In just a few short days the Fantasy Basketball season will begin! This week as well as next I will continue answering your questions and from week two one will give you waiver wire advice…..so let’s get started!
Dear Phil,I am in a league with a heavy emphasis on steals and blocks. Do you have any late round advise for me?
Thanks for the question.
Let’s begin with steals; my first choice is always going to be the Grizzlies Tony Allen. Last season he averaged 2 steals per game and has a career average of 1.4 steals per ballgame. He’ll also help your field goal percentage (47 percent career) and give you small doses of rebounds and assists and maybe a triple here and there. Currently he is available in over 85 percent of Major Fantasy Basketball leagues so he would probably be available to you in the last round of any format so he’s my first choice.
The Nuggets Gary Harris is currently available in over 90 percent of all Major Fantasy Basketball leagues and the guy is averaging almost 3 steals per night this preseason. He can also hit the three and his other shooting percentages are solid as they come. He’s playing around 25 minutes per night this preseason and with the Nuggets being one of the worst teams in the NBA Harris should get enough minutes to be a serious sleeper and help you win your league this season.
The Rockets Corey Brewer is another good late round pick up in the steals department (1.4 over his career) and at times Brewer can score points (10.2) as well as grab boards and assists as well. Currently he’s available in just over 80 percent of Major Fantasy Basketball leagues so he’s another possibility.
The obvious blocks guy would be Alex Len of the Phoenix Suns. Currently he’s available in over 90 percent of all major Fantasy Basketball leagues. He’ll also shoot well from the field, rebound and get the occasional assist for you. Currently he’s averaging 22 minutes this preseason and he’ll be waiting for you at the end of your draft.
The Rockets K.J. McDaniels is available in well over 95 percent of all Major Fantasy Basketball leagues and surprisingly enough he’s also a good source for blocks averaging 1.4 this preseason and 1.1 per game over his career. This preseason he’s getting about 21 minutes per game and he’ll contribute in other categories like points (7.9), rebounds (3.2) and he’ll even knock down the occasional three without killing you with bad shooting percentages.
The Milwaukee Bucks John Henson is available in over 85 percent of all Major Fantasy Basketball leagues and he’s a true shot swatter averaging 1.6 blocks per game this preseason. He’ll contribute in other categories like rebounds (5.5) and has a high field goal percentage. The problem he has is getting on the floor as he is playing just 14 minutes per game this preseason. If he can get 20 minutes per night he’ll help you win your blocks category for sure.
Last week I answered a question about top rookies and ran out of space so here are a few more rookies that you should be familiar with on draft day and beyond.
Stanley Johnson SF Detroit Pistons: There is a lot to like about this rookie and one of those things is the 27 minutes per night he’s been playing this preseason. Another thing to like would be his production; he seems to be able to do a bit of everything like make threes (1.5), steals (1.6), rebound (4.4) and score (10.7). He can also guard three positions which should keep him on the floor. He’s currently being drafted 111 and that might be a bit low for this Rookie of the Year candidate.
Mario Hezonja SG SF Orlando Magic: Hezonja is one of those players who never met a shot he didn’t like and this preseason he’s been launching 3.9 triples per game and making just over 1 of them. His shooting percentages from the field and the line are good and Hezonja is good for a steal a night but right now not much else. He’s only seeing about 21 minutes a night this preseason and at least for the immediate future I don’t expect that to change much. Hezonja is currently being drafted at about #140 and I think you can leave him there and if things change grab him off the waiver wire.
Jahlil Okafor PF C Philadelphia 76ers: Currently Okafor is being drafted #81 and that seems a bit high for a guy who is a horrible free throw shooter and who doesn’t block shots. The good player on a bad team philosophy comes into play here. Okafor is a scorer and he’s averaging 10 points per night while only playing 18 minutes or so this preseason. It will be interesting to see how many minutes Okafor gets this season and if he gets anywhere near his projected 32 minutes a night this kid might wind up as the Rookie of the Year.
D’Angelo Russell PG Los Angeles Lakers: Russell might be the star of the future but this preseason he’s been anything but a star averaging 6.2 points and 3.2 assists and not much else while playing just 15.6 minutes a night this preseason. The Lakers are going to bad and there are a bunch of guards to be eliminated from the rotation and once that happens his current draft position of 96 is going to feel like you stole something.
Good luck with your draft Fantasy basketball owner!