Fantasy Basketball 2013: Highlighting Top Sleepers Worth Drafting

Patrick ClarkeCorrespondent IOctober 9, 2013

Oct 9, 2013; Providence, RI, USA; Boston Celtics small forward Gerald Wallace (45) warms up prior to a game against the New York Knicks at Dunkin Donuts Center. Mandatory Credit: Mark L. Baer-USA TODAY Sports
Mark L. Baer-USA TODAY Sports

Not every fantasy basketball owner will be fortunate enough to land LeBron James or Kevin Durant in their draft this fall, and that's why pinpointing the best sleepers early will be the key to winning it all for many.

Whether it's a rookie with a smooth shooting stroke like Sacramento's Ben McLemore or a productive veteran like Philadelphia's Spencer Hawes, sleepers are everywhere. It's just a matter of picking the right ones. 

Below, I'll highlight a trio of big-time sleepers worth drafting this season.

 

J.J. Hickson, Denver Nuggets, PF

MEMPHIS, TN - MARCH 6: J.J. Hickson #21 of the Portland Trail Blazers controls the ball against Ed Davis #32 of the Memphis Grizzlies on March 6, 2013 at FedExForum in Memphis, Tennessee. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downl
Joe Murphy/Getty Images

Veteran power forward J.J. Hickson has flown under the radar playing in the Pacific Northwest with the Portland Trail Blazers over the past two seasons, but it's time fantasy owners took notice.

The 25-year-old will get a fresh start in Denver this season and should flourish alongside the team's other up-and-coming players. Hickson averaged a double-double last season, scoring 12.7 points per game and reeling in 10.4 boards per night. And he's already at it again in the preseason, per the Nuggets' official Twitter account: 

Hickson also shot a career-best 56 percent from the floor in 2012-13, which means he'll likely make the most of his limited touches this season.

Frankly, the newest Nugget is a safer sleeper option at power forward than guys like Cody Zeller and Derrick Williams, who have yet to prove they can deliver on a consistent basis.

 

Gerald Wallace, Boston Celtics, SF

WALTHAM, MA - SEPTEMBER 30: Gerald Wallace #45 of the Boston Celtics poses for a picture during media day at the Boston Sports Club in Waltham, Massachusetts on September 30, 2013. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading
Brian Babineau/Getty Images

Gerald Wallace may have had a disappointing showing in Brooklyn last season, but expect much-improved numbers from the veteran forward this season with the Celtics.

Paul Pierce, Kevin Garnett and Jason Terry are all donning Nets jerseys now, which means plenty of touches for Wallace in Boston. And considering the 31-year-old is shooting 47 percent from the field for his NBA career, you can bank on him to cash in on those chances.

Wallace is also one of the better rebounding small forwards in the league and will help your roster in that area. He recorded a career-high 10 boards per game in 2009-10 with Charlotte and averages over six per game for his career.

 

Andrew Bogut, Golden State Warriors, C

Another veteran player who fantasy owners can count on in 2013-14 is Golden State Warriors center Andrew Bogut.

The former No. 1 overall pick in 2005 struggled during the regular season a year ago because of an ankle injury, but discovered his rhythm in the postseason, averaging 7.2 points and 10.9 rebounds per game in 12 playoff appearances with the Warriors. 

When healthy, the 7-footer is an often-underrated performer. After all, Bogut is a beast on the boards and a quality shot-blocker. He's averaged two or more blocked shots per game in three of the past four seasons and will rank among the top defenders in the league in that category again this season.

 

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