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Fratello’s Fantasy Pick: Spencer Hawes

Copyright 2012 NBAE Photo by Ned Dishman/NBAE via Getty ImagesWith different guys stepping up every night for the overachieving Sixers, their young roster offers some interesting options for fantasy owners. Fifth-year center Spencer Hawes is back in action and will be one to watch during the upcoming stretch. Hawes returned to Philly’s starting lineup and delivered a solid comeback performance against the Hawks on Sunday after missing 10 games with a left Achilles’ strain. He chipped in 14 points, 5 boards and a block in 32 minutes, helping his teammates to a 98-87 road win.

The upswing 76-ers are holding court with the top teams in the league and sit third in the East with a 17-7 record. Led by head coach Doug Collins, Philadelphia is getting the job done thanks to a total team effort on offense and their tenacious defense. Seven of the Sixers are averaging double-digits. And the hustle-minded squad leads the entire league in points allowed per game, limiting opponents to just 86.5 ppg.

So far this season, Hawes looks to be one of the most improved players in the league. The Seattle native played college ball with the Washington Huskies his freshman year before entering the 2007 NBA Draft, at which time he was selected 10th overall by the Sacramento Kings. In the summer of 2010 Hawes was traded along with Andres Nocioni to the Philadelphia 76ers for center Samuel Dalembert. After getting off to a subpar start with the Sixers, Hawes worked hard during the offseason to improve his conditioning and his game. He even put in some court time with 6× NBA All-Star Shawn Kemp to develop his physicality.

Hawes is a skilled big man who, at 7-1, gives the Sixers size as well as scoring ability with his polished moves down low. This could be a breakout year for Hawes if he can weather the physical demands of the congested NBA sprint. His band of ballers will host the Los Angeles Lakers in the City of Brotherly Love tonight in the first of four games scheduled for this week.