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Sunday August 23, 2009 12:53 pm

One Man Mock Draft, Fantasy NBA 2009: Round 1, Pick 8

Posted by Alvin Lai Categories: Fantasy, NBA,

Dirk Nowitzki

Only a few years ago, Dirk and Kevin Garnett led off the top of each fantasy draft. Back then Dirk was eligible at center for fantasy teams, which made him a truly unique player. Very few centers in the league could rain buckets like Dirk as he shot the lights out from everywhere and he could drop the moneyball.

Fast forward to the present and Dirk still does his thing, game-in and game-out.  His draft stock continues to trickle down towards the end of the first round, to the point that he now represents underrated value.

Round 1, Pick 8: Dirk Nowitzki, PF, Dallas Mavericks

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Here are the numbers and ranks for Dirk from last season.

Field Goal Percentage: 0.479 (43th)
Free Throw Percentage: 0.890 (7th)
Three-pointers made: 61 (0.8 per game) (119th)
Points: 25.9 (4th)
Rebounds: 8.4 (16th)
Assists: 2.4 (72nd)
Steals: 0.75 (89th)
Blocks: 0.78 (40th)
Turnovers: 1.94 (56th)

Since his rookie year, Dirk has logged less than 75 games in a season… never. The “D” in his name stands for durability. He can still drop more than 25 points a game on opposing teams; check his record, 22 ppg would be a down year for him, but a career year for the large majority of the league.  He’s not the long-range threat he once was, but compared to fellow power forwards, the moneyballs he does drop remain a sneaky asset in fantasy ball. Danny Granger was described as a one-one-one player, and Dirk checks in at about a 20% discount, averaging about 0.8 of each per game last year. The percentages remain sparkling and unlike every player drafted thus far, Dirk keeps the turnovers down.

There are a few center-eligible power forwards sure to be drafted at the end of the first and beginning of the second rounds, but they all pack heavy injury baggage. Amar’e Stoudemire, Chris Bosh, and Al Jefferson all play a mean game,

when they are healthy.

Amar’e and CB4 will play this season motivated to score a big contract in 2010. Al Jeff is coming back from ACL surgery and the word this summer has been good. They all have to prove they can string together a few stellar seasons in a row before they get more props than Dirk in fantasy circles. Deron Williams is out there too, but I would suggest his three-point shooting and steal numbers need to increase a little more before he can jump ahead of Dirk in drafts.

To use a golf analogy, Dirk is the drive you exert 90% power on to ensure the ball lands in the middle of the fairway. The prime position from the short grass allows you to aim aggressively at the flag, i.e. knowing Dirk will play almost every game for you allows you to take a few fliers later on in the draft. Perhaps not the most exciting way to start off your draft, but my experience is that fantasy teams led by Dirk tend to make the playoffs in head-to-head leagues.



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