If you aren’t likely to compete for the championship in your dynasty or keeper leagues, now is the time to start planning for the future by acquiring guys like the Magic’s Victor Oladipo and the Suns’ Alex Len. In this, the second of a three-part series, I will recap the 2013 NBA draft and tell you who you will be able to glean the most fantasy value from in the coming seasons. You can find part one here and part two here.
10. C.J. McCollum, SG, Portland Trail Blazers
As a four-year college player at Lehigh — a rarity these days — McCollum was thought to have an immediate impact at the NBA level, but suffered an unfortunate foot injury before his first game. He’s back in the mix now and has played in the Blazers last five games, averaging over 12 minutes a game. He primarily projects as a scorer and three-point shooter, but with the Blazers exceeding all expectations, it’s doubtful we’ll see him do much this season or honestly in the future, given Wesley Matthews‘ superb form. Verdict: Leave him alone.
9. Trey Burke, PG, Utah Jazz
Burke’s got one thing major going thing for him and that’s the fact that he is locked in as a starter for now and the foreseeable future. That also means he is owned in every league, so your only hope of getting him is via trade. His shooting numbers are hard to look at (39.4 percent from the field), but it’s his assist numbers and scoring which are impressive and set to improve.
He is averaging 5.8 assists per game for the season, 6.7 in the last month, 8.6 in the last two week and a whopping 10.3 in the past three games. This upward trend is great news as he gets more comfortable with the speed of the pro game. If you want to build your team and ignore field goal percentage, I’d recommend trading an older player, such as a Arron Afflalo, Jose Calderon, Tim Duncan or even Deron Williams, in order to get my hands on Burke. Verdict: The arrow is pointing up, I’d be getting him on my team.
8. Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, SG, Detroit Pistons
KCP has been starting the majority of the season for the Pistons, but hasn’t really excelled. His major strength is his perimeter defense, which is a talent that doesn’t really transfer well to fantasy basketball. Rodney Stuckey won’t be around much longer, but I don’t see the Pistons locking in on KCP as the future at shooting guard. Verdict: Leave him alone.
7. Ben McLemore, SG, Sacramento Kings
There was some talk of McLemore being a potential No. 1 overall pick last year, but that obviously didn’t eventuate as he slipped to the Kings at No. 7. He played his first six NBA games off the bench, then proceeded to start 26 straight games, before once again being moved back to the bench — not a good sign for a rookie on a poor team. His shooting numbers are terrible this season, hitting field goals at 36.2 percent and 34.4 percent from deep. I can see him developing into a lesser version of Dion Waiters and that’s not someone to move heaven and Earth for in fantasy. Verdict: Worth a stash if he is available cheap.
6. Nerlens Noel, C, Phildelphia 76ers
The Sixers have high hopes for Noel and there’s a possibility they could pair him with two first-round picks this summer. Although we haven’t seem him show his stuff on the court this year due to the ACL injury he suffered at Kentucky last year, we’ve saw enough of his shot-blocking potential to know he will have a career in the NBA. With news of Noel being cleared for basketball activities surfacing last week, now is the time to snap him off the waiver wire if he happens to be available. Spencer Hawes is not the future in Philadelphia and getting Noel from another owner should be doable for a reasonable price. Verdict: Add him to your team, but not at a huge cost.
5. Alex Len, C, Phoenix Suns
Len battled ankle injuries for the first two months of the season, after finally being declared healthy earlier this month. He has only played single-digit minutes in five of his six games since returning, but the Suns didn’t draft him at No. 5 and then proceed to trade Marcin Gortat without having him in their future plans. The Suns were surprised with the play of Miles Plumlee, which has led to him retaining the starting center job, but it’s not inconceivable that Len, after a healthy offseason, takes that job next season.
With his underwhelming performances so far, Len should available on the cheap and is worth a gamble as he could be a guy who averages a double-double with over two blocks a game if he were to get starter’s minutes. Verdict: Get him on your team, he has the potential to break out.
4. Cody Zeller, PF/C, Charlotte Bobcats
Zeller is a player that I don’t know what to make of. Preseason, I had him pegged into the starting lineup at power forward next to Al Jefferson, but Steve Clifford obviously isn’t impressed with his progress and continues to start Josh McRoberts there. He’s getting consistent minutes, which is a start, averaging 16.8 minutes per contest, but he hasn’t had a breakthrough performance yet. He’s bound to improve, but I think he’s ceiling is limited and I’d rather take a punt on Len or Noel, than Zeller for the coming years. Verdict: Worth a stash if you can get him off the wire.
3. Otto Porter Jr., SF, Washington Wizards
One of the most disappointing top five picks in recent memory, Porter missed all of preseason and the first month of the regular season with a hip injury. Since returning, he has been an afterthought , failing to do anything well. This is going to be one of those picks that I think the Wizards will regret mightily in the coming years. Don’t you make the same mistake and add him to your team. Verdict: Leave him alone.
2. Victor Oladipo, PG/SG, Orlando Magic
Imagine how much better the Cavaliers back court would look with Oladipo paired with Kyrie Irving. Oladipo is impressing already this season, whilst in the midst of learning a new position (point guard). He’s a guy, who is going to be pushing to average a block, a steal and a three per game, which are ridiculous numbers for a point guard. He’s averaging 13.6 points, 4.2 rebounds, 3.8 assists and 1.5 steals in his rookie campaign, numbers which will all improve.
I have Oladipo as the second best long term player in this draft behind Giannis Antetokounmpo, and he has the ability to not only be a dynamic NBA player, but a multicategorical fantasy stud as well. Verdict: Projects as a top 50 guy next year, so make the move to get him for value.
1. Anthony Bennett, PF, Cleveland Cavaliers
When you are on pace to be the worst No. 1 pick of all time and your PER is sitting at 1.0, there’s little doubt that so far, Bennett has been a bust of epic proportions. It’s too early to write him off completely, but he appears to be playing out of position at power forward, but he is too big and unathletic to play the three, leaving him in NBA no-man’s land. Bennett is shooting a pathetic 26.9 percent from the floor and his per 36 numbers of 8.4 points and 7.7 rebounds aren’t awe inspiring either. He has a big job ahead of him to turn it around and I just don’t see it happening. Verdict: Leave him alone.
I hope this series of articles helps you mold your team into a future, unstoppable machine.