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:
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.
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.
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.