Fantasy Up: How Offseason Moves Could Improve These Players' Fantasy Values
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The 2010 NBA offseason was a turbulent one to say the least, as many marquee players shuffled around to different teams, completely changing the landscape of each team and even the league in general. While all of these moves will certainly make for an interesting season, what will they mean for millions of fantasy owners as they scour the board for worthy draft picks?
Here we will break down some players from all ends of the scale who may have benefited from the wheels of change.
Raymond Felton, New York Knicks
Felton had somewhat of an odd year statistically last season, posting a career low 5.6 APG and 10.1 FGA, but career highs in FG percentage (.459) and 3P percentage (.385). His 12.1 PPG and .763 FT percentage were also his lowest since his rookie year.
Although this overall drop in production may put off many fantasy owners, it is a whole new ball game for Felton this year. Traded to the Knicks back in July, Felton is now running Mike D'Antoni's "seven second offense," a term that should make fantasy owners jump with excitement. This quick-paced offense should mean more shots for Felton, but more importantly, more assists. With low-post presence Amar'e Stoudemire to feed the ball to, Felton should definitely improve on last season's numbers.
Anthony Morrow, New Jersey Nets
A third-year pro out of Georgia Tech, Morrow saw decent playing time (29 MPG) last year off the bench with Golden State. Now a starter for the Nets, Morrow should see an increase in numbers all around, and will also be the third scoring option in many of the Nets lineups.
Morrow is also a great three-point shooter, averaging two made threes per game at a 46 percent clip last season.
That being said, Morrow may be a bit of a steal in the middle rounds of the draft who may even fall lower than that due to his relative obscurity.
DeMar DeRozan, Toronto Raptors
Without Hedo Turkoglu and Chris Bosh, somebody has to do the scoring in Toronto, right? Why not this young, athletic SG who showed glimpses of greatness last year in his meager 21 MPG? The way Toronto's roster looks now, he may be the No. 2 scoring option in the starting lineup behind Andrea Bargnani. Definitely look for DeRozan to improve upon the 8.6 PPG and 0.7 APG he put up during his rookie campaign last year.
Al Jefferson, Utah Jazz
Last season, Jefferson saw a slight drop in production, but that was not due to his lack of performance. The Timberwolves rotation was somewhat of an enigma that often left fantasy owners wondering why the star PF on the team was seeing a decrease in playing time, especially as the team fell further and further into the abyss.
Jefferson did manage to put up 17.1 PPG and 9.3 RPG, but he is definitely capable of more than that. Now, Jefferson is trying to fill the hole left by Carlos Boozer, and should have no problem doing so. With Deron Williams as his point guard, the possibilities are endless for Jefferson. Expect him to return to his 2008 form and put up another 20/10 season.
Steve Blake, L.A. Lakers
When backup PG Jordan Farmar departed for New Jersey, the Lakers looked to veteran Steve Blake to fill the hole. Never a top PG or elite passer, Blake has posted quality numbers as a backup throughout his career (4.3 APG), even on dismal teams like the Trailblazers and Clippers.
Right now, incumbent starter Derek Fisher is 36 years old and may not post the numbers the Lakers are hoping for. If that does happen, or if he somehow gets injured, Blake could be given the chance to shine on what hopes to be a very high caliber team. Either way, there is a lot of upside for Blake this year, and he may very well end up being the team's assist leader at some point.
J.J. Hickson, Cleveland Cavaliers
It would be a stretch to say that Hickson should be owned in the majority of league's, but he is definitely worth a look in deeper leagues. With the departure of LeBron, there will about 15-20 extra shots up for grabs each game, and on a team that isn't exactly looking to do any damage in the postseason this year, Hickson may get a chance to gobble up some of those chances.
Although he is still very raw, Hickson definitely has potential to pull down a decent amount of rebounds a game and hover around the 10-12 PPG range, especially if he can lock down the starting job.
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