As the Atlanta Hawks continue to see their season slip away, rookie center Pero Antic continues to improve and looks mighty impressive in his return from injury.
In today’s edition of “All Wired Up”, I’ll delve into the fantasy strengths of potential waiver wire gold like Antic and the Milwaukee Bucks’ Ramon Sessions.
» Pero Antic, PF/C, Atlanta Hawks (1.3 percent owned on ESPN.com)
12 points (4-8 FG, 2-2 FT), 2 three-pointers, 3 rebounds, 3 assists, 0 steals, 1 block, 0 turnovers vs Jazz.
At the start of this NBA season, Pero Antic was, rightly, not on anyone’s fantasy radar. As the season has unfolded, however, Antic has become a reliable and key piece of the Atlanta Hawks’ rotation.
When Al Horford tore his pectoral muscle for the second time in three years, the Hawks were flying (relatively speaking) and set for a top four playoff seed.
Fast-forward two months and Atlanta has slid right down to the eight seed, only three and a half games clear of the woebegone Knicks and they are starting a rookie center from Macedonia. But Antic is handling himself well — showing that he does indeed have a future in the NBA.
Granted, Antic is 31 and is a lot more mature than the usual first-year player, but the transition from European ball to the NBA is not always a smooth one.
When Horford went down, Antic was inserted into the starting lineup and started eight games before suffering an injury of his own. He sustained a fractured ankle and missed about six weeks of action. He’s been back now for four games and started the last two. Coach Mike Budenholzer will run with Antic as the start the remainder of the season — injuries notwithstanding.
But how has he been playing, I hear you ask? Well good question dear reader!
In the two games he has started, Antic has averaged 14.0 points, 2.5 three-pointers, 4.5 rebounds, 1.0 steals and 0.5 blocks shooting 52.6 percent from the field and 75 percent from the line. Those numbers leave him ranked 69th on Basketball Monster.com since his first start on Saturday.
Obviously, that’s a small sample size. If we look back at all the games since he inherited the starting job on January 3rd, his ranking slips a bit, but only to 102nd.
The one thing that Antic brings consistently are three-pointers. In the four games since returning, Antic his hit at least two triples in each game and since January 3rd, he’s averaging 2.1 three-pointers.
For a center, that’s a massive bonus. Couple that with the fantastic field-goal percentage and you have the makings of a player who should be owned in all 12 team leagues and possibly 10-teamers.