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Every season, new players emerge as stars and do so fairly quickly. This season, we have already seen several young players overtake incumbent starters and run with the job while others have been the beneficiaries of injuries. It’s time to pick up the emerging talents or risk spending the rest of the season in regret. Let’s take a look at who is emerging as fantasy relevant players over the first two weeks of the season.
Markieff Morris (Owned in 54 percent of Yahoo leagues): Who is this man and what has he done with the real Markieff Morris? Last season, Morris averaged 8.2 points, 4.8 rebounds, and 0.9 steals while shooting 41 percent. Through six games this season, he is averaging 17.2 points, 6.8 rebounds, 1.7 steals, and shooting 62.7 percent. He has scored 17+ points in four straight games with 32 rebounds and eight steals over those contests. He continues to get a ton of minutes and could very well be turning the corner in his third season in the league.
Jason Smith (14 percent): Greg Stiemsma has been long forgotten as Smith continues to break out after a promising season last year. In 2012-13, he averaged 17.3 points, 7.6 rebounds, and 1.8 blocks per 36 minutes. This season, he’s averaging 14.6 points, 5.9 rebounds, and 1.8 blocks per 36 minutes on 54 percent shooting and continues to see an expanding role. Over his last four games, he’s averaging 15 points, 5.5 rebounds, and a block. He played 41 minutes against the Suns on Sunday, scoring a team-high 22 points and should remain fantasy relevant as long as he keeps seeing around 30+ minutes per game.
Patrick Beverley (37 percent): Beverley appears to have won the starting point guard job away from Jeremy Lin and responded with a very impressive 19 points, five rebounds, three assists, four steals, two blocks night. Although he struggled with his shot in his previous game, nailing just one three on 10 field goal attempts over 34 minutes, he should continue to see 30+ minutes and 10+ field goal attempts per game. As long as he can improve his 39 percent shooting, he looks to be a very solid scoring point guard.
Jarrett Jack (39 percent): Last season, Jack averaged 13 points, 5.5 assists, and 1.1 steals and that’s right around what we should expect from Jack. He’s struggled a bit early on but has improved his 30-some odd percent shooting to 42.4 percent and scored 20 points on 36 minutes in his last game. Over his last two games, Jack has posted 33 points, eight assists, eight rebounds, five steals, and three blocks. He won’t be a consistent contributor but he certainly has the ability to fill up a stat sheet.
Miles Plumlee (63 percent): Outside of one game against the Thunder in which he only got two field goal attempts, Plumlee is averaging 13.6 points over his other six games and has scored double digits in five of them. He has also posted double-digit rebounds four times already and has put up nine blocks over his last three games. He’s averaging 11.7 points, 9.6 rebounds, and 2.3 blocks while shooting 51 percent and should be owned universally as he continues to show serious progress in his second season.
DeJuan Blair (14 percent): If you need help with rebounds and steals, Blair is your guy. He doesn’t score a lot, averaging 8.7 points through seven games, but he doesn’t hurt you either since he shoots a solid 55 percent. More importantly, he’s averaging 7.4 rebounds and 2.4 steals per game while playing just 20 minutes. He’s posted at least eight rebounds in three of his last four games while compiling an impressive 15 steals over his last five games.
Steve Blake (18 percent): Steve Nash is dealing with an injury, what else is new? This has allowed Blake to see 30+ minutes of court time in all but two of his eight games so far. Over his last three games, he has posted a combined 46 points, 18 assists, nine rebounds, and 11 three-pointers. If Nash continues to struggle to get healthy, Blake should continue to see enough court time to stay fantasy relevant.
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