Players With Upside
Over the last week of the season you will find several teams out of contention trying to figure out who on their roster are a part of the problem or a part of the solution. With the New York Knicks experiment proving to everyone that you must rebuild, and not reload, you can expect to see a youth movement taking over several teams that are far from contention. On the other hand, this late in the season, some teams have already wrapped up their Division Titles, and can now also take a moment to see what young talent they have on their roster. The following are a list of players who are getting a shot to make an impact in fantasy hoops down the stretch.
Here’s a quick review of each player getting some extra playing time, before you slot them in your fantasy basketball line-ups:
LEON POWE, C, BOSTON CELTICS
Another one of the few young talents that the Boston Celtics were able to hold onto this off-season, Leon Powe has impressed down the stretch. The ’06 second round pick is averaging 7.5 points and 4 rebounds in just 14 minutes of action per night on the season. That same ratio leads to 15 points, and 8 rebounds if provided 28 minutes per night. Recently, Powe has been getting that type of run, and the numbers are there. In March, Powe averaged 8 points and 4 boards in 15 minutes. In April, the numbers have soared to 14 points and 8 rebounds in 23 minutes of action. With Kevin Garnett and Kendrick Perkins likely to get some rest before the post-season, Powe will likely enjoy a greater role down the fantasy stretch.
NICK FAZEKAS, PF, LOS ANGELES CLIPPERS
While the Clippers are ecstatic about the talent of their rookie Al Thornton, Nick Fazekas is offering another look at a young prospect for Los Angeles. On Thursday, the rookie scored a career-high of 18 points on 7-10 shooting. The good times did not roll, as the 23-year old forward failed to score in 11 minutes of action on Sunday. While Nick can provide some intrigue for Clippers fans down the stretch, he is not a safe option when it comes to fantasy hoops.
AARON BROOKS, PG, HOUSTON ROCKETS
The Rockets 26th overall pick of the 2007 draft has not enjoyed much opportunity to shine this season. However, with the playoffs a reality for the Rockets, Aaron Brooks is enjoying a shot to prove his worth in the final week of the regular season. The player considered by many scouts to be an undersized shooting guard scored 18 points on Sunday. In fact, Brooks has reached double-digit scoring in the past three games. Perhaps this off-season Brooks will surprise many as a deep shot option, much like Daniel Gibson did for the Cavaliers a season ago.
JAVARIS CRITTENTON, PG, MEMPHIS GRIZZLIES
As if the Grizzlies couldn’t load up on enough young guards, they brought in Javaris Crittenton in what may be the best piece of the Memphis puzzle from the trade involving Pau Gasol. Despite Mike Conley Jr., and Kyle Lowery laying ahead of him on the depth charts, Crittenton is proving to be the best scorer in the Memphis backcourt. The 20-year old can knock down the three, and also drive with the best of them. On Thursday, the former Georgia Tech Yellow Jacket scored 23 points with 9 rebounds and 4 assists. The fact that the team is already stuffed with youth may keep Crittenton from receiving consistent minutes, but the performances may factor into the team’s off-season strategy.
SPENCER HAWES, C, SACRAMENTO KINGS
The Sacramento Kings brought 19-year old Spencer Hawes along very slowly this season. Despite using the tenth overall pick in the NBA lottery to nab the talent, the Kings have been able to use All-Star Brad Miller as their weapon in the middle for the majority of the season. However, now that the season will soon come to a close, Kings head coach Reggie Theus and staff are getting a good look at what they have in Hawes. So far, they have to be pretty pleased. The 7-foot center has been a defensive dynamo offering blocks and rebounds. In three starts Hawes has averaged 12 points and 11 rebounds, to go with 2 blocks. With Miller ailing from another grinding season, along with the fact that the Kings are out of the playoff mix, you can expect Hawes to get plenty of playing time, which should translate into fantasy value.
Written by Rob Shaw of FANTASYFANATICS.COM
Photo Credit: ICON SMI