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Sunday August 20, 2006 8:34 pm

Dropping Dimes Draft Blog: Round 1, Pick 7

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Round 1, pick 7: Gilbert Arenas

On the plus side…

One must look back before moving forward, or something like that. So let’s start by regurgitating some numbers from last year but with the proper perspective. Like the monster players taken already in this draft, Gilbert Grapes can be found at the top of many statistic mountains. He finished fourth in league scoring (29.3 ppg), tied for second in three-pointers per game (2.5) and tied for third in steals per game (2.0). So between the buckets, the moneyballs and the swipes, his game brings everything a fantasy owner is looking for in a lead guard. Of course, assists are part of that mix as well, and though the uneducated may scoff at his 6.1 dime-drops per contest last year, that is still good enough to be among the top 20 in the league.

Arenas also knows how to get to the line. He finished fourth in free throws made last year and shot 82% from the charity stripe. His many trips to the line will greatly influence your FT% this year, and for the better at that. Overlooked in the first round of his draft year, Arenas plays like he still has a chip on his shoulder, and fantasy owners all around the world can cash in as he continues to offer payback to every team in the league.

On the flip side…

Arenas led the league on one of the nine main categories commonly used in fantasy ball…turnovers. Since his assist totals are decent but not top 5, the assist-to-turnover ratio takes a big hit. But hey, the best players have the ball all the time and draw the most attention, so owners will have to counter this blemish to his game. One may have to bench Arenas and others late in the week of a head-to-head tilt if the other categories are in hand to save on some turnovers. Roto players may also have to adjust their lineup through the season depending on their standings. Also, like most guards, Arenas is a non-factor in the blocks department. One would not ask Jessica Alba to gain weight and get ugly for a movie role, and so do not ask Arenas to win you blocks!

The final score…

A groin injury sidelined Arenas from helping Team USA come home with the World Championships title. This may be a blessing in disguise if it helps ensure good health at the start of the season. He has a lot of time to recover and rest up. Dwyane Wade rides shotgun to Lebron James in the NBA hype machine, but Arenas can keep up in points and steals, and outdistance Flash in treys. Go look like a genius, and draft Arenas!

Peace.

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