NBA Draft Kit: Best and Worst Late-Round Targets

NBA Draft Kit: Best and Worst Late-Round Targets

This article is part of our NBA Draft Kit series.

After examining the safest, most underrated and most overrated players likely to come off the board in Rounds 1 through 3 and 4 through 6 earlier this week, it's time to shift focus to Rounds 7, 8 and 9.

Utilizing Yahoo ADP data, here are the players to target for the best value, as well as some to consider avoiding in the upper-middle rounds:

Round 7

Safest

Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, Thunder

Gilgeous-Alexander had a better rookie year than anticipated with the Clippers, and his role is likely to expand in Oklahoma City. Though he'll probably start the season at shooting guard next to Chris Paul, Paul's inability to stay healthy may thrust Gilgeous-Alexander into the point guard role at some point, which would, of course, increase his value

Expect the second-year guard to take on a prominent role with the rebuilding Thunder, and he could see more than 30 minutes per contest right away. While he ranked just outside of the top-130 for the whole season, Gilgeous-Alexander was trusted more by coach Doc Rivers down the stretch. Over his final 13 appearances, SGA ranked as the 60th-best fantasy player with marks of 14.8 points, 5.1 assists, 3.6 rebounds and a combined 2.1 steals/blocks.

Underrated

Ricky Rubio, Suns

Trapped in Utah's slow-paced offense and arguably misused, Rubio will hopefully have a chance to transform into his former self with the Suns. The presence of Devin Booker means Rubio may still spend a decent amount of time off-ball, but

After examining the safest, most underrated and most overrated players likely to come off the board in Rounds 1 through 3 and 4 through 6 earlier this week, it's time to shift focus to Rounds 7, 8 and 9.

Utilizing Yahoo ADP data, here are the players to target for the best value, as well as some to consider avoiding in the upper-middle rounds:

Round 7

Safest

Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, Thunder

Gilgeous-Alexander had a better rookie year than anticipated with the Clippers, and his role is likely to expand in Oklahoma City. Though he'll probably start the season at shooting guard next to Chris Paul, Paul's inability to stay healthy may thrust Gilgeous-Alexander into the point guard role at some point, which would, of course, increase his value

Expect the second-year guard to take on a prominent role with the rebuilding Thunder, and he could see more than 30 minutes per contest right away. While he ranked just outside of the top-130 for the whole season, Gilgeous-Alexander was trusted more by coach Doc Rivers down the stretch. Over his final 13 appearances, SGA ranked as the 60th-best fantasy player with marks of 14.8 points, 5.1 assists, 3.6 rebounds and a combined 2.1 steals/blocks.

Underrated

Ricky Rubio, Suns

Trapped in Utah's slow-paced offense and arguably misused, Rubio will hopefully have a chance to transform into his former self with the Suns. The presence of Devin Booker means Rubio may still spend a decent amount of time off-ball, but the latter was brought in to help facilitate open looks for the rest of the team. As a member of the Timberwolves, Rubio held an average fantasy rank of 45 overall. While that would be quite the leap from last season's mark of 86, it's within the realm of possibility if he's properly utilized.

Overrated

Jarrett Allen, Nets

Where's the upside here? Allen played 26.2 minutes per game last season -- a mark he'll struggle to top this year considering the presence of DeAndre Jordan -- ranking as the 98th-best fantasy player. Considering he's entering his age 21 season, Allen should improve, but it's difficult to imagine that offsetting his seemingly capped workload. We can't rule out Allen returning seventh-round value, but since that seems like his ceiling, why draft him there? 

Round 8

Safest

Jeff Teague, Timberwolves

We shouldn't expect Teague to crack the top-20 again, but his 2018-19 campaign isn't indicative of his potential for this season, either. He appeared in just 42 games due to injury after playing at least 70 games in every season since 2012-13 – and even when he was on the court, Teague wasn't 100 percent healthy. He struggled with his shooting, dipping below 44.0 FG% for the first time since 2013-14, but Teague's passing numbers were excellent, as he averaged a career-high 8.2 dimes. As Minnesota's primary source of playmaking, that should carry over to 2019-20. In his first season with the Wolves, Teague ranked as the 50th-best fantasy player, which seems to be a mark he could realistically reach again.

Underrated

Jeremy Lamb, Pacers

As the Hornets' second-leading scorer last season (15.3 PPG), Lamb needed just 28.5 minutes per game to rank 78th in fantasy. Without Victor Oladipo (quad) in the fold until around December, Lamb will start at shooting guard for the Pacers, and he should see a similar, if not increased workload. The lack of high-volume scorers means that Lamb should maintain his 12.4 shots per game as well. Even when Oladipo returns, Lamb should be locked into a sixth-man role. Plus, he just entering his age 27 season, so there's room for improvement baked in Lamb's value.

Overrated

Kyle Kuzma, Lakers

Kuzma has played at least 30 minutes per game across his first two seasons in the league. However, he has yet to exceed rank 102. Considering the addition of Anthony Davis takes up power forward minutes while sending LeBron to small forward in some lineups, it's tough to gauge how Kuzma will see 30 minutes on a regular basis this season. A reduced role means it's unlikely Kuzma, who's nursing an ankle injury early in camp, will crack the top-100. As such, there's hardly a reason to snag him in the eighth round, seemingly hoping for a major injury to occur in the Lakers' forward rotation.

Round 9

Safest

Serge Ibaka, Raptors

Toronto's acquisition of Marc Gasol shoved Ibaka out of the starting five on most nights and, ultimately, into a reduced role. But a lot is changing. Kawhi Leonard and Danny Green are elsewhere, creating question marks on the wing and at forward for Toronto. Other than Ibaka and Pascal Siakam, the most reliable depth at those spots is Fred VanVleet, Norman Powell and OG Anunoby. The latter two would certainly not be considered reliable in a vacuum.

We might see Siakam play more small forward and Ibaka play more power forward this year in an effort to maximize talent. While Ibaka spent 97% of his minutes at center last season, that was fueled by a team construction that no longer exists. He actually spent 87% of his minutes at power forward during his first full year in Toronto. Plus, the Raptors don't have a reliable backup center, so Ibaka should still see plenty of action there.

The result should be an increased role for the veteran, possibly one that sees him top 30 minutes per game. He's never finished a season lower than 67th overall in fantasy when averaging 30-plus minutes per game.

Underrated

Gary Harris, Nuggets

Harris' injury history is enough to scare most fantasy owners from drafting him, but there's real upside to getting him in the ninth round or beyond. Since becoming a starter in 2015-16, Harris is averaging only 64.3 appearances per season. Last season was especially rough, as he clearly wasn't healthy when on the court and only managed to finish as the 168th-ranked player. But he ranked 39th and 65th during the two years prior and that potential hasn't simply disappeared.

While the Nuggets are probably the deepest team in the league, Harris should still get first crack at the lion's share of minutes at shooting guard, and it's worth noting that he averaged 17.5 PPG (2.3 3PM) and 1.8 steals in 2017-18.

Overrated

J.J. Redick, Pelicans

Over the past six seasons, Redick has held a solid fantasy rank of 87.6 overall. With that said, the Pelicans have a plethora of backcourt options, and if the playoffs become out of reach, Redick could see his minutes start to dwindle as the organization prioritizes young players. While it's reasonable for fantasy owners to expect Redick to average around 15 points and 2.5 threes per game, doing so would make him the first 35-year-old in NBA history to accomplish the feat. Would I be shocked if Redick makes history in that respect? Not necessarily. Do I want to bank on it? I'm not sure I do.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Alex Barutha
Alex is RotoWire's Chief NBA Editor. He writes articles about daily fantasy, year-long fantasy and sports betting. You can hear him on the RotoWire NBA Podcast, Sirius XM, VSiN and other platforms. He firmly believes Robert Covington is the most underrated fantasy player of the past decade.
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