POSTED: Oct 13, 2014 8:06 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 season as we feature weekly articles.
Fantasy drafts are all about maximizing your mid-to-late round selections and these eight players should provide much more value than their average draft range would indicate.
*Average draft pick data via Yahoo! Fantasy Basketball draft analysis
Jose Calderon was a top-tier fantasy point guard from 2007-13 in Toronto, averaging 8.0 dimes as the Raptors' primary ball handler. However, his assists numbers took a tumble last season in Dallas to 4.7 per game, his lowest mark since his rookie year. Calderon is now in New York and will be the starting point guard for the Knicks. Expect his assists to jump back up to at least his career average of 6.8 and if he keeps his new-found 3-point stroke (2.4 3PM per game on 44.9 percent last season), he will be a great point guard option worth a lot more than his average draft slot (around No. 82).
Roy Hibbert's production dropped in basically every statistical category besides free throw percentage last season as he averaged 10.8 points, 6.6 rebounds and 2.2 blocks on an abysmal 43.9 percent shooting. There's no telling what caused this dip in production, but with Paul George sidelined for the season and Lance Stephenson in Charlotte, much of the Pacers' offensive load will now fall on Hibbert. Already valuable for his blocks and good free throw percentage for a big, Hibbert could become a top-seven fantasy center if he increases his points, making him much more valuable than his current average draft pick of 87.
There was no hiding Omer Asik's reluctance to sit behind Dwight Howard in Houston last season after the Rockets refused to fulfill his reported trade request. Asik's wish came true this summer as he was sent to New Orleans to join forces with Anthony Davis. Asik has started some preseason games next to Davis, but his role may transition to the bench if Ryan Anderson proves a better fit with the Pelicans' budding star. No matter the role, Asik will see increased minutes over last season when he averaged 5.8 points and 7.9 rebounds in just 20.2 minutes per game. Expect his numbers to look more similar to his 2012-13 campaign in Houston when he posted 10.1 points and 11.7 rebounds in 30.0 minutes per game. These type of numbers represent great value for his average draft slot around pick 107.
Evan Turner was playing great in Philadelphia before being dealt to Indiana at last season's trade deadline, where he suffered a major dropoff in his production. Remember this, though: Turner averaged 17.4 points, 6.0 rebounds and 3.7 assists in 34.9 minutes per game in his 54 games with the Sixers. Now with the Celtics, the 25-year-old guard should produce similar numbers to those as a key offensive weapon in Boston. Although his field goal percentage isn't great, there's no reason a scorer like Turner should still be on the board at his current average draft range in the 12th round.
JaVale McGee played only five games last season after suffering a stress fracture in his left leg. Prior to the 2013-14 campaign, the 26-year-old center had begun to mature and show signs of productivity with the Nuggets and Wizards, averaging 10.1 points, 6.8 rebounds and 2.2 blocks from 2010-13. He should return to the starting lineup in Denver and is more valuable than his current average draft pick of 143.6 simply for his blocks alone.
Jonas Valanciunas started every game for the Raptors last season at 21 years old, averaging 11.3 points and 8.8 rebounds in just 28.2 minutes per game. His playing time, as well as his level of play, should increase as he further develops in the league and his numbers should come along for the ride. Currently being picked on average in the middle of the ninth round, Valanciuanas provides some of the highest upside at that point in the draft and even if he doesn't improve much, he's sure to provide solid points and rebounds.
The Rockets' starting power forward recorded 30 or more points three times and 10 or more rebounds 19 times last season as he played his way into a significant role with Houston. After the departures of Jeremy Lin and Chandler Parsons, Jones should see an increase in usage and improve upon his season averages of 12.1 points, 6.9 rebounds and 1.3 blocks on 54.2 percent shooting. The 22-year-old is currently being selected toward the end of the 12th round and should provide value far greater than anyone else in that range.
The third-year point guard tied for third in the NBA in assists at 8.8 per game last season and is currently being selected in the 13th round. Need I say more? Marshall's numbers will certainly dip from the 8.8-level now that he's out of Mike D'Antoni's point-guard-focused offense. But he's surrounded by an athletic bunch in Milwaukee and coach Jason Kidd is already singing praises of Marshall's court vision after he dished six assists in 18 minutes against Chicago's stifling defense on Oct. 11. He doesn't score, shoot well, steal or do much of anything else. He's simply one of the best assist players available in the late rounds of your draft.