Fantasy Basketball Position Battle: Jeremy Lin vs. Patrick Beverley
The Houston Rockets made a big move this offseason by signing center Dwight Howard, and he will join an offense that was second in the league in points per game (106) last year and finished in the top 10 of the league in field goal percentage (46.1 percent, ninth) and three-point percentage (36.6 percent-eighth) as well. The Rockets also attempted the second-most three-pointers in the league (28.9 per game), which will surely change some with Howard now in the mix.
Jeremy Lin was the Rockets’ starting point guard for all 82 regular season games in 2012-2013, and put together a solid season (13.4 points, 6.1 assists, 3.0 rebounds and 1.6 steals per game), but Patrick Beverley started five of Houston’s six playoff games and was productive (11.8 points, 5.5 rebounds, 2.8 assists and 1.2 steals per game). Rockets’ coach Kevin McHale has suggested this preseason that he has two starting point guards at his disposal, but how should fantasy basketball owners value Houston’s point guard duo?
Lin’s brief run with the New York Knicks during the 2011-2012 season meant elevated expectations for him with his new team last season, but fantasy owners that had him and were able to leave “Linsanity” behind had to be happy with the production he offered. Apart from the aforementioned production, his shooting percentages (78.5 percent from the line, 44.1 percent from the floor) did not hurt his value in leagues that use those categories.
Beverley averaged just over 17 minutes per game last season in 41 games played, but he did see a slight boost in playing time late in the regular season (nearly 20 minutes per game over his final 25 games) and carried that momentum into an even greater role during the playoffs (33.3 minutes per game). His per-game production during the regular season last year does not jump off the page (5.6 points, 2.9 assists and 2.7 rebounds per game), but his per-36 minute averages (11.5 points, 5.9 assists, 5.5 rebounds and 1.9 steals) point to some upside if he can get on the floor more.
McHale has suggested he may not settle on a primary starting point guard in the near future, and it’s a possibility Lin and Beverley see time on the floor together occasionally with Lin moving over to shooting guard in a smaller lineup. Overall the fantasy upside of both guys is not great, with Howard and James Harden the clear-cut driving forces of the Rockets’ offense and others falling into complimentary roles. But in terms of draft position relative to potential production Beverley looks like a slightly better option than Lin, who may still be overvalued a bit based on name recognition.
Brad Berreman is a contributing writer at Rant Sports.com. Follow him on Twitter @bradberreman24.