For the next installment of RookieWatch 07-08, we will take an in-depth fantasy look at picks #6-10. For fantasy analysis of picks #1-5, click here.
- Yi Jianlian, Milwaukee Bucks – A relatively unknown Chinese (hell ya!) seven-footer, scouts did not know if he would be the next Yao Ming or another version of Wang Zhi Zhi. And even though the Bucks knew that Yi would be unhappy in Milwaukee (no Asian population and really, really cold), they took him with the 6th pick anyways. It seems like a good decision. And it has been a welcome delight to fantasy owners who were patient and scooped him up off waivers. Scoring nearly double digits a game and a helpful resource in terms of blocks, FT %, and rebounds, Yi has become a valuable contributor as another option behind Michael Redd. It also helps that part of his contract promised him a good amount of playing time (he’s averaging over 27 minutes/game).
- Corey Brewer, Minnesota Timberwolves – A two-time national champion with the Florida Gators, Brewer was touted as a tenacious defender with slasher ability in the Scottie Pippen mold. However, he has struggled for consistency on a young and terrible Timberwolves team. His scoring and rebounds have fluctuated from below average to terrible and that is the part of his game that has any positive value at all. A long defender, he has been unable to contribute in steals and blocks, and although he may still develop into a solid NBA player in the next few years, he has no place on anyone’s fantasy roster this year.
Recommendation: Ignore and hope he makes strides in the offseason to become a sleeper pick in next year’s draft.
- Brandan Wright, Golden State Warriors – Another long, lean athlete, but without the credentials of Corey Brewer, Wright has struggled to find playing time and any type of stability in his first year. Wright is a raw athlete that probably left North Carolina much too soon, and he has struggled with his shooting stroke and has not picked up any time in the normal Warriors rotation. Although Golden State is generally a team that can increase the fantasy stats of players through its quick playing style, Wright has no value unless you get points for time spent sitting next to a very old coach.
Recommendation: Do not even think about picking him up. Not even next year. Should have stayed in school but instead will follow the path of guys like Kwame Brown.
Joakim Noah, Chicago Bulls – Although seen as the consummate team player while at Florida, Noah has been a nuisance in the Chicago locker room in his first season (but he is only one of the reasons that my Bulls have horribly underachieved). He was even suspended for a game by his teammates, which is completely unheard of. However, he does bring energy and, even though his shooting touch is awful at best, has garnered more playing time now that the Bulls are all but ready to pack it in for the season (even though they are unbelievably only a game out of a playoff spot in the putrid Eastern Conference). Check out his game against Indiana last week (14 points, 15 rebounds, 6-9 from the field, 2-2 from the line, 1 assist, 3 steals). Still, he probably should not garner any interest in your league. Unless we’re talking about a crazy dancing league.
Recommendation: If the Bulls really start to tank, think about taking a flyer on him if the Baby Bulls (I think now its 4th generation Baby Bulls) get more playing time.
- Spencer Hawes, Sacramento Kings – Even playing on an injury-depleted team such as Sacramento, Hawes has not seen much playing time this year for the simple fact that the guy in front him, Brad Miller, has amazingly stayed healthy. Hawes showed some ability as a freshman at Washington, but he probably also came out too soon. I mean come on, even Stanford’s Robin Lopez has his number. He will most likely never develop into more than a Chris Mihm (and I wanted the Bulls to draft him, too) or Travis Knight (I always knew he sucked) clone, and thus should receive no attention in fantasy leagues due to sparse minutes and terrible peripherals.
Recommendation: Ignore, even if he does get more playing time. Just seems like he is not NBA-ready.
So as you can see, all of these picks, with the exception of Yi, have been busts for their teams so far. And with the exception of Corey Brewer, I think this trend will continue. I suppose the depth of this 2007 draft class was highly exaggerated. Coming up next, picks #11-15.
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