Top 3 NBA Sleeper Picks
The NBA season is finally underway. Right now, the main focus is on LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers, but it’s far too early to tell who the real powerhouses of the NBA will be. And it’s for this reason that we’ve put together our list of top 3 sleepers when it comes to the 2016 NBA Finals. These teams are the teams that no one is really talking about much at this point in the season, but still have a realistic chance of going all the way.
Los Angeles Clippers
This one’s a surprise, really. Why are they not getting more hype? The Clippers went 56-26 last year, finishing second in their division, but third overall in the Western Conference. They ended up losing in Game 7 of the Western Conference semi-finals to the Houston Rockets, but they had been leading that series 3-1 at one point. They look to be on fire after their first game this year. Blake Griffin put up 33 points, and the newly acquired Paul Pierce had a great end to the game from a clutch position. Add point guard Chris Paul into the mix, and the Clippers have one of the strongest teams on paper in the NBA. If they have the same level of success as last year, but with a better post season showing, they have a good shot of going to the Finals.
Oklahoma City Thunder
It’s not a secret that Kevin Durant is one of the best players in the NBA, but the rest of his team is much stronger than most people think. Forward Serge Ibaka averaged 14.3 points per game last year, despite having the lowest field goals made percentage of his career at just 47.6 percent. He’s typically been up over 53 percent, and it’s realistic to believe that he will be there again this year once he hits full stride. Russell Westbrook is another big name to watch here. The point guard had 33 points in the season opener against the San Antonio Spurs, and averaged 28.1 points per game throughout last year. Westbrook is fairly young and he keeps on improving every year. This is easily propelling him to the top of the point guard rankings on most daily fantasy sports sites. And when everyone on the team is healthy and working well together, they are almost unstoppable.
Yep. The Bulls are a real threat this year. Vegas has them listed as the seventh best team in the NBA going into the season, but they might actually be much better than that estimate. They’re already 2-0 on the season, and Derrick Rose is back and appears to be completely healthy. The Bulls’ point guard is averaging 16.5 points per game right now, and his team is undefeated despite that low total. It shows that the team is lot more versatile than what was originally thought. That’s a good sign if Rose or someone else goes down for a prolonged period of time with an injury. Two seasons ago, Rose only played 10 games, and last year, he had only 51. His play suffered quite a bit last year, but it’s safe now to assume that not only will his points per game number go up, his field goal percentage will, too. Against weaker defensive teams, he could even be a good cheaper daily fantasy basketball pick. Of these three teams, the Bulls are probably the longest shot, but if things go right for them and a few of the teams ranked higher than them have complications, they could swoop in and steal a Finals berth.