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Thursday August 24, 2006 3:22 am

Dropping Dimes Draft Blog: Round 1, Pick 11

Yao Ming taking it to the rack!Yao Ming, C, Houston Rockets

Scott brought up some good points with his 10th overall pick of Chris Paul.  In particular how he was thinking about drafting Yao Ming, but was worried about his health.  Well, while I can understand Scott’s feelings, I gotta go with mine and take Yao here at 11, especially considering that this is a league where we have to start dos grande hombres.  That is to say, a pair of centers.

As far as Yao’s health concerns, let’s take a look at it. 

Last season, Yao missed 21 games of the season in the months of December and January because of a toe infection… a toe infection.  So, it’s not like he tore his ACL or broke his left foot or something… oops, I’ll get to that later.  So, a freak type of incident - a toe infection - sidelined Yao.  And I don’t even want to know how that happened!  What was he, dating Paris Hilton or something?  Anyway, how did Yao come back in February?

STRONG!

In the month of February, he averaged 21.7 ppg and 11.4 rpg.  Not a bad way to come back, right?  But, wait!  March was even better, when Yao averaged 27.6 ppg and 11.0 rpg.  And before succumbing to a broken left foot (couldn’t he have borrowed Daniel Day Lewis’… okay, you only get that reference if you’re 30 years old or older), in six games Yao averaged 20.3 ppg and 10.2 rpg.

For the season, in 57 games, Yao did a Costanza and double dipped to the tune of 22.3 ppg and 10.2 rpg.  How many Centers can boast those numbers?  Okay, a few players have that potential (and by few, I’m including players that qualify fantasy-wise at the position), but can they also shoot 51.9% from the field AND 85.3% from the line?  Mr. O’Neal and Mr. Duncan, you can only wish to have that free-throw percentage.

On top of the 20/10 potential and the excellent shooting percentages, Yao can block some shots.  I mean, if you’re 7’6”, you have to be able to reject the ball, right?  He averaged 1.7 get that shiznit out of here’s last season and has a career 1.9 bpg average. Granted, it’s not a devastating average, but getting a couple per game ain’t nothing to complain about.

So, all these great numbers, but the health concerns are still an issue.

Well, I’ll submit this for your consideration.  In Yao’s three previous seasons, he played 82 games his rookie year, 82 his sophomore season, and 80 in his third.  So, he’s not someone you should necessarily consider an injury risk.  Plus, look and see what Yao is doing in the World Championships currently.  Go ahead, I’ll wait…

That’s right, he’s basically doing what he did before the broken foot… he’s breaking down defenses and doing a 20/10.  I don’t think it’s out of the question to expect these numbers for the upcoming NBA season.  So, draft like Underdog is right next to you and have no fear in drafting Yao in the first round, especially at the latter end.

Next up, Pick 12!

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