Eric Gordon (SG-LAC) – Eric Gordon is technically a post-hype sleeper, since many thought he was going to breakout last year. However, due to inconsistency and lingering injuries, he wasn’t able to get into any rhythm. In his rookie season, he was showing serious signs of a breakout sophomore campaign, averaging 16.1 points and 1.7 threes made per game. Therefore, those of you who drafted Gordon expected a serious leap in production.
However, after starting last season on fire, he injured his groin, and the lingering injury prevented him from being consistent. With that said, Gordon actually increased his scoring, assists, and threes made last season. Many fantasy players will be thinking of Gordon as an inconsistent guard who only can help you in one category. With three years under his belt, and a bit of maturation, I feel Gordon will be a steal for owners looking for threes, scoring, and solid shooting percentages.
2009-2010 season: 16.9 points, 2.6 rebounds, 3.0 assists, 1.7 threes made
2010-2011 season: 19 points, 3 rebounds, 3.4 assists, 2.3 threes made
Ronnie Brewer (GF-CHI) – With a career average of 1.5 steals per game, Ronnie Brewer has quietly established himself as one of the league’s best thieves. However, many people seem to underestimate his value because he only helps in that one area. Nevertheless, smart managers know how important category specialists are to their teams (think Chris Anderson and blocks). Players like Brewer are especially useful in head-to-head leagues, where his strength fits your team like a glove.
Many managers are overlooking Brewer because of numerous offseason moves that went down this summer, and you should use this to your advantage. I expect Brewer to provide positive contributions in steals and field-goal percentage, which makes him worthy of a late-round gamble.
2009-2010 season: 8.8 points, 3.2 rebounds, 2.7 assists, 1.6 steals
2010-2011 season: 9.0 points, 2.3 rebounds, 2.7 assists, 1.9 steals
Terrence Williams (GF-NJN) – Williams is hardly a sleeper in my mind considering how well he played at the end of last year. During April, he averaged 14.3 points, 0.6 steals, 6.3 assists, and 7.1 rebounds per game. If he can beat out Anthony Morrow for the starting shooting guard position, he could post similar numbers this season. Williams is too talented to rot on the bench, and he proved enough last season to deserve the opportunity to start.
2009-2010 season: 8.4 points, 4.5 rebounds, 2.9 assists, 0.4 threes, 0.6 steals
2010-2011 season: 13 points, 4.5 rebounds, 3.4 assists, 0.6 threes, 0.7 steals
Nicolas Batum (GF-POR) – Batum is finally an uncontested starter at the small forward position after inconsistent minutes last season. Portland shipped away Martell Webster and Travis Outlaw to clear minutes for Batum, and it’s up to him to prove Portland management made the right choice. Last season, Batum flashed his endless potential as a versatile swingman. He showed that as a starter he can contribute across the board by averaging 11 points, 0.8 steals, 0.8 blocks, 3.7 rebounding and 1.7 threes in only 26 minutes per game.
Looking at Portland’s roster, other than Roy there aren’t many options that are a threat to his minutes. If you want a versatile player that will outperform guys like Al Harrington, Vince Carter, Mike Miller, and Channing Frye, take Batum.
2009-2010 season: 10.1 points, 3.8 rebounds, 1.2 assists, 1.5 threes, 0.7 steals, 0.7 blocks
2010-2011 season: 14 points, 5.8 rebounds, 2.3 assists, 1.8 threes, 1.1 steals, 1.0 blocks
Shane Battier (SF-HOU) – It’s hard to call Battier a sleeper because everybody knows about him. I also can’t understand why he still gets overlooked in many drafts. With career averages of 1.3 threes, 1.1 steals, and 1.0 blocks per game, he gives owners a little bit of everything. He also won’t waste a roster spot by constantly being injured, as he has only missed 52 games in his 10-year career. Yes, he slightly underperformed last year, but he’s now a starter again and I certainly think he will help your team.
2009-2010 season: 8 points, 4.7 rebounds, 2.5 assists, 1.5 threes, 0.8 steals, 1.1 blocks
2010-2011 season: 10 points, 4.5 rebounds, 2.3 assists, 1.8 threes, 1.1 steals, 1.2 blocks
Hedo Turkoglu (GF-PHO) – Turkoglu went so high in drafts last year. People were appalled at how he performed in Toronto. Some people went so far as dropping him in the middle of the season. What I didn’t understand was why people dropped him. He only dipped in points, and rest of the line stayed almost identical to his 08-09 season. I am assuming those of you who drafted him expected Turk to take another leap? Well, he certainly will bounce back this year. The reason that he did so well in Orlando was because the offense ran through Turkoglu when Jameer was injured. Turkoglu was frequently able to slash and drive to the lane because Mr. Superman was down at the post to rebound for him and kick right back out for a three.
However in Toronto, Chris Bosh clogged the lane at times and often took jumpers outside (which was his speciality), leaving no one to rebound if Bosh missed. In Phoenix, Turkoglu has Steve Nash, who will get him as many open looks as he will be able to find. Robin Lopez will be there to rebound, while Channing Frye, Jared Dudley, and Jason Richardson will open up the lane by pulling the defense outside with their ability to knock down open threes. Moreover, an aging Nash will be looking to rest more for a playoff push and to prevent fatigue. Therefore, Turkoglu will be asked to be a point-forward at times. Phoenix’s fast paced offense will suit Turkoglu more, and he will be in line for a major rebound year if he can make the best of it. The situation is set up well for him and it’s up to Turkoglu to find the stroke he had two years ago. Remember, he’s only two years removed from averaging 19 points, 5 assists, 5.7 rebounds, and 2 threes a game.
2009-2010 season: 11.3 points, 4.6 rebounds, 4.1 assists, 1.5 threes, 0.7 steals, 0.4 blocks
2010-2011 season: 16 pts, 5.5 rebounds, 5.2 assists, 1.8 threes, 0.9 steals, 0.5 blocks
*PLAYERS TO THINK TWICE BEFORE DRAFTING*
Dorell Wright/Reggie Williams (GF-GSW) – These two are very tricky, because Wright is a defensive minded player and Williams is a more offensive minded player. If this was last year’s Golden State team, I would just name Williams a sleeper without mentioning Wright. However, the new head coach Keith Smart just named Wright his starter at small forward due to his defensive prowess, potentially damaging Williams’ fantasy value. However, being an offensive specialist, Williams has enough potential to put up decent numbers without 30 minutes per game. My point is, while Wright is a current starter, things could change during training camp and preseason, and Williams could take over the spot anytime. On the other hand, Wright could provide solid totals in rare categories like steals and blocks as a small forward eligible player. Wright has always been known for his ability to get blocks, rebounds, and steals but never really got consistent minutes in Miami. If you translate last year’s stats to 40-minute averages, his line becomes something like this: 13.6 points, 0.8 blocks, 1.4 steals, 6.3 rebounds, with 46% field-goal percentage and 88% free throw percentage. Now, I’m not obviously saying he will average that, nor he will receive 40 minutes. I’m saying he could post something similar to that if he does get minutes. With the starting position being Wright’s to lose, if he does hold on to it, he could break out.
As for Williams, we all know his ability to score, as he averaged 15.2 points, 0.9 steals, 2.8 assists, 4.6 rebounds, and 1.3 threes with good percentages in 24 games last season. Thought of as another D-Leaguer who is just passing by, this guy turned some heads by averaging 16 points per game as a starter. Although he might not start, he could emerge as a Leandro Barbosa or Jamal Crawford type of player during the season and provide some offensive punch off the bench. Therefore, keep track of training camp to see if there’s any changes, and even if nothing changes, you won’t regret drafting either guy.
2009-2010 season: 7.1 points, 3.3 rebounds, 1.3 assists, 0.7 steals, 0.4 blocks
2010-2011 season: 10.1 points, 4.3 rebounds, 2.3 assists, 1.4 steals, 0.8 blocks
2009-2010 season: 15.2 points, 4.6 rebounds, 2.8 assists, 1.4 threes, 0.9 steals
2010-2011 season: 15.5 points, 3.4 rebounds, 2.4 assists, 1.3 threes made, 1.0 steals
Tyrus Thomas/Boris Diaw (F-CHA) – These two are also fighting for the same starting position, yet specialize in different categories. Tyrus Thomas is no longer eligible for the SF position, while Boris Diaw is eligible for both SF and PF. Thomas, who was traded from Chicago in the middle of last season, actually gave owners some useful stats down the stretch, which in turn gave us something to hope for this season. Fantasy owners really hoped he would either start or Diaw would be traded after getting such a fat contract. However, Diaw was not traded, despite the fact that a trade was rumored many times.
Thomas is known for his complaints of not starting in Chicago, so even though he might excel in the sixth man role, he also might complain sooner or later about not starting. While Thomas gives owners the blocks and steals that they crave (1.5 blocks and almost 1.0 steals in only 21 minutes per game), he has been known for losing court time due to off-court issues and a bad coach-player relationship. So, it remains to be seen whether he will like his role. Whether Tyrus Thomas starts or not, when he’s on the court, he will no doubt give you blocks and steals. His Per-40 minute averages: 18.6 points, 2.7 blocks, 1.7 steals, and 11.2 rebounds.
Diaw on the other hand is a power forward who doesn’t give us massive blocks or steals but rather a little of everything across the board: 0.8 threes, 13 points, 4.0 assists, 5.2 rebounds, 0.7 blocks, 0.7 steals. Owners love Diaw’s ability to pass as a big man, and drafted him high last year. However, he failed to perform like he did when he was first traded to the Bobcats, when he averaged more points, rebounds, assists, and threes. Owners are drafting with expectation that he improves on last year’s numbers, but whether he will play enough minutes to give us useful stats remains to be seen. Since head coach Larry Brown likes players who are versatile, and there are a lot of question marks surrounding the point guard position, I believe the coach would rather have a forward that could distribute the ball, rather than one who can just defend. I actually see Diaw’s role increasing with Felton gone. I expect Diaw to start, and Thomas coming off the bench. This is another group of players you should keep an eye on during training camp.
2009-2010 season: 10.1 points, 1.5 blocks, 0.9 steals, 0.9 assists, 6.1 rebounds
2010-2011 season: 12 points, 1.7 blocks, 1.2 steals, 1.0 assist, 5.6 rebounds
2009-2010 season: 11.3 points, 0.7 blocks, 0.7 steals, 4.0 assists, 5.2 rebounds
2010-2011 season: 13 points, 1.0 blocks, 1.1 steals, 4.5 assists, 5.2 rebounds
Just a another Fantasy lover who just wants to share some of his knowledge. I love to hear opinions, and arguments. If any of you has anything about my opinions or writings that you don't like don't hesitate to fire away. i particularly love fantasy baseball and basketball. hope more people get to know this great hobby!
Want to write for the Cafe? Check out the Cafe's Pencil & Paper section!