The 2016-2017 NBA regular season is right around the corner and we’re entering the biggest week for NBA Drafts. ESPN ranked players based off their projected performances, but some players are ranked way too low. Below I list the biggest faller at each position people need to think about drafting late when on the clock. Who are the steals in fantasy basketball at each position? Take a look.
PG: Emmanuel Mudiay, Denver Nuggets
ESPN Rank: 133
Positional Rank: 30
Basketball Society’s own Alfonso De Falco predicts Emmanuel Mudiay will “make the leap,” and so do I. It took Mudiay a few months to get comfortable with NBA basketball, but post March he averaged 17.2 points and 5.6 assists per game. Going into 2017 I expect Mudiay’s production to remain the same, but drop in points and increase in assists. He’s one of few players on the Denver Nuggets not fighting for minutes. With the depth in talent on the Nuggets, Mudiay will be an assist machine next season.
SG: Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, Detroit Pistons
ESPN Rank: 96
Positional Rank: 16
In three NBA seasons, Kentavious Caldwell-Pope managed to increase his points, assists, rebounds and steals numbers per game each season. With a new contract on the line, he’s one good season away from a massive payday. The Detriot Pistons start the season without Reggie Jackson. For the first month, Caldwell-Pope will have an increase in assist opportunities. Caldwell-Pope will score, but assists makes him even more valuable in fantasy basketball.
SF: Harrison Barnes, Dallas Mavericks
ESPN Rank: 92
Positional Rank: 16
ESPN ranked Harrison Barnes like he’s still on the Golden State Warriors. He signed with the Dallas Mavericks this offseason and moved from his teams fourth to second scoring option. Barnes remains on a winning team that shoots threes and plays aggressive defense. Now that he’s playing a larger role in the offense, the NBA will realize how good of a slasher he is. With more opportunities, Barnes is positioned to have a breakout season.
PF: Julius Randle, Los Angeles Lakers
ESPN Rank: 85
Positional Rank: 19
Julius Randle was a sleeper last season and didn’t get any love from ESPN this season. Only two NBA power forwards averaged a double-double last season; Anthony Davis and Randle. The difference with Davis and Randle is that Randle played 20 more games. Randle enters his second healthy offseason with a rising young core in Los Angeles. The better the chemistry, the greater room for improvement. Watch out for Randle in 2016-2017.
C: Clint Capela, Houston Rockets
ESPN Rank: 139
Positional Rank: 26
With the departure of Dwight Howard, Clint Capela took over as the Houston Rockets starting center. When Howard missed time last season, Capela averaged 9.8 points and 8.8 rebounds per game over nine games. They both only missed one game. Here are his per game stats from his Freshman and Sophomore seasons:
Freshman: 2.7 points, 0.1 steals, 0.8 blocks, 0.2 assists, 3 rebounds, .174 free throw percentage, .483 field goal percentage, 7.5 minutes, 0 games started
Sophomore: 7 points, 0.8 steals, 1.2 blocks, 0.6 assists, 6.4 rebounds, .379 free throw percentage, .582 field goal percentage, 19.1 minutes, 35 games started
The improvement in nine categories tells me Capela is in for another strong season. Now that he’s the everyday starter, his minutes will rise increasing his stats. Capela is a steal late in the draft.