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2012-13 Draft Prep: Bench players worth a shot

by | Fantasy Writer
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There are approximately 450 players in the NBA and keeping track of all of them can be quite challenging, especially on Draft Day. With most owners playing in 12- to 14-team Fantasy leagues, there comes a point in the later rounds where the names become unfamiliar and just make a selection based on the player's past history or playing time. However, that can be detrimental to building a Championship caliber Fantasy squad, especially when owners take a player solely based on the fact that he is a starter. To combat this issue, we have once again put together a list of players who are considered regulars in their team's starting lineup but aren't worth drafting in most formats. Conversely, we have also included a list of players, who don't start but are worthy of scooping up on Draft Day.

While everyone knows the obvious choices of players who fall into these two categories such as Thabo Sefolosha, Jason Terry, Jamal Crawford and Thaddeus Young just to name a few, we have tried to look for more low-profile options who fit the bill this year. As always, we recommend owners do their own homework but we hope this will prove to be a useful tool on Draft Day.

Starters to ignore

Tony Allen, G, Grizzlies: Allen was a tough choice for this list since he usually finds himself near the top of the leader board in the steals department. However, the 30-year-old struggles to consistently get his numbers in the other areas of the box score, despite being a regular in Memphis' starting lineup the last two seasons. He did post some of his more productive scoring (9.8 ppg)and rebounding(4.0 rpg) totals last year, albeit Allen did so averaging a career-best 26.6 minutes per game. His minutes are expected to fall back into 20-per game range this year and we would expect his slight increase in scoring to fall back down right along with his playing time. While Allen's all-around production makes him a very useful low-end option in category-based formats, there are far too many more productive options to choose from in standard formats on Draft Day. Still, Allen could make for a nice waiver-wire addition down the line.

Ronnie Brewer, G, Knicks: Brewer decided to sign with the Knicks over the offseason mostly because he was promised a chance to be the team's starting shooting guard. Despite undergoing surgery on his left knee, the 27-year-old is still expected to be the in the starting lineup on Opening Night but we aren't so sure Brewer's increased role will lead to a bump in Fantasy value. Keep in mind that Brewer did see nearly 25 minutes per game last season and still wound up averaging just 6.5 points, 3.5 rebounds and 2.1 assists per contest while shooting 42.7 percent from the field. However, he was brought to New York more for his defensive talents rather than his offensive ones, which could limit his playing time down the road. While he will get a chance to start for the Knicks, his minutes will likely remain very similar to what they were in Chicago, especially with J.R. Smith backing up his position. Iman Shumpert will also be in line to see minutes at shooting guard once he returns, which will restrict Brewer's minutes as well. With so many other options at guard, owners shouldn't pay much attention to Brewer on Draft Day.

Metta World Peace, F, Lakers: World Peace has been a fixture in the Lakers starting lineup over his first three seasons in Los Angeles, but hasn't been much of a Fantasy option over that stretch. Unfortunately for Fantasy owners, we would expect both of those trends to continue this season. Despite the addition of several quality players -- Steve Nash, Dwight Howard, Jodie Meeks, Antawn Jamison -- World Peace will once again open up the season as the team's starting small forward. However, he has averaged just 9.1 points, 3.7 rebounds and 2.5 assists per game during his tenure in Southern California and there isn't much reason to think those numbers will increase this year. With Kobe Bryant, Nash, Pau Gasol and Howard all on the court at the same time, World Peace will likely have a hard time just getting the ball in his hands let alone improving on his production. While his ability to fill up the stat sheet makes him relevant in deeper category-based leagues, owners in standard formats should target other options on Draft Day.

Jason Maxiell, F, Pistons: Maxiell is projected to be Detroit's starting power forward this season, leaving many to think that he could be ready to take the next step in Fantasy. However, Maxiell has averaged just 7.7 points and 5.7 rebounds over his 104 career starts while seeing around 25 minutes per contest over that stretch. That is likely about how much time he will spend on the court this season and he could also be pushed for minutes by Jonas Jerebko and rookie Andre Drummond. Maxiell also is very limited offensively and at 29 years old, it doesn't appear he has much upside left at this point. With so many other viable options available at forward, owners should leave Maxiell on the waiver wire to start the year.

Robin Lopez, C, Hornets: Lopez was shipped off to New Orleans as part of a three-player trade in the offseason and he will get another chance to start for the Hornets. However, the 7-footer hasn't fared that well as a starter in the past as he has averaged just 8.4 points and 4.4 rebounds over his 94 career starts. He will be part of the team's starting five on Opening Night, but likely won't be in line to see more than 20-25 minutes per contest as he will be pushed for playing time by Jason Smith. Anthony Davis is also expected to see some time at center, so we are expecting more of the same from the 24-year-old during his tenure in the Big Easy. While center remains the shallowest position in Fantasy basketball, Lopez should go undrafted in most formats.

Bench players to target

Eric Bledsoe, G, Clippers: Bledsoe is entering his third year in the league with the Clippers and is expected to have a much bigger role on the team this season. He is coming off a very disappointing 2011-12 campaign as he averaged just 3.3 points, 1.7 assists, and 1.6 rebounds per game while seeing around 11 minutes per contest. However, the Clippers were very deep at guard last year and Bledsoe had to compete with Chris Paul, Mo Williams, Chauncey Billups and Randy Foye for minutes. Now that Williams and Foye are gone, Bledsoe will be the first one off the bench and serve as Paul's primary backup. That should get his minutes up into the 20s on most nights, which should lead to a nice increase in production. The 22-year-old proved what he could do when given ample playing time last year as he scored 23 and 17 points in Los Angeles' playoff series against the Spurs. While owners may have grown accustomed to bypassing Bledsoe on Draft Day in years past, make sure to scoop him up in the later rounds of most formats.

J.R. Smith, G, Knicks: Smith entered training camp with a chance to start at shooting guard, but coach Mike Woodson decided to go with the more defensive-minded Ronnie Brewer as his starting two-guard – at least for now. As expected, Smith and Fantasy owner's weren't very happy about the decision but just because he won't be starting, doesn't mean he won't be able to make an impact. Woodson has said repeatedly he wants Smith to be his sixth-man off the bench and even referenced Manu Ginobili and James Harden when he was pressed by reporters about how Smith exactly would be used. That means Smith could end up seeing more minutes off the bench than Brewer does as a starter. The 27-year-old thrived in a similar reserve role when he was in Denver and averaged 14.3 points, 3.6 rebounds and 2.5 assists over his last three seasons with the Nuggets. While Smith can drive some owner's crazy with his streaky play, he should be targeted in the later rounds of most formats.

Taj Gibson, F, Bulls: With Omer Asik now in Houston with the Rockets, Gibson should be line for a major increase in playing time this year. He averaged 7.7 points, 5.3 rebounds and 1.3 blocks in just 20.4 minutes as a reserve last season but will now be Chicago's first big man off the bench. Most are estimating Gibson to see around 30 minutes per game this season as he will serve as Carlos Boozer's and Joakim Noah's primary backups. That alone should lead to a substantial increase in production for the 27-year-old, possibly even getting his scoring into double digits for the first time in his career. While Gibson has not been a popular selection on Draft Day over the last few seasons, owners should plan on spending a late-round pick in most formats on the fourth-year forward this year.

Jeff Green, F, Celtics: After missing all of last season due to an aortic aneurysm that required surgery, Green is most likely happy just to be back on the court this year. The 26-year-old looks to be fully healthy entering the 2012-13 campaign and is expected to once again come off the bench for the Celtics. While he averaged just 9.8 points and 3.3 rebounds per game in a reserve role for Boston in 26 games two years ago, Green has looked sharp in the preseason. He has showed no ill-effects from his offseason health issues and also looked to have a little extra bounce in his step. The former No. 5 overall pick in the draft has yet to live up to his potential over his short tenure in the NBA, but is expected to see a healthy 25-30 minutes per game this season. Green's upside alone makes him worthy of taking with a late-round pick in most formats.

Andre Drummond, F, Pistons: Drummond is one of the more intriguing rookies to bust on the scene this season as the 19-year-old looks to have all the tools to be a prime-time producer. However, there was a slight sense of disappointment when coach Lawrence Frank announced that he would come off the bench this season. Still, Drummond is expected to see a healthy amount of playing time in his first year in the league and has impressed during the preseason. While most believe for former UConn standout should be considered more of a long-term keeper option, we feel Drummond can come in and contribute right away. With a ton of upside and the promise of seeing minutes right off the bat, owners should plan on spending a late-round pick on Drummond.

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Heat add Reggie Williams
by Chris Towers | CBSSports.com
(8/16/2014) The Heat signed guard Reggie Williams to a free-agency contract last week, the team announced. Terms of the deal are not known.

Williams appeared in just three games for the Thunder last season, and has played 180 games over parts of five NBA seasons. He averages 8.5 points, 2.6 rebounds and 1.6 assists per game, while shooting 46.0 percent from the field and 37.1 percent from three-point range for his career.  


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There's no word about whether the Pistons would be interested in a Monroe-for-Hibbert spot, but they are pretty well set in the middle with Andre Drummond in the starting lineup. It's a rumor that seemingly has very little chance of coming to fruition.


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(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
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(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.

Wiggins is raw, but still put up 17.1 points and 5.9 rebounds in 32.8 minutes per game as a freshman at the University of Kansas. There are some questions about how well his game will translate to the NBA, but he will at least have some help, in the form of point guard Ricky Rubio, who knows exactly how to set up teammates for shots they like.

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by Chris Towers | CBSSports.com
(8/7/2014) After a rookie season that can be charitably described as lost, a change of scenery is probably the best outcome Anthony Bennett could have hoped for this offseason. He got that Thursday, with the news that the long-awaited Kevin Love trade has landed him in Minnesota.

Last year's No. 1 overall pick luckily doesn't have to join the Cavaliers with the pressure of replacing Love as the face of the franchise -- this year's No. 1 pick, Andrew Wiggin, will take that on. Bennett gets to join a Timberwolves team that can give him more consistent playing time than last year's Cavaliers afforded him, but which won't ask him to do more than he is capable.

Bennett might end up starting at power forward for the Wolves, though a bench role seems more likely at this point. He had a disastrous rookie season after entering the season out of shape, but appeared to be in better shape while playing with the Cavaliers during the Summer League in Las Vegas. He still shot the ball poorly in Vegas -- 42.6 percent from the field and just 4 of 16 from three-point range -- but Bennett looked much more capable during his time there.

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