Fantasy Basketball Draft Late Round Lottery Tickets
We all know that feeling. It’s round 15 and we have two bench spots left and we’re sifting through a mass of average NBA talent hoping to find an uncovered diamond. It’s kind of like being at a yard sale with tables and tables of junk, and everything has a $1 sticker on it. But there could be a priceless treasure in there somewhere, if you look hard enough. I’m not saying these are diamonds, but some of them could be really useful and worth well more than that $1 sticker implies.
Byron (B.J.) Mullens (CHA) – I’m not sure what’s going on with Mullens, but if you have a need in the three point category, then you’ll definitely want to scoop him up. He qualifies at PF and C on most sites and has turned into a three point shooting machine, launching 8 threes per game this preseason and hitting about 40% of them. I have no idea if this will continue into the regular season, but having a guy even putting up 4-5 threes from a non-traditional three point shooting position is truly valuable in the right league setup.
Taj Gibson (CHI) – Taj is going to be an average player this season with the outside possibility of having huge value if Boozer or Noah gets hurt, but that’s not really why I’m putting him on this list. Gibson is pure keeper league gold. It’s widely expected that this is Boozer’s last season in Chicago and the starting spot will be handed over to Gibson next year. It’s not an absolute sure thing, but getting a $1 keeper that could possibly even contribute this year is a pretty sweet deal.
C.J. Miles (CLE) – Miles has won the starting small forward spot for the Cavs and should get significant minutes this season. As an added bonus, he qualifies at SG and SF. Miles is just 25 years old and has been stuck in Utah for his entire career without much of an opportunity for minutes. His career per 36 stats are pretty impressive with 16 points, 4 rebounds, 2.4 assists, 1.3 steals and 4.9 threes attempted per game. Sometimes all a guy needs is a chance.
Andre Drummond (DET) – I didn’t initially like Drummond. I thought his offensive game was too much of a raw project, but I could have underestimated him. It really seems like the Pistons want to go young and get him on the floor, no matter the bumps and bruises along the way. The guy has unbelievable shotblocking potential, although he could cause you some problems with his FT%, but I don’t expect that he’ll be taking that many free throws so it shouldn’t hurt that bad.
Gerald Green (IND) – I’m not sure how long Danny Granger’s knee is going to hold up and Green is in prime position to take over a starting job if Granger is limited or gets shut down. I’ve also seen reports that the Pacers might also hand over the backup SG spot to Green. Between backup minutes at SG and backup minutes at SF when the Pacers rest Granger, Green could be in line for 30 MPG. He really had a breakout season in 2011-2012 that nobody seemed to notice going for 13 points, 3.5 rebounds and 1.4 three pointers made. He shot 48.1 from the field and 39.1 from three. Stretch that out to 36 minutes and it isn’t too different from what Granger produces.
Landry Fields (TOR) – Landry Fields has a special talent that could appeal to the right fantasy owner, he’s a monster rebounder from the guard position. His first season in New York he averaged 7.4 rebounds per 36 minutes. Last season saw him fall a little, but he still maintains a career 6.5 RPG per 36 minutes. It’s looking like he’s going to start at SF for the Raptors, and they definitely need rebounding help. A true late round rebounding treasure for a particular category and/or strategy.
Vince Carter (DAL) – Yeah, I know, he’s old and pretty close to washed up, but the Mavs desperately need scoring now that Dirk is on the shelf for at least 6 weeks. Reports have Carter accepting the responsibility of stepping into the vacant sixth man position which has long been held by Jason Terry. Terry was able to put up some solid stats in that position, so maybe there’s hope for Carter. Definitely worth a late round lotto ticket to find out.
Jarrett Jack (GSW) – Jack is one Stephen Curry ankle problem away from a starting job. Jack showed good skills last season in New Orleans going for 16 points, 6 assists, 4 rebounds and 1 three per game. I haven’t been impressed with Curry’s health, in fact the latest report has him leaving last night’s game with ankle problems.
Patrick Patterson (HOU) – Nobody seems to have noticed that Patterson is probably going to be the starting PF in Houston this year. He has the ability to put up 12 and 7 with a block per game. Not bad for a late round $1 pick and at just 23 years old he has room to improve.
Derrick Williams (MIN) – Kevin Love is out for 6-8 weeks and Williams gets an audition for his future in Minnesota, and maybe for his future in the league. If he passes the test you’ll definitely want to be on the bandwagon first before his $1 pricetag gets adjusted.
Eric Bledsoe (LAC) – Bledsoe is another keeper league treasure. There’s no guarantee that Chris Paul will stay with the Clippers next season and Bledsoe is next in line to take over the starting PG spot if Paul leaves. He’s much in the same position as Taj Gibson in Chicago. Once Paul is gone, the only way to have Bledsoe cheap for next season is to have him as a keeper that you drafted this season.
Al-Farouq Aminu (NOR) – The Hornets are trying to give away the starting SF spot to Aminu and all he has to do is step up and take it. So far, he hasn’t shown much, but that’s also the perfect time to grab him for a buck when everyone else tosses him away at the yard sale.
Meyers Leonard (POR) – The Blazers have given the starting center spot to JJ Hickson, but I really doubt that Hickson is the answer at that position. The move is a blessing for owners who want to scoop up Leonard on the cheap. The Blazers are going to absolutely suck this season and there won’t be any reason to keep Leonard on the bench. They might as well throw the kid out there and get him some experience, or at least see what he’s got. This pick is probably 25% lotto ticket for late this season and 75% lotto ticket as a keeper for next season.
Jared Dudley (PHO) – I’m really not sure why Dudley gets no love from fantasy owners, but the guy has a starting job and the ability to post 14 points, 5 rebounds, 2 assists, 1 steal and 1 three from the SG spot. That rebound number is pretty close to the big figure put up by Landry Fields that I mentioned earlier, and can really help you if your bigs aren’t rebounding monsters.
Bismack Biyombo (CHA) – Biyombo had a great rookie season in the blocks category with 1.8 per game and should once again be a huge source of blocks that nobody will draft. By comparison, only 8 players in the league had more blocks per game, and they all played way more minutes per night than Biyombo. He can fill a need for the right owner in the right type of league setup.
Tony Allen (MEM) – Allen doesn’t get drafted because he just isn’t an offensive player, but if you need to pad your steals category, he’s a true lotto grab. He was 7th in the league last season in steals and he’ll probably go undrafted in your league.