After going extremely big with my first three picks (Kevin Love, LaMarcus Aldridge and Greg Monroe), it came time to get into filling up my backcourt.
But first, one last big man.
Round 4, Pick 9:
Ersan Ilyasova, PF, Milwaukee. Ilyasova is going to have a monster breakout season, and is one of several breakout candidates at power forward this season (others include second year men Kenneth Faried and Tristan Thompson).
Ilyasova posted 16.1 points per game and 9.1 rebounds per game in the last two months of the 2011-12 season, and is primed to post even bigger numbers this year with Andrew Bogut completely removed from the front court to clear the path for the Turkish big man.
Ilyasova has been playing at a high level for many years, and showed up big for Turkey in the World Championships in 2010 in his home country. Since that time, he’s only matured as a player. Andrew Morton of Rant Sports (@WideReceiving) even goes as far as to suggest he is actually a better NBA power forward than Blake Griffin, and when the game is looked at holistically, it’s hard to disagree with that notion.
Round 5, Pick 2:
Kyle Lowry, PG, Toronto Raptors. Up until January 24th, in 9-cat Yahoo! leagues last season, Lowry posted the 6th highest value of all players, putting up better numbers at the point position than Derrick Rose, Chris Paul, Deron Williams, Steve Nash, Russell Westbrook, Rajon Rondo, Stephen Curry, Brandon Jennings and Ricky Rubio.
Lowry was the man. And yet, because his Houston Rockets team was so mediocre, he was left off the coaches’ picks for the reserves. His averages as of late January were 16.5 points per game, 8.7 assists per game, and 6.9 rebounds per game.
That line is an all-around triple-double producing statistical performance. At that time, I wrote that Lowry would “undoubtedly” be an All-Star, and yet when the team was selected a month later, his performance had leveled off, and his team was struggling.
I’m ignoring all of that. Lowry is on a new team, and that team is more talented. Lowry will facilitate things for big men Andrea Bargnani (who basically camps out for threes) and the athletic Jonas Valanciunas inside.
In addition to the front court, he also has DeMar DeRozan, Terrence Ross, Landry Fields and backup point guard Jose Caldedon, to help him work the open spots on the perimeter.
Lowry is the key to a very powerful engine, and should put up 15.5 points per game, 8 assists per game, and 5.5 rebounds per game this season. That’s great value for the fifth round.
Round 6, Pick 9:
Jeremy Lin, PG, Houston Rockets
I am already regretting this pick after checking his preseason performances more. In fact, I wish I had it to do over. I don’t really want to go into why Lin is struggling, because it only further makes me think he was a flash in the pan. It’s highly possible that he went off for a short tear of games and never comes anywhere near eclipsing that production—ever again.
In fact, I fear rookie Scott Machado will steal more than his fair share of minutes, in light of how the heralded Brazilian has performed so far this preseason. Lin, avoid him. This isn’t even good value, though most of the other guards on the board by pick 69 were of low quality. At least I still have Lowry.