With fantasy basketball draft days, as well as the NBA’s opening day rapidly approaching, I want to stay following the arrow pointing up and continue biggin’ up the players who have seen their respective value climbing. After participating in numerous mock drafts there is a trend developing. Please allow me to share my perspective with you. These are the players you will want and need to make special note of.
Anthony Davis, New Orleans Hornets
Trending upward is this talented rookie, who was once thought of as an early third to fourth round pick. You will have to “reach” in the second round now to acquire his rights because everyone is buying into the hype. Davis might still be worth that price, but I have certainly noticed blocks being available later on.
A.J. Price, Washington Wizards
A.J. Price?!?! Yes, my loyal readers. Ever since John Wall went down, A.J. has stepped in nicely and has shown leadership and proven that he is the man to lead this Wizards team. Wall is expected back in around eight weeks, but who knows how long it will take for him to get back to game speed. Temper the expectations for Price, though I would have no problem drafting him late and inserting him until the franchise comes back. Whenever that might be.
Jonas Valanciunas, Toronto Raptors
Here is a name that you might want to get familiar with. After being drafted by Toronto, Jonas stayed overseas for one year to work on his game and to be “NBA ready.” Well, so far that decision is looking like a good one. If early indications are correct, the big man should be a fixture at the center position for the Raptors and provide excellent rebound and block totals. A steal for a player being drafted toward the end in every league I have seen.
Damian Lillard, Portland Trail Blazers
Is he Allen Iverson? Might he be like Russell Westbrook? Maybe he is just Damian Lillard! The baby-faced rook is tearing it up thus far. Portland has handed him the keys to the car, and boy, has he shown the ability to drive… and drive fast! Like really fast! Damian can hit the three (a must of mine for a point guard) and can flat out score the rock. His ability to get in the lane and distribute is equally impressive. He will be off the board no later than the fifth round. I am a buyer of him everywhere!
Paul George, Indiana Pacers
With news that teammate Danny Granger is having more issues with his left knee injury only makes me more comfy listing George here. Quite honestly, even without this news I would have included him here, so this recent news makes Paul that much more attractive. After really digesting this player’s game there is one player that comes to mind for a comparison (I love comparisons). That player is a young Shawn Marion. Now today’s Marion may make you say big friggin’ deal, but let us not forget Marion was once a top fantasy stud that was drafted easily in the first round of every draft. George’s ability to fill up the stat sheet in all the categories make me think he will provide that same first round value. Enjoy the threes, steals, and blocks all from one player! Currently, he is being drafted in the fourth round and I recommend you be the one who drafts him.
Jarrett Jack, Golden State Warriors
I am really not happy about including Jack in this column, but yes, what you are about to read is true. Stephen Curry did indeed suffer another ankle injury and on the same ankle he had surgery on. I truly hope I am wrong here and am rooting to be wrong, but Jack may end up having MORE value than Curry. If you can’t stay on the court like Steph seems allergic to, well, that statement might not be far off. Curry is already ruled out for the rest of the preseason and Jack has shown he is still a force when given minutes. I would look at Jack the same way fantasy footballers look at handcuffing their running backs. If you own Curry, you certainly want to protect your investment. Don’t be held hostage by another owner that adds Jack. You be the one to draft him. An injury again sometime during this season to Curry seems inevitable.
Greivis Vasquez, New Orleans Hornets
The Hornets selected Austin Rivers with the hope he would provide the necessary skills of a combo guard, playing both point guard and shooting guard. I never echoed those sentiments that he could play point guard, but now, unfortunately, he has suffered a terrible ankle injury and is sure to miss extended time. In what once was a cloudy and crowded situation is shaking itself out and the one s
till standing is Vasquez. The only true point guard on the roster, my educated guess is head coach Byron Scott recognizes this and plays Vasquez. Being selected in the middle-late rounds makes him worth the marginal investment.
Gerald Green, Indiana Pacers
As mentioned earlier, Granger is still experiencing pain. Just the same with Paul George, this injury will have its effect on Green as well. Gerald was slated to play a smaller role prior to any injury, but now that role could be growing rapidly for the explosive Green. Even without Granger missing any time, we like Green to outproduce his average draft position (ADP). He should be both guard- and forward-eligible and that only adds to his appeal.
Quote of the Week: “Basketball can serve as a metaphor for ultimate cooperation. It is a sport where success requires that the dictates of community prevail over selfish impulses.” – Bill Bradley