With the NBA beginning its 67th season in just around three weeks from now, we thought we would start things off with our six-pack of Sleepers to consider when you draft. Hard to believe that the first NBA game was played between the Toronto Huskies and the N.Y. Knickerbockers at Maple Leaf Gardens on November 1, 1946. We’ve come along way since then and are looking forward to NBA Tip-Off 2013 which will take place on October 29th.
1. Jeff Green-F-Celtics- Well clearly if anyone has the opportunity to excel this season it would be one of the most talented players left on a team that has seen most of its players head for the door. Say goodbye to Paul Pierce, Kevin Garnett, Jason Terry, Chris Wilcox, & Terrence Williams. Keep in mind that Green was drafted (by Seattle) just three spots after Kevin Durant. Although Green averaged only 12.8 points a game last season, in 17 starts his average climbed to 20.1. The 27 year old will give you 5-6 boards a night to go along with one three, a steal and a block. The talent is there and now so is the opportunity.
2. JaVale McGee-C-Nuggets- Finally getting the chance to start, McGee has the ability to become a top 3 roto center this season. This Nuggets team is uber-talented with eight players finishing with double-digits in points last year. McGee averaged 9.1/4.8/2.0 in 18.1 minutes per game last season and we project that getting starter’s minutes (26-28 mpg) those numbers could grow to 12.5/8/2.7. Although McGee’s biggest liabilities are both his foul trouble and FT shooting, 200+ blocks could place him among the leaders in that category alone.
3. Danny Green-G-Spurs- Green, just 26 years old will be entering his 5th NBA season. He has watched his minutes rise every season he has been in the league. It’s no secret that Green had a solid regular season last year but his resume now includes a break-out post season. We like Green’s versatility as well since he can give you 70-75 blocks plus some steals in addition to his major asset, the three-pointer. With just the slightest increase in minutes this season, Green should have no problem garnering 200+ threes making him a top starter in all mixed leagues.
4. Bradley Beal-G-Wizards- We are very excited to see how this 20 year old bounces back from a stress fracture he suffered late in the season because this kid could be one of the premier rebounding guards in the league who will work well with fellow guard John Wall. Beal finished with just under 4 RPG and should improve on that average. If Wall remains healthy for the full season, it can only enhance Beal’s chances of putting up more solid numbers which includes threes and steals in addition to the 15-17 ppg we are projecting. Don’t sleep on this mid-tier future riser.
5. Kevin Martin-G-Timberwolves- Destined for another year handling the starting duties in Minnesota (he has started the last five consecutive ones), Martin can help to fill holes in 3-4 categories and, in particular three-pointers. He could be among the league leaders from beyond the arc before the year is over. Martin has become more of a catch & shoot player as opposed to just attacking the basket and it has helped his numbers. We are projecting Martin to finish the season with 17-20 PPG and totaling just around 150 threes. He has been averaging just under 90% from the Free Throw line over the past three seasons and we see no reason why that trend shouldn’t continue. Throw in a steal per game and you have a taylor-made mid round addition to your roster on draft day.
6. Gordon Hayward-F/G-Jazz- Haywood will be a top 50 roto-choice this season as he will become Utah’s leading offensive threat and will therefore have the opportunity to put up some compelling numbers. Think along the same lines as a Kevin Martin in terms of skills but with a bigger upside. As the main target on the team, he will look to do a lot of creating off the dribble and put up a fair share of threes; somewhere around 125-140 on the season. Haywood will score just under 20 PPG and his FT shooting average, near .83%, will be an extra asset to your roster.