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

Friday October 26th, 2012

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.

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 MIA 2 Kevin Durant F OKC 3 Chris Paul G LAC 4 Russell Westbrook G OKC 5 Deron Williams G BKN 6 Josh Smith F ATL 7 Dwight Howard C LAL 8 Al Jefferson F UTA 9 Kyrie Irving G CLE 10 LaMarcus Aldridge F POR

11 Dwyane Wade G MIA 12 Kobe Bryant G LAL 13 Rajon Rondo G BOS 14 Kevin Love F MIN 15 Andrew Bynum C PHI 16 Blake Griffin F LAC 17 Carmelo Anthony F NYK 18 DeMarcus Cousins F SAC 19 Serge Ibaka F OKC 20 Ty Lawson G DEN

21 Marc Gasol C MEM 22 Stephen Curry G GSW 23 Paul Millsap F UTA 24 Brandon Jennings G MIL 25 Paul Pierce F BOS 26 James Harden G OKC 27 Greg Monroe C DET 28 Pau Gasol F LAL 29 Dirk Nowitzki F DAL 30 Al Horford C ATL

31 Rudy Gay F MEM 32 Monta Ellis G MIL 33 Joe Johnson G BKN 34 Chris Bosh F MIA 35 Amar'e Stoudemire F NYK 36 Eric Gordon G NOR 37 David Lee F GSW 38 Tyreke Evans G SAC 39 Kevin Garnett F BOS 40 Andre Iguodala G DEN

41 Danny Granger F IND 42 Marcin Gortat C PHO 43 Goran Dragic G PHO 44 Anthony Davis F NOR 45 Steve Nash G LAL 46 Paul George F IND 47 Brook Lopez C BKN 48 Roy Hibbert C IND 49 John Wall G WAS 50 Kyle Lowry G TOR

51 Mike Conley G MEM 52 Nicolas Batum G POR 53 Marcus Thornton G SAC 54 Joakim Noah C CHI 55 Gerald Wallace F BKN 56 Ryan Anderson F NOR 57 Tony Parker G SA 58 Manu Ginobili G SA 59 Luol Deng F CHI

60 Jeremy Lin G HOU 61 Andrea Bargnani C TOR 62 Danilo Gallinari F DEN 63 Zach Randolph F MEM 64 Carlos Boozer F CHI 65 Tim Duncan F SA 66 Kris Humphries F BKN 67 JaVale McGee C DEN 68 Tyson Chandler C NYK 69 Klay Thompson G GSW 70 Jrue Holiday G PHI

71 Ersan Ilyasova F MIL 72 Andrew Bogut C GSW 73 Raymond Felton G NYK 74 Kevin Martin G HOU 75 Isaiah Thomas G SAC 76 Nene Hilario F WAS 77 Wesley Matthews G POR 78 Damian Lillard G POR 79 Arron Afflalo G ORL 80 Kenneth Faried F DEN

81 Jason Terry G BOS 82 Kemba Walker G CHA 83 Jeff Teague G ATL 84 Brandon Knight G DET 85 Ray Allen G MIA 86 Evan Turner G PHI 87 Mo Williams G UTA 88 Derrick Favors F UTA 89 Glen Davis F ORL 90 Luis Scola F PHO

91 Gordon Hayward G UTA 92 Louis Williams G ATL 93 Darren Collison G DAL 94 Kawhi Leonard G SA 95 DeAndre Jordan C LAC 96 Nikola Pekovic C MIN 97 Rodney Stuckey G DET 98 Jameer Nelson G ORL 99 Ricky Rubio G MIN 100 Michael Beasley F PHO

101 Anderson Varejao C CLE 102 David West F IND 103 Michael Kidd-Gilchrist F CHA 104 Andrei Kirilenko F MIN 105 O.J. Mayo G DAL 106 DeMar DeRozan G TOR 107 Chris Kaman C DAL 108 George Hill G IND 109 Derrick Rose G CHI 110 Ben Gordon G CHA 111 Al Harrington F ORL 112 J.J. Hickson F POR 113 J.R. Smith F NYK 114 Harrison Barnes F GSW 115 Thaddeus Young F PHI 116 Bradley Beal G WAS 117 Elton Brand F DAL 118 Thomas Robinson F SAC 119 Tristan Thompson F CLE 120 Jared Dudley G PHO 121 Samuel Dalembert C MIL 122 Greivis Vasquez G NOR 123 Jonas Valanciunas C TOR 124 Dion Waiters G CLE 125 Gerald Henderson G CHA 126 Luke Ridnour G MIN 127 Caron Butler F LAC 128 Jarrett Jack G GSW 129 Jose Calderon G TOR 130 Tony Allen G MEM 131 Hedo Turkoglu F ORL 132 Jason Kidd G NYK 133 Emeka Okafor C WAS 134 Derrick Williams F MIN 135 Trevor Ariza G WAS 136 Nick Young G PHI 137 Spencer Hawes C PHI 138 Mike Dunleavy G MIL 139 Jordan Crawford G WAS 140 Brandon Bass F BOS 141 Jason Richardson G PHI 142 Devin Harris G ATL 143 Ramon Sessions G CHA 144 Omer Asik C HOU 145 Marvin Williams F UTA 146 Wilson Chandler G DEN 147 Kirk Hinrich G CHI 148 Mario Chalmers G MIA 149 MarShon Brooks G BKN 150 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).

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