Basketball Notebook for

By Rob Shaw,

This past week was all about the draft, picking the right players and getting them into your lineups for the open of the season. Here’s a list of some of the players who were grabbed in the later rounds. There’s a good chance that they might be at the end of the bench of some of your competition’s rosters; you might be able to work out a deal where you get them for cheap. In other words, here are some sleepers, and where they went in the Experts Fantasy Basketball Draft.

ROUND 6, 66TH OVERALL: Andrea Bargnani
Bargnani’s three position eligibility is terrific for a fantasy league. He is a former number one overall pick who has been playing great in the pre-season. By now we’re up to the second tier players, and a guy with center eligibility that has an extremely high ceiling seems like the perfect pick. He has guaranteed himself a starting role in Toronto and defines “all around game”. I am not certain whether I will use him as a forward or center quite yet, but there is not one part of the game where he won’t contribute.

ROUND 7, 70TH OVERALL: Corey Maggette
I had been eyeing this guy since the earlier rounds. With Elton Brand out for the season, one of the most underappreciated scorers in the league will have a chance to run the show in L.A. While Maggette should be a fantasy monster at putting up points, rebounds, free throw shooting, and field goal shooting, there are some drawbacks that have likely left him available for the taking in the 7th round. His defense does not exist, and his range is limited. Expect 20 points, 6 rebounds, 3 assists, and great shooting numbers in a rare opportunity for Maggette to be the focal point of the offense.

Gay doesn’t stand out for any one statistic, but he will make his impact by doing it all. He can score, rebound, block, steal, and knock down the three. Gay’s rookie totals alone fail to tell the story. Sure, 11 points, and 5 rebounds aren’t bad, but more importantly, look at what he did the second half of the season: 14 points, 6 rebounds, 1 steal, 1 block, and 1 three. This season I expect the 6’9 UCONN product to eclipse those numbers with 17 points, 7 rebounds, 1.5 blocks, 1.5 steals, and 1.5 threes. If he can do that, he might be the steal of the draft.

ROUND 8, 87TH OVERALL: Chris Kaman
Coming of a disappointing season, there are some fair questions as to his desire and work ethic, but with Elton Brand out for the season, Kaman should be able to smell the opportunity for a starring role. He is one of the best low post scorers who had to share the paint with Brand the past few seasons, but with rookie Al Thornton more of a perimeter player, he should hold the post by himself. 13 points, 9 boards, 2 blocks, and fine percentages are in line with the best center in Los Angeles.

ROUND 9, 91ST OVERALL: Darko Milicic
Milicic was one of my sleepers going into the draft. I say this because he’s never gotten a chance to start, yet in limited time, he’s played extremely well. While averaging just 24 min. per game last season, he managed to average 8 ppg, 5.5 rpg, and 1.8 bpg. Since he was just signed by the Grizzlies, I think he’ll finally have the chance to show why he was picked 2nd overall by the Pistons in ’03. 12 points, 9 boards, 2.2 blocks, and decent percentages are realistic for man drafted ahead of Dwayne Wade and Carmelo Anthony.

ROUND 9, 97TH OVERALL: Rajon Rondo
Rondo earned the starting point guard job for Boston at the end of last season, which is second only to playing the point for the Harlem Globetrotters. In other words, he’s going to put up a ton of assists this year. He could easily get the ball to Allen, Pierce, and Garnett 10 times a game, and steal 2-plus on defense. What he lacks is consistency, but learning from 3 of the best in the game should help him figure how to join the ranks of starting point guards.

ROUND 10, 107TH OVERALL: Jamaal Tinsley
If there was an important position to capitalize on, it would be point guard or center. Assists and blocks are too scarce for people to pass on, yet in the tenth round, I’m able to grab this point guard with a pretty high ceiling. While injuries have been an issue for him, 13 points, and 7 assists are numbers that very few players in the league can attain. In fact, Tinsley ranked 11th in assists last season, and 17th in steals. These are numbers that are pretty consistent with Kirk Hinrich, who went many rounds earlier. At 29 years old, Tinsley should be in his prime. Expect 14 points, 7 rebounds, 1.5 steals, and a three-pointer per game. I just hope his percentages are decent along the way

ROUND 12, 130TH OVERALL: Marvin Williams
Williams was the 2nd overall pick out of UNC just 2 years ago, so he’s obviously a talented player. In his first season as a starter, he averaged 13.1 ppg and 5.3 rpg. Not bad, but there’s room for improvement. He’ll be starting again at power-forward for the Hawks this season. He’s on a young and very talented team. While Josh Smith and Joe Johnson will take away most of his shots, Williams can develop into a much more talented version of Shane Battier. 17 points per game is very realistic as soon as this season.

These are a few players who were likely selected in the later rounds of your draft. Chances are the fantasy managers that drafted them, don’t realize the value of the jewels that they have. So now what? You do your best to get them on your squad. You can do this by trading players that you have also selected in the later rounds. Another option is trading a higher ranked player for another high ranking player, and having your opponent throw one of these players into the trade as well. They’ll be concentrating on the bigger names, while you may be able to get your hands on the difference-maker of the fantasy season.

We’re now ready for tip off, next week. We’ll keep you updated on the fantasy trends on the hardwood.

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