With one of the craziest, most unpredictable NBA off-seasons behind us, it is time for Fantasy Basketball and the regular season to start in six weeks. When we look beyond the most obvious free agent signing of the summer in LeBron James, you can find some real serious all-star caliber movement throughout the league. Here is a small recap of what I think is the most prevalent movement additions and subtractions to keep an eye on all season long:
Carlos Boozer, PF, Chicago Bulls: One of the hardest working power forwards in the game joins one of the best defensive front courts. If the Bulls do not make a trade for Carmelo Anthony, and end up trading either Joakim Noah or Luol Deng, I think the Bulls frontcourt may be a serious rival to Dwight and the Magic this season.
David Lee, PF, Golden State Warriors: Speaking of hard working power forwards, David Lee joins one of the youngest teams in the NBA, and should be an absolute stud both scoring and on the boards this upcoming season for Golden State. Mixed with Steph Curry, Lee should be a very good option this upcoming season.
Darren Collison, PG, Indianapolis Pacers: In the most recent trade of the offseason, the Pacers acquired young PG Darren Collison, and with this move cemented their position as a likely low seeded playoff team this season. With Collison and Granger running things in Indy, I really think this team will have more firepower than most expect and can be considered a serious sleeper this upcoming season.
Chris Bosh, PF, Miami Heat: Forget the LeBron James signing… Well do not forget it, just understand the Bosh signing honestly might have more of an impact than James’. Try to picture the Heat this season with no Bosh in the middle, yes LeBron and Wade would dominate, but they would with out a doubt struggle with the many teams in the league that have monster 7 foot centers. But, with the addition of Bosh, the Heat not only added depth, but they added a player LeBron and Wade can depend on. Bosh will be the third best player on his team, but he may be the most important aspect of the Heat trying to win a championship this season.
Michael Beasley, PF, Minnesota Timberwolves: To me this may be my most questionable pick for this group of players because I cannot get a good grasp on the role he is going to play on this team. I like the draft that the T-Wolves had this summer, picking up Wesley Johnson, but other than that I really question a lot of the talent Minnesota has put together to try and put a winner together. Here is their projected starting five: Darko, Kevin Love, Michael Beasley, Wesley Johnson and Jonny Flynn. There are simply too many questions with these five guys starting for me to make any type of prediction, expect for the fact this team is very young and will struggle at times.
Troy Murphy, PF, New Jersey Nets: I think Troy Murphy was the perfect choice for the Nets to both help Derrick Favors with his progression as well as chip in on the offensive side of the ball. Murphy has had experience scoring the ball in his years with the Pacers, and I believe he will bring those skills with him to the Garden State and really help the Nets improve on their season from last year [hard to do much worse though]. With youth on the team such as Devin Harris, Terrence Williams and Derrick Favors, I really think the Nets are going in the right direction, but are definitely a few years away from being any sort of contender.
Anthony Randolph, PF, New York Knicks: Amar’e Stoudemire and Raymond Felton were the flashy pick ups for the Knicks in the offseason, but I think the most influential pick up had to have been with Anthony Randolph. His versatility gives the Knicks an opportunity to change their schemes up a little bit and try to catch many of their opponents off guard. In Randolph’s days in Golden State, he was not much of scorer, but he was one of the teams best defenders and is just a real lengthy, shot blocking SF/PF that the Knicks can use whichever way they want. He will work fabously in the fast pace, run and gun Mike D’Antoni system, and will make the players around him better, and in this point of the game that is all the Knicks can ask from a player like Anthony.
Hedo Turkoglu, SF, Phoenix Suns: Speaking of breakout players this upcoming fantasy basketball season, Hedo Turkoglu seems to be the type of player this season I would definitely want on my team. He has a chip on his shoulder from his time in Toronto, he just finished up playing with Turkey in the FIBA world championships, where his team made it to the final versus the U.S. and I really do think Hedo is on his way to a very statistical year for the Suns. Mixed with famous assist machine Steve Nash and versatile PG Goran Dragic, Hedo is going to get plenty of looks at the basket and I would not mind playing him in my utility spot on my fantasy team all season long.
Al Jefferson, PF, Utah Jazz: Out of all the crazy moves this offseason; this is the trade that honestly shocked me the most. This will be Jefferson’s’ third team in the NBA, and I think this will be a town that will not only embrace him, but show him his first taste of success. Jerry Sloan is going to make Al Jefferson into an absolute beast this year, he will teach him the moves and instincts that he has been lacking in his previous stops to Utah, and will begin a chemistry session with Deron Williams that may rival the best teams in the West. I know the losses of Wesley Matthews, Carlos Boozer and Kyle Korver will be a lot to get over, but Al Jefferson is a large step in the right direction for the Jazz and I look forward to seeing how exactly Jerry Sloan implements Al into the offense this season.