Monday, October 6, 2014

2014-2015 NBA Sleepers

By The NBA Guy


Point Guards

Darren Collison
Collison enters his 6th season as the bonafide starting point guard for a Kings team that will be looking for him to distribute the ball. They finished last in the NBA last year in that department and he will look to bring them out of the cellar. His first taste as a full time starter in Dallas was riddled with injuries and the signing of Derek Fisher; however, last season he filled in nicely for a stretch when Chris Paul was injured. Collison will have a motivated DeMarcus Cousins – who is coming off a gold medal at the FIBA championships and a career year himself. Not only will he help Cousins, their GM has high hopes for Collison. Pete D’Alessandro has said he wants Darren Collison to be a “guy that brings out the talent from everyone else.” Collison is someone to target for assists in the mid to late rounds.
Kendall Marshall
I was infatuated with Kendall Marshall last year for the simple fact that he can come off the bench and still almost average a double-double. Last season, he averaged 8 points and 8 rebounds when sharing minutes with Steve Blake and Steve Nash. Although he had to wait until mid-December for his chance, Marshall provided owners with plenty of assists. This year, he will be battling Brandon Knight for starter’s minutes. Knight, who was the Bucks most productive player last season, played alongside Nate Wolters last year and did well. The Bucks are bringing in Gary Payton to mentor the young point guards. With the addition of Jabari Parker and the continuing growth of Giannis Antetokounmpo, Marshall can focus on distributing the ball to his teammates.

Shooting Guards

Tony Snell
Snell lit it up during the Las Vegas Summer League being tabbed with all-league honors while averaging 20.0 points, 4 rebounds, and almost 3 assists. Thibs had said at the latter part of last season that Snell must improve his defense if he wants to stay in the rotation. He has been working on it all summer and even gained 10 lbs of muscle to help with the rigors of an 82 game season. Snell will be the first wing off the bench, backing up Jimmy Butler and Mike Dunleavy, and will be the go to guy for the second unit.
C.J. McCollum
C.J. was another Las Vegas standout. Though he didn’t earn All-League honors, he was very efficient with 20.2 points, 3.2 rebounds, and 1.8 assists in his 5 games. Several media outlets have said he displayed a much better awareness on the defensive end, something that will only get him more minutes. The departure of Mo Williams does clear more minutes for the backcourt. He was injured in the beginning of last season, but he’ll will provide plenty of 3 point field goals and a decent source for steals.

Small Forward

Kawhi Leonard
The 2014 Finals MVP will be the focal point of the offense from here on out. His developing stroke along with his tenacious defense will allow him to be a stat sheet stuffer. He had 12.8 points, 6.2 rebounds, and 2 assists per game last year. His scoring jumped to 17.8 during the Finals and rose to 14 points throughout the postseason. The crazy thing about Kawhi’s production is that Popovich didn’t have a single play drawn up for him. Not only will plays begin to come his way, Pop has said he’ll have “huge responsibilities to play great every night” this season. Look for his average of 29.1 minutes per game jump to 33-35 range.
Andrew Wiggins/Jabari Parker
I’m not sure you can label these guys as “sleepers,” but the fact that they’ll be asked to do so much in their first years’ can help their fantasy stocks. Parker’s Bucks are horrible on offense and have no one to shoot the ball. He was a great rebounder at Duke and he can shoot the 3 well. While he won’t get any steals, his scoring efficiency could help alleviate any of those concerns. Wiggins has the potential to have 14 points/5 rebounds/2 assists/1+ steals per night. He will be a stat stuffer and will be highly coveted for dynasty leagues. Watch the 2 top prospects face off here!

Power Forward
Jared Sullinger
In what is the deepest position in fantasy basketball, the power forward position has multiple stars that can carry your team. If you miss out on some of the top talents, look to Jared Sullinger. “Sully” is coming into camp in the best shape of his basketball career. Recent photos show a much slimmer frame for him. 85% of Sullinger’s misses were either long or short. Typically, this means that the player is using too much arms because of fatigue. Being in better condition will reduce the percentage of misses to left or right. Along with better conditioning, he is healthy. Back injuries have delayed his growth. Also, the power forward position is up for grabs in Boston. Due to his ability to rebound and hit the occasional 3, Sullinger is worth a late round grab.
Julius Randle
Zach Randolph 2.0 enters an excellent situation where he doesn’t have to step in and be the man. Instead he can learn from Kobe Bryant and still contribute immediately. Randle averaged 15 points and 10 rebounds last season at Kentucky. When you skew that number to 40 minute averages, it jumps to 19 points and 14 rebounds. Carlos Boozer is standing in the way of Julius Randle and the starting power forward position. If you recall last year, Tom Thibedoau rarely played Boozer in the 4th quarter. Taj Gibson, his backup, played an average of 10 minutes compared to only 4.6 to Boozer. Eventually, Carlos Boozer will get injured or Byron Scott will get tired of his ineffectiveness and Randle will jump into the starting power forward spot. Either way, Julius is the future post player for the Lakers for seasons to come.


Jonas Valanciunas
Last season was supposed to be the year JV was going to come onto the scene. Ineffectiveness delayed that to happen. Coming into his third year, the Lithuanian is in position to fulfill what was supposed to be. He did well in the FIBA Tournament averaging 14.4 points and 8.4 rebounds. JV has been working on his post-game and free throw shooting in the offseason and is looking to improve on his 53.1% from the field and 76.2% from the free throw line.
Omer Asik
Asik had a horrible year playing with/behind Dwight Howard. He finally gets to start again and with another twin tower in Anthony Davis. Though Davis will get many more looks, Asik has a knack at getting the ball. 2 seasons ago when Asik was the starter for the Rockets, he averaged 10 points and 11 rebounds. To go along with that, he had 1.1 blocks per game. With Anthony Davis and Asik clogging up the middle, I expect both to post gaudy block numbers. Asik will be a fine middle of the rounds target for drafts.

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