As a bit of background, a keeper league is a league that allows you to retain normally up to five players from the season before on your roster at some kind of penalty, usually by sacrificing the same round draft pick or auction dollars you spent on the player. The remaining players then go into the draft pool to be drafted in the usual way.
Dynasty leagues are a bit different. In these type of leagues, you keep your entire roster, and operate much like an NBA GM would, building a roster and the draft each year is just for incoming rookies.
Having said that, there are always players you can pry from other owners who are set for a big bump and that’s what I’ll try to attack here.
Keeper League Target: No one
Dirk Nowitzki proved a lot of people wrong by finishing in the top 10 after being drafted on average at number 20, but to think he will provide first round value again may be stretching things a little. I think there is much better value to be had than keeping Nowitzki for a second-round price.
No-one else on the Mavs really stood out from a fantasy perspective except Shawn Marion, but like Nowitzki, it’s doubtful Marion puts up another top 80 season or that he is back with Dallas.
Dynasty League Target: Shane Larkin, PG
Larkin was picked at number 18 in the 2013 NBA Draft, but didn’t really get much of a chance to show what he can do on the veteran-laden Dallas squad. But, with the Mavericks current backcourt of Jose Calderon, Monta Ellis and Vince Carter hardly youthful and reserve Devin Harris likely on the way out in free agency, the minutes will be available for Larkin in the coming years.
What he did show in his injury interrupted rookie season was a fantastic defensive mindset. Per 36 minutes, Larkin averaged 1.9 steals per game and for someone only playing 10 minutes a game, had a lot of multiple steal games. When he did get extended minutes, he looked good out there, scoring 18 points with five assists and two steals in 26 minutes in January game against Phoenix. With so much guard depth in Dallas at the moment, Larkin could be acquired cheaply, so I would be making some not so subtle enquiries.
Keeper League Target: Chandler Parsons, SF
It’s unlikely that Chandler Parsons is the third piece of the Rockets Big Three, but for fantasy we sure do love his game. Drafted on average at 84th on ESPN, Parsons di wat he does best and that is outperform his draft slot, ending the season ranked 35th. Parsons averaged 16.6 points, 1.8 three-pointers, 5.5 rebounds, 4.0 assists and 1.2 steals in what was another great season. The fact that he was drafted at 84th after ranking 34th in 2012-13 is yet another example of his talents being overlooked.
Regardless of what happens with his impending restricted free agency, you need to hand onto Parsons as giving up a ninth round pick for fourth round value is a bargain in anyone’s language.
Dynasty League Target: Isaiah Canaan, PG
Canaan was an early second round pick of the Rockets in 2013 and although he played in only 22 games, he made an impact. When the Rockets were battling injuries to Jeremy Lin and Patrick Beverley, Canaan stepped up and had some games to make you sit up and take notice. Like the back-to-back 15 point games against the Nuggets and Lakers in April, or the six assists, two steal and two block game against the Nuggets as well later on in April.
With Houston rumoured to trying to move Lin’s albatross, Canaan could move into a 20 minute a game back up role behind Beverley and then his stock would soar. For now, he’s buried and with the Houston back guard squarely in people’s mind being Troy Daniels after his playoff heroics, Canaan could be snuck off another team without too much fanfare.
Keeper League Target: No one
The Big Three in Memphis, consisting of Mike Conley, Marc Gasol and Zach Randolph all battled last season, through either injury or form and none of them are worth keeping based on their draft positions. To get Gasol, you would’ve needed a first or second round pick and although I think he’ll be back around the 20-30 range, there’s just no value in holding onto him for that price.
Randolph regressed last season, finishing outside the top 100 and Conley did what was expected, ending in the 30’s after being drafted in the same range.
Dynasty League Target: Quincy Pondexter, SF
It took a while for Pondexter to fit into his role in Dave Joerger’s system, but just when he did, the dreaded injury bug hit. In his last two full games before injuring his foot, which required him to miss th rest of the season, Pondexter scored 22 and 15 points, including four triples. Memphis was calling out for outside scoring all season and with Q-Pon back and firing, I think a big role will be his for the taking. Tayshaun Prince was a shadow of is former self and Courtney Lee faded dramatically after a great start in Memphis, meaning that I think Pondexter will have every opportunity for a nice fantasy season. He has yet to prove much in his NBA career, so I think he can be had for a decent price, especially coming off the injury and could be a valuable contributor to a fantasy team next season.
New Orleans Pelicans
Keeper League Target: Anthony Davis, PF/C
Surprised? I doubt it. Considering Anthony Davis had an ADP of 20 and was the second best fantasy player and I have him at number two on the Red Rock 150, it’s a no-brainer.
Davis was incredible and the only thing that appears to be holding him back is his health. Let’s hope that he’s over the injury problems that have bothered him in his first two seasons.
In only his second season, Davis averaged 20.8 points, 10.0 rebounds, 1.6 assists, 1.3 steals and a league leading 2.8 blocks. He also shot 51.9 percent from the field and 79.1 percent from the stripe and if he could take his long two range out to the three-point line, he’d be an unstoppable fantasy force — more than he already is. He is a threat for a 5×5 line, a double double machine and just an incredible player and someone who is going to be a perennial All-Star and All-NBA player. If you grabbed him in the second or third round, keep him and keep him for as long as you can, because he is going to be incredibly expensive this season.
Dynasty League Target: Pierre Jackson, PG
Jackson was a second round draft choice by the Pelicans in 2013, but New Orleans didn’t sign him to a deal. Instead, after playing in France for a while, Jackson signed with the Idaho Stampede of the D-League and absolutely dominated. While playing for Idaho, Jackson averaged 29.1 points and 6.2 assists including a NBA D-League record 58 points in February. He then left Idaho to play in Turkey, but he will be back in the States to play Summer League for the Pelicans.
With Eric Gordon‘s name constantly mentioned in trade talks and Brian Roberts not the most awe-inspiring back up point guard, if Jackson makes the roster, he will have some dynasty value. And even if he doesn’t, a strong Summer League performance will other other GM’s making calls about acquiring him. You should be doing the same and trying to acquire Jackson for your dynasty squad.
San Antonio Spurs
Keeper League Target: Kawhi Leonard, SG/SF
If you haven’t read my latest piece on Kawhi Leonard, check it out, but it basically explains exactly why you need to be holding onto this young star. Leonard had an ADP of 50 this season and finished ranked 15th and he has the potential to be a top 10 player very soon. That’s all you need to know about Kawhi — if you have him, don’t let go.
Dynasty League Target: No one
With the way the Spurs have assembled their roster, there just doesn’t seem to be any players who are flying under the dynasty radars and would be worth acquisitions for your squad.
Keep an eye out over the next few weeks for the remaining divisions in this series
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