Fantasy basketball draft week is upon us and managers everywhere will be looking to find an edge by finding undervalued players capable of exceeding expectations. We’ve identified a trio of deep sleepers at power forward worth keeping an eye on as the 2020-21 season approaches.
Darius Bazley, Oklahoma City Thunder
Average ADP: 191
Shai Gilgeous-Alexander is Oklahoma City’s centerpiece but Bazley is second in terms of potential. The second-year forward had modest numbers in 2019-20 backing up Danilo Gallinari but is poised to move into a starting role in 2019-20. It’s easy to tell that Bazley is ready to take a big step forward after watching him in the bubble last season.
Bazley averaged 13 points and 6.2 rebounds in seeding games on 27.5 minutes per contest, but those numbers came when he still had to compete with Chris Paul, Dennis Shroder, and Steven Adams. I wouldn’t be surprised if Bazley emerged as a consistent double-double threat on 30+ minutes a night in year two and he’ll definitely outperform his ADP by a wide margin.
PJ Washington, Charlotte Hornets
Average ADP: 129
Washington was one of the more promising, young stretch fours in the NBA last season. He averaged 12.2 points, 5.4 rebounds, and 2.1 assists while shooting 37.4 percent from deep on four attempts per game as a rookie. He’ll maintain his spot in the starting lineup despite Charlotte’s influx of talent and there’s even been talk of him playing some small-ball five this season. Washington’s role in the frontcourt will be even more important now that Miles Bridges is coming off the bench. He’ll get a ton of burn unless Jalen McDaniels blossom’s into a legitimate rotation player and has a good chance to improve upon last year’s averages in points and rebounds.
Chuma Okeke, Orlando Magic
Average ADP: N/A
Okeke missed all of 2019-20 while recovering from the ACL he tore in his final season at Auburn but is ready to jump into Orlando’s rotation. Last year’s No. 16 selection will be competing with Gary Clark to back up Aaron Gordon at power forward and has much higher upside than Clark.
Okeke is an undersized power forward at 6’8” but has two inches on Clark. He’s a more gifted rebounder, scorer, and defender. The only thing keeping Okeke off the court at this point is caution. We’ve seen quite a few lottery picks come on strong after losing time to an injury in recent years and Okeke could pick up steam as the season goes on. He averaged 12 points, 6.8 rebounds, and 1.8 steals per game in his final season at Auburn and shot 38.7 percent from deep.