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Yet another fantasy season is in the books, and after the wild ride that was the 2012-13 season, it's now time to start looking ahead to 2013-14. And what better way to do that than to take a preliminary look at the top 100 for next season? Since much will change between now and September, these rankings will evolve throughout what promises to be an action-packed spring and summer.
To complement the ranks, here are some players who have the potential to take their game to the next level, along with some thoughts on those who will be returning from injury in 2013-14.
John Wall, PG, Washington Wizards: Make no mistake: Wall is real, and he's spectacular. After averaging 20.7 points, 4.5 rebounds, 7.7 assists, 1.5 steals and 0.9 blocks while shooting 45.7 percent from the floor and 82.1 percent from the line since the All-Star break, Wall ranks fourth on our Player Rater over the past 30 days. There's not much else to say about Wall's second half breakout. He's simply playing up to the potential that made him the No. 1 overall pick in the 2010 NBA draft. After watching Wall dominate the competition the past two months, I have little doubt that he will be a top-20 player in 2013-14 provided that he can keep himself healthy.
Anthony Davis, PF/C, New Orleans Hornets: Davis' rookie season could technically be considered a mild disappointment given the high and almost unreasonable expectations placed on him, but a deeper look at his numbers suggest that he's a future first-rounder in the making. Slowed by various nagging injuries, Davis still managed to post 13.5 points, 8.2 rebounds, 1.2 steals and 1.8 blocks in just 28.8 minutes per game as a rookie. Those are some terrific per-minute numbers, and it is quite obvious that Davis has an extremely bright future ahead of him in the fantasy world. I'm a little concerned about his propensity for injury, but I'm more encouraged by his 15.3 points, 9.3 rebounds, 1.2 steals and 1.5 blocks while shooting 52.0 percent from the floor and 81.2 percent from the line in 24 games after the All-Star break to finish out his rookie season.
Bradley Beal, SG, Wizards: Injuries may have kept Beal from showing his true potential as a rookie, but he flashed enough talent and potential to have fantasy owners dreaming about what he could do in a full season with ample playing time. Beal finished his season with 16.5 points, 5.7 rebounds, 0.9 steals and 2.1 3-pointers in his past 12 contests, proving that he is more than just a deadly marksman from downtown. He needs only to stay healthy to be considered a breakout candidate for 2013-14.
Andre Drummond, PF/C, Detroit Pistons: A per-minute warrior for much of the season, Drummond has flashed enough promise to be considered a prime breakout candidate as he enters his sophomore campaign. Averaging 7.9 points, 7.7 rebounds, 0.9 steals and 1.6 blocks in just 20.3 minutes per game on the season, Drummond is only a year away from being a nightly double-double threat with plenty of steals and blocks. He'll need to do better from the free throw line (36.2 percent on the season) before he can be an elite option, but his upside is still off the charts.
Maurice Harkless/Tobias Harris, Orlando Magic: The Magic may have slumped to 20-60 on the season, but at least they've been able to get 19-year-old Harkless and 20-year-old Harris plenty of run in the second half. Harris has posted 17.1 points, 8.7 rebounds, 0.9 steals, 1.4 blocks and 1.1 3-pointers since the All-Star break while Harkless has posted a versatile 13.5 points, 5.5 rebounds, 1.6 steals, 0.9 blocks and 0.9 3-pointers during the same span. Both have shown more than enough promise to be considered midround prospects in 2013-14.
• I'd love to see Derrick Rose in game action before putting him inside my top 20 for 2013-14, but surely he'll be 100 percent by the time October rolls around, right? I'm sure no one has forgotten that he averaged 21.8 points, 7.9 assists, 0.9 steals, 0.7 blocks and 1.4 3-pointers during the 2011-12 season, but Rose's game is highly dependent on speed, quickness and explosion so I'll reserve the right to drop him down if he doesn't look like the same player by the time next season rolls around.
• Both Rajon Rondo and Louis Williams had knee surgery in mid-February and both are tentatively targeting a return to the court by opening night next season. There's still a long way to go in the rehab process, so we'll be sure to keep an eye on their progress as we get closer to the season. Rondo was cruising with 13.7 points, 5.6 rebounds, 11.1 assists and 1.8 steals prior to the injury, while Williams averaged an underrated 14.1 points, 3.6 assists, 1.1 steals and 1.8 3-pointers for the Hawks before shutting it down.
• Kevin Love would probably be ranked third to fifth overall if we could trust that he'd be able to keep himself on the court for a full season. But we're also talking about a guy who has missed an average of 21.4 games per season in his 5-year career. It may be a little premature to call him injury-prone just yet, but I don't think I'd spend a top-5 pick on someone who's had trouble staying healthy.
• Anderson Varejao averaged 14.1 points, 14.4 rebounds and 1.5 steals in 25 games before suffering a quad injury and a blood clot that forced him to miss the remainder of the 2012-13 season. Varejao has been incredibly productive when on the court, but has really struggled to remain healthy in his 9-year career. He'll be a high-risk/high-reward selection in 2013-14.
• You'll notice that Kobe Bryant still makes the top 100 despite suffering a torn Achilles on Friday. It's still far too early to tell if Kobe will be ready to contribute at any point next season, but if there's one guy I'm not going to doubt, it's Kobe Bryant.
• I didn't want to rank Andrew Bynum in the top 100, but I slid him in at 95th overall only because this is a guy who averaged 18.7 points, 11.8 boards and 1.9 rebounds in 2011-12. Of course, we're still talking about the same guy who has missed an average of 35.3 games per season over the past six years. As high-risk/high-reward as they come, I'll let someone else draft Bynum next season.