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Saturday August 26, 2006 10:03 am

Dropping Dimes Draft Blog: Round 2, Pick 2

DescriptionRound 2, Pick 2: Andrei Kirilenko, SF/PF, Utah Jazz

Can we all say it together?  C’mon, only because we all know it:

Andrei Kirilenko is a first round talent, but there are some questions that only fantasy hoops drafters with ca-jo-nees the size of Ryan Seacrest’s ability to annoy will ignore and take Kirilenko as an answer for their team.

Okay, so I’m assuming that you think that Seacrest is annoying too (please, yes, just be out… from my presence and from the closet), but is there anyone on this earth that will admit he isn’t?  Anyway, as I mentioned, AK47 is a first round talent, but there are injury concerns that will sway a person to not draft Kirilenko in the first round because, usually, you want your first rounder to have as little question as possible.  So, getting Kirilenko here in the second round is a gamble, but not as big as if I took him in the first. 

With a plethora of perfectly durable players still on the board, is Kirilenko worth it?

The Not So Good Analysis…

Well, yeah, of course.  Otherwise I wouldn’t have drafted him, right?  But remember, it’s just my opinion.  And before I start talking about all the positives, let’s get the injury question out of the way.  Kirilenko has played five seasons in the league.  His first three seasons (‘02-’04), Kirilenko played 82, 80, and 78 games, respectively.  But then his next two campaigns are marred by AK47 shooting blanks.  In the ‘04-’05 season, Kirilenko only played half a season, missing 41 games thanks to a sprained right MCL suffered a month into the season, a sprained right ankle, and a broken left wrist during the year.  Last season (‘05-’06), AK47 missed 13 games because of an ankle sprain and a couple of bouts with back spasms. 

So, is Kirilenko an injury risk?  Let’s be honest, what player isn’t in this game that we all love so much?  Especially, for those players that fight down low in the box.  It can get uglier than one of those wedding dress sales where there is a potential catfight with every grab of a gown.  But, straight up, do I think he’ll get injured again?  Yes, I do because that seems the way of the world.  BUT, if he can get me close to 70 games played (he did play 69 last season), especially in a ROTO league, I’m taking it!  Why?  Well, let me talk the positives.

In Ain’t Quite The Bible, But It’s Still Good News Analysis!

The boy can straight up reject balls like he’s Jessica Alba turning down date requests by the four of us here at DroppingDimes.com!  While Kirilenko isn’t averaging eight get that shiznit out of heres, he gets busy enough to have a 2.6 bpg career average and a 3.25 bpg average the past two seasons combined!  In fact, in the ‘04-’05 season, he led the NBA in bpg at 3.3.  Last season, he led the league in total blocks (220) and was second in bpg average at 3.2.  Want a guy who can almost single-handedly win you a category?  AK47 is the man.

But, wait!  That’s not all.  If you buy now, you’ll also get a free gift of steals!  Yes, steals!  Our product, Andrei Kirilenko, not only slices and dices basketballs, but he can swipe them too!  A career 1.6 spg average is something you’d like to have, wouldn’t you?  If so, hurry now and order your Andrei Kirilenko!  BEFORE HE’S ALL SOLD OUT!

Okay, I apologize.  I’m writing this up right now at a time when they only show infomercials on television.  However, despite my bad habit of writing and watching television at the same time, AK47 is an obvious defensive dynamo and making up ground in the defensive categories is a tricky thing.  It’s not as easy to accumulate them as say, points or rebounds.

Speaking of points, Kirilenko can score at a decent clip – about 16 ppg the last three seasons.  So, he’s not only a defensive player, but he can put the ball in the basket as well.  He’ll even contribute a bit in the 3-pointers made category, but just a bit.  The “problem” is that Kirilenko isn’t really used much offensively, getting too limited an amount of looks at the basket to ever become a serious scoring threat.  But, consider in the aforementioned last three seasons he’s only averaged about 11 shots per game, and you have to wonder how Kirilenko does it… oh, and why Jerry Sloan isn’t calling more plays for the man.  Anyway, Kirilenko has the potential to be a double digit rebounder as well, but probably gets out of position so much when he tries to block shots.  Plus add in the presence of Mehmut Okur and Carlos Boozer, and there won’t be too many more boards to go around.  However, I’d look for him to grab at least 8 per game this upcoming season.

Now, here’s what I like about Kirilenko – he drops dem dimes!  In each of his five seasons, Kirilenko has increased his assists output from season-to-season, topping out at an impressive 4.3 apg last season.  So, this is partly to blame for AK47 not shooting as much as you would think with a nickame referencing a gun.  In any case, getting production like that in the assists category from a PF is like finding an extra packet of honey mustard sauce in your McDonald’s bag… more for the fries after the nuggets!

How He Fits On This Fantasy Basketball Team

Adding AK47 to Yao Ming almost guarantees that I’ll be somewhere at the top of the blocks category in a ROTO league and having an excellent chance of winning it from week-to-week.  Both shoot well from the floor, and even though Kirilenko is slipping in the FT%, he does have a 76.4% average for his career from the charity stripe.  Of course, Yao shoots a very good percentage from there, especially as a big man.  The only real deficiency I see for my team thus far is not having a solid point or someone that can hit threes at a substantial pace, but it’s only the second round, so any needs will be addressed later on in the draft.

But, I’m really happy with Yao and AK47 forming a great (I didn’t say decent or good, I said – great!) frontline for this particular fantasy basketball team.  Yes, I know they both have to stay healthy for me to reap any benefits, but these high risk/high reward choices will prove to be very formidable if they can play most of the season at least.

Other Team Members

1.11. Yao Ming, C, Houston Rockets

Final Assessment

So, if you have a pair of ca-jo-nees like I do, show them off, draft Kirilenko, and ask Jessica Alba on a date.  It could be worse… you can get rejected by Jessica Obese.

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