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By: David Kay
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During his two years at Colorado, Alec Burks often shared the court with fellow shooting guard Cory Higgins.  The tandem served as the Buffaloes  dynamic duo accounting for nearly half of the team’s points last season.  It was because of that, that Burks built a relationship with Cory’s dad, former NBA player and current Charlotte Bobcats general manager, Rod Higgins.
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“I know his dad a lot because he came to a lot of games,” Burks said at the NBA Draft combine.  “I’ve got a great relationship with both of them.”
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Burks acknowledged that he had a meeting scheduled with the Bobcats during his stay in Chicago for the combine.  Having prior knowledge of Burks’ game and personality off the court might entice Higgins to use Charlotte’s ninth pick on the lengthy two guard who measured 6’6″ in shoes with a 6’10″ wingspan.  One source at the combine confirmed Charlotte’s interest in Burks, telling me that he heard Burks would not get past the Bobcats if he was still on the board when they were picking.
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Burks does not exactly fit a need for Charlotte who already has decent depth at the two with Stephen Jackson and Gerald Henderson.  Plus, the ‘Cats have a huge hole at small forward and center, though Burks could possibly play the three at the next level even though he thinks he is more of a combo guard.  So selecting Burks would certainly fit into the “best available player” theory rather than filling a need.  However, the Bobcats hold a second first round pick, 19th overall, and could look to fill a need with that selection if they landed Burks early on.
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Burks displayed his athleticism and versatility at CU, using ability to get to the rim and average a Big 12 best 20.5 points per game during his sophomore season.  The biggest knock on his games comes with his jump shot as he only connected on 29.2% of his attempts from three.
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“I feel like I was always a shooter,” Burks stated with confidence.  “I just went to the rack a lot more than I shot it.  I’m just showing people I can shoot it.”
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Playing at Colorado, Burks did not get the national exposure that most of the other prospects at the combine received.  “It didn’t really hurt me but it didn’t help me either.  I feel like if you’re talented enough, they’ll come find you and that happened in my case.”
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That has certainly been the situation for Burks who was not a major recruit coming out of high school.  Still, Burks has put himself in a great spot heading into the draft and admitted having a long list of teams wanting to meet with him at the combine.
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“Coming from two years ago, nobody knew me so it’s great to be in this position,” Burks said.  “Keeping that chip on my shoulder, staying hungry, wanting to get better, and prove to everybody that I can play at this level.”
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That type of attitude combined with his skill has a lot of people enamored with Burks’ potential at the NBA level.  With Bobcats GM Rod Higgins almost certainly part of that group, do not be surprised if Charlotte snags Burks with the ninth overall pick.
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CHECK OUT THE SPORTS BANK’S 2011 NBA MOCK DRAFT
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David Kay is a senior feature NBA Draft, NBA, and college basketball writer for the Sports Bank.  He also heads up the NBA and college basketball material at Walter Football.com and is a former contributor at The Washington Times Communities.
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You can follow him on Twitter at DavidKay_TSB.
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Click here to see my 2011 NBA Mock Draft – Lottery Edition

Before we get started, check out this week’s NBA schedule as you prepare to set your fantasy rosters (click here to see the article).

Well, Stephen Jackson got his wish–sort of. He forced his way out of Golden State. Unfortunately he did not land with a contender, rather a struggling Charlotte Bobcats team. The good news for Stephen Jackson owners is the fact that he’s no longer at the whim of Don Nelson, and his bizarre playing time allocation.

Jackson’s value should go up a bit as he will be the focal point of Charlotte’s offense. Acie Law came over as well, but doesn’t have much fantasy value. Jackson’s arrival doesn’t bode well for the assist totals of Boris Diaw as the offense will likely run through Jackson. Diaw’s scoring could see an increase though. Gerald Wallace should see an increase in scoring as well. Raymond Felton’s fantasy value shouldn’t take much of a hit, but D.J. Augustin’s may.

For Golden State, Raja Bell’s fantasy value increases slightly as he provides injury relief following the loss of Kelenna Azubuike. Stephen Curry and Anthony Morrow should get more opportunities with Jackson’s departure. Vladimir Radmanovic, who came over from Charlotte, should get a slight bump in production with his ability to hit the long ball. He was getting just 16.6 minutes per game for the Bobcats, and could see a slight increase in Nellie’s system. He’ll remain an inconsistent option though, and not worth adding until he proves otherwise.

First of all, if you were holding out hope that Yao Ming would be able to at least give you a couple good months at the end of the year, you can get on with your life.  He’s not going to play this year.  He has grown weary of his recurring foot injuries so he is going to take the time to allow it to fully heal.

If you were planning on holding on to him in a keeper league, it’s past the time to have cut him lose, but if you have been holding on to him like the note from your first girlfriend, it’s time to move on.  Even if he comes back for the 2010-11 season, he’ll bring an enormous injury risk with him.  He also could have a limited role going forward to assure that he stays healthy.  Much like Bill Walton saw reduced minutes at the end of his career, Yao could be on some sort of a pitch count, which would reduce his fantasy value.

Luis Scola, on the other hand, gets a major bump in fantasy value.  He will be more of a focal point of their offense.  Look for a dramatic increase in his scoring and a slight bump in his rebounding.

In other news, the Knicks have agreed to one-year deals with David Lee and Nate Robinson.  The duo couldn’t have landed in a more fantasy-friendly environment.  They both thrived in Mike D’Antoni’s system last year.  Lee averaged career highs of 16.0 ppg and 11.8 rpg.  Robinson averaged career highs of 17.2 ppg, 3.9 rpg, and 4.1 apg.  I would expect both to see a dip in production, but they should remain relevant fantasy basketball options.

In other news Raymond Felton and Flip Murray signed with the Charlotte Bobcats.  Felton remains a nice fantasy option, but Murray is a fill-in player at best.

ESPN is reporting that the Charlotte Bobcats have agreed to send PF/C Emeka Okafor to the New Orleans Hornets for C Tyson Chandler.  This is a far cry from the garbage (Joe Smith and Chris Wilcox) that the Hornets would have received for him in February had Chandler not failed his physical.

Okafor has many of Chandler’s qualities, only he is more of a force on the offense.  He’s a great rebounder, shot blocker, shoots great from the floor, and poorly from the line.  He also has had some injury history.  Here’s a look at their numbers from last year and for their careers.

Okafor:

2008 - 13.2 ppg, 10.1 rpg, 0.6 apg, 1.66 bpg, 0.59 spg, 56.1 FG%, 59.3 FT% 
Career – 14.0 ppg, 10.7 rpg, 0.9 apg, 1.88 bpg, 0.76 spg, 50.6 FG%, 59.6 FT%

Chandler:
2008 – 8.8 ppg, 8.7 rpg, 0.5 apg, 1.24 bpg, 0.33 spg, 56.5 FG%, 57.9 FT%
Career – 8.2 ppg, 9.0 rpg, 0.9 apg, 1.41 bpg, 0.54 spg, 55.6 FG%, 59.9 FT%

Okafor’s fantasy value should increase slightly because he is joining forces with Chris Paul, the best Point Guard in the game.  David West is a big factor on the offensive end, which keeps Okafor’s stock from rising dramatically.  West’s fantasy value takes a slight hit because of Okafor’s arrival since Chandler basically worked on scraps he picked up with Offensive Rebounds or out on the break.  Okafor will have more plays run through him than Chandler did.  There should be plenty of goodies for both West and Okafor though.  Chandler’s value takes a slight hit. 

Phoenix shook things up by sending Boris Diaw and Raja Bell to Charlotte for Jason Richardson.  (Jared Dudley and Sean Singletary  were also involved, but they aren’t big factors.  Let’s take a look at the guys who are.

J-Rich – This is pretty much a lateral move for Richardson.  Obviously, he’s moved on to a better team, but his fantasy value probably doesn’t change much.  With Shaq, Amare, and Nash the Suns already had plenty of options.  There are a lot of mouths to feed, but Nash is quite capable of keeping everyone satiated.

Steve Nash - Nash’s scoring will take a small hit, but his assists should go up. 

Robin Lopez - With Diaw gone, Lopez will probably see a small boost in minutes and, in turn, production.

Leonardo Barbosa/Grant Hill/Matt Barnes - With Richardson on board, all three will probably see a small dip in production.

Boris Diaw - Perhaps the player that gains the most in this deal.  He no longer has to share the frontcourt with Shaq and Amare.  He should see a nice boost in minutes as he compliments Emeka Okafor.

Gerald Wallace - Wallace will likely be called upon to fill the basket a little more. 

D.J. Augustin - The Bobcats rookie could see a small increase in minutes and production.  They may play him alongside Raymond Felton a little more.

Raja Bell - Raja’s defense should sit well with Larry Brown, which means he could eventually get similar playing time that he was getting in Phoenix.  I don’t see much change in his production.

Adam Morrison - Dudley averaged 21 minutes per game for Charlotte, so his depature should lead to an increase for Morrison.

Sean May - May can’t go too far down from his current production, since it’s almost non-existant.  He probably gets less playing time once Diaw gets acclimated to Brown’s system.


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