David Lee and Amare Stoudemire have a lot in common with each other, including the fact that they are both elite big men in fantasy basketball. In fact they are typically within a few spots of each other in most rankings, including my own. Mock Draft Central has Lee at around 14th and Amare a little over 21 in early drafts.
Regardless, both men are both double-double machines and they have both benefited from working in up tempo offenses. There isn’t much separating the two of them for fantasy purposes, yet there will be many owners at the top of the second round looking for that top big man who will be deciding between these two. So the intent of this article is to take a close look at both men and cast my own judgment on which one should be taken when pitted head-to-head against one another. Let’s start with the former Knick and then we’ll continue to the newest Knick.
What’s to Like: He became an offensive force last year in New York making him more than just a great rebounder. He averaged a steal per game last year which is a good total for a center and it evens out the fact that he isn’t a great shot blocker. Also different from most big men, he has a nice touch from the free throw line. He only averaged 4.1 attempts per game last year, but he made 81% which is very good from your center. Another thing Lee got better at last year is passing as went from 2 assists to 3.6 last year. If he draws some attention down low this year he can find the open man and there are plenty of guys in Golden State who can score off good looks.
What’s Not to Like: The last thing above is the first thing not to like here. David Lee was the number one scoring option in New York last year. He’ll be number three in Golden State and the other two guys love to score, especially Monta Ellis. It’s going to be hard for Lee to get up 15.5 shots a game this year in Golden State. Lee is also used to playing next to Al Harrington in New York and this year he’ll be in the paint with Andirs Biedrins and Epke Udoh which could count down on his rebounds as well. It’s not clear how much effect the move to Golden State will have, but it could make it difficult for Lee to reproduce last year’s numbers.
Projection: 17.8 points, 10.5 rebounds, 4 assists, 1 steal, .5 blocks
What’s to Like: Amare is being reunited with coach Mike D’Antoni. The last season Amare had with D’Antoni was the best of his career when he scored 25 points, grabbed 9 boards and blocked two shots per game. The transition to New York should be an easy one for Amare because he knows D’Antoni’s system so well. He will also be the focal point of the offense in New York. He was in Phoenix too, but there was still a lot of offensive talent to go around. New York has some good complimentary pieces, but Amare is without a doubt the go to guy and should get plenty of shots. He will also be the main piece in the middle defensively and could potentially up his blocks.
What’s Not to Like: While the transition to New York should go smoothly as far the system goes there is one key piece that will still be missing, Steve Nash. Amare has been helped out greatly over the years by playing with one of the best passing point guards in the game in Steve Nash. The two of them have built a strong combo together and Amare might have to work a little harder to get the kind of looks he did in Phoenix. Raymond Felton isn’t a scrub by any means, but he’s not Steve Nash either. The other negative is that Amare has been prone to injuries. In eight seasons Amare has missed all of one season and a third of two others with injuries. That kind of thing is hard to predict, but he does have a track record.
Projection: 24.4 points, 9.1 rebounds, 1.3 assists, .5 steals, 1.4 blocks
Conclusion: The two are very close. Lee is the most dominant rebounder and it could be argued is the best rebounder not named Dwight Howard. Amare is the better scorer though and that difference isn’t as close as the one on the boards. You can’t go wrong with either guy, but Amare being reunited with D’Antoni and being the focal point of the offense coupled with Lee going from number one scorer to number three makes Amare the better pick for my money.
Verdict: Amare Stoudemire
Which one of these guys would you rather have on your fantasy team? Whose move helps the most and whose hurts the most? Feel free to weigh in and state your opinion on this head-to-head. And if you have any other guys you’d like to see broken down head-to-head like this just leave a comment and I’ll make sure I get to it.
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