Basketball season is approaching quickly, as signaled by the start of our Razzball Basketball Commenter Leagues! The RCL leagues are a ton of fun, so make sure to get in one of those. I’ll be hosting at least one or two in the near future, so if you join one of those, just think of this as a list of guys you should let me draft! We’re starting to get into the more interesting sleepers as we work our way deeper into the rankings. So lets get into it!
Possibly my favorite sleeper for the upcoming season, Clarkson somehow managed to fly under the radar last year, despite posting very solid numbers on an otherwise underwhelming Laker team. Unfortunately it looks like JB beat me to the punch on this one with his recent rankings, and I agree with his assessment, putting Clarkson at 57th overall. Clarkson is a very dynamic scorer, and playing next to D’Angelo Russell should only help his growth. Actually, I’ll just include D’Angelo in this blurb as well! These two guys had great chemistry in summer league, and there’s no reason to think it won’t grow as the season progresses. Russell still has a little ways to go in terms of shot selection and turnovers; however, he has amazing court vision and passing ability. The turnover issues are definitely overblown, and I think Russell could put up very solid assist numbers while setting up his back-court team-mate. Regardless of how they turn out, these two are going to be a ton of fun to watch, and both are almost certain to be undervalued. I’m going to love owning both of them on all my teams!
While we’re on the theme of Lakers, I might as well mention Julius Randle. Last season he only managed 14 minutes in his first game before a broken leg knocked him out for the rest of the season. The good news is, he’s healthy heading into this season, and with Carlos Boozer and Jordan Hill out of the way, there’s a clear path to playing time. I’m not sure Randle is going to blow anyone away with his stats this year, but his solid contributions in points and boards could put him within striking distance of the top 100. Think Zach Randolph range. Personally, I’d take Randle first, he’s younger, quicker, and better off the dribble than Randolph, but the skill sets are still fairly comparable. Plus I would really hate to have Randolph on my team, so I might be a tad biased… Regardless, you get the point!
Deron Williams is a hard player to pull the trigger on, given his injury history and performance with the Nets, but he is frankly much better than what he showed in that dysfunctional system. With better talent surrounding him in Dallas, his percentages are sure to climb, and players like Wes Matthews, Chandler Parsons, and Dirk Nowitzki are a dream for a pass first point guard. His assist totals could easily approach double digits again, and 16-18 points per game wouldn’t surprise me at all. D-Will is a career 45% shooter, and it’s pretty likely that his numbers will be closer to that, than the 41% he averaged with the Nets. If you can get him in the mid rounds of the draft, he’s definitely worth a shot. Deron still has borderline elite upside, and if you’re willing to gamble a bit, then you could be rewarded with a huge season in Dallas.
And another Sleeper that JB beat me to… The appeal with Turner is pretty obvious though, great blocks, boards, and points potential from a young athletic big, who doesn’t have any competition for minutes. On top of all that, he’ll be playing in a fast paced offense! BUT WAIT! THERE’S MORE! He also can knock down the occasional 3 ball, he has great free throw percentages, and he doesn’t turn over the ball! JB has him aggressively ranked at 63rd overall, and the fact of the matter is that this could be on the conservative side! Basically this all boils down to one thing… Draft this kid!
Possibly the most unnecessary bust prediction ever. Jennings is always drafted too early, and with his upside it’s easy to see why. The problem is, he keeps disappointing year after year. He’s a very talented player, who’s made of glass and who arguably has the worst shot selection west of J.R. Smith. Stay away if you value winning… or your sanity for that matter.
The Cleveland Cavaliers
I’m not really calling them busts, I would say that they lack upside though. With the insane amount of depth on the team, the key players will be rested more this year. Lebron James will obviously be a great player, but with the extra depth, the Cavs will likely preserve him for the playoffs. The same goes for Kyrie Irving and Kevin Love as well. The Cavs are going to be a great team, but stacked teams tend to hurt fantasy values. I always say that I’d rather have a great player on a bad team than a great player on a good team for fantasy purposes, and I think this year’s Cavalier squad will prove that.