2013 Fantasy Basketball, Value Keepers: Men in the Middle
Nikola Vucevic, Orlando | Final Ownership: 98% | 2012-2013 ADP: 143
During the draft process, knocks on Vucevic were centralized on his questionable explosiveness and lack of foot speed. It’s safe to proclaim that his skill level and instincts have far and away superseded any perceived weaknesses. Post-All Star Break Vucevic averaged 15 points, 13 rebounds and two assists. He finished his sophomore campaign 2nd in the NBA in rebounding, which includes four 20-board games. While his shot blocking for a seven-footer leaves something to be desired, it won’t hold him back from elite center status in 2013-2014. He’ll team with fellow sensational keepers Tobias Harris and Maurice Harkless in the Magic frontcourt.
Omer Asik, Houston | Final Ownership: 97% | 2012-2013 ADP: 126
Perched directly behind Vucevic in the rebound leaders is Mr. Asik. The seven-footer from Turkey showed glimpses of his glass eating prowess with Chicago (five rebounds in 15 minutes), but he cemented himself as a double-double machine for the Rockets averaging ten points and 11.7 boards. Fact: Asik made only nine shots outside of the paint all season. Fact #2: His fantasy owners could care less about his limitations. He’s an old-school defensive anchor with a dirty work persona. Asik won’t slip past the third or fourth round.
Jonas Valanciunas, Toronto | Final Ownership: 63% | 2012-2013 ADP: 134
Big V stepped up his production in the season’s final seven contests to the tune of 15 points, 6 rebounds and 2.4 blocks per game. It’s hard to get carried away with a small sample size of meaningless basketball, but the potential is undoubtedly present. Perhaps most importantly, he stepped up his aggression level and got to the free throw stripe 7.7 times (85%). The Raptors are high on their big man, and the 7’0 260 pounder could develop into a focal point on the interior next season and subsequently a top-10 pure center option. He shot 64% on looks five-feet and in.
Andre Drummond, Detroit | Final Ownership: 63% | 2012-2013 ADP: 138
Drummond was a rebound and hustle category dynamo prior to being sidelined with a stress fracture in his back. Upon returning, he played solid ball over a ten-game span (in constrained minutes) to alleviate concerns going forward. Possessing the agility and lateral quickness of a guard at 280 pounds, his athleticism can absolutely wreck a game and fill up box scores. Free throws are a major concern at 37%, but watching him throw down alley-oops (31) with regularity takes away the sting. Drummond will assuredly be a draft day darling next year. Only 19-years of age, his ceiling is unlimited.
Enes Kanter, Utah | Final Ownership: 27% | 2012-2013 ADP: 151
With the Jazz frontcourt in a state of flux, Kanter is expected to assume a prominent role for years to come. Prior to dislocating his shoulder, the 20-year old from Switzerland compiled 11 points on 59% shooting and six rebounds per game in the month of March – in UNDER 20 minutes. In his two game starts this year he scored 41 points, grabbed 30 boards and made 61% of his field goals. By the end of next season, Kanter will have burst away from sleeper status.
Meyers Leonard, Portland | Final Ownership: 12% | 2012-2013 ADP: 156
Leonard exhibited tremendous development in the second-half of his rookie season. He’s added substantial muscle mass in a short period of time without hindering his agility. Add an improving frame to his soft shooting stroke at 7’1, and there’s an awful lot to look forward to. Leonard shot 39% on mid-range jumpers (37 makes) and occasionally showed off his three-point range (3/7). In six games without LaMarcus Aldridge in the lineup during late March and April, Leonard averaged 12.5 points and six rebounds per. He’s still probably more of a long-term keeper or dynasty target, but he’s oozing with potential and realizing it at an escalated pace.
*Ownership Percentages/ADP provided by CBS Sportsline
*All statistical data provided by NBA Stats
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