With NBA All-Star weekend over, we're now ready to get back to the remainder of fantasy basketball season. But before moving on from the break, it's time to shine the spotlight on one player who received a lot of buzz going into the weekend for NOT being selected as one of the Western Conference All-Stars. Over the last month, he was the top ranked big man according to our rankings. That player is none other than the Portland Trail Blazers' power forward, LaMarcus Aldridge.
Aldridge has recently turned up the fantasy heat several notches, averaging 26 points, 9.1 rebounds, 2.6 assists, 1.4 steals and 1.4 blocks over the last month. All that while shooting 52.6 percent from the field and 83.7 percent from the line. Aldridge not only represents one of the league's most improved big men, he also has a skill that is not very common among big men in the NBA: the ability to shoot 80 percent from the free-throw line.
I'll be the first to admit that I'm quite fond of drafting point guards. I just enjoy winning the assists category week in and week out in head-to-head leagues. That being said, the best fantasy teams I have put together have come when my draft strategies have not been guard-centric.
In 2008 Dirk Nowitzki, Al Horford and Brook Lopez guided my team to a first-place finish. This season, I'm currently sitting at the top of the standings in an experts league, nine games ahead of the second-place team. From the 10th draft position I assembled a core group of quality big men who have carried my team above the competition based on their solid scoring, rebounding, field-goal percentage AND free-throw percentage. Four of my first five picks were Pau Gasol, David Lee, Marc Gasol and Aldridge. Recently, my team (The Gasols) has been anchored on the solid production of both Gasol and Aldridge. There must be some value to giving good free-throw shooting big men priority when drafting in fantasy, especially when playing in standard nine-category leagues. Aside from not having to punt free-throw percentage, good, big shooters are generally very difficult to find off the waiver wire deep in the regular season. They are simply an in-demand commodity that everyone wants.
While you may not be able to pry Pau Gasol or Aldridge from other owners at this point in the season, here are some big men who may be able to help you win those key categories of rebounds, blocks, field-goal percentage and turnovers as the season winds down to an end.