Skip to main content

NBA Fantasy Draft Prep: Breakouts, busts and sleepers; plus top 150


The Heat get the attention on the heels of the first championship of their burgeoning dynasty, while the Lakers stole headlines for their move for Superman Dwight Howard. Last year, it was the L.A. Clippers everyone was talking about.

But this is the year you get the value in fantasy. Many seem to be down on Blake Griffin, perhaps for the same reason DeAndre Jordan doesn't get much love (free-throw shooting). And,

no matter the sport, fantasy always tends to forget players in Year 2 in their new home.

That's where Chris Paul comes in and can help win fantasy championships.

Year 1 tends to bring a lot of hype, amped-up expectations and fantasy frustration. Year 2 tends to pay you back.

Remember, the 2011-12 beast that was LeBron James? He was in his second year with his new team. He also was 27 years old, by the way, the same age Paul is now.

Getting the No. 3 pick in your fantasy basketball draft might be a blessing in disguise. Paul and the cast of the Clippers are primed for a big year.

To get you primed for a big year, we present you our preseason breakouts, busts, sleepers and the Top 150 players to target in your fantasy basketball drafts:

These guys are going to be underrated at their position in drafts:

Guard: Evan Turner, 76ers (ADP: 79)

If Year 2 for a new face in a new place is a popular fantasy rule of thumb, so are new starters and third-year players. Turner, a former No. 2 overall pick, takes over for departed veterans Lou Williams (ATL) and Andre Iguodala (DEN) on a 76ers team that is steadily improving. In Year 3, Turner can get his numbers up to 15 points per game, six rebounds and four assists. That makes him a great pick relative to his modest draft position.

Forward: Michael Beasley, Suns (ADP: 64)

Two teams have given up on Beasley in four seasons. One team will finally allow him to grow -- the rebuilding Suns are telling Beasley to light it up. The Suns need someone to step forward and the talented but mercurial Beasley is in the ideal situation for his talents. "[Coach Alvin Gentry] really encourages me to shoot. Everybody does, even the team," Beasley told The Arizona Republic. "This is the first time I've really been encouraged to shoot even more than I already do, and we all know that I shoot a lot. My last two teams, I've been asked to try to be a passer/playmaker." We might finally see some video scoring totals from Beasley.

Center: Greg Monroe, Pistons (ADP: 22)

He already made a significant jump in Year 2, but as we said with Turner, Year 3 promises to be even better in fantasy terms. Monroe is one of the rare centers who is his team's No. 1 scoring option. If he continues to improve at the rate he improved a year ago, we can see Monroe threatening to become a 20-10 beast. You will have to pick him in Round 2, but in terms of the talent at his position, it is worth the premium selection.

SI Recommends

These guys figure to be overrated at their position in drafts:

Guard: Kobe Bryant, Lakers (ADP: 8)

At 34, Bryant is getting his best supporting cast since the Shaquille O'Neal era. It stands to reason it should boost his numbers, right? Just the opposite. The addition of Howard has seemingly cut into Howard's fantasy value, but it actually will cut into Bryant's, we say. The future Hall of Famer is past his prime, dealing with myriad injuries in recent years and now able to take some nights off. The Lakers are going to coast through the regular season and they have a legit supporting cast that can allow Bryant to take nights off, either entirely or just in terms of reliance. Look away when Bryant is atop your best available during drafts.

Forward: Danny Granger, Pacers (ADP: 53)

Fantasy loves Granger, mostly because he fills the stat sheet and doesn't carry a name that fantasy neophytes jump on early. Still, Granger is turning the dreaded 30 this season and is dealing with a knee issue that might never have him at 100 percent again. "I'll always have soreness," he told the Indianapolis Star. It should be reminded, too, Granger's points per game have declined each of the past four seasons to 18.7 a season ago, while his rebounds and assists have fallen each of the past three. He should be viewed as a fallback option in fantasy, even though he won't be in drafts.

Center: Andrew Bynum, 76ers (ADP: 17)

The Lakers' key piece to the Howard deal is seemingly entering his prime at age 26 and coming off a breakout year of 18.7-11.8. Well, Bynum might be the oldest-looking 26-year-old that isn't named Greg Oden. Bynum has needed knee injections and was supposed to head into this season as the 76ers go-to monster. With expectations tend to come disappointment, so we should have no faith Bynum comes through away from the bright lights of L.A.

These guys shouldn't be forgotten about at their position in drafts:

Guard: Kemba Walker, Bobcats (ADP: 48)

Walker is coming off an inconsistent rookie season and might not be completely capable of putting Ramon Sessions on the bench as a point guard. But, with experience should come better shot selection for Walker, particularly beyond the 3-point arc (just 30.5 percent last year). Walker has a chance to become the Bobcats' leading scoring threat, especially if rookie Michael Kidd-Gilchrist sends Gerald Henderson to the bench more often this season. Walker has the makings of a potential 20-point scorer, even if he never becomes a big contributor in assists.

Forward: Harrison Barnes, Warriors (ADP: 143)

Rookies rarely make immediate impacts, especially at a ripe, young age of 20, but Barnes isn't your average rookie talent. He is a potential game-changer. Brandon Rush might look like the Warriors starter at small forward right now, but Barnes will play the majority of minutes and the important minutes. The seventh-overall pick is the Warriors' hope for a superstar as David Lee and Andrew Bogut do the dirty work down low. Barnes stands to be one of the best late-round picks in fantasy this year.

Center: DeAndre Jordan, Clippers (ADP: 119)

Jordan, like his running mate Griffin, is undervalued in fantasy because of his poor free throw shooting. Jordan was also supposed to significantly improve with the addition of Paul in Lob City, but any strides he made were marginal in fantasy. At 24, the bet here is the improvement is more exponential this season, along with Paul and Griffin. The Clippers can really start to gel if Jordan lives up to his potential as we think he will.

And now for a complete look at how your draft might unfold ...

RK Player POS TM

1 LeBron James F MIA2 Kevin Durant F OKC3 Chris Paul G LAC4 Russell Westbrook G OKC5 Deron Williams G BKN6 Josh Smith F ATL7 Dwight Howard C LAL8 Al Jefferson F UTA9 Kyrie Irving G CLE10 LaMarcus Aldridge F POR

11 Dwyane Wade G MIA12 Kobe Bryant G LAL13 Rajon Rondo G BOS14 Kevin Love F MIN15 Andrew Bynum C PHI16 Blake Griffin F LAC17 Carmelo Anthony F NYK18 DeMarcus Cousins F SAC19 Serge Ibaka F OKC20 Ty Lawson G DEN

21 Marc Gasol C MEM22 Stephen Curry G GSW23 Paul Millsap F UTA24 Brandon Jennings G MIL25 Paul Pierce F BOS26 James Harden G OKC27 Greg Monroe C DET28 Pau Gasol F LAL29 Dirk Nowitzki F DAL30 Al Horford C ATL

31 Rudy Gay F MEM32 Monta Ellis G MIL33 Joe Johnson G BKN34 Chris Bosh F MIA35 Amar'e Stoudemire F NYK36 Eric Gordon G NOR37 David Lee F GSW38 Tyreke Evans G SAC39 Kevin Garnett F BOS40 Andre Iguodala G DEN

41 Danny Granger F IND42 Marcin Gortat C PHO43 Goran Dragic G PHO44 Anthony Davis F NOR45 Steve Nash G LAL46 Paul George F IND47 Brook Lopez C BKN48 Roy Hibbert C IND49 John Wall G WAS50 Kyle Lowry G TOR

51 Mike Conley G MEM52 Nicolas Batum G POR53 Marcus Thornton G SAC54 Joakim Noah C CHI55 Gerald Wallace F BKN56 Ryan Anderson F NOR57 Tony Parker G SA58 Manu Ginobili G SA59 Luol Deng F CHI

60 Jeremy Lin G HOU61 Andrea Bargnani C TOR62 Danilo Gallinari F DEN63 Zach Randolph F MEM64 Carlos Boozer F CHI65 Tim Duncan F SA66 Kris Humphries F BKN67 JaVale McGee C DEN68 Tyson Chandler C NYK69 Klay Thompson G GSW70 Jrue Holiday G PHI

71 Ersan Ilyasova F MIL72 Andrew Bogut C GSW73 Raymond Felton G NYK74 Kevin Martin G HOU75 Isaiah Thomas G SAC76 Nene Hilario F WAS77 Wesley Matthews G POR78 Damian Lillard G POR79 Arron Afflalo G ORL80 Kenneth Faried F DEN

81 Jason Terry G BOS82 Kemba Walker G CHA83 Jeff Teague G ATL84 Brandon Knight G DET85 Ray Allen G MIA86 Evan Turner G PHI87 Mo Williams G UTA88 Derrick Favors F UTA89 Glen Davis F ORL90 Luis Scola F PHO

91 Gordon Hayward G UTA92 Louis Williams G ATL93 Darren Collison G DAL94 Kawhi Leonard G SA95 DeAndre Jordan C LAC96 Nikola Pekovic C MIN97 Rodney Stuckey G DET98 Jameer Nelson G ORL99 Ricky Rubio G MIN100 Michael Beasley F PHO

101 Anderson Varejao C CLE102 David West F IND103 Michael Kidd-Gilchrist F CHA104 Andrei Kirilenko F MIN105 O.J. Mayo G DAL106 DeMar DeRozan G TOR107 Chris Kaman C DAL108 George Hill G IND109 Derrick Rose G CHI110 Ben Gordon G CHA111 Al Harrington F ORL112 J.J. Hickson F POR113 J.R. Smith F NYK114 Harrison Barnes F GSW115 Thaddeus Young F PHI116 Bradley Beal G WAS117 Elton Brand F DAL118 Thomas Robinson F SAC119 Tristan Thompson F CLE120 Jared Dudley G PHO121 Samuel Dalembert C MIL122 Greivis Vasquez G NOR123 Jonas Valanciunas C TOR124 Dion Waiters G CLE125 Gerald Henderson G CHA126 Luke Ridnour G MIN127 Caron Butler F LAC128 Jarrett Jack G GSW129 Jose Calderon G TOR130 Tony Allen G MEM131 Hedo Turkoglu F ORL132 Jason Kidd G NYK133 Emeka Okafor C WAS134 Derrick Williams F MIN135 Trevor Ariza G WAS136 Nick Young G PHI137 Spencer Hawes C PHI138 Mike Dunleavy G MIL139 Jordan Crawford G WAS140 Brandon Bass F BOS141 Jason Richardson G PHI142 Devin Harris G ATL143 Ramon Sessions G CHA144 Omer Asik C HOU145 Marvin Williams F UTA146 Wilson Chandler G DEN147 Kirk Hinrich G CHI148 Mario Chalmers G MIA149 MarShon Brooks G BKN150 Gustavo Ayon F ORL

Eric Mack writes fantasy for Track his weekly starts and sits every Thursday, his last-minute Cheat Sheet on Sunday mornings and his Fantasy Fast Forward on Sunday nights. You find also him on Twitter, where you can mock him, rip him and (doubtful) praise him before asking him for fantasy advice or challenging him to a head-to-head fantasy game @EricMackFantasy. He reads all the messages there (guaranteed) and takes them very, very personally (not really).