So we’ve done our wading in the shallow end and we’ve taken a look at the rookies who may warrant immediate consideration in standard mixed leagues. That’s not the end of the story though, we still need to dive into deeper waters and see if we can’t dredge up next year’s fantasy Ginobili or (insert name of great and unheralded second round pick here). In deeper leagues, and of course keeper leagues, there are other players from this year’s draft class that should have fantasy impact in the upcoming season.
Not all these prospects are created equal of course, some I like a lot more than others. Some almost made it into the shallow end. Some are only here because a lot of industry guys seem to like them and I’d feel remiss if I didn’t mention them. We’ll start with the players I like, and then we’ll dive deep into the abyss of this year’s draft to see what sort of strange life exists beneath the 200th pick. The situations for these guys are pretty murky, so I’m not going to toss off stats projections this time, just highlight the categories they may help in.
In the really-real world I’m not a huge Klay fan, not at that pick for the Warriors anyway, but for fantasy I think he could be useful. Klay might have made the Shallow End post if the Warriors didn’t have a bunch of wings that I like more than him. That said, the Warriors have enough invested here that I think he’ll see time, and if he does he should be a great source of threes, with decent Reb-Ast-Stl peripherals. If he plays well, or if the Warriors clear some space on the wing via trade, Klay could be a very nice fantasy sleeper.
My man Ken. Can I call him Ken? Of course I can, since he’s never going to read this. Our good friend Ken is a solid draft sleeper for one reason – rebounding. He’s the all-time NCAA rebounding leader, and he’s got a motor that could drive a big rig. Faried is so good on the boards that he actually recorded rebounds in games he didn’t even play in. I don’t have a source for that, but you can believe it because you just read it on the interwebs. Denver has a pretty slim front court, especially at PF, and I think there’s a solid chance that Faried gets decent time in the rotation. If he gets time, Faried will get you the standard big man Reb-Blk-FG% package, and should be a great source of boards even in limited minutes. If your league counts offensive rebounds then he’s even more attractive.
Ken might not have Paul Millsap’s all-round game, but that’s who this kid reminds me of. Of all the guys off this list, he’s the one I can see myself owning on the the most deep-league teams.
Um … upside?
Knight is a guy I’m luke warm on (and glad my Raptors didn’t draft). With that glowing recommendation in mind, lots of hoops heads whose opinions I respect do like him, and in Detroit he could see solid back-up minutes (or even start via injury), so he deserves a place on this list. He’s also a pretty good shooter and he has a solid defensive rep, and those are both skills that could earn him burn in a talent-starved Piston’s lineup. If gets some tick he could help you in points, threes, and a little in assists. Maybe some steals too, but his NCAA play doesn’t really point to that being a strength.
I’ll admit, I don’t like Kanter. It might not be fantasy relevant, but I have little faith in guys who only work out against chairs and pylons and haven’t played a meaningful game in nearly two years. Back to fantasy though – Utah invested a high pick in Kanter, so he should be given at least a decent chance to play in his first year. I think he should look decent for scoring, but I worry about the percentages, I worry about the defensive cats, and I worry that his lack of defense will keep his minutes too low to be useful. He’s a guy to draft for the minutes upside based on the high pick plus a certain blind faith in his physical development over the past year. I think that he’ll get drafted well before I’d even consider him in most deep leagues, but if he’s still hanging around in the last rounds he’s worth a flier.
Did I just rank Singleton ahead of Vesely? Vesely who went 12 picks before Singleton to the same team and who plays the same position? Yes, yes I did. Why? Because I have an unnatural hate for Jan Vesely and his hot, gigantic, girlfriend. On the other hand, I have a pretty hard man-crush on Chris Singleton. My bold prediction is that Singleton will get more PT for the Wiz this year than Vesely will, mostly because Singleton can defend three, or perhaps four, NBA positions, whereas Vesely may struggle to guard any NBA position. Singleton could be a sneaky-good source of Reb-Stl-Blk from a very late pick, and I think he’s more than worth a flyer if that’s what you’re looking for at the end of a deep draft.
Do not want. I’m only adding him here because some industry guys seem inexplicably fond of him and he was drafted higher than Singleton. As far as I can tell Vesely can’t shoot, can’t rebound, and will struggle to defend his own position at the NBA level. Caveat Emptor.
Deep League pond scum…
Hanging around on the fringes of draft relevance are Kawhi Leonard, Alec Burks, Markieff Morris, and maybe Norris Cole. They might be worth a look, but only for the true hard-core deep leaguers. Once this depressing lock-out business is concluded, the whole picture here may change based on trades and whatnot, and when that happens I’ll revisit these rankings and mess them about until they make sense again.
Adam Laforet is one of a growing number of fantasy experts who write for the Cafe. You can catch up with Adam in the Cafe's forums where he posts under the name of Fenris-77.
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