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The Give and Go: Banging the Drummond

Kyle McKeown

Kyle McKeown is the Managing Editor of NBA Content for He hosts the Fantasy Basketball Podcast and writes about fantasy basketball. Kyle used to run an after school program and approaches his work as an editor with teaching in mind. He genuinely cares about helping others win their fantasy basketball leagues, which seems really dorky when it's written in the third person.

Shannon McKeown

Shannon McKeown is the VP of Advertising Sales and Basketball Editor for He's a two-time FSWA finalist for Fantasy Basketball writer of the year. He also covers the Pistons and Tigers for the site.

-----Original Message-----
From: "Kyle McKeown"
Sent: Tuesday, February 12, 2013 10:34AM
To: "Shannon McKeown"
Subject: Give and Go

Hey Bro,

Our Michigan roots mean a little bit more in basketball this season with Trey Burke leading Michigan in a spectacular way, and with the Wolverines taking on the Spartans on ESPN on Tuesday night, I've been spending an unhealthy amount of time Tuesday morning thinking about the basketball story lines from America's high-five.

Probably the most relevant fantasy basketball story out of Michigan in the last week was the back injury to Andre Drummond that is going to sideline the high-potential rookie for the next 4-to-6 weeks. He has a stress fracture in his back, but the gold lining on this injury is the fact that his doctors have already come out and said it won't be a long-term issue. According to the stories I've read on the injury: it's fairly common; there are no issues with his disks; and once the fracture heals, he's not expected to have any lingering effects.

Drummond was dropped in a lot of leagues this last week, but I haven't seen him dropped in too many expert leagues. I was hoping he'd get the boot, because I was planning on scooping him up with an eye toward having him for the fantasy playoffs. While I haven't been able to utilize that tactic yet, I'm going to keep my eyes on the waiver wire and scoop him up in some leagues.

The Detroit News' Pistons beat writer tweeted Monday that Drummond would have been moved into the starting lineup last Wednesday if he hadn't suffered the back injury a few days prior. Hearing that news is pretty frustrating from a fantasy perspective, as it feels like a missed opportunity. However, what that nugget tells me is that my plan to steal Drummond off waivers has more merit and supports my thoughts on the matter. Essentially, I think that the Pistons will get him into the starting lineup as soon as he shows he's healthy enough to play the minutes.

We've seen the kind of positive contributions Drummond can have in fantasy in the field-goal percentage, points, rebounds, blocks, and steals categories in limited minutes, so I think it's worth grabbing and stashing him in certain leagues, with an eye toward the playoffs. Obviously, the shallower the league, the less impact he'd have, but for expanded leagues, I think it's a worthwhile play as long as I don't shoot myself in the foot and end up outside of the playoffs, while trying to carry dead weight.

Have you considered making a similar move?

-----Original Message-----
From: "Shannon McKeown"
Sent: Tuesday, February 5, 2013 11:26AM
To: "Kyle McKeown"
Subject: RE: Give and Go

The revival of Michigan basketball has me reminiscing about my childhood days of watching the Fab Five. Burke, Hardaway Jr., and Big Dog III aren't sniffing Webber, Rose, and Howard, but it's still a damn exciting brand of basketball to watch.

The Drummond news was a downer for Pistons fans and fantasy owners of the rookie big man. Most owners, myself included, were expecting a big second half from Drummond once the Pistons turned him loose. I actually dumped all of my Drummond shares. Those leagues were all Rotisserie, which made the decision much easier. While I understand your reasoning for keeping him stashed in head-to-head leagues, I don't agree with it. He's currently expected to be out 4-to-6 weeks, which puts a return anywhere from early-to-mid March. Where will the Pistons be in the Eastern Conference standings come mid-March? My guess is about 8-to-10 games out of the final spot of the playoffs, or in other words, completely out of contention. Like we discussed with Kevin Love last week, here's a situation in which the team won't have much incentive to rush a player back into action. Sure Drummond could use the extra seasoning, but will the kid gloves really come off for the 19-year-old after sitting out 4-to-6 weeks? I doubt it. I expect the Pistons to have the bumpers on for him if he does return this season. We'll probably have to wait until next year for Drummond to start living up to some of the promise he has shown thus far.

We've seen some other young big men make recent splashes, though. Lavoy Allen had a monster double-double (14 points, 22 rebounds) over the weekend, and the Raptorsí Jonas Valanciuanas has posted back-to-back double-doubles. Both players are widely available in Yahoo! Leagues. Who do you grab and why?

One team that hasn't been receiving nearly enough attention this year is the Spurs. San Antonio improved to 41-12 last night by beating the Bulls, and that was without Tim Duncan, Tony Parker or Manu Ginobilli suiting up. Danny Green and Kawhi Leonard have been absolute studs over the past two weeks, with both coming in as top-10 fantasy options during that stretch. Which of the two do you prefer for the rest of the season? I still see Oklahoma City as the favorite in the Western Conference, but why don't the Spurs get more respect?

-----Original Message-----
From: "Kyle McKeown"
Sent: Tuesday, February 12, 2013 12:42PM
To: "Shannon McKeown"
Subject: RE: Give and Go

I think Drummond gets some good run down the stretch, but you're right about there being too many questions about his role the rest of the season to invest too much in one-year leagues right now.

I think it goes without saying, though, that you'd agree he's a must-hold in all keeper formats, right?

Lavoy Allen had a great game this weekend and is currently owned in only nine percent of Yahoo! leagues. I picked him up in a couple leagues after that monster 14-point, 22-rebound game, but after he posted just four points and two rebounds in 29 minutes Monday, I'm convinced that he's too inconsistent to rely on, even when playing big minutes. I'll ride him for one more game, but I'm also considering dropping him in most formats.

Jonas Valanciunas has done well the last two games, and most importantly, he was moved back into the starting lineup Sunday and has played big minutes. He should get good run, but I'm worried about coach Dwane Casey's rotation mucking up things. It's definitely worth taking a flier on Valanciunas, but I'm not expecting him to lead any teams to the promised land. If I had to pick between Valanciunas and Allen, I'd take Valanciunas. He's the starting center of the Raptors' present and future. Allen is a stopgap until Thaddeus Young (hamstring) eventually returns to the lineup in a few weeks.

I'm glad you brought up the Spurs, because I was drooling over Kawhi Leonard's stats Tuesday morning and was going to bring him up myself. I love this kid.

Through his first season and a half in the league, he's shooting career marks of 50 percent from the field and 39 percent from three-point land. Granted, the Spurs put him in great position to be efficient, but Leonard has the frame of mind to choose his shots well. He's a player that I'm targeting in trades right now in keeper leagues, and he might be a sneaky add in one-year leagues, too, if you can get him thrown into a trade. I have to think that his limited scoring ceiling this season due to the Spurs' depth creates a perception that his value isn't as high as it actually is. There's a superficiality there that I think could be exploited to take advantage of Leonard's great contributions in the percentage categories, three-pointers, and steals.

As far as general discussion of the Spurs goes, you're right. People aren't talking about them, but I'm sure they're fine flying under the radar. Coach Gregg Popovich has kept them playing through a number of injuries to both their young players and their veterans, and though their older players are the ones that get most of the ink, it's the Spurs' young guns that have me excited right now. Rookie guard Nando De Colo started at point guard against the Bulls (in Chicago) with Tony Parker (knee) out Tuesday, and he led the Spurs to a road-game route of the Bulls. Everyone keeps kicking the can down the road on when the Spurs are going to fall off the cliff, but I don't see that happening any time soon. Even with Tim Duncan sidelined for the last three weeks, they've only lost one game. That's bananas.

I agree that the Thunder are still the favorites to win the West, but it's a neck-and-neck race with three horses all fighting for the win. I think the Thunder, Spurs, and Clippers all have a chance to steal the championship from the Heat this season.

I don't like to put weight into rumors. I hardly ever try to use them to discern moves I should make in fantasy, but they're still fun to talk about. Josh Smith is getting thrown into rumors everywhere, and the Nets are big on the trade market. Are you getting caught up in any of the chatter? Are there any moves that you think are interesting or that you'd like to see happen?

On a quick off-shot, I just want to note how impressed I am with who the NBA got into the dunk contest this year. I love that there are some young and exciting names in it. I can't wait to see Kenneth Faried, Eric Bledsoe, Gerald Green, Jeremy Evans, and Terrence Ross, and James White, who I could care less about in fantasy, is probably the favorite to win in most people's eyes. Have you seen this? He can really dunk from the free-throw line, and he can reportedly go between his legs while doing it.

I can't wait.

-----Original Message-----
From: "Shannon McKeown"
Sent: Tuesday, February 5, 2013 1:50PM
To: "Kyle McKeown"
Subject: RE: Give and Go

Drummond is definitely a must-hold in all keeper formats. His free-throw shooting is worrisome, but his upside in other categories easily outweighs that flaw. Blame me for being a homer, but based on what we've seen at the NBA level, I would rank Drummond ahead of Anthony Davis right now as far as total ceiling goes. That said, Davis is still the safer option.

I, too, rushed out and added Allen after his big game. For one night at least, it looked like Allen might be the primary beneficiary from the Young injury. I've already cut the cord, though. We've seen short-lived outbursts from Allen in the past, and I don't think he'll be able to put up consistent numbers. Plus, when/if Andrew Bynum returns, any value Allen holds will be squashed.

Valanciunas is my pick of the two as well. I was swayed enough by Allen's performance Saturday night to pick him over Valanciunas at the time -- it's hard to not get excited about a 22-rebound effort -- but I quickly realized the error of my ways and swapped in Toronto's big man two days later. People seem to forget just how good of a prospect Valanciunas was before being drafted. He went No. 5 overall in 2011 and would have gone as high as No. 2 overall if he was in the 2012 draft class. He had some quality outings before hitting the shelf for five weeks and would have developed into a walking double-double by now if he stayed healthy. There might be some growing pains, but I think Valanciunas holds value for the remainder of the season.

It's pretty amazing that the Spurs can sit their three stars and still beat a team as good as the Bulls on the road. Imagine how the Heat or Thunder would perform in a similar situation with all of their studs sitting? It wouldn't be pretty.

Leonard is clearly the fourth-best Spur, in fantasy and reality. His scoring (10.4) and rebounding (5.4) averages don't jump out of the box score, but he's efficient across the board, while hitting a steady stream of three-pointers (1.3) and being among the league leaders in steals (1.9). He kind of reminds me of a more athletic, in-his-prime Shane Battier, who was routinely a top-50 fantasy option, despite not posting big averages. And to think that I traded away Leonard and Nicola Vucevic in the Staff Keeper League last year to make a misguided run to finish in the money.

Green is another interesting fantasy option on the Spurs, but his value is mostly tied to his 2.3 treys per game. He's been absolutely lights out from downtown this month, going 22-of-37 through five games. His stroke will eventually cool.

I've mostly ignored the J-Smoove rumors, as his role will likely be the same no matter where he lands. And, in all likelihood, the Hawks probably wouldn't move him without getting a replacement included in the deal. The one trade situation I'm keeping a close eye on is in Utah. Both Paul Millsap and Al Jefferson are in the final year of their contracts, making it likely one of them could be moved. Utah has two in-house replacements with Derrick Favors and Enes Kanter, who would both see boosts in value if a trade should go down. I'm still not 100 percent that the Jazz will trade away one of their best players, while occupying the seventh seed in the Western Conference, but the chance of it happening was enough for me to stash Kanter as a replacement for Drummond in one league. Speculative adds like that can be made in deeper leagues, but in shallower formats, I usually wait for an actual trade to go down.

The dunk competition does look promising this year. White has some serious springs, but I'm putting my money on Terrence Ross. Faried is my dark horse, but he'll have to unleash some ridiculous monster dunk where he snaps the rim in two to take the crown.

See you in the comments.