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Fantasy Basketball: 5 Players Worth Researching

Some analysis of 5 intriguing, young NBA players...

Is Andrew Nicholson for real?
Is Andrew Nicholson for real?
Reinhold Matay-USA TODAY Sports

I like themes.

Call it the voice of my grade 10 English teacher, but I'm constantly looking for a way to tie things together.

I'm THAT guy: the overanalytical, slightly neurotic weirdo - making exhalations of pleasure when I can find unrelated objects and unify them.

But I'm getting better.

Although I'd really like to find a narrative thread that inextricably binds these 5 players together, the only real tie is that I find them all intriguing (for various reasons).

For those of you who like challenges, put your Freudian cigars in your mouths (read into that as you may). For the rest of you, let's take a look at the stories of 5 players I think you should know a little more about...

Frank Kaminsky, CHA, PF/C

I have written about Frank the Tank before, but considering he just scored a career high 16 points, I figured it was time for a little more pub. A new injury to Al Jefferson has opened up big man usage/minutes on Charlotte, and Frank wasted no time making a statement.

Kaminsky was one of the most hyped players in college last year (overhyped perhaps?), but he has been steadily growing as a Fantasy Basketball asset. Quite frankly (pun not intended), he's been a disappointment. Often compared to maligned C Andrea Bargnani, it's worth mentioning that Bargnani's rookie season was MUCH more productive than Frank's (so far).

Jefferson is out for the next 2-3 weeks, so let's consider this a 10-game (approx) audition for a meaningful rookie season in the NBA. The 16 points could be the beginning of an NBA awakening - of perhaps just a random night of passion in a dimly lit Tijuana bar.

Either way, it'll be a good story. Keep your eyes on this tank...

Julius Randle, LAL, PF

What can I say? I'm a sucker for career highs and upside.

Last game, Randle went off for 19 boards.

While his FG% is an unacceptable 43.9 on the year, you gotta love 11.7 PPG and 9.3 REB. The last 3 games, he's at just under 13 PPG & 14 REB.

There is All-Star upside here (eventually), the only question is when?

I will admit though that the low field goal % - and lack of blocks - is not great for Fantasy. As much as he'll help you in rebounding, he could lose you those 2 other cats.

Still, he's on his way up. Everything is trending in the right direction. Pay attention...

Tyler Ennis, MIL, PG

Sometimes you just gotta cut your losses.

Tyler Ennis was one of my sleepers this year. My favorite PG taken in the 2014 draft, I was eagerly awaiting his 2015/16 numbers.

He finally got to start with the Bucks. Check out his numbers: 4 points, 3 rebounds, 1 assist, 2 turnovers.

Um. What?

It's only 1 start, but it's really hard to put up so few stats as a starting point guard for an NBA franchise. He went 2/8 from the field, and 0/3 from 3.

I hate giving up on players so young, but I'm starting to lean toward "it's not gonna happen".

If you're foolishly stashing him in deep dynasty leagues (like I am), it might be time to cut him for somebody with similar upside.

It's fun to dream on players, but when they turn into a nightmare, it's time to wake up...

Robert Covington, PHI, SG/SF

I took a whirl on Covington in a 10-team dynasty when Robert was injured. Figured he was worth a stash.

Then he became one of the best players in all of Fantasy Basketball.

He's a curious case.

He's only 24 years old, and putting up some truly staggering numbers on a historically terrible team. But numbers are numbers. Check out some of the crazy stats from a few of his recent games: 21 steals in 3 games combined (6 then 8 then 7), 28 points with 6 3PM, 23 points with 5 3PM, 14 rebounds, 5 assists. He's also a career 81.9% from the charity stripe.

Who the hell is this guy?

You're talking about an undrafted player putting up some of the best numbers in the entire league!

I seriously don't know if he's overrated or underrated. Could go either way.

He's too risky to trade for, but if you are lucky enough to have him, ride this train unless/until it runs out of steam (or whatever trains use these days).

This could be the best basketball story of the year.

It could also be a mirage.

Buckle up and enjoy... however long it lasts.

Andrew Nicholson, ORL, PF

Another enigmatic young asset.

Originally a 1st pick way back in 2012, Nicholson APPEARS to finally be figuring out the NBA game. But he has fooled us before.

After a very promising rookie year, scoring 7.8 PPG and 52.7 from the field (as well as 79.8 from the line), Nicholson then spent the next 2 years putting up terrible numbers with similar minutes.

Now it looks like he has turned a corner.

He's added the 3-ball to his game, and increased his rebounding and block %s to career highs.

So what does the future hold for Andrew Nicholson?

It's hard to say.

He appears to be a trusted part of the rotation - and he has added NBA skills. But he's actually a career-worst 42.2 from the field - which is far from ideal.

He's been really great the last 2 games, but it's obviously a small sample size.

If he can keep up the rebounds/blocks - and improve his shot selection - there is upside here. He's about to turn 26 though, so the clock is ticking...

So there's 5 guys I wanted to write about without regards to a theme.

Wait, they're all basketball players.

That counts, right?


Is this thing on?