With the NBA season less than two weeks away, it’s time to unveil my Top 10 Spurs Fantasy Players. I am going to examine their value from a seasonal league and a keeper league perspective, and I will also name a few players who will be in similar draft positions so that you will get an idea of where to value them. Hopefully this information can help you all draft better teams than you would have otherwise… unless you’re in a league with me.
1. Tim Duncan (PF)
Duncan is the obvious choice here. Well, almost obvious. The concerns with Duncan – mainly injury history and age – are the same for the Spurs’ other two top dogs – Manu Ginobili and Tony Parker. That’s why I can’t lower him for anyone else on the team, but it is worth mentioning that last year Duncan averaged his lowest rebounds (10.1 per game), points (17.9 per game), and blocks (1.5 per game) ever. His minutes went down to 31:18 per game, and the plan is to lower his minutes more this season as well as rest him in the second of back-to-back games. When he plays he will be the same double-double machine on most nights, but I wouldn’t recommend drafting him any higher than a 3rd round pick. For Power Forwards, I’d pick Amare, Dirk, Bosh, Pau Gasol, or David Lee before Duncan. However, I would pick Duncan before Zach Randolph, Odom, Millsap, or Jeff Green. In a Keeper League, this might be the last year you can get something for him in a trade, and I would avoid him in Keeper drafts unless he’s lingering there in the 6th or 7th round.
2. Manu Ginobili (SG)
Gino moves ahead of Parker for a couple of reasons. First off, he has seemingly shaken off the injury label – the same one that Parker picked up last season. Also, he had a great season last year and seemed rejuvenated on his way to tying his second-highest scoring average at 16.5 per game. He also averaged 3.8 rebounds, 1.4 steals, and a his most ever assists at 4.9 per game. He shoots well enough at 44% from the field and 87% from the charity stripe, plus he knocked down 132 threes last season. In fact, you could make a strong case for drafting him ahead of Duncan. There is one snag though, and that’s that Popovich likes to bring Manu off the bench a lot, so his minutes are usually in the 25-30 per game range. He’s probably about a 5th or 6th round pick, but I wouldn’t laugh at someone for reaching for him late in the 4th round. I wouldn’t pick him before OJ Mayo, Brandon Roy, or Monta Ellis, but I would pick him over Vince Carter, Kevin Martin, or Jason Terry. In a keeper league I would not pick him up earlier than the 6th round.
3. Tony Parker (PG)
Parker’s stats took a nosedive last season as his scoring dropped from 22 points per game to 16 and his assists went from 6.9 to 5.7 per game. For a point guard who is supposed to score and rack up assists, that just won’t do. It’s bad enough that he doesn’t give you much in rebounding or three-pointers, but then there’s the fact that the only stat he went up in was turnovers. I feel like he will bounce back from a rough year that saw him play in only 56 games. Still, I’m cautious when it comes to drafting fantasy teams, so I would not pick him earlier than the 6th round. I’d pick him before Johnny Flynn or Rodney Stuckey, but not before Chauncey Billups or Devin Harris. In keeper leagues, I’d probably leave him alone until the 7th round at the earliest unless all the good point guards are drying up fast.
4. George Hill (G)
Hill started 43 games last year, mostly in place of Tony Parker. However, he also switched to Shooting Guard for several games and even started alongside Parker sometimes. What does that mean? It means that he will get minutes and it means that he showed us that he is capable of putting up at least 12.4 points, 2.6 rebounds, and 2.9 assists per game. He plays a major role on the Spurs not only because of his ability to fill in at both guard spots in the case of injuries, but also for his defense. This is one the up-and-comers to look for with the Spurs, especially if the Spurs do mess around and trade Tony Parker. In a seasonal league, I’d pick him up no earlier than the 8th round. I’d take him before Richard Hamilton, Jrue Holiday, or Jose Calderon, but I wouldn’t take him before Jameer Nelson, Jason Richardson, or Eric Gordon. In a keeper league, I’d probably reach earlier for him, say in the 7th round.
5. DeJuan Blair (F/C)
Blair averaged 7.8 points and 6.4 boards in his rookie campaign while only playing about 18 minutes per game. This year he could start even more than last year’s 23 games. He has reportedly been working on his shooting all summer and has averaged 13.8 points in the first four games of this pre-season. He’s a double-double waiting to happen. I’d pick him up as early as the 8th round in seasonal leagues, but you may be able to catch people sleeping and grab him later in the maybe the 10th round. I’d pick him before Villanueva, Haslem, or even Elton Brand. I wouldn’t pick him before Scola, Rashard Lewis, or Carl Landry. In Keeper leagues, pick him up earlier, maybe as early as the 7th, just like George Hill.
6. Tiago Splitter (F/C)
Possibly the biggest sleeper this year, I would wager that you can get him in the last round of any draft. There are question marks everywhere with Splitter, especially now that he has some foot problems. Still, I think he will be solid and is worth a late round pick in all leagues. He was the MVP of the Spanish league and should be able to help on the boards immediately. I suspect his scoring will pick up mid-season and he will finish the year strong. In Keeper leagues, you may want to reach for him as early as the 10th round. I’d pick him before Jason Maxiell, Matt Barnes, or Drew Gooden. I wouldn’t pick him before Al Thornton, Blake Griffin, or even the injured Carlos Boozer.
7. Richard Jefferson (SF)
I’m not high on Jefferson these days for fantasy purposes. If he isn’t scoring then he isn’t doing much else for you. I’ll give him some credit for stepping up his efforts on the glass last season, but it’s not enough for me to pick him very high. I’d pick him with a late round pick, maybe as early as the 8th or 9th round if I was in a deep league with people who all knew what they were doing, but most likely I’d pick him up in a late round just because no one else wanted him and he was still there in the 10th or something. I’d pick him before Kelenna Azubuike, Omri Casspi, or Brandon Rush, but not before Josh Howard, Ron Artest, or Corey Maggette. I’d pick him way late in a keeper draft.
8. James Anderson (SG/SF)
Anderson won’t be a significant fantasy contributor this season, but I’d take him with a late round pick in a keeper draft, which is the only reason he ranks above the next two players.
9. Antonio McDyess (PF)
Worth a late round flier, but I wouldn’t pick him up in a keeper league unless I needed another Power Forward really bad.
10. Matt Bonner (PF/C)
I wouldn’t even pick him in a Keeper league except as a late rounder to boost three pointers or have an extra player with center eligibility.