Andrew Nicholson, a rookie first-round pick for the Orlando Magic, has been performing well since being drafted to the team in June. After starting, and starring in the Summer League, Nicholson has been a reserve through five preseason games, averaging just about 20 minutes a game, yet has managed to score in double figures in four, averaging 12.5 points per. We haven't seen him knock down (or attempt) any 3-point shots recently, but this is an area where Nicholson can certainly garner value on your fantasy bench and when the Magic are out of playoff contention after the New Year, his minutes and production should increase. He is a power forward that will add to your scoring, rebounding, 3-point and all field-goal and free-throw categories. Expect about 1-1.5 blocks per game as well.
76ers point guard Jrue Holiday could be one of this season's breakout stars and he is demonstrating why in the preseason thus far. This guard has good size and excellent quickness, particularly in the open floor, but has been hampered by the steep learning curve of transitioning to a full-time point guard after just one year at UCLA. But now, Holiday has put it together, averaging: 13.3 points, 6.5 assists, 4.8 rebounds and knocking down .444 of his shots from 3-point range. Gone from last year's Philadelphia team is the poor-shooting Andre Iguodala and volume-shooting of Lou Williams, so Holiday will have much more freedom to control the 76ers offense, expected to add to the tempo this year as well without Elton Brand in the lineup.
Serge Ibaka, the shot-blocking phenom in Oklahoma City is nearing status as an elite big man. He is capable of winning a blocked shots category all by himself, chipping in strongly in rebounding, scoring and field-goal percentage. This season should be Ibaka's best yet as the Thunder continue to build and grow and push the pace in the open floor.
Gone are the days of Denver's Wilson Chandler being fantasy-worthy as Andre Iguodala enters the fold and backup point guard Andre Miller signed a new contract with the Nuggets this offseason. Danilo Gallinari is playing the best basketball of his young career. And all are expected to play big minutes for a team making another playoff push this season. So, where does Chandler fit into all of this? His minutes and production have been slashed and there is not much value left in this athlete wing as the third or fourth player off the bench for Denver. Two years ago, splitting time with Denver and New York, Chandler was a star on the breakout, averaging better than 15 points and nearly 6 rebounds, but he will need to move out of Denver to see any glimpse of that caliber of production.
Despite being a top-five pick, Thomas Robinson, the ultra-productive forward from Kansas, will fail to live up to lofty expectations. No one questions Robinson's motor, but that's what he depended on in college. Now, Robinson is lacking skills to finish on the offensive end, struggling mightily in Summer League and now in the preseason; he is hovering around a field-goal percentage of .400 and that's just completely undesirable from a potential starting forward. Leave him off a fantasy roster, picking him up only in extreme need of rebounds and some defensive statistics.
Tyreke Evans' statistics- scoring, rebounding, assists and steals have declined in each of his three seasons in the League after a stellar rookie season in 2009-10. And in this preseason, things are not looking so different for the former top pick. He is shooting .392 from the field and a dreadful .273 from 3-point range, making just 3 in 11 attempts. Combined with just 2.2 assists and a nearly-matching turnover total, Evans should definitely still be owned, but prepare for high totals in turnovers and low shooting marks.