Derrick Rose—Chicago Bulls
Derrick Rose elevated his game in the playoffs averaging 19.7 points, 6.4 assists, 6.3 assists, and shot 49 percent from the field. During the regular season, he finished ranked 17th in assists (6.3), along with .2 three-pointers per game, and .8 steals per game.
He is a dynamic point guard with great speed and strength but did not have a great fantasy season. For him to jump into the elite PG tier, he needs to increase his threes, steals, and free-throw percentage.
Owners may buy into his hype and draft him in rounds three or four. Remember, while Rose should improve this year, he ranked 91st on the ESPN fantasy player rater.
David Lee—New York Knicks
David Lee set career highs in points (16.0), rebounds (11.7), steals (1.0), and minutes (34.9) last season. The restricted free agent is expected to sign a one-year deal with the Knicks soon. While he led the NBA with 65 double-doubles he finished third in rebounding.
Troy Murphy finished ahead of Lee in rebounds and is the better fantasy option; even though he averaged less points and shot worse from the field, he averaged more assists, blocks, and had a higher FT percentage than Lee. The Indiana Pacer also made 191 three-pointers last season. Lee has yet to make a three-pointer in 287 career games.
Murphy is an injury risk, but he has more upside because of his versatility.
Carlos Boozer—Utah Jazz
Carlos Boozer is a 20-10 player when he is healthy. However, he played in just 37 games last season due to a knee injury.
His scoring production was down to 16.2 PPG. Boozer is an elite power forward in the NBA, but his lack of blocked shots makes him a weak fantasy option. He has never averaged more than .7 blocks in a season and has averaged more than 11 rebounds once.
Paul Millsap started 38 games at PF for the Jazz last season and averaged 16 points, 10.3 rebounds, 1.2 steals, a block, and shot 54 percent from the field. Not only did he reel 19 straight double-doubles, but he was one of 15 players to average at least one steal and one block.
Elton Brand—Philadelphia 76ers
Elton Brand has played just 37 games over the past two seasons. His scoring and rebounding has declined over the past three years, while he is relatively young (30 years old).
He received more rest on his Achilles, while recovering from season-ending shoulder surgery. The 76ers' offense is a good fit for him and he should regain quickness and strength for the upcoming season. He is a risk-reward player, who when healthy, is a 20-10 with solid percentages and blocks.
Even though he doesn't block many shots, Luis Scola is a safer option with upside and will go a few rounds later.
Josh Smith—Atlanta Hawks
Josh Smith’s value relies heavily on his blocked shots.
He averaged a career low 1.6 last season, while his points and rebounding dipped from the previous season. He also shot 29 percent from downtown and 58 percent from the free-throw line.
While he should bounce back this season he is too risky to be drafted early.
Derrick Rose—Chicago Bulls