2014 Outlook: Harden was masterful in his first season with the Rockets, posting a versatile 25.9 points, 4.9 rebounds, 5.8 assists, 1.8 steals and 2.3 3-pointers on the season. Those numbers, along with his 85.1 percent shooting in 10.2 free throw attempts per game, were good enough to finish fourth on our Player Rater in 2012-13. Harden will have to share some of his touches with Dwight Howard now in the fold, but any decrease in scoring could result in a corresponding bump in field goal percentage and assists. Only 24 years old and entering his prime, Harden is a safe bet to finish as a top-10 fantasy player once again in 2013-14.
2014 Outlook: Fully healthy after struggling with ankle injuries in 2011-12, Curry turned in a truly fantastic fantasy season, finishing third on Player Rater behind only Kevin Durant and LeBron James. A dynamic talent, Curry posted career highs in points (22.9), assists (6.9) and 3-pointers (3.5) and managed to stay on the court for 78 games on the season. Fears over his ankles will follow him for a little while, but Curry was able to remain healthy with a heavy workload of 38.2 minutes per game, which suggests that he's not much more of an injury risk than any of your first-round options.
2014 Outlook: The fantasy hoops world already knew what George was capable of, but the rest of the basketball universe was introduced to George during his official breakout season. Not only was he an All-Star, but he churned out terrific across-the-board stats, chipping in scoring, 3s, rebounds, dimes and steals. It's exactly the type of well-rounded game that makes roto junkies drool. The scary thing is that he is just 23 and has plenty of room for improvement. Specifically, if he takes a couple of more shots per game and has a modest bump in FG% from last season's 41.9 percent, he could push up over 20 PPG and 2.5 3 PPG. He's a safe pick in the first round of fantasy drafts.
2014 Outlook: One of the most unique fantasy players in the game, Batum was a top-10 fantasy player for much of the season before struggling down the stretch with shoulder and wrist injuries. It was a tale of two seasons for Batum, who posted a brilliant 15.3 points, 5.9 rebounds, 4.9 assists, 1.3 steals, 1.2 blocks and 2.3 3-pointers before the All-Star break and a solid but unspectacular 12.0 points, 5.0 rebounds, 5.0 assists, 1.2 steals, 1.1 blocks and 2.1 3-pointers after the break. He can do a lot for fantasy owners, and can provide first-round value in the second round if he can remain healthy this season.
2014 Outlook: The only thing standing between D-Wade and a top-10 fantasy finish is his body, primarily his balky knees. When healthy, he has continually generated huge stats across the board. Last season he took part in just 69 games, but his 52.1 FG% was by far the best of his career, his 5.1 APG was a three-year high and his 1.9 SPG a five-year high. Wade has reportedly been solely focused on shedding some pounds and getting in peak physical condition this offseason, and since he can opt out of his contract in the summer, he should be particularly motivated to max out his games played and stats. It's a big if, but if Wade can stay healthy, he could be one of the top early-round bargains in Fantasyland.
2014 Outlook: If Thompson didn't open eyes by finishing 37th on our Player Rater during the regular season, he sure made a name for himself on the national stage during Golden State's 12-game playoff run. We'd love to see him create more steals and be a bit more selective with his shots, but we won't complain with 16.6 points and 2.6 3-pointers per game for the 23-year-old sharpshooter. Already a fantastic fantasy selection, Thompson should continue to improve as he enters his third year in the league.
2014 Outlook: Armed with top-notch quickness and speed, Ellis can be a dynamic fantasy player with his ability to fill up the stat sheet in points, assists, steals and 3-pointers. Unfortunately, poor shot selection has kept him from being an elite fantasy player, as he shot just 41.6 percent from the floor last season. It wouldn't be surprising to see Ellis improve on that number in Dallas, as he'll get better looks with Jose Calderon feeding him the ball and Dirk Nowitzki drawing opposing defenders.
2014 Outlook: Currently recovering from Achilles tendon surgery, it remains to be seen how Bryant will be hampered to start the season. If he's 100 percent healthy, Kobe is still an elite fantasy option after posting 27.3 points, 5.6 rebounds, 6.0 assists, 1.4 steals and 1.7 3-pointers per game with terrific percentages a season ago. With Kobe hoping to return for the start of the campaign, fantasy owners will want to watch his progression closely before using a high pick on him in fantasy drafts.
2014 Outlook: Tabbed as a potential breakout candidate in 2012-13, Leonard delivered on his promise, particularly in the playoffs where he posted 13.5 points, 9.0 rebounds, 1.8 steals and 1.1 3-pointers in 21 postseason games. Leonard's playoff success did not come as a surprise after he averaged 11.9 points, 6.0 boards, 1.7 steals and 1.1 3-pointers in only 31.2 minutes per game during the regular season. The 22-year-old is one of the more talented young stars in the game today, and fantasy owners should expect big things in 2013-14.
2014 Outlook: We finally saw Smith fully live up to the production of which he was capable. He posted career-highs in scoring (18.1 PPG) and rebounding (5.3), while chipping in a respectable 42.2 FG percentage, 1.9 3s and 1.3 SPG, all while coming off the bench. Yet it's hard to not be skeptical about what we should expect this season. Last season was a contract year, and since he got his payday in July, he has undergone knee surgery (questionable for start of season) and was suspended five games. It's easy to imagine Smitty sliding back into his old habits of being flaky, though he remains in position to continue as a scoring and 3-point threat. The additions of Tim Hardaway Jr. and Beno Udrih could curtail Smith's upside.
2014 Outlook: Coming into the year with huge expectations, Dragic struggled early before turning things on in the second half of 2012-13. He posted a modest 14.0 points, 6.3 assists, 1.4 steals and 1.2 3-pointers in 32.3 minutes before the All-Star break and a brilliant 16.1 points, 9.5 assists, 2.0 steals and 1.1 3-pointers in 36.0 minutes after the break. After five seasons, it is clear that Dragic can be a dynamic fantasy player when given 35-plus minutes per game. Some may be concerned about the addition of Eric Bledsoe in the Suns backcourt, but Dragic and Bledsoe should be able to coexist in what is now an exciting Suns backcourt.
2014 Outlook: Now three years removed from his record-setting rookie season, Evans posted 15.2 points, 4.4 rebounds, 3.5 assists, 1.4 steals and 0.7 3-pointers in 2012-13. Evans' numbers have gone in the wrong direction since posting 20/5/5 as a rookie, but he's still a quality fantasy option thanks to his production in multiple categories. Evans is a better fantasy player when he has the ball in his hands, but he'll be expected to play more off the ball at small forward with the Pelicans. He'll earn plenty of minutes and should be a solid investment in fantasy leagues as long as you aren't expecting him to recreate his rookie season magic.
2014 Outlook: It's basically shocking that Beal could score in the mid-teens with a quality FG percentage and a couple of 3-pointers per game as a 19-year-old kid, but that's exactly what he did as a rookie before a stress reaction ended things early. He should be fully over that injury before training camp and ready to build on his debut last season. The Wiz will continue to lean heavily on him as a scorer, which means 20 PPG and 2-plus 3s per game is not an unreasonable expectation if all goes well. He'll be one of the prime breakout candidates in any fantasy system.
2014 Outlook: A 17-to-19 PPG scorer for the Sixers from 2006 to 2010, Iguodala has become more of a facilitator in recent seasons, averaging a versatile 13.0 points, 5.3 rebounds, 5.4 assists, 1.7 steals and 1.1 3-pointers per game for the Nuggets last season. He's unlikely to return to his high-scoring ways now that he's joining Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson in Golden State, where he'll start at small foward, but he'll do a lot of little things for the Warriors that should show up in the box score, such as boards, assists and steals. His declining free throw percentage has been a concern, but Iggy is still a solid mid-round selection thanks to his all-around game.
2014 Outlook: Acquired by the Suns in an offseason trade, Bledsoe has generated serious buzz in the fantasy community now that he's expected to earn starter's minutes for a full season. After posting 14.2 points, 4.8 rebounds, 5.3 assists, 2.5 steals and 1.3 blocks per game in 12 starts a season ago, it's easy to see why fantasy owners are so excited about his prospects in Phoenix. An incredibly explosive athlete, Bledsoe is a prime breakout candidate; just don't expect to get him at sleeper value after all the buzz this offseason.