Can Galinari and Curry Fulfill Your Fantasy? Hoopsworld Thinks So.
I am not much of a fantasy basketball fan, but it is clearly a huge activity that provides interesting analysis of statistical info.
D’Antoni’s Knicks typically receive favorable outlooks before the pre-season because fantasy players know that a few players on the Knicks will have excellent offensive statistics. In his series identifying the best fantasy draft prospects and “sleepers” for every team, Tommy Beer of Hoopsworld, points to the potential of Danilo Galinari and Eddie Curry.
With the Sixers, Nets, Raptors, and Celtics previews already complete – that leaves just one Atlantic Division squad remaining: The New York Knicks. Despite their poor win/loss record, the Knickerbockers are coached by the one and only Mike D’Antoni, which means they are guaranteed to provide some fantasy fireworks….
Again, I’ll attempt to select a couple of players from each squad that, for one reason or another, may currently be undervalued relative to their projected production and draft position. Sometimes this is an All-Star caliber player that I believe should be drafted a round or two ahead of his commonly assumed ranking. Or possibly a former stud that will be returning from an injury and could potentially be flying slightly under the radar. And of course we will be searching for those elusive “sleepers;” players drafted in the very late rounds, or scooped off the waiver-wire, that end up as integral parts of championship-winning fantasy teams…
Danilo Gallinari: We’ve all been there before: It’s the last round of the draft and you are looking to take a flier, hoping that you’ll be able to cash in on a lucky, late-round lottery ticket. Well, this season, Danilo Gallinari is a name to consider with that last pick…
The stage is set for another weird, unpredictable season in NYC. GM Donnie Walsh has made it abundantly clear time and again that he is steadfastly focused on clearing out cap space for the “Summer of 2010″ free-agent class. Thus, the majority of the players currently on the Knicks roster won’t be a part of the organization this time next year. While the Knickerbockers will obviously try to win every game they play this season, Walsh and D’Antoni also have to keep an eye on the future as well. That means developing and showcasing the talent they view as building blocks of the franchise. Thus, expect to see Wilson Chandler to get plenty of playing time and shot attempts. However, we got a healthy dose of Chandler last season when, as a 21-year old in just his second NBA season, Chandler averaged 14.4 points and 5.4 boards. He also set a team record last year, as he became the first Knick ever to average over 33 minutes per game at the ripe age of 21. So don’t expect Wilson’s production to go unnoticed by other GM’s in your league.
On the other hand, Gallinari, coming of a disappointing rookie campaign marred by a debilitating back injury, qualifies as a legit sleeper. He played in only 28 contests last season, and averaged a scant 15 minutes per game, but he did show some positive signs. In particular, his efficiency was noteworthy. He shot 44.8% from the field, and impressively canned 44.4% of his three-point attempts and 96.3% of his free-throws. Moreover, the Knicks love this kid – Check out these comments from D’Antoni (via John Schuhmann, NBA.com): “What we’ve seen of him and what we know of him as a person, a leader and all that, we think he can be a top-level player in this league,” D’Antoni said. “He’s definitely one of the best shooters in the league, without a doubt. He’s 6-10, knows how to play and is a better defender than what most people think.”
Of course, the biggest question mark regarding Gallo is his back. If he can stay healthy, I feel confident the Knicks will give him every opportunity to play extended minutes. Yes, New York currently has plenty of wings on the roster, but how many of those guys are the Knicks truly committed to long-term? Expect D’Antoni to lean on Danilo, especially in the second half of the season, as the Knicks fade out of the playoff picture.
Eddy Curry: On a related note, the Knicks would LOVE to see Curry show up to training camp in shape and play well this season. As I outlined in an article earlier this summer, Curry’s 2009-2010 season is vital to the future of the entire franchise. Per the piece, Donnie Walsh would be overjoyed if he found a team willing to gamble on Curry and accept his cap-killing pact. But the only way there is even a remote chance of the Knicks moving Curry’s contract would be if Eddy played well over the first few months of the season. And believe it or not, the idea is not completely far-fetched if Curry can somehow come into camp in shape and motivated. It was just two winters ago that Curry looked like he was on the verge of blossoming into a dominant NBA center. Back in December of 2006, Curry averaged 21.6 points and 7.9 rebounds per game. As the calendar flipped to the New Year, Curry’s rampage continued. In January of that season, he scored over 22 points per night (while shooting a remarkable 63.3% from the field) and chipped in 6.6 boards. During that stretch, he ripped off eleven straight 20-point games (the first Knick since Patrick Ewing to accomplish such a feat – no other Knick has done it since). In February, he was averaging up over 20 PPG and 7 boards once again – and the buzz around New York City was that Curry deserved to be named to the All-Star team. That 2006-2007 season, Curry led the NBA in ‘points in the paint.’ And he finished fourth in the league in field-goal percentage at 57.6%, just ahead of Amar’e Stoudemire and Carlos Boozer. Eddy Curry was just 24 years old. In recent NBA history, how many other 24-year old true centers have averaged 19.5 points and 7 rebounds per game over a full season?
We all know the nightmare that has been Curry’s career and personal life in the time since the end of that ’06-’07 campaign, but word out of the Windy City is that Eddy has lost plenty of weight this summer and is looking to revive his career. Well, Mike D’Antoni and Donnie Walsh will give him every opportunity to do so. If Curry plays even decently in the preseason, they will hand him the starting center gig and hope for the best. We shall keep an eye on the situation and see how it plays out…