NBA offseason preview: Pistons
It may be the middle of summer, but it's never too early to start thinking about the NBA fantasy ahead. Next up, the perennial Eastern Conference finalists, the Pistons.
The Pistons advanced to the Eastern Conference Finals for an impressive sixth year in a row, but they lost there for the third year in a row, and
In a surprising (and somewhat disturbing) move, Dumars decided to sign former the former No. 1 draft picks and current bust, Kwame Brown to a two-year, $8 million contract. I can understand a team wanting to sign him as their backup center, but not Detroit, and not for eight million dollars (if you can make any sense of this move, please contact me). Bynum had a cup of coffee with the Warriors a few years ago, and now he'll try to replace Hunter as their No. 3 PG. I don't know anything about
At small forward,
Jason Maxiell and Walter Herrmann
Maxiell stands just 6-feet-6 with shoes on, but there are plenty of things to like about him. Let's start with his 7-3 wingspan, excellent leaping ability and surprising quickness for such a beefcake. He gets off the floor in a hurry to block shots and he attacks the rim with a vengeance that few players possess. Maxiell is more than just a physical specimen though, as his mid-range jumper has improved drastically and his low-post moves are pretty solid as well. Want more? He's entering his prime (25 years old) and he posted Detroit's third best Roland Rating (a number representing the difference between a team's net points with the player on the floor per 48 minutes versus the net points with the player off the floor per 48 minutes) in last year's playoffs (while shooting 62.5 percent from the field). His playing time (and thus, fantasy value) was limited in '07-08, but I'm expecting a breakout season of sorts for Mad Max.
Herrmann was everyone's favorite "sleeper pick" in '07, but after averaging just 8.2 minutes and 3.4 points per game, none of those people are going to go near the guy in '08. At least, not until he starts playing big minutes and dropping threes left and right. Which is more likely to happen than you think. Hayes cramped his style last year, but Hayes is no longer in Detroit, which means that Prince has no clear-cut backup. With
Antonio McDyess and Rodney Stuckey
I've always been a fan of the Dice Man, but not this year (at least fantasy-wise). He turns 34 in September and the statistics indicate that his production is rapidly declining. After posting a solid 18.1 PER in '06-07, that number plummeted to just 14.1 in '07-08. Additionally, his -3.2 regular season Roland Rating was actually the WORST among all Pistons regulars last year. To top it off, his 10.8 points and .8 blocks per 36 minutes were the lowest marks of his career. Someone in your league is going to draft him based on his 8.5 boards per game, but McDyess is going to be a fringe fantasy player at best in '08-09.
It feels weird to warn people about Stuckey, because the guy is clearly a future star in the making. Unfortunately, some fantasy sites are hyping this guy up WAY too much. I'll tell you right now, if you target him in the "early-middle rounds" then you're asking for trouble. For starters, Stuckey is a guard with limited three-point range. In his senior year in college, he made 1.5 treys per game, but he shot just 26.7 percent from three (very poor). As a rookie, he attempted just 16 threes (making only three) in 1,081 total minutes. For non-three-point-making guards to have serious fantasy value, they must either get a ton of assists (
(Where you should draft these guys in an eight-category roto league with 12 teams and 14-man rosters)
Billups: Late 3rd