David Sabino
Monday January 9th, 2012

As we await the rush of fantasy baseball, let's take a peek at the oft-overlooked realm of fantasy basketball. (Send your fantasy basketball, baseball and questions to @SI_DavidSabino on Twitter).

He once played a character named Jesus (Shuttlesworth, in Spike Lee's He Got Game), but the way Ray Allen has played this year, he might as well be named for another biblical hero, Noah. Sure the NBA's all-time trey leader collects many of his points in threes and not two-by-two, but the way the old man who lives on the arc has navigated the rough seas of the NBA's abbreviated, post-lockout season has been close to miraculous. A lifetime .453 shooter, the 10-time All Star is a physical marvel who's burying shots this season at a .575 clip, including a scorching .634 (26-for-41!) from downtown at age 36. His effective field goal percentage (which weighs field-goal percentage to account for three-pointers made) is currently at an all-time high of .738, or .016 better than Wilt Chamberlain's all-time best field goal percentage season of .727 in 1972-73.

So what does this all mean? It's time to sell high on Allen. The league's greatest shooter can't possibly keep this up, and at an advanced age, even in the incredible condition that he keeps himself, his value will never be this high again.

Forget about draft class for a minute and look simply at age. Players born in 1988 control the NBA right now. The list is vast and deep, and compares favorably to any year in league history. The year that brought us Who Framed Roger Rabbit, Rick Astley and the election of George H.W. Bush has certainly made up for it in the talent that's reached the Association.

The year before, 1987, brought some nice players (Andrew Bynum, Mike Conley, Ty Lawson, D.J Augustin) as does the following year (Blake Griffin, Tyreke Evans, Brandon Jennings, Michael Beasley), but neither is or ever will be as impressive as the '88 diaper dandies.

Headlining the group are MVP candidates, Kevin Durant (Sept. 29), Derrick Rose (Oct. 4), and Kevin Love (Sept. 7), All Star-level contributors Stephen Curry (March 14) and Russell Westbrook (Nov. 12); emerging fantasy mainstays Spencer Hawes (April 28), Danilo Gallinari (Aug. 8), Ryan Anderson (May 6), DeAndre Jordan (July 21), and JaVale McGee (Jan. 19); and although they're injured right now, some excellent buy-low candidates in Brook Lopez (April 1, foot surgery) and Eric Gordon (Dec. 25, sprained knee). All that talent doesn't even include a top overall pick of the draft, Greg Oden (Jan. 22) and a national collegiate player of the year, Evan Turner (Oct. 27).

... Courtesy of @Danielo65 via Twitter:

Charlotte's Boris Diaw is playing significant minutes at center, yet through eight games has only taken two free throws in eight games.

In fact, the ninth-year versatile Frenchman's average of just 0.25 free throw attempts per game this season would be the lowest for a qualifier averaging over 30 minutes per game in NBA history. Another versatile veteran international player, Orlando's Hedo Turkoglu, is not far behind, averaging just 0.78 shots from the charity stripe per contest (five in nine games). Turkoglu, at least, plays mainly from the perimeter, as opposed to Diaw, who is banging around in the paint most of the game. In league history the only players to average at least 30 minutes per game over the course of an entire season yet average less than one free throw attempt per game were legendary clampdown defender Bruce Bowen, rarely involved in the offense for the '06-07 (73 in 82 games) and '07-08 Spurs (69 in 81 games) and one of Turkoglu's predecessors at his position, long-range shooter Pat Garrity of the 2001-02 Magic (73 in 80 games).

Should I drop Arron Afflalo and pick up Andre Miller? -- @bgoldgrab

While most of his contemporaries are struggling, Miller has played relatively well, ranking 17th in the league in assists, tied for 26th in steals while keeping his scoring average in double-digits despite coming off the bench behind Ty Lawson. Afflalo, on the other hand, signed late and has been slow to get into the swing of the season. He has yet to find his three-point range -- shooting just 28.6 percent from deep -- but I'm confident that when all is said and done, he'll be much more valuable than Miller this season and beyond. The only way I would make the move for the slow-footed Miller is if I were desperate for assists. But if all things are equal, I'd hold onto Afflalo.

Send your fantasy Football, Basketball and Baseball questions to @SI_DavidSabino on Twitter for a chance to have it answered in this space every Monday.

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