Finishing the Fantasy Basketball Season

John LorgeSenior Writer IApril 7, 2009

PHOENIX - FEBRUARY 14:  J.R. Smith of the Denver Nuggets participates in the Sprite Slam Dunk Contest on All-Star Saturday Night, part of 2009 NBA All-Star Weekend at US Airways Center on February 14, 2009 in Phoenix, Arizona.  NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images)

You've been battling for 24 weeks, hitting up the waiver wire and negotiating trades.

Some of you are closing out a championship run.  Others have been eliminated.

Regardless of how you're finishing, paying attention to what is going on around the league can make you a better fantasy player this season and next season.

If you're still in the running it’s a must that you get the most out of your lineups every day.  Towards the end of the season young prospects began getting more time and they're productive enough to put in your lineups.  They are also your sleeper picks for next year. 

Ramon Session averaged 11 points and 11 assists per game last April—he was the deciding factor in many H2H championships and was designated himself as a sleeper pick this season.  If you just stuck it out with whom you had or quit paying attention to fantasy hoops news, you might have missed out on Sessions this season. 

So far in April, it looks like Anthony Morrow and Anthony Randolph are the two players to come out of nowhere to have a major impact.  If you need some help right now the young Warriors are averaging 19 points, 3.3 threes, 3.0 rebounds, and 2.0 assists, and 15 points, 12.7 rebounds, 1.7 steals, and one block per game, respectively, early in the month.

The future of the Warriors is in their youth, Jamal Crawford will be gone and Corey Maggette may be out too.  Morrow and Anthony are also establishing themselves as sleeper picks for next year.

The young stars of the NBA will shine at the end of the year too.  J.R. Smith has averaged 24.7 points per game in less than 27 minutes of play through April.  He has made 18 threes in the last three games and he is finally starting to come in line with his potential.

Smith was re-signed this summer, his three year deal means he is a part of the immediate future in Denver and the short term contract means Smith needs to produce so he can make big money in a few years. 

Smith's offensive game resembles Kobe Bryant, they both have unlimited range and elite athletic ability.  Having made the jump from high school in 2004, Smith is only 23 and is establishing himself as the number two scoring option in Denver.

Most rookies hit the wall at one point in the season and towards the end of the year they tend to stagger.  Last year Kevin Durant was one of the few rookies to finish strong and he got a running start into a great 2008-09 campaign.

Brook Lopez has the body to take the entire NBA season and he’s getting stronger every game.  In April, Lopez has averaged 17.3 points, 8.3 rebounds, and two blocks per game.

Lopez is the future of the Nets, with 35 minutes per game he will average a double-double, perfect for next year’s fantasy team.

There are cases like this all around the league that you should be paying attention to so you can you can capitalize now and properly order your draft sheets for next season.