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.