Sacramento Kings 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:

Kevin Martin may be even better this season, but he is not going to have much help.

Kevin Martin may be even better this season, but he is not going to have much help.

 

Kevin Martin (SG)

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

With Mike Bibby in Atlanta and Ron Artest in Houston, the Kings are now Martin’s team. In just two seasons he has gone from a role player to one of the elite scorers in the league and the offense will be almost entirely in his hands.

Martin averaged 23.7 points per game last season and seemed at his best after Bibby was traded, averaging better than 26 points in the final 20 games. He made a career-high 1.8 3-pointers per game and shot a career-best .869 from line, where he has an .847 career mark.

The only negatives to Martin’s season were his .456 FG% (down from .473 the prior season) and a groin injury that forced him to miss two months. He is a .465 career shooter from the floor but the increased number of shots he’ll have to take – which wlll result in more points – will make his chances of improving his FG% slim.

Although he doesn’t help much elsewhere, contributing a modest number of steals, Martin is a solid source of scoring punch who could crack the league’s elite scorers this season.

When to take him: In the late second or early third round.

Brad Miller (C)

Helps: Rebounds, Assists, Blocks, Steals, FT%

One of the most erratic fantasy performers of all time, Miller followed a nightmare 2006-07 season that had many wondering if he was finished with a brilliant 2007-08 campaign. He averaged 13.3 points, 9.5 rebounds (his best since 2003-04), 3.7 assists, one block and one steal per game and shot .463 from the floor and .848 from the line.

The big question is: can he do it again?

It’s always good to seek the opinions of an expert when dealing with such statistical anomalies. What say you, ESPN’s John Hollinger:

Miller had a Fluke Rule season; we should expect (him) to regress to the mean somewhat this year, with Miller likely to experience harsher dips than others.

Miller is only 32 years old but has missed at least 10 games in four of the last five seasons. His numbers declined for three consecutive seasons prior to last year’s resurgence. He is already nursing a quadriceps injury and many similar little bumps and bruises may be on the way.

It’s clear Miller isn’t part of the team’s long-term plans and he could be trade bait once the Kings fall out of the playoff race. There is risk but the upside he displayed last season is too tantalizing to ignore.

When to take him: In the sixth round.

Francisco Garcia (SG/SF)

Helps: 3-pointers, Steals, FT%

Hurts: FG%

The opening left by Artest creates opportunities for John Salmons and Garcia, who is probably the safer choice of the two. He already displayed excellent 3-point range last season, sinking 1.4 per game, and made 78 percent of his free throws.

Garcia is not without his faults. He is a .440 career shooter from the floor although he posted a .462 mark last season, when he took more shots than ever before. Maybe more shots will help his FG% climb even higher.

Either way, the Kings need a second scoring presence behind Martin and Garcia, who just signed a multi-year extension with the team, seems most likely to fill the role.

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

John Salmons (SG/SF)

Helps: Steals, FT%

While he had some incredible performances during Martin’s absence last season, Salmons’ overall per minute numbers were not impressive (14.5 points, 5.0 rebounds, 1.3 steals per 36 minutes), making it hard to project his value.

On the bright side, he averaged 17.5 points, 3.5 assists, shot .497 from the floor and .811 from the line in 41 games as a starter and may win the starting small forward job this season. But it appears that Salmons can only produce when he gets a high number of shots and that is unlikely to happen with Martin around.

Garcia is better able to produce as a secondary option while Salmons, it would seem, needs to be the focal point. He could prove that theory incorrect and it wouldn’t be surprising if he was the better fantasy player than Garcia this season, but he’s certainly not the safer choice.

In addition, Garcia is a young player who is slowly emerging while Salmons, at 28 and in his sixth season in the league, is highly unlikely to finally be hitting his stride.

When to take him: In the ninth or 10th rounds.

Beno Udrih (PG)

Helps: Assists, FT%

Hurts: TOs

Many are declaring Udrih as a sleeper this season, and though less astute owners might not even realize he is the starting point guard, more astute owners probably realize he’s not that great.

Udrih was a fantastic mid-season pickup after Bibby was traded, but coming into the season his value is limited. In 51 games as a starter, Udrih averaged 14.4 points and five assists per game, collected 48 steals and sank 46 3-pointers. Nice numbers but hardly must-have player.

Udrih is a an excellent free-throw shooter (.821 career) but he has a career .438 mark from the floor and has always been prone to turnovers. His career per minute numbers are 4.9 assists and 2.5 turnovers per 36 minutes – not a great ratio.

You would be in good shape to have Udrih as your backup point guard but he’s not much better than that.

When to take him: In the 10th round.

THE REST:

The Kings have a number of talented big men including Mikki Moore, who gives a moderate amount of rebounding and posts a great FG% but scores little and does not block shots. With enough minutes, 7-footer Spencer Hawes could provide some rebounding and blocks but his offense needs some work. Ignore them both in drafts.

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

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Filed under Draft Strategy, Season Preview, Team Preview, Uncategorized

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