The 2008 NBA draft class is deeper than expected. That depth is affecting the fantasy world as well, and the likes of O.J. Mayo, Brook Lopez and Eric Gordon have produced surprising fantasy numbers.
O.J. Mayo (MEM: PG, SG)
College basketball analysts around the country are enjoying a nice glass of O.J. crow right about now. Mayo is the best fantasy rookie thus far in the season. Furthermore, his abilities on defense has also made him the front-runner for NBA Rookie of the Year.
Mayo’s averages span the entire stat sheet: 21 points, 45 FG%, 90 FT%, 4.5 rebounds, two assists, one steal, and two 3PTM.
Solid all-around numbers, and they should remain that way throughout the season, as Mayo plays 40 minutes a game thanks to a weak Grizzlies’ roster.
Derrick Rose (CHI: PG)
Rose is as advertised: strong, athletic, and great around the hoop.
In the month of November, the rookie point guard is averaging 19 points, six assists, and one steal.
Rose isn’t a three-point shooter (0.4 per game), which is critical for a point guard in fantasy basketball. What he lacks in range, however, he more than makes up for in field goal percentage: 49 percent.
Look for Rose’s number to stay about the same throughout the season, with perhaps a slight jump in steals, regardless of Kirk Hinrich’s return.
ON THE RISE
Greg Oden (POR: C, 2007 draft)
Oden produces the major stats one needs in a fantasy center—field-goal percentage, rebounds, and blocks.
When the big man sees at least 20 minutes his averages are 14 points, 52 FG%, 10 rebounds, and 2.5 blocks. Unfortunately, Oden has played merely four games in which he has logged at least 20 minutes. Once he finds a way to stay on the court, those numbers should become more reliable.
Eric Gordon (LAC: SG)
Here are Gordon’s per-game averages as a starter—24.5 points, 53 FG%, four three-pointers, four steals, 1.5 blocks, and 3.5 assists.
Incredible numbers that will obviously taper off—unless Gordon is on pace for an MVP run. Furthermore, that sample is from just two games. Those starts, however, are a valid indication that this kid can play. More importantly, with Cuttino Mobley gone, this kid will play.
Brook Lopez (NJN: PF-C)
Lopez is becoming comfortable at the NBA level. In his last four games, the young center is averaging 16 points, 54 FG%, 8.5 rebounds, and 1.8 blocks, with an un-big-man-like 73 percent from the stripe.
His numbers may dip when Josh Boone returns from injury. For some unfathomable reason, Nets coach Lawrence Frank insists on playing Boone 25 minutes a game. If Frank continues this madness, Lopez will obviously go back to splitting time with at the center spot.
Russell Westbrook (OKC: PG)
Westbrook has one glaring flaw—shooting (33 FG%, 0.4 3PTM).
Extremely bad stats, which match his extreme upside. During the last four games Westbrook has become Rondo Jr. with averages of 13 points, six assists, and a gaudy 3.3 steals.
Furthermore, new head coach Scott Brooks has made an effort to find Westbrook more time, while starting point guard Earl Watson has made no effort towards wanting to remain in the lineup.
Look for Westbrook’s field goal percentage and playing time to increase as he becomes more comfortable running the show for the young Thunder. If you can afford to acquire him and be patient, he is well worth the pickup for later on in your head-to-head fantasy league.
Marc Gasol (MEM: C)
Lone big man for the Grizzlies is averaging a steady 12 points, 58% FG, seven rebounds, and one block
Michael Beasley (MIA: SF, PF)
On a team with Dwyane Wade, Shawn Marion, and Udonis Haslem, there’s only so many shots and rebounds to go around.
Nonetheless, Beasley is averaging 15 points and five rebounds, while shooting 83 percent from the line.