The 2013-14 NBA regular season is less than one week away from commencing, and that has fantasy owners running rampant. Every fantasy basketball player is looking to build a contender, and the key to that is often finding a standout scorer.
The question is, which underrated players will light up the scoreboard for you in 2013-14?
|1.||Kevin Durant, Oklahoma City Thunder||28.1|
|2.||Carmelo Anthony, New York Knicks||28.7|
|3.||LeBron James, Miami Heat||26.8|
|4.||James Harden, Houston Rockets||25.9|
|5.||Stephen Curry, Golden State Warriors||22.9|
|6.||Kobe Bryant, Los Angeles Lakers||27.3|
|8.||Derrick Rose, Chicago Bulls||N/A|
|9.||Russell Westbrook, Oklahoma City Thunder||23.2|
|10.||Dwyane Wade, Miami Heat||21.2|
PPG averages via NBA.com
Monta Ellis, Dallas Mavericks
Position: Shooting Guard
Experience: 9th Season
2012-13 Season Averages
16.30 PER, 19.2 PPG, 6.0 APG, 3.9 RPG, 2.1 SPG
In his two seasons with the Milwaukee Bucks, shooting guard Monta Ellis averaged 18.9 points on 43.5 percent shooting from the floor. From the 2006-07 to 2010-11 seasons with the Golden State Warriors, Ellis put up 21.8 points on 46.8 percent shooting from the field.
With a world-class head coach in Rick Carlisle, expect Ellis to return to his former self as a member of the Dallas Mavericks.
You can question Ellis' status as a star, but there's no way around the fact that the 27-year-old can flat out score. He's topped 20 points per game in four of his past six seasons and will now play on a team that has a low-post presence, Dirk Nowitzki, to alleviate defensive pressure.
It certainly doesn't hurt that Ellis believes that he's passing too much in the preseason.
Monta Ellis thinks he's passing too much. http://t.co/5HS2U5SHP5 No, seriously.— Hardwood Paroxysm (@HPbasketball) October 24, 2013
If you need a fantasy basketball player who will light up the scoreboard, Ellis is your guy.
Even in a down year, Ellis was 11th in the NBA in points per game during the 2012-13 regular season. More importantly for fantasy basketball owners, he averaged 6.0 assists, 3.9 rebounds and 2.1 steals—exceptionally valuable numbers for your fantasy team.
Per ESPN, Ellis' current average draft position is 39.0.
Tobias Harris, Orlando Magic
Experience: 3rd Season
2013 Season Statistics
16.05 PER, 23.6 MPG, 11.0 PPG, 5.2 RPG, 1.3 APG
On the surface, Tobias Harris had a quality 2012-13 season with averages of 11.0 points, 5.2 rebounds and 1.3 assists per game. Upon a deeper evaluation, it becomes clear that Harris has made a significant leap towards stardom.
After the All-Star break, Harris averaged 17.3 points, 8.5 rebounds, 2.1 assists, 1.4 blocks and 0.9 steals on 45.3 percent shooting from the field in 36.1 minutes.
Harris' development wasn't just stunning, but it was something that can be continued in 2013-14. Harris was a rebounding menace, specifically on the offensive end, and his effort was often rewarded by his teammates.
Whether it's Jameer Nelson or Victor Oladipo, the player running point will look Harris' way on a consistent basis.
The key for Harris is that he's versatile enough to play either forward position at an athletic 6'9" and 235 pounds. Alongside a cast of young players that haven't yet discovered which player is the go-to scorer, Harris can be trusted to shoot often in Orlando.
ESPN reports that Harris' current average draft position is 71.9.
Kemba Walker, Charlotte Bobcats
Position: Point Guard
Experience: 3rd Season
2013 Season Statistics
18.86 PER, 17.7 PPG, 5.7 APG, 3.5 RPG, 2.0 SPG
During his rookie season, Kemba Walker of the Charlotte Bobcats averaged 12.1 points, 4.4 assists and 0.9 steals per game. During his sophomore campaign in 2012-13, Walker upped those numbers to 17.7 points, 5.7 assists and 2.0 steals.
With a significantly better supporting cast in 2013-14, Walker will become a star. Get him on your fantasy basketball team before that happens.
The Bobcats have added offensive specialists down low in power forward Cody Zeller and center Al Jefferson. Both can score out of the post, spot-up for jumpers or dive off of the pick-and-roll.
That's something Charlotte hadn't possessed during Walker's first two years.
Not only will Walker's assist numbers increase, but he should be able to score with more efficiency. Defenses will collapse on Jefferson and Zeller, specifically on high-screen-and-dive plays, which means Walker will have more lanes to shoot and slash.
According to ESPN, Walker's currently coming off of fantasy basketball draft boards at an average position of 42.4.