In the final week of the season, you have to be on the lookout for unfamiliar names. It is never too early to prepare for next season. Do not discount these players because their coaches waited until the eleventh hour to give them playing time. As I have said before, a championship is a championship. You do not need the best looking team on paper. It does not make your championship any more special. Keep watching those teams who are out of playoff contention. Here are some of the beasts of recent weeks.
Nikola Vucevic, forward-center, Orlando Magic: Ryan Anderson who? The Magic might have lost a big front-court piece in Anderson, but Vucevic has had a great season, especially from a fantasy basketball perspective. Vucevic has gone from scoring 5.5 points and grabbing 4.8 rebounds per game in 2011-12 to scoring 12.7 points and grabbing 11.8 rebounds per game in 2012-13. He has shot 51.5 percent from the field. Vucevic is the fourth best rebounder in the NBA this season.
Vasquez: overlooked in fantasy?
Vucevic often starts outside the paint and as soon as a shot is put up, he crashes the boards. Vucevic has grabbed more than 20 rebounds in three different games this season. He also blocks a shot per game and has stolen the ball at least once in the majority of games. It is safe to say this late in the season that Vucevic has been one of the most dominant big men in the league.
Mike Miller, guard-forward, Miami Heat: Miller has not been a big scoring threat this season. Nobody said it would be easy stealing playing time from the likes of Dwyane Wade, LeBron James and Shane Battier. Miller has scored 4.1 points, in only 14.2 minutes of playing time, per game this season. Miller owners also need to be aware that he has had major health issues over the last few years.
James and Wade have not been the healthiest down the stretch, and during Miami's 27-game winning streak, Miller started finding his form. Miller has scored in double figures in three of his last five games. He has scored 12.8 points and grabbed 4.8 rebounds per game over his last five games. Miller has shot 51.1 percent from the floor, has made 3.4 three-point field goals and has played 27.0 minutes per game during this stretch. Miller, known as a major outside threat in his career, has shot 39.3 percent from long distance this season.
Francisco Garcia, guard-forward, Houston Rockets: Like Miller, Garcia hasn't filled it up; he has scored 5.7 points per game while shooting 39.6 percent from the field this season. A saving grace of owning Garcia is his free-throw percentage. He has shot 88.9 percent from the line this season. The Rockets play an up-tempo style of offense, which fits Garcia's playing style perfectly. Garcia has been playing 18.0 minutes per game. With his shooting percentage suffering and most of the Rockets' back court staying healthy, you would think Garcia would stay buried on the bench.
As the Rockets inch closer and closer to making the playoffs, they have been able to see a different side of Garcia. In his last six games, Garcia has scored 11.7 points per game and has shot 50.0 percent from the field. He has become a major deep threat for the Rockets, with three three-pointers per game during this time period. He has seen an increase in playing time, with 23.4 minutes per game. Garcia is often left open when James Harden and Jeremy Lin are racing down the court, and both are often able to draw in defenders and then kick it out to an open Garcia.
Markieff Morris, forward, Phoenix Suns: Minor production in many categories can help any fantasy player. Morris has made an impact on the Suns despite them having two strong big men in Luis Scola and Marcin Gortat. Morris still has a lot to learn about the game, but he has certainly been a big help in his last eight games. Morris has stolen the ball 1.3 times and has blocked 1.3 shots per game during that time.
Morris has scored 7.9 points per game and has shot 40.0 percent from the hardwood this season. He has developed a few inside moves and has shown his aggressiveness more in the latter part of the season. Morris has scored in double figures in five of his last eight games. He has scored 10.4 points per game and has shot 39.2 percent from the field during this stretch. The Suns have been letting Morris play 29.5 minutes per game during that stretch. He has played 22.0 minutes per game this season and can still help to save your fantasy basketball season.
Greivis Vasquez, guard, New Orleans Hornets: It is very difficult seeing the best of a player when he is on a bad team. The Hornets have struggled this season, but they do have talent. Vasquez has dished the third most assists per game (9.2) in the league this season. You can see how quick and agile Vasquez is; he often runs his defender around the court for the entire game. He can act as a traditional floor-general-type point guard or an off-the-ball, catch-and-shoot guard.
Vasquez has scored 14.1 points per game, 43.5 percent from the field and 80.5 percent from the charity stripe this season. In 34.5 minutes of playing time per game, Vasquez has also grabbed 4.4 rebounds and 0.9 steals per game. He has scored 20 points or more in 16 games this season and has shot a career best 34.6 percent from downtown in 2013. He has shot 50.0 percent from the floor over the last two weeks.
About Justin "Fensty" Fensterman
Fensterman covers fantasy basketball for KFFL and joined the team in 2012. He is a Sports Radio Producer on SiriusXM's Fantasy Sports Radio channel, the first channel dedicated solely to fantasy sports. An avid fantasy basketball player, Fensty's biggest accomplishment in the fantasy sports world was in 2004 when he had an undefeated season in a Yahoo! Sports Fantasy NBA league and was ranked in the top 30 among all players in the world.
A native from Oyster Bay, NY, Fensty left New York to study Broadcast Journalism at American University in Washington D.C. in 2005. Fensty has previously worked for MLB Network Radio on SiriusXM, NBC Sports, Fox Sports, MTV and News 12: Long Island.
Don't miss these great reports....