Don’t Sleep On These 2013-2014 Fantasy Basketball Sleepers
As the 2013 NBA playoffs roll on, we are witnessing breakout performances in front of our eyes, and some future fantasy basketball sleepers for the 2013-14 NBA season.
From Harrison Barnes‘ career high in points to Jimmy Butler‘s historic minutes played, new roles are already starting to play themselves out. When I sit down and watch a playoff game, not only do I root for my hometown Chicago Bulls, I look for players who look differently than they did earlier in the year. A player’s single season growth can give us a glimpse of things to come. In this article, I have compiled a list of players still alive in the playoffs that will be sleepers heading into next year. While some of these guys may not be “sleepers” in the usual sense, I believe you will be able to draft these guys at bargains. All of these players will greatly outproduce their ADP’s (assuming they don’t draft a stud player at the same position). Here are guys you must keep in mind for your draft:
Harrison Barnes – Barnes is the first player in NBA history to have back-back 25+ point games in the playoffs without having ever scored 25 points in an NBA game before. He has always been touted as an elite NBA scorer since his days at North Carolina, so this was only a matter of time. Mark Jackson, like most NBA coaches, has eased his rookies into playing time. Barnes and Draymond Green‘s roles have slowly increased as the season has moved along. Proving that he can be an effective third scoring option, he has taken over the last few games while Curry and Thompson have struggled. Next year, the Warriors will have all kinds of scoring with a starting lineup of: Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson, Harrison Barnes, David Lee, and (finally) Andrew Bogut. Seems like there should be plenty of scoring, but I think Barnes should be the third/fourth option. Curry and David Lee are both great scorers, there are no doubts about it. Bogut and Thompson, however, I think would flourish having to carry less of a scoring load. Thompson can be one of the NBA’s elite spot up shooters. When he doesn’t have to focus on creating his own shot, he can be lethal. Bogut has also never been much more than 10-12 PPG type scorer. Like many NBA big men, offensive rebounds lead to a lot of his scoring. That being said, Barnes is a scoring wing player. While I don’t think he will average 19 PPG that he has during the Spurs‘ series, his offensive game has clearly started to blossom. I can see 13-15 PPG, 7 REB, 1.2 3PM with sporadic defensive stats and good FT%. He will be drafted as a tier 4-5 SF, while I would take him in the middle of tier 3.
Jimmy Butler – As mentioned above, Jimmy Butler has been relied upon to play a record amount of minutes in this years’ playoffs. The pessimists will tell you he has succeeded only because Luol Deng has been sidelined for an extended period. I, however, will tell you Jimmy Butler is a starting shooting guard in the NBA. Tom Thibodeau is a defensive coach first and foremost, and he loves the way Butler defends. Throughout the Bulls’ current series, Butler has often received the task of guarding LeBron James one on one. In fact, from the moment they drafted him, ESPN was already speculating they drafting him solely to guard LeBron. His on-ball defensive skill set allows him to be a staple in Thibodeau’s lineups. This is evident by his insane run in the playoffs of three straight games with 48 minutes played. Yes, folks, that means he played every minute. Since draft day, Butler has developed somewhat of an offensive game. In this Heat series alone, he is averaging 14.8 points, 6.8 REB, and 1.5 3PM. In the last month of the season, Butler played heavy minutes and averaged 14.6 points, 6.6 REB, and 1.4 3PM. Thibodeau has made it clear that as long as you are playing help defense, you are allowed to hoist up shots (i.e. Nate Robinson). This is why I think Jimmy shooting 43% this playoffs is almost irrelevant. Not to mention, that he was a regular season 46.7% FG shooter. I think Butler will continue to get heavy run at the two guard in 2013. With his steals upside, high rebound ceiling for a guard, and improved offensive game, I am sold on Jimmy Butler as a top 100 overall player.
Roy Hibbert – @Hoya2apacer was the #1 most over-drafted player this season. After making the All-Star team last year and getting a monster contract, he was horrific for the first half of the season. Heading into the All-Star break this year, he was averaging 10.0 PPG, 41.4% FG, 68.7% FT, 8.3 REB, and 2.6 BLK. Not exactly the elite center we were all hoping for. After everybody gave up on him, his numbers came storming back in the 2nd half: 15.7 PPG, 50.8% FG, 79.8% FT, 8.2 REB and 2.5 BLK. While you have thought you were getting a double-double, these numbers still provided you with plenty of what you needed. His ascendance has continued into the playoffs. If you have been watching, he has been leading the Pacers and has been the key to their victories. I think next year people will only remember how horrible Roy Hibbert started, and it will make for great value. While he may not be in the ultra-elite of centers (Marc Gasol, Dwight Howard, and DeMarcus Cousins), he is certainly still in the tier right after. Draft him and get what should continue to be an efficient center with elite blocks numbers.
Let me know what you think of my 2013-14 fantasy basketball sleepers by commenting on this article or hitting me up on Twitter.
Author: Ricky Sanders, @RSanders85