NBA Sleepers: 6 Players Impressing Early
After a brief training camp, the NBA is now in full swing. Some coaches will have to create a rotation on the fly, creating new opportunities for players across the league.
These six sleepers have found a niche early. They are producing for their real teams, and if you are looking for some help in the fantasy game, could produce for yours as well.
Do not miss out on these fast starters.
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We expected a breakout season from the Oklahoma City Thunder's James Harden, but playing with big-time scorers like Russell Westbrook and Kevin Durant could have tempered some expectations.
So far, one basketball for three dynamic players has not been a problem. Harden has scored between 15 and 20 points in all three games and is averaging seven more minutes than last season.
Harden is a do-everything guy producing in every category but blocks. If Westbrook continues to struggle with turnovers, Harden will take over some of the point guard duties and will rack up solid assist numbers.
From a fantasy perspective, pick Harden up now if he is still available in your league.
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One game does not make a career, even if it is Norris Cole hitting the game-winning shot for the Miami Heat.
What I do like about Cole other than his breakout game is the minutes he is getting—22 per game. The Heat coaches love his confidence, and that is something you cannot teach.
As he continues to produce with his playing time, his all-around game will continue to grow along with his role with the Heat.
I loved Marshon Brooks' potential to add scoring punch off the bench to a veteran team in need of some youth.
I thought he landed in the perfect spot with the Boston Celtics, but they promptly traded him to the New Jersey Nets on draft night.
While he likely will not sniff the playoffs, he has already established himself as a scorer for the Nets, as Brooks is coming off of back-to-back 17 point games. His efficiency from the field is improving with each passing game, and it is only a matter of time before he takes over for Anthony Morrow as the starting shooting guard.
If you are in a deep fantasy league, grab Brooks and stash him on the bench. The more experience he gets, the better option he will be for points, threes and steals.
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I am not alone in predicting 2012 as a breakout year for Ty Lawson. If he continues to put up 22 per game, he will have surpassed even the most optimistic hopes.
Lawson is shooting a blistering 62 percent from the field, driving past defenders or stepping back and dropping threes with ease.
That percentage will not last, and his scoring will cool off, but 18 points per game from the explosive guard is realistic.
Lawson is a solid option for threes, and could end up as one of the league's leaders in steals, as he has 12 through the first three games.
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When the Chicago Bulls drafted James Johnson, I likened him to a Ron Artest-type. Unfortunately, that team was loaded at both forward positions, and playing time was hard to come by.
The same cannot be said for his current team, the Toronto Raptors, and Johnson is making the most of his opportunity. The 250-pound forward has let Demar Derozan and Andrea Bargnani handle the scoring, but has done everything else as the team's go-to defender.
Johnson has five steals and eight blocks through two games. If you need a defensive star, pick up Johnson, who could be one of those rare players to average at least two steals and two blocks per game, along with solid rebounding numbers.
As he continues to look for his shot, Johnson could produce a three per game as well.
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Boris Diaw has been a fringe starter and decent fantasy option for his entire career. Judging on his first two games, Diaw could be set to take his all-around game to another level.
Diaw posted two near-trible doubles in his first two games. Diaw has been a decent producer in virtually every category for the majority of his career, but had no discernible niche to make him a must-have player
. Pick Diaw up and see if he can keep producing near his current level.