John Wall poses in his new threads as he will be a Houston Rocket this year

NBAE via Getty Images

The start of the 2020-2021 NBA regular season is less than a week away, and if you're like us then your fantasy basketball draft is coming up.

Next week is going to be an exciting one. Not only do we get Christmas, but we get the return of the NBA after a very short offseason. That means you only have a few days to prepare for your fantasy basketball draft, and we know you're already busy wrapping gifts and baking cookies.

The NBA has already given us an early present by giving us a great slate of games on Christmas Day, including Zion v. Jimmy, Steph v. Giannis, and Luka v. LeBron.

Now let FindBet give you an early Christmas gift, as this article should help you prep for your draft by giving you some targets in the mid-to-late rounds that we think will provide upside and consistency throughout the fantasy season.

Here are five of our top sleeper picks for fantasy basketball this year. We present to you: A Fantasy Basketball Carol.


Ghost of Fantasy Past

John Wall Houston Rockets PG

It's easy to forget the past, and if you asked me about most anything from two years ago I would have trouble recalling much. Well it's nearly been that long since we last saw John Wall play a regular season game in the NBA. However, Wall hasn't been forgotten during his absence due to multiple injuries.

Wall has been referred to quite often while rehabbing from a torn Achilles under one of the worst contracts in the NBA that he signed while still a member of the Washington Wizards. Now with the Rockets, Wall has been looking great in preseason actions so far.

John Wall has impressive debut with Houston Rockets | NBA Preseason Highlights www.youtube.com

While some of the explosiveness may be gone, Wall looks quick, and his shooting seems to be improved since the last time we saw him play, which continues a trend we saw prior to his injury. A perennial threat to go for 20 points and 10 assists while adding steals and three pointers, Wall is being severely overlooked in fantasy drafts right now.

With the trade rumors swirling around James Harden, Wall could end up being THE guy in Houston if Harden is traded. Even if Harden stays, the ceiling for Wall is high considering his skill set compliments Harden as an off-ball player, too. If you load up on big men early in your draft, don't sleep on John Wall.

Ghosts of Fantasy Present

Montrezl Harrell Los Angeles Lakers PF/C

If you didn't learn anything from the ghost of fantasy past, let the ghosts of fantasy present enlighten you. Start with Montrezl Harrell, the reigning NBA Sixth Man of the Year, from his 2019-2020 performance. Last year with the Clippers, Harrell averaged 18.6 points and 7.1 rebounds per game as the top option off the bench.

Still in L.A. but now sporting purple and gold, Harrell finds himself in an even better situation than he was last year. The Lakers shed both Dwight Howard and JaVale McGee, opening up more opportunity for minutes for Trez. The Lakers brought in veteran big man Marc Gasol, but Harrell will likely see minutes at center, power forward, and small forward this season. Frank Vogel likes to play around with lineups, and Harrell provides the kind of versatility that his new coach likes.

Harrell has already proven he can do a lot with a little, and now in a slightly better situation playing for the defending champs, we expect big things from Harrell this year. Certainly a lot better than his late round projections in most fantasy drafts. Consistency is king, and that's what Trez will bring.

Clint Capela Atlanta Hawks C

Capela is another player we like because of the consistency that he can provide. Last year he was limited to just 39 games played due to injury, but during that time he averaged 13.9 points, 13.8 rebounds, and 1.8 blocks per game. That's near elite production at the center position. Sure you would like more scoring, but in today's NBA any center that can get those numbers night in and night out is valuable.

Also take into consideration Capela benefits from having Trae Young absorbing most of the opposing defense's attention throughout the game which allows Capela space to work in the paint. We may see the Young to Capela lob become the new CP3 to Blake Griffin ally-oop combo everybody tunes into to see.

Capela would have finished eighth in blocks and second in rebounds if he played enough games to qualify last year, and Atlanta should be a better team this year. There will be a handful of centers taken before Capela, but if you can grab him in the mid rounds, then it will allow you to stock up on guards and elite shooters early in your draft.

Ghosts of Fantasy Future

Isaac Okoro Cleveland Cavaliers SF

So far the ghosts of fantasy basketball have tried to teach you about remembering the past and the importance of consistent performance. Let the ghosts of fantasy future give you some hope in the late rounds of your draft in case you are feeling a little hum-buggy about how your draft develops.

There may not be a hotter rookie in the preseason right now than Cleveland's Isaac Okoro. Let's start by tempering your expectations, though, as he will not likely be starting in the preseason, as the team is resting some starters, including Kevin Porter Jr. The good news, however, is that we've seen Okoro do it all so far. He can score with confidence, hit shots from the perimeter, and has shown good vision for a raw rookie.

The Cavs have a bevy of young talent to sort through, including Collin Sexton, Darius Garland, and the aforementioned Kevin Porter Jr, but nobody's spot is guaranteed. It may behoove the Cavs to put Okoro into the mix early since he's riding a hot streak, and if he succeeds, then he could keep his spot for the season. A late round flyer on Okoro could be a move that puts you over the top in 2021, and who doesn't need a win after this year?

James Wiseman Golden State Warriors C

One thing we know is that the future is not guaranteed. One of the biggest fish in the NBA rookie pond was Wiseman. He lands in Golden State who has future hall of famer Steph Curry returning from injury. The Warriors should immediately get back in the playoff picture in the Western Conference after suffering through an uncharacteristic poor season under Steve Kerr.

Curry and Klay Thompson were sorely missed last year, and the Warriors will again be without Thompson who sustained another injury and will miss the entire season for the second consecutive year. The Warriors traded for Kelly Oubre Jr and will hope for improvement out of Andrew Wiggins.

Coming back to Wiseman, we have never seen a Warrior team under the Kerr-Curry regime operate with a big man of Wiseman's pedigree. We had a glimpse of what the offense could look like with a legit scorer in the middle during the short era of Demarcus Cousins, but he was recovering from injury and never looked 100%. Wiseman is fresh and he oozes talent the way Razor Ramon oozed machismo in the mid 90s.

The inside-outside threat should not only help Steph Curry find space to spot up, but it will bring a new element of a dangerous pick and roll game between the two. Wiseman will probably be the first rookie selected in your fantasy draft, but it won't be until all the teams in your league have their starter.

Once you see the last team fill that position, if you want Wiseman, don't wait. Smash the "Draft Player" button quickly, as he won't last much longer. After seeing the success that DeAndre Ayton has had in Phoenix early in his career, don't be surprised if Wiseman is the next in line to burst onto the NBA and fantasy scene this year.

Paul George grabbing a rebound in Game 5 of the Western Conference Finals

Barry Gossage/Getty Images

In a must win game for the Los Angeles Clippers, Paul George was finally able to look like the best player on the floor in a playoff game.

After a slow start, George poured it on in the second half on his way to a game high 41 points in Game 5. The performance elevated the Clippers over strong outings from the likes of Devin Booker and Chris Paul as L.A. outlasted Phoenix 116-102.

The Clippers don't have much time to bask in their win however as they have to turn around and play two more elimination games just to make it out of the West. The Suns jumped out to a 3-1 series lead as Los Angeles struggled to find their identity without Kawhi Leonard. If the Clippers are to stave off elimination any longer, George has to continue this level of play.

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Ben Simmons disappointed in the playoffs this season

Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

Following a Game 7 loss to the Atlanta Hawks, the Philadelphia 76ers and coach, Doc Rivers, are questioning if Ben Simmons is the right guy to be running their offense through moving forward.

Offense being the key word here.

Simmons is an all-world defender possessing the ability to guard virtually any opponent on the court from the perimeter to the rim. But it was his lack of offensive help throughout this playoff season that stood out beyond any accomplishments this year. Simmons joined Rudy Gobert as unanimous selections for the NBA's All-Defensive First Team this year and also finished fifth in the NBA in assists per game with 8.8 per contest.

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The Lakers looked lost in the Valley

Christian Petersen/Getty Images

The Phoenix Suns are just a win away from sending LeBron James home in the first round of the playoffs for the first time in the King's illustrious career.

After stating that "These shoulders were built for a reason," James referring to facing the challenge of taking on added responsibilities after Anthony Davis was ruled out for Game 5, the Lakers and LeBron disappointed in a big way Tuesday night. L.A. started off hot jumping out to a 10-5 lead behind a couple shots from James and a three from Davis' replacement Markieff Morris. But it didn't take long for the wheels to completely fall off for the defending champion Lakers as they spent most of the first half trying to remember how basketball works.

LeBron James LeBron looking on during Game 5Christian Petersen/Getty Images

Two numbers stick out in the Game 5 loss for the Lakers and those are 34.5 and 12. Los Angeles shot 34.5% from the field on Tuesday night and were minus 12 in turnover ratio. No matter who's on your team, if you can't shoot and you can't protect the ball, the outcome is already determined.

The Suns weren't simply beneficiaries of a poor performance however as the Suns put it on the Lakers early and often and they never let their foot off the pedal for 48 minutes. Phoenix ended with 15 more assists, had seven more combined steals and blocks, and outscored L.A. in the paint by 12 points. Devin Booker and Cameron Payne were spectacular and they seemed to hit big shots every time the Lakers appeared to threaten a comeback. Mikal Bridges was effective on both sides of the ball adding three steals and two blocks to help electrify his team with the defensive effort.


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