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Monday August 24, 2009 1:20 pm

One Man Mock Draft: Fantasy NBA 2009: Round 1, Pick 9




Posted by Alvin Lai Categories: Athletes, Fantasy, NBA,

Amar'e

I act as a one-man army for this draft, but it would be neglectful to ignore identifiable mock draft trends that have materialized this summer. This player had follow-up surgery less than two months ago, and only stepped back onto the court last week, but a jaunt around the web reveals that his name is getting read towards the middle-end of the first round. He will be wearing new goggles for the upcoming season. Will drafting him have you seeing double? Or does he reward you by having a great season that vault him back into the conversation of top five fantasy players in the league today?

Round 1, Pick 9: Amar’e Stoudemire, PF/C, Phoenix Suns

Here are the numbers and league ranks for Amar’e last season. He only played 53 times in 2008-09 and thus did not qualify for ranking in most of the categories. Double-asterisks are used to designate where his average production would have ranked had he played in enough games.

Field Goal Percentage: 0.539 (9th)
Free Throw Percentage: 0.835 (38th)
Three-pointers made: 3 (did not significantly rank)
Points: 21.4 (*13th*)
Rebounds: 8.1 (*20th*)
Assists: 2.0 (*86th*)
Steals: 0.9 (*69th*)
Blocks: 1.1 (*24th*)
Turnovers: 2.83 (*13th*)

Consider Amar’e a fantasy bust last year, and not just because he missed 29 games. The Suns slowed down their pace of play last year to the benefit of Shaquille O’Neal, but to the statistical detriment of everyone else on the team. The word on the street is that the franchise plans on a return to the fast-paced style they patented earlier this decade. Steve Nash decided to give up his class of 2010 free-agent status and it looks like he will finish his career as a Sun. Shaq will try to play second-fiddle to LeBron on the Cleveland Cavaliers this year. All of these factors point to “STAT” having a bounce-back season.

The big question mark around Amar’e remains his health. At least it is not his knee and his history of microfracture surgery. If your league holds its draft early, the safe play is to pass on Amar’e. Should he stay healthy and put on a season comparable to two years ago, he will easily outperform his average draft season. Yet, the various injuries have come too often not to be called a trend. Therefore, look for news out of Phoenix and monitor his play over the preseason before you make the big investment.

Who else could you take here? When they are all at their best, most fantasy owners would prefer Amar’e over the likes of Chris Bosh and Al Jefferson. Those two big men have dealt with injuries over the course of their careers as well. Therefore if you cannot make the move for Amar’e, your gaze will likely drift towards two guards, Deron Williams and Brandon Roy. I suppose Pau Gasol merits some consideration, but his stat line resembles more of a “does not hurt you in any category” type ideal for roto leagues. With Yao Ming out for the year, a small hole has opened at the end of the first round, and a noticeable drop-off in depth is apparent.

I said previously that your draft will truly begin when Kevin Durant gets picked. After that, the next player to monitor is Amar’e and a lot can change in the next two months. If their health allows them both to play at their highest fantasy thresholds, people might prefer Amar’e and his higher percentage play over Dwight Howard, even though they would give up 3-4 boards and 1-1.5 blocks per game. After all, Amar’e could challenge the 30 ppg threshold if everything went his way, while Dwight has not shown he can average significantly more than 20 ppg. This being August, definitely take Dwight now. I pick 11th in my friends and family league this year after taking home the silver medal last year and probably would have to take him if he falls to me in that slot. However, I kind of hope someone else takes him so I do not have to think about it.

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