1. Darren Collison
Point Guard, Indiana
When CP3 went down last season, Collison averaged 19 points and 8 assists for the Hornets. His career is about to hit another level now that he’s with the Pacers. He should hit 40 minutes a game and if he does get that much playing time, 20 points and 10 assists are not out of the question. Collison is primed to emerge as one of the top-tier point guards in the NBA. Indiana is a team in a rebuilding mode and they will give Collison every chance to make a statement that he is their point guard of the future. With Troy Murphy gone, the only big-name player left on the Pacers is Danny Granger, so someone is going to have to seize the opportunity to step up. Great point guards are tough to come by in fantasy basketball, so don’t be afraid to pull the trigger on Collison in the fourth or fifth round of your draft if you missed out on the elite guards earlier.
2. Andrea Bargnani
Power Forward, Toronto
With the departure of Chris Bosh to Miami, Andrea Bargnani suddenly finds himself as the “go-to” guy in Toronto. The big man has shown flashes of brilliance in the past and could be primed for a huge year north of the border. With no one left to defer to, Bargnani is squarely in the spotlight and should produce well over 30 fantasy points a night. Last season he averaged 27.5 fantasy points per game, amassing career highs in points and rebounds per game, and those career highs are about to go up once again. Expect plenty of 20-point, 10-rebound nights, making Andrea a nice mid-round pick. The fact that you can use him as a center, which is a notoriously thin position in fantasy basketball, makes him even more valuable.
3. Andray Blatche
Power Forward, Washington
Blatche was thrown into the starting lineup in the first game after the All-Star break last season and he never looked back. He recorded 12 double-doubles, averaged over 20 ppg, and showed Washington’s coaches that he can be the starting power forward for the Wizards for years to come. He had surgery to repair a broken bone in his right foot in June and was expected to miss three months, but Blatche is back to practicing and should be fine for the beginning of the season. The biggest concern owners might have before drafting him is whether or not all of the backcourt talent (John Wall, Gilbert Arenas, and Josh Howard) will take away from his scoring output. These players weren’t around during the second half of last season, so there’s a definite chance that they make a dent into Blatche’s scoring numbers. Andray’s real value is the double-double threat he poses every night and that is surely not going to change. Roll the dice on him in the early middle rounds.
4. Mo Williams
Point Guard, Cleveland
Mo Williams will be the starting PG for the LeBron-less Cleveland Cavaliers this upcoming season, which could be both a blessing and a curse. When he wasn’t injured last year, Mo made a habit of feeding the ball to LeBron and racking up dimes, but who is going to step into that scoring role now that James is hanging with Phil Simms-lookalike cops on South Beach? Williams could see a slight drop off in assists, but should benefit from having to be one of the primary offensive weapons for Cleveland. It is not out of the realm of possibility that Mo scores 20 points a game to go along with 5 boards and 4 assists. If you pepper in a steal or two then you have a 30-fantasy points point guard that can be had in the 7th round of this year’s draft. That is some serious value. The opportunity is certainly there for Williams and we have faith that he’s going to capitalize.
5. Anthony Randolph
Power Foward, New York
With his move from the Bay Area to New York, this could be a potential breakout year for Randolph. Under coach Mike D’Antoni, Anthony should get more consistent minutes than he was afforded under the erratic and unpredictable rotations afforded by Don Nelson in Golden State. This should equate to better overall numbers for the 21-year-old power forward. Moving from one high-scoring offense to another should make the adjustment easy for Randolph. Last season he averaged 11.6 points, 6.5 boards, and 1.5 blocks prior to getting injured. We expect that those numbers will rise this season, given the opportunity to play more consistent minutes. He brings some solid defense to the Knicks, and will be a nice complement to Amar’e Stoudemire. Randolph makes for a nice mid-round selection, and should be good for around 27 fantasy points, if not more.
Five more picks on page two…
6. Roy Hibbert
Roy Hibbert has sleeper written all over him. His 11.7 points and 5.7 rebounds in 25 minutes of action last year don’t give him any justice in this year’s draft. Troy Murphy got shipped to the New Jersey Nets, and with that the Pacers lost 14.6 points and 10.2 rebounds per game. Someone on Indiana is going to have to pick up that slack. Hibbert did just that when Murphy went down for four games at the end of December. In those four games he managed to average 20 points and 8 rebounds, which is why the Pacers were so eager to move Murphy and give Hibbert the opportunity to elevate his game. He is going in most Hotbox drafts in the 8th round and if you are lucky to nab him around there, he might pan out to be the steal of your draft. Hibbert is the kind of player who is capable of elevating your team and landing you a championship. To be honest, you won’t find that kind of bang for your buck that late in your draft.
7. Raymond Felton
Point Guard, New York
Raymond Felton should be a nice sleeper this season, and has the potential to become one of the better point guards in the league under his new coach. Make no mistake about it: D’Antoni has a way of crafting great point guards (think Steve Nash), and Felton should be no exception. He will have plenty of options to feed the ball to, so we expect his assist numbers to rise from the 5.6 that he produced in Charlotte. Last season Raymond averaged 12.1 points and 1.5 steals. Both of those numbers also have the potential to rise under D’Antoni’s system. Consider Felton a good option at the point this season and a definite sleeper candidate. If he could average 25 fantasy points in a defensive-oriented system down in Charlotte, 30 fantasy points a night in New York’s high-flying system is certainly within reach.
8. DJ Augustin
Point Guard, Charlotte
DJ Augustin will be a candidate for the most improved player this season. When the Bobcats let Felton walk away, they did so knowing they had a star in the making. Don’t let last year’s 6.3 points and 2.4 assists scare you away as DJ played injured for most of his sophomore year. Plus, his paltry stat line was a result of him only averaging 18 minutes per game. Augustin’s playing time should increase dramatically this season, possibly to 40 minutes per game, and when this Longhorn plays 40 minutes, he averages 20 points and 6.5 assists. There were rumors that Devin Harris was getting shipped to Charlotte in that monster Carmelo Anthony trade, which would kill Augustin’s value, but until that happens, keep your sights set on the young point guard. In most Hotbox leagues, he is getting drafted in the middle of the 9th round. If you have the opportunity to draft a player with this much upside that late in your draft, it could land you a championship or a major trade chip to help get you that title.
9. Robin Lopez
Robin Lopez has been a bust over his two-year career. Robin and his twin brother Brook entered the league with so much promise out of Stanford, but only Brook has delivered thus far. The major flaw with Robin’s game is that he tunes out the coaching staff more often than not, thus his minutes become limited. He is also said to have major anger management issues that are hindering him from becoming the basketball player he is capable of. At only 22 years old, the 7 footer gives the Suns much needed length now that Amar'e is in New York. There is no reason why he shouldn’t get more than 30 minutes a night, since the Suns simply have no one else. If he finally grows up and decides to start focusing his energy on the court rather than fights in practice, he might be a stud in the making. It’s rare finding a late-round draft pick with the potential of putting up 15 points and 10 boards per contest, which is what you have with Lopez and why he should be on your radar.
10. Jrue Holiday
Point Guard, Philadelphia
Jrue Holiday is entering his first season as the full-time court general for the Philadelphia Sixers. That means increased expectations from the organization and fantasy owners. His coach, Doug Collins, even went so far as to say that he thinks Holiday will be a Top 5 point guard this season, which is a bit of a stretch. Fantasy owners got a glimpse of his potential in March of last season when the light bulb seemed to turn on. Holiday averaged 26 fantasy points in 35 minutes of action. With another year under his belt, eclipsing the 30 fantasy points mark seems well within reach. Those expectations have made him draft worthy this season as a 10th- or 11th-round pick. He has sleeper potential and could turn out to be one of the steals of the draft. Just remember that Holiday is still only 20 years old, so he could have some rough patches throughout the season.
What is Hotbox Sports?
The Hotbox Sports format adjusts the regular season's schedule. The key element is that the game-period stretches over over days. In that three-day period, a player can be activated only once, even if that player plays more than once during those three days. The choice is yours for which game to activate him, but only the stats from the night you activate him will count. The format is head to head, just like football, so by the end of the three-day period, all of your starters will have played one game, and the score is final. Each of your players get points via the following stat values:
Tomorrow Hotbox Sports will be back with 2010-2011 NBA Fantasy Team busts…