Beachwood Sports ArchiveA monthly look back
Beachwood Sports VideoPlease Stop Believing 99 Years of Cub Losses The 1908 Song Blame It On Bartman We Can't Wait 100 Years Dusty Must Get Fired
Search The Beachwood Reporter
Subscribe to the Newsletter
Oklahoma City PF/C Serge Ibaka went largely undrafted in fantasy basketball leagues around the nation last season, and with good reason: He was an extremely raw 21-year-old with no college experience and the ugliest looking shot this side of Joakim Noah who often looked a little lost on the floor. But Ibaka gradually proved throughout the season that he could contribute (albeit one-dimensional) fantasy value. He led the NBA last year with 198 blocks; 2.4 per game.
It's hard to pass up a number like that, though even at the end of last season, many fantasy team owners did because they needed players with better across-the-board averages. This year, Ibaka's average draft position in Yahoo! leagues is 33.2. Are owners willing to take him that high based on a single stat? Not exactly. You see, the word is out that Ibaka is slowly developing a better offensive game and more poise on defense, which could mean more points, rebounds and steals (His 7.7 rebounds per game average last year was pretty poor for a center).
Ibaka isn't the only big man developing new skills. There are a number of young centers and power forwards worth watching this year for breakthrough seasons:
* JaVale McGee, Washington: Nearly identical stat line to Ibaka last year and finished only five blocks behind him. Also should increase points, rebounds this year with more minutes.
* Roy Hibbert, Indiana: Preseason rank is 80, but tremendous buzz that he'll have a huge year. Already a proven scorer.
* DeAndre Jordan, LA Clippers: Defensive complement to Blake Griffin is a dunk machine that benefits greatly from Chris Paul's arrival in LA.
* DeMarcus Cousins, Sacramento: May gain minutes with Chuck Hayes' injury and stats could improve if he trims from last season's 268 turnovers.
* Blake Griffin, LA Clippers: Wildly successfully scorer and rebounder could quickly become a top 10 overall player.
* Robin Lopez, NJ Nets: His one dimension is scoring, but reportedly has a new emphasis on rebounding this year, which should be cake for the seven-footer.
* Yahoo!'s Big Board finds Chicago's Derrick Rose at No. 6 overall.
* Fantasy Basketball Daily ranks the rookies. It's Ricky Rubio time.
* Hoopsworld has its own big-man feature on the top 30 centers.
* Damn Lies & Stats sets small forward draft tiers, finding Kevin Durant and LeBron James in a class by themselves.
* ESPN offers a love/hate list. Ibaka gets more love.
More from Beachwood Sports »
Just because it's Arlington's biggest day doesn't mean it's big in the grand scheme of American racing.Continue reading "TrackNotes: The Meaning Of The Million" »
Posted on Aug 15, 2017
No more Maddon magic. Plus: Cardiac Cutler & Schweinsteiger!Continue reading "The Beachwood Radio Sports Hour #165: Cubs' Mojo Missing, South Side Tank Job & Mitch Madness!" »
Posted on Aug 11, 2017