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Here we are again, stuck in limbo between the excitement of the NBA draft, free agency, the Summer League, and the start of draft season. Fear not! Son and I will keep you abreast of all that goes down in the world of fantasy basketball.

So what have I got for you this week? Five players that are poised to break out and avoid the dreaded sophomore slump.

PG – Jamaal Murray, Denver Nuggets 

After selecting Murray with the seventh pick in the 2016 NBA Draft, the Nuggets came out and stated that he was top three on their draft board. From what we saw his rookie season, it’s hard to argue. Primarily known for his shooting, Murray also has the ability to handle the basketball and act as both a point guard and a two. With Emmanuel Mudiay now out of favor (rightly so) and an aging Jameer Nelson still on the roster, it is likely that Murray will see the kind of workload for us to really pay attention in fantasy. Given the fact he played 25 mpg post-All Star break, it isn’t out of the question that he sees starter minutes. Expect there to be plenty of buzz surrounding Murray come draft day, but if the price is right, I’m buying.

SG – Jaylen Brown, Boston Celtics

Considered a project coming out of the draft, Brown often found himself on the court in crunch time and outplayed the expectations many had for him. He played tough perimeter defense and showed the ability to catch and shoot. Brown said that his goal in the off season was to improve his ball handling, which was on full display during the Summer League. Many will point out the negative impact that the acquisition of Gordon Hayward will have on his value, but Brown has a legitimate shot to start at shooting guard. I am bullish that Brown will see significant improvements on both ends of the court.

SF –  Taurean Prince, Atlanta Hawks

Here we go again with my Baylor bias, as I endorse the former Bears. After the Hawks selected him with the 12th overall pick in the 2016 NBA Draft, Prince displayed defensive prowess his rookie year and now has a clear path to playing time. Labelled a 3-and-D player, I believe there is untapped offensive potential, in particular creating with the ball. With that said, Prince should be available for a discount on draft day, so file his name away for the later stages.

PF – Juancho Hernangomez, Denver Nuggets

So, we come to the first of the Hernangomez brothers, Juan. With “Rooster” gone, there is talk of Hernangomez starting at the small forward position for a potent Nuggets offense. The floor should be spaced, given the acquisition of Paul Millsap, and the fact that every guy on the roster can shoot the long ball. Whether he starts or not, the sharp shooting Spaniard should see plenty of minutes, given his ability to play the three or the four. I wouldn’t recommend reaching to obtain his services in fantasy, as he’s very streaky, but Hernangomez is a guy you should consider in the latter stages of your draft if you need treys.

C – Willy Hernangomez, New York Knicks 

If Juan (one) wasn’t enough (excuse the poor pun), then the second Hernangomez is a guy you shouldn’t be sleeping on. Likely penciled in as the starting center for the rebuilding Knicks, it is hard to ignore the per 36 numbers that the rookie put up in his debut NBA season: 16 points, 13.6 rebounds, 2.6 assists, and 1 block on 53% shooting. “Sweet” Willy won’t contribute much in the blocks department, but has the ability to score and board in bunches without hurting your percentages. With an anticipated expanded role, he should not fall outside the top 100 on draft day. Be aggressive with Kristap’s partner in crime, then sit back and pat yourself on the back.

  1. howtathor says:
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    Hey Craig,

    I have a few players that I drafted last year. Always looking for a breakout but would settle for some playing time and stats:

    Timothe Luwawu-Cabarrot SG PHI
    Dejounte Murray PG SA
    Wade Baldwin IV PG MEM
    Chinanu Onuaku C HOU

    Let me know what you think….thanks!

    • Craig Bozic

      Craig says:
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      @howtathor:

      Too early for a breakout for any, but TLC will have some off ball value fir the Sixers, and showed last year there is talent there averaging over 18ppg in April when injuries struck.

      Murray naturally will get run too, but still a year too early unless injury strikes.

      I like Baldwin and Onuaku, but not expecting anything much until next season or beyond

      • Trizzy says:
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        @Craig:

        Hey Craig,

        How well do you think Thon Maker will play this year?

        With Greg Monroe staying and Jason Kidd palying musical bench, I’m on the fence.

        Also wanted to know your opinion on Chieck Diallo.

        Cheers,

        • Trizzy says:
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          @Trizzy: Apologies for the misspelling

        • Craig Bozic

          Craig says:
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          @Trizzy:
          Apologies for the delay, I have no issues with Thon and he certainly fits in the long term what the Bucks are trying to do with a bunch of long athletic guys all over the court.

          He was drafted on late helium and I am not the highest on him, especially given the nature of depth generally on the team too.

          Jr will have a role to play for those bucks fir sure, but I think it will be quite a while before it’s a fantasy worthy one

          • Trizzy says:
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            @Craig:

            No worries, It’s a shame I’m waiting on Parker till Feb.

            Thanks a bunch for the reply.

  2. Nick says:
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    Hey Craig,

    What are your thoughts on Chriss? I made a trade for him in my dynasty league recently. Lots of guys seem to like his potential on forums and articles I read, but he may also be the first guy I offer up to acquire a top pick in next years draft so I don’t know haha.

    • Craig Bozic

      Craig says:
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      @Nick:
      I am a bug fan of Chriss in the long term. It is important to remember how much Chriss has improved from high school to this point as he wasnt considered as strong a recruit as some of his peers in the draft class, and yiu can argue he is ahead of time on his developmental schedule.

      If you drafted Chriss it was in the proviso it was gonna take time, and all signs are positive in regards to him realising his potential. The ability to put the basketball on the floor and knock down the mild range jumper bodes well fir the future especially given his athleticism.

      It might take another year or two to realise his potential potential, but as his basketball IQ rises so will his ability to contribute to your fantasy team.

      • Nick says:
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        @Craig:

        That’s a good point I forgot about him as a prospect. He wasn’t even considered in the first round then went in the lottery and seemed to be a quick learner last year. Hopefully he arrives at training camp more fit then summer league and can put the concerns to rest haha

  3. Mike says:
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    Hey Craig,

    Thoughts on Diallo for dynasty? Tough this year w/ AD and DMC but if Cousins leaves what do you see as his ceiling? Thank you!

    • Trizzy says:
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      @Mike: Played really well in Summer League this year.

    • Craig Bozic

      Craig Bozic says:
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      @Mike:

      Apologies on late response, on my summer holidays here in the UK.

      The main issue i have with Diallo is how he will see a significant role down the line with his style of play. His per 36 numbers are mightily impressive on one hand, but it is whether a team is really willing to supply a non premier PF significant minutes with minimal range to his game.

      I don’t think it’s the worst specualtive add in the world, and i know a lot of others are higher on him than myself, but for me i am out till otherwise proven wrong (which does and will happen from time to time 😉

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