The NBA’s Atlantic division underwent another makeover in the offseason with Kyrie Irving, JJ Redick and Enes Kanter entering the division while Isaiah Thomas and Carmelo Anthony exited. While all five players will probably be off the board early enough in the majority of fantasy basketball leagues there is at least one player on each Atlantic division team that could fall far enough to become good sleeper value.
Here is a look at one sleeper fantasy basketball option for each Atlantic division team.
Al Horford, Boston Celtics
Horford averaged a career-high five assists per game last season to go along with 14 points to become the first center to average at least 14 points and five dimes since Kareem Abdul-Jabbar in 1978-79. Horford also averaged a career-best 1.3 three-point shots per game. The addition of Irving could make the Celtics even more dangerous this season and provide additional looks for Horford to knock down open looks. Irving will go early in fantasy basketball drafts but you might be able to land Horford in the later rounds.
Norman Powell, Toronto Raptors
After flashing his potential over the past couple of seasons, Powell appears primed to take a major step forward with the Raptors this season. DeMarre Carroll and P.J. Tucker are out of the picture, which means Powell will get a lot more playing time this season. His ability to hit the three-point shot will be a major weapon as he serves as another option behind Kyle Lowry and DeMar DeRozan. Considering Lowry’s inability to stay healthy, Powell could emerge as a major factor in Toronto this season.
Doug McDermott, New York Knicks
The Knicks also acquired McDermott in the Anthony trade, which means he should be primed for an excellent opportunity when he arrives in New York. McDermott is one of just 10 players to attempt more than 450 three-point shots while shooting 45-percent from the floor and 40-percent from beyond the arc since the 2014-15 season. He’s mostly been an afterthought in terms of rotations both when he played at Oklahoma City and in Chicago. He played 24.5 minutes in Chicago two years ago but just 19.5 minutes per game last season. Two years ago, he averaged 10.2 points, 1.3 threes, 3.0 rebounds and 1.0 assists per game. He could be a very useful fantasy asset if the Knicks feed him 25+ minutes per game. That’s actually possible when you consider who else is on the Knicks roster. They are very thin and need players with experience to step up. McDermott fits just that even though he’s still just 25 years old.
If he falls far enough in your fantasy basketball league draft then he could be worth taking a chance on as a sleeper pick.
Richaun Holmes, Philadelphia 76ers
Joel Embiid is healthy and ready to shine for the 76ers this season. That said, Embiid hasn’t been able to play an entire NBA season yet, so it makes sense to hedge our bets with his backup in Holmes. In the 17 games he played last season, Holmes averaged 14.0 points and 7.2 rebounds while shooting 54.4 percent from the floor and 79.4 percent from the stripe. Holmes can be a decent deep addition that steps up big time if Embiid is hurt again.
D’Angelo Russell, Brooklyn Nets
Brooklyn is the perfect destination for a player like Russell. He is incredibly talented and now he will get every opportunity to showcase his skill set with the Nets. Brooklyn will lean heavily on Russell as both a scorer and a playmaker this season. With another year of experience under his belt, Russell could emerge as a legitimate sleeper pick that surprises a lot of GM’s with the Nets this season.
We’ve already gotten a taste of what Russell can do early on in the preseason. On Sunday night, Russell compiled 16 points and seven assists, three rebounds, three steals, a block and a three-pointer. He only played 26 minutes too. He’s going to have an epic usage rate this season as the Nets are in full-on rebuilding mode. That should mean some excellent fantasy production from the former Laker.
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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