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2010-11 Draft Prep: Sleepers to consider

Sergio Gonzalez
Fantasy Writer
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It is always a good thing to get a lot for a little. In a Fantasy draft, finding the right sleeper can offer you a very good Fantasy option for a very cheap price and can propel your team to a championship.

When drafting, Fantasy owners should always have with them a working list of players they expect to be available to them late in drafts that they deem to have the upside and potential situation available to them to turn them into viable Fantasy players -- even if it is not right away.

The top thing to look for in a sleeper for your Fantasy hoops squad is their potential for playing time. Minutes are key. It does not matter how good a player may be if he is not on the floor long enough to rack up stats. By the same token, sometimes even a lesser player who might find himself in a situation for a good amount of run can lead to useful numbers.

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After playing time, the next thing you want to determine is how much upside that player has. Look for players who have put up numbers even on limited occasions whenever they have been given playing time. Their production per 48 minutes can be a very telling statistic when it comes to finding the right sleeper.

We have also found over the years that targeting 'bad' teams can lead to good results for Fantasy owners. While we don't expect any real surprises this year for teams like the Lakers or Heat, we do anticipate teams like the Cavaliers and Timberwolves to offer up some useful Fantasy options.

Below is a list of our Top 10 sleepers going into the 2010-11 regular season. We always encourage Fantasy owners to do their own research and come to their own conclusions, but this list is a very good starting point.

And it's fine with us if you just want to print these out and copy off us. We won't tell.

Top 10 Sleepers

1. Jeff Teague, G, ATL: New Hawks coach Larry Drew declared an open battle at point guard between Mike Bibby and Jeff Teague coming into the preseason and while he has missed time this preseason with an ankle injury he has shown excellent upside in his limited preseason action. Sooner or later, we expect Teague to take control of the point guard job in Atlanta and he has the potential to be not only a good distributor, but also a good scorer.

2. D.J. Augustin, G, CHA: The Bobcats are looking for a replacement at point guard with Raymond Felton out of town and Augustin looks more than capable of filling that role. He has put together a positive preseason, averaging in the mid teens in scoring with limited turnovers and solid 3-point shooting. The minutes will be there and so is the potential for career highs with increased minutes.

3. Ramon Sessions, G, CLE: Sessions' role is still undetermined going into the season, but we expect him to see solid playing time this year either as a starter or off the bench. The Cavaliers are looking for capable scorers in the absence of LeBron James and Sessions has put up good scoring numbers whenever he's gotten good playing time in his career. But he's also proven to be able to put together very useful and diverse stat lines for category leagues. Last year, he averaged 18.7 points, 7.2 assists and 5.9 rebounds over 48 minutes.

4. Will Bynum, G, DET: The Pistons are considering Bynum as their starting point guard going into the season. Rodney Stuckey would play a sixth man role off the bench and is still going to be around to sap Bynum of his potential for high-end numbers. He averaged 18.1 points and 8.1 assists per game over 48 minutes last season, so there is real upside here.

5. Hakim Warrick, F, PHO: The Suns are not set on what they will do at power forward this season to replace the loss of Amar'e Stoudemire. They are toying with the idea of using under-sized Hedo Turkoglu at the four, but if that does not work out (as we anticipate it will not), Warrick will be right there to pick up the minutes. He has had a strong preseason, even leading the team in scoring for much of it. He is another player who has flourished when given significant playing time in the past, but he has struggled with consistency. He may have a chance to straighten out those issues this season in Phoenix.

6. Darko Milicic, C, MIN: Darko will be looking to build off a successful stint in the second half of last season in Minnesota. He averaged 8.3 points, 5.5 rebounds and 1.4 blocks per game in his 24 games with the Timberwolves, which doesn't look like much, but one has to consider that Darko was not in the best playing shape after seeing very little playing time in New York. He will never live up to the expectations that the Pistons had when they selected him No. 2 overall in 2003, but he is an excellent shot blocker and can benefit from big minutes alongside a strong offensive player in Kevin Love this year.

7. DeJuan Blair, C, SA: Blair is expected to start at center to begin the year in San Antonio. He averaged 8.8 points and 8.4 rebounds in 23 starts last season, but that was playing just 23.6 minutes per game. This season, as the team continues to try to ease the burden on an aging Tim Duncan, we expect Blair's minutes to get up closer to 30 minutes per game, making a 10-and-10 season a distinct possibility.

8. Josh McRoberts/Tyler Hansbrough, F, IND: The power forward job in Indiana is still up for grabs and each player has made a strong case to be the replacement for Troy Murphy with good preseason performances. Whichever player can establish himself in the early going this season will have a good chance to step into solid numbers with the Pacers looking to make up for the 14.6 points and 10.2 rebounds per game they lost when Murphy left the team.

9. Tiago Splitter, C, SA: Splitter is a relative unknown to the NBA, but he comes with experience and is coming off an MVP season in Spain. Much like Blair, and perhaps at his expense somewhere down the line, Splitter will benefit from the Spurs trying to keep Tim Duncan fresh. He will have to earn his minutes early on this year, but is a player with nice upside both on the boards and on the offensive end. He averaged 15.4 points and 7.1 rebounds per game last year in the very competetive Spanish league. Fantasy owners are advised to be patient with Splitter, but there is some excellent long-term upside here -- especially for keeper-league owners.

10. Serge Ibaka, F, OKC: Ibaka is another solid late-round flier pick. He could see time at the four or five this season and may wind up picking up center eligibility (in leagues that allow it) if Nenad Krstic falters. The Thunder don't have much depth up front and Ibaka has shown in the preseason that he fits in well with the first unit as a player who does not need the ball much to be productive. He averaged 10.4 points and 6.2 rebounds through his first five preseason games, but his most telling stat was that he averaged 2.8 rebounds per game.

Stay in touch with the most passionate Fantasy staff in the business by following us via Twitter . You can e-mail us your Fantasy Basketball questions to DMFantasyHoops@cbs.com . Be sure to put Sleepers in the subject field. Please include your full name, hometown and state.

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Player News
Clippers send Jared Dudley to Milwaukee
by Joe Polito | CBSSports.com
(8/26/2014) The Clippers opened up minutes at small forward Tuesday by sending Jared Dudley to the Milwaukee Bucks.

According to Yahoo Sports, Los Angeles will receive Carlos Delfino,  Miroslav Raduljica and a future first-round pick from the Bucks. Dudley averaged 6.9 points in 23.4 minutes per game last season for the Clippers. 


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(8/22/2014) The Cavaliers' acquisition of Kevin Love is set to go down Saturday, and Yahoo.com reports it will end up being a three-team deal.

The Timberwolves will receive Andrew Wiggins , Anthony Bennett and a lottery-protected first-round pick from the Cavaliers in exchange for Love, and are set to move one of those pieces to Philadelphia to complete the deal.

The Wolves will move the first-round pick -- a top-10 protected pick from Miami -- to the 76ers along with Alexey Shved and Luc Richard Mbah a Moute in exchange for Thaddeus Young, as first reported by the Minnesota Star-Tribune. 


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(8/15/2014) Suns newcomer Isaiah Thomas underwent arthroscopic surgery on his left wrist, the team announced Thursday.

Thomas dealt with a sprained wrist last season but was able to play through it on his way to a career year. An MRI in February revealed no ligament damage, which would indicate this latest procedure is nothing to worry about. The team expects him to be ready for training camp. 


DeMarcus Cousins avoids serious injury at Team USA practice
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(8/15/2014) Kings center DeMarcus Cousins dodged a bullet Thursday when the MRI on his right knee came back negative.

According to Yahoo Sports, Cousins limped off the court during a Team USA training session after Anthony Davis landed on his knee during a scrimmage. Cousins later tweeted that he was "fine," helping to suppress any concerns of a serious injury. 


Pacers shopping Roy Hibbert, call Pistons about Greg Monroe
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(8/11/2014) The Pacers are shopping center Roy Hibbert, and they have called the Pistons regarding a potential deal involving restricted free agent Greg Monroe, Detroit Sports 105.1 reports.

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Report: Greg Oden faces felony charge
by R.J. White | CBSSports.com
(8/11/2014) Free agent Greg Oden is facing a felony charge after allegedly attacking his former girlfriend after a night of drinking, the Indianapolis Star reports.

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Markel Brown out with broken hand
by R.J. White | CBSSports.com
(8/11/2014) Nets guard Markel Brown will be held out of basketball activities for four-to-six weeks after being diagnosed with a nondisplaced fracture of the fourth metacarpal in his right hand, the team announced Monday.

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Report: Wolves to swap Anthony Bennett for Thaddeus Young
by Joe Polito | CBSSports.com
(8/8/2014) Though the trade can't go official until August 23, the deal reportedly struck between the Cavaliers and Timberwolves will lead to another trade between Minnesota and the 76ers.

The Philadelphia Daily News reported early Friday that Minnesota, upon receiving Anthony Bennett from the Cavs as part of the Kevin Love trade, would then trade him for Thaddeus Young. The Timberwolves have been showing interest in Young since Love stated his desire to be traded.

Meanwhile, the 76ers want to move Young because he's entering his prime at age 26 and only has one additional year left on his contract. Acquiring Bennett would complete a core of young talent to develop over the coming years. Young was one of the most productive forwards in the league last year playing in Brett Brown's up-tempo offense, averaging 17.9 points, 6.0 rebounds and 2.1 steals per game. Bennett, on the other hand, failed to make any impact what so ever but did show signs of growth during the Summer League. 


Landing in Minnesota should improve Andrew Wiggins' value
by Chris Towers | CBSSports.com
(8/7/2014) The prize of the trade that ultimately sent Kevin Love to Cleveland will likely be the Timberwolves' acquisition of No. 1 overall pick Andrew Wiggins , assuming there are no unexpected changes in the deal the two sides agreed to.

If Wiggins does ultimately land in Minnesota, as expected, this should be a boon to his Fantasy value. Though Wiggins will have substantially less help as he makes the transition to the NBA than he would have in Cleveland, he is also likely to be much more of a featured option than he otherwise might have been.

Wiggins was likely going to be the third or possibly even fourth offensive option for the Cavs, and likely would have been so for some time, given the presence of LeBron James and Kyrie Irving on long-term deals. Now, the Timberwolves get to build around Wiggins as their long-term centerpiece, and he should be given plenty of rope as the team tries to navigate their upcoming rebuild.

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Wiggins is mostly upside right now, but should be considered a second-round pick in all keeper-league Fantasy formats. In yearly re-draft leagues, he is more of a mid-round option at this point, albeit one with tremendous upside. 


 
 
 
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