Welcome to the Unpossiblog, my fantasy basketball blog. Some of you know that I run a blog HERE that details my thoughts on the fantasy game. Well, now the world is going to get a little smaller, because I am going to be writing a weekly special edition of the Unpossiblog focused entirely on the Lakers. I will be breaking down waiver pickups, weekly match-ups, injury reports, and everything else fantasy related in Laker Land.
For the inaugural CL edition of the Unpossiblog we have to operate under the assumption that Kobe will be with the Lakers on opening night. I know that the recent statement by Dr. Buss may throw that into doubt, but any fantasy analysis of what the Lakers would be like post-Kobe is just speculation at this point. If and when we get to a point where substantial offers have been leaked to the public I will break down the fantasy implications of them in detail. For now though Kobe is a Laker and we have to assume he will be for the foreseeable future.
Prior to the Buss comments, the biggest news concerning the Lakers involved the lovable and energetic Ronny Turiaf, as coach Phil Jackson is reportedly considering starting him over recently re-signed Luke Walton. If Phil does make this move, obviously there will be some fantasy ramifications. Let’s take a look at who wins and loses from this rumored change in the Lakers starting 5.
Ronny Turiaf: Clearly the biggest winner is Turiaf. If he gets 30+ minutes per game he has the potential to average 8+ rebounds, 2 blocks, and 10 points. However, with the depth in the Lakers front court 30 minutes per game may be a stretch. Keep an eye on him and if he is getting enough minutes pick him up.
Projected Stats: 10 points, 8 rebounds, 1.8 blks, 50% Field Goal
Kobe Bryant: With Odom at SF and Ronny in the post, Kobe becomes the initiator on offense. You know that Kobe is going to score a solid amount of points no matter where he is, but in the initiator role his assists should go up, which will only increase his value. If Kobe can be successful in this role and get teammates involved it will become tougher for other teams to double him, which should lead to some better looks. However, in the initiator role I expect Kobe to shoot a few more threes, so I am projecting his field goal percentage to stay the same as last season.
Projected Stats: 30 points, 5 boards, 6 assists, 1.7 steals, 2 threes, 46% Field goal
Andrew Bynum: With Ronny in the lane as another shot blocking presence Andrew should be freed up to concentrate on boxing out his man and grabbing rebounds. If he starts Bynum will get a fair amount of blocks anyway thanks to his freakishly long arms, so he really shouldn’t lose any value in that category. Plus, let’s not forget the impact that Ronny’s contagious energy will have on the normally reserved youngster. The Lakers (as well as fantasy owners) are expecting big things out of Andrew this year and will need Ronny’s aggressiveness to rub off on him. Bynum has plenty of potential, but will need to beat out Chris Mihm and Kwame Brown to get enough minutes to show it.
Projected Stats (If starting, 25 mpg): 10 points, 9 rebounds, 1.9 blocks, 55% Field goal
Luke Walton: If Ronny is starting that likely means that Luke will see less playing time, and his numbers will dip accordingly. Last season Walton was able to have some fantasy value before injuries really took their toll, and many roto players were looking forward to his multi-category production this year. Unfortunately, it doesn’t look like this will be Walton’s year if Ronny starts and Vlad Radmonovic returns to form. It’s still possible that Jackson ditches his plans to start Ronny, or that Luke gels with the second unit, so drop him from your draft cheat sheet but don’t completely forget about him.
Projected Stats: 10 points, 4.4 rebounds, 3.5 assists, 45% Field goal
Lamar Odom: Phil moving Ronny to PF and Kobe to the initiator role is bad news for LO fantasy wise. The Lakers are hoping to allow Odom to be more creative in attacking the basket, which should make him more of a scoring threat, but his assists and rebounds will take a hit as a result. In his first year with the Lakers, Odom averaged just 3.7 assists, and I wouldn’t be surprised to see those numbers duplicated this season. While Odom will still be a top 50 fantasy player, he won’t get the nearly 10 boards and 5 assists that he did last season.
Projected Stats: 18 points, 8.5 rebounds, 4 assists, 47% Field goal
That’s it for the inaugural CL edition of the Unpossiblog. I will have another one up next week, when hopefully we will have a better idea of what is going on with the Kobe situation.