Before the 2007 NBA Draft, this current class was hyped to be at the level of some of the greatest of all time, including the 2003 draft class that included Lebron James, Carmelo Anthony, Chris Bosh, Dwayne Wade, Chris Kaman, Kirk Hinrich, David West, Leandro Barbosa, and Josh Howard. But as the season has progressed, many of these rookies have experienced various growing pains. Yet there are still some possible sleepers that could help make the small difference you need to go deep in your fantasy league.
This will be the first installment of RookieWatch 07-08, starting with picks #1-5.
- Greg Oden, Portland Trailblazers – Drafted to be the next dominant center. Has no value except in keeper leagues.
Recommendation: Ignore unless in a keeper league.
- Kevin Durant, Seattle Supersonics – One of the most prolific scorers in his one year in college, was drafted to be the savior of the Sonics franchise. Most likely, owners in your league overvalued the impact of this rookie and oftentimes took him too early, before proven commodities such as Josh Howard, Brandon Roy, Tony Parker, and Lamar Odom. Although he has not proven to be a game-changer, he still has adjusted to be a solid scorer in the NBA. However, he has not been the rebounding presence he was at Texas. Still, he contributes in 3-pointers, FT %, and will also add about a steal and block a game.
Recommendation: If you need points, FT %, or 3-pointers, propose a trade fora player such as Andre Miller or Emeka Okafor.
- Al Horford, Atlanta Hawks – Won two championships at Florida and provides solid FG % and rebounds in his first year. Also contributes by adding about a steal and block per game along with nine points. Horford has been getting a solid 30 minutes/game and does not hurt in any of the categories. Was touted as having the most NBA-ready body of this draft and will only improve in the second half when he learns more about opponents.
Recommendation: If you need a solid defender who can post rebounds and a solid FG %, try trading for a player such as Andres Nocioni or Mehmet Okur.
- Mike Conley Jr., Memphis Grizzlies – Played one year with Greg Oden at Ohio State and, since beginning the year with an injury that severely limited his playing time, has entered the starting lineup and posted solid stats. With great speed and toughness, Conley has played at least 30 minutes in 8 of his 10 games since returning from injury. He is a steal of a pickup if you need assistance in assists, steals, and surprisingly, rebounds for a guard. Also, he does not hurt you in any categories, even turnovers. Farid also does a great job of describing Conley’s emergence as the leading point guard of the Grizzlies.
Recommendation: Pick him up if he is on waivers and you need point guard help. Otherwise, try an enticing offer for Kirk Hinrich or Kurt Thomas, since the owner of the league may undervalue his contributions.
- Jeff Green, Seattle Supersonics – Acquired in the deal that sent Ray Allen to Boston (and began the ripple effect that led to the creation of the Boston Three Party), Green initially struggled to find minutes even with a young Sonics lineup and has recently been a marginal performer, at best. Since he has little value in many categories, such as steals, blocks, turnovers, assists, and percentages, the contribution to either points or rebounds is negated.
Recommendation: Monitor Green’s status for the rest of the year and see if he can gain some consistency. However, he will most likely have little value this season.
Update (Jan 27): for fantasy analysis of 2007 draft picks #6-10, click here.
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