The Charlotte Bobcats aren’t going to contend for the league lead in points per game. Luckily, in fantasy basketball, there are more ways to accrue points than just getting balls into the basket. And doubly luckily, Byron (or B.J.) Mullens is pretty good and hitting open shots, as well as adding stats in other places.
In 2011, Mullens shocked people in a sense by being more ready to make an impact than many believed. After being nothing more than an after thought in Oklahoma City for the first two years of his career, Mullens finally got his chance as he was thrust into action for a bad Bobcats team last season. He responded by showing impressive shooting touch and an ability to score.
On the season, his numbers aren’t very gaudy. He averaged 9.3 points, five boards 0.9 assists and 0.8 blocks per game, while shooting 42% from the field and 82% from the charity stripe. Not exactly elite numbers, I know. However, his minutes were sporadic the entire year. Foul trouble and shaky defense had a lot to do with that, as did just being a young player in his first season with a new team.
I think the sky could very well be the limit for Mullens in 2012, however. It’s his fourth season in the league and he’s shaken the nerves off by now, while at least carving out a solid role as a reliable big man who has a nice, fluid jumper with solid range. He even knocked down 12 three-pointers last year (although at just a 23% clip), at least showing that there is potential for that part of his offensive game.
Mullens is undoubtedly going to have to get more consistent offensively, and he’s also going to have to avoid foul trouble. Being more disciplined on the defensive end will help take care of that, while it should also help him raise is so-so rebound and block numbers.
As long as Tyrus Thomas is still in Charlotte (seems to be in trade rumors every year), Mullens will be a bit capped in terms of fantasy potential. However, this is a young team that is going to lean on whoever can get them points at a consistent, reliable rate. I’m not sold on Mullens being that guy just yet, but he has the skill-set to turn into a solid player if he keeps improving.
For now, consider him a potentially solid role player on your bench.