SleepersJuly 14, 2005

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Sleeper Watch

By Arlo Vander

If you just look at the season totals JR Smith put up in his first year in the NBA (10.3 points, 2.0 rebounds, and 1.9 assists in 24.5 minutes per game), you might not see a player worth drafting for your 2005-06 fantasy team. But a quick look at his monthly splits will reveal that the Hornets’ young shooting guard is a player whose stock is on the rise.

Smith’s playing time increased every month last season, rising from a mere 9.1 minutes in November to 31.9 in April. The rest of his numbers followed suit. Before the All-Star break, he scored 7.6 point per contest. Down the stretch, he nearly doubled that figure to a solid 14.7 PPG. His assists rose from a pre-break average of 1.6 per night to 2.4. As the season went on, he also worked hard to improve his rebounding. That work paid off with a season-high average of 3.5 boards per game in the season’s final month.

Smith’s athleticism, jumping ability and range have already made him a fun player to watch, and with increased playing time, he should turn into a solid fantasy producer. Last year, he was a nice late-season waiver wire find for many owners. This year, look for him to be a contributor right from the start.

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Josh Smith by Clay Burnett (posted on 08/22/2006 in Sleepers)
David Lee by Arlo Vander (posted on 01/10/2006 in Sleepers)
Anderson Varejao by Mike Antoine (posted on 12/15/2006 in Sleepers)