The NBA offseason has slowed down this past week, with most coverage focusing on trade speculation. With a lack of concrete transactions, we’ll shift our focus to the season ahead, and how the offseason has affected the fantasy outlook of every team. First, we’ll look at a sleeper from every team in the NBA. These guys should all see increased roles this season, whether it’s from a teammate departing, finding a new team themselves, or natural player progression. We begin this week with the Southeast Division.
Jonathon Simmons, Orlando Magic
The Magic have had a quietly good offseason filling out the fringes of their roster. While they filled the edges of their roster, they also managed to add a key contributor who could shine for fantasy owners this season. By adding Jonathon Simmons, the Magic found someone to play three positions, which immensely helps his fantasy value. Simmons will be on the floor for 25-30 minutes per game, even if he doesn’t start. That kind of playing time should allow him to greatly improves his fantasy numbers
Per every 100 possessions (roughly how many the Magic averaged per game), Simmons averaged 17.7 points, 5.9 rebounds, and 4.6 assists. And that was on a Spurs team where he did not have a major role when he was on the floor. In Orlando, Simmons should be given more freedom to control the ball because they lack a go-to scorer. Because of that I wouldn’t be surprised if he saw a drastic increase in his threes attempted and points scored. Simmons has a legitimate shot to take his per 100 possession numbers in San Antonio and change them into his per game numbers in Orlando, making him a quality sleeper option
Dewayne Dedmon, Atlanta Hawks
The Atlanta Hawks hit the reset button this offseason, gutting most of their core. With both Paul Millsap and Dwight Howard gone, there will be plenty of minutes available at the four and five. Luckily for the Hawks, they managed to add Dewayne Dedmon to absorb a lot of those minutes at the five. Dedmon should be a walking double-double in Atlanta, as long as he gets the minutes he deserves. Since he’s the team’s only legitimate rim-protector, that should not be an issue.
Per 36 minutes with the Spurs last year, he averaged 10.5 points and 13.4 rebounds. That alone should make him a valuable asset as a fantasy big man. When you throw in his career average of two blocks per 36 minutes, it’s easy to see why he’s such a great fantasy asset. He won’t contribute any scoring away from the rim, but his rebounding ability and strength as a roll man should allow him to easily notch double digit points this season. Dedmon should be considered a legitimate fantasy starter in a league devoid of stat stuffing big men.
Kelly Olynyk, Miami Heat
[the_ad id=”384″]While the Kelly Olynyk signing may not have been a great basketball or cap move for the Heat, that doesn’t affect his fantasy value. Olynyk is moving to a situation with an ideal complement at the five. Olynyk will have the luxury of being a stretch four and five in Miami, and when he’s a four, he will be playing a lot of minutes next to Hassan Whiteside. Whiteside’s presence in the paint will allow Olynyk to flourish around the perimeter on the offensive end of the floor. He should receive more open looks as opponents crash the paint to defend Whiteside.
As far as his numbers are concerned, I wouldn’t be surprised to see Olynyk average 14 points per game and six or seven rebounds per game. While that may not seem like much, it becomes amplified when you add his shooting ability. Those numbers, along with one or two made threes per game, make him a viable fantasy option. He still won’t generate many blocks or steals, but his free throw percentage should help fantasy teams stay afloat, even if he doesn’t get to the line a lot.
Malik Monk, Charlotte Hornets
It’s hard to be a sleeper in any aspect when you’re as highly touted as Malik Monk was in high school and while he was at Kentucky. However, because of the situation he’s walking into, he is just that. Monk steps into a situation in Charlotte where his initial role will be as a sixth man who leads the team’s second unit. Monk should get closer to starter’s minutes than bench minutes, mostly because of his immense talent and Charlotte’s lack of a secondary scorer. That playing time should allow him to put up quality numbers as a rookie.
Monk will be the primary scorer off of the bench, and possibly the best shooter on the team as soon as he steps on the floor. He shot almost 40 percent from three in college on about seven attempts per game. His scoring ability alone will allow him to be a good late round pick in fantasy leagues. Throw in the high number of threes and free throws he’ll make and you have a guy who can contribute in three key fantasy categories from day one.
Otto Porter Jr., Washington Wizards
This choice may seem odd, but Otto Porter Jr. is the only logical choice as a sleeper in Washington. The Wizards will mostly rely on John Wall and Bradley Beal for their scoring, but Porter made the jump as a clear third option last year. He will have an even greater chance to grow as the Wizards’ big three continues to mesh together. Beal’s injury history also points to an opportunity for Porter to grow into a secondary role, rather than a tertiary role. Either way, he should continue to develop into more of a scorer as he enters his age 24 season.
Porter has already grown in that aspect, from averaging six points per game in his second year to 13.4 his fourth year. The Wizards will be more reliant than ever on Porter as they continue to lack depth on the wing and losing last season’s trade deadline acquisition, Bojan Bogdanovic. I expect Porter to get around 17 points per game, while maintaining his rebounding numbers (6.4 per game) and his assist numbers (1.5 per game). Don’t be surprised if the biggest improvement is in his steals per game. Porter is a very good defender whose positioning and hands could allow him to creep to two steals per game.