NBA.com/Fantasy: Underrated, Undervalued, and Underdrafted
Expanding on the rankings we debuted last week, we decided to take a closer look at where guys are being drafted and found a slew that are going 2, 3, 4, even as many as 5 rounds way too late in most drafts. We're here to help. If you haven't drafted yet, you will soon, so here are ten guys that are either underrated, undervalued, or underdrafted -- target these ten.
(NBA.com Rank/Average Yahoo! Draft Position)
John Wall (10/20.6) -- Right now Yahoo! users are taking Wall towards the back end of the 2nd Round, but he should really be going at the tail-end of the 1st Round. Let's play a game...
Player A: Last 20 games: 22.7 PPG, 44.4% FG, 1.0 3PT, 79.4% FT, 5.2 RPG, 6.4 APG, 1.6 SPG, 0.5 BPG
Player B: Last 20 games: 24.2 PPG, 46.6% FG, 0.5 3PT, 78.1% FT, 5.0 RPG, 8.0 APG, 1.6 SPG, 0.6 BPG
There's no reason to think Wall won't continue to put up Westbrook numbers now that his knee troubles are behind him. He just signed a max contract extension to stay in DC so make no mistake... this is John Wall's team.
DeMarcus Cousins (29/42.0) -- There's a lot working in Boogie's favor this year...
Ersan Ilyasova (35/49.0) -- After struggling under Scott Skiles last year, Ilyasova was reignited under Jim Boylan.
Post-All-Star: 17.2 PPG, 48.7% FG, 1.7 3PT, 86.5% FT, 9.0 RPG, 1.5 APG, 1.0 SPG, 0.5 BPG.
While he finished 78th on the Player Rater last year, those numbers put him in the Top 30 overall post All-Star. In standard 12-team leagues, Ilyasova should be going towards the end of the 3rd round, not the beginning of the 5th round.
Thaddeus Young (43/57.4) -- Somehow Thaddeus Young ranked 5th on the Sixers in Usage Rate last year (19.82). 5th! Ahead of him: Jrue Holiday, Evan Turner, Nick Young, and Spencer Hawes. Gone are Holiday and Young, and in is Head Coach Brett Brown, a graduate of the Gregg Popovich University of Efficiency. Thaddeus has long been an Analytics Darling and for good reason -- he's led the 76ers in +/- in each of the last 3 seasons. Expect Brown to unleash Thaddeus this season and for the 25-year old forward to improve on last year's career numbers.
Jeff Teague (39/58.0) -- Only 3 players last year averaged 14+ PPG, 7+ APG, 1.5+ SPG and shot at least 45% FG. LeBron James, Chris Paul ... and Jeff Teague. Not a terrible duo to be associated with. Teague has made significant strides each year he's been in the league and now he's got Mike Budenholzer as his coach, a guy who's worked closely with Tony Parker for the last decade. When others are plucking the likes of Damian Lillard (ADP of 32.8), Tony Parker (35.5), and Brandon Jennings (44.7) in the 3rd and 4th rounds, sit back and steal Teague in the 5th Round.
Jeff Green (42/63.3) -- In 17 games as a starter last year: 20.1 PG, 52.3% FG, 1.6 3PT, 76.2% FG, 5.9 RPG, 2.9 APG, 0.9 SPG, 1.1 BPG. And now gone are starting forwards Pierce and Garnett who . Nobody is quite sure what kind of system Brad Stevens will run, but whatever it is, Green is the most talented offensive player the Celtics have (at least until Rondo returns).
Andre Drummond (70/92.6) -- Let's start by comparing 3 players' per 36/minute averages from last year without counting FT%...
Player A (ranked #10) -- 13.8 PPG, 60.8% FG, 0.0 3PT, 13.2 RPG, 0.9 APG, 1.7 SPG, 2.8 BPG
Player B (ranked #17) -- 17.1 PPG, 57.8% FG, 0.0 3PT, 12.5 RPG, 1.4 APG, 1.1 SPG, 2.5 BPG
Player C (ranked #37) -- 12.9 PPG, 50.6% FG, 0.0 3PT, 12.5 RPG, 1.5 APG, 1.0 SPG, 3.7 BPG
Player A? Andre Drummond. Mo Cheeks says he'll have no minutes restrictions this year so we could be looking at a 32-34 minute/game situation.
Player B? Dwight Howard. His ADP is a totally understandable 28.6.
Player C? Larry Sanders. He's actually going ahead of Dwight Howard at 27.6.
But that's not even the point. Drummond is going 65 spots later than both guys and if you discount the horrific FT% (37.1 last year), you have a player that has a chance to be just as good. The moral of the story -- if you are one of the teams that takes Dwight or Sanders in the late 2nd/early 3rd round, thereby essentially kicking FT%, GET ANDRE DRUMMOND! He'll be an absolute steal in the 7th or 8th rounds and you'll be demolishing opponents in rebounds and blocks every single week.
Gordon Hayward (68/95.2) -- With Jefferson, Millsap, Mo Williams, Foye, and Earl Watson all gone, there's officially a youth movement in Utah. While Favors and Kanter are perceived as the biggest benefactors, don't discount the positive impact this could have on Hayward. Time to play the Player A/Player B game again:
Player A -- Per 36/minutes: 17.4 PPG, 43.5% FG, 1.7 3PT, 82.7% FT, 3.8 RPG, 3.6 APG, 1.0 SPG, 0.7 BPG
Player B -- Per 36/minutes: 16.7 PPG, 41.9% FG, 2.1 3PT, 80.7% FT, 7.3 RPG, 4.0 APG, 1.7 SPG, 0.6 BPG
Player A? Gordon Hayward who now becomes Utah's most polished offensive player and certainly Option A on the wing.
Player B? Paul George who now likely gives up some touches to Danny Granger and Luis Scola.
Paul George's ADP: 9.7. Hayward's? 95.2
Brandon Knight (79/123.7) -- Monta Ellis and Brandon Jennings ranked #1 and 2 in Usage for Milwaukee a season ago and it wasn't even close. With those two gone, the Bucks will have to replace 37.1% of their scoring (36.7 PPG) and 54.7% of their assists (12.5 APG). Enter Brandon Knight. Yes, he struggled at the point last year, but the Bucks are handing him the reigns and if new coach Larry Drew can have the same positive effect on Knight as he had on Jeff Teague, we could be looking at numbers that far exceed the 11th Round draft position he's being taken in.
Victor Oladipo (76/127.1) -- Always a bit tricky to project rookies outside of the Can't Miss Prospects. Well, Oladipo is as close to one as we'll see this year and he enters a situation where he'll likely play a big role. Some numbers to check out:
Per 36/minutes last year at Indiana: 17.3 PPG, 59.9% FG, 1.0 3PT, 74.6% FT, 8.0 RPG, 2.7 APG, 2.8 SPG, 1.0 BPG
Per 36/minutes this summer in Orlando: 21.1 PPG, 37.5% FG, 1.9 3PT, 82.5% FT, 4.8 RPG, 5.6 APG, 3.3 SPG, 0.0 BPG
The verdict on Oladipo is he's extremely talented, but pretty raw, and that's what you can take away from these numbers. The personality he took on as a player at Indiana (efficient offensive player and an absolute hawk on defense) and Summer League (playmaker with ability to fill it up and still hound defenders) was vastly different, but his success in both roles is a strong indicator that he can produce in any capacity.
What we do know for sure is he's a fixture of Orlando's future and he'll become a bigger part of what they do as the season progresses. In head-to-head leagues, these are the types of guys you want to target late because they'll only get better and better. Oladipo should not be going in the final rounds of any draft. Those who gamble in the 7th or 8th rounds will likely reap the benefits later on.