It’s funny how hometown fans and media have a different perception of players compared to those outside of the area. This gap is more like a canyon in Philadelphia. The outside world saw Donovan McNabb and Andy Reid as a wildly successful QB and coach tandem. One racked up Pro Bowl appearances and 3,000-yard passing seasons. The other had the Eagles as the kings of the NFC East and even got the team to the Super Bowl. In Philly, both are regarded as utter failures who never connected with the fanbase. Scott Rolen and Andre Iguodala were both viewed as multi-talented consummate professionals in their respective sports. They got killed in Philly for being aloof and coming up short.
And most people on the planet Earth see 76ers center Spencer Hawes as a pretty solid center. They’ve seen 20 and 10 lines, they’ve seen seasons with 10 ppg and 7 rpg, and they’ve seen hustle plays and passion on highlights. But this guy is viewed as the poster child for the frustrating and ultimately squandered Doug Collins era. He’s starting for Philadelphia this year because the team is tanking to get Andrew Wiggins in the 2014 draft. This might be almost entirely true.
Regardless, what this means is that Hawes is going to gobble up some serious stats in 2013-2014. The guy really does hustle, and he really can rebound. He even blocks a shot a game. And he’s capable of monster outings, like the beastly night he had on 3-16-13 in a win vs. Indiana: 18 points, 16 rebounds, 8 assists and 7 blocked shots (!!) (and, yes, Roy Hibbert played in that game).
I would call Hawes a bonafide Board-n-Block sleeper, because even on a bad team where fantasy ballers know there will be stats to be had, they’re looking at Michael Carter-Williams, Thaddeus Young and Evan Turner first, and their eyes are taken off the proverbial ball even further by the potential Nerlens Noel arrival this year.
I’m projecting 15 ppg, 9 rpg and 1.5 bpg for Hawes. That is, until a playoff team grabs him as a backup for an expiring contract and some crumbs.
And, in other Board-n-Block news:
- Nikola Vucevic, C, Orlando Magic – Looked bad in 15 minutes per game for the Montenegro team in EuroBasket 2013, and news out of Magic camp is that new coach Jacque Vaughn is taking it slow with him. With opponents guaranteed to key on Big Nik, Vaughn better come up with a counter quick.
- Tristan Thompson, PF, Cleveland Cavaliers – No worries here, because all we care about is rebounds and blocked shots. The fourth pick in the 2011 draft is still 6-8 and 220-plus pounds and should come close to 10 rpg and 1 bpg. But he switched shooting hands for some reason – is that a good idea when you’ve reached the pro level? Wouldn’t that be like Bobby De Niro all of the sudden switching to a Scottish accent in films?
- Derrick Favors, PF, Utah Jazz – People added Favors like crazy last season every time he notched double figures in points or rebounds. He will be drafted way too high this year now that the Jazz have cleared house and fans have visions of Trey Burke as the Stockton to his Malone dancing in their heads. The big moment hasn’t happened yet during the reportedly sloppy Jazz training camp, and I won’t quite believe it with Favors until I see it.