2014 NBA Fantasy Sleepers
By Bob Radl, Staff Writer
Even the most casual of NBA fans can name the super stars of the league like LeBron James, Carmello Anthony or Kobe Bryant. I would like to offer our readers a few names that can be considered undervalued or sleepers. These are the type of players to target in the middle or late rounds of your draft. These types of players could push towards a fantasy title. Players are listed alphabetically at each position.
Steven Adams, Oklahoma City, Adams came on strong in his rookie season under Coach Scott Brooks. Kendrick Perkins is still recovering from surgery and is on the downside of his career. Adams has played well in the preseason with strong showings in all of the games. Watch this one closely as the season approaches. He has scored between 15 and 22 points and averaged two steals and two blocks in his first three preseason games while never playing more than 29 minutes in any of them.
Jordan Hill, LA Lakers, Hill should be able to nail down the center spot on the Lakers this season. Once he started for the Lakers last year, Hill was close to a double-double machine and hit 20+ points on several occasions. He will need to outplay Robert Sacre and Ed Davis for extra playing time.
Nerlens Noel, Philadelphia, Noel missed all last season as he recovered from an injury. He is still slight of frame and needs to get stronger. He has great upside and will get his share of boards and blocks. He just turned in a preseason double-double versus the Knicks and also contributed four steals and one block.
Kelly Olynk, Boston, Olynk can probably be grabbed late in your draft. He can do a little bit of everything and will not hurt you in either FG% or FT%. He scored over 20 points in his last three regular season games in the 2013-2014 campaign and can also throw in a trey.
Giannis Antetokounmpo, Milwaukee, Antetokoumpo (or the Greek Freak as he is known) is ready to break out this season. His superb athleticism drew the eyes of NBA scribes last season. He has the potential to average one trey, one block and one steal per game this year. He makes for an interesting dynasty pick.
Tobias Harris, Orlando, Harris’ 2014-2014 campaign was slowed by a high ankle sprain. He lost fat and gained muscle in the off-season. Channing Frye has a sprained MCL so Harris should garner major minutes for the Magic for now. He has looked good in the preseason.
Markieff Morris, Phoenix, The Suns lost Channing Frye in the off-season. This left an opening for Morris at the #4 in Phoenix. He increased his playing time last year in the second half of the season and produced nice numbers across the board. If he can play 32 to 35 minutes in Coach Jeff Hornacek’s up-tempo offense, he could have a career year.
Patrick Beverly, Houston, Beverly made large strides in his second season. He was voted to the NBA All- Defensive Second Team and showed increased production after Jeremy Lin was traded. Beverly should produce solid if not sensational numbers in Houston.
Darren Collison, Sacramento, Collison switched teams in the off-season when he signed with the Kings. He played well in relief of Chris Paul in LA last season. He signed a three-year $16M deal with the Kings. Isaiah Thomas left for Phoenix and opened up a spot for Collison. He could average 13 to 15 points and add a nice number of assists and one or two steals per game.
Victor Oladipo, Orlando, Oladipo is currently fighting a sprained right MCL. He should be good to go for the start of the season. Look for him to build on his rookie numbers which garnered him second place as rookie of the year. He can contribute across the board.
Elfrid Payton, Orlando, Payton was the 10th selection in the first round of the NBA draft. He recently made his first pro start in the preseason and scored 14 points, grabbed six rebounds and handed out five assists in 31 minutes. He should provide solid numbers as a rookie this year.