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Wednesday October 8, 2008 10:04 am

Dropping Dimes Mock Draft: Round 4, Pick 2 - Ron Artest

Ron Artest King
I know he will play for the Houston Rockets this year, but I had not come across this picture before prepping for this article and just had to use it. It was a long time ago, but my hometown Raptors passed on you twice in the draft for two dudes named Jonathan Bender (used in a trade for Antonio Davis) and some guy named Alek Redojevic (?spelling). Chicago drafted Artest with the 16th pick in the draft in 1999.

The Houston Rockets need to rid themselves of the monkey on their back that is exiting the first round of the playoffs. If, and it’s a big if, the team can stay healthy enough to become a cohesive unit, they can certainly earn a high seed in the West. This guy would stand to be the difference maker.

Round 4, Pick 2: Ron Artest, SF/PF, Houston Rockets

Take a look at the numbers Artest posted while a member of the Sacramento Kings.

2005-06: 40 GP, 38.3 FG%, 71.7 FT%, 16.9 ppg, 5.2 rpg, 4.2 apg, 1.5 3pt, 2.0 spg, 0.8 bpg, 2.2 topg

2006-07: 70 GP, 44.0 FG%, 74.0 FT%, 18.8 ppg, 6.5 rpg, 3.4 apg, 1.3 3pt, 2.1 spg, 0.6 bpg, 2.1 topg

2007-08: 57 GP, 45.3 FG%, 71.9 FT%, 20.5 ppg, 5.8 rpg, 3.5 apg, 1.5 3pt, 2.3 spg, 0.7 bpg, 2.6 topg

Also take note of the number of games played by Artest since he started in the league: 72, 76, 27, 28, 69, 73, 7, 56, 70 and 57. He certainly does not represent a player with perfect attendance as injuries and off-court issues have derailed him throughout his career. He does reunite with coach Rick Adelman, with whom he arguably enjoyed his most successful season from a statistical standpoint. Plus Shane Battier is injured, Tracy McGrady is arthritic and who knows how well and how long Yao Ming will come back. Well known for his defense, Artest stands to benefit more on the offensive side of the floor from the trade to Houston.

Ignoring the percentages, Artest measures up quite nicely against Caron Butler and Rashard Lewis. Of course the better percentages make those two players more worthy of higher draft picks, but Artest brings a lot of value to the table himself. On Yahoo he has gained eligibility at power forward. Sure, you lose on the FG% and the boards, but his steals, threes and assists play very, very well at the four spot.

This team still needs to address the point guard spot with Gilbert Arenas out until the new year. Jason Kidd was available, but this team cannot afford to give up the scoring. Some other interesting names include Mo Williams and Devin Harris, but it seems a bit early to take them. Look for them to slip into the next round.

For his owners this year, let us hope the “Tru Warier” becomes a king of the fantasy court.

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