Heading into the upcoming Fantasy Basketball Season, Razzball will be interviewing local NBA beat writers for some actual in-depth basketball knowledge to shed some additional light on our fantasy basketball knowledge. Keep your eye out for an interview for every NBA team through the summer. This installment comes courtesy of Reece Helms from leading Miami Heat blog Hot Hot Hoops.
1) Correct me if I’m wrong but the Big Three seems to be heading toward the point where it’s more LeBron and the other two guys, especially for fantasy purposes. Does this mean owners can expect a more scoring-heavy season from The King or will he just continue to be a multi-category machine? What kind of numbers do you see him putting up?
Yes you are correct, the Miami Heat Big Three is slowly becoming the Big One: Featuring LeBron. We saw this throughout the playoffs – for a while there LeBron James was getting very little help from Wade and Bosh. I think you can expect the same season-stats wise by LeBron. He will continue to be that multi-category beast he has always been, and I wouldn’t be surprised to see his scoring go up as well. Last season he averaged 26.8 points per game, but expect it to go up a little, maybe to around 28 or so.
2) If Greg Oden actually makes it on the floor, what will he bring to the table? Is he a board-n-blocker, and if so how many per game do you see him contributing of each? In the battle of the injury-plagued centers you take a gamble on in a fantasy draft, how does he compare to Andrew Bynum?
Both Greg Oden and Andrew Bynum are high-risk sleeper picks this year not only in Fantasy Basketball, but in real life, as neither one can stay healthy, and are always getting injured. For Greg Oden, we have to go all the way back to the 2008-2009 season, as he played a career high 61 games that year. When he was on the court he averaged about 9 ppg, 7 rpg, and 1 bpg. The next year (2009-2010), which was Oden’s last season he has played up to this date, his stats rose to 11 ppg, 8.5 rpg, and 2.3 bpg. The latter of those stats are more impressive, and if he can stay healthy you can expect the same numbers this upcoming season, or even better. But the problem is IF he can stay healthy, which isn’t very likely. I would draft Oden late into the draft as a sleeper pick, but not as someone I am relying upon to win my Fantasy Basketball league. The same goes for Andrew Bynum. He is in the same category as Oden is. But if I had to choose between the two, I would go with Bynum. But, again, I wouldn’t pick either one early in the draft. If they are available later into the draft, then take a chance on them.
3) Chris Bosh was much-maligned for his inability to rebound during last year’s playoffs. Was that just a fluke or is that pretty much par for the course going forward?
Chris Bosh takes a lot of heat from basketball fans and critics for his lack of rebounding, no pun intended. Being the third-wheel in the Miami Heat Big Three, I guess that is expected. Although Bosh had some games in the playoffs where he couldn’t get many rebounds, he actually averaged 7.3 rebounds for the duration of the postseason, while in the regular season he averaged 6.8. Yes, the postseason is a smaller test sample, as it was only 23 games, compared to the 74 in which Bosh played in the regular season. With the addition of Greg Oden and Michael Beasley, and it being Birdman’s first full season as a member of the team, expect Bosh’s rebound totals to decrease yet again this season. How far will it go down? Not a lot, I say to about 6 rpg, not a huge decrease. But do expect to see Bosh’s scoring average to go up with the aging Dwyane Wade taking more of a backseat this year. So lack of rebounding is not something that should keep you from drafting Chris Bosh.
4) Miami always seems to have a collection of long-in-the-tooth vets that fantasy owners can stream for a week for specialty stats like blocks, steals and 3’s. How will the pecking order shake out for ’13-’14? Does Rashard Lewis take over for the ancient Ray Allen as the three-point specialty guy or is Ray immortal? Can the Birdman duplicate what he did last year with any consistency?
5) The Heat have some younger guys who occasionally assert themselves with a stat-stuffing game that make fantasy players all giddy – I’m thinking Norris Cole and Mario Chalmers – but mostly just defer to the big boys and/or don’t have the juice to really break out. Are any of these guys primed to take it to another level as regular fantasy contributors?
We’ve seen both Mario Chalmers and Norris Cole have breakout games in the past, but can they do it on a consistent basis? We have yet to see that. And nothing tells me that is going to change, at least for now. On the positive side, Chalmers is a great three-point shooter, and if you are looking for some more three pointers, Chalmers might be a good, cheaper option. But as of now, he’s nothing more than that.
Reece Helms is a newcomer to the Miami Heat blog Hot Hot Hoops, and he brings with him a great deal of fantasy hoops expertise. Follow him on Twitter @Reece_Helms.