It has been a while, but the new NBA season is starting so I figured I would start up too. The new season brings lots of new questions to the table for a lot of teams, will the Clippers be the top of the West with Doc at the helm? Will the Bulls compete with a healthy Rose? Will the Thunder be a powerhouse with no “true” third option and a banged up/recovering Westbrook for the first few months? How bad will the Bobcats be this year? With a new season there are also fun questions in regard to fantasy players too, will Kyrie Irving take that next step and replace CP3 as the best PG in fantasy? Will Kevin Love and Ricky Rubio be top dogs in their respective positions now that they are fully healthy? What Dwight will we get in Houston? How good will Pau be with no Kobe? Can some of the rookies be fantasy relevant this season? Unfortunately I can’t give you answers to these questions we will all just have to watch the season unfold, but what I can do is give you the 10 guys I think will make a huge fantasy splash this season. Some of the guys will seem like pretty obvious guesses, but a few are going to be long shots that I think will be fantasy relevant or take that big step into the fantasy “must have” category. So without further ado my list of 10 guys who will surprise you this NBA season.
1) Kyrie Irving PG-Cle – So we all know that Irving is a beast, and he is entering his third season which is a typical year when guys take that BIG jump from good to great. He can take over a 4th quarter because of his quickness, and his ability to shoot an outside jumper. I think all of his % will be higher than they were last year (he has a better cast around him and they are all maturing which should mean smarter shots). I also think he could easily be a 24 pts, 4 reb, 8 ast, 2 stl guy this year. And with those numbers he will finish as one of the top 5 guys in fantasy basketball. If you have the chance to pull the trigger on him in the first round don’t be afraid!
2013-14 season projection- 48.3% FG, 87.6% FT, 1.9 3’s, 24.2 pts, 3.8 reb, 8.1 ast, 2.1 stl, 0.5 blk, 3.1 TO
2) Al Jefferson C-Cha – Al at one point in his career had a 23/11/2 season (2 being blks). That was with Min when he was the featured guy in the offense. He had plenty of chances in Utah, but it never seemed to quite fit for him there (he still put up really good numbers the last three years). I think Cha will look to Al early and often to wear down the interior of teams so that the young guards get a chance to have some freedom. I think we will see numbers similar to what he did back in 2008. Great value pick on a bad team, plus he doesn’t hurt you in any category as a big man!
2013-14 season projection- 50.4% FG, 77.5% FT, 0.1 3’s, 22.4 pts, 10.7 reb, 2.2 ast, 0.7 stl, 1.6 blk, 1.6 TO
3) Ricky Rubio PG-Min – Ricky should be 100% healthy after his ACL surgery the end of the 2011 season, and he has now been in the NBA for 2 full years (this being his third) which as I said about Kyrie that is usually when guys finally know what they can and can’t do against the competition. Rubio can’t shoot and I don’t think that will change anytime soon, but what he can do is rack up lots of ast, and get you a ton of stls. He is above elite in both categories so if this helps your strategy in building a team that tanks fg% he is a guy you can’t pass on. He will have a career year in all categories and Min should be really fun to watch.
2013-14 season projection- 41.5% FG, 80.8 FT%, 0.8 3’s, 12.2 pts, 4.9 reb, 12.3 ast, 2.6 stl, 0.3 blk, 3.2 TO
4) Paul Milsap PF-Atl – Paul had a career year in 2010 then has steadily declined since then. I think alot of that was due to the constant change in Utah, and the fact they had about 75 Big men on the roster last year trying to get minutes. Paul is one of those guys who will never overwhelm you with his numbers, but when you take a closer look he does a little bit of everything for you, and is a complement to any team strategy you guy with this season. I think him and Al Horford will make a great duo switching between the high and low post! Expect big things from Milsap this season.
2013-14 season projection- 52.5% FG, 77.7 % FT, 0.3 3’s, 16.2 Pts, 8.4 reb, 2.7 ast, 1.7 stl, 1.3 blk, 1.5 TO
5) Ersan Ilysova SF, PF-Mil – Ersan has had two good seasons the last two, he has shown flashes in both that point to him being able to be a big time player in the NBA. I think with some of the guys out of Mil that required a lot of shots Ersan and some of the other guys in Mil will get a chance to shine. He has shown he can reb at a high rate, and able to shoot around 50% from the field. I fully expect him to put together a season where he does both of those and some this season. Don’t expect Mil to be anything special in the NBA world but they have a couple of high quality fantasy guys. Ersan will be one of them.
2013-14 season projection- 48.9% FG, 82.0% FT, 1.5 3’s, 14.6 pts, 7.8 reb, 2.1 ast, 1.1 stl, 0.8 blk, 1.9 TO
6) Andrew Bynum C-Cle – Bynum hasn’t played a NBA game since the end of 2011, but reports are saying he is looking good, and is practicing at a fairly high level. He is only going to turn 27 this year so he isn’t old by any means. He was the 2nd best C when he played from 2009-2011. And I think if he plays at least 2/3 of the season he can put up the numbers to finish top 3 at the C position this year too. He seems motivated and has a good young Cle team around him. All he needs to do is get healthy and play some basketball. I would say expect around 55-60 games from Bynum this year.
2013-14 season projection- 57.4% FG, 69.8% FT, 0.0 3’s, 15.5 pts, 9.3 reb, 1.8 ast, 0.6 stl, 2.2 blk, 1.8 TO
7) Derrick Favors PF, C-Utah – I know preseason doesn’t mean much of anything, but Favors is rebounding the ball at an incredible rate this preseason. He was living in the shadow of Al Jefferson and Paul Milsap the last 3 years, but now will get to show everyone why he was highly touted coming out of college. He will finally get starters minutes, and he is someone I will be eyeing in every league this year. He can block shots, and will grab tons of rebounds for you. Don’t pass him up this year.
2013-14 season projection- 48.8% FG, 65.9% FT, 0.0 3’s, 15.2 pts, 11.6 reb, 1.5 ast, 1.1 stl, 1.9 blk, 2.2 TO
8) Evan Turner SG, SF-Phi – Evan has great ability and is entering his 4th season in the NBA. The 76ers won’t be good, but Evan is one of the few options on the team. He is going to take a dip in his FG% this season and in his TO, but since the team is letting him run the show this year all the other numbers are going to be fun to have. He is a guy that you can build your tank FG% team with. So don’t be afraid to pull the trigger because he will help you in a lot of categories!
2013-14 season projection- 40.8% FG, 77.5% FT, 1.1 3’s, 6.9 reb, 5.3 ast, 1.1 stl, 0.5 blk, 3.3 TO
9) Tiago Splitter C-SA – Tiago has quietly become a very effective C in the NBA and puts up quality numbers to make him relevant in almost every fantasy format. He has gotten better every year, and will continue to get more minutes to play as Tim gets more rest, and Pop begins to trust the young Center. I don’t think he is going to finish in the top 10 of Centers this year, but he is going to make himself a great 2nd or 3rd option on any team. He is a guy that is efficient and that is important in fantasy basketball.
2013-14 season projection- 58.9% FG, 74.5% FT, 0.0 3’s, 13.3 pts, 7.1 reb, 2.3 ast, 0.9 stl, 1.4 blk, 1.2 TO
10) Steven Adams C-OKC – Stevan won’t put up huge numbers because he won’t be the starter but I think Perk will get hurt at some point this year, and Adams will be forced to play big minutes for about a month to two months. He has shown he can put up some good “big” numbers in the preseason, and plays really aggressively on the offensive glass. He also can catch the ball (which Perk or Serge can’t do all that well on the inside…it hurts me everytime I see one of them get a BEAUTIFUL entry pass from KD or Russ, and it hits their chest and rolls down their body out of bounds) This is a total homer pick and I’m probably blinded by my optimism, but I think he has some good “tools” to be effective on the Thunder when given the opportunity to play.
2013-14 season projection- 55.8% FG, 65% FT, 0.0 3’s, 7.2 pts, 6.1 reb, 1.1 ast, 0.5 stl, 1.3 blk, 1.5 TO
Well there you have it my 10 guys who will surprise this season. Let me know who you think is going to exceed expectations this year in the comments, and don’t forget to “like” the Hombre on facebook or subscribe to the blog. I will be posting my 10 guys who I think will disappoint sometime this weekend. Good luck to you all this fantasy basketball season!