The NBA regular season is right around the corner, and it signals a wave of stat-crazy fans grouping together for another year of serious competition in fantasy basketball.
Most leagues begin to hold their drafts during this period, and managers, especially the more determined ones, are already armed with their own tools that will aid them in their selection strategy.
Fantasy basketball is as simple as it is complicated, and among the factors that could exponentially boost a team’s odds of finishing on top is hitting the waiver wire jackpot. Players such as Rudy Gobert and Hassan Whiteside are prime examples of those who became standouts after being relative unknowns.
The trend will continue this season and these are the names you should keep an eye on. Not everyone will instantly breakout, but they should eventually be bargain pickups in deep leagues. They will be decent at the least, but some would also be one step away from becoming very solid if any teammate playing the same position gets hurt (knock on wood).
Clint Capela (HOU)
Dwight Howard’s departure leaves a huge hole in the middle for Houston. Who are they left with at this stage? The oft-injured Nene and a youngster in Clint Capela. The 6-foot-10 center already showed glimpses of his potential last season after his normal stats translated to 13.3 points, 12.1 rebounds, 1.4 steals, and 2.3 blocks per 36 minutes. Capela will get close to that floor time this year and everyone will bear witness to his efficiency. His free throw shooting shouldn’t pull down your percentages to an alarming rate since he won’t get too many attempts
Frank Kaminsky (CHA)
Last season, Frank Kaminsky had a solid run while Al Jefferson was injured. Jefferson may have transferred to another team and Roy Hibbert has entered the picture, but the former All-Star has already been exposed and isn’t impressing in four preseason games. He is averaging less minutes than Kaminsky and the numbers also go in favor of the latter. Being ahead of virtually every big man in the Hornets’ roster already bodes well for Frank Kaminsky’s fantasy prospect. The three-pointers he’ll give you at his position will be gold.
Jon Leuer (DET)
It’s no secret that Stan Van Gundy likes big men with range, and Jon Leuer fits the bill. Last season, he shot the ball from long distance at a 38.2% clip. He won’t crack the starting lineup, but he should get some decent run off the bench. Andre Drummond, Tobias Harris, and Marcus Morris will all play more than 30 minutes per game, leaving Leuer with time in the low 20s. It’s not bad news to him because he was playing less than that last season but still ended up averaging 8.5 points and 5.6 rebounds to go along with good percentages. He will eventually become valuable especially in head-to-head leagues.
Terrence Jones (NOP)
Terrence Jones’ numbers haven’t been disappointing these past two seasons, but injuries have caused him to become a letdown for owners making him virtually unnoticed and forgotten. In New Orleans, he will be given a fresh start and a golden opportunity due to the Pelicans’ injury woes. It’s strange to mention it because Jones hasn’t been the most durable player either, but when he’s healthy, there’s no denying his value. Roll the dice on his health and you could get for yourself a cheap source of points, rebounds, and blocks without killing your percentage categories.
Ty Lawson (SAC)
Not long ago, Ty Lawson held mid-round fantasy value. However, off-court trouble prevented him from getting back to the mental state he had back in Denver. In Sacramento, Lawson has the opportunity to rise from the ashes alongside a team that is searching for an identity. He has shown flashes of his not-so-old self during the preseason and his coach appears to be pleased with what he’s been seeing so far. Lawson will get an excellent opportunity to regain his confidence when the season starts as Darren Collison serves his eight-game suspension. He’ll be hiding in the bottom part of the draft pool so make sure you grab him for a very cheap yet solid first two weeks.