Training camps may a month away, but it's never too early to start thinking about the NBA fantasy ahead. Today, the model team, the Spurs.
The Spurs won 55-plus games for an absurd eighth year in a row. They were one of the top defensive teams in the league, but they didn't have enough firepower to get past the Lakers. Fantasy-wise, their slow 88.8 pace factor (28th of 30) and balanced rotation (nine players averaged 17-plus minutes but
San Antonio lost Barry to Houston, but when you consider that Mason is also a very good outside shooter, plus he's nine years younger and a superior defender, it's a move that makes sense for them. Though Finley returned, Horry won't be back, and when you throw in all of their new draft picks and consider how few dunks they had in '07-08, the Spurs are clearly trying to get younger.
It's still a three-man show in San Antonio.
What about everyone else? Well, if the Spurs continue to give
It feels weird hyping Parker, because he's a former Finals MVP whose real-life value is much greater than his fantasy value. But I think most owners are so jaded by his inability to make threes and free throws, that he could fall further than he should this year. In '07-08, his shooting (49.4 percent from the floor, 25.8 percent from three, 71.5 percent from the line) was much worse than the year before (52.0% FG, 39.5% 3P, 78.3% FT), so those numbers could bounce back nicely in '08-09. Parker also averaged a career-low .80 steals per game last season, so expect that number to rise as well. I'm not saying you should use an early-round pick on him (see below), but he's entering his prime (26 years old) and his numbers can only improve.
I'm not even talking fantasy hoops now. Bowen is a dirty competitor, so if you're an NBA player reading this, watch out for the guy. As I suggested above, he will be riding the pine more often this season, so he'll likely be even more irritated and aggressive than usual. You frail guys like
(Where the following Spurs should be drafted in an eight-category roto league with 12 teams and 14-man rosters)
Ginobili: 3rd-4th rounds