Fantasy Basketball: A Walk Around the League- Part 1

By Matt Rogers
PSDC Fantasy Sports Expert

FantasyBasketball

Each team in the NBA has something to offer fantasy owners. Granted, some offer more than others. Most teams made a move in the offseason that affected their team one way or another. Here is a team by team look at the players you need to know about in order to be successful this year.

Atlanta Hawks

Player Note

GP

FG%

FT%

3PTM

PTS

REB

AST

ST

BLK

TO

A. Horford Atl – PF,C

74

.543

.644

0.0

17.4

10.2

3.2

1.1

1.1

2.0

P. Millsap Atl – PF

78

.490

.742

0.2

14.6

7.1

2.6

1.3

1.0

1.8

J. Teague Atl – PG

80

.451

.881

1.1

14.6

2.3

7.2

1.5

0.4

2.9

L. Williams Atl – PG,SG

39

.422

.868

1.8

14.1

2.1

3.6

1.1

0.3

1.9

K. Korver Atl – SG,SF

74

.461

.859

2.6

10.9

4.0

2.0

0.9

0.5

0.9

E. Brand Atl – PF,C

72

.473

.710

0.0

7.2

6.0

1.0

0.7

1.3

0.8


Must Own Players:

Al Horford is easily a top five fantasy center. He is an across the board stat filler that leaves little room for complaint. A slight improvement in FT shooting and shot blocking would make him even more elite.

Jeff Teague is emerging as a solid second tier PG. He isn’t a great rebounding guard but he is a quality shooter that provides all the 3s, points, assists and steals you need from a PG.

Paul Millsap lost some time and production in Utah last year as the Jazz tried to get more minutes for Derrick Favors. Millsap should see an increase in minutes. He is a good shooter, scorer, rebounder and defender. Millsap should slide up your rankings from where he ended last season with Utah.

Other Contributors:

Kyle Korver is a straight up gunner. If you need 3s, he is a great guy to add late in your draft.

Elton Brand is over the hill but can help owners in deep leagues as a cheap source of blocks.

Impact Rookies:

None

Possible Sleepers:

Lou Williams was off to a solid start before getting hurt last year. Once he makes it back to 100% look for him to contribute for the Hawks.

Boston Celtics

Player Note

GP

FG%

FT%

3PTM

PTS

REB

AST

ST

BLK

TO

R. Rondo Bos – PG

38

.484

.645

0.3

13.7

5.6

11.1

1.8

0.2

3.9

J. Green Bos – SF,PF

81

.467

.808

0.9

12.8

3.9

1.6

0.7

0.8

1.6

B. Bass Bos – PF,C

81

.486

.860

0.0

8.7

5.2

1.0

0.5

0.8

1.0

G. Wallace Bos – SF,PF

69

.397

.637

0.7

7.7

4.6

2.6

1.4

0.7

1.6

C. Lee Bos – SG,SF

78

.464

.861

0.7

7.8

2.4

1.8

1.1

0.3

1.1

A. Bradley Bos – PG,SG

50

.402

.755

0.8

9.2

2.2

2.1

1.3

0.4

1.4

K. Humphries Bos – PF

65

.448

.789

0.0

5.8

5.6

0.5

0.2

0.5

0.9

K. Olynyk Bos – C
V. Faverani Bos – C


Must Own Players:

Boston offers no must own fantasy assets this year.

Sorry Boston Fans, the Celtics will be a hot mess this year as they go through a complete rebuild.

The closest thing to a must own is Rajon Rondo, but it is unclear when he will be ready to return to action. Those who suffered through Derrick Rose’s non-return last year should take note of this. Rajon Rondo is worth drafting but not very early. His fantasy owners must be patient and have a quality back up plan.

Other Contributors:

Avery Bradley and Jeff Green may be the most productive fantasy players for Boston in the early going.

Gerald Wallace, Courtney Lee and MarShon Brooks will all play, but none offer much excitement.

Brandon Bass and Jared Sullinger split up the PF duties, but again are nothing but bench fodder.

Impact Rookies:

Vitor Faverani is an undrafted rookie from Brazil that has been playing overseas for a couple years. He is the only true Center on the Celtics’ roster and has impressed coaches so far.

Gonzaga rookie, Kelly Olynyk, is a project player who may have to fight through Bass, Sullinger and Kris Humphries just to split playing time with Faverani.

Possible Sleepers:

Signing Kris Humphries in the off season could turn out to be a good move. Humphries never made it out of the Brooklyn dog house last year and played only 18 minutes a game in 65 appearances. This was only a year removed from a career season in which he averaged 13.8 points, 11.0 rebounds and 1.2 blocks while playing 35 minutes a game. If Humphries can find this amount of playing time with Boston, he will end up being a huge bonus for Boston and fantasy owners.

Brooklyn Nets

Player Note

GP

FG%

FT%

3PTM

PTS

REB

AST

ST

BLK

TO

D. Williams Bkn – PG

78

.440

.859

2.2

18.9

3.0

7.7

1.0

0.4

2.8

P. Pierce Bkn – SF

77

.436

.787

1.9

18.6

6.3

4.8

1.1

0.4

2.8

B. Lopez Bkn – C

74

.521

.758

0.0

19.4

6.9

0.9

0.4

2.1

1.8

K. Garnett Bkn – PF,C

68

.496

.786

0.0

14.8

7.8

2.3

1.1

0.9

1.6

A. Kirilenko Bkn – SF,PF

64

.507

.752

0.5

12.4

5.7

2.8

1.5

1.0

1.9

J. Johnson Bkn – SG,SF

72

.423

.820

2.1

16.3

3.0

3.5

0.7

0.2

1.7

A. Blatche Bkn – PF,C

82

.512

.685

0.0

10.3

5.1

1.0

1.0

0.7

1.5

J. Terry Bkn – PG,SG

79

.434

.870

1.6

10.1

2.0

2.5

0.8

0.1

1.3


Must Own Players:

Brooks Lopez is often ignored due to his mediocre rebounding and lack of contribution in assists and steals. Lopez is an excellent shooter, scorer and good shot blocker. He is also young and improving. I would personally seek to acquire Lopez before any other player in the Nets lineup.

Deron Williams remains a top five PG with few holes in his game. He doesn’t play much defense and may give up some ball handling duties to Paul Pierce this year, but continues to shoot well, score often and distribute the ball to his teammates at an elite level. Nagging injuries are starting to become problematic.

Paul Pierce may have to adjust his game this year. So owners should not expect the same production he provided as the main guy in Boston. Even with a reduced workload, Pierce is good enough to be a starting SF in any 12+ team fantasy league. He just needs to be the second or third option for his team.

Other Contributors:

Kevin Garnett should provide solid numbers in percentages, points, rebounds and defensive categories. He is no longer a cornerstone player though and should probably be your second or third option at PF/C.

Joe Johnson’s statistics dipped a bit last year when he joined Williams and gave up some of his ball handling and playmaking duties. I expect a further dip this year with Pierce in the line-up.

Andrei Kirilenko is just a complete sell out in my opinion. I hope he enjoys whatever kick-back he has waiting in Russia. For fantasy owners, he should still contribute in multiple categories at a reduced rate.

Impact Rookies:

None

Possible Sleepers:

Are there really any sleepers on a team of all-stars and legends? If so, this team will give you a three point specialist in Jason Terry and a per-minute rebounding monster in Reggie Evans. Andre Blatche also provides some decent big man play from time to time. How much time any of them plays will vary nightly.

Charlotte Hornets, uh Bobcats, no damn, Hornets

Player Note

GP

FG%

FT%

3PTM

PTS

REB

AST

ST

BLK

TO

A. Jefferson Cha – PF,C

78

.494

.770

0.0

17.8

9.2

2.1

1.0

1.1

1.3

K. Walker Cha – PG

82

.423

.798

1.3

17.7

3.5

5.7

2.0

0.4

2.4

G. Henderson Cha – SG,SF

68

.447

.824

0.5

15.5

3.7

2.6

1.0

0.5

1.6

M. Kidd-Gilchrist Cha – SF

78

.458

.749

0.0

9.0

5.8

1.5

0.7

0.9

1.3

C. Zeller Cha – PF,C


Must Own Players:

Al Jefferson doesn’t get the attention or accolades of other big men but he has solidly produced for years in Utah. Jefferson is a good shooter, scorer, rebounder and decent defender. He will continue to be the best fantasy asset from this team, as he was in Utah. He is a quality anchor to any fantasy front line.

Kemba Walker took a leap forward last year and is now a player I would be proud to have as my second point guard. If he continues to improve his shot selection and assist numbers, he stands to make another jump this year. Chances are he won’t be expected to lead the team in scoring this year with the additions of Jefferson and rookie, Cody Zeller.

Other Contributors:

Gerald Henderson is a fair but not great swing man. He scores a little, rebounds a little, almost plays a little defense and shoots fairly well. More threes and steals would make him much more desirable.

Impact Rookie:

Cody Zeller is probably the most offensively adept big in this year’s draft and the Hornets landed him with the fourth overall pick. To ensure Zeller could comfortably fit in at PF, because he isn’t ready to defend NBA Centers, the Hornets signed Al Jefferson to man the center position.

Possible Sleeper:

Kidd-Gilchrist started last year on a lot of fantasy teams but was dropped due to a rough transition to the pros. He should be better this year with a little more experience and legit big men to open up the court.

Chicago Bulls

Player Note

GP

FG%

FT%

3PTM

PTS

REB

AST

ST

BLK

TO

D. Rose Chi – PG

279

.464

.812

0.8

21.0

3.4

6.8

0.9

0.7

3.1

J. Noah Chi – PF,C

66

.481

.751

0.0

11.9

11.1

4.0

1.2

2.1

2.7

C. Boozer Chi – PF,C

79

.477

.731

0.0

16.2

9.8

2.3

0.8

0.4

2.2

L. Deng Chi – SF

75

.426

.816

1.0

16.5

6.3

3.0

1.1

0.4

1.9

M. Dunleavy Chi – SG,SF

75

.442

.820

1.7

10.5

3.9

1.9

0.5

0.5

1.2

J. Butler Chi – SG,SF

82

.467

.803

0.5

8.6

4.0

1.4

1.0

0.4

0.8


Must Own Players:

There should be no secrets hear. The return of Derrick Rose, finally, from a torn ACL means everything to the Bulls and fantasy owners. I’ve included Rose’s career numbers here for those who have forgotten what he brings to the table. Rose is a first round talent that you can build a fantasy champion around.

Luol Deng won’t have to find his own shot as much this year. The return of Rose should mean easy shots and better looks for Deng which could add to his percentages, scoring and threes. Much like Pierce, Deng will be a quality starting SF on fantasy teams but not the guy you want as your best player.

Other Contributors:

Carlos Boozer is criticized a lot because all he does is score and rebound. I say if all you needs is points and rebounds, why not take him. Boozer continues to score with good FG% and bang the boards. If you have other players providing threes, steals and blocks, take Boozer for the three categories he provides.

Joakim Noah is a great defender, really good rebounder, good shooter and also a very good passer for a big man. He plays like a wild man and is fun to watch. I just never own him because his gets hurt a lot. If you gamble on Noah expect to go without him for about ten games or so throughout the year.

Impact Rookies:

None

Possible Sleeper:

Jimmy Butler played well for long stretches last year, but will be challenged by veteran Mike Dunleavy this year. Both can be solid fantasy contributors but to what extent will depend on their minutes.

Cleveland Cavaliers 

Player Note

GP

FG%

FT%

3PTM

PTS

REB

AST

ST

BLK

TO

K. Irving Cle – PG

59

.452

.855

1.8

22.5

3.7

5.9

1.5

0.4

3.2

A. Varejao Cle – PF,C

25

.478

.755

0.0

14.1

14.4

3.4

1.5

0.6

1.8

A. Bynum Cle – C

392

.566

.687

0.0

11.7

7.8

1.2

0.3

1.6

1.6

T. Thompson Cle – PF,C

82

.488

.608

0.0

11.7

9.4

1.3

0.7

0.9

1.5

J. Jack Cle – PG,SG

79

.452

.843

1.0

12.9

3.1

5.5

0.8

0.1

2.0

D. Waiters Cle – SG

61

.412

.746

1.0

14.7

2.4

3.0

1.0

0.3

2.0

A. Bennett Cle – SF,PF


Must Own Players:

Kyrie Irving is simply one of the best young players in the league. His argument of being the best PG in the league is only off by an assist or two a game. He is easily a top five overall fantasy pick capable of anchoring a championship squad. His assists would improve with better, more consistent teammates.

Other Contributors:

If Anderson Verejao could stay healthy, he would be a must own as one of the best rebounders in the game. He should be a better shot blocker but he is good everywhere else you would expect from a PF.

I included Andrew Bynum’s career numbers since he failed to play at all last year. He is another super talented player that simply cannot stay healthy. He could be a top 2-3 center if he could stay on the court.

Jarrett Jack has proven he can produce when given minutes. Signing Jack in the off season as it ensures depth behind Irving and gives them another ball handler when Irving slides to the shooting guard. 

Impact Rookie:

Nobody predicted Anthony Bennett going first overall, but he did. Due to the vast injury history of both Bynum and Verajao, Bennett will get plenty of playing time for the Cavs and should produce in all the standard PF categories. He will be good late addition for cheap points and rebounds.

Possible Sleeper:

Dion Waiters improved as the season went on last year, but few were watching. If his shooting improves just a little this year, an increase in 3s and points will make him more desirable. If he continues to play defense and get steals, he will easily be worth having in your guard rotation, especially in deeper leagues.

Dallas Mavericks 

Player Note

GP

FG%

FT%

3PTM

PTS

REB

AST

ST

BLK

TO

D. Nowitzki Dal – PF

53

.471

.860

1.2

17.3

6.8

2.5

0.7

0.7

1.3

M. Ellis Dal – PG,SG

82

.416

.773

1.1

19.2

3.9

6.0

2.1

0.4

3.1

S. Marion Dal – SF,PF

67

.514

.782

0.3

12.1

7.8

2.4

1.1

0.7

1.5

J. Calderon Dal – PG

73

.491

.900

1.8

11.3

2.4

7.1

0.8

0.1

1.7

V. Carter Dal – SG,SF

81

.435

.816

2.0

13.4

4.1

2.4

0.9

0.5

1.3

Must Own Players:

Dirk started out hurt and slow last year, but was picking up steam as the season went along. He should be back to normal this year. Still, Dirk is getting old and shouldn’t be drafted with the expectation of him putting up 25 and 10 each night. He offers little on defense and nearly nothing in the passing game. Just draft Dirk expecting great shooting, 3s from the PF spot, points and rebounds with no turn overs.

Monte Ellis may finally be able to be a better shooter. He has been saddled with the responsibility to find his own shot throughout his career. This has made him a poor percentage shooting, volume scorer in the past. With the Mavericks, Ellis has the luxury of a high scoring big man that will draw a lot of attention and pure distributor at PG. Add to that Ellis is a rare scorer who plays defense and he is a must own.

Jose Calderon has never been a guy to look for his own shot. He is a pure passer that knocks down what comes to him. This bodes well for the Mavericks and fantasy owners who need assists and great shooting without eating a lot of turn overs. Calderon will knock down threes while setting the table for others. Just don’t expect any defense or rebounding help out of him and you won’t be disappointed.

Other Contributors:

Shawn Marion continues to be the Matrix with good shooting, points, rebounds and a little defense here and there, all with no turnovers. He is getting older and had to sit occasionally last year. He is a very low risk draft pick that will continue to fill the box score and help your team win matchups.

Vince Carter proved last year that he isn’t quite done yet. He played damn near every game at a high level for the Mavericks. He will be called on to do the same this year. Carter is another guy that will give you good shooting, 3s, points and a little help with rebounds and defensive categories.

Impact Rookie: 

I have no idea whether Shane Larkin will have an impact this year or not.

Possible Sleepers:

TBD: The Mavs depth is very sketchy at this point. Somebody will have to step up as the season goes on.

Denver Nuggets 

Player Note

GP

FG%

FT%

3PTM

PTS

REB

AST

ST

BLK

TO

T. Lawson Den – PG

73

.461

.756

1.2

16.7

2.7

6.9

1.5

0.1

2.5

D. Gallinari Den – SF

71

.418

.822

1.9

16.2

5.2

2.5

0.9

0.5

1.6

J. Hickson Den – PF,C

80

.562

.679

0.0

12.7

10.4

1.1

0.6

0.6

1.8

K. Faried Den – PF

80

.552

.613

0.0

11.5

9.2

1.0

1.0

1.0

1.4

W. Chandler Den – SG,SF

43

.462

.793

1.2

13.0

5.1

1.3

1.0

0.3

1.4

N. Robinson Den – PG,SG

82

.433

.799

1.7

13.1

2.2

4.4

1.0

0.1

1.8

A. Miller Den – PG,SG

82

.479

.840

0.2

9.6

2.9

5.9

0.9

0.1

2.1

J. McGee Den – C

79

.575

.591

0.0

9.1

4.8

0.3

0.4

2.0

1.1


Must Own Players:

The good news is Denver has a deep and talented team of good players. There are just no superstars.

Ty Lawson is the closest thing Denver has to a must own player. He is their best all-around fantasy asset and a quality point guard. He will provide good shooting, 3s, points, steals and a solid assist to turn over ration. He should be the starting PG for some fantasy team in your league, but not their best player. I would take him on my team if he fell in my lap. I just wouldn’t target him as a cornerstone type player.

Other Contributors:

Kenneth Faried is an exceptional rebounder but needs to contribute in other categories to become a real fantasy beast. He carries a good FG% because he mostly just dunks. All other categories are negligible.

JJ Hickson is nearly the same player as Faried. He shoots a little better but lacks Faried’s defensive skills. I have no idea why he signed with Denver and entered a log jam behind Faried. This may hurt them both.

Danilo Gallinari can be an exceptional fantasy shooter and scorer when he is healthy. His current injury may keep him out until December. He is worth stashing on your bench if you can steal him late.

Wilson Chandler is basically the same player as Gallinari. Chandler shoots a little better from the floor but lacks the same range. Still, he will be a decent role player to have, at least until Gallinari returns.

Andre Miller is ageless. He may play until he is 50 or 60. He returns to us usual role as steady back-up PG leader for this young team and should provide the same cheap assists with good shooting.

Nate Robinson was awesome last year filling in for Derrick Rose. He was fun to watch, especially later in the season. It really is a shame no team rewarded his production by signing him to a more prominent role.

Impact Rookies:

None

Possible Sleeper: JaVale McGee could be a complete fantasy beast if he weren’t such a damn head case. He only managed 18 minutes a game next year. Can you imagine him getting closer to 30?

Detroit Pistons: 

Player Note

GP

FG%

FT%

3PTM

PTS

REB

AST

ST

BLK

TO

J. Smith Det – SF,PF

76

.465

.517

0.8

17.5

8.4

4.2

1.2

1.8

3.0

G. Monroe Det – C

81

.486

.689

0.0

16.0

9.6

3.5

1.3

0.7

2.9

B. Jennings Det – PG

80

.399

.819

2.2

17.5

3.1

6.5

1.6

0.1

2.5

A. Drummond Det – PF,C

60

.608

.371

0.0

7.9

7.6

0.5

1.0

1.6

1.0

R. Stuckey Det – PG,SG

76

.406

.783

0.7

11.5

2.8

3.6

0.7

0.2

1.8

K. Caldwell-Pope Det – SG


Must Own Players:

Josh Smith sucks from the free throw line. If he shot 80% from the stripe he could easily be a top 5-10 overall talent. As it stands, he is one of the few guys in the league capable of filling box score from left to right. I view Smith and fellow free agent signee, Brandon Jennings, much the same way. Both are great players with very specific flaws. You can probably plan around them in the draft.

Brandon Jennings is a great free throw shooter but his FG% sucks. He scores in volume and has clearly never seen a shot he didn’t like. He provides 3s, points, high assists, low turn overs and steals. I find it hard not to like him but the rest of your team must be great from the floor to overcome his sub 40% shooting. Since he sees nothing wrong with his game, that is not likely to change.

Greg Monroe is emerging a fantasy star. If he improves his FT shooting and shot blocking just a little, he will easily be a top 10 center. This year I have him ranked just outside the top 12 but would have no objection at all to him being my center in any league. Some of the other guys that have been more productive have also been less durable than Monroe. This guy is a star on the rise.

Other Contributors:

Everyone is high on Andre Drummond to break out this year. He appears capable of being a double-double machine that adds about 3 steals/blocks per game. He can’t shoot free throws worth a damn and he is dating Sam from iCarly, which I find really weird. I’m not all in yet, but will give him a look.

Impact Rookie:

Kentavious Caldwell-Pope? See below.

Possible Sleeper:

Sorry, I have nothing concrete here. Chauncey Billups, Will Bynum, Rodney Stuckey or Caldwell-Pope could all find themselves in the starting backcourt or third guard position at various times this year.

Golden State Warriors

Player Note

GP

FG%

FT%

3PTM

PTS

REB

AST

ST

BLK

TO

S. Curry GS – PG,SG

78

.451

.900

3.5

22.9

4.0

6.9

1.6

0.2

3.1

D. Lee GS – PF,C

79

.519

.797

0.0

18.5

11.2

3.5

0.8

0.3

2.6

A. Iguodala GS – SG,SF

80

.451

.574

1.1

13.0

5.3

5.4

1.7

0.7

2.6

K. Thompson GS – SG,SF

82

.422

.841

2.6

16.6

3.7

2.2

1.0

0.5

1.9

A. Bogut GS – C

32

.451

.500

0.0

5.8

7.7

2.1

0.6

1.7

1.1

H. Barnes GS – SF

81

.439

.758

0.6

9.2

4.1

1.2

0.6

0.2

1.2


Must Own Players:

Stephen Curry only missed four games last year which is excellent considering his history of ankle injuries. His three-point shooting was just obscene. He is clearly entering elite status. Some have him in the top five. I still have concerns about his ankles. So I have him in the 6-10 range. Still, he is easily a first round talent. He needs to improve his assist to turn over ratio and stay healthy to take the next step.

David Lee would be more desirable if he played defense, but he can flat out shoot, score and rebound. Lee handles the ball quite a bit for a big man. So he adds some assists as well as turn overs. I wouldn’t take Lee in first couple of rounds, but he should be starting at PF on some team in your league. Double-double men are not as common as most people seem to think. 3s and defense can be found elsewhere.

Andre Iguodala is good and has been for a long time. He is one of those matrix type guys that contribute across the board. His FT shooting is crap, but unlike his new teammates, Iggy plays defense. He plays really good defense, actually, and contributes a ton of steals each year. The Warriors lack the depth that surrounded Iggy in Denver, which should lead to him seeing a slight uptick in minutes and production.

Other Contributors:

Klay Thompson is a freakishly good shooter that would be a lot better fantasy option if he played some defense. He is young and improving. So hopefully the FG% and rebounding will improve this year.

Andrew Bogut has let me down so many times. I cannot endorse Andrew Bogut because he is always hurt, always. If you want to take a risk on him, go ahead. You will regret it. Mark my words.

Impact Rookie:

None

Possible Sleeper:

I am a huge fan of North Carolina players and Harrison Barnes is no exception. Tar Heels make good pros. Due to the Iggy signing Barnes will come off the bench but should still be a valuable asset.

Houston Rockets

Player Note

GP

FG%

FT%

3PTM

PTS

REB

AST

ST

BLK

TO

J. Harden Hou – SG,SF

78

.438

.851

2.3

25.9

4.9

5.8

1.8

0.5

3.8

D. Howard Hou – C

76

.578

.492

0.0

17.1

12.4

1.4

1.1

2.4

3.0

C. Parsons Hou – SF,PF

76

.486

.729

2.0

15.5

5.3

3.5

1.0

0.4

1.9

J. Lin Hou – PG

82

.441

.785

1.1

13.4

3.0

6.1

1.6

0.4

2.9

O. Asik Hou – C

82

.541

.562

0.0

10.1

11.7

0.9

0.6

1.1

2.1


Must Own Players:

James Harden blew up last year when he arrived in Houston. He is listed #3 on a ton of rankings just behind the dynamic duo of LeBron James and Kevin Durant. I am a huge Rocket fan, so I may be biased, but I buy every bit of Harden being that good. The only flaw is his high turnover rate which is something to be expected of guys handling the ball as much as he does. Harden is the new Kobe!

Dwight Howard became one of my all-time favorites when he told the Lakers to shove it and signed with the better team in Houston. Under the tutelage of Hakeem Olajuwon and Kevin McHale, there is no limit to how great Howard can become. His free throw shooting is about as bad as I’ve ever seen, but that shouldn’t hold him back from dominating five categories and helping your fantasy team win.

Other Contributors:

Chandler Parsons has emerged as an excellent SF to have both for the Rockets and in fantasy land. He carries good shooting percentages, hits 3s, scores, rebounds and gets a few assists and steals all without hurting his team through turn overs. This may be his max with Harden and Howard both in town.

Jeremy Lin is not the prime time scoring machine he emerged as in New York. He is a decent point guard who can shoot well, get steals to start the break and set others up to score. That is exactly what Houston needs him to be. Lin is just decent and young enough to get better.

Omer Asik first appeared the odd man out when Howard opted to sign with Houston. Apparently everyone forgot the experience Houston has had with running twin towers and McHale’s experience playing as a big alongside Robert Parrish. Asik will remain a decent source of FG%, rebounds and blocked shots.

Impact Rookies:

None

Possible Sleepers:

Ronnie Brewer, Omri Casspi and Donatas Motiejunas all have roles for the Rockets, but the best sleeper candidate appears to be Patrick Beverly. There has been some talk about trading Jeremy Lin, in part due to the team’s belief that Beverly could be a quality starting PG for the team. This is something to watch.

Indiana Pacers

Player Note

GP

FG%

FT%

3PTM

PTS

REB

AST

ST

BLK

TO

P. George Ind – SG,SF

79

.419

.807

2.2

17.4

7.6

4.1

1.8

0.6

2.9

D. West Ind – PF

73

.498

.768

0.1

17.1

7.7

2.9

1.0

0.9

2.2

G. Hill Ind – PG,SG

76

.443

.817

1.7

14.2

3.7

4.7

1.1

0.3

1.5

R. Hibbert Ind – C

79

.448

.741

0.0

11.9

8.3

1.4

0.5

2.6

2.1

L. Scola Ind – PF,C

82

.473

.787

0.0

12.8

6.6

2.2

0.8

0.4

1.5

L. Stephenson Ind – SG

78

.460

.652

0.8

8.8

3.9

2.9

1.0

0.2

1.4

D. Granger Ind – SF

515

.437

0.847

1.8

18.1

5.2

2.0

1.0

0.9

2.0


Must Own Players:

Paul George is now the star of this team and a Top 10 fantasy player. If his shooting percentages and overall scoring improves, he will jump into the Top 5. Taking him at any point in the mid to late first round will set your team up for success. There aren’t enough good things to say about this kid.

David West has been nothing short of spectacular in Indiana. He provides good percentages for a big man along with points, rebounds and moderate defense. He doesn’t shoot threes abut also doesn’t turn the ball over. He is often overlooked and should be easy to get a little later in the draft.

Roy Hibbert Is an emerging big man that cannot be overlooked. He will be the starting center for some team in your league. He is a good shooter that could stand to be more aggressive on offense. He rebounds and blocks a lot of shots. Improved scoring would catapult him to a Top 10 fantasy center.

Other Contributors:

George Hill is just about a perfect fit for Indiana. He does just about everything you could want in a guard; good percentages, 3s, points, rebounds, assists, steals, low turn overs. He plays second fiddle a lot with Paul George dominating the boars. So that makes him a better fantasy compliment than primary option.

Luis Scola is a good shooting big man that doesn’t play defense. He will provide some cheap points and rebounds with good shooting percentages off the bench behind West and Hibbert. He’s worth a late pick.

Lance Stephenson played well late and in the playoffs last year. He is probably a better real asset than fantasy contributor, but should be on your radar in case Danny Granger cannot come back at full force.

Impact Rookie:

None

Possible Sleeper:

Danny Granger was an elite caliber player a couple years ago before injury knocked him out. Even if he returns to something resembling his former glory, he still has to face up to this now being Paul George’s team. Still, Granger has the skills to reemerge as a high yield shooter and scorer for the Pacers.

Los Angeles Clippers 

Player Note

GP

FG%

FT%

3PTM

PTS

REB

AST

ST

BLK

TO

C. Paul LAC – PG

70

.481

.885

1.1

16.9

3.7

9.7

2.4

0.1

2.3

B. Griffin LAC – PF

80

.538

.660

0.1

18.0

8.3

3.7

1.2

0.6

2.3

J. Crawford LAC – PG,SG

76

.438

.871

2.0

16.5

1.7

2.5

1.0

0.2

1.9

D. Collison LAC – PG

81

.471

.880

0.6

12.0

2.7

5.1

1.2

0.1

2.1

J. Redick LAC – SG

78

.434

.900

2.1

14.1

2.2

3.8

0.5

0.1

1.8

M. Barnes LAC – SF

80

.462

.744

1.4

10.3

4.6

1.5

1.0

0.8

1.1

J. Dudley LAC – SG,SF

79

.468

.796

1.3

10.9

3.1

2.6

0.9

0.1

1.3

D. Jordan LAC – C

82

.643

.386

0.0

8.8

7.2

0.3

0.6

1.4

1.2


Must Own Players:

Chris Paul is the best point guard in basketball and an elite Top 5 fantasy player. There is really no flaw to his game. He is an exceptional shooter and good rebounder for his size. His assist to turn over ration is impeccable. What he lacks in 3s, he more than makes up for in steals. His injury history shouldn’t be ignored, but it also shouldn’t keep you from considering him once LeBron and Durrant are off the board.

Blake Griffin should be owned in all formats, but is not a first rounder. As a big man he takes a lot of heat for not blocking shots. He is an excellent shooter from the floor and contributes points, rebounds, and an unexpected amount of assists for a PF and gets over a steal a game. Keep this in mind as well. He only played about 32 minutes a game last year. A slight increase in minutes puts him in the 20/10/4 range.

Other Contributors:

Jamaal Crawford and JJ Redick have pretty much the same skill set. They are good 3 point shooting guards that will chip in some points and a few assists. They may cancel each other out somewhat.

Likewise, Matt Barnes and Jared Dudley are almost identical players that will dilute each other’s contribution to fantasy owners. Decent shooting, moderate points and a few boards are all they provide.

Deandre Jordan is a cheap source of rebounds and blocks. He doesn’t shoot enough for either his high FG% or low FT% to have a major impact on your team. He can really only help in two categories.

Impact Rookie:

None

Possible Sleeper:

Should anything happen to CP3, Darren Collison will be thrust into a more prominent role on this team. He is a good shooter than can provide a few points, assists and steals a game, but he won’t have a major impact without a major injury. He may be a good insurance policy pick for CP3 owners though.

Los Angeles Lakers 

Player Note

GP

FG%

FT%

3PTM

PTS

REB

AST

ST

BLK

TO

K. Bryant LAL – SG

78

.463

.839

1.7

27.3

5.6

6.0

1.4

0.3

3.7

P. Gasol LAL – PF,C

49

.466

.702

0.2

13.7

8.6

4.1

0.5

1.2

2.1

S. Nash LAL – PG

50

.497

.922

1.1

12.7

2.8

6.7

0.6

0.1

2.5

C. Kaman LAL – PF,C

66

.507

.788

0.0

10.5

5.6

0.8

0.5

0.8

1.6


Must Own Players:

Kobe Bryant is no longer a first rounder due to his injury. Do you know when he will play again? Will he be the same guy? What are you going to get from him if you draft him? I have to pass on Bryant simply because I see no advantage in starting out buried low in the standings waiting on an old guy to come back from a devastating ankle injury. He is worth gambling on if you can wait out the injury.

Pau Gasol is capable of having an all-star season. He was hampered by injury and Mike D’Antoni last year. Unfortunately, D’Antoni remains the coach but Gasol appears much healthier. Gasol is still a Top 10 fantasy PF who will shoot well and provide a ton of points and rebounds while probably leading all PFs in assists and chipping in a steal a game. Just how good a season he has depends on his health and coach.

Other Contributors:

I would love to say Steve Nash is still a must own, but I just can’t. He looks 50, plays like he is 40 but his coach still wants him to run like a 20 year old. When he is on the court, he provides excellent shooting, some threes and assists. The Lakers need him to score more. So there may be an uptick in points.

Chris Kaman was signed to replace Dwight Howard. I still think about that just about every day when I need a good laugh. Kaman can be a contributor who provides quality points, rebounds and blocks while shooting at a high percent. Or he can spend half the season laid out on the training table.

Impact Rookie:

None

Possible Sleeper:

Pride has killed the Lakers. They really have nothing left to offer. Steve Blake and Jordan Farmar are useless. Jodie Meeks will start at SG until Kobe is back, but that is no help. Nick Young will start at SF. Jordan Hill will have to play on the front line. None of those guys are worth owning in standard leagues.

Memphis Grizzlies 

Player Note

GP

FG%

FT%

3PTM

PTS

REB

AST

ST

BLK

TO

M. Gasol Mem – C

80

.494

.848

0.0

14.1

7.8

4.0

1.0

1.7

2.0

Z. Randolph Mem – PF,C

76

.460

.750

0.0

15.4

11.2

1.4

0.8

0.4

2.0

M. Conley Mem – PG

80

.440

.830

1.3

14.6

2.8

6.1

2.2

0.3

2.4

K. Koufos Mem – PF,C

81

.581

.558

0.0

8.0

6.9

0.4

0.5

1.3

0.7

T. Prince Mem – SF,PF

82

.438

.738

0.5

10.4

4.4

2.4

0.6

0.3

1.1

E. Davis Mem – PF,C

81

.539

.617

0.0

7.7

5.7

0.8

0.5

1.0

0.8

T. Allen Mem – SG,SF

79

.445

.717

0.0

8.9

4.6

1.2

1.5

0.6

1.2


Must Own Players:

Marc Gasol is probably the best all-around Center in Fantasy Basketball. Others may score or rebound more, but none will shoot as well from the FT line or provide the assist he does from the Center position. Gasol is a great shooter, good scorer and rebounder. He plays hardcore defense providing almost three combined steals and blocks per game. He rarely turns the ball over. He should be the first center drafted.

Mike Conley rarely gets mentioned amongst the elite PGs in the league but easily provides Top 10 PG stats. His shooting is excellent for a guard. He scores and knocks down threes. His assist to turn over ration is very good. Plus he plays defense and is often on the league leader board for steals. No, he doesn’t rebound or block shots, but if you need that from your PG, you’re already screwed.

Other Contributors:

Zach Randolph is pretty much the Carlos Boozer of Memphis. He is a double-double machine that won’t hurt your team shooting percentages. If you need a guy to score and rebound, this is an easy pick. Just prepare to get your defense from elsewhere. Zebo doesn’t gets steals or block shots.

Tayshuan Prince, Quincy Poindexter and Tony Allen are the other possible starters but may only help in deep leagues. Bench players like Jared Bayless, Mike Miller and Ed Davis all have limited desirability. Any of these guys could offer minor help in a category or two at some point, but expectations are low.

Impact Rookies:

None

Possible Sleepers:

Kosta Kufos is an interesting guy to me. He was decent in Denver last year playing on about 22 minutes a game. If Memphis can find about 30 minutes a game for him, Kufos could surprise folks by averaging close to a double-double with two blocks a game. He may render Ed Davis obsolete and do just that.

This brings us to the conclusion of the first fifteen teams. Have fear. The next fifteen are soon to follow.

To be continued . . . .

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