A new season is on the horizon with pre-season games already underway. Whistles will be blowing, technicals will be handed out (right? Joey Crawford)?, and buzzer beaters will be dropping. We have selected six potential sleepers for this season in this, the most popular and read of all our Basketball articles. Enjoy the 2014-’15 season and good luck in your leagues!
1. DeMarre Carroll-Forward-Hawks- This likely mid-round candidate, will continue to help your team in multiple categories such as points, steals, 3PT, FG%, and FT%, plus Carroll has committed himself to the 3-pointer as he had his best year in this category in 2013-’14. We see him knocking down around 2 shots from downtown per game while averaging around the same amount of steals. Throw in a half-dozen REB and you’ve got yourself a nice all around player who should be available at around pick 60.
2. Marcus Smart-Point Guard-Celtics- Smart, the sixth overall pick in the draft, will make for a good news-bad news scenario… He won’t start in Boston unless Rajon Rondo is traded or injured, and as we went to post, rumors regarding possible destinations for Rondo still abound. The good news is that should the 20 year old lottery pick actually get the start, his owners will garner a ton of assists and steals. His aggressiveness was obvious playing for Oklahoma St. where last season, averaging just under 33 MPG, Smart tallied 18 PTS, 5.9 REB, 4.8 AST, 1.58 3PM, 2.87 STL, and even managed a little over 0.50 BLK per game.
#36 Oklahoma St. star and Celtic lottery pick Marcus Smart has the recipe to be a huge sleeper season should the rumors surrounding the possible trading of Rajon Rondo come to fruition. Photo: Fernando Medina/Getty Images
3. Larry Sanders-Foward/Center-Bucks- Sanders, often misused under last year’s head coach Larry Drew, will have an ideal opportunity to exell under new coach and avid big-time fan of Sanders, Jason Kidd. Kidd if you’ll remember, tried his best to secure Sanders’ services last year when he was with the Nets, so you can be sure that the 6′ 11″ center will have the chance to become a top-5 roto center this season. We are projecting that Sanders will put up 10 PTS, 10 REB, and around 2.90 BLK per game.
4. Markieff Morris-Forward/Center-Suns- The 25 year old has seen his minutes rise every year over his three years in the league and this season will be no different due to the departure of Channing Frye. Already having had a mini-breakout season last year, this sixth-man-of-the-year candidate last season, could help your team in five categories. Our projections of 16 PTS, 7 REB, 1 STL, .472 FG%, & .790 FT% are all completely attainable making Morris a top roto option.
#11 Markieff Morris, shown here, climbs over Blake Griffith for the stuff. The Furnace says that Morris’ minutes will be increased with the absence of Channing Frye, making the 25 yr. old a sleeper candidate this season. Photo by Noah Graham/NBAE via Getty Images.
5. Jose Calderon-Point Guard-Knicks- It has been a while since New York has had a true all around point guard and they now have a very talented one in Jose Calderon. He had to share the ball all too often with Dirk Nowitzki and Monta Ellis with the Mavericks last year, but will be afforded more minutes and have more success in the Knicks’ triangle offense. Calderon’s assists dropped off from almost 9 per game while in Toronto to 4.7 last season with the Mavs so his potential for amassing dimes is well known. An excellent FT shooter (.852% for his career), Calderon, who will see his touches increased, is projected to heave up over two 3 pointers and 1 steal per game.
6.Gorgui Dieng-Center-Timberwolves- At some point in his career, the multi-talented Dieng will become a top 10 roto center in this league. Minnesota still has Nikola Pekovic but any injury or fall-off in production would foster a move towards inserting Dieng who, in fifteen starts last year, averaged 12.2PPG, 12.0 RPG, to go along with 1.7 BPG. There is no question that Dieng is destined to becoming one of the best defensive big men in the NBA. If you are in a deep enough league, preferably with two starting centers, Dieng is well worth a stash as he is just too good for the Timberwolves to keep off the court.
#5 Gorgui Dieng blocks Nets’ Tyshawn Taylor from making an easy layup. Dieng could see extended playing time as Nikola Pekovic has had ankle issues in the past says the Furnace. Photo: AP