Fantasy basketball draft preview: Best late-round picks
Late round picks can often make or break a fantasy basketball team. In some lucky situations, early-round picks can carry your team a long way, but in the end, management of lower-tier players can win matchups. While you may build a team of stars who will dominate four or five categories, you will need to find a way to compete in the others. A strong combination of role players can put you over the top of one or two categories, which could manifest into the key to your success.
When you're approaching the middle-to-late rounds of a draft, and you're playing in a standard head-to-head category league, consider whether your team is guard-heavy or big-man-heavy to help you determine which of these guys will best fit your roster.
1. Anderson Varejao, C, Cleveland Cavaliers | 2012-2013 averages --14.1 ppg, 14.4 rpg, 47.8 fg%, 0.6 bpg
While Varejao has an average field-goal percentage, he rips down boards just as well as anyone else. He's starting to show that he can be a decent scorer and he will continue to improve if he's playing against other teams' second units, but shot-blocking is not his strong suit. The biggest issue with Varejao will be whether he can stay on the court. Having only played 81 games combined in the previous three seasons makes him a gamble, but definitely one worth betting on. While his free-throw shooting is improving, he still cannot be trusted in that department.
2. Carlos Boozer, PF, Chicago Bulls | 2012-2013 averages -- 16.2 ppg, 9.8 rpg, 47.7 fg% 2.3 apg
Derrick Rose's return and Joakim Noah's improvements could prove to be vital for Boozer. With those two becoming the main concern for opponents, Boozer will not only clean up the boards down low, but also he'll get a lot of good looks at the hoop. Also, he may be able to find Noah and Rose cutting the lanes, providing a few extra assists from his end. Owners will need to watch if Boozer starts to show his age through inconsistency. He'll have weeks where he's the guy to stop on the Bulls, but there are going to be other nights that you don't even know he exists. Also, he isn't the most reliable guy from the line.
Round: Late 11/Early-mid 12
3. DeMar DeRozan, SG, Toronto Raptors | 2012-2013 averages -- 18.1 ppg, 44.5 fg% 3.9 rpg, 2.5 apg
Overshadowed by last year's midseason acquisition of Rudy Gay, DeRozan is going to get owners points. Not only can he still throw down, but also he's starting to develop his jumper. I wouldn't expect him to shoot much better than 30 percent behind the arc, but you are going to be hard-pressed late in the draft to find guys who score like he does and shoot extremely well from deep. Owners have to keep an eye on DeRozan because he could end up losing scoring to Gay and second year big-man Jonas Valanciunas, but he could serve as a strong trade-piece for owners down the road.
Round: Late 10/Early 11
4. Tyson Chandler, C, New York Knicks | 2012-2013 averages -- 10.4 ppg, 63.8 fg%, 10.7 rpg, 1.1 bpg
Chandler is a well-rounded role player for any fantasy team because he will consistently get rebounds. Because of his rebounding ability, he gets a lot of looks close to the basket and is one of the best-finishing big men in the league. He's not going to help your free-throw percentage, however, as he only shot 69.4 percent from the line last year. Chandler's health always has to be in the back of an owner's mind, as well. He's a guarantee to miss about 15-20 games a year.
Round: Late 9/Early 10
5. Eric Gordon, SG, New Orleans Pelicans | 2012-2013 averages -- 17.0 ppg, 40.2 fg%, 32.4 3fg% 3.3 apg
Gordon is not your typical late-round pick. He can put up 20 points a night as consistently as anyone as he has shown in the past. He's a decent three-point man, but shoots well from the floor overall. Now that Anthony Davis has a year under his belt, and the Pelicans added scorer Tyreke Evans, look for his assist total to increase from last year's 3.3 per game. He will still get his touches, as their presence will only continue to open the floor for Gordon. However, he's constantly injured -- last year he played 42 games, but just nine the year before. If he can stay on the court, Gordon would be a huge addition to any fantasy roster.
Round: Late 10/Early 11
6. Andrew Bynum, C, Cleveland Cavaliers | 2011-2012 averages -- 18.7 ppg, 55.8 fg%, 11.8 rpg, 1.9 bpg
While these stats look like those of a first-to-third rounder, they are from two years ago. Bynum, having missed a full season to injury, has a fresh start in Cleveland with a whole new crew. He has the ability to be a fantasy owner's dream, but he's a high-risk, high-reward player, which is why he should not be taken sooner than the ninth round in a 12-team league and the 10th in a 10-team league. His health is really his only downside. He could be a big trade piece early on in the season, as well.
7. Kevin Martin, SG, Minnesota Timberwolves | 2012-2013 averages -- 14.0 ppg, 45.0 fg%, 42.6 3fg%, 0.9 spg
Martin may be the most offensive-minded player on this list and is definitely the best three-point shooter. While his scoring has declined the past two years, Martin has averaged 20+ points per game in four of his nine seasons. He lost a lot of his scoring opportunities playing for the Thunder, where he was the third or fourth scoring option. Now in Minnesota, he will be a great compliment to Kevin Love and will be fed the ball in ideal scoring situations by the unselfish Ricky Rubio. Martin also shoots very well from the free-throw line every year. As much as Martin should be the best offensive option at guard on this list, he is probably the worst at defense. He can get you about one steal per game, but it seems like he is allergic to rebounding.
8. Andrei Kirilenko, SF, Brooklyn Nets: 2012-2013 averages -- 12.4 ppg, 5.7 rpg, 50.7 fg%, 1.0 bpg
Kirilenko is going to see a dip in his scoring because of all the big names in Brooklyn. However, he will do the other things owners need from him. He will get more rebounds than last year because of the scorers on the Nets who want to focus on putting up points. He should be able to put up better defensive numbers with that being his main focus coming off the bench. Although his point total will probably be low, he is not going to hurt your field-goal percentage, as he usually makes about half of his shots.
9. Jarrett Jack, PG/SG, Cleveland Cavaliers: 2012-2013 averages -- 12.9 ppg, 45.2 fg% 40.4 3fg% 5.6 apg
Not just because he was a Warrior last year, but Jack is almost like a poor man's Stephen Curry. He shoots well all over the floor and still manages to find the open man in most cases. Now that he's sharing frontcourt time with Kyrie Irving and Dion Waiters, Jack should be able to put up similar numbers to last year, and I would think he is going to score more because he gives Irving a safe perimeter option to look for. Jack is a guy who will go late in the draft, so keep an eye on him because he can be a huge pick-up in the late rounds. Having said that, the eight-year vet is not going to help you in the defensive end.
Round: Late 12
10. Caron Butler, SF, Milwaukee Bucks: 2012-2013 averages -- 10.4 ppg, 42.4 fg%, 38.8 3fg% 2.9 rpg
Butler is definitely in the twilight of his career, but he's as consistent from the field as ever. He can boost a roster's field-goal and three-point percentage. Now that he is on Milwaukee with OJ Mayo and Brandon Knight, his perimeter shooting will become more valuable. He's going to get more looks now that he's not losing scoring opportunities to Chris Paul, Blake Griffin and Jamal Crawford. Butler's drawbacks are his age and that he is a one-dimensional player. With shooting percentage being crucial, Butler is a good guy to have as your F/G or utility man.