2014 Outlook: On the strength of his scoring and efficiency, Aldridge finished the year ranked 20th on our Player Rater despite missing eight games. Aldridge is one of the few big men in the league who can knock down his free throws at an 81 percent clip. With 21.1 points, 9.1 rebounds, 0.8 steals and 1.2 blocks, Aldridge is as solid as they come, though we'd love to see a few more blocks out of our big men. Still, he's been a perennial top 25-30 player for three years now and is an extremely safe fantasy investment.
2014 Outlook: Finally freed from a crowded Jazz frontcourt, where he was underused, Jefferson has landed in a primo spot for statistical output. The Bobcats have added some young talent via high draft picks in recent years, but most of them are longer-term projects, which means the team will have no choice but to lean heavily on Jefferson. His baseline for production this season should be 20 PPG and 10 RPG with decent block production and close to 50 FG%. The injury issues he had in his early years as a pro appear to be behind him, though he'll have to shake off a preseason ankle sprain to be ready for the opener.
2014 Outlook: It will be almost exactly 18 months since Rose blew out his knee when he faces the Heat in the opener. Since it typically takes 12 months or so for an NBA player to return to full speed, we can assume that he will be no worse than the pre-surgery Rose, who missed just six games in his first three seasons. That means that he has top-three fantasy upside and the ability to rack up a ton of points, dimes and FTs. We may well see a boost in FG percentage and 3-point production, because he presumably spent months shooting jumpers while rebuilding his athleticism during rehab, and that could push him back near the top of the fantasy rankings.
2014 Outlook: It took a little while for Wall to get up to full speed after missing the start of the season with a knee injury, but once fully healthy he took flight and ascended to his rightful spot as one of the bright young stars in the game. He just turned 23, so long as he can withstand the rigors of a full 82-game slate, he should be a fantasy beast as a scoring point guard, capable of topping 20 PPG and eight APG with good percentages and a fair number of steals. He's on the short list of players you can draft outside the first round but who might finish the season in the top 10.
2014 Outlook: After taking the league by storm as a rookie before suffering a torn ACL, Rubio started his second season slowly but was dominant in the second half of his sophomore campaign. Posting a brilliant 12.9 points, 5.2 rebounds, 8.0 assists, 2.9 steals and 0.8 3-pointers after the All-Star break, Rubio is an elite point guard option when healthy. He'll be a drain on your field goal percentage but does so much everywhere else that we'll gladly overlook it. He was a top-25 fantasy player toward the end of last season and should be drafted as one.
2014 Outlook: Davis started his rookie season slowly as he battled through some minor injuries, but he turned things on in a big way in the second half with 15.3 points, 9.3 rebounds, 1.2 steals and 1.5 blocks while shooting better than 50 percent from the floor and 80 percent from the line in 24 games after the All-Star break. With numbers like those, it is becoming increasingly clear that Davis is a fantasy superstar in the making. He has the potential to provide first-round value as early as this season if he can keep himself on the court.
2014 Outlook: Long known as J-Smoove, most just call him Smoove now, which is appropriate since he doesn't actually have a "J" in his hoops repertoire. It's going to be interesting to see how the Pistons handle his shoddy jumper even though he likely will spend a good amount of time at small forward this season. If GM Joe Dumars and coach Maurice Cheeks can persuade him to take only quality J's, he could get his FG% up over 50 percent again. Time will tell how many shots he gets off in The D and whether he can top 15-16 PPG, but we can safely expect him to continue churning out excellent rebounds, dimes, steals and blocks this season. The multiposition eligibility is a bonus, too.
2014 Outlook: After a truly fantastic rookie season, Lillard will come at a steep price in this year's fantasy drafts. Finishing 15th overall on our Player Rater on the strength of his scoring, 3-point shooting, assists and free throw percentage, Lillard is already a borderline elite point guard option in fantasy leagues. Owners should keep in mind that Lillard led the league in total minutes with 3,167 (38.6 per game) as a rookie, and with increased depth in the Blazers' backcourt, his minutes will likely dip to around 36 per game. We're still expecting big things from the sophomore, but the expected decrease in minutes may make a minor dent to his bottom line.
2014 Outlook: Since Horford does not do one thing at an elite level, he flies under the radar. However, he does contribute stats in all big-man categories, which means he carries excellent fantasy value, especially since his role on offense should grow with Josh Smith out of town. He averaged 19.7 PPG, 11.1 RPG, 3.3 APG, 1.2 BPG, 1.3 SPG and 54.8 FG% after the All-Star break last season, a pace that should be within his range over the full 2013-14 campaign. Paul Millsap's arrival should push Horford to center, which means we may see an increase in block production, too.
2014 Outlook: Lawson may have begun the 2012-13 campaign in a slump, shooting just 40.3 percent from the floor through November, but he turned things around quickly thereafter, finishing the season with 16.7 points, 6.9 assists, 1.5 steals and 1.2 3-pointers per game. Blessed with top-end speed and quickness, Lawson is fearless in his attempts to get to the basket, where he can create or finish with a variety of the offensive moves in his repertoire. Owners should not be terribly concerned about the addition of Nate Robinson to the Denver lineup as Lawson's minutes should remain constant, in the 34-35 per-night range. He's not quite an elite option, but he's a great second-tier point guard after the biggest names are off the board.
2014 Outlook: We found out some things about Noah with Derrick Rose out last season. We found out he was tough as nails, as he played a career-high 36.8 MPG despite battling through plantar fasciitis all season. We also found out that he simply isn't going to be a dominant scorer, because if he can't top 10 or so shots and 12-13 PPG in any given month with Rose out, he likely never will. So, at age 28, we know now that he is simply a double-double machine who can block some shots and maintain a quality FG%. In other words, he's likely to be overrated in fantasy leagues, because there are plenty of guys who can produce similar numbers. Plus he's had a penchant for injuries in recent years.
2014 Outlook: Don't forget that Jennings didn't play college hoops -- he balled in Italy instead -- and just turned 24, so there is plenty of time left for his game to mature. He also couldn't have landed in a much better spot than Detroit, where he will be tutored by Hall of Famer Joe Dumars and NBA champion Maurice Cheeks, who we suspect will build a much better rapport with him than his previous coaches. If he buys into their efforts to make him a true point guard, any loss in scoring he sustains will be countered by a bump in FG percentage and assists (perhaps a significant bump). He has All-Star talent and could finally bust loose this season in fantasy and reality.
2014 Outlook: After a shocking draft-day trade sent him packing to New Orleans, Holiday will look to build on a fantastic season that saw him finish 27th on our Player Rater. Holiday averaged 17.7 points, 4.2 rebounds, 8.0 assists, 1.6 steals and 1.2 3-pointers per game, and did a little bit of everything for fantasy owners last season. If there are any holes to point to in his game, it's his efficiency. He shot just 43.1 percent from the floor and a modest 75.2 percent from the line, and averaged 3.7 turnovers per game last season. Expect less scoring but improved efficiency with the Pelicans, as he'll have more weapons at his disposal.
2014 Outlook: Always a dominant rebounder who has a nose for tracking down loose balls, Lee is more than just a double-double machine in fantasy leagues, thanks to his impressive percentages and ability to create steals. On the strength of his league-leading 56 double-doubles, Lee finished 14th on our Player Rater in 2012-13. He's not a shot-blocker, but his owners won't complain when he's putting up 18-20 points and 9-11 rebounds per night. Fully recovered from the hip injury that limited him in the playoffs, Lee is a quality high-round fantasy pick as long as you can find your blocks elsewhere.
2014 Outlook: On the strength of his scoring, assists and terrific percentages, Parker finished 32nd on Player Rater in 2012-13. With 20.3 points, 7.6 assists, and 0.8 steals while shooting 52.2 percent from the floor and 84.5 percent from the line, Parker isn't your typical fantasy point guard. He won't hit 3s, and his steals leave a lot to be desired, but he'll score and dish in bunches, and there are few point guards who can match him from an efficiency perspective. He'll be asked to carry a heavy load offensively again this season, and is a great fantasy option shortly after the top point guards go off the board.