Everyone knows about Josh Howard, Dwight Howard, and Chris Bosh. Here are a few “real” sleepers poised to make huge gains heading into the 2005 NBA Regular Season.
Josh Childress, G/F, Atlanta Hawks
Josh Childress is the second coming of Shawn Marion. Check out these rookie year stat comparisons:
FG .471 .470
FT .847 .851
3PM 0.1 0.2
PTS 10.2 10.1
REB 6.5 6.0
AST 1.4 1.9
ST 0.8 0.9
BLK 1.0 0.4
TO 1.0 1.3
The similarities are astounding: both are long and athletic, have funky looking jump shots that fall for high percentages, and were poorly hyped but highly drafted after coming out early from West Coast colleges.
In the last two months of last season, J-Chill stepped up his game and played a whopping 38.1 minutes per contest, averaging 14.5 points, 7.7 rebounds, 2.4 assists, 1.2 steals, .4 blocks and only 1.6 TO, while shooting a 48.6% FG and 85.0% FT. Wow. That placed him #47 on the player rater for that time span, just ahead of Zydrunas Ilgauskas and only four spots behind a turnover-prone Dwyane Wade.
In his sophomore year, Marion’s numbers jumped to 17.3 points, 10.7 rebounds, .3 treys, 2.0 assists, 1.7 steals, 1.4 blocks and 1.8 TO, with a 48% FG and 81% FT. Expect similar numbers for Childress this season, with fewer blocks, slightly fewer rebounds, and more threes.Juan Dixon, G, Portland Trailblazers
Juan Gone steps into a starting role this year on a Trailblazers squad in desperate need of leadership and stability. Is he up to the challenge? In four games as a starter in Washington last year, Dixon averaged these numbers:
FG FT 3PM PT REB AST ST BLK TO
448 900 1.3 16.5 4.0 3.8 3.25 0.5 2.8
The stat that really pops out here is the 3.25 steals. Although Dixon will not come close to duplicating this, he could average nearly 2 steals per game if given 35+ minutes per night. The FG will be closer to .410, but the FT will remain around .900.
A guard who averages 16-4-4 with 1.5 threes and 1.5 steals while averaging 90% from the line—Dixon probably will come close—is welcome on my fantasy roster any time. He could crack the Top 50 if he keeps his turnovers under control and his minutes up.Caron Butler, F, Washington Wizards
Arthroscopic knee surgery in 2003 slowed Butler’s development after an impressive rookie season with the Heat. Still only 25, Butler now stands poised to join the ranks of fantasy’s elite as Larry Hughes’ likely replacement in Washington.
He never turns the ball over and he's a steals machine. He will shoot around 45% from the field and over 80% from the line, and will probably score in the neighborhood of 18 ppg. During last season's final month, he was ranked #12 overall—just behind Andrei Kirilenko and just ahead of Ray Allen.
After finishing at #55 overall last year, Butler should settle comfortably into the Top 50, with an upside in the Top 30.