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Fantasy Basketball 2013: Player Profiles

Doug Pensinger/Getty Images/AFP
Doug Pensinger/Getty Images/AFP

Nate Robinson

Let me first say I am not a fan of Nate. Not after the 2006 dunk comp where he robbed Andre Iguodala and then wasted what seemed like hours of my time trying to throw down what (admittedly) was a really nice dunk.

Robinson is probably the finest example of the sort of player you want to stream in and out of line-ups.

He’s abrasive yet charismatic, and a genuine annoyance for both opposition players and fans alike, as he buzzes around the court like a hornet at a BBQ. He gets hot and then goes cold seemingly between substitutions, throws down 1-2 dunks a year with a primal scream thrown in, and he comes in a nice tidy 5’9” package of sinew and muscle. He’s almost worth writing a poem about due to the clash of talent and frustration he causes owners, but, I digress.

There’s no way to predict his own play, let alone what rookie coach Brian Shaw is going to do in terms of his rotation. What we do know and what the stats show, is that Robinson must be butter, cos he’s on a roll…at least on a per minute basis!

He’s had stretches during his career when he’s carried fantasy teams – particularly when given starter’s minutes – but he showed last year he can be just as effective off the bench for fantasy teams, even if he wasn’t overly helpful in reality.

He qualifies at both guard spots and seems to be getting more and more minutes as the Nuggets have rattled off four straight wins. Robinson’s put up solid, serviceable numbers, right in line with what’s to be expected of a player who always finds a role despite being on his fifth team in four years.

For want of a better phrase, he crapped the fantasy bed in the six games (4.2 points per game!) leading up to this recent winning streak, but since that slump? He’s scored in double figures five straight games, while in his last two he’s averaged 16 points, 3.5 assists, 1 steal a game while making 6-11 shots from deep and 6-6 at the line in his last two games.

If he can stay within himself and not get abused on the defensive end, there’s a good chance Robinson can hold down 22-26 minutes (as he has the last two seasons) where he’ll be handy enough to pluck out of your available players list.

Trey Burke

Rejoice, rejoice, the Utah Jazz lottery pick is no longer Trey Broke.

Tyrone Corbin continues to play ping pong with our collective fantasy minds with his rotations and minute distribution, but rest assured Burke will play as the season goes on. Now is the time to pounce on the highly touted rookie, as once he starts getting 30-32 minutes per game he’s going to put up some nice numbers, regardless of how well the Jazz are playing as a team.

If he’s on the waiver wire in your league, take my colleague Zack Rewis’ smart advice and pick up Burke! Maybe there’s an unobservant manager in your league who is itching to make an ill-advised trade; perhaps offer them a Greivis Vasquez or an over-achieving Gerald Green for him and see if you get a nibble.

At the very least he’s going to help you in assists and threes, and he has much more upside than the many ‘fringe’ PGs on the wire such as Nate Wolters, Ramon Sessions or Kirk Hinrich (even with the Rose injury, he’d need a Glen Davis sized Hinrich- manoeuvre to resurrect his fantasy career).

Corbin’s been a nightmare to anyone owning a Jazz player in fantasy, as only Gordon Hayward seems safe from his bizarre infatuation with playing over the hill and under-performing players like John Lucas, Richard Jefferson and Marvin Williams.

Burke’s learning the NBA game still and will take time to get up to pace, so in the meantime he may play more off-ball while Hayward continues to rack up an efficient assists line, which means open looks and threes for Burke.

It’s anyone’s guess if Corbin is going to finish out his contract, but with their disastrous start to the season the Jazz may be looking elsewhere – perhaps Jerry Sloan can turn Burke and Enes Kanter into the new Stockton and Malone?

You can feel safe in penciling Burke in for 12-14 points, 3-4 rebounds, 4-5 assists and 1.5 threes per game, to go along with solid FT% – just don’t look at his FG% as it will struggle to stay above 40%.

Gerald Henderson

A lot of leagues were won last year with Henderson going under the radar as a fantasy ninja over the second half of the season, to the tune of 18.9 points, 4 rebounds, 3.4 assists and splits of 46/84 over his last 30 games.

What a difference a haircut makes. Well, not just a haircut, but having a land mass like Al Jefferson on the low block attracting double teams.

Henderson’s been on a relative tear this last week, compared to the nine straight games of sub 40% shooting brick-laying he started the season with. He’s a peculiar fantasy player at SG/SF – not overly strong in any one particular category, but handy enough to plug into your line-up and see some decent stats being put up.

He’s had seven straight games in double figures, along with 29/35 (82.9%) shooting from the line in that stretch, which I’ll be the first to admit, doesn’t exactly leap out at you. However, if you’re in need of a high attempt/high make player in free throws (hello Drummond, Griffin, Howard and Smoove owners), then Henderson is a nice, solid and likely available option.

He’s been even better over his last four games for the Cats, contributing 16 points, 4.3 rebounds, 2 assists and just 1.3 turnovers per night – right in line with his post All Star game numbers as provided earlier, so this is more a trend than a mirage for fantasy value.

Henderson can count me as one of his doubters, for sure. There’s something about a SG who can’t shoot the long ball, doesn’t get you some steady assists or rebounds, or even get you many steals.

These are players on the rise though, and not ‘star’ players, so he’s someone worth a look in on most rosters, especially deeper leagues that count turnovers.

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  1. Zack
    November 28, 2013 at 9:46 pm — Reply

    Enjoyed the read Sam. I planned to mention Nate in my weekly article also.

  2. November 29, 2013 at 1:12 am — Reply

    Thanks mate.

    In retrospect, I had a massive Sullinger write up ready to go but you got the jump – nice work.

    Jordan Farmar might be in line for a watchlist add, his numbers have been AWESOME last 4 games.

    Frye has been killing it alongside Dragic too…

  3. Jake
    November 29, 2013 at 1:23 pm — Reply

    Hey Sam, wonder if you could help me. I’m a little fed up with Harris rotting on my bench as I already have Rondo there too. I’m in an 8 man roto 9 cat league with a team consisting of: Tony Parker, Paul George, Hayward, Favors, Hibbert, Drummond, Korver, R Anderson, Rondo, Harris, Bledsoe, Batum, and Love. Is he worth the wait or should I pick up Oladipo on the WW instead? There’s also Jimmy Butler sitting pretty. So I’m deciding between Ola and Buts, although it’d be nice to probably have both but I don’t see anyone else I want to drop on my team other than Harris.

    Rankings-wise, I’m sitting last in ft%, 3rd to last in points and TOs, 2nd to last in assists and 4th place in steals (2nd place the rest of the cats: fg%, boards, 3ptm, and blocks).

    • November 30, 2013 at 1:18 am — Reply

      Harris is a tricky one, I’m like you and have him in a couple of leagues…I think the problem is that upside he possesses, and the fact that ORL are playing Big Baby now – as a means of building some trade value for him.

      Holy hell how did you get that roster!?

      I think you need to move one of those low scoring Cs, either Drummond or Favors. It’s surprising you’re last in ft% with high volume guys like Love, George, Hayward, Bledsoe – how are they not at least balancing out Drummond?

      I think Harris for Oladipo is a smart move now, but if you can shift an extra player in a 2 for 1 (something like Favors and Parker) for a guy like Westbrook or Wall, then it will allow you to do both – stash Harris, and add Oladipo. Parker’s only going to be playing less mins as the season goes along, especially with SA pummeling everyone in their path.

      I’d add VO now for Harris though, then try move 2 for 1, then you can add either Harris back, or Butler…

      • Jake
        November 30, 2013 at 11:57 pm — Reply

        Haha it’s an 8 team league, so everyone’s roster is more or less stacked. I just pounced when someone dropped Rondo and Ryan Anderson at the same time. Then I ended up sacrificing Lowry for Harris once I heard he was coming back, but that was a waste and now Lowry is long gone. 🙁

        Anyways, yeah I’m surprised my ft% was that bad (it’s around 74%) but those guys just haven’t been shooting too well or getting to the stripe a lot either. I tried TP and Korver/Drummond for Wall or Westbrook and both owners passed (no one wants TP…). I want to try and get Chandler Parsons but I feel that giving up my two guys is way too much for him. Definitely in a conundrum right now. Thanks for the reply!

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