Fantasy Basketball

Three Fantasy Basketball Sleepers To Watch

Friday, 24 October, 2014

Three Fantasy Basketball Sleepers To Watch

Finding just the right sleeper in fantasy basketball can really make or break a season. With the NBA season less than a week away, here’s a look at 3 guys who are primed to exceed expectations. Not only do they have the skill set, but they have the opportunity on their team to see significant minutes.

Terrence Jones

The Houston Rockets are not particularly happy with how their summer went. They lost Chandler Parsons to free agency, and they struck out on guys like Chris Bosh. While that might be bad news for their title chances, it is good news for Jones. The talented forward out of Kentucky should have plenty of open looks in fantasy basketball. He is going to be asked to spread the floor in order to open up scoring opportunities for Dwight Howard down low. He has a chance to improve even more on his very respectable 12.1 points and 6.9 rebounds a season ago.

Nerlens Noel

Sticking with the Kentucky them, Noel is technically a rookie coming into this season. He spent all of 2013-2014 recovering from a knee injury that he suffered from in college. The Philadelphia 76ers know that they are going to be terrible this year, so that means they have no problem letting Noel learn on the go. The center position is not very deep, and at the very least he is going to be a top-flight shot blocker from the very beginning.

Jose Calderon

It is always hard to predict whether or not a veteran will thrive on a new team or suffer. However, everything is lining up for Jose Calderon now that he is on the New York Knicks. They are set to put in the triangle offense, and that is music to the years for Calderon. He is one of the best pure shooters in the game, and he will have a chance to start alongside one of the best offensive stars in the game in Carmelo Anthony. If you can average around 11 points and 9 assists per game, we are looking at a fantasy basketball sleeper a lot of people will overlook.

SPURS THE DUKE OF PROFESSIONAL HOOPS

Wednesday, 18 June, 2014

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Cashing in on great performances under the spotlight is nothing new. Who can forget cornerback Larry Brown from the Dallas Cowboys? He had two interceptions that were right to him from Neil O’Donnell in the Super Bowl. He won MVP and combined that fortunate night to a big payday with the Oakland Raiders.

In the NBA, Robert Horry made his living in the playoffs. Year after year he would shine once late April, May, and June arrived. In the regular season though he was a below average player. JJ Barea flourished as a Dallas Maverick which in turn led to his big contract for Minnesota. And now Patty Mills seems to be the latest in line to get an unexpected profitable contract in a few weeks.

He was one of many catalysts for the Spurs that ignited their sizzling offense. With the Spurs ball movement working to perfection, Mills was often wide open for three point shots. Yes he did make them, but the fact is he was wide open 90% of the time. Mills did help his cause by playing sound defense and causing a few offensive fouls.

I’m just not sure Mills is going to warrant a big contract. He shined for the Spurs in relatively a small scale of minutes. The bulk of these minutes either came against the Heat’s second unit (nothing to write home about) or against the Heat’s first unit with a big lead in hand. Most of those big leads the Heat’s first team was gassed. Spoelstra was just trying to seek out a counter run with his starters in the game.

Jeff Van Gundy did a fine job pointing out that Mills is realistically 5’8 and not 6’0. This was even more evident when the Spurs were on the floor for their NBA title. While standing next to all of his teammates including Tony Parker, Mills looked much shorter than six feet.

A lot of teams are going to be giving Mills a call to detract him from San Antonio. Poppovich and the Spurs likely won’t be able to match any big offers, and are prepared to let him go. Just last summer, Mills was in Las Vegas for the summer league with a roster spot up in the air. His conditioning and work ethic in the offseason is what propelled him past former first round pick Cory Joseph.

Starter’s minutes might not be the best thing for Patty Mills. Undersized he would be vulnerable to a nightly beating. Also, he never really gave the Spurs a spark as a passing point guard. The Spurs moved the ball well as a team not individually. It’ll be a part of his game we have not seen on the professional level, if he is capable of running a team as an individual.

You can compare the Spurs to Duke in college basketball. They get the best out of all their players but a transition to a new team doesn’t always pan out. Duke has always received a label of sending bust athletes to the NBA. San Antonio typically does a good job in keeping their talent, but they’ve had a few leave as part of trades or free agents.

The last to do so that played well as a Spur was George Hill. To say Hill has not lived up to his trade value for Indiana is an understatement.

Mills agent and Mills should seek the best contract he can get. But at the end of the day I don’t see Mills capable of being an every day starter.

FREE NBA TOTALS AT A GLANCE FOR FRIDAY

Friday, 17 January, 2014

FREE NBA TOTALS AT A GLANCE FOR FRIDAY

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With twelve games in the NBA hitting a couple of totals should be on your radar. Mixing in totals with side plays is always a better recipe for a higher percentage evening over the long run. The frenetic pace of the NBA has been in rapid mode with several teams. The books have taken a bit of a loss with the way overs have hit over the last few weeks.

There are several factors to look at on why this occurred at such a high rate. One is that several key injuries have hit the NBA. Miami has been with and without Dwayne Wade, Phoenix-Eric Bledsoe, LA with their onslaught of injuries, the Clippers and Chris Paul, etc, etc. There are eight to twelve other teams I could list in detail here. Another high factor is the trades that have went through. Luol Deng was shipped to Cleveland, Rudy Gay to Sacramento, and a few other role players have shifted.

Not to mention that this year’s NBA rosters are counting on more first or second year players than ever. Defense has never been a customary skillset when it comes to a young athlete or the rigors of an NBA schedule. Several teams have just came off an expanded road trip or are about to embark on one.
Tonight ten out of the twelve games on the schedule are totals that hover over the 200 mark. That’s a spot that I will look to dig out two under totals as free plays for you.

The first under I would take (Check Your Lines At SportsBettingOnline.ag )is the Denver Nuggets and Cleveland Cavaliers. Both of these teams are coming off road battles on Wednesday night. Denver traveled to and won in Golden State, and the Cavaliers battled tough in Portland before stumbling in the late third and fourth quarter. 213 is just a high number in my mind from two teams that are still recouping their lineups. Denver’s is starting to get there and Cleveland’s is still in transformation having let Bynum depart and acquiring Luol Deng.

The second under that I will recommend comes between the Toronto Raptors and Minnesota Timberwolves. I always look to find a team that has played above their capabilities and is starting to come back down to Earth. Toronto would be that team currently. After a tremendous thirty days the Raptors finally succumbed in a bad loss on the road in Boston.

What has stood out in Toronto’s wins is their ability to defend. Offensively they have not impressed me. Poor shot selections and rushed attempts could of derailed a team, but their defense made up for it in spots. A young team that comes off a loss such as Toronto will have a rough time from the field in the next game. Their defense should stay strong but look for this game to sail under the total.

East Coast Road Warriors

Wednesday, 8 January, 2014

East Coast Road Warriors

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Underdogs have been thriving as of late in all sports. Not only as underdog covers but money line victors. To do so as consistently as teams have done it takes a tough mentality to win on the road. While the weather has been at a peak of discomfort on the East coast, it has spurred a riveting ascent for the Golden State Warriors.

Golden State came onto the NBA scene a year ago via the Splash Brothers. Mark Jackson the former player turned NBA head coach figured to be in a growing period with a great group of young talent. Injuries to big men Andrew Bogut and David Lee at times hampered the core talent on a day to day basis. Yet the improvement of Harrison Barnes month to month and sharpshooting of Curry/Thompson kept things in gear for the Warriors.

Their playoff performances as a team put them on serious stock watch for the 2013-2014 season. Who has provided an extra dimension to the Warriors has been free agent signee Andre Iguodala. Mark Jackson has wanted to bring more toughness on the defensive end, and that has been provided with Iguodala and a an aggressive defensive mentality from everyone.

There comes a point in a season where a team knows that they’re capable of defeating anyone. Golden State has that mantra now and it has been from a torch session through the Eastern Conference.

Tonight they wrap up a seven game East coast road trip as they play against the Brooklyn Nets. And they’re coming in having won the previous six road games on top of their current win streak of ten wins. There is no sugar coating that the Eastern conference is depleted and in a serious transition phase. Still, teams on a heavy road trip such as the Warriors are, aren’t supposed to be able to win this many games in a row.

They’ve had some great finishes on the trip with an Andre Iguodala three pointer to defeat the Hawks at the buzzer, and a game against the Miami Heat in which they shot the lights out. Those are games that every fan pays attention to. What has drawn my attention is the defense they’ve displayed in stretches.

They’re not a team that is going to command a dominating defensive presence for four quarters. But they’re the type of team that can irritate teams on the offensive end by their ferocious hot shooting. Even in grade school or high school competition seeing the opponents shot reign in through the net time and time again has a psychological affect. Teams begin to rush their shot and not run their offense correctly.

Case in point the Washington Wizards were held to just fifteen third quarter points. They were held to just five points through the first ten minutes of the quarter. Guess how many points the Warriors ended up scoring in the third quarter? 34

Tonight the Warriors look to cruise to another victory on the road capping off their seven game East Coast road trip. You can count on it, and don’t be surprised to see their win streak surge past fifteen games.

Secret Up North

Monday, 6 January, 2014

Secret Up North

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Following a hectic few weeks post fantasy football, I’m back to deliver daily content. Everything now shifts to a quantum level in sports. Some may say it’s a down time but I beg to differ. College basketball offers up some of the premier highlights and recaps on a day to day basis. Comebacks, injuries, player issues, etc. all come to the forefront in conference play.

The NBA is a bit different but it has been for the last decade or when stability went awry amongst franchises. Development from the front offices seems to be without regard. Teams are pulling the plug on pieces worse than how NFL coaches get axed. Unlike the NFL, teams that have made drastic moves in the NBA have seen some success. Miami did it in an extreme way by grouping together megastars Chris Bosh and Lebron James. On a smaller scale teams like the Houston Rockets, Portland Trailblazers, OKC, and Memphis have done it with solid draft picks and adding high quality free agents that don’t break the bank.

This year’s team that has shocked many has been the Phoenix Suns. They’ve been steady for the first two and a half months of the season. Eric Bledsoe was their main acquisition in the offseason and he is proving to be worth every penny. Up north though there is a team that is cracking the relevant radar over their last eight games. That would be the Toronto Raptors.

The Raptors had a strong west coast trip in which they narrowly defeated Portland, and upset Oklahoma City on their home court. That sparked a win streak of seven of eight games until last night’s loss to the Miami Heat. A game they hung neck and neck with the Heat for four full quarters but just couldn’t muster a better fourth quarter than the Heat.

No one could have seen the current stretch the Raptors are on coming. When the trade was announced to send Rudy Gay to the Sacramento Kings it figured to be the coup de grace to the Raptors 2013 NBA season. After all they had let Andrea Bargani, a key player for the Raptors, sign with the Knicks in the offseason. Plans to build for the future seemed to be the main signal from the front office.

Instead it has allowed the team to play better team basketball, as Rudy Gay isn’t taking the bulk of shots on the offensive end. Kyle Lowry, Demar Derozen, and Terrence Ross have been stellar. But the key player to their team has been Amir Johnson.

He isn’t the go to guy offensively every night, which means he may be the forgotten one on the scouting report. Last season he showed flashes but this season he is looking more like an NBA starter on a nightly basis. He is aggressive in a good way on the offensive end of the court. Using his foot speed and nimbleness he is becoming one of the better interior scorers in the NBA.

He is one of those players that does his best with an adequate amount of shot attempts. Around eight to ten a night suits him well. For a fantasy basketball team I’d consider trading for Johnson. He has more upside to come as he seems to be hitting that time frame in a young athletes career where more blossoming occurs. Remember, Johnson was the last player drafted out of high school. Even though his career tenure in the NBA is listed at eight seasons, the first four were spent honing his skills as a Detroit Piston.

Scola Instant Offense for The Pacers

Tuesday, 10 December, 2013

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The role of six man over the years has changed quite a bit. Bruce Bowen was the old prototypical sixth man when he was a Spur. Before he reached status as an elite defender he earned it by coming off the bench and causing havoc. Raja Bell was similar in this role as a 76er before showcasing his offensive skills as a Phoenix Sun.

Nowadays players that come in off the bench as a sixth man are coming into score. They lift the second unit offense with their quick baskets and often times can spark the first unit on the bench upon substitutions. Jason Terry, Jamal Crawford, and JR Smith have been some of the better sixth men in the NBA over the last several years. Except when you mention their names you’re not going to attatch defense to their skillset.

Luis Scola is filling that same exact role as a Pacer. He was a part of an early season trade involving the Phoenix Suns that went unnoticed for how close to the season it was. One of the faults of the Pacers in years past is their stagnant stretches offensively. It has happened less this season thanks to Scola’s contributions.

When he comes off the bench you can bet it will be under three offensive possessions before he puts up a shot. He is averaging just about 9 points and 5 rebounds a game in sixth man role type of minutes. Its small averages to think about for a fantasy basketball roster but a quiet consistent impact that could be the bonus the Pacers need to get over the top this season.

Keep in mind Danny Granger still has not played a minute of action. This team still has a few gears left to accelerate that we have not seen yet.