The 2012-13 NBA season is two days in, but we wanted to push out our favorite sleepers for the fantasy basketball season. Leagues are still drafting for a couple weeks yet, and of course we know we have readers that religiously play daily fantasy basketball games at various sites.
For either type of fantasy basketball adventure, we feel the following fantasy sleepers need to be monitored or played on a regular basis. Comment below on whether or not you agree/disagree, and inform us of any sleepers of your own:
Eric Gordon, SG, New Orleans Hornets
He may be the poster boy for the “if they are healthy…” guys. And there are a lot of injured stars (ranging from nagging day-to-day injuries to begin the year to serious comebacks) that could be undervalued if they fall too far in drafts. To name a few, Amar’e Stoudemire, John Wall, Stephen Curry, Dirk Nowitzki, Andrew Bogut and, to a lesser degree, Derrick Rose and Ricky Rubio. Just beware and realize the risk; but also realize that the reward may very well be worth that risk.
Andre Iguodala, G/F, Denver Nuggets
By the end of the season, his production could look like Rudy Gay 2.0. Iggy will be starting at shooting guard, with Danilo Gallinari at small forward, for the first time in years and is poised to break out in a big way. The gaudy assist numbers may come down slightly, but the scoring, and potentially every other category, should see an increase. Draft him with confidence in the fourth round.
Kyle Lowry, PG, Toronto Raptors
He still has Jose Calderon to compete with for heavy minutes, but Lowry is an exciting playmaker ready to beat out the incumbent Calderon. The point guard tore it up last season in Houston before getting hurt, and can contribute across multiple categories including the highly coveted three-pointers/assists/steals combination.
Luol Deng, G/F, Chicago Bulls
Deng is going to come out firing this year, and will score with the best of them as the number one option on a Bulls team devoid of Derrick Rose. The rest of his game is well rounded for the fantasy world, as he chips in across the board with solid percentages.
Kevin Martin, G/F, Oklahoma City Thunder
While not quite the dynamic offensive threat as James Harden, Martin is still an extremely serviceable shooting guard, and should get plenty of open looks in OKC. Martin has averaged over 23 points per game on three separate occasions and has one of the best free-throw percentages in the league. Don’t let him slip past you in the seventh – or even sixth – round.
Damian Lillard, PG, Portland Trail Blazers
If you are looking at the Portland rookie in the sixth or seventh round and comparing him with the likes of fellow point guards Jeremy Lin or Tony Parker, go for Lillard, and the upside. Sure, it is hard to put too much stock into the summer league and preseason, but Lillard has been an offensive dynamo, with the ability to contribute handily in points, assists, three-pointers and steals. And you know the opportunities for minutes and scoring will be there with a rebuilding Blazers squad.
Klay Thompson, SG, Golden State Warriors
Has a great chance to lead the league in three-pointers made. He won’t give you many assists or rebounds for a shooting guard, but will single-handily win you some weeks from beyond the arc.
Mo Williams, PG, Utah Jazz
A guy who received a major boost by switching teams from the crowded backcourt of the Clippers to the starting point guard role for the Jazz. While he may be considerably past his prime, Williams should score and hit three-pointers, with some assists peppered in there. Decent value in the eighth round.
Jason Terry, G, Boston Celtics
I’m looking forward to Jason Terry adopting Boston’s mean-streak attitude so absent in a league where all the best players are also best friends off the court (besides Kobe Bryant. Kobe has no friends, only teammates). Terry will be a huge part of the Celtics this season, and should hit a ton of three-pointers while posting solid percentages.
Lou Williams, G, Atlanta Hawks
Williams will assumedly step into the starting shooting guard position left vacant by Joe Johnson’s departure. Williams’s numbers, particularly scoring and three-pointers, are beautiful when given the minutes, and he should post a season-high in minutes per game this year.
Chris Kaman, F/C, Dallas Mavericks
The NBA is currently going through a big-man drought. Believe or not, Kaman is one of the more offensively talented centers in the league, and will put up points, rebounds and blocks if he can stay healthy. The only problem is that is a BIG if.
Michael Beasley, F, Phoenix Suns
Beasley will score for you, and if you find yourself in need of some scoring pop at the end of your draft, he is certainly worth a late-round pick.
Kawhi Leonard, F, San Antonio Spurs
Solid contributions across the board is what you can expect from Kawhi. Especially with Coach Greg Popovich looking to rest its older players, Leonard could approach 30 minutes a night, up from the 24 per game last season.