon and Steve Nash. Meanwhile; how many players had 1+ threes and 10+ points per game? 19.

08-09 projection
: 14 points, 4 rebounds, 8 assists, 48% shooting.

Andre Iguodala:

He's an absoulete stud, but I never seem to get him on my team. It's not that I don't like him, because I love him in both fantasy and real life, but he has yet to fall to me in a fantasy draft. Iggy should be considered a top 25 fantasy player in all leagues, especially with rumors of an improved jumpshot and a more balanced offense. I'd say he's the fourth, yes fourth best shooting guard from a fantasy standpoint. The three above him are Kobe, Wade and Danny Granger. That's an interesting top four, but look at the stats. Iguodala is a poor man's LeBron.

08-09 projection: 21 points, 5 assists, 5 rebounds, 2 steals, 1.5 threes on 47% shooting.

Thaddeus Young:
Thad should only be considered in deep leagues. He won't do anything special numbers wise. He'll have solid FG% and a couple of steals, but there's not enough points to go around on this team for him to score on a consistent basis. The good thing about Thad is, he won't hurt you in any category. So, if your looking for someone to provide solid numbers in a couple of categories, he's worth a late round pick. I think his ceiling is 13-14 points per game and there are just too many guys just like that on the waiver wire. The one exception that would make Thad "draftable" in your league is if you're in a Roto league, in need of steals and FG%.
Update: Alright guys, after watching the first pre-season game, I've changed my tune on Thad. I think like Lou, Thad is a must draft in the later rounds. He looks like a whole different player. If you are in a really shallow league, it's cool if you don't draft him, but it's inexcusable to not have him on your "watch list" for the beginning of the season. I expect him to be owned in every league by game 15.

08-09 projection: 10 points, 5 rebounds, 1.5 steals on 53% shooting.

Elton Brand:
This one is tough. Brand was a first round pick (or at least a first-round value) before his injury. He had a 24-10-2 year not to long ago and is very similar to Carlos Lee in baseball; you can draft Elton, then write down 20-10-2 next to his name as long as he's healthy. He shoots free throws much better than the likes of Dwight Howard and Tim Duncan and his FG% is always stellar. Health is one of the issues I have with Brand. I hate taking players coming off a major injury, especially in the first round, but that's just me. I've been burned by it a couple times by not taking other limping big men like Amare, coming off knee surgery and Pau Gasol, coming off a broken foot. Both averaged 20-10 in their respective seasons and did it at the most opportune time. The fantasy playoffs. It's high-risk, high-reward because you could also land someone like D-Wade or Gilbert, who killed their fantasy oweners last season. I'm about 95% sure Elton will be fine, but with my first round pick, I'd rather be 100%.

08-09 Projection: 20 points, 10 rebounds, 2 blocks on 50% shooting. (Way to go out on a limb Jordan.)

Sammy D: 
My main man. I once gave every player on the Henderson Bumholes a nickname and unfortunately, Sam got stuck with "SAM BAM". My first choice was Sam I Am, but my buddy Jason reminded me that was already taken by everyone's favorite alien, Sam Cassell. Sam became such an important part of my team with his 8 points a game. I loved the dude so much, I bought my first "I wonder how many people will know who this is" jersey. It was an awesome feeling when I wore it to school and everybody asked me, "who's dal-em-bert?" (I bought a Lou-Will jersey prior to last season, so he joined Sammy in the elite club. Anyway, enough with my man-crush on Dalembert.

Sam's an interesting fantasy player this year. He's coming off his best and most consistent year as a pro. In Yahoo! formats he was the 44th ranked player! That would make him a fifth round pick in a 10-team league. Unfortunately, even I won't take him that early. I do feel he's being slightly shafted in the rankings however. The Yahoo "experts" have him ranked as the 23rd center and ESPN has him at 29; which is ridiculous. The key in fantasy is to load up on those "rare" categories like blocks, steals and 3's. All the other categories will have plenty to go around. Sammy was one of only four players to get at least 175 blocks last year. Not to mention the fact that he's good for around 10 points, 10 rebounds, good FG% and unlike D12, Shaq, Bogut, Big Ben and all them, he won't kill you in free throw percentage. He was the 10th ranked (Yahoo) fantasy center last season, so draft accordingly.

08-09 projection: 9 points, 11 boards, 3 blocks

Sleeper-Lou Williams:
If you like Leo Barbosa's fantasy numbers, you should like Lou's. Barbosa will double Lou's three-pointers and shoot much percentages, so I'm not saying they have equal value, but Lou is very capable of contributing to your team. Here is the comparison.

Barbosa: 16 points, 3 assists, 3 rebounds, 164 threes, 1 steal on 46% shooting and 82% from the line
Williams: 12 points, 3 assists, 2 boards, 55 threes, 1 steal on 42% shooting and 78% from the line

So instead of taking Barbosa 49th overall (ESPN ranking), you can take Williams much later. And minus the threes and a couple percentage points, you have a poor man's Barbosa at pick 159 (ESPN). I'd definitely recommend selecting Lou with your last pick. He looked legit in the first pre-season game. The way he carries himself on the court is very impressive. You can feel the confidence oozing off of him.

08-09 projection: 13 points, 4 assists, 3 rebounds, 100 threes, 1 steal on 44% shooting and 80% from the line.

There you have it. Happy drafts and take at least one Sixer, please.

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