Bank on it.
Just because a name appears on this list doesn’t mean it comes attached with a draft recommendation—instead, the owner has to weigh investment vs. cash-out, and some situations do not warrant the jump in price next season.
Situations are important. Context is critical. Don’t just study the individual—consider the environment that surrounds him and how that will influence his tendencies on the court.
This is a game about numbers, but don’t lose the human element.
Here are links to all of the positional risers:
Draymond Green, F Golden State Warriors
2014 ADP: 114.7
2014 Key Stats: 11.7 points, 8.2 rebounds, 3.7 assists, 1.6 steals, 1.3 blocks, 1.4 3-pointers, 44.3% shooting.
It’s laughable to think that a player who could have very well won two awards this season (Most Improved, Defensive Player of the Year) had a lower ADP than Jeff Green (98.5), Andre Iguodala (105.9) and Gerald Green (113.2). It’s equally laughable to think that Draymond Green will be mentioned with any of those players again when it comes to fantasy basketball.
You could see part of this coming for Green, who just missed averaging a steal and a block per game in 2013-14 when he registered 1.2 swipes and 0.9 swats per contest. You could even start to see his development as a shooter when the sophomore improved his 3-point percentage from a terrible 20.9% to a respectable 33.3% mark, but to sit here and suggest that anyone saw this version of Green coming would be a flat out lie. A common theme in his career, Green has exceeded expectations—again.
Green almost doubled his scoring output from the prior season. He doubled his assist output, continued to improve his long-range shot despite turning into a third Splash Brother at times and even brought up his overall field goal percentage by almost four points in a season where he averaged 31.5 minutes per game, by far the highest mark of his career. As a Swiss-Army Knife capable of contributing across the stat sheet and in the key categories, there’s no questioning Green’s value heading into next season.
He’s just the latest, greatest example of why targeting contract-year players can pay off in a big way when you identify your choices properly.
Khris Middleton, SG/SF/PF Milwaukee Bucks
2014 ADP: 141.7
2014 Key Stats: 13.4 points, 4.4 rebounds, 2.3 assists, 1.5 steals, 1.4 3-pointers, 46.7% shooting.
Would you look at that? It’s another contract-year baby boomer in Khris Middleton—and he’s about to get paid. The fantasy basketball pick after Anthony Bennett (139.6) is not how Middleton or his owners will remember his breakout season.
Most will look at Middleton’s production and ask “What happened?” after the All-Star break that led to his increased production, but it’s just about minutes. Middleton was averaging a decent 27 minutes prior to the break, but he logged 35.5 per game after the break, a clear indication of how his role grew under Jason Kidd as the season went on. As literally the Bucks’ best player on both sides of the floor, that was a good decision. Middleton was a top-10 NBA player in real plus-minus this season, led his team in win shares (6.7) and net rating.
In the second half (29 games), Middleton exploded to the tune of 16.8 points, 4.4 rebounds, 3.1 assists, 1.4 steals and 1.6 triples on a solid 45.7% shooting. During that stretch, Middleton also averaged a whopping 14.1 shots per game, including 4.1 3-point attempts, a clear indication of where he sat in the pecking order. If and when the Bucks re-sign him to a well-deserved big money deal this offseason as a restricted free agent (and by all accounts, they intend to keep him), Middleton will once again be a key contributor for what should be one of the NBA’s most surprising teams once again in 2015-16.
DeMarre Carroll, F Atlanta Hawks
2014 ADP: 122.4
2014 Key Stats: 12.6 points, 5.3 rebounds, 1.3 steals, 1.7 3-pointers, 48.7% shooting
After averaging 11.1 points, 5.5 rebounds, 1.5 steals, 1.3 triples and shooting 47% during the 2013-14 season, DeMarre Carroll’s ADP should have been higher going into this campaign.
Part of what led to his national attention was the fact that Atlanta completed a stunning regular season that culminated with the team grabbing authoritative hold of the No. 1 seed in the Eastern Conference, but the other portion that brought it home was what Carroll was able to achieve after the All-Star break. After putting together a first half to write home about (12.0 points, 5.1 rebounds, 1.3 steals, 1.7 3-pointers, 46.5% shooting), Carroll exploded over his final 23 games of the season: 13.9 points, 5.7 rebounds, 2.1 assists, 1.4 steals, 1.7 3-pointers and an unbelievable 52.8% shooting from the field. That kind of production will put anyone under the microscope. And would you believe he did it in a contract season? Imagine that.
Carroll is someone who will likely be overdrafted next year because of what he did in this one, and if he leaves the Hawks in free agency—a very real possibility—Carroll is unlikely to enjoy the role that he currently shines in with Atlanta.
Robert Covington, F Philadelphia 76ers
2014 ADP: Undrafted
2014 Key Stats: 13.5 points, 4.5 rebounds, 1.4 steals, 2.4 3-pointers, 39.6% shooting.
Although RoCo was terribly inefficient on a woeful Philadelphia 76ers team, his percentages are not why he’s on this list. You know why he’s here—and that’s to deliver the long-range swish. Covington never shot above 42.1% during any month, but he was able to shoot the rock at a 37.4% clip from distance for the season. As a player who attempted nearly 60% of his overall shots (6.4/10.8) from behind the 3-point line and made them at nearly a 40% rate, Covington is what we call a difference-maker. Those are the types of guys successful owners want to have on their roster, especially in a key category like the three ball.
Outside of his 3-point shooting, Covington does help in the steals department, but he’s going to have to create a more well-rounded game to justify his soaring stock. If he can get to the free-throw line at the rate he showed during the final month of the 2014-15 (more than six times per contest) and hit them at a rate around his 82 percent from this last season, Covington becomes a much more interesting (and valuable) player.