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16. Corey Maggette - LAC [SF]
Maggette is one of the better offensive talents in the NBA, adept at taking the ball hard to the rim and either finishing or drawing a foul. When he gets minutes, he’s generally among the league leaders in free throws taken and made, while shooting well better than 80 percent from the charity stripe. Maggette’s problem has been staying in the starting lineup, due to nagging injuries as well as conflicts with head coach Mike Dunleavy that have kept him coming off the bench for much of the past two years. Maggette finished last season strong, though, averaging 22.8 points, 7.6 boards, and 4.0 assists as a starter during the month of April. Additionally, Dunleavy has stated that Maggette will start this season. If Maggette maintains his starting status, he could easily match his April numbers for the whole season, especially since he’ll likely have more offensive responsibility with Elton Brand out with a ruptured Achilles tendon.
17. Stephen Jackson - GSW [SG,SF,PF]
A midseason trade from the Pacers jumpstarted Jackson’s fantasy production last season, as the almost 17.0 points, 4.6 assists, 3.4 rebounds, 1.6 treys and 1.3 steals that he produced in 38 games with Golden State made him an impact roto player. Jackson then had an excellent postseason run, using his long-range jumper and confident offensive mindset to establish himself behind Baron Davis as a go-to guy on the team. There is more playing time for the remaining perimeter players with Jason Richardson now playing for Charlotte, so the stage is set for Jackson to have another productive season.
18. Andres Nocioni - CHI [SF,PF]
Nocioni appeared to be on the verge of becoming a fantasy impact player last season, but injuries derailed him and opened the door for Luol Deng to become the team’s franchise player at his position. Nocioni is a solid scorer with good three-point range and is rugged enough to crash the boards as well. Considering the lack of scorers on the Bulls, Nocioni should still earn enough minutes between the two forward positions to make him worth late-middle round fantasy draft consideration.
19. Corey Brewer - MIN [SF,PF]
Brewer’s fantasy prospects just got a lot better with the trade of Kevin Garnett. Brewer has the length, speed, and defensive mindset to come in and contribute right away. The Wolves are now in rebuilding mode, and Brewer should see plenty of time early on. With an inconsistent jumper and unreliable ball-handling, his offensive game is still a work in progress. However, he showed in the Las Vegas Summer League that he is not afraid to crash the boards and is good at finding the open man with passes. With his quickness, he should be able to fill out the stat sheet enough to be a potential sleeper, even with the streaky jump shot.
20. Shane Battier - HOU [SF]
Battier’s numbers were down slightly almost across the board in his first year with the Rockets last season, but he was a more valuable player in many formats. How could this be? Because he more than doubled his three-pointer output from the season before, up to 1.9 treys per game. Battier has always been a player that produces moderately but effectively across the board, and adding three-point specialization to that balance made him a useful player indeed in the roto world. With defenses still having to account for Tracy McGrady and Yao Ming, Battier should continue to get open looks this season as well. Keep in mind that new coach Rick Adelman should install a more up-tempo offense that should result in more possessions and more opportunities to accumulate stats than the team had under the plodding style of Jeff Van Gundy.
21. Tayshaun Prince - DET [SF]
The Pistons’ starters have each produced consistent numbers during the past few years, perhaps because four-fifths of them have remained on the team since 2003. Prince is no exception here, as his stat lines for the past three years have been almost carbon copies of each other. On the court, Prince is an excellent defender whose good decision-making skills and nice mid-range jumper make him a glue guy on offense. From a fantasy standpoint, he’s a jack-of-all-trades that contributes something in almost every category, but doesn’t tip the balance in any of them. Expect more of the same this season.
22. Kyle Korver - PHI [SF]
Korver had a solid season for the Sixers despite trading in his starting job for a slot as the team’s sixth man. Korver scored a career-high 14.4 points per game to go with 3.5 boards, 1.8 treys and 91 percent free throw shooting. His value is tied entirely into his long-range shooting, though, so it is a bit concerning that he has experienced a steady decline in three-pointers attempted and made for the past three seasons running. It is also worth noting that the Sixers have spent their last two lottery picks on swingmen Rodney Carney and Thaddeus Young, so with franchise player Andre Iguodala cemented into big minutes, Korver could conceivably start to see a time crunch on playing time.
23. Richard Jefferson - NJN [SF]
Jefferson had a down season last year, as ankle injuries limited him to only 55 games and slowed him in the games that he did play. He notched four-year lows in all five roto counting categories and was one of the more disappointing high draft picks in most fantasy leagues. Jefferson has been the subject of numerous trade rumors this offseason, but if he remains in New Jersey, he is a good candidate to bounce back this year. Count on decent shooting percentages, reliable scoring and the occasional three-pointer.
24. Al Thornton - LAC [SF,PF]
Thornton was considered by many to be the second-best scorer in the 2007 draft class behind Kevin Durant. He’s also NBA ready at age 23 with a strong 6-8, 220-pound physique and explosive leaping ability. His playing time was expected to be limited early on with Corey Maggette, Elton Brand and Tim Thomas at forward, but Brand’s absence due to injury could mean more minutes for Thornton at both forward slots. Thornton is a college power forward that’s still learning to transition his game to the more perimeter-oriented small forward position, so it should help his output to be able to earn minutes at both this season.
25. Tim Thomas - LAC [PF]
After a 2006 playoff run with the Suns (in a contract year) that had some wondering whether Thomas was finally ready to live up to his potential, he returned to his mildly underachieving ways last year during his first season with the Clippers. Playing both forward slots as well as some center, Thomas was good for low double-digit scoring with around five boards and almost two treys per game. The position versatility and long-range shooting give Thomas roto value as a role player and position filler. The news that Elton Brand has ruptured his Achilles tendon may change that, though, because if Thomas moves into the starting lineup as the replacement power forward, he could conceivably get his scoring and rebounding numbers up enough that, in conjunction with the treys, would make him more of a fantasy impact player.
26. Luke Walton - LAL [SF]
Walton had the best season of his career in 2006-07 and became an integral part of the Lakers’ offense. His numbers don’t jump out at you, but he’s useful across the board with averages of 11.4 points, 5.0 boards, 4.3 assists, 1.0 steals and 0.8 treys on solid shooting percentages. He is a glue guy for the Lakers, keeping the offense moving and knocking down open jumpers to punish opposing defenses that focus entirely on Kobe Bryant. By the same token, he could be a glue guy on your roto team as a decent, low cost category filler.
27. Marvin Williams - ATL [SF]
Williams is a productive and athletic forward with loads of potential. Unfortunately, the Hawks are loaded with potential at the forward spots, and Williams isn’t number one on the list. Josh Smith seems headed towards stardom. Shelden Williams provides much needed physicality and rebounding. And to make matters worse, the Hawks used the No. 3 overall pick on power forward Al Horford. That means Williams, for the time being, will be left with “whatever’s left” in terms of playing time. If you need a stronger indication that the Hawks don’t really know what to do with Williams, here’s one: when Joe Johnson missed games at the end of last season, Atlanta started Williams at shooting guard.
28. Walter Herrmann - CHA [SF,PF]
Herrmann earned a fantasy name for himself by coming out of the blue to average almost 20.0 points and six boards with more than two treys per game during the last 12 games of last season. Herrmann served as an injury replacement at the time. Many people contend that he only saw minutes because the season was over and the Bobcats had to field a full team. But at the same time, he played so well that he may have earned himself some minutes this year. He is worth keeping an eye on and could be worth a late-round flyer if he is getting minutes in camp.
29. Jeff Green - SEA [SG,SF]
Green enters his rookie season in a good position to succeed. A college All-American that led his team to the NCAA Final Four, Green became the second top-five lottery pick added by the Sonics this summer. With Ray Allen and Rashard Lewis gone, Green and Kevin Durant should both get plenty of minutes from day one. Green has excellent size for a small forward at 6-9 and 235 pounds and could see some time at the PF slot as well. He has a solid mid-range-and-in offensive game, good ball-handling ability, and passing skills that should eventually be good for a few assists per game. He is one of a handful of rookies this year that should be drafted in pretty much every fantasy league.
30. Ruben Patterson - LAC [SF,PF]
Patterson is coming off his best year as a pro, with 14.7 points, 5.4 rebounds and 2.9 assists while shooting 55 percent from the field for a poor Milwaukee team. We don't expect him to come close to those numbers this year unless Tim Thomas or Corey Maggette gets hurt, and even if he does play major minutes, Patterson may encounter more difficulty against the bigger forwards of the Western Conference.