The 2015-16 NBA season officially kicks is less than two weeks with the Cleveland Cavaliers taking on the Chicago Bulls. Both teams are relying on former Duke stars to lead them in their hopes of hoisting the Larry O’Brien trophy.
There could be up to 20 Blue Devils on NBA rosters to start the season.
This year we will be unveiling a new feature where we will provide daily updates and highlights of Duke players in the NBA as people aren’t able to watch all the games during the season.
As with baseball and football, fantasy basketball has grown in popularity over the last several years.
Before we begin, we’re curious to know exactly how many Duke fans play fantasy basketball.
Now let’s take a look at the current group Blue Devils in the NBA and their fantasy outlook.
Please note the stats are provided by ESPN.com while rankings provided are courtesy of FantasyPros.com.
Jones, who played for the Los Angeles Clippers last season, was signed this offseason to a non-guaranteed contract. He will attend training camp with the Nets, and while he has a shot to make the team, Jones would see minimal time barring injuries. He will most likely have zero fantasy value.
Last season Dunleavy averaged over 9 points, nearly 2 assists and 4 rebounds per game. His PER (player efficiency rating) was over 11.5. Dunleavy was a popular pickup in daily fantasy leagues last season, as he averaged around $4,500 in salary, while having the ability to put up 20 points, 5 rebounds and a few assists. This year, FantasyPros has him rated as the 229th player overall and 82nd small forward. Definitely worth a late round pick.
After helping to lead Duke to their fifth National Championship this past season, many held out hope that Cook would at least be selected in the second round of the 2015 NBA Draft. It wasn’t meant to be, however, Cook signed on to play for a few different teams in this years Summer League, which earned him a non-guaranteed contract. He has a chance to make the team as Kyrie Irving is still recovering from off-season surgery to repair a fractured kneecap. Irving is not expected back until possibly January. While Cook has shown some promise this preseason, he looks to have minimal fantasy value.
Irving, since his days at Duke, has an injury plagued career. When on the floor, he is one of the most dynamic point guards in the league. The problem has been being able to keep him on the floor on a consistent basis. He averaged nearly 22 points, over 5 assists and 3 rebounds per game last season with a PER of over 21.5. His salary in DFS was always in the Top 5 for PGs. This coming season, FantasyPros has him rated 32nd overall and 9th PG. His rankings would probably be much higher if it was known when exactly he would return.
Los Angeles Clippers
Redick was a very popular DFS play last season, especially in the playoffs. His salary stayed between $5-$6,000 while he averaged over 16 points, nearly 2 assists and over 2 rebounds a game with a PER of over 16. FPs has him rated 101st overall and 32nd overall SG. It will be interesting to see how the recent acquisition of former Charlotte Hornet Lance Stephenson impacts Redick’s production this season. Will definitely be worth a mid round pick.
Los Angeles Clippers
When Doc Rivers acquired his son, Austin, mid last season, many felt Doc was just trying to give Austin a job to keep him in the league. What many didn’t realize is that Austin would have several good games, especially in the playoffs. He was extremely cheap in DFS and offered the chance to get a lot of points for very little. For the season, Rivers averaged 7 points, 2 assists, and 2 rebounds while having a PER over 10. FPs rates him 403rd overall. Like Redick, Rivers production and time could dip this season depending on how well Lance Stephenson performs.
Los Angeles Lakers
Not much was expected out of Ryan Kelly last year as the Lakers had drafted Julius Randle seventh overall in the draft, and had several other options at forward. Due to injuries and inconsistency from those other players, Kelly made the most of the time he was given. He came on to average nearly 11 points, over 4 assists, nearly 3 rebounds and a block per game, while posting a PER of over 8.5. He was another popular pickup late in the season as his salary stayed in the middle $3,000’s. This season marks the return of Randle from injury and the Lakers have added Brandon Bass. Both will cut into Kelly’s time and production this season. He is rated 258th overall by FantasyPros.
Deng is coming off yet another production season in which he averaged 14 points, 2 assists and 5 rebounds per game while posting a PER of over 15.5. He should be productive yet again as the Heat should have both Dwayne Wade and Chris Bosh back and fully healthy. Deng is a trendy DFS pick as he can do everything. FPs rates him 110th overall and the 32nd PF. Definitely worth a mid round pick.
McRoberts, like Austin Rivers, brings out mixed emotions for Duke fans. Many felt he never lived up to his ability, and for many years in the NBA it seemed as if he never would. As he has matured, McRoberts has been highly sought after for his decision making and passing. He missed most of last season with an injury, but should be fully healed by the time the season starts. If he is, you can look to his 2013-14 season as to proof of what he can do. That year he averaged 8.5 points, over 4 assists, nearly 5 rebounds to go along with a block and steal per game. He should see most of the backup minutes at PF behind Chris Bosh, and Miami’s second unit will be improved over year’s past. FPs rates him 213th overall and the 54th PF. He will be a great late round pick and cheap DFS play.
Winslow’s late season and tournament play catapulted him into the Top 10 of this year’s NBA Draft with several people believing he will replace Dwayne Wade when he finally decides to hang the laces up. Winslow’s playing time with depend on how he adjusts to the NBA game and how well he shoots the ball, something he struggled with during Summer League. He will see some playing time regardless because of his defense. FantasyPros ranks him 214th overall just behind McRoberts and the 77th SF. Like McRoberts, he could be a great late round pick, especially to stash to see how he progresses this season.
Parker is another reason why people seem to think Duke players are cursed in the NBA with the injuries they seem to have. Jabari tore his ACL less than two months into the season. Before doing so, he averaged 12 points a game, nearly 2 assists and over 5 rebounds while posting a PER of over 14.5. The Bucks recently resigned Khris Middleton to a large contract, but Parker should still see plenty of time on the court. Should definitely be a mid round pick in your fantasy draft that could pay huge dividends. He’s rated 90th overall by FPs and the 25th SF.
Plumlee, like McRoberts, is another player who never fully realized his potential at Duke, and still hasn’t done so in the NBA. He has shown flashes of what he can do, but hasn’t done it night in and night out. He did average 4 points, 4 rebounds and a block per game last season with a PER over 13. He should be the primary backup to new Bucks center, Greg Monroe. FantasyPros rates him 313th overall. He could be worth a late round flier.
Tyus Jones rightfully earned his nickname “Tyus Stones” last season helping Duke time and time again in big games helping to land him in the first round of the draft. His playing time will depend on the health of Ricky Rubio. He will compete with former NC State standout, Lorenzo Brown, for time. FPs rates him 390th overall. He’ll be worth watching and could be a waiver wire pickup later in the season.
New York Knicks
With all the injuries the Knicks had last season, Thomas had several opportunities to show what he could do. Another cheap popular daily fantasy selection, he averaged 7 points, an assist, and 3 rebounds while posting a PER over 8. With the additions and returns, playing time could be hard to come by Thomas. FPs does rate him 292nd overall.
Oklahoma City Thunder
Singler showed promise with the Pistons, having several good games before being trading to the Thunder. He didn’t enjoy the same success as he did in Detroit, but that could change this season. He posted 6 points, an assist, and 2 rebounds per game with a PER of 8.5. He is the primary backup to Kevin Durant, so he should see plenty of playing time and opportunities. He is rated 284 overall by FPs. Given Durant’s injury history, he would be worth stashing with a late round pick.
The final of Duke’s “Big Three” Okafor should see plenty of time as a rookie for the 76ers this season. There could be many occasions that you see both he and Nerlens Noel on the floor at the same time. He is rated as 95th overall and 32nd C. While he will have his rookie moments and struggles, Okafor is definitely worth a mid round pick.
Portland Trail Blazers
Henderson never could win over the Charlotte faithful. One of the big reasons was his lack of three point shooting. He will get his chance to improve on that as he will be the starting shooting guard in Portland. Last season, despite injuries and having Lance Stephenson as a teammate, Henderson did average 12 points, 2.5 assists, and over 3 rebounds per game while putting up a PER of over 13. He is worth a mid to late round pick. FPs rates him 171st overall and the 59th SG.
Portland Trail Blazers
Plumlee had opportunities to showcase his abilities last season, thanks in part to the injury to Brook Lopez. He posted numerous double doubles and became a favorite among DFS players. He averaged nearly 9 points, 6 rebounds, and a block per game with a PER of 18. In Portland he should get an opportunity to produce as he will be the primary backup to center Myers Leonard. He’s rated 114th overall and 47th center (ahead of Leonard). Plumlee is definitely worth a late round pick.
Curry should see more playing time this season than he has so far in his young career. He will be the third PG behind Rajon Rondo and Darren Collison. While he may not play every night, he should remain on the roster all season and would be worth a waiver wire pickup if anything happened to Rondo or Collison. FPs rates him 430th overall.
Hood proved to be a late first round steal last year. When healthy he posted several double digit scoring games. Overall he averaged nearly 9 points, 2 assists, and 2 rebounds per game with a 12 PER. Hood will definitely be a popular DSF play and worth a late round pick. Even with Alec Burks starting at SG, Hood will still see plenty of playing time and will produce. He’s rated 127th overall and 47th SG.