Hedo Turkoglu :: Ron Turenne/Getty Images
The Toronto Raptors and Hedo Turkoglu have agreed to a five-year contract, according to multiple sources. The deal could pay him as much as $60 million, though it won't be finalized until Wednesday.
Unless the Raps can convince Shawn Marion to stick around on the cheap, he'll essentially be replaced in the starting lineup by Turk. This isn't a bad spot for him to land as far as his fantasy value is concerned, especially if Toronto's worst fears are realized next summer by seeing Chris Bosh exit as a free agent. But for the upcoming run, Turkoglu will get plenty of shots and touches, as only Bosh and Andrea Bargnani will compete for looks at the basket.
Running alongside a true point guard in Jose Calderon likely will push Turkoglu's assists back down to four or fewer per game, but we could see a career-high in triples. I expect him to score in the upper teens; my guess would be 18-19 per game with a shot at 20+.
My big concern will be his field goal percentage, which is 42.8 for his career. Twice in the past four seasons, he's averaged 45+ percent, but if he takes 15 shots a game at 41+ it will have a rough effect on your roto totals.
I like Turkoglu and his role in Toronto, but I recommend not overpaying like the Raps likely did. He should be reliable, but don't expect another All-Star campaign.
Reports are that Rasheed Wallace is expected to sign with the Celtics on Wednesday, as he tries to make a run at one more title before fading into retirement. As far as I've been concerned, he drifted off the fantasy radar years ago.
Except in deep leagues, I simply haven't understood the fascination with 'Sheed's fantasy game since the '05-06 campaign, when he averaged 15.1 points, 6.8 rebounds 1.6 blocks and 1.9 treys. I loved the combo of three-point shooting and blocks, even if it came at the expense of a chucker's 43 percent field goal percentage on 13.3 shots a game.
But since then, his effort beyond the arc and scoring haven't been strong enough to counterbalance his chucking. Now, even if he manages to start (unlikely), he won't see enough regular game action to make a dent in fantasy rosters.
I would avoid 'Sheed in nearly every league this fall.
I've been dogging Jason Kidd's fantasy prowess for even longer than I've dogged Rasheed's. More so than with Wallace, the problem for me with Kidd has been how early he's been taken in drafts. I have absolutely no problem having a guy on my roster who averages 8.7 dimes, 6.2 boards, 2.0 steals and 1.6 treys, even if he can't reach double-digits in scoring and carries an embarrassing FG%.
I just can't see taking him in the first few rounds, which is where he has gone in nearly any draft since the mid 90s.Ironically, Kidd is old in NBA terms -- 36 -- but I still expect him to churn out digits this season similar to last season.
I'd gladly take him in the middle rounds of drafts, too. But I know that someone will draft him long before I consider him. Don't be that person.
No team has made a bigger roster overhaul since the start of last season than the Pistons. They traded Chauncey Billups for Allen Iverson right after the season began, then replaced Iverson's and Rasheed Wallace's expiring contracts with free agents Ben Gordon and Charlie Villanueva.
From a personnel perspective, Joe Dumars essentially traded Chauncey and 'Sheed for Gordon and Villanueva. But from a general manager's perspective, he got way younger (Billups turns 33 and Wallace 35 in Sept; Gordon is 26 and Villanueva turns 26 next month) and signed his players to reasonable contracts, which he can deal later if necessary. Plus, I'll be shocked if Rip Hamilton isn't traded away (Tyson Chandler? Carlos Boozer? Chris Bosh -- a Pistons fan can dream right?) by next summer.
Assuming the roster stands as is, though, how will things shake out in fantasy terms? Well, Hamilton should still get his 15+ shots per game and score in the upper teens. At the worst, Gordon will maintain his typical production. Ideally, though, we'll see a sharp increase in his season-long trey production -- possibly as high as 2.5 per game -- and scoring with possibly 22 per game. We aren't likely to see that big of a boost until Rip's out of the picture, though.
Villanueva and Motor City Overhaul are the wild cards. Villanueva's not going to get the 16 shots per game he averaged in the second half of last season with the Bucks, when he averaged 17.3 points per game. And he certainly won't chuck up more than five treys and hit 2.2 per game as he did in February. Instead, I'm expecting more like 14 points and six boards and maybe 0.9 treys per game. He should see his FG% rise closer to 46 percent, but with no hustle stats (0.6 steals and blocks average for his career), he will remain an on-again, off-again fantasy option.
Everything else is on Stuckey's shoulders. If he takes his game to the next level, he could be an All-Star and make Hamilton expendable. Remember he averaged 17.3 ppg and 5.1 apg with great percentages (78 FT%, 47.5 FG%) in January. It's not out of the question that he does that or better for much of the season, but he's a work in progress, so only time will tell.
Steve McNair: AP
Three-time Pro-Bowl quarterback and '03 Co-MVP Steve McNair was shot dead on July 4. One of the toughest athletes of all time, McNair's running ability also made him a quality fantasy quarterback. In his first full season, 1997, McNair rushed a whopping 101 times for 674 yards and eight scores. He would top 70 carries each of the next five seasons, and aside from the '99 campaign when he missed five games, he topped 400 yards each of those campaigns. On the upside, during that injury-slowed '99 season, he still managed to rush for eight touchdowns and pass for another dozen in those 11 games.
Like other quarterbacks who rely on their legs so much, his passing totals never maxed out. His career-best was 3,387 yards passing during the '02 season. But when you factored in the 440 yards rushing and 25 total touchdowns, he made for a reliable fantasy option.
I'll always have a soft spot in my roto-heart for McNair, because he helped me win a title in my home league during his '03 MVP campaign. He began that season red hot in fantasy terms, racking up 13 TDs and just two INTs, while passing for 1,601 yards (266.8 per game). In Week 6, he helped destroy Houston 38-7 by completing 18 of 27 passes for 421 yards, three TDs and zero INTs. After that epic performance, I packaged McNair with a quality running back for LaDainian Tomlinson, who took me the rest of the way to the championship.
Interestingly, McNair barely ran during his MVP campaign, though he had a career-low (in seasons with 11+ games played) seven interceptions and a career-high 100.4 QB rating. Unfortunately, that marked the beginning of the end for his fantasy career. Without the rushing yards and scores to augment his pedestrian passing game, he lacked upside and stability.
McNair retired in '08 following two unremarkable fantasy seasons with the Ravens.