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2012-13 Top 10 best kept secrets in Fantasy Basketball
When Pau Gasol was a member of the Memphis Grizzlies, he was one of the best kept secrets in basketball. He didn't get much press. He quietly put up remarkable numbers. He led the Grizzlies to three playoff appearances with a below-average-to-average supporting cast. They were 0-12 in those playoff games, but it demonstrated that Pau was a great player on his own right with little recognition to show for it. It wasn't until a much-publicized exchange with the Los Angeles Lakers, that Pau received his long overdue appreciation. When Pau was traded to the Lakers, he became a household name, and the rest was history. They made three straight NBA Finals appearances while winning two NBA championships against the Orlando Magic and the Boston Celtics. The latter, whom they got vengeance against for dealing them a Finals loss in the first year after acquiring Pau.
Pau Gasol is where the inspiration of this hub comes from. This hub contains a list of players, like Pau Gasol, whom you aren't hearing quite enough about, but are ready to explode and make a name for themselves in fantasy basketball. These are players you should target in the mid-to-late rounds. They will give you a great chance to win your league. Most if not all of these players play on NBA teams that are not accustomed to much press. So don't confuse this with sleeper picks. All of these players are at least somewhat established, but they don't get as much fantasy hype as they should get.
If they were on a team like the Los Angeles Lakers or the New York Knicks, you wouldn't be able to stop hearing about them. For example, ESPN didn't quite think you could get enough of Jeremy Lin, so they decided to shove him down the throats of the millions of ESPN watchers all over the world to an excessive degree. When Goran Dragic took over for Kyle Lowry after Lowry went down with a mysterious illness, he put up nearly elite numbers at the point guard position(especially in fantasy basketball), while also keeping the Houston Rockets in the playoff chase, and hardly anybody batted an eye. Jeremy Lin is a great story given his road to the NBA, but it was quite excessive. Had Goran Dragic played for the New York Knicks, one could only imagine the type of press he would have generated. Most of the time it's not about how good you are, it's about how well-known the team is you play for.
Derrick Favors, PF/C, Utah Jazz
The Favors buzz is picking up steam. I still don't believe he's getting the hype he deserves. After just turning 21 last month, Favors is still one of the youngest raw prospects with monster potential. He has shown flashes quite often. For instance, he nabbed 13 double doubles last season. While he did play 65 games in the lockout-shortened season, he only managed to play 21.2 minutes a game. So 13 double doubles is pretty impressive when you consider he rarely gets playing time, and plays with the likes of Paul Millsap and Al Jefferson.
That could be changing given the buzz coming out of Utah this summer. If Favors is indeed the starter, that obviously makes him a great fantasy commodity. He is not without risk. Ty Corbin is the type of coach that can infuriate fantasy owners given how capricious he can be with his line ups. Very often do starters sit on the bench for almost the entirety of a quarter. He gives out his minutes assiduously, so even if Favors sees an uptick in minutes, don't expect much more than 30 minutes a game. He's also prone to fouls. There's a lot to like about Favors going into this season, and if you take him, you could be in for a double double season. If that's not enough, there's a lot to like about his PER 36 numbers.
Derrick Favors PER 36 Minutes
Points Per Game
Rebounds Per Game
Blocks Per Game
Tyson Chandler, C, New York Knicks
Tyson Chandler is a rare exception on this list. Most know him. He is easily remembered as the main cog of the Dallas Mavericks' improbable championship run. He's also well-respected in the state of New York. The reason he cracks this list is because he is highly underrated in fantasy basketball. Some of that can be due to the fact that so many power forwards are eligible at the center position. That reasoning can be why Chandler gets lost or forgotten in drafts. He's also injury prone to boot. There has never been a question about Chandler's talent. Only health. According to ESPN's heralded player rater system, Chandler was the 31st ranked player on it. He is a double double machine who helps your FG% drastically, and doesn't hurt your FT%. On some weeks, Chandler can be a valuable asset in helping you win FT% in head-to-head. On draft day, don't forget about him when you realize you don't have a center and he's available. Even if you don't need a center, having Chandler in your Utility spot doesn't hurt one bit.
Kris Humphries, PF, Brooklyn Nets
When you think of Kris Humphries, you think of Kim Kardashian. You don't really think of him as a valuable fantasy asset, more often than not. Contrary to popular belief, Humphries has become a very good basketball player in real life, and in fantasy. He racked up 29 double doubles in his quasi-breakout in the 2010-2011 season, and 29 double doubles again(less games due to lockout) in his breakout year last season. He is the real deal, and he's a double double machine on the cheap. Don't let him get past you like he let Kim get past him.
Klay Thompson, SG, Golden St. Warriors
A dead-eye shooter and prolific scorer, Klay gave a glimpse of his talent and potential in the second half of last season. He's a perfect complement to Stephen Curry. Before the all star break last season, he averaged a substandard 7.2 ppg, 1.6 rpg, 1.3 apg, 0.5 spg, 45% FG, 88% FT and 1.3 3PM. After the all star break, he started 28 contests and exploded with 17.0 ppg, 3.1 rpg, 2.6 apg, 1.0 spg, 44% FG, 87% FT, and 2.0 3PM. He was a great scorer at college, and it will translate in the Warriors offense. Playing with such a gifted passer as Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson should threaten 20 ppg and over two 3PM a game even with the addition of Harrison Barnes.
Dragic's explosion against the Spurs
Goran Dragic, PG, Phoenix Suns
I kind of foreshadowed Dragic being on this list earlier in the hub. I mentioned in one of my previous hubs, that Goran Dragic is set to make a huge fantasy impact this year and you should target him in every draft. He's still relatively underrated, and you can probably get him in the draft lower than he should go. He probably won many owners leagues with his spectacular 2nd half after Lowry went down with injury. You should expect more of that this season. Dragic has always had the ability to take over games. Who can forget what Dragic did to the Spurs in the playoffs? The kid is super talented and he's got his starting gig on lock. The city of Phoenix loves him, his coach loves him, and he's vastly improved his game. He should get north of 35 minutes a game in a system that's built around him to succeed.
Jrue Holiday, PG, Philadelphia 76ers
Iggy Iggy Iggy, can't you see, the way you dominated the ball just hypnotized me. Okay, admittedly not my best work, but you can only imagine how Jrue felt watching Iggy dominate the ball possession after possession. With Iggy out of the picture, Jrue Holiday is ready to burst into one of the elite options at the point guard position. Adding Bynum also gives the 76ers a true #1 option, but Jrue should still benefit the most. His assists should soar. Jrue has always been a great source of steals, FG%, 3PM, and FT% with the occasional blow up game, but his inconsistency at assists has always held him back. That should no longer be a problem with Iggy out of the picture. Draft with confidence.
Arron Afflalo, SG, Orlando Magic
The one player that benefits the most from the mega trade last week. Arron Afflalo may be more known for his illustrious college career at UCLA as one of the best defensive players in college than his NBA career. Ever since leaving UCLA, he's been kind of forgotten. In Denver, he has put forth some very underrated seasons. He's become a legitimate three-point threat and a solid scorer in his tenure in the NBA. Now he's in a situation where he will have to shoulder most of the load offensively. Coming off a season where he averaged 15.2 ppg, 3.2 rpg, 2.4 apg, 47% FG, 80% FT, and 1.4 3PM, Afflalo could be in for a huge season in Orlando. Despite being a shooting guard, Afflalo is highly efficient, and if he gives you nearly 20 points a night, he could be doing it with great efficiency. You just can't have enough of efficient players in fantasy line up.
Greg Monroe, C, Detroit Pistons
You don't hear much out of Detroit these days. Seems like it's been forever since the Pistons were in the Eastern Conference Finals seemingly every year. Now they are in a rebuilding phase. One of those players they are building around is no other than Greg Monroe. Greg Monroe was quietly 23rd on the player rater according to ESPN last season. Just maybe, just maybe, if Greg Monroe can average at least 35 minutes a game, you have a player that can threaten to score 20 and 10 on a nightly basis.
Mo Williams, PG, Utah Jazz
Mo Williams has been somewhat underrated in fantasy in the past few years. Some of that can be attributed to the fact that he always gets bumps and bruises that cause him to miss many games. Don't let that scare you away. Mo has always been a good fantasy player as long as he's gotten minutes. You should be able to find him in the late rounds of drafts this year. He was an inconsistent player last year for the Los Angeles Clippers, but he wasn't completely worthless. He was nice instant offense while being a great source of threes and steals off the bench. In Utah, he won't be coming off the bench. As a starter in his career, he averages 15.4 ppg, 5.7 apg, 3.4 rpg, 1.0 spg, 45% FG, 87% FT, and 1.4 3PM. He will be a starter once again and he should be a great source of points, asts, steals, FT%, and threes.
When the Nuggets selected Faried with their first-round pick, right away he was seen as a steal. And he did nothing to dispel that notion last season when he got starters minutes. "The Manimal" he is indeed. You have to love how he approaches the game. He just plays the game the right way. He has seemingly unlimited energy, and gives his all on every trip down the floor. You will never ever have to question his work ethic. Yet somehow, he's still underrated. Just think about this:
In a mere 22.5 minutes a game, he averaged 10.2 ppg, 7.7 rpg, 0.7 spg, and 1.0 bpg. Now PER 36, it averages out to 16.4 ppg, 12.2 rpg, 1.2 spg, and 1.6 bpg.
Let's not expect Faried to get those numbers this year, but he can come close. And I might like Faried a little more than Derrick Favors because Favors has to worry about Paul Millsap, and of course, Ty Corbin. After Nene was traded last season, it freed up the PF position for Faried to completely take over without fear of anyone ahead of him or behind him. He should see a nice boost in minutes this year, and if it's over 30 mins a game, The Manimal could be in for a monster season.
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