The NBA FanHouse team has been posting previews of all 30 teams prior to the start of the 2009-10 season. Along with each preview they examine a player to watch. In the case of the Golden State Warriors, Matt Moore examined Anthony Randolph. In keeping with the theme I decided to highlight a bench player on the Warriors who might turn into an impact fantasy player this season.
These are the kind of numbers that fantasy ballers just love to see: 108.2 points per game (2nd of 30) and a 98.2 Pace Factor (1st of 30). The Warriors ran wild last season, focusing solely on trying to outscore their opponents. Their defense, on the other hand, was one of the worst in the league. They allowed 112.3 points per game (30th of 30) and had a defensive rating of 113.3 (28th of 30) -- meaning they allowed 113.3 points per 100 possessions. The Warriors not only became a fantasy goldmine on offense, but they were one of a handful of teams that you circled on the schedule hoping to exploit the defensive matchup.
Even while the Warriors were lighting it up on offense, coach Don Nelson still couldn't find a starting rotation that he could commit to. Twelve different players started in 17 or more games, resulting in what seemed to have been a fantasy basketball record for most add/drops on a single team.
Typically the first two Warriors to come off the draft board, according to Mock Draft Central, are Andris Biedrins (ADP: 43.06) and Monta Ellis (ADP: 44.65). Ellis is coming off a season in which he played just 25 games, while Biedrins is a double-double machine who you can count on for at least 1.5 blocks and a field-goal percentage in the upper-50s. Stephen Jackson isn't too far behind with an ADP of 57.97. Captain Jax averaged career highs in points (20.7), rebounds (5.1) and assists (6.5) in '08-09. The problem is he also has the ability to kill your field-goal percentage (41.4 percent) in a given week, and if you're in a turnover league you might as well punt the category altogether when you draft Jackson. The remaining Warriors all fall outside of the Top 100, including Corey Maggette (ADP: 105.24) and super-sleeper Anthony Randolph (ADP: 109.12)
The best bargain, however, might be 24-year-old sharpshooter Anthony Morrow.
I don't think I was the only one who did a double-take when rookie gunslinger Anthony Morrow, aka Ammo, dropped 37 points on the Clippers in his first career start last season. The most impressive aspect of his performance was the shooting efficiency. He shot 15-of-20 from the field, 4-of-5 from beyond the arc and 3-of-3 from the line. Morrow proceeded to start in 16 more games the remainder of the season and coming out of nowhere he led the league in three-point shooting, draining 46.7 percent of his attempts.
Morrow is only being drafted in 8.8 percent of MDC leagues and has an ADP of 196.88, which means that in a standard 12-team league his name isn't even getting called. Even with coach Nelson declaring that he's going to rotate the starting two-guard position with Morrow, Stephen Curry and Kelenna Azubuike all in the mix.
After two preseason games it looks to me that Morrow will become a relevant fantasy contributor sooner rather than later. Monta Ellis and Kelenna Azubuike have already missed time due to ankle injuries. Not much to be concerned about in terms of 'Buike's ankle sprain, but Ellis re-injured the same ankle that kept him out for 57 games last season. Also, with Stephen Jackson continuing to make noise it's a possibility that the Warriors might respect his wishes and give him a one-way ticket out of the Bay Area. Should that happen, Azubuike or Morrow could step over and play some small forward, opening up even more opportunities.
Morrow is a deep-league option regardless of whether or not they move Jackson, Ellis gets injured, or coach Nelson commits to a rotation. Standard-league owners should only draft him to fill categories that you're short on -- namely three-pointers, free-throw percentage, field-goal percentage and points. Just don't expect him to fill up the score-sheet with many assists, steals or blocks.