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Wednesday September 2, 2009 9:23 pm

One Man Mock Draft, Fantasy NBA 2009: Round 2, Pick 2

Posted by Alvin Lai Categories: Fantasy, NBA,

Kevin Garnett. Gilbert Arenas. Yao Ming. Steve Nash. Tim Duncan. Jason Kidd. Be it the injury bug or Father Time shortening the list of tried and true first round fantasy talent, there is a palpable drop in headlining players even though the second round has only just started. Thus, mock draft gurus have this next player going off the board within the top fifteen picks. For a roto league, this center-eligible player deserves early round consideration. In a head-to-head league, consistency remains important, but big game explosions can win match-ups almost by themselves. So let us examine whether drafting this player is merely a safe play; can he ride shotgun on your championship team?

Round 2, Pick 2: Pau Gasol, PF/C, Los Angeles Lakers

Here are the numbers and league rankings for Gasol from last season.

Field Goal Percentage: 0.567 (5th)
Free Throw Percentage: 0.781 (90th)
Three-pointers Made: one (obviously does not significantly rank)
Points: 18.9 (25th)
Rebounds: 9.6 (8th)
Assists: 3.5 (44th)
Steals: 0.64 (109th)
Blocks: 1.0 (27th)
Turnovers: 1.94 (56th)

On first pass, you might be done on Pau as a top 15 pick, but that opinion runs very superficially. He did not average 20 ppg last year? True, but he’s still a top 25 scorer in the league. Compared to drafting Jason Kidd early on, Pau is nowhere near a liability in the scoring department. The cynic would then point to his rebounding average falling below the vaunted 10 boards per game mark. Here is why I include league rankings when summarizing the statistics; Pau ranking so high in rebounds flew a bit under the radar. As in roto league play, his sharp shooting provides a great advantage for your team. One of the best big men passers in the game, the dimes he drops from your center spot will give your team a chance in that category, even though this team has drafted two big men (Chris Bosh was selected in the first round). As a Laker, Gasol has not piled on the blocks, but his steadiness in this category helps just enough. You will not do well with him as your primary shot-blocker, but opportunities later in the draft will arise where you can shore up this area by drafting a couple more competent big men.

Unlike the previous Deron Williams and Al Jefferson pairing, Chris Bosh and Pau Gasol play similar positions. Both are center-eligible, and provide good percentages, scoring and rebounding, as well as adequate shot-blocking. A main goal will be to draft good free-throw shooters, so that this relative strength provided by these two big men does not go to waste. At this stage, this team has absolutely zero three-point shooting, but the guard and small forward positions still need to be filled. If available, I like guys like Josh Smith and Gerald Wallace to join this pairing; they are wing players who block shots and provide some outside shooting.

Gasol will average more points than any of the next tier of point guards available. KG will fall out of the first round in drafts for the first time in a decade, but it remains to be seen how he returns from an injury that forced him to miss the entire playoff season. Meanwhile, Gasol kept his production consistent even after Andrew Bynum returned in time for the championship run. Lamar Odom returns to his role last year, and Ron Artest will more or less pick up the shots taken by Trevor Ariza last year. Though Gasol had two injury-plagued season while in Memphis, there are no injury concerns on the eve of the preseason.

The Master List can be used to find players previously picked in this mock draft.



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