Golden State Warriors
Andrew Bogut is worth a late-round pick thanks to his shot-blocking prowess, but it's become abundantly clear that chronic injuries will prevent him from being the player he once was. He played his best during the postseason last year (including a 14-point, 21-rebound, four-block gem vs. Denver) but couldn't maintain his momentum for long—in Golden State's six-game series vs. the Spurs, he averaged 6.2 points, 11.3 rebounds and 0.7 blocks, with typically horrible FT shooting.
Harrison Barnes, meanwhile, started 81 games as a rookie and looked dominant for stretches during the playoffs. The Warriors are billing him as their 'sixth starter' now that Andre Iguodala has assumed starting SF duties. Barnes combines 3-point range (35.9 percent last year) and a trickle of across-the-board stats to become a viable late-round option, but don't go overboard based upon a few solid weeks in the postseason. In 25 minutes per game last year, he managed just 4.1 rebounds, 1.2 assists, 0.6 steals and 0.2 blocks, numbers which aren’t likely to improve dramatically while Iguodala is healthy.
Toney Douglas is a nice handcuff for Stephen Curry in deep leagues, but the much-maligned David Lee may be the best value-pick on the Warriors' roster. He somehow played through a torn hip flexor in the playoffs and he's missed an average of just 7.0 games over the past three season (or 4.0 games over the past six seasons). So much for the idea that he's injury prone. With second-round upside and a price tag closer to the middle rounds, owners should view him as a potential bargain on draft day.
JaVale McGee is the Nuggets' headlining 'breakout' candidate considering his new contract (four years, $44 million) and the team's obvious desire to give him heavy playing time as a starting center under new coach Brian Shaw. Foul trouble may limit JaVale’s minutes to around 30-32 per game (up from 18.1 last year) but that's enough for him to flirt with 15 & 10 averages and a fantasy-gold 3+ blocks per game. Owners will need to account for his career 58.3 percent FT shooting, but that's a small price to pay for elite blocks and FG percentage.
Wilson Chandler is a more obscure value-pick, but he's poised to start at SF until Danilo Gallinari returns from a partially torn ACL. Gallo isn't expected to resume basketball activities until "at least" December, and even when he's healthy Chandler can provide solid value thanks to his 3-point range, rebounding, defensive stats, and ability to play multiple positions.
Jarrett Jack will reprise his role as a do-it-all reserve guard, and a move to Cleveland shouldn't diminish the top-100 value he had in 30 minutes per game last season. He contributes in all the ways a late-round PG should (points, 3s, assists and FT percentage), and at the very least he's a solid insurance policy if you've drafted Kyrie Irving. Dion Waiters seems driven to have a breakout season but his fantasy outlook is clouded by his poor shot selection last year (41.2 percent shooting), coupled with the arrival of Jack.
The frontcourt situation is much messier. Earl Clark will likely start at SF, backed up by Alonzo Gee and Sergey Karasev. Anthony Bennett is expected to begin the season as a backup PF behind Tristan Thompson, while Andrew Bynum will start at center (if he's healthy on opening night) and Tyler Zeller will mop up any minutes that trickle down to him.
The Cavs' big man I'm most intrigued by is the one not yet mentioned, Anderson Varejao, whose 2012-13 season ended with a split quad muscle and a life-threatening pulmonary clot. He has since recovered and has been working out consistently since May, which means he should enter the regular season at full health. He was a solid second-round value (eight-cat) in the 25 games he played last year, but fantasy owners are wary enough of his injury history that he's plummeting into the final rounds of most (very) early fantasy drafts. The inherent risk in drafting him is outweighed by his stellar per-game productivity and the prospect that he'll be traded away by a Cavs team overloaded with big men.
Al Jefferson has averaged a mere 3.8 DNPs over the past four seasons, and his offensive usage rate should spike on a Bobcats' team in desperate need of an interior presence. He's a fine pick in the late first round thanks to his durability, center-eligibility, and potential to average 20 & 10 with a steal, a block and solid percentages.
In the final month of the 2012-13 season, Gerald Henderson scored 19.9 points per game with 3.6 assists and 1.3 steals. With the inclusion of 47.0 percent FGs and 81.3 percent FTs he was a solid top-50 value in eight-cat leagues. He's been working on his perimeter shot and should have extra room to operate with Al Jefferson keeping defenses honest, which makes him a likely value pick on draft day.
Two Bobcats I won't be drafting are Cody Zeller (I'm not convinced he can rebound and defend well enough to earn the bulk of minutes ahead of Josh McRoberts) and Michael Kidd-Gilchrist. MKG has huge potential for steals and blocks, but he needs play more consistently while proving that he can make jump shots. As I mentioned before on Twitter (@Knaus_RW), Kidd-Gilchrist took 63 percent of his shots from within 8ft of the basket last season. Beyond 8ft he shot a combined 64-of-205 from the field, including 8.7 percent from 10-15 feet.