Fantasy Basketball: Underrated 2nd Year NBA Players Worth Drafting

10/24/12 in NBA   |   Jnewman482   |   124 respect

Oct 1, 2012; Independence, OH, USA; Cleveland Cavaliers point guard Kyrie Irving during media day at the Cleveland Clinic Courts. Mandatory Credit: David Richard-US PRESSWIREThe 2012 Rookie of the Year, Kyrie Irving, is expected to be the best second-year player in the NBA this season, and it is hard to see another sophomore surpassing him in that regard.

Last year, the No. 1 overall pick provided hope to a Cleveland fanbase that needed something to look forward to after suffering through a 2010-11 season in which the Cavaliers set a record for most consecutive losses by an NBA team—26 games in a row. More will be expected from Irving this year though, and that has already been reflected in ESPN’s Top 150 Fantasy Basketball Rankings where he is listed as the 11th best prospect. 

Many fantasy drafts tend to be won in the later rounds, however, so while taking the Cavaliers star in the first round or early second would be a decent pick, there are a few players out there who might not deserve all of the attention that Kyrie is getting, but are still worthy of recognition.

Now, before beginning, it is important to note that Ricky Rubio and Iman Shumpert have been removed from consideration because they both tore their ACL’s last season, and it is unclear when they will return. It is a shame since both of them probably would have made this list, but here are the best picks for you to make, considering both the talent level of the player and where it is expected that they will get drafted:

5. Isaiah Thomas, Sacramento Kings (ranked 66th)October 1, 2012; Sacramento, CA, USA; Sacramento Kings point guard Isaiah Thomas (22) during media day at Kings Practice Facility.  Mandatory Credit: Ed Szczepanski-US PRESSWIRE

Looking at the prospects who are healthy and aren’t named Kyrie, the player rated the highest after the Cleveland star is ironically the last pick of the 2011 NBA Draft, Isaiah Thomas.

Thomas became a legitimate starting point guard in the league at the end of the season as he was averaging nearly 15 points and 5.5 assists per game in the last month. The reason he is only ranked fifth on this list is because ESPN seems to have caught on to just how good he is.

He might not have as much talent as the Isiah Thomas from the Bad Boy Pistons, but after averaging just 18.7 minutes a game in the first full month of last season, it is clear that the Kings coaching staff recognized how much he could help their squad since he played 32.3 minutes a game in March, 2012.

Further, Thomas may be only 5’9”, but he was the guy everyone looked up to when he was in college at Washington, and he could end up being the leader on this immature Kings team. Despite the youth on Sacramento’s roster though, there is a lot of talent when you start looking at Tyreke Evans, Marcus Thornton and DeMarcus Cousins, and that’s great for Thomas because it gives him plenty of opportunities to pick up assists.

Expect his production to rise, and if you see him still lingering in the mid-to-later rounds because your friends think he’s overrated, don’t be afraid to pick him up. 
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