2014-15 NBA Fantasy Preview
POSTED: Oct 13, 2014 1:43 AM 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 Oklahoma City star was nearly unstoppable on offense last season and there's little reason to believe defenses will slow him down anytime soon.
13-14: 32.0 PPG on 50.3 FG% -- 12-13: 28.1 PPG on 51.0%
The 2014 MVP took his scoring to another level last season, thanks in large part to his increase in 3-point attempts (6.1 per game), to win his fourth league scoring title. The 26-year-old superstar has improved every season he's been in the league and there's no reason to assume he won't again in 2014-15. His stock certainly falls now that he will miss at least the first six weeks of the season due to a fractured foot. But when he's healthy, there's no one better.
13-14: 27.4 PPG on 45.2% -- 12-13: 28.7 PPG on 44.9%
Carmelo Anthony's field goal percentage increased for the third consecutive season and he shot the second highest 3-point percentage of his career (40.2 percent). Under coach Derek Fisher and in the presence of Phil Jackson, 'Melo appears extremely motivated this training camp and it wouldn't be a surprise to see him reclaim the league scoring title he won in 2013.
13-14: 25.4 PPG on 45.6% -- 12-13: 25.9 PPG on 43.8%
Even more offensive burden will be placed on James Harden this season after the Rockets lost Chandler Parson and Jeremy Lin this summer. Harden shot the second-lowest 3-point percentage of his career last year (36.6 percent) and simply increasing that would allow him to get around 27 points per game. He's a great scoring option to have on your team and he surprised many owners by also providing 6.1 assists per game last year.
13-14: 27.1 PPG on 56.7% -- 12-13: 26.8 PPG on 56.5%
King James is back in Cleveland and finds himself surrounded by a new cast of All-Stars in Kevin Love and Kyrie Irving. His scoring production will most likely decrease some as Love and Irving handle some of the load. But still expect 25 or more points per game at an incredible percentage. While also producing 6.9 rebounds and 6.3 assists per game, James can truly do it all.
13-14: 24.0 PPG on 47.1% -- 12-13: 22.9 PPG on 45.1%
The lethal shooter increased his percentage and points per game last season to make his first All-Star team. His free-throw percentage saw a surprising dip to 88.5 percent, so with an increase back to his career average (89.6 percent) he should easily surpass 25 points per game. That amount of points along with the 8.5 assists per game he collected last season make him an extremely valuable and intriguing fantasy piece.
13-14: 22.7 PPG on 49.6% -- 12-13: 17.1 PPG on 46.5%
DeMarcus Cousins shot a career-high 49.6 percent from the floor last season, thanks in large part to increasing his field goal percentage to 45.3 percent from 15-19 feet away from the basket. As he further develops this mid-range game, Cousins will become nearly impossible for opposing defenses to stop and his scoring production should continue to rise.
13-14: 24.1 PPG on 52.8% -- 12-13: 18.0 PPG on 53.8%
This generation's human highlight reel upped his field goal attempts to a career high 17.0 per game last season to score the most points of his four-year career at 24.1 per game. This was a big jump up from his output in 2012-13 and it would be unfair to expect a similar jump this season. But Griffin appears much more confident on offense than he did a few seasons ago, so expect his production to remain around this 24 points per game level.
13-14: 20.8 PPG on 51.9% -- 12-13: 13.5 PPG on 51.6%
This could very well be the year of Anthony Davis as he enters his third season in the league and after he went through periods of utter domination last season in New Orleans. He will be the center of the Pelicans' offense and with added strength developed this summer, he should become even more unstoppable around the rim. For what Davis provides in points, blocks, rebounds, steals, free throw and field goal percentage, there should be no reason he falls past the fifth pick in your draft.
13-14: 16.2 PPG on 51.6% -- 12-13: 16.6 PPG on 53.5%
Prior to joining LeBron James and Dwyane Wade in Miami, Chris Bosh averaged 22.8 points per game from 2005-2010 in Toronto. Since then, he's developed a 3-point shot and increased his field goal percentage to career-high levels. It will be interesting to see how he produces now as the main offensive weapon in Miami and it shouldn't be a surprise to see him back in the 22-25 points per game territory this season.
13-14: 23.2 PPG on 45.8% -- 12-13: 21.2 PPG on 48.4%
LaMarcus Aldridge set a career-high with 23.2 points per game last season (good enough for eighth best in the NBA) despite shooting the lowest field goal percentage of his career. Entering a contract year this season in Portland, expect his percentage to rise back towards his 48.8 percent career average and his point production to rise along with it.
13-14: 26.1 PPG on 45.7% -- 12-13: 18.3 PPG on 35.2%
Kevin Love ranked fourth in the NBA in scoring last season at 26.1 points per game after a dismal display during just 18 games in 2012-13. Now with LeBron James and Kyrie Irving in Cleveland, his scoring responsibilities will decrease, perhaps embracing a role similar to how Chris Bosh played in Miami during the Big Three era. Bosh averaged 17.3 points per game in Miami during that period and Love should be just above that average as he incorporates more 3-point field goals into his game.
13-14: 21.8 PPG on 43.7% -- 12-13: 23.2 PPG on 43.8%
Injuries limited Russell Westbrook to just 46 games last season as he shot his lowest field goal percentage since 2009-10. This was due in large part to his increased reliance on the 3-point shot, attempting 6.0 per game at an awful 31.8 percent. If he tones down on the 3-pointers and gets back to attacking the basket for high-percentage looks and free throw attempts, his point production should rise back to his 2011-13 average of 23.4 per game and well beyond this mark in the first six weeks while Kevin Durant is sidelined.
13-14: 20.7 PPG on 42.4% -- 12-13: 19.0 PPG on 42.9%
In his second season in the NBA, Damian Lillard ranked 17th in scoring at 20.7 points per game. However, this production came at a very low shooting percentage that should increase as he focuses more on attacking the basket rather than settling for jumpshots. We all know how dominant Lillard can be in the clutch moments of a game, now it's time to see if he can sustain that level of production for all four quarters.
13-14: 22.7 PPG on 42.9% -- 12-13: 18.1 PPG on 44.5%
DeMar DeRozan increased his scoring production to a new level last season to average 22.7 points per game and earn a spot on his first All-Star team. But this increased scoring production came at a field goal percentage below his career average. If he can bump that average back to his 2012-13 level of 44.5 percent while still attempting around 17 shots per game then he perhaps could finish the 2014-15 season as one of the top eight scorers in the league. With this much upside, DeRozan would be a great second scoring option for your team.
13-14: 13.8 PPG on 42.5% -- 12-13: 27.3 PPG on 46.3%
We all know the level of scoring production Kobe Bryant is capable of, as he sits just 592 points behind Michael Jordan for third on the NBA all-time scoring list. But it's tough to predict what type of output the 36-year-old guard will provide the Lakers this season as he returns from a season-ending knee injury after playing just six games in 2013-14. He says he's healthy and the Lakers plan to monitor his minutes during the season to avoid another season-ending blow. While he certainly shouldn't be a first round pick in your draft, from that point on he becomes a very high-risk, very high-reward option.
13-14: 21.7 PPG on 49.7% -- 12-13: 17.3 PPG on 47.1%
After a down year in 2012-13 that saw him play only 53 games due to injury, Dirk Nowitzki rose back to his normal, elite level last season to average 21.7 points per game and make his 12th All-Star team. He hinted this training camp that he worked on the sky hook this summer and that gasp you just heard was NBA defenders thinking about how they will attempt to guard him now with that nearly undefendable weapon in his over-flowing arsenal. With the Mavericks' eyes on a return to championship contention, expect Nowitzki to continue to score around 20-22 points per game.
13-14: 19.3 PPG on 43.3% -- 12-13: 18.5 PPG on 44.1%
John Wall set a career-high last season with 19.3 points per game to make his first All-Star team. The 24-year-old guard appears to be getting better everyday and with Bradley Beal developing into a large scoring threat himself, opportunities should be easier for Wall to come by this season. It would be a surprise if Wall doesn't surpass 20 points per game during 2014-15 and with what he also provides in assists and steals, he should be one of the first few point guards drafted.
13-14: 20.7 PPG on 56.3% -- 12-13: 19.4 PPG on 52.1%
Brook Lopez was playing the best basketball of his career last season before an ankle injury ended his campaign after just 17 games. He's fully recovered now and appears to be the center of the aging Nets' offense. Lopez may fall further than he should in your draft due to his injury history. But he could be worth the risk and end the season as one of the top-15 scorers in the league, while also providing blocks, rebounds and solid field goal and free throw percentage.
13-14: 21.8 PPG on 50.9% -- 12-13: 17.8 PPG on 49.4%
In his first year in Charlotte, Al Jefferson stepped up his offensive output to a new level as he became the center of the Bobcats (now Hornets) offense to average 18.8 field goal attempts per game. The addition of Lance Stephenson should diminish the amount of opportunities Jefferson gets this season. But he still is one of the best scoring big men available.
13-14: 20.8 PPG on 43.0% -- 12-13: 22.5 PPG on 45.2%
With LeBron James and Kevin Love surrounding him in Cleveland, Kyrie Irving won't be required to shoot 18 times per game (his career average). This will reduce his scoring production some, but the presence of these fellow All-Stars will also open up the floor for Irving so he can be more productive than the 43.0 percent he shot last year.
Extra 10 (no order)