We know all about the rookies who are considered the front runners for Rookie of the Year. We’ve heard all about John Wall, Blake Griffin, Demarcus Cousins and Evan Turner. But what about some of the other guys from this year’s draft; Who else might be a contributor for your fantasy team this season? There are always a couple guys who sneak up and make an impact, it’s just a matter of being able to spot those guys before someone else. Here are some of the guys I am keeping an eye on.
Rookies to Target Late in Your Draft
Al-Farouq Aminu, SF – Los Angeles Clippers: Aminu is one of my favorite rookies that no one is talking about. One of the things you want to look for when trying to find potential sleepers is opportunity, and that’s something Aminu has. He is currently locked into a battle with Ryan Gomes to be the starting small forward for the Clippers. But the fact is the Clippers probably aren’t going anywhere this year and Gomes isn’t a long term solution, Aminu could be and the Clippers will give him every chance to prove that along with Eric Gordon and Blake Griffin he can be apart of the new look Clippers.
Aminu is a freakishly long player with a 7 foot 4 wingspan , a lot of speed and pure athleticism. These things can help compensate for some of his downfalls, which includes needing to bulk up a bit and developing some more range. Aminu was a fantastic rebounder in college getting 10.7 boards a game last year. He’ll have a bit more of a hard time against NBA competition until he bulks up, but he still has a natural rebounding ability and will still get some. He has the potential to contribute in multiple categories as he can make a difference on defense and sees the court well as a passer too. Aminu is even more valuable in keeper leagues because of his vast potential to keep getting better.
Gordon Hayward, SG/SF – Utah Jazz: Unlike Aminu, Heyward is not in the running for a starting spot on his team, it’s a given he’ll be coming off the bench as Andrei Kirilenko’s backup. However that doesn’t mean he doesn’t have opportunity for playing time. Kirilenko doesn’t often get more than 30 minutes a game, and that’s when he is playing. Kirilenko hasn’t played more than 72 games in a season since 2003-2004 season. Hayward is the kind of guy that just seems the perfect fit in Utah. He can score in a few different ways both spotting up from the outside and getting to the hole off the dribble. We know that Deron Williams is capable of getting the ball to his guys with a good chance to score and Heyward can finish. He is also able to contribute in other ways as well with decent rebounding skills and a knack for getting some steals. I’m not sure how much upside Hayward has, but he has the ability to be a solid contributor for many years.
Ed Davis, PF – Toronto Raptors: Amir Johnson is set to take over the spot at power forward that was vacated by Chris Bosh. But while I am a fan of Amir Johnson as a sleeper this year, he’s never played more than 18 minutes a game and he’s still very much unproven, which means Ed Davis could and should get a chance to contribute this season. Even if Johnson does excel as a starter as I think he will, Davis should still get minutes, possibly even getting some at Center spelling Bargnani from time to time. Davis was never quite what he was expected to be at North Carolina, but there is no question he has the talent. He potentially has elite shot blocking ability and can also rebound very well. His offensive game still needs some work in order to become more versatile, but if he gets in close he can finish well enough. I wouldn’t probably gamble on Davis except for in deep leagues, but he is worth a flier in those.
Rookies to Watch on the Waivers
Jordan Crawford, SG – Atlanta Hawks: So far this preseason Crawford has been an offensive monster which is raising some eyebrows around the league. There weren’t many questions about Crawford’s offensive abilities going into the draft, but more his defense and attitude. Crawford can jump out of the building and has a lot of range as a shooter. He may only play one side of the court, but the potential certainly piques the interest. However there are questions about how much time he’ll get this year with Jamal Crawford in front of him. Some thought he might push Jeff Teague as a backup point guard, but Larry Drew says Jordan isn’t a point guard. So while the potential is exciting, you should wait until you know what kind of playing time he’ll get before you grab him.
James Anderson, SG – San Antonio Spurs: Gregg Poppovich has never been one who was scared to play a rookie if he earned his chance, and Anderson could certainly do just that. He’s behind Manu Ginobli on the depth chart, but Manu has never played a full season and he’s also played over 30 minutes just one time. However despite Ginobli’s injury problems George Hill also stands in Anderson’s way as he logged almost 30 minutes a game last season and should once again. Anderson though has the ability to score and score in bunches and if he gets hot Pops is going to find a way to work him into the rotation. If nothing else Anderson should see time as a shooter off the bench as he might be the best long range shooter on the team.
Who are you targeting late in the draft in this rookie class? And who are you primed and ready to jump on off the waiver wire later this season? As always we want to hear your thoughts on all things fantasy basketball.
For more player analysis check out my thoughts on Robin Lopez’s 2010-2011 fantasy value.