The NBA season is just around the corner and as fantasy teams are being picked, keep in mind these five fantasy players that will either go boom or bust.
Michael Porter Jr. – SF/PF Denver Nuggets
On ESPN’s most recently updated fantasy list, which came out on Tuesday, Michael Porter Jr. weighs in at 20 overall. Yahoo, meanwhile, has him going at 31.
Porter Jr. had a productive 2020/21 campaign for the Denver Nuggets. Averaging 19 points per game (PPG) 7.3 rebounds per game (RPG) and 1.1 assists per game (APG) in what was a breakout season.
In 61 games played he racked up 2,006 Yahoo fantasy points, 54th overall.
Now it is time for a “prove it” season. He certainly has the arsenal to do so and with Jamal Murray sitting out with injury, his high-volume scoring abilities should have a chance to flourish under Michael Malone’s system, particularly with Nikola Jokić’s playmaking talent.
Chris Boucher – PF/C Toronto Raptors
It was announced Monday that Boucher underwent surgery on his left hand for a dislocated middle finger. He is to be out three-to-four weeks, meaning it’s likely he misses some early season playing time.
Last season, on a lackluster Toronto Raptors team, Boucher established himself as a strong option for backup centre. He likely remains there behind the newly acquired Precious Achiuwa and/or Khem Birch.
The Montreal native averaged 13.6 PPG, 6.7 RPG, 1.1 APG last season finishing 71st overall in total fantasy points with 1,789.
Like Porter Jr., it’s a ‘prove it’ season for Boucher. Unlike Porter Jr., it is doubtful Boucher will start, and with the loss of Kyle Lowry, easy buckets may be harder to come by for the Canadian.
However, the 28-year-old shoots nearly 40 per cent from three on four attempts per game. If Boucher can replicate his 2020/21 campaign, this season he would make for an excellent pick up.
Jaren Jackson Jr.– PF Memphis Grizzlies
Jackson Jr. spent most of last season recovering from injury and only made it into 11 games. In those games he was no slouch, averaging 14 PPG, 5.6 RPG with 1.1 APG.
But the eye test suggested he did not look quite like himself. With some luck the Grizzlies power forward can have a healthy, productive season but it will be hard to say if he will be 100% his former self.
He does have a couple things working in his favour, namely Ja Morant. In his short career, he is becoming an assist savant averaging nearly 7.5 APG in his first two seasons. Memphis also seems to be in rebuild mode, as such there will be some wiggle room for Jackson Jr. to get back up to speed.
ESPN has the 22-year-old going 43rd overall while Yahoo has him 49th.
Kristaps Porzingis – PF/C Dallas Mavericks
Porzingis missed 29 games last season, which is becoming the norm for the Latvian centre. The 26-year-old has missed a double digit amount of games in every season he has been in the NBA.
This is the main issue with drafting the Mavericks 7’3 centre.
Last year he averaged 20.1 PPG, 8.9 RPG, and 1.6 APG. He cleared 1,607 fantasy points and managed to crack the top 100 players at 98.
If Porzingis stays healthy and becomes Luka Doncic’s running partner, his fantasy potential will be off the charts.
ESPN has him going at 45 while Yahoo has him at 47.
Kevin Porter Jr. – PG/SG Houston Rockets
Kevin Porter Jr. has played in a total of 76 NBA games. In his first season on the Cleveland Cavaliers he was good but not great. Then last year, in a move to Houston, Porter Jr. became a regular scoring threat averaging 16.6 PPG, 6.3 APG, 3.8 RPG.
He did so in 26 games for the Rockets. The guard showed off his willingness to share the ball and his acumen for scoring. Once John Wall was shut down during the last seven games of the season he averaged 20.9 PPG, 6.1 APG and 3.1 3PG.
There are some questions, such as how will he play when the ball is out of hands with the arrival of Jalen green? Is 26 games a big enough sample size to draft early?
He is on a rebuilding Rockets team and will likely get his shots. Kevin Porter Jr. may be one of the biggest enigmas of your fantasy draft.
Yahoo has him at 79th, while ESPN has him 80th.