The key to fantasy basketball success is to look past how good their team actually is. That really comes into play with these STEALS.
1. Giannis Antetokounmpo
When you look back at his last third of last season, when Jason Kidd moved him with zero practice at the PG position, something interesting happened…
Giannis went from averaging 16 ppg up until that point to averaging 18 points in March and then 20+ points in the month of April, not to mention his assist totals spiking from 3 to 7 assists per game.
All that and his rebound total didn’t even decrease. His rebound total stayed within the 7-9 range! All those stats with the additional factor of him actually getting time to practice at the point guard position and another offseason to work on his overall game. Keep in mind, he’s just 21. Not a single stat of his through three years of play has gone down. Expecting a big year from Giannis with all that & Khris Middleton not playing. BE A PART OF IT.
2. Brandon Jennings
Brandon Jennings is in a very nice fantasy situation this year with his new team, the New York Knicks. Last season was tough for Jennings though, there’s no denying that. He only played 18 minutes per game between the Orlando Magic and the Detroit Pistons while battling injuries along the way.
This year for Jennings though, it’s a new team, a new situation, a contract year, and a new Brandon Jennings. Right after the season ended last year for the 13th place New York Knicks, Phil Jackson pulled the trigger on a trade that brought Derrick Rose to New York amidst an upcoming trial on sexual assault.
Although we don’t and won’t know whether D Rose is actually guilty or not for a little while, we do know it will take time. He has already missed 2 preseason games and is expected to miss many more going forward. The additional Derrick Rose scare is going to be his health. In his last 4 seasons due to injury has only played in 166 of the 328 games he could have. Those multiple factors in addition to it being a contract year for Brandon Jennings lead to suggest Brandon’s about to have a nice year, especially seeing he’s healthy.
3. Victor Oladipo
Most people see the Kevin Durant-less, Serge Ibaka-less OKC Thunder as the Russell Westbrook show. And that’s not totally wrong, I have Russ putting himself in the position to take the MVP, but the reality is that Russ can’t and won’t be taking 70 shots a game.
Apart from Russ, the opportunity is wide open and a guy like Victor Oladipo who has averaged 16 points on 13.5 shots per game on a pretty stacked team (not skill wise but equal talent wise), will be right there to snag it. Definitely lands in my top 5 steals of the draft lookout and doesn’t hold too much of a risk.
4. Hassan Whiteside
I honestly don’t think too much depth is needed on why Hassan Whiteside will be a major steal in just about every draft he’s in. Without Chris Bosh, Dwyane Wade, Mario Chalmers, the opportunity is open in a way it hasn’t been in over a decade for the Miami Heat.
With that being said, there is a minimal risk with Hassan Whiteside and that minimal risk is that he's been relatively injury prone over the last couple years. The reward for a guy like Whiteside, though, far outweighs the minimal risk involved.
Expect massive numbers across the board for both Whiteside and Dragic.
5. Dwight Howard
For the first time in his career since his Orlando days, there’s really no pressure on Dwight “Superman” Howard. Really, when you look at it, coming from Orlando going to the LA Lakers just how Shaquille O’Neal did a decade before him, expected to win titles on titles just how Shaq did it with Kobe before him.
Dwight, 2012 Kobe, 2012 Steve Nash, 2012 Pau Gasol and the pressure that came with it for Dwight was not the secret recipe for the Lakers or Dwight Howard’s success with the additional injuries sprinkled in throughout.
Following that, going to a Houston Rockets team that desperately needed a center to go along with the star power of then emerging superstar, James Harden. But, unfortunately, the chemistry wasn’t even close to being present while the communication was a sub-zero rating.
Jump forward to now, Howard going to his hometown of Atlanta where there is absolutely no pressure on a team that just lost two of their top three players in Al Horford and Jeff Teague.
An overall great situation for Dwight both pressure and opportunity wise.
Extra players to SNAG
Harrison Barnes: Now the focal point of the Mavs offense (Mark Cuban) and my pick for Most Improved Player of the Year.
Brook Lopez: High risk although if he’s healthy, the reward has a real chance of being there with the opportunities at hand for the nets.
Joel Embiid: The late round potential steal of the draft. Keep an eye on him towards the end of the draft due to the sky high potential and lack of knowledge from others.