Last week, we hit you with the top three group of tiers for the top 100. This week, we finish it off with the final two groups, as well as some sleepers. Today, enjoy the second-to-last heaping of players to consider for your fantasy basketball drafts.
NOTE: The number in parentheses is an actual rank number, but is used loosely to help you decide within the tier. However, all players within tiers basically have the same value. All stats are from last season, unless otherwise specified.
Tier Sixteen — Brook Lopez (62), Carlos Boozer (63), Zach Randolph (64), Nene (65)
This tier is full of big men that have some questions heading into the season.
Lopez only played five games last season, averaging 19.2 points, which is pretty damn good for a center. Unfortunately, he also averaged 3.6 rebounds and 0.8 blocks, which is uglier than Oliver Miller at an all-you-can-eat joint. However, before missing 61 games last season, Bropez didn’t miss a single game in his first three seasons, so while there is still a question of his durability, it’s a bit overstated at this point. The potential for a 20-8-2 season is there for this still only 24-year-old big.
Can Boozer get back to being a double-double producer as he was in his four previous seasons with the Utah Jazz before joining the Bulls? The team will need him to step up, particularly his scoring (15.0 points) with Derrick Rose out of the picture for some amount of time. Boozer’s rebounds (8.5) might stay level though with Taj Gibson being such a capable back-up (7.7 points and 5.3 rebounds in 20 minutes per), but again, he’ll need to score more until #thereturn of D-Rose.
Last season was injury-shortened for Randolph and was easily his worst with the Grizz — 11.6 points, 46.3 FG%, 65.9 FT% and 8.0 rebounds in 26 minutes per game. In his first two seasons with the Grizz, Z-Bo was a 20-12 machine, shooting 49 percent from the floor and 77 percent from the line. Can he get back to form?
Nene was one of the top free agents last summer, re-signing with the Denver Nuggets … who basically traded him right away for JaVale McGee. So, can Nene gain back that bit of respect he seemingly lost last season? His 14.5 points on 60.7 percent shooting from the field, 7.5 rebounds and 1.2 blocks in limited minutes (26 minutes) in only 11 games with the Wizards shows that he has some big potential on a team looking to also gain back a bit of respect. For Nene, it’ll basically be about durability after missing 27 games last year.
Tier Seventeen — Gerald Wallace (66), JaVale McGee (67), Jeremy Lin (68), Ricky Rubio (69)
This tier is about the perception of injury to one’s body, mind, exposure and body again.
Wallace has this stigma of being an injury-prone player, which actually feeds into his nickname of “Crash,” so all fantasy basketball managers should run and hide from owning the man. However, the last time he missed an “injury prone” amount of games was in 2007-08 when he played 62 games. But after that it’s been 71, 76, 71, and 58 (of 66) games strong for the versatile Wallace. His numbers for the Nets last season (16 games) are probably numbers to expect again — 15.2 points, 6.8 rebounds, 3.1 assists and 1.4 steals. The Nets personnel is a lot better and Crash will have a chance to do a lot and do it more efficiently.
To say McGee is a bit of an enigma would be the same as saying that Kate Upton is kind of hot. The dude is pretty much batshit crazy or just really effin bored. Maybe a bit of both. Regardless, his talent is undeniable as he put up some amazing numbers in 21 minutes per contest in his 20 games with the Nuggets — 10.3 points on 61.2 percent shooting from the field, 5.8 boards and 1.6 blocks. Of course, he also bricked at the charity stripe a ton, hitting only 37.3 percent of his shots from the line. After a period of time with Hakeem Olajuwon this summer, maybe McGee will be known more for what his body does than what his mind contributes. Sort of like the aforementioned Upton.
After feeding and being fed to the hype machine, Lin leaves the hyperbole and excess of New York City and the Knicks. He’ll now get to ply his trade in the relative anonymity of Houston where there will be pressure because of his backloaded contract, but nothing like it would be in New York. Besides, this should work to Lin’s benefit when you consider that Carmelo Anthony holds the ball the way I hold a meatball hero — I ain’t sharing and neither will Melo. Plus, Kyle Lowry and Goran Dragic did pretty well as starting point guards for the Rockets in the recent past. The 14.6 points, 6.2 assists, 3.1 rebounds and 1.6 steals in 35 games with the Knicks sounds about right for Lin’s first season with the Rockets.
Rubio suffered a torn ACL, which isn’t good for speed guy like him, but luckily he’s also young (22 years old on the 21st of this month) and has looked well on his way back by December, which is a soft deadline. He received a lot of minutes (34) his rookie season and did well — 10.6 points, 80.3 FT%, 8.2 assists, 4.2 rebounds and 2.2 steals — except when he shot from the field (35.7 percent). I’m more concerned about his chucking than his health as Rubio should be fine when he gets back. He has the potential to be an elite player and his value could far exceed this tier.
Tier Eighteen — Tyreke Evans (70), Kris Humphries (71), Andrew Bogut (72), Kevin Martin (73)
This tier is dominated by players with chips on their shoulders.
Evans was a superstar on the rise after a 20.1 point, 5.8 assists, 5.3 rebounds and 1.5 steals rookie season back in 2009-10. However, since then he’s been kind of a disappointment, finishing last season averaging 16.5 points, 4.5 assists, 4.6 rebounds and 1.3 steals. Yes, it’s definitely not too much of a fall and the equivalent of calling a regular slice of pizza disappointing after having a slice loaded with pepperoni, sausage, and other meats meant to clog your arteries. It’s really not all that disappointing at all because the significant contributions across the board are always welcome. However, there’s a perception that Reke isn’t as good as he was, but he reportedly worked like a beast to prove his detractors wrong this coming season. It also doesn’t hurt to perform big during a contract season.
Can Humphries do it again and prove his stats the past two seasons — 10.0 points and 10.4 rebounds during the 2010-11 season and 13.8 points and 11.0 rebounds last season — were legit and not just a result of playing with a crappy Nets team lacking in talent? Hump signed a lucrative offseason contract this past summer, but for only two seasons, so he’ll need to continue to work hard for that next contract. However, I don’t expect the minutes (35) to be that prolific, which is part of the reason for downgrading a double-double producer. As a Nets fan, hopefully he’ll prove me wrong.
Bogut likely thinks this injury crap is for the birds. After playing 82 games during his rookie season in 2005-06, the former first overall pick has subsequently played in 66, 78, 36, 69, 65 and 12 games, respectively. In those dozen games last season, Bogut averaged 11.3 points on 44.9 percent shooting from the field, 8.3 rebounds and 2.0 blocks in 30 minutes of work. In the previous three seasons, Bogut averaged a double-double and 2.2 blocks, which would be welcome numbers in the Bay Area. A new season and residence should be a good jumping off point for Bogut get back to where he wants to be: healthy and highly productive.
Martin must feel “Trip McNeely unwanted” right about now. After being the man his first full season in Houston, dropping 23.5 points on 43.6 percent shooting from the floor and 88.8 percent from the stripe, hitting 2.2 triples, grabbing 3.2 rebounds and dropping 2.5 dimes per game in 2010-11, last season was a relative nightmare. The Rockets were looking to unload Martin in the hopes of trading for Pau Gasol before last season and then again after the season in pursuit of Dwight Howard. Plus, the team drafted his eventual replacement in Jeremy Lamb. Talk about being dissed, which undoubtedly contributed to his worst scoring season as a pro since getting consistent starter minutes (17.1 points). There’s no question that Martin will want to prove some people wrong *cough*Daryl Morey*cough*.
Tier Nineteen — Michael Kidd-Gilchrist (74), Tim Duncan (75), Wesley Matthews (76), Andrea Bargnani (77)
This tier is mostly about transition and how these players will deal with it.
Kidd-Gilchrist will have every opportunity to shine for the Bobcats as he has a specific set of skills geared toward success on the basketball court — getting to the rim, defense, grabbing boards, mental toughness and legit BBIQ. At least it seemed that way going by what MKG did at Kentucky. He’s likely the top rookie with high expectations that most wouldn’t care if he actually failed. Welcome to Bobcats fanhood. In all seriousness, Kidd-Gilchrist should get a ton of time on the hardwood and force said success if need be. The franchise is desperate and with more playing time comes the promise of more production, which should prove nicely for fantasy basketball managers.
Tim Duncan is old, which shouldn’t come as a surprise to you. What also shouldn’t take you aback is the fact that Duncan still does work. 15.4 points, 9.0 rebounds and 1.5 blocks in only 28 minutes of play is damn good. His transition to retirement is characteristically slow and efficient, as well as impressive. Draft him knowing that while he may get less minutes, you’re getting the bang for your buck.
Matthews isn’t moving toward a transition per se, as much as he probably wants to take a step backward after posting up 13.7 points on 41.2 percent shooting from the floor and 86.0 percent from the foul line, 3.4 rebounds, 1.7 assists and 2.0 triples last season. As solid as those numbers were, it’s a slight drop-off from the previous season’s 15.9 points and 44.9 percent field goal shooting, in particular. His minutes (34 per) should be in line with his two seasons in Portland and it will fall on him to regain his very good shooting touch.
Move over, Bargnani, there’s a new Euro in town and his name is Jonas Valanciunas. Bargs is a very good scorer (19.5 points per game last season, 21.4 points the previous one) that does his damage from the perimeter. He’s not the traditional back-to-the-basket center that Valanciunas is, but Bargnani still brings value because of his ability to make buckets. He just doesn’t really do anything else, other than convert at the line (87.3 FT%), so Bargnani will leave you wanting more, like a single scoop of fat-free ice cream.
Tier Twenty — Mo Williams (77), Luis Scola (78), Isaiah Thomas (79), David West (80), Evan Turner (81)
This tier is about new eras in a player’s career.
Poor Mo Williams. It just didn’t seem like the Clippers wanted him back badly enough, but because of the glut of point guards at the Clip Joint, moving to the Jazz could end up working very nicely for him and his fantasy hoops owners. A return to an average of his two full seasons with the Cavaliers is possible — 16.9 points, 45.6 FG%, 90.4 FT%, 4.6 assists and 2.3 three-pointers — since he’ll have the rock a ton for the Jazz and a solid trio of big men to pass it to, not to mention Gordon Hayward and a seemingly revitalized Marvin Williams.
Scola is penciled in as the Suns’ new power forward after five productive seasons with the Rockets where he averaged 14.5 points, 51.0 FG%, 74.4 FT% and 7.7 rebounds in 30 minutes of burn. He’s a very solid producer and should do well on his new team, especially with former Rockets teammate Goran Dragic running the point. Markieff Morris, who did very well during Summer League, will compete for some minutes, but Scola is el hombre at the four for the foreseeable future. Scola doesn’t do anything spectacular, fantasy basketball-wise, but he also doesn’t hurt you.
As Mr. Irrelevant of the 2011 NBA Draft, not much was expected of Isaiah Thomas. However, during the season he eventually earned a starting position and produced big in those 37 games as such — 14.8 points, 47.7 FG%, 84.1 FT%, 5.4 assists, 3.1 rebounds, 1.6 triples and 1.0 steal in 32 minutes per contest. However, it’s a new season, one where Thomas is expected to start from the get-go and the question still hangs over him on whether or not he can do it again.
West’s cumulative numbers dipped in his first season with the Pacers from his last with the Hornets — 18.9 points to 12.8, 7.6 rebounds to 6.6, 14.9 field goal attempts to 10.8, 4.7 free throw attempts to 2.7 and most importantly, 35 minutes to 29. He will be playing for a new contract, but with limited chances to put up stats, he’ll likely level off and pound out relatively the same numbers as last season. Draft him as you would Scola, a player that is unspectacular, but doesn’t hurt your fantasy basketball team either.
I’m a big fan of Turner and have been since his days at Ohio State. He’s a multi-talented player that should be considered as a core player for the Sixers along with Andrew Bynum, Thaddeus Young and Jrue Holiday should he re-up with the team. In 20 games as a starter last season, Turner averaged 12.7 points, 45.7 FG%, 71.1 FT%, 6.7 rebounds, 3.0 assists and 1.0 steal in 33 minutes. However, Andre Iguodala is also no longer with the team, so Turner should get more opportunities to have the ball in his hand to create for his teammates, as well as himself. He could be a real sleeper this season.
DV is the founder at Baller Mind Frame and can be reached on Twitter if a fantasy basketball question arises. Or a query on the best way to make peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. For actual position rankings, you can check here. Paz!