Remember Malmin’s Fantasy Finds from last semester’s newspaper? This semester, we will focus on fantasy basketball. With the NBA season approaching the All-Star break, those of you that are in a fantasy basketball league may be looking for help. Look no further. Every Wednesday, I will bring the top sleeper picks that can potentially make a difference in your lineup along with the players that you should avoid picking up despite the temptation.
- Jrue Holiday (Guard, New Orleans Pelicans) – Since returning to the team after his wife had brain surgery, Holiday has been playing very well, and overall it has translated to more wins for the New Orleans Pelicans. His assist numbers have improved significantly since returning, and his play should continue to make waves as he is in a contract year.
- Nicolas Batum (Shooting Guard, Charlotte Hornets) – Batum did not start the 2016-17 NBA season on the best note as his shooting percentages have generally been low. This season, Batum’s field goal percentage is below 40 percent, with his three point percentage hovering around 33 percent, both below his career average. However, Batum has regained his old form over his last 10 games. During that stretch, he averaged 18 points, seven rebounds, seven assists, and two steals per game. I think his hot play should continue heading into the All-Star break.
- Austin Rivers (Point Guard/Shooting Guard, Los Angeles Clippers) – With Chris Paul out six to eight weeks due to a thumb injury, Rivers’ usage and production will go up as his role will expand. I suggest that you put him in the shooting guard spot, as his assist numbers are low at 3.4 per 36 minutes, while his field goal attempts are respectable at 12 per 36 minutes.
- David Lee (Power Forward/Center, San Antonio Spurs) – Lee is in a similar situation like Rivers, as he was placed in the starting lineup due to an injury to Pau Gasol. As a starter, Lee has stepped up big time and has averaged 12 points and 13 rebounds in seven games.
Players to avoid:
- Michael Carter-Williams (Point Guard, Chicago Bulls) – Former Rookie of the Year, Carter-Williams looked like a promising NBA player back in 2014, but he has unfortunately been trending in the wrong direction since then. He has lost his starting spot on the last two teams he has been on, has never been a great shooter, and turns the ball over too often. The last two games he did not play any minutes despite being available. He has fallen out of favor of the rotation and was reportedly the cause of Dwyane Wade’s and Jimmy Butler’s criticism.
- Jusuf Nurkic (Center, Denver Nuggets) – Nurkic’s days in Denver seem to be dwindling. Denver has a crowded frontcourt and Nurkic appears to be the odd man out. Over his last four games, he hasn’t played more than 15 minutes or scored more than five points. There have been numerous trade rumors involving his name.