2014-15 NBA Fantasy Preview
POSTED: Oct 6, 2014 12:09 PM ET
The 2014-15 NBA season is right around the corner, which means it's time to start preparing for your Yahoo! NBA Fantasy draft!
Use our Fantasy Draft Kit to find out which players are the best in each statistical category and outsmart your competition. Make sure to check back to NBA.com/fantasy throughout the month as we reveal our NBA.com Fantasy Big Board, positional rankings and feature articles.
The Pelicans' 21-year-old center appears positioned to repeat as the NBA's blocks leader and breakthrough as the NBA's newest superstar.
13-14: 2.8 BPG -- 12-13: 1.8 BPG
Anthony Davis joined Shaquille O'Neal as the only 20 year olds to record more than 2.8 blocks per game. After a strong performance during the FIBA World Cup, it's hard to imagine the insanely athletic and long Davis won't increase this number to over 3.0 per game in 2014-15. This is just another reason why he shouldn't slip past the fifth pick in your draft.
13-14: 2.7 BPG -- 12-13: 3.0 BPG
Serge Ibaka's blocks dipped last season after averaging 3.7 per game in 2011-12 and 3.0 per game in 2012-13. This appears to be more due to opponents refusing to challenge him at the rim than his block game diminishing. Despite the lack of challenges, he's still elite in this category and led the league in total blocks last season.
13-14: 2.5 BPG -- 12-13: 1.4 BPG
DeAndre Jordan played the best basketball of his career under coach Doc Rivers and blocks were one of the many areas where he saw marked improvement. The catalyst behind this improvement for Jordan was the minutes increase he received all season, averaging 35.0 minutes per game. This trend should continue and the other statistical categories should sustain their improvement.
13-14: 1.7 BPG -- 12-13: 2.8 BPG
It's easy to forget how dominant Larry Sanders was on defense prior to his tumultuous 2013-14 campaign that saw him play only 20 games. Sanders was widely regarded as one of the best rim protectors in the NBA during 2012-13, and if he can stay healthy, there's no reason he can't return to that level. He has great potential as a late-round steal.
13-14: 2.2 BPG -- 12-13: 2.6 BPG
Roy Hibbert made his second All-Star team last season, but it was mostly a year of disappointment for the 27-year-old center. He decreased in every major statistical category outside of free throw percentage and turnovers and averaged his fewest points per game since his rookie year. Blocks dipped for Hibbert, although not by much. With Paul George out and Lance Stephenson in Charlotte, Hibbert will have to step his game up in all areas this season, so expect his blocks to at least hold steady around 2.0 per game.
13-14: 1.8 BPG -- 12-13: 2.4 BPG
Usually a blocks category staple, Dwight Howard's production fell below 2.0 blocks per game last season for the first since 2006-07. He averages 2.2 per game for his career, so expect his blocks to rise back to that level this year as his defense will be key to the Rockets' potential success. However, he's no longer elite in this category and you shouldn't be afraid to look elsewhere for production as Howard will continue to ruin your free throw percentage category.
13-14: 1.8 BPG -- 12-13: 2.1 BPG
Brook Lopez took his block-game to a new level during the 2012-13 season as he was named to his first All-Star team. He began to show the same level of block production last year before he broke his foot after 17 games and missed the rest of the 2013-14 season. He says he's fully recovered and healthy, so look for production along the lines of 2.0 blocks per game.
13-14: 1.9 BPG -- 12-13: 2.7 BPG
Tim Duncan was a block-machine during the 2012-13 season, posting his highest blocks per game mark since the 2003-04 season. His blocks fell back towards his career average of 2.2 per game last season and there's no reason to not expect similar results from the man who refuses to age.
13-14: 1.6 BPG -- 12-13: 1.6 BPG
Despite posting 1.6 blocks per game each of his first two seasons in the league, Andre Drummond's block production dipped slightly last season as his minutes increased. With a weak defending backcourt of Brandon Jennings and Jodie Meeks in front of him and the guidance of coach Stan Van Gundy, Drummond should see that block production kick back up to surpass 2.0 per game for the first time in his career.
13-14: 1.5 BPG -- 12-13: 2.1 BPG
Joakim Noah played the best basketball of his life last season to be named to the All-NBA First Team. Blocks were one of the few categories where his production dipped, although with what also he provides in points, rebounds and assists, he's still one of the best overall players in the fantasy (and real) world.
13-14: 1.8 BPG -- 12-13: 1.7 BPG
There's always a risk when drafting Andrew Bogut due to his continuously high susceptibility for injury. However, last season was one of his few relatively injury-free years for him since 2010-11 (when he led the league in blocks per game) and with this health, the defensive ace averaged 1.8 blocks per game, his highest mark so far in Golden State. If he can remain healthy, he's a valuable commodity for what he provides in blocks, rebounds and field goal percentage.
13-14: 1.4 BPG --12-13: 2.0 BPG
Javale McGee played only five games last season, so his mark of 1.4 blocks per game is deceptive. He averages 1.9 for his career and should easily surpass 2.0 per game if he can stay on the floor.
13-14: 1.7 BPG -- 12-13: 1.6 BPG
Robin Lopez set career highs for minutes and blocks last season as he obtained the starting center job in Portland. His minutes probably won't increase much above the 31.7 per game mark he set last season as the Blazers added Chris Kaman, so his blocks should remain around the 1.5-2.0 mark this year. He's a very good late round draft steal for what he provides in blocks, rebounds and free throw percentage.
13-14: 1.5 BPG -- 12-13: 1.7 BPG
The young Jazz big man took an unfortunate step backwards last season in the blocks department. However, his minutes should increase further beyond 30.2 per game this year and hopefully his blocks come along for the ride as well. He could prove to be a solid late-round, big-man draft pick.
13-14: 1.4 BPG -- 12-13: 1.8 BPG
Josh Smith posted the lowest block numbers of his career last season with 1.4 per game. He averages 2.1 for his career, but, at the age of 28, his explosive leaping ability is not what it used to be and he simply can't get to some of the blocks he previously obtained. With his dramatic dip in field goal and free throw percentage last season in Detroit, it may be a safe bet to stay away from Smoove when drafting your squad.
13-14: 1.3 BPG -- 12-13: 1.7 BPG
Marc Gasol's blocks fell to their lowest mark since his rookie year and he played only 59 games after suffering a knee injury in February. He averages 1.5 per game for his career and collected 1.9 and 1.7 per game in the previous two seasons. A usually high-end, big-man draft pick, Gasol could be a great target for the middle of your draft.
13-14: 1.5 BPG -- 12-13: 1.1 BPG
Al Horford was playing the best basketball of his career before a torn pectoral muscle ended his 2013-14 season after just 29 games. The two-time All-Star was blocking shots at the best rate of his career and it's safe to assume this rate will continue in 2014-15 as long as he can stay healthy.
13-14: 1.4 BPG -- 12-13: 1.4 BPG
Taj Gibson saw a crucial minutes increase last season to 28.7 per game, which allowed his points and rebounds to increase to a level that allowed him to become a decent fantasy asset. However, his blocks stayed stagnant at 1.4 per game. His minutes may drop back down to his career average of 24.3 per game this season with the addition of new teammate Pau Gasol to the power-forward mix.
13-14: 1.5 BPG -- 12-13: 1.6 BPG
Marcin Gortat blocked the most shots of his career last season as he also played the most minutes at 32.8 per game. Don't expect him to surpass 2.0 swats per contest, but he should stay around the 1.5-level and with what he provides in field goal percentage and blocks, he's a great big man to have on your team.
13-14: N/A -- 12-13: N/A
There's really no way to accurately predict how Nerlens Noel will contribute in the NBA. But blocks seem to be a statistic he will produce instantly and with few other talented big men in Philadelphia, he will receive a ton of playing time. So don't be afraid to snag him with one of your final picks as a nice high-risk, high-reward piece.
Extra 10 (no order)