Dec 20, 2011 Blog
The 2011 NBA draft wasn’t one of the better rookie draft classes of the past few seasons, but there a few players who might provide immediate help to your fantasy team. Mostly though, these guys are going to be more important for keeper league owners. A handful of these guys could really develop in a couple of years if you have the patience to stash them away.
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Kyrie Irving, Cleveland – The Cavs used their amnesty card on Baron Davis, which was a very wise decision. Cleveland really has nothing going for it this season, so why not throw the rookies into the fire and get them some on the job training? Irving probably has the biggest chance for minutes of any of the new rookie class. It appears that Ramon Sessions will probably start the season at PG, but it won’t be long before Irving learns the NBA ropes and takes this spot for the next 5+ years.
Ricky Rubio, Minnesota – Techically, he’s still a rookie even though he was drafted a couple years ago. All reports are that Rubio is living up to the hype. You will have to pay up for him, but it might be worth the gamble if you like Jason Kidd type fantasy numbers.
Brandon Knight, Detroit – Knight has been so impressive in camp that there is actually talk of moving Rodney Stuckey to shooting guard so that Knight can get minutes. There’s a good chance that Knight could get 25 minutes a game this season and put up some nice stats. Definitely worth a late round gamble.
Derrick Williams, Minnesota – Williams has a good shooting touch for a big man, but he’s stuck behind Michael Beasley and Kevin Love right now. I’d say he probably has a better shot at minutes from the SF position this year and could work his way into around 20-25 minutes a game.
MarShon Brooks, New Jersey – Brooks’ immediate future really depends on what the Nets do in the Dwight Howard sweepstakes. If the Nets manage to land Howard, then Brooks will likely be buried on the bench as New Jersey will look to win now rather than rebuild. However, if the Nets go with what they currently have, Brooks might get decent minutes as the Nets try to find out what they have in their new draft pick. He’s only got Anthony Morrow as competition.
Jimmer Fredette, Sacramento – Jimmermania hasn’t caught on yet in Sacramento, but it will. Fredette is a guy you definitely want to get on your keeper team and probably on your one year league team too. Tyreke Evans has a shaky health history, so Fredette could find himself in the starting lineup at some point this season.
Kenneth Faried, Denver – Faried is an excellent rebounder and he’s going to get good minutes on a Denver team that doesn’t have enough decent big men. He could surprise with a double-double average if he gets 30 minutes a game.
Tristan Thompson, Cleveland – Thompson has a good chance for minutes playing behind the aging and injury prone Antawn Jamison, but he really doesn’t have much of an offensive game and gets most of his basketball value on defense, which isn’t the type of player you want to target in fantasy. He’s got a great teacher though in Jamison, so he’s probably a better keeper gamble than immediate fantasy help.
Bismack Biyombo, Charlotte – Biyombo negotiated a buyout of his overseas contract and should be ready to play with the Bobcats this season. He should be a shot blocking machine, so grab him if you need help in that category. Don’t look for much offense though.
Iman Shumpert, New York – Shumpert is a combo guard who can do a little bit of everything, much like the guy he will be competing against for minutes, Landry Fields. Shumpert is probably a better playmaker than Fields and could see some time at PG. This was a curious draft pick by the Knicks, but after checking out his game, they may have made a wise selection.
Norris Cole, Miami – Cole seems to be fitting in well with the Heat and he’s even pressing Mario Chalmers for the starting spot. I don’t think he has much chance of overtaking Chalmers, but he could see some decent backup minutes if Chalmers falters.
Charles Jenkins, Golden State – He’s backing up Stephen Curry, so there’s always the chance of a injury putting him in the starting lineup. He’s probably not draftable, but keep him on you waiver wire watchlist, especially if you already own Curry.
Jan Vesely, New York – Vesely is a project and needs work with his shooting, but he could develop into a nice player in a year or two. Probably not much help this year though and much more likely to be helpful to guys in keeper leagues.
Jimmy Butler, Chicago – It seems like the Bulls have been very impressed with Butler, but he doesn’t have much chance of passing the other wing players on the roster without an injury or two.
Enes Kanter, Utah – Everyone seems to be very high on Kanter even though he hasn’t played a college or pro game in his career. He’s stuck behind Al Jefferson, Mehmet Okur, Derrick Favors and Paul Millsap, so he’s probably not going to see much court time this season. Keeper league material only.
Alec Burks, Utah – It looks like C.J. Miles and Raja Bell are ahead of him on the depth chart, which is too bad because Burks has looked great in camp. If the Jazz find themselves out of the race early, they could start grooming Burks to take over in 2012-2013.