9/4/12

DNB's Fantasy Guru: Central Division Depth Charts



Central Division:

The NBA training camp is approaching and we are in the throes of depth chart despair.  Things are often murky when trying to decipher an early idea of fantasy draft positions and such.  Here at the DNB, we will take a look at depth charts for each team in the NBA.  I will do one division per week until the start of pre-season.  Hopefully, this gives some clarity to a confusing element of fantasy basketball.

Let’s start with the Central division.

Cleveland Cavaliers

Position
Player
Player
Player
Player
C
A. Varajeo
T. Zeller
J. Leuer

PF
T. Thompson
S. Samuels
L. Harangody

SF
C. Miles
O. Casspi
A. Gee

SG
D. Waiters
K. Azubuike
D. Gibson

PG
K. Irving
D. Gibson
D. Sloan
J. Pargo

The key to understanding the Cavaliers is in understanding what their future investments are.  There is certainly no playoff intentions with the roster they have put together this off-season.  With Kyrie Irving, Dion Waiters, and Tristan Thompson almost certain to garner minutes, there are still some minutes to go around for stop-gaps and sleepers.  Depending on what the Cavaliers do with Varajeo, Tyler Zeller could come into some decent minutes. He seems projected to be the replacement for Varajeo, who is certainly out of place on a very young roster of players in the post-LeBron era.  On top of that Varajeo has only played 56 games in two years.  This leaves fantasy owners a little apprehensive when it comes to the soon to be 30 year old center.

Another interesting battle in the depth chart is the small forward position.  It is totally up for grabs at this stage with no clear winner.  Casspi has struggled since leaving Sacramento and Miles has never truly been relevant in fantasy even though he has had many opportunities with the Jazz. 

Sure bets: Irving (early), Thompson (mid), Varajeo (mid), Waiters (mid-late)
Sleepers: Zeller, Gee, Azubuike
Pass on: Miles, Casspi,

Indiana Pacers

Position
Player
Player
Player
Player
C
R. Hibbert
I. Mahinmi
M. Plumlee

PF
D. West
T. Hansborough
J. Pendergraph

SF
D. Granger
G. Green


SG
P. George
L. Stephenson
O. Johnson

PG
G. Hill
D. J. Augustin


The Pacers have a line-up that is very much set in stone.  With a decent playoff run that got them into the second round, and at one stage in a series lead against the Heat, the Pacers look to keep their core group active and prominent.

One major battle that sticks out is the battle at PG.  Newcomer Augustin is coming off a disappointing season with the Bobcats and into a position that could make him relevant again.  There is not much quality depth on the bench in Indiana so Augustin may come to be an important factor in terms of scoring and touches.

On draft day, you may want to avoid David West in the early rounds as he is not quite his former self and his numbers have steadily declined on the Pacers.  Look for Hill to post some big numbers and become a viable fantasy option in the early rounds.

Sure bets: Hibbert (early), Granger (early-mid), Hill (mid), George (mid)
Sleepers: Augustin, Green, Hansborough
Pass on: West

Chicago Bulls

Position
Player
Player
Player
Player
C
J. Noah
N Mohammed


PF
C. Boozer
T. Gibson


SF
L. Deng
J. Butler


SG
R. Hamilton
K. Hinrich
M. Belinelli

PG
D. Rose
N. Robinson
M. Teague


The Chicago Bulls are somewhat of a head scratcher at the guard position.  With Rose most likely missing a lot of the regular season, we will see a rotation of has-beens suit up for Tom Thibideou.  Frankly, I would stay away from every guard on the Bulls.  There are too many question marks surrounding each player.  The only glimmer of hope might just be Marquis Teague but he is buried deep in the roster and may never see the light of day with all the vets ahead of him.  If you are utterly desperate, keep an eye on what they do with Belinelli. His 3FG% might be useful down the stretch, if he is getting any minutes, of course.

The front line on the Bulls is fairly straightforward.  All of Noah, Boozer and Gibson should receive significant minutes.  In fact, Boozer and Noah should be solid early round additions to any fantasy roster.  Add Gibson in the mid to late rounds as a solid breakout option. 

Sure bets: Boozer (early), Noah (early), Deng (mid)
Sleepers: Gibson, Robinson
Pass on: Hamilton, Hinrich



Milwaukee Bucks

Position
Player
Player
Player
Player
C
D. Gooden
S. Dalembert
J. Pryzzbilla

PF
E. Ilyasova
E. Udoh
J. Henson
L. Sanders
SF
M. Dunleavy
L. Mbah a Moute
Tobias Harris

SG
M. Ellis
D. Lamb


PG
B. Jennings
B. Udrih



The 2013 Bucks roster seems built to fail.  Their surefire center was traded away for Monta Ellis, who can be troublesome in the locker room.  The frontcourt on this team is loaded with inconsistent misfits that are far from well-rounded.  The only bright-spot seems to be 4th year power forward Ersan Ilyasova.  His PER of 20.55 may in fact solidify starter minutes on this squad.  The true quandary on this team lies is veteran big man Drew Gooden.  He seems to be a great fantasy option and can score and rebound with efficiency.  However, his lack of defense will get him pulled many nights in favor of a shot blocking Dalembert. 

Jennings and Ellis are locked in to start for Scott Skiles.  Yet, there are minutes to be had in the rotation for Lamb and Udrih to produce. 

After Jennings, Ilyasova and Ellis, I would tread lightly with the rest of the roster as Skiles messes with his rotation all too often and can drive a fantasy GM completely mad. 

Sure bets: Ellis (early to mid), Jennings (early to mid), Ilyasova (mid)
Sleepers: Dalembert, Udrih, Lamb, Dunleavy
Pass on: Gooden

Detroit Pistons

Position
Player
Player
Player
Player
C
G. Monroe
A. Drummond
S. Kravtsov

PF
J. Jerebko
K. Singler
C Villaneuva

SF
T. Prince
A. Daye
C. Maggette
K. Middleton
SG
R. Stuckey
K. English


PG
B. Knight
W. Bynum



Where do I begin?  When half the team is constructed with d-league quality players, it is tough to decide on sure bets and sleeper, don’t you think?

Now, let us look at the sure fire bets to get minutes and produce on this team.  Firstly, Greg Monroe will be a top center to aim for in the early rounds.  He should be targeted and is a hot commodity. If he is there, you may want to consider him as a number one option at center.  After Monroe, you may want to look at Rodney Stuckey or even Brandon Knight.  Although, Stuckey can be erratic at times and if you care about your TO rate or FG% you may want to look elsewhere first.  Knight should see a steady increase in production and FGA.  Look for him as a prime candidate to have a breakout season on a team full of sad sacs.  

At the small forward and power forward positions, Singler sticks out as a player that may get his shot this year.  Prince’s days are over, so, one would assume that room will be made for Daye or Maggette to see some time.  But don’t look at Maggette too long because for as much time he has spent in his career on the court, he has spent on the bench or on the IR and you can’t produce there, can you?   Definitely pass on Daye because he is, as Barkley would say: “tuurrrible.”  Daye’s shooting percentage is horrible and his PER is even worse.  Austin’s days are numbered in the NBA (sorry I had to).

Sure bets: Monroe (early) Stuckey (mid)
Sleepers: Knight, Drummond, Prince, Singler
Pass on: Daye, Maggette, Villaneuva

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