Fantasy Basketball: Pick Up Byron Mullens

By Jeff Rosenberg
Sam Sharpe-USA TODAY Sports

Surprise surprise. The most talked about aspect of the Charlotte Bobcats playing the Miami Heat on Monday has been the ridiculous play of LeBron James. King James went 13-14 from the field with a line of 31 points, eight rebounds, eight assists and two steals. It was another great game from LeBron, but from a fantasy basketball perspective, there was something more important that took place in South Beach on Monday night.

Charlotte center Byron Mullens returned Monday after a 19-game absence due to a sprained ankle. In his first game back, Mullens was supposed to be worked back into the rotation with around 15 minutes. However, he ended up almost doubling that target number by playing for more than 28 minutes. Although he seemed a bit rusty going 5-14 from the field, it’s a welcoming sign to see him take double digit shots right away. Mullens ended up dropping 12 points (2-5 from three), nine rebounds, one assist, two steals and a block in his return.

Wednesday night against the Cleveland Cavaliers, Mullens went 4-7 from the field for 15 points (3-5 from three), seven rebounds, three assists and one block in 17 minutes. Charlotte may have lost 122-95, but it was still reassuring to see Mullens once again post strong fantasy numbers.

The center’s numbers on the year have him with 11.6 points, close to eight rebounds, a steal and a block per game. Mullens was averaging about 30 minutes per night prior to the injury.

Mullens’ major detractor is his poor field goal percentage this year, as it is currently at .370 on the season. While he is taking 4.5 three-pointers per game this season (up from 0.8 last season), his overall field goal percentage will go up over the second half, as the team will undoubtedly look to run more of the offense through the big man. The 1.5 threes-pointers, on better than 30% shooting  from the perimeter, is a welcomed addition from someone who is center eligible, especially combined with his other stats.

At this point, Mullens is only owned in 33% of Yahoo! leagues. Mullens brings reliability, upside and efficiency to any fantasy roster. Compared to JaVale McGee (61% owned), Michael Beasley (65% owned), Gordon Hayward (54% owned), Harrison Barnes (47% owned) and Elton Brand (51% owned), Mullens seems like a slam dunk.

Byron Mullens is beyond a must-own player. Once his minutes are regulated back to the normal 27-30 minutes per game, he becomes a strong starter in daily leagues. If he’s on your waiver wire, make sure to add him now and don’t look back.

Follow Jeff on Twitter: @Jewish_Jeff

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