Fantasy Basketball 2012: Sleepers Who Will Wildly Exceed Draft Status
The backbone to any great fantasy team is identifying players who will exceed projections and then drafting those guys at the right time.
It is always wise to identify players that fit this mold and target them in drafts. Here are three players who will prove to be a bargain.
Kawhi Leonard, SF, Spurs
Kawhi Leonard overachieved as a rookie last year, and he will continue to do so in his sophomore campaign.
Last season, Leonard averaged 7.9 points, 1.1 assists and 5.1 rebounds in 24 minutes per game. He shot 37.6 from beyond the arc, which made him a great fit in the Spurs' ball-movement-heavy offense.
His role will increase this season. The Spurs also have Stephen Jackson at small forward, but Leonard is a versatile player who can get minutes at several spots on the floor. According to ESPN, Leonard has fantasy eligibility at shooting guard to go with his natural small forward spot.
This flexibility is always handy on fantasy rosters.
Leonard should be available in the later rounds, and this young player is ready to easily surpass his output from the previous season.
Goran Dragic, PG, Phoenix Suns
Goran Dragic is going to be a consistent fantasy producer this year. The 26-year-old gave us all a glimpse of that last year.
He averaged 18.0 points, 8.4 assists and 1.8 steals in his 28 starts with the Rockets, shooting 49 percent from the field and hitting 39 percent of his shots from distance.
That strong showing has certainly raised his fantasy profile—ESPN has him ranked 20th in guard rankings. So it is hard to call him a sleeper, but he will outperform that ranking.
Dragic is going to have plenty of freedom and playing time as the Suns hand over control of their offense to him.
He will have a full season to grow into the starter's role, and he will be encouraged to score at will while running the point.
George Hill, PG, Pacers
After splitting time running the point with Darren Collison last year, the point guard position is now his.
The 26-year-old will be the Indiana Pacers starting point guard, and he will benefit from having the clearly defined role.
Hill is a natural scorer. He is a good shooter, and he knows how to get to the rim. He averaged 9.6 points in 25.5 minutes per game last season while shooting 36.7 from beyond the arc and 44.2 percent from the field. His 2.9 assists per game tied a career high.
Those numbers will increase with his minutes and his natural maturation, and he should see a big jump in assists while being the primary ball distributor on a talented team.
Hill is not going to be an elite point guard by any stretch of the imagination, but he will be a solid producer and will come cheap.
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