Studs: LeBron James, Mo Williams
Duds: Zydrunas Ilgauskas
The Cavs are definitely sporting a new look this year, thanks mostly to the arrival of Shaquille O’Neal, who will start at center and relegate Ilgauskas to the bench. This is a bit unfortunate for Big Z, since he has somehow managed to remain productive despite being incredibly creaky and slow. Expect him to see about 18-20 minutes a night, which will drastically decrease his production, though a better-rested Ilgauskas could produce decent numbers when O’Neal sits out of games.
O’Neal has shown that he still has some gas in the tank during his 1+ seasons in Phoenix and should remain a decent source of rebounds and blocks, though his free throw woes have yet to be solved. The question with him is how many games he can play and how many unannounced DNPs he’ll rack up during the course of the season.
Williams should continue to be a strong source of three-pointers, especially if O’Neal can demand a few double teams each game. It remains to be seen if he can give you the assists you’d want from a point guard, but he should be a starter on most fantasy teams this year.
The Delonte West situation certainly makes things interesting for the Cavs and opens up the door for Anthony Parker to thrive. Parker is an efficient player who will hit a bunch of threes, grab some steals and give you strong all-around numbers from a late-round pick. He’s flying under the radar right now but until West returns to form, Parker is a solid sleeper. Daniel Gibson will also benefit from increased playing time but is only good for threes.
Anderson Varejao is draftable in most leagues but is only valuable for his rebounding, nearly 1 steal and nearly 1 block per outing. Jamario Moon is valuable if given enough minutes but shouldn’t see much daylight playing behind James. He’ll be usable in deeper leagues for his threes, steals and blocks.
Oh, and the King should continue his reign of fantasy terror (or wonder, if you’re fortunate enough to draft him). If O’Neal can remain healthy and attract enough defensive attention, things could open up for James.
Relevant fantasy players and projected per-game stats:
PG: Mo Williams (18 points, 4 assists, 2.5 threes)
SG: Anthony Parker (12 points, 1.5 steals, 1.5 threes)
SF: LeBron James (30 points, 8 rebounds, 7 assists, 2 steals, 1.5 blocks, 1.75 threes)
PF: Anderson Varejao (8 points, 7 rebounds, 1 steal)
C: Shaquille O’Neal (16 points, 9 rebounds, 1.25 blocks)
Bench: Zydrunas Ilgauskas (8 points, 4 rebounds, 1 block), Daniel Gibson (9.5 points, 2 threes)