It may be the middle of summer, but it's never too early to start thinking about the NBA fantasy ahead. First up, the defending champions.
The Celtics came flying out of the gates (29-3 record to start the season) and never looked back. They had the No. 1 defense in the league, they beat their regular season foes by an average scoring margin of 10.3 points and they decisively beat the Lakers in the Finals to win their record 17th NBA championship.
Fantasy-wise, the Celtics had a pace factor of just 90.9 (ranking 19th in the league), which, coupled with their scoring margin, limited the fantasy value of their players (especially KG).
The 7-foot O'Bryant was the ninth overall pick in 2006 by Golden State, but he never proved his worth to
With Posey (24.6 mpg) gone,
Rajon Rondo and Tony Allen
At first glance, Rondo appears as if he's little more than a two-category fantasy player, finishing 13th in steals and 22nd in assists per game last year. However, his field-goal percentage was solid at 49.2 percent, his turnovers were fairly low at just 1.9 per game, and the only PGs who pulled down more rebounds were
After tearing both the ACL and MCL in his left knee in January '07, Allen returned to the court just nine months later in time for last season. Much of his quickness and explosiveness was gone, but he was still a quality defender despite a mediocre season. Fantasy-wise, he wasn't even a blip on the radar screen, but that could change this year with more playing time. Before his injury, Allen was putting up
Allen was brilliant in the NBA Finals, recording 122 points, 30 rebounds, 8 steals, 4 blocks and making 22 of 42 threes in just six games, but he had been struggling quite a bit before that. He still finished the regular season as a top-50 fantasy player, but his stats were down in nearly every single category last season. As long as he can walk, Mr. Shuttlesworth will be able to hit some threes, but there are other areas of concern. His steals per game slipped from 1.5 to .9, suggesting that the 33-year old may have lost half a step. And his stellar 90 percent free-throw shooting isn't nearly as helpful to your fantasy team when he's attempting just 3.2 freebies per game, as he did last year, vs. the career-high 5.6 that he atttempted just one year earlier. Don't get me wrong, Allen is still an elite fantasy player. Just don't use a second- or third-round pick on him like you would have done in the past.
(Where you should draft the follwoing Celtics in an eight-category roto league with 12 teams and 13 man rosters)
Garnett: Mid-to-Late 1st