2016-17 Fantasy Basketball Sleepers

2016-17 Fantasy Basketball Sleeper.

A list of undervalued players to target in 2016-17 fantasy basketball leagues.

Grabbing a sleeper pick during your draft and watching it pay off for you every game during the season is an amazing feeling. In fact, there may be nothing more satisfying in fantasy sports than hitting the jackpot on a sleeper pick.

To aid you in your quest for the elusive fantasy basketball sleeper, we’ve put together a list of potential breakout or bounce-back characters to help you win this season.

This list is in alphabetical order and the degree to which these players qualify as sleepers obviously depends on your specific league. We’ve included each player’s projected stats for the upcoming season so that you can properly evaluate them.

Alex Abrines Oklahoma City Thunder
2016-17 Projected Stats (per game)
G Min Pts Reb Ast Stl Blk 3PM TO FG% FT%
78 16.8 8.2 1.7 0.8 0.7 0.1 1.4 0.5 44.0 84.1
The Thunder picked up Abrines in the second round of the 2013 NBA Draft and have tracked the 23-year-old’s development closely while he’s played for Spanish club FC Barcelona the last three seasons. While competing against players typically much older than him, Abrines showed steady improvement in each of those seasons, culminating in an average of 9.3 points in 19.2 minutes per game while shooting 41.7 percent from three-point range during Euroleague play in 2015-16. In an effort to add some long-range shooting to the roster for the upcoming season, the Thunder put the full-court press on Abrines to bring him stateside, ultimately inking him to a three-year, $18 million deal. Though Abrines wouldn’t appear to have much upside in the defensive categories, there may be an opportunity for him to deliver sound contributions right away for the Thunder in the form of supplemental scoring and three-pointers off the bench. The Thunder added Victor Oladipo this offseason to handle starting shooting guard duties, but the minutes could be wide open at the other wing spot, where none of Andre Roberson, Kyle Singler and Anthony Morrow are entrenched in major roles. Abrines could end up surpassing all of them on the depth chart if his shooting proves to be as good as advertised.

Jerryd Bayless Philadelphia 76ers
2016-17 Projected Stats (per game)
G Min Pts Reb Ast Stl Blk 3PM TO FG% FT%
73 29.9 11.1 2.6 3.9 0.9 0.2 1.8 1.3 41.9 78.5
Bayless has bounced around the league as a backup combo guard for his eight seasons as a pro, but the 28-year-old will get his first shot at a full-time starting role in 2016-17 after inking a three-year, $27 million contract with the 76ers this offseason. He earned the big payday by turning in a career-best campaign with the Bucks while serving as a sixth man and occasional starter, averaging 10.4 points, 3.1 assists, 2.7 rebounds and 0.9 steals per game while shooting a superb 43.7 percent from three-point range. Bayless’ efficiency from the field and downtown figures to take a hit with the 76ers planning to deploy him as one of their primary scorers and distributors rather than a complementary option, but he’s nonetheless poised to turn in his best counting stats production of his career thanks to an expected spike in his usage rate. While he’s slated to start at point guard and see most of his action at that position, Bayless’ prowess from distance will also allow him to log time alongside backup point guards T.J. McConnell and Sergio Rodriguez, likely putting him in line for more than 30 minutes per contest.

Trevor Booker Brooklyn Nets
2016-17 Projected Stats (per game)
G Min Pts Reb Ast Stl Blk 3PM TO FG% FT%
78 25.1 7.9 6.9 1.4 0.8 0.6 0.3 1.4 48.4 63.8
Booker signed a two-year, $18.5 million contract with the Nets in July, stepping into a situation where he’ll have a chance to be a full-time starter for the first time in his career. The six-year veteran has started 112 career games, but only seven of those came with the Jazz, with whom he spent the previous two seasons. In 2015-16, Booker averaged 5.9 points, 5.7 rebounds and 1.1 assists in 20.7 minutes per game as the backup to Derrick Favors and, at times, Trey Lyles. Booker s value is borne out more in real-life basketball than in fantasy, but he averaged 10.2 points and 10.0 rebounds per 36 minutes last season, so if his playing time increases in accordance with his projected starting role, he could be a solid source of rebounds in deeper fantasy formats. Of course, Booker isn’t going to approach 36 minutes per game, though he should see a noticeable bump, especially considering the relative lack of talent behind him on the depth chart.

Clint Capela Houston Rockets

2016-17 Projected Stats (per game)
G Min Pts Reb Ast Stl Blk 3PM TO FG% FT%
78 24.5 9.4 8.2 0.8 1.0 1.6 0.0 1.3 56.1 39.9
After appearing in only 12 games as a rookie, the Capela had a minor breakout in Year 2, emerging as one of the more intriguing young big men in the Western Conference. In 19.1 minutes per game, the Swiss big man averaged 7.0 points, 6.4 rebounds and 1.2 blocks while shooting 58.2 percent from the field. Capela worked as a starter for half of the season before then-coach J.B. Bickerstaff scrapped the idea of playing Capela and Dwight Howard together. With Howard now in Atlanta, the center position is Capela’s for the taking. That should entail a fairly significant minutes increase, especially considering the options behind him — aging veteran Nene Hilario and rookie Chinanu Onuaku. Capela will be asked to do the dirty work for what will be a fast-paced Houston offense, but he’ll also work as James Harden’s pick-and-roll partner. Last season, nearly 80 percent of Capela’s field-goal attempts came from within three feet, a trend that’s likely to continue as the Rockets try to develop him into their version of an in-his-prime Tyson Chandler.

DeMarre Carroll Toronto Raptors
2016-17 Projected Stats (per game)
G Min Pts Reb Ast Stl Blk 3PM TO FG% FT%
68 31.3 12.8 5.1 1.5 1.5 0.2 1.8 1.1 45.5 71.3
The Raptors made a rare splash in free agency last season, inking Carroll to a four-year, $58 million contract to give the team a needed 3-and-D wing to complement their co-stars, Kyle Lowry and DeMar DeRozan. While Toronto was able to roll to a franchise-record 56 wins, it’s worth wondering how much better they would have been if Carroll, who missed 56 games, had been healthy over the course of the season. The 30-year-old never seemed comfortable after picking up a right knee contusion early on in the campaign that resulted in him getting shut down in December. When Carroll failed to show much improvement in the weeks that followed, it was ultimately determined arthroscopic surgery was necessary, which would sideline him until the tail end of the regular season. He would finish the injury-plagued season with averages of 11.0 points (on 38.9% shooting), 4.7 rebounds, 1.8 three-pointers, 1.7 steals and 1.0 assist in 30.2 minutes per game, with the mark from the field in particular limiting his overall impact. He still wasn’t fully healthy in the Raptors’ playoff run, either, but the team is hopeful that a full offseason to recuperate will yield a bounce-back year from the small forward. Assuming that he’s able to largely avoid the knee issues that plagued him a season ago, Carroll holds some sleeper potential for what he’ll provide in the points, three-pointers, rebounds and steals columns when healthy.

Seth Curry Dallas Mavericks

2016-17 Projected Stats (per game)
G Min Pts Reb Ast Stl Blk 3PM TO FG% FT%
74 19.5 8.4 1.8 1.9 0.6 0.1 1.4 1.0 44.6 84.7
A journeyman for his first two NBA seasons, Curry made brief cameos with the Grizzlies, Cavaliers and Suns while spending the majority of his time in the D-League. He was finally given a chance by the Kings last season, appearing in a career-high 44 games and making nine starts near the end of the season. Curry’s role was inconsistent for much of the year, so it’s difficult to take anything away from his season-long averages of 6.8 points, 1.5 assists and 1.4 rebounds per game. But over the Kings’ final 11 games, Curry averaged 29.7 minutes, putting up 15.2 points, 3.8 assists and 2.7 rebounds while shooting 46.8 percent from the field and an even more impressive 48.4 percent from three-point range. The late surge was enough to impress the Mavs, who signed Curry as a free agent this offseason to provide depth at both guard spots. Curry will play primarily off the ball, but he has experience at point guard and turned in a 15-assist game against the Suns last season, showcasing the playmaking ability that was often on display at Duke. While the 26-year-old is an intriguing player to keep an eye on, the Mavs are stocked with steady, if not spectacular, veteran guards, which may prevent Curry from playing enough minutes to achieve fantasy relevancy in most single-season formats.

Troy Daniels Memphis Grizzlies

2016-17 Projected Stats (per game)
G Min Pts Reb Ast Stl Blk 3PM TO FG% FT%
66 16.7 8.1 1.6 0.7 0.5 0.1 1.9 0.9 45.9 73.5
Since going undrafted out of VCU in 2013, the 25-year-old Daniels has made a career for himself as a three-point sniper off the bench, but he’s yet to land a regular rotation role over his three NBA seasons. However, after landing a three-year, $10 million contract from the Grizzlies this offseason, it appears Daniels could have his biggest opportunity to date to land consistent minutes in the league. While Tony Allen will open the season as the Grizzlies’ starting shooting guard, he’s been injury prone over the last several seasons and doesn’t offer much value on the offensive end, which will likely prevent him from regularly surpassing 30 minutes per game. Daniels will try to win some of that leftover playing time, and given his outstanding 43 percent mark from three-point range for his career, he would seemingly profile as the Grizzlies’ best reserve option at shooting guard, especially after 39-year-old Vince Carter regressed badly in 2015-16.

Tim Frazier New Orleans Pelicans

2016-17 Projected Stats (per game)
G Min Pts Reb Ast Stl Blk 3PM TO FG% FT%
71 23.6 8.6 3.3 5.1 1.1 0.1 0.5 1.7 42.7 69.5
Frazier opened his second NBA season as a deep reserve for the Trail Blazers, frequently finding himself out of the rotation with the dynamic duo of Damian Lillard and C.J. McCollum sucking up most of the minutes at point guard. Incidentally, it wasn’t until Frazier was waived by the Blazers last February before his career began to take off. About a month after that, Frazier joined an injury-plagued Pelicans roster desperate for point guard help and almost immediately thrived. Frazier only started one of his 16 games with the club, but averaged 13.1 points (on 45% shooting), 7.5 assists, 4.4 rebounds and 1.4 steals across 29.3 minutes per game. Given his success with the club, it wasn’t a surprise that the Pelicans opted to re-sign him on a two-year deal this summer. He was initially expected to open the upcoming season in a backup role, but with the news that Jrue Holiday will likely miss the first several weeks of the campaign to tend to a personal matter, Frazier now looks positioned to open the season as the starting point guard. His fantasy value will fade a bit once Holiday returns, but as he showed late in 2015-16, Frazier is certainly capable of delivering ample production when he receives a hefty dose of minutes. He’ll make for a worthy target in the later rounds of fantasy drafts.

Rondae Hollis-Jefferson Brooklyn Nets

2016-17 Projected Stats (per game)
G Min Pts Reb Ast Stl Blk 3PM TO FG% FT%
75 28.3 9.3 7.0 2.1 1.9 0.7 0.2 1.5 44.8 74.4
The No. 23 pick in the 2015 NBA Draft was one of the Nets’ few bright spots last season, even if an ankle injury limited him to just 29 games. Hollis-Jefferson moved into the starting lineup just six games into his rookie season on the back of efficient shooting and strong perimeter defense. While Hollis-Jefferson’s counting stats were nothing spectacular — 5.8 points, 5.3 rebounds, 1.5 assists and 1.3 steals in 21.2 minutes per game — he shot nearly 46 percent from the floor while recording a team-best 105 defensive rating. Improving as an outside shooter must be a priority as he enters Year 2, but if Hollis-Jefferson sees a significant uptick in minutes — a strong possibility on a Nets team void of high-end talent — he projects to provide enough value across multiple categories to be a decent bench option in most fantasy formats.

Stanley Johnson Detroit Pistons

2016-17 Projected Stats (per game)
G Min Pts Reb Ast Stl Blk 3PM TO FG% FT%
78 25.0 9.6 4.8 1.8 1.1 0.2 1.0 1.9 40.8 77.6
Johnson’s rookie campaign could best be described as uneven, as the 20-year-old used his combination of size and aggressiveness to torch the competition during the summer league, but wasn’t able to consistently take advantage of those traits once the regular season began. The swingman most notably struggled to find much rhythm as a shooter, hitting just 37.5 percent of his attempts from the field. That lack of efficiency resulted in coach Stan Van Gundy handing heavy minutes to starting wings Kentavious Caldwell-Pope and Marcus Morris in the first half of the season, but Johnson gradually earned a larger role as the team’s sixth man when the calendar flipped to 2016. Over a 14-game stretch from Jan. 14 through Feb. 6, Johnson enjoyed his best run of the season, averaging 12.4 points on 45.7 percent shooting from the floor to go with 4.7 rebounds, 2.2 assists and 1.4 three-pointers across 26.9 minutes per game. However, that success would prove short lived, as Johnson ended up spraining his shoulder later in February and then reverted back to his poor shooting ways upon returning to action in March. In more consciously embracing his offensive strengths — namely, using his 6-foot-7 frame to bully smaller wing defenders — Johnson could tap further into his considerable upside in 2016-17, especially if he uses training camp as an opportunity to refine his jumper and ball handling. He’ll likely open the season in a bench role, but with some expected skills growth, Johnson should at least benefit from an uptick in minutes.

Enes Kanter Oklahoma City Thunder
2016-17 Projected Stats (per game)
G Min Pts Reb Ast Stl Blk 3PM TO FG% FT%
79 26.1 16.9 9.9 0.6 0.4 0.5 0.2 1.7 56.8 78.4
After joining the Thunder via trade in February 2015 and producing 18.7 points and 11.0 rebounds per game in 24 appearances, Kanter re-signed with the club on a four-year, $70 million contract that summer. While that kind of money would normally warrant a starting gig, the returns of Kevin Durant and Serge Ibaka from injury and their subsequent good health resulted in Kanter making just one start in his 82 games in 2015-16. He also saw his court time fall to 21 minutes per game, 10 fewer than what he’d averaged with Oklahoma City the year before. If Kanter was frustrated by the declining role, it wasn’t apparent in his numbers, as he responded by putting up 12.7 points and 8.1 rebounds per contest and recording 24 double-doubles, the most from any NBA reserve in a single season since 1992-93. The impressive board totals often masked the fact that Kanter remains a poor individual defender who doesn’t block many shots and lacks the lateral mobility to effectively match up against the small-ball lineups favored by many teams across the league, making him a better fantasy player than a real-life one. Those defensive shortcomings may forever stand in the way of Kanter consistently receiving the time he’d need to submit eye-popping stat lines like the 33-point, 20-rebound line he logged against the Trail Blazers in his lone start of 2015-16. It does help Kanter’s cause that Ibaka (Magic) and Durant (Warriors) are now with new teams, but it’s still uncertain to translate back into a regular 30-minute role, since the Thunder continue to fancy themselves as playoff contenders. With that in mind, Ersan Ilyasova, Joffrey Lauvergne and Domantas Sabonis could conceivably end up dominating the minutes at power forward next to defensive anchor Steven Adams, who hasn’t appeared comfortable sharing the court with the space-clogging Kanter for long stretches. Such a development would probably take a full-on breakout season off the table for Kanter, but even only a mild boost in court time could have a dramatic positive effect on his fantasy value thanks to his robust per-minute numbers. He makes for a good gamble in the middle rounds of fantasy drafts.

Michael Kidd-Gilchrist Charlotte Hornets
2016-17 Projected Stats (per game)
G Min Pts Reb Ast Stl Blk 3PM TO FG% FT%
63 30.0 12.1 7.0 1.3 0.7 0.8 0.4 1.3 49.1 70.5
Injuries have already come to define Kidd-Gilchrist’s young career, as he’s missed 122 games over the past three seasons. A torn labrum limited Kidd-Gilchrist to just seven games in 2015-16, cutting short what many believed could have been a breakout year for the former No. 2 overall pick. In those seven games, Kidd-Gilchrist averaged 12.7 points, 6.4 rebounds and 1.3 assists while shooting 54.1 percent from the field, up from his career 46.7 percent mark. While the sample size was obviously small, Kidd-Gilchrist showcased expanded confidence as a shooter, knocking down as many three-pointers (three) as he’d hit in his previous 195 games combined. Kidd-Gilchrist’s jumper remains borderline offensive in appearance, but he’s steadily improved as a mid-to-long-range shooter since entering the league as a virtual non-factor outside the restricted area. While he’ll likely never be a true marksman from deep, the simple threat of shooting the three ball at a reasonable percentage should be enough to help expand his overall offensive game. Kidd-Gilchrist is expected to step back into the starting small forward role in which he began last season, which will push Nicolas Batum over to shooting guard and give the Hornets one of the NBA’s better defensive wing combinations. Batum projects as the better scorer of the two, while Kidd-Gilchrist should post strong rebounding and field-goal percentage numbers. He won’t offer much in terms of assists, though, and his steal rate (1.0% in 2014-15) is substantially lower than his smothering defensive presence would suggest.

sSalah Mejri Dallas Maverick
2016-17 Projected Stats (per game)
G Min Pts Reb Ast Stl Blk 3PM TO FG% FT%
68 17.6 5.7 5.4 0.4 0.3 1.6 0.0 1.1 61.7 61.5
Often finding himself in and out of the rotation on a near-nightly basis, Mejri closed his rookie season with averages of 3.7 points, 3.6 rebounds and 1.1 blocks across 34 games. The 30-year-old averaged a double-double per-36 minutes, and while he won’t come anywhere near that minutes load this season, he could be set for a larger role as the backup to injury-prone center Andrew Bogut. Mejri scored efficiently around the rim last season (62.8% FG), but he registered only 78 field-goal attempts, 31 of which were dunks. He projects as a capable option to spell Bogut for stretches, but Mejri is unlikely to be a relevant fantasy commodity in his second NBA season unless Bogut suffers an extended absence.

Nikola Mirotic Chicago Bulls
2016-17 Projected Stats (per game)
G Min Pts Reb Ast Stl Blk 3PM TO FG% FT%
79 24.1 11.7 5.4 1.4 0.9 0.8 2.0 1.6 41.3 80.0
After an up-and-down rookie campaign, it was much of the same for Mirotic in his second season. The Serbian forward averaged 11.8 points and 5.5 rebounds per game, but knocked down only 40.7 percent of his field-goal attempts. Mirotic was also limited to 66 games, as an emergency appendectomy sidelined him from late January to early March. On a more positive note, Mirotic took a major leap as a three-point shooter, converting 39 percent of his 4.0 attempts per game, up from an ugly 31.6 percent mark in 2014-15. The Bulls made a number of high-profile changes this offseason, but Mirotic is expected to return in a similar role to the one he held in 2015-16. He’ll battle with Taj Gibson and Bobby Portis for minutes at power forward, but could see less time on the wing after the Bulls added Dwyane Wade in the offseason. The move is expected to push Jimmy Butler into more minutes at small forward, where emerging third-year wing Doug McDermott will also command consistent time at that position. While Gibson is the favorite to start at power forward by virtue of being the incumbent, his upside is limited at this point in his career, and the Bulls will likely need Mirotic’s spacing ability, especially when Butler, Wade and Rajon Rondo are on the floor together. That could equate to a slight bump in minutes for Mirotic, but Chicago’s considerable depth at the forward spots will likely cap his value to that of the middle rounds of most drafts.

Timofey Mozgov Los Angeles Lakers
2016-17 Projected Stats (per game)
G Min Pts Reb Ast Stl Blk 3PM TO FG% FT%
74 26.4 9.5 6.9 0.6 0.6 1.2 0.0 1.4 54.9 70.1
The Cavaliers met the Warriors in the NBA Finals for the second consecutive season and were finally able to come away with their first championship, but Mozgov was missing from action throughout the series after playing a key complementary role in that same matchup a year earlier. Mozgov’s exile from the rotation was part of trend that began under former coach David Blatt earlier in 2015-16, but his playing time and place atop the depth chart didn’t truly decline until Tyronn Lue took over in January. Mozgov roughly split the starts at center with Tristan Thompson during the second half of the season, but Lue ultimately decided that Thompson’s combination of high energy and relentless effort on the glass made him a better fit for the Cavs in the postseason than Mozgov, who is a superior shot blocker, but not as mobile or as an active of a rebounder. Lue’s preference to use smaller lineups resulted in Mozgov averaging just 5.8 minutes per game in 13 appearances during the playoffs and effectively signaled that the organization had no desire to retain him in 2016-17. It was unsurprising that the 7-foot-1, 275-pound big man attracted interest in free agency over the summer, but it was more startling when he agreed to a four-year, $64 million offer from the Lakers on the first day of teams could negotiate with players. That massive financial commitment ensures that Mozgov will enter the season as the Lakers’ starting center and should easily surpass the 6.3 points and 4.4 rebounds he averaged in 17.4 minutes per game a season ago. Mozgov will likely rank as the fourth or fifth option offensively whenever he’s on the court, but because most of his shot attempts will come close to the basket, he’ll help owners in the field-goal percentage category while also hitting around 70 percent of his free throws. With few other rim-protecting threats on the Lakers’ bench, Mozgov’s minutes look to be relatively safe, and that should translate to several more double-doubles after he provided just two in 2015-16.

Jusuf Nurkic Denver Nuggets

2016-17 Projected Stats (per game)
G Min Pts Reb Ast Stl Blk 3PM TO FG% FT%
65 19.5 9.6 6.5 1.5 0.9 1.6 0.0 1.8 43.9 62.8
As a rookie, Nurkic impressed with his rebounding and rim-protecting abilities, finishing the year with per-36 averages of 13.9 points, 12.5 rebounds and 2.2 blocks in 62 games. Injuries put a major damper on his sophomore campaign, however, as a lower-back strain caused Nurkic to miss the first two months of the season and 50 games in all. Nurkic made his debut on Jan. 2, but went on to battle wrist and hip injuries that would ultimately prevent him from ever establishing a rhythm. While his per-36 numbers were again strong, Nurkic converted just 41.7 of his field goals on a high volume (7.6 per game) relative to his workload (17.1 minutes per game). All indications are that Nurkic is back to full strength entering 2016-17 and is projected to serve as the undisputed No. 2 center behind Nikola Jokic after the team shipped Joffrey Lauvergne to Oklahoma City in the offseason, helping to clear room in what had become a crowded Denver frontcourt. While playing behind Jokic will limit Nurkic’s fantasy ceiling, his per-minute counting stat production has been outstanding when he’s healthy, and coach Mike Malone showed a willingness to play the two big men alongside each other late last season. As a result, Nurkic is worth a look later in drafts with the hope that he plays his way into an expanded role.

Bobby Portis Chicago Bulls

2016-17 Projected Stats (per game)
G Min Pts Reb Ast Stl Blk 3PM TO FG% FT%
76 22.6 8.7 6.1 0.9 0.5 0.5 0.6 1.2 44.0 74.8
Portis, the 22nd overall pick in 2015, is coming off of an encouraging debut season in which he established himself as a rotation-caliber player. He appeared in 62 games and made four starts, finishing with averages of 7.0 points and 5.4 rebounds per game. Portis started slowly, appearing in only four of Chicago’s first 24 games, but his role increased dramatically in mid-December after Joakim Noah was lost for the season with a shoulder injury. Portis put up 20 points and 11 rebounds in a Dec. 19 loss to the Knicks, and from that point on averaged 18.5 minutes per game over the season’s final 58 contests. While he was a fixture in the rotation, his role fluctuated on a night-to-night basis, making it difficult for the rookie to establish a rhythm. Portis is expected to take a step forward this season, but it’s unclear if he’ll be able to carve out significantly more minutes, even after the team parted ways with Noah and Pau Gasol over the summer. Taj Gibson projects to start at power forward alongside Robin Lopez, leaving Portis to compete with Nikola Mirotic for minutes off the bench. Portis is the better rebounder and defender, but Mirotic will be needed to space the floor to help offset what might be the NBA’s worst shooting backcourt. To his credit, Portis flashed perimeter skills as a rookie — he 16-of-52 (30.8%) from three-point range — but he can’t match Mirotic’s shooting ability. Given the depth ahead of him, Portis is probably an undrafted commodity in most shallow fantasy leagues, but he holds considerable value as a longer-term asset in dynasty formats.

Josh Richardson Miami Heat

2016-17 Projected Stats (per game)
G Min Pts Reb Ast Stl Blk 3PM TO FG% FT%
68 25.4 8.6 2.6 1.8 0.8 0.6 1.2 0.8 45.4 70.9

Marcus Smart Boston Celtics
2016-17 Projected Stats (per game)
G Min Pts Reb Ast Stl Blk 3PM TO FG% FT%
73 29.7 11.2 4.9 3.5 1.8 0.3 1.3 1.6 38.6 74.8
After an up-and-down rookie season, Smart followed up with much of the same in 2015-16. The former lottery pick struggled mightily as a shooter, converting just 34.8 percent of his attempts from the field and a horrific 25.3 percent from three-point land. Even so, his tenacious defense and relentless attacking ability kept him firmly in coach Brad Stevens’ deep rotation, when healthy. Smart missed 21 games, including 18 in a row from Nov. 22 to Dec. 27 while recovering from a lower-leg injury, but played in the Celtics’ final 52 contests. Smart began the year as a starter but played exclusively off the bench after returning from injury. His role wasn’t greatly impacted, however, as he saw at least 20 minutes in every game after Dec. 31. The 22-year-old remains a foundational piece in a still-developing Celtics backcourt, but he simply must improve his shooting efficiency to mount a serious challenge to Avery Bradley for the starting shooting guard spot. With Evan Turner now in Portland, Smart projects to serve as the Celtics’ versatile sixth man, vacillating between both guard spots depending on need.

Jared Sullinger Toronto Raptors
2016-17 Projected Stats (per game)
G Min Pts Reb Ast Stl Blk 3PM TO FG% FT%
72 25.4 9.8 8.3 2.3 0.8 0.7 0.4 1.2 44.0 70.5
Since being selected 21st overall by the Celtics in 2012, Sullinger has unsuccessfully attempted to make the transition from traditional back-to-basket big man to floor-stretching forward/center, the latter of which is becoming more vogue in the modern NBA. The Celtics’ patience with Sullinger finally seemed to run out in his fourth NBA season, as the former Ohio State star saw his playing time drop from 27.0 to 23.6 minutes per game. Sullinger was able to avoid the injuries that had plagued him in the past, suiting up in a career-high 81 games in 2015-16, but with his 28.2 percent mark from three-point range representing only a modest improvement over his career rate (27.6%), he would lose out on playing time to the sweet-shooting Jonas Jerebko throughout the final month of the regular season and playoffs. After Sullinger’s whimpering finish to the season, the Celtics made little effort to re-sign him in the offseason, and he went on to settle for a one-year, $5.6 million contract with the Raptors after the top free-agent big men had come off the market. Despite his lack of shooting range, the big-bodied Sullinger (6-foot-9, 260 pounds) is capable of holding his own in the post and averaged close to a double-double (10.3 points, 8.3 boards) last season even with his playing time taking a dip. The Raptors will look for Sullinger to play to his strengths, and while he’ll likely start at power forward, he may have to share duties at the position with Patrick Patterson, who offers more three-point shooting ability. As such, a dramatic bounce back in Sullinger’s production shouldn’t be expected, but look for the 24-year-old to remain a dependable source of supplementary rebounding and scoring.

Garrett Temple Sacramento Kings

2016-17 Projected Stats (per game)
G Min Pts Reb Ast Stl Blk 3PM TO FG% FT%
75 26.5 8.3 3.2 2.5 1.0 0.2 1.3 0.9 40.7 71.3

Myles Turner Indiana Pacers
2016-17 Projected Stats (per game)
G Min Pts Reb Ast Stl Blk 3PM TO FG% FT%
73 26.9 12.5 6.5 0.9 0.5 1.6 0.1 1.3 50.3 74.3
Considered a relatively raw prospect after he was drafted 11th overall out of Texas, Turner surpassed expectations in his first NBA season, averaging 10.3 points, 5.5 rebounds and 1.4 blocks in 22.8 minutes per game for the Pacers. A fractured left thumb caused Turner to miss 21 of the Pacers’ first 30 games, but he quickly regained his bearings and played his way into the starting lineup by late January. Turner would go on to start half of his 60 total games, averaging 27.8 minutes per game as a starter, versus just 17.8 as a reserve. With Ian Mahinmi now in Washington, the center spot is clearly Turner’s for the taking, and a significant increase in minutes should be expected. The Pacers brought in Thaddeus Young and Al Jefferson over the summer, but Young will see the vast majority of his minutes at power forward, while the league as a whole has seemingly outgrown Jefferson’s plodding, back-to-the-basket style. Turner is on the short list of potential fantasy breakout players this season, and his potential will only rise if he develops into a more reliable catch-and-shoot threat in the mid-to-long range.

T.J. Warren Phoenix Suns
2016-17 Projected Stats (per game)
G Min Pts Reb Ast Stl Blk 3PM TO FG% FT%
73 25.2 12.0 3.3 1.0 0.8 0.3 0.6 0.7 50.6 74.8
Warren appeared to be in the midst of a minor breakout during his second season in the league, even putting pressure on P.J. Tucker for the starting small forward job. However, things fell apart for Warren in early February, when he was diagnosed with a broken foot that would sideline him for the rest of the season. In his 47 games, Warren was at least able to establish himself as the Suns’ top scoring source off the bench, averaging 11.0 points to go along with 3.1 rebounds, 0.9 assists and 0.8 steals in 22.8 minutes per game. Warren resumed running earlier in June and seems to be trending toward availability for training camp. While Tucker retains the top spot on the depth chart, he required back surgery in mid-September that will likely sideline him through the start of the season, creating an opportunity for Warren to claim a starting role if he proves in camp he’s recovered from the foot procedure. The Suns could also opt to roll a smaller starting lineup that would feature Devin Booker at small forward, but either way, Warren seems poised to grab significant minutes right away to begin his third NBA campaign with Tucker out of commission. He’ll likely see his playing time recede once Tucker returns, but if Warren distinguishes himsef early on, the Suns could certainly opt to keep him ahead of Tucker on the depth chart.

Derrick Williams Miami Heat

2016-17 Projected Stats (per game)
G Min Pts Reb Ast Stl Blk 3PM TO FG% FT%
78 19.5 10.1 4.1 1.0 0.5 0.2 0.5 0.9 44.4 72.6

Justise Winslow Miami Heat
2016-17 Projected Stats (per game)
G Min Pts Reb Ast Stl Blk 3PM TO FG% FT%
80 31.6 8.1 5.9 1.8 1.2 0.5 0.5 1.5 43.1 68.1
Winslow was selected 10th overall by the Heat in the 2015 NBA Draft and immediately slid into a rotation role for one of the Eastern Conference’s better teams, averaging 28.6 minutes per game in 78 appearances. While the 20-year-old held his own on the defensive end, he didn’t make much of a splash from a fantasy standpoint, despite his big minutes load. Winslow contributed only 6.4 points (on 42.2% shooting from the field), 5.2 rebounds, 1.5 assists and 0.9 steals per game, with his numbers in the offensive categories in particular not inspiring a ton of confidence. The swingman didn’t shoot the ball much better in the summer league this past July, but given his youth, there’s plenty of reason for the Heat to believe he’ll improve in that regard over time. The organization certainly seems to be banking on him taking at least a small step forward offensively in Year 2, as the offseason departures of Dwyane Wade and Luol Deng along with the likelihood that blood clots will prevent Chris Bosh from ever playing for the team again will open up even more minutes and shot attempts for Winslow. His efficiency could plunge further a bit with the added volume, but Winslow should easily surpass his averages from his rookie season in most categories. He’s a good target for the later rounds of most drafts, but expecting a full-on breakout and selecting him much earlier than that may result in disappointment.