Toronto Raptors 2008-09 Fantasy Preview

Bosh is still the Raptors' most valuable fantasy player, but that may change this season.

Bosh is still the Raptors' most valuable fantasy player, but that may change.

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 Bosh (C)

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

Bosh can be a bit overvalued because as good as he is across the board, he doesn’t dominate anywhere. He scores in the low 20s per game, averaged less than nine rebounds and only one block (ie, less than Shane Battier and Desagana Diop) per game last season.

The addition of Jermaine O’Neal further restricts Bosh’s ability to increase his interior numbers (not that O’Neal will stay healthy). Bosh is a jump-shooting seven-footer with stellar percentages (.494 FG%/.844FT% last season), but it’s a stretch to expect him to average a double-double and around two blocks per game.

Playing with Calderon clearly makes him more a efficient scorer but not necessarily a more dominant big man.

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

Jose Calderon (PG)

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

If you are not salivating over the thought of drafting Calderon, you just aren’t paying attention. Despite being in the playing time carousel from hell last season, he averaged 11.6 points, 9.0 assists, 1.2 steals and 1.2 3-pointers in 56 starts while shooting .531 from the floor and .911 from the line.

And despite all those assists he turned the ball over just 1.8 times per game for the league’s fourth-best ratio.

Now that T.J. Ford has been shipped off to Indiana (and is probably already in traction), Calderon will be running the show on a team that averaged a hair over 100 points per game last season.

Expect Calderon to rank among the league leaders in assists (and possibly even lead the league) as well contribute 3-pointers and steals at last season’s rate. His percentages will probably come down slightly but he is a 50 percent shooter from the floor and 86 percent from the line for his career.

Outside of the top class of point guards, Calderon will be in very high demand.

When to take him: In the third round.

Jermaine O’Neal (C/PF)

Helps: Rebounds, Blocks

Hurts, FG%, FT%, TOs

It’s difficult to be bullish on O’Neal coming into the season. He hasn’t been healthy in about five years, his per minute numbers steeply declined last season, he’s no longer the focal point of his team and although he is only 30 he has logged 12 NBA seasons.

It’s possible that NOT being the focal point will help O’Neal. He won’t have to bear as much of the physical burden, won’t need to force shots which may help his FG% (.459 career) and won’t need to handle the ball as much so his horrid turnover rate (2.5 per 36 minutes for his career) may come down.

But it also means he is nowhere near likely to score 19 or 20 points per game. His best value is as a rebounder and shot blocker but with a dubious history of injury, is he worth the risk for a couple categories when he hurts your team in three others?

When to take him: In the seventh round.

Jamario Moon (SF)

Helps: Rebounds, Steals, Blocks, FG%

Hurts: FT%

It appears Moon is going to get the chance to log more than 30 minutes per game this season and that is a welcome idea for fantasy owners. Last season, he averaged eight rebounds, 1.8 blocks and 1.3 steals per 36 minutes and is one of the better pure players for “hustle stats”.

Moon could average just over double digits per game in scoring and his FG% (.485 last season) will be solid because he won’t need to force many shots. He did hit 40 3-pointers in 78 games last season and if he is able to find his range more often, owners will be killing each other to get him.

Even if he stays where he is, the valuable combination of blocks and steals he provides is enough to make him desirable.

When to take him: In the seventh round.

Anthony Parker (SG/SF)

Helps: 3-pointers, FT%, Steals

Parker improved last season despite getting less minutes than 2006-07 and it’s probably a function of playing alongside Calderon so expect more of the same.

Although he averaged less than 13 points per game, he buried 1.6 3-pointers per contest and shot better than 81 percent from the line. He had a respectable .476 FG% and collected 79 steals in 82 games.

Parker is no player to build your team around but he’s a solid backup guard/utility player to grab as the draft winds down.

When to take him: In the 10th round.

THE REST

It’s hard not to be intrigued by Andrea Bargnani, who is coming off a rough sophomore season. Still, in two seasons he has averaged 15.9 points, 5.6 rebounds, two 3-pointers and one block per 36 minutes. he shouldn’t be drafted except in very deep leagues, but keep your eye on him.

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

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Filed under Draft Strategy, Season Preview, Team Preview

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