A long time ago in a galaxy far far away… Is that too cliché? Yeah it is, but there’s a point. You knew where it came from as soon as you read it. You can hear the soundtrack playing in your head. Well, now that I said it you can hear it. There’s even a chance you might remember the first time you saw it. That’s what drafting LeBron James feels like. It’s a smell in the air, a taste in the back of your throat that tells you there’s something familiar here. The nurturing feeling of resting against LeBron’s bosom. Ahh… Hold me LeBron. That’s not what this series is going to be about. This here is akin to trying to remember the first time you saw Spaceballs. Sure it’s a classic, but we both know you weren’t in the right state of mind to remember the first time you watched any Mel Brooks movie. Am I right or am I right? I can hear your silence loud and clear.
Let’s all now jump into our Delorean, Phone Booth, Hot Tub or whatever your time machine of choice is and travel back to last October. There was something with very large fantasy implications happening in Houston. It was not the trade for James Harden. I’m talking about the position battle at SF between Carlos Delfino and Chandler Parsons. If you would have chosen wisely then you would have gotten the closest thing I can imagine to the fantasy holy grail. A top 50 player at the low low cost of a free agent pick up, even in the deepest of leagues. This will be my gift to you. No, not this overpriced knockoff but the next best thing.
Without further ado or should it be with further a don’t? I give to you some players I will be going further in depth with as the year progresses. They have been neatly organized into tiers of urgency. As in how soon till the secret is out.
Tier 1 – Next week. These guys should have no problem finding playing time already, but they are vastly under owned.
Patrick Beverley PG-Hou - 15% owned in Yahoo leagues. Currently set to open the season in a time share with Jeremy Lin. P-Bev has shown plus rebounding and shot blocking for a guard to go along with better than average Steals and 3 PTM. A changing of the guard (pun point!) is coming.
Alec Burks SG-Uta - 8% owned. The number 12 pick in the 2011 draft has been patiently waiting his turn on the bench. Those days are over. With a college average of 19 Pts on 49.5% shooting, there is no question scoring is his forte. An average FT shooter and rebounder for his position keeps his fantasy floor high even though he isn’t a prolific 3-point shooter or stealer. The added bonus of eventual PG eligibility only helps. Since he’s all but guaranteed 30 minutes per game out of the gate his 8% ownership in Yahoo leagues is a joke. I predict it jumps to 50% in a week or two after opening tip.
James Anderson SG/SF-Phi - 12% owned. Selected with the 20th pick of the 2010 draft by the Spurs, James the Peach can be a giant scorer. Preseason averages of 2.5 3 PTM feels on par with what to expect. Not only a shooter, 1.0+ Steals and solid percents have me thinking once of again of Chandler Parsons. Or is that the Biebs once he hits puberty.
John Henson PF/C-Mil - 13% owned. Ersan Ilyasova is hurt and won’t be ready for game 1. The muppet man should see 30 minutes per game to start the year. Still raw at 22 years old, the former Tar Heel has some of the highest potential of the players in this tier. Shimmy Shimmy Ya. Per 36 numbers from his rookie year include 16.5 Pts, 12.9 boards, 1.8 blocks. The only thing holding him back appears to be playing time.
Tier 2 – Talent finds a way to play. These players will need a little help to truly shine. An injury is the usual culprit, but when talent hooks up with playing time, something magical happens.
Jerryd Bayless PG/SG-Mem - 6% owned. Playing time picked up to 25-28 minutes per game after Rudy Gay was sent packing. Backing up Mike Conley at the point while competing with Tony Allen and Mike Miller for playing time at SG should keep his minutes over 25 without any issue. 12 PPG, 1.0+ Steal and 3 PTM, 3-4 assists feel like Jerryd’s floor. Still only 25 years old there is plenty of time for a breakout, your team will be happy you went to Jerryds.
Tim Hardaway Jr. SG-NYK - 6% owned. The son of the UTEP two-step is averaging 30 minutes per game in the preseason and appears poised to open the year in the Knickerbockers rotation. A three year starter at Meeechigan, The Little Timmy doesn’t appear to have a multicat game. Steady increases in college have me thinking he eventually might. More of a deep league player, 2.0+ 3 PTM is why your going to eventually want him on your team.
Terrence Ross SG/SF-Tor - 4% owned. Truth be told, I’m not sure where his minutes are immediately coming from. An injury to DeMar DeRozan or Rudy Gay, and I think he’s playing close to 30 minutes per game. Terrence has the talent to produce in nearly every fantasy category. A ceiling of 2 3s, 1.5 Stls, 0.5 Blk is impossible to ignore. Oh, Ello there Terrence.
Steven Adams C-OKC - 4% owned. Adams may have earned a few minutes with his preseason play but he is still a long way from fantasy relevance. Its probably going to take an injury to Kendrick Perkins for the New Zealander to earn more than 20 minutes per game this year. The skill level between him and the rest of the options at center for OKC is blatantly obvious. If minutes are found you can expect normal big man stats. FG%, boards, and blocks, he’s a capable scorer and his high energy play could lead to a surprising amount of steals.
Tier 3 – The end of the bench. These are the players that get psyched when the coach calls their number. However someday soon they’re going to be fantasy mainstays. As the year progresses I will help to shed light on these and many more. With a little more knowledge hopefully we can all choose… wisely.
Cory Joseph – PG-SAS, Tony Wrotten – PG-Phi, Shane Larkin – PG-Dal, Dennis Schroder – PG-Atl, C.J. McCollum – PG/SG-Por, Evan Fournier – SG-Den, Archie Goodwin – SG-Pho, Giannis Antetokounmpo – SG/SF-Mil, Terrence Jones – SF/PF-Hou, Donatas Motiejunas – SF/PF-Hou, Andrew Nicholson – PF-Orl, Meyers Leonard – PF/C-Por, Rudy Gobert – C-Uta