While the drama of the NBA offseason has been entertaining, fantasy GM’s can’t wait for the actual regular season action to get underway. We decided to look at a group of potential breakout players, late round steals and bargain pickups that could help you win a fantasy title in 2017-18. Here is a look at five potential NBA fantasy sleepers picks from the Atlantic division.
PG: D’Angelo Russell, Brooklyn Nets
A trade to Brooklyn could turn out to be the best thing for Russell’s fantasy prospects. He instantly becomes the Nets starting point guard and could average around 30 minutes per game this coming season. Brooklyn is completely committed to giving Russell every opportunity to be a star and the 2015 second-overall pick has the potential to thrive in this new situation. Russell averaged 15.6 points, 4.8 assists and 3.5 rebounds per game last season. It won’t be a surprise if he produces better numbers in Brooklyn in 2017-18.
SF: Jaylen Brown, Boston Celtics
Brown’s rookie numbers don’t look all that great on paper overall. However, a closer look at his numbers down the stretch reveals why he should be considered a potential breakout candidate for this coming season. Brown averaged 8.6 points, 3.4 rebounds and shot 49-percent from the field after the All-Star break. As a starter, he averaged 10 points, 4.3 rebounds and shot 45.9-percent from the floor. Celtics head coach Brad Stevens loves Brown’s defensive play, which is why he had him cover LeBron James in the Eastern Conference finals. Brown could see his minutes increase in his second NBA season. If he can even slightly improve his production while getting more playing time then he could be a sleeper to watch in Boston this coming year. A lot of NBA fantasy general managers have their eye on him.
C: Willy Hernangomez, New York Knicks
Hernangomez surprised as a rookie for the Knicks last season when he averaged 8.2 points and 7.0 rebounds while shooting 53-percent from the floor. The 23-year-old is expected to average more than 18.4 minutes per game this season and the combination of a bump in playing time with another year of experience and development in New York could mean better numbers in his second season. Hernangomez could even start for the Knicks in 2017-18. As a started last year, Hernangomez averaged 11.6 points, 9.3 rebounds while shooting 50.2% from the field. If he continues to start, his numbers should really improve this coming season. He’ll be on the radar of many NBA fantasy general managers heading into drafts. He has plenty of fantasy upside for points, rebounds, some steals and possibly even blocks.
PF: Richaun Holmes, Philadelphia 76ers
The 76ers have so many talented young players that it can be easy to overlook a 2015 second round pick in Holmes. However, the 23-year-old has taken significant steps forward in each of his first two seasons and he finished last season on a high note. Holmes averaged 13.6 points, 6.9 rebounds, 1.3 assists and 1.2 blocks per game in 26 contests after the All-Star break. If he can build on that strong finish to last year then he could emerge as a sleeper pick for Philadelphia this coming season.
SG: Norman Powell, Toronto Raptors
Powell is another young player that has steadily improved each season. He could be ready for more responsibility in Toronto. Powell averaged 10.6 points, 2.7 rebounds and 1.2 assists in just 19.5 minutes per contest in 23 appearances for the Raptors after the All-Star break. His minutes could see another bump in his third year in the association, which could translate to even better numbers. The question is whether or not head coach Duane Casey trusts him? It seems like Powell gets jerked around quite a bit in terms of his workload. That’s evidenced well in the playoffs when Powell played into the 30’s in four separate games but also played 21 minutes or less in four others. The Raptors need to trust him.
Powell has the talent to be a steady contributor for Toronto in his third NBA season. If he takes that next step, he could emerge as a legitimate fantasy sleeper pick in 2017-18.
The 2017 NBA futures are out. It’s been a wild offseason already, but keep an eye on the betting lines as they move around at Diamond Sportsbook! Get the latest NBA betting lines right here.
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