Krypto-Nate vs. Lou Williams

A friend who occasionally comes to me for fantasy hoops advice recently hit me with this dilemma: keeper league, with a "you lose the pick associated with the guy you choose to keep" format... top keeper options are Nene, Nate Robinson, or Lou Williams. Nene costs a 9th-round pick, Robinson an 11th and Williams a 15th.

As my friend's keeper deadline has now passed, I'll share the advice I gave him, and my reasoning.

I'm not a big Nene guy... mostly because I've owned him during one or two of the seasons he spent nursing injuries. If healthy, he's obviously a great value in the 9th round -- but I view last year's numbers as the absolute best-case scenario, while the other guys have upside potential. Scratch Nene from the list.

Williams vs. Robinson is an interesting question. Both guys play in offense-friendly systems -- Robinson in Mike D'Antoni's over-caffienated "seven seconds or less" and Williams in Eddie Jordan's "Pete Carril Princeton offense, but run by world-class athletes instead of Princeton students." Both are combo guards, but better scorers than distributors. And both could be looking at expanded roles this season, with Williams taking over Andre Miller's starting point guard spot and Robinson in the running to land the starting two job for the Knicks.

In the right conditions, both have the potential to be high-teens scorers with four-and-change assists and one-and-change steals per game. Robinson shoots more from three and is a better rebounder (which is shocking, given his stature). Looking at last year's numbers alone, when both were part-timers, Robinson would get a slight edge.

Problem is, the Knicks' starting lineup is in complete flux right now. David Lee and Chris Duhon are sure starters, but the other three spots are up for grabs. Robinson's run as a starter might only last as long as Danilo Gallinari's shooting slump. Williams, on the other hand, was installed in Philly's starting five when Miller signed with the Blazers, and has shown no signs of relinquishing the gig to rookie Jrue Holiday or anyone else.

So for me, the decision came down to perhaps the most important stat in fantasy basketball: minutes. At this point, I'm sure Williams will get starter's minutes. I only think Krypto-Nate will. Sometimes, that makes all the difference.


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