Whether it is because of injuries, because of a perceived lack of talent, or because of any other reason you can think of, some professional athletes find themselves on the outside looking in at some point in their careers. They get forgotten, they become part of their sport’s past, and they have to make a comeback and reignite the passion of the fans that once rooted for them.
I wanted to bring some players whose names have already (or could soon) entered the “forgotten” realm in the NBA, so that’s why I’m highlighting them in this little preseason series of articles. This doesn’t mean that you should rush to smash that “draft” or “add” button in your league draft or WW pool in some cases, but it definitely is meant to provide a list full of names that you should definitely keep an eye on on, just in case.
Here is a partial chunk of the list of players I have chosen for this series, who may or may not have bounce-back campaigns depending on the chances they get, where they land, or even if they get signed to play basketball at all next year. One thing, though, is clear: do yourself (and the NBA as a whole) a favor, and don’t forget about them!
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Fantasy Basketball Forgotten Players To Keep An Eye On
Joe Harris, SG/SF – Brooklyn Nets
There has been so much stuff going on around Brooklyn during the past year that it’d be reasonable to find some casual fantasy GMs having forgotten about Harris. Joe Harris, mind you, played basketball in the borough last year but could only do so for 14 games before getting his run halted due to a season-ending injury.
Of course, with all of the Kyrie and Durant drama this offseason, and the storylines developing prior to that during the regular season involving Kyrie’s playing time, Ben Simmons, and James Harden, well… let’s say Harris went to a faded second plane at the very least.
Harris, even though playing basketball at 31-years-old next season, has a style of play that is not really based on pure athleticism. He is, in fact, the antithesis of that type of player, which should help him keep up his numbers without dropping too much down the leaderboard because of the inevitably diminishing physicality of his game.
Harris has posted playing times above 30 MPG for four consecutive seasons but he finds his mojo in the perimeter and shooting. Harris has attempted 5.1+ 3PA per game in all of those years while hitting 42.4% of those in all of those seasons. You can count all the players that have done that in the history of the NBA since its inception on one hand. Harris (four times), JJ Redick (four), Kyle Korver (five), and Steph Curry (six). That’s it, that’s the full list.
There is nothing stopping Harris from getting on the outside of the three-point zone, waiting for a ball dished out by KD/Kyrie/Simmons, and hitting triples in bunches next season. Harris could end 2023 averaging 4+ RPG, 1.5+ APG, and fewer than 1.5 TOPG without much trouble. Assuming a healthy season (that’s around 70 games played for Harris given his recent past), Harris can be considered a lock to end the year as a top-50 player with either G/F eligibility.
James Wiseman, C – Golden State Warriors
Wiseman was a very dominant high school player, suffered a bit in the NCAA circuit, but ultimately he got drafted in the summer of 2020 with a second-overall pick by the Golden State Warriors more because of fit (Curry and Klay were already in tow without many big men in the roster) than anything else. These days, though, Wiseman’s name might not even ring the smallest bell in some casual fans’ heads, as ridiculous as that is.
Wiseman has spent two years in Golden State (including becoming an NBA champion) but he’s only played 39 games of a possible 164. He’s logged 836 regular-season minutes but none in the playoffs. You get the idea of how things have gone for the Wise Man and why he’s fallen a bit into forgotten territory.
Wiseman has come back to the picture this summer after performing nicely in the NBA’s summer tourney. He is coming off 81 minutes of total playing time in the last Summer League over four games. The big man out of Memphis posted an average 10-5-1 line with 2 BPG on top of that. He shot a good-not-great 48% from the field, although he attempted 1.5 3PA per game, hitting 33% of those.
Fantasy GMs are drafting Wiseman with the 132nd OVR pick as we approach the middle of September. That ADP will surely go up a bit in the next few weeks.
Harry Giles III, SF – Free Agent
The ultimate forgotten player, is he? Giles, he of Oak Hill Academy’s lore, was the no. 3 recruit in the nation and a Duke basketball recruit just a little over five years ago. The third best prospect in the freaking nation, let me highlight that again. Now, all Giles is… is a free agent still looking for a team barely one month from the 2023 season’s tip-off. Cold world, folks.
If you had forgotten about Giles, well, I think I can’t blame you even in the slightest of ways. Giles, mind you, spent three seasons in the NBA with the Kings (two years) and the Trail Blazers (2021) before missing last year entirely without a deal to play in the NBA. The truth is, though, that Giles should be a very appealing reclamation project for some franchise out there as he should still be a malleable basketball player with 10+ years of play inside of him.
The Clippers signed Giles last September but he was waived by the NBA franchise and fell to the G League ranks before suffering a season-ending injury in January. He should be fit now, though, but there are still heavy concerns about his health woes considering he already entered the NBA with two ACL injuries under his belt. But hey, the kid is just 24-years-old!
In his three NBA seasons, Giles never averaged more than 15 FPPG but his per-minute efficiency numbers were great, posting marks of 1.07, 1.05, and 1.00. Considering the league average figure has sat at 0.90 for a good while, Giles was arguably better than your mediocre guys out there. Giles’ stat lines (per game) read 7-4-1, 7-4-1 again, and 3-3-1 in his final year though his minutes went from 14 MPG (twice) to just 9 MPG in his last NBA season.
There is a chance you don’t even find Giles in your league’s player pool, but if you are part of the deepest of leagues, happen to play fantasy basketball in a platform that includes Giles in its roster of players, and like to gamble, adding Giles to your squad should be a move right up your alley!
John Wall, PG – Los Angeles Clippers
Believe it or not, John Wall is back. And he might actually be back for real because the franchise that is offering another chance is a very legitimate contender packed full of talent in the LA Clippers.
Wall might not have played a single game since mid-2021 and sat out last season entirely (not to mention in the last three campaigns he played, he never topped either 41 games or 1,410 minutes), but he has always been a perennial top- five players when active and there is no reason they can be a fantastic value play as an aging vet.
As things stand there is still the question of whether Wall would start games or not (he seems to be cool with the latter option though, so no ego-related issues around the final outcome are expected), but even on a limited/bench role he should thrive. The Clippers had just one “true” point guard last year in Reggie Jackson and he wasn’t nearly close to a real asset in the fantasy realm with an average of just 30.3 FPPG and 0.97 FP/min. Wall and Jackson might work in some sort of PG-by-committee platoon alternating starts.
Best-case scenario, Wall gets to play 60+ games, logs 30+ MPG, and reaches around 30-to-35 FPPG to finish the year as a top-75 player overall. Whether he starts or not, he will get tons of assists (to PG13 and Kawhi, or as the main playmaker in the second unit) and he’s also expected to be a legitimate spot-up shooter for the Clips judging by recent reports from beat reporters covering the team this summer and in the known of Wall’s current training regime.
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