With the lockout likely to linger well into October and perhaps into November, trying to preview the season of 30 teams that might not actually have one seems about as worthwhile as raking leaves on a windy day. But I love raking and the wind only makes it last longer. We here at Razzball have you covered, even if you didn’t want to be covered. That’s love. You’ll appreciate it when you’re older. Look at it this way, the only way any of this stuff can be disproven is if the season starts. So go ahead, NBA, make me a fibber! I dare you. Until then, consider this fantasy basketball gospel. Don’t even bother reading anything else – dem’s all lies. From now until the start of the season, we’re bringing you the 2011 Fantasy Team Previews, which will focus on each team in order to paint a clearer fantasy picture. Who’s starting? Who might surprise you? And who might make you want to hurl yourself off a bridge in a few months. Enjoy! Next up – The Detroit Pistons (where the weak are killed and eaten).
Lost – Richard Hamilton / Tracy McGrady / Tayshaun Prince (they’ll probably lose one, if not all).
PG – Rodney Stuckey, Brandon Knight, Will Bynum
SG – Richard Hamilton, Ben Gordon, Tracy McGrady, Terrico White
SF – Tayshaun Prince, Austin Daye, Kyle Singler
PF – Charlie Villanueva, Chris Wilcox, Jonas Jerebko, Jason Maxiell, DaJuan Summers
C – Greg Monroe, Ben Wallace
Surprising Team Fact From Last Season – The Pistons were the worst rebounding team (3,167 or 38.6 trpg) and the worst blocking team (328 or 4.0 bpg) in the league. 2003 Ben Wallace just punched a hole through the space-time continuum and slapped 2010 Ben Wallace.
Number of Top 20 Fantasy Players (par 0-1) – 0
Number of Top 50 Fantasy Players (par 1-2) – 0
Number of Top 75 Fantasy Players (par 2-3) – 1, Monroe
Number of Top 100 Fantasy Players (par 3-4) – 0
Number of Top 200 Fantasy Players (par 6-7) – 9, Stuckey, Daye, Gordon, Jerebko, Villanueva, Prince, Knight, McGrady
3 Concerns Heading Into the Season
1. Is this a playoff caliber team? Because honestly, it surprises me to say the Pistons look like they could be.
A lower seed, sure. And had they had a coach last year, they likely would have made the playoffs ahead of the Pacers. In the Eastern Conference, I’m pretty sure three monkeys with a fanny pack full of throwing stars could have made the seventh seed if it was coached properly. The Pistons’ largest hurdle is that they have a lot of talent, but no leadership. Maybe that’s Larry Frank’s job, maybe Monroe will grow into that role. For now, though, the Pistons need to prove that they have cohesion before I’ll totally buy into them, fantasy-wise or otherwise.
2. Will Austin Daye’s minute played exceed his weight in pounds this season?
Daye said before Jon Kuester was fired that a new coach “might be beneficial for me.” And by “me,” I can only assume he owned himself in fantasy basketball and was speaking for all of us, because no one got jerked around and devalued last season more than Daye. With Prince and McGrady likely gone and Kyle Singler still a white guy from Duke, the starting SF spot is Daye’s to lose and I’m not even sure there’ll be anyone there to back him up if he does lose it.
3. Explain Detroit’s rookies.
That’s not a question and I refuse to kowtow to your demands.
3a. Will you elaborate on the potential of Detroit’s rookies, please?
Why, yes I will. Thank you for asking. Let’s start with Singler, about whom I’ve heard good things. The problem is, the things I’m hearing are not things I’ve seen. He averaged almost 18 points a game as a streaky spot-up forward, but didn’t have great percentages, nor any athletic moves to the basket. And that would be totally acceptable had he been drafted 33rd overall by the Bobcats; he might be good enough to start for those poor bastards. Analysis! With respect to No. 8 overall pick Brandon Knight, he’s a SG who will play PG. Considering how well Detroit has done with Stuckey leading the charge (another player put out of position because the team had no better place t put him, much like McGrady at times last season), Motor City can’t be ecstatic about Knight. Detroit’s entire backcourt is filled with guys who enjoy shooting an little else. (I’ve heard Ben Gordon just got a Tumblr account and has enjoyed exploring its possibilities, but other than that …) Knight is quick, plays solid defense and is widely considered a poised player. You know it’s bad when dudes name intangibles as a player’s third strength. It usually means they only really have two strengths. Knight’s weaknesses, on the other hand are his age (he’ll improve, but 2011 might be rough), his ball handling (he’s turnover prone) and his passing (it’s labored, which is not what one wants from one’s future starting PG).
Fantasy Disappointment in ’11 – Richard Hamilton. R.I.P. One way or the other.
Biggest Fantasy Contributor in ’11 – Greg Monroe. G-Monee ranked third in the league in ORbd% last season, which is pretty good for a rookie and even better for a rookie on a team that didn’t have anyone else rebounding. There are two schools of thought (or skools of thawt if you dabble in ‘80s breakdance) about rebounding: 1) the more rebounders on the floor, the harder it is to grab one. This thought is absolutely true. 2) When a team has only one rebounding threat, it’s easy to know who to put a body on and hard for that dude to grab a rebound. This thought is truer than the first thought. No one was boxing out Charlie V, Wilcox or even Wallace (6.5 rpg in 54 games). Griffin and Wall are the exciting names coming out of last year’s rookie class, but Monroe’s gonna hammer smash a dent all up in this league if not this year, then certainly in the next one.
Deep Sleeper – Jonas Jerebko. A year ago, I said this about JoKo: “9/6 per game. He doesn’t look like he knew how to play basketball 18 months ago and that’s what makes him poetic. Because every offensive stat he’s ever produced has surprised those surrounding him.” I’m pretty sure I haven’t thought about Jerebko since then. So, yeah. That’ll have to do.