Fantasy Basketball 2013-14: Highlighting NBA Draft
Yes, you are in fact reading this correctly.
Although I haven’t extensively covered fantasy hoops this season, I love playing and watching the game, and not to toot my own horn, but am pretty darn knowledgeable about the game. With the 2013 NBA Draft kicking off this evening, a ton of rookies have been catching my eye as we (already) look towards next year. Here are my thoughts on a handful of rookies and there fantasy value in the pros.
Victor Oladipo, Orlando Magic: Oladipo is my second favorite player in this draft class. You’ll see my favorite guy in just a little bit. I loved watching this kid at Indiana. He has a ton of Dwyane Wade and Dion Waiters in him, a super athletics guy who can put the ball on the floor and is a defensive pest. I like his speed, hops and can shoot the ball, posting a solid field goal percentage of .599. A 6’5″ combo guard who can get out in transition in a hurry, Oladipo should see a starting job in Orlando right away, especially because of his stifling defensive ability. The dude attacks the ram and is effective when doing so, sporting a career 69% at rim in half court. He does have some players around him to make a fantasy impact. Center Nikola Vucevic broke out last season, averaging an impressive 13.1 PPG and 11.9 RPG. and posted a whopping 43 double-doubles. Also, Glen Davis will be back healthy next year after playing just 34 games in 2012-13. In my opinion, Oladipo has the skills and athleticism to be the first All Star out of this class. Expect to see a guy who will average 13-16 points per contest, three or four assists, six rebounds and will provide some value in the steal department as well. Love this kid.
Otto Porter Jr., Washington Wizards: Porter went number three overall to the Wizards, an interesting landing spot. I think this is a tremendous fit for Porter, a local guy who attended Georgetown University. Joining guys like John Wall and Bradley Beal, the Wizards now have a dynamic nucleus for years to come. Lately, Wall is adjusting into more of a pass-first point guard, which will allow Porter to get the opportunity to put the ball on the floor and score. He sure did that a lot in college. Porter averaged 16.2 PPG last year with the Hoyas and seemed to take over games down the stretch with his scoring ability. He’s also a terrific rebounder and can get out in transition, something that the athletic Wizards backcourt may be doing a lot this season. While Porter can put the ball on the floor, the dude can also flat out shoot. He shot 42.2 % from beyond the arc last season, a very impressive number. I like the pieces around Porter for him to possibly make the biggest fantasy splash in the shortest amount of time.
Anthony Bennett, Cleveland Cavaliers: The Cavs shocked thousands (especially Twitter) when they passed on a few expected number one candidates to select Bennett with the draft’s number one pick. It certainly was surprising, as the team used their fourth overall pick just a few years ago on another power forward in Tristan Thompson. The 22-year old Thompson came on last season, averaging 11.7 PPG and 9.4 RPG. It’s a bit unclear exactly where Bennett will fit in. At 6’7, he’s undersized as a power forward and Thompson has clearly earned his keep at that position. Not making any promising short term fantasy investments from the number one pick in the draft. Pretty odd saying that, no?
Michael Carter-Williams, Philadelphia 76ers: This, my friends, is my favorite player in the draft. Okay, perhaps it’s a bit of a homer pick, considering Carter-Williams attended Syracuse and I was born roughly 45 minutes away. However, there is a lot to like about one of the top point guards in this draft. First, he will most likely have a starting job right off the bat. But what about Jrue Holliday? A shocking move by 76ers new management when the team traded their All Star point guard to New Orleans in exchange for Nerlens Noel and a 2014 1st round pick. MCW can start at point guard in this league. A kid that sees the floor better than anyone in this class, averaging 7.3 APG last year, including 11 double-digit assist contests. His size (6’6″) and athleticism allow him to put the ball on the floor often, but his jump shot is a major concern. Carter-Williams shot a dismal .393% from the field last year. Just, yuck. However, he excelled in Syracuse’s zone defense last season. His length and size allowed him to average an awesome 2.8 steals per contest. This kid can be a tremendous playmaker for the 76ers, but do they have any dynamic scorers. Evan Turner has showed some flashes, but more bad than good. However, the Holliday trade did free a ton of cap room, so perhaps the team brings in a scorer via free agency. In terms of assists (with some turnover proneness) and steals, Carter-Williams has the opportunity to be fantasy relevant right away.
Ben McLemore, Sacramento Kings: How happy were Kings’ fans to see McLemore fall to seventh overall? I mean, this is a guy who was arguably a top-three player in this draft. By far the best shooter, McLemore posted a slash line of .495/.420/.870. His three point shooting percentage finished second in the Big 12 last season and sixth in three pointers made per contest (1.97). Incredibly enough, he has drawn comparisons to the greatest three point shooter to ever hit the floor, Ray Allen. The kid is a prototypical shooting guard, a guy that is 6’4″ and can simply flat out put the ball in the basket, whether it be through his killer jumpshot or sometimes overlooked athleticism. Will he start right away for the Kings? There’s a possibility. Starting shooting guard Tyreke Evans is set to become a free agent, and there is no guarantee that he returns to Sacramento. He has the ability to step right in and eventually be a guy who averages 20 points per game. If Evans is playing elsewhere in 2014, McLemore may be an early season pick to win the Rookie of the Year award.
Adam Pfeifer is a featured fantasy sports columnist for Rant Sports.
You can follow him on Twitter @aPfeiferRS.
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