This NBA season has seen many young players take advantage of opportunities to put up numbers.
Devin Harris embraced his new role in New Jersey and became arguably the best point guard in the East. Meanwhile, Rajon Rondo, Spencer Hawes, and Jeff Green have taken their games to the next level.
O.J. Mayo, Derrick Rose, and Russell Westbrook proved the rookie guards are deep in talent. Roger Mason, Marquis Daniels, John Salmons, and Paul Millsap stepped up with teammates injured. Now, eight weeks into the season, who else is poised to make the jump to fantasy contributor? Here are a few players for you to consider:
Rodney Stuckey, PG, SG
Since new line-up: 3G, 35.7 mpg, 14.7 ppg, 9.7 apg, 2.0 spg, 1.7 3pg, 68.1 FG%
When the Detroit Pistons traded Chauncey Billups for Allen Iverson, I immediately went out and grabbed Rodney Stuckey. Too early.
Even though the Pistons' best five players were Stuckey, Iverson, Hamilton, Tayshuan Prince, and Rasheed Wallace, that line-up seemed too mismatched at the 3 and 4 spots ever to be feasible. Wrong. That is exactly the starting line-up Detroit is running now, and Stuckey is a bonafide star.
D.J. Augustin, PG
Since Raja Bell: 3G, 33.0 mpg, 18.7 ppg, 4.3 apg, 2.0 3pg, 100 FT% (20/20 total)
Augustin has actually been a known quantity for a while, but a few owners got nervous after Raja Bell supplanted him in the starting line-up. It didn't help that two games into the Bell Era, Augustin rolled out a nine and four night on 30.8 percent shooting.
Of course, he followed that with a 29 and seven (on still terrible 37.5 percent shooting). So which Augustin is for real?
He was the odd man out with a healthy Raymond Felton and Jason Richardson, but Bell is not going to put up the points that Richardson did. Felton is likely not going away this season, but the Bobcats still need points and Augustin will get his minutes off the bench.
Boris Diaw, PF, C
In Charlotte: 3G, 37.8 mpg, 15.7 ppg, 6.3 rpg, 4.0 apg
Diaw hasn't been worthy of a roster spot since his 2005-06 Most Improved Player campaign, but Charlotte does need a power forward. He can put up some decent numbers if you can stomach the turnovers.
Matt Bonner, PF, C
As starter: 7G, 27.5 mpg, 12.0 ppg, 7.4 rpg, 1.9 3pg, 0.7 TOpg, 61.4 FG%
No, the red-headed Robert Horry is not going to win your week for you, but, ever since he took over Fabricio Oberto's starting spot, but he's been a solid contributor who won't hurt you in any categories. For the record, though, Matt Bonner did just lay a fat 3-15 egg tonight. Ouch.
SOON, VERY SOON
Marreese Speights, PF, C
Per 36 min: 17.1 ppg, 10.1 rpg, 1.4 bpg, 1.3 spg
Who leads the rookies in Player Efficiency Rating (PER) so far this year?
Despite how amazingly Mayo, Rose, and others have been, it's Mareese Speights at 18.65. Tonight, he clocked 18:42, a mere seven seconds less than starting center Samuel Dalembert did. Yet he had the highest point differential at +12 (Dalembert finished at -5, while Elton Brand had -10).
Speights combines beastly size with a nice jump shot. With the Sixers doing so terribly, it could only be a matter of time before he gets his chance.
WORTH A LOOK
Eric Gordon, Jamario Moon, Louis Williams, Francisco Garcia, Marco Belinelli