Subscribe to the Newsletter

Fantasy Fix: The NBA's Sleeping Giants

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.

Expert Wire
* 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.

-

Send your comments and complaints to Disco Dan O'Shea.


More from Beachwood Sports »

Whistleblower Spurned By Players For Exposing Tennis Crooks

A tennis whistleblower says he is paying a heavy price for exposing wrongdoing in the sport. Marco Trungelliti tells the AP other players have ostracized him since he gave evidence of match fixing.

Continue reading "Whistleblower Spurned By Players For Exposing Tennis Crooks" »

Posted on Apr 19, 2019

White Coaches Pick The Wrong Side When They Talk Down To Their Black Athletes

Whether coaches acknowledge it, the power differentials that exist between white people and everyone else are on steroids in collegiate basketball.

Continue reading "White Coaches Pick The Wrong Side When They Talk Down To Their Black Athletes" »

Posted on Apr 17, 2019

The Ex-Cub Factor

Someone's about to earn this column's first moratorium.

Continue reading "The Ex-Cub Factor" »

Posted on Apr 16, 2019

Breaking Beachwood Sports Feed!