New Orleans Hornets 2008-09 Fantasy Preview

All previews follow the same format. I’ll be going in depth only on the players worth owning in a standard 12-team league, followed by players who you might consider as injury handcuffs/deep sleepers. As always, it starts with the most valuable player on the team:

Chris Paul (PG)

Helps: Assists, Steals, Points, FT%, FG%, 3-pointers

Here he is: the undisputed number one fantasy pick. Other rankings around the web have had Lebron James or Kobe Bryant as the top pick and, well, those are just flat-out wrong. Paul is the best player at the most valuable fantasy position and that’s where it ends.

Even if Paul doesn’t improve for the third straight season, he is coming off a stellar campaign in which he averaged 21.1 points, 11.6 assists, 2.7 steals, 1.2 3-pointers, shot .488 from the floor and .851 from the line. He even grabbed four rebounds per game, which isn’t necessarily a big help but better than other guards his size.

Even his turnovers – at 2.5 per game – are not a very damaging number considering how often he handles the ball.

Little else needs to be said, to be honest.

When to take him: First overall.

David West (PF)

Helps: Points, Rebounds, FG%, FT%, Blocks

West was a fine double-double threat coming into last season but really thrived with the emergence of Paul and developed into a shot blocking force as well, increasing his value.

Last season, West posted career highs in points (20.6 per game), rebounds (8.9), blocks (1.3) and FT% (.850) while posting a typically solid .482 FG%.

Either West has peaked or he is on the verge of becoming a 20/10 monster. It’s safer to assume the former, but that’s not a knock on his talent. Tyson Chandler is still there to scoop up a large amount of the team’s rebounds and West will provide more of his punch on the offensive end as Paul’s primary target inside.

When to take him: In the late third/early fourth round.

Tyson Chandler (C)

Helps: Rebounds, FG%, Blocks

Hurts: FT%

Chandler is a rebounding monster, averaging more than 11 per game in each of the last two seasons, but he doesn’t offer enough of the usual categories for elite centers. He is not much of an offensive weapon, although he averaged double digits in scoring for the first time last season and has shot better than 60 percent from the floor since Paul arrived.

For some reason, Chandler’s blocks plummeted to 1.1 per game last season – the lowest mark of his career. It is hard to believe he will block less than one shot per game, so expect a bounceback season in the category to about 1.5 per game.

After an early-career injury-prone label, Chandler has played at least 73 games in each of the last four seasons.

When to take him: In the seventh or eighth rounds.

Peja Stojakovic (SF)

Helps: 3-pointers, Points, FT%

Hurts: FG%

Stojakovic’s value lies solely in his remarkable ability to bury 3-pointers. He tied a career high by making three per game last season and is one of the few players in the league capable of making seven or eight in a game numerous times during the season. He’s also very capable of multiple 1-for-13 shooting nights, but you have to take the good with the bad.

Stojakovic also scores a fair amount and while his FT% is spectacular (.894 career, .929 last season!) but not as beneficial as it could be because he got less than two attempts per game from the line last season.

Peja is always a risk because his health – espceially a balky back – is a constant question mark. But he played 77 games last season after missing more than half of each of the previous three seasons.

But the Hornets have legitimate title hopes and it’s a good best they will find a way to keep Peja healthy, especially when his job now is just to stand around and shoot.

When to take him: In the seventh or eighth round.

THE REST

Morris Peterson is a strong source of 3-pointers – sinking 2.3 per game last season – and will chip in some steals, but his percentages are subpar. He shouldn’t be drafted unless you really need 3-pointers and even then he is a last-round pick. Mike James and Rasual Butler have the chance to get some minutes in the backcourt but should only be considered if there is an injury to Paul (God forbid), Stojakovic or Peterson.

Be sure to check your league rules for specific position eligibility rules.

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Filed under Draft Strategy, Season Preview, Team Preview

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