The last two months of the NBA season can produce some extremely strange numbers. You don’t necessarily have to be a good basketball player to produce at the NBA level during these months. That doesn’t matter for winning fantasy leagues though. Numbers are NUMBERS:

2014/2015 NBA Season Final 2 Months Ranking 8-Cat:

Rudy Gobert (27)

Hassan Whiteside (63)

Jordan Clarkson (40)

Zach LaVine (85)

Nikola Mirotic (61)

What do all these players have in common?

-They were all undrafted or dropped to the wire in the majority of 12-team 8-cat roto leagues last year.

-They were all rookies or sophomores for the 2014-2015 season. (Whiteside excluded)

-They all provided top 100 per game value for the final two months of the 2014-2015 season.

Every year there are difference makers that arise throughout the final two months of the season. The correlation between winning teams and scooping up difference makers in the back end of the season cannot be underestimated. Below are some players I think may be able to break out in the final months of the season:

Dwight Powell

The second round pick from 2014, Powell projects as an important cog in the Mavericks rotation this season. The sophomore averaged 18.8 points and 9.2 rebounds in Las Vegas summer league while showing an ability to hit the 3-point shot. However, I think this is more about the team than the player. It’s when, not if the Mavericks fall out of playoff contention that they will have no reason to push Dirk Nowitzki’s 37 year old body any further, not to mention Chandler Parsons & Wesley Matthews are coming back from major surgery.  If it’s a lost season, what is the point of pushing this team. That’s when Powell will have all the opportunity to produce. Also Justin Anderson may have some opportunity towards the end of the season.

Jerian Grant

At 6’5 Jerian Grant provides size and vision at the point for the Knickerbockers. Averaging 11.8 points, 3.2 rebounds & 4.8 dimes in Summer League, Grant is one to keep an eye on all season.  Firstly if the Knicks are eliminated from the playoffs, development of Grant will become a focus for the final months of the season. Secondly, projected starter Jose Calderon is a major injury risk & potential trade candidate.  If either of these occur, it could give Grant the minutes he needs to be a difference maker down the stretch.

Noah Vonleh

The youngest player in the NBA last season has a new home at the Portland Trailblazers. The 2014 No. 9 pick had an awful rookie season; however, some context needs to be taken into consideration. He missed all of training camp due to a sports hernia and was playing for a team that was pushing for a playoff berth therefore limiting player development opportunities. Vonleh will be presented with a shot at some point this year to produce. Portland will be near the bottom of the Western Conference and at some stage they will need to work out whether Vonleh can play or not. Keep in mind his awesome Summer League numbers of 17.2 points and 8.5 rebounds while shooting 55.8 percent from the field and 50 percent from three-point range.

 

Often these players will not need to be drafted, but can be attained from waiver wires in most leagues. Please feel free to add in the comments below any other players you think may be a difference maker in the final months of the season.

 

Over & Out.

Stro.

  1. Ed Frobman says:
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    I think Justin Anderson is a good choice. I am not sure exactly how big he is but he looks strong and athletic enough to play the 2,3 or 4 even in a stretch scenario. Monte gone, Dirk may not see 28 minutes a game this year, Deron already injured and a Carlisle system. Mavs seem like a team to watch this year for some surprise fantasy gold. That was a good point too about them possibly falling out of playoff contention. once that becomes inevitable, the ‘inevitables’ should be in line for big production. Can we just go ahead right now and label Dwight Powell and Justin Anderson………’the inevitables’?? maybe getting ahead of myself but wouldn’t be the first time. and i dig the name. Inevitables….tm

    • Stro

      Stro says:
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      @Ed Frobman:

      Can definitely see there being a lot of value in Dallas throughout the year. You can make a case that every starter has an above average injury risk on the team. Keep a close eye on pre-season and early season form, stats & minutes. I do like the name inevitables, i see a strong chance that Anderson & Powell will have value at some time this year.

  2. Daniel Bradley says:
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    Interesting column and a good reason not to blow the Free Agency budget in the first month .
    I have a player who like your maverick is in a team situation that will see a definite uptick in minutes due to a coaching philosophy and that is Denis Schroder of the Hawks

    • Stro

      Stro says:
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      @Daniel Bradley:

      On the season Schroder averaged 19.7 minutes and that includes the 10 starts he made filling in for Jeff Teague. As much as I love Schroder, he definitely needs a Teague injury to have consistent value. I can’t see the minutes increasing too much as his height (6’1) will make it hard to play him & Teague together at the 1&2. Depending on how deep your league/bench is though, Schroder may be worth a stash due to his potential to provide elite numbers when given 30 mins. PS Schroder really helped me last year down the stretch and he could’ve made the column if it was final month ranking.

      • ED Frobman says:
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        @Stro: I could see picking up Shroeder near the end of the season if he is back on the wire as Teague gets more rest and the second unit may see more run in prep for playoffs. Seems like there is much better upside this year at the end of drafts in shallower leagues. Not sure if it has always been the case or if i have gotten better at finding talent at end of drafts. This year seems ripe with back end picks that have huge potential. Important to remember last year and how long it took Elfrid and Noel to come on, not to mention a huge slew of injuries it took to get Wiggins going. I could see owners this year getting frustrated early and dropping some big time talent. I wouldn’t fret too much if you don’t get a deep sleeper in a draft this year, some should end up on the wire when teams start to get desperate for making the playoffs. They are usually the first to go.

  3. kai says:
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    both dwyane wade and luol deng are oft injured and on the last year of their contracts. i’m keeping an eye on justise winslow.

    • Matty

      Matty says:
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      @kai: Keeping with the same team, Gerald Green could be valuable if either of the Heat’s starting swingmen go down for any period of time.

      Also popular around these parts is Stanley Johnson – his own talent & work ethic combined with the near certainty that a Morris brother will quickly wear out his welcome without his binkie twin to keep him company…StanJo could go on a late-season tear.

      Maybe we see a Darren Collison resurgence post-ASB if (when?) Rondo starts doing Rondo things in Sac-town.

      And lastly, as was discussed in a different comments thread, Brandan Wright stands to see a lot of minutes & opportunity if one of ZBo or Gasol gets rested/hurt.

      • Stro

        Stro says:
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        @Matty:

        Im with Matt on this one, think it will be Gerald Green with higher value than Winslow if there is an injury.

        Think Stanley Johnson has a lot of potential, Van Gundy already gushing over him just be aware that the Pistons are really making a push for the playoffs so they will go with whoever gives them the best chance of winning.

        I am all in on the Darren Collison train. He produced per-game top 50 numbers last year in 8-cat, has a very injury-prone slash moody Rondo ahead of him and think his the better player at this point in their careers. Getting him in the 130s and waiting a month could be one of the best picks you make.

        Wright is definitely someone who will sit on the wire throughout the season until an injury occurs and then can really produce very friendly fantasy numbers. Keep him on your watch list.

  4. Dragos says:
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    Good production from players from waiver wire can come at any time, given the injury frequency in the NBA. I’ll keep an eye on the following players, which might get big minutes in case starters are rested in back to back’s, or get injured: A. Brooks, G. Green, R. Hood, A. Len.
    Also, depending on rotations of starters, K. O’Quin, N. Cole and M. Teletovic could get interesting.
    Related to increased productivity in the final months of the season, i’ll pick: M. Turner, J. Nurkic, A. Gordon, C. McCollum, S. Johnson to bump up in ranks big time, but these guys won’t be on the wire in competitive leagues, for sure..

    • Stro

      Stro says:
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      @Dragos:

      Your not wrong about waiver wire value, thats why its so imperative to be keeping up to date with in game injuries. Your final month productivity players listed I could see all of them making it to the wire at some point except McCollum and Turner, however with young players a month long shooting slump really does test owners patience. Just be ready to pounce if you get the opportunity is the main point of the article, however, knowing whether to keep or cut under-performing rookies is definitely a touch decision that should not be taken lightly. Really like all of your selections though.

  5. Phamtastic

    Khang says:
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    Hey Stro what are your thoughts on Myles Turner? He’s been getting a lot of love in the mocks, but it’s cooled down a bit since the news came out that he might not be starting.

    I imagine he’ll spend the first half getting used to the NBA game, and have an awesome second half. Thoughts?

    • Stro

      Stro says:
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      @Khang:

      Myles has a really fantasy friendly stat set. I can definitely see him being more valuable in Roto leagues as opposed to H2H as his production should really increase towards the end of the year, therefore benching him at the start with inconsistent minutes won’t hurt nearly as much.

      Pretty much have the same opinion as me. Definitely taking him over a Roy Hibbert in the 80’s however, think I’d probably go with the safe option in Robin Lopez if I was deciding between them. Just remember for full season values few rookies make it into the top 100. However, having said that I could see a top 60 ranking in the final two months if you can wait for that.

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