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Injury options, early 2014-15 ranks

4/14/2014
Christian Petersen/Getty Images

Yet another fantasy season is in the books, and after the wild ride that was the 2013-14 season, it's now time to start looking ahead to 2014-15. 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 like Anthony Davis and John Wall did this season, along with some thoughts on some players who will be returning from injury in 2014-15.

Taking the next step

The Top 130

Note: Brian McKitish's top 100 players are ranked for their fantasy value for the 2014-15 NBA season. Previous rank is indicated in parentheses.

1. Kevin Durant, OKC (1)
2. LeBron James, MIA (2)
3. Anthony Davis, NO (21)
4. Stephen Curry, GS (4)
5. Kevin Love, MIN (8)
6. Chris Paul, LAC (5)
7. James Harden, HOU (3)
8. John Wall, WSH (6)
9. Paul George, IND (17)
10. Russell Westbrook, OKC (24)
11. Carmelo Anthony, NY (7)
12. DeMarcus Cousins, SAC (9)
13. Serge Ibaka, OKC (10)
14. LaMarcus Aldridge, POR (20)
15. Kyrie Irving, CLE (31)
16. Dirk Nowitzki, DAL (16)
17. Joakim Noah, CHI (11)
18. Blake Griffin, LAC (15)
19. Kawhi Leonard, SA (14)
20. Isaiah Thomas, SAC (122)
21. Goran Dragic, PHO (19)
22. Al Jefferson, CHA (12)
23. Eric Bledsoe, PHO (25)
24. Ty Lawson, DEN (NR)
25. Rajon Rondo, BOS (35)
26. Nicolas Batum, POR (36)
27. Damian Lillard, POR (26)
28. Marc Gasol, MEM (32)
29. Paul Millsap, ATL (13)
30. Kyle Lowry, TOR (91)
31. Rudy Gay, SAC (29)
32. Monta Ellis, DAL (28)
33. Mike Conley, MEM (23)
34. Michael Carter-Williams, PHI (27)
35. Kemba Walker, CHA (34)
36. Pau Gasol, LAL (NR)
37. David Lee, GS (97)
38. Ricky Rubio, MIN (40)
39. Chris Bosh, MIA (42)
40. Dwight Howard, HOU (83)
41. Andre Drummond, DET (44)
42. Al Horford, ATL (NR)
43. Dwyane Wade, MIA (NR)
44. Thaddeus Young, PHI (22)
45. Tony Parker, SA (73)
46. Klay Thompson, GS (41)
47. Victor Oladipo, ORL (56)
48. Deron Williams, BKN (38)
49. Nikola Vucevic, ORL (63)
50. DeAndre Jordan, LAC (43)
51. Wesley Matthews, POR (58)
52. Chandler Parsons, HOU (33)
53. Kevin Martin, MIN (69)
54. Jeff Teague, ATL (30)
55. Jrue Holiday, NO (NR)
56. Bradley Beal, WSH (59)
57. Josh Smith, DET (49)
58. Brandon Knight, MIL (37)
59. DeMar DeRozan, TOR (47)
60. Arron Afflalo, ORL (62)
61. Kobe Bryant, LAL (NR)
62. Derrick Favors, UTAH (51)
63. Gordon Hayward, UTAH (65)
64. Brook Lopez, BKN (NR)
65. Kenneth Faried, DEN (39)
66. Tim Duncan, SA (64)
67. Marcin Gortat, WSH (45)
68. Greg Monroe, DET (52)
69. Luol Deng, CLE (84)
70. Nikola Pekovic, MIN (130)
71. Jimmy Butler, CHI (46)
72. Lance Stephenson, IND (85)
73. Trevor Ariza, WSH (50)
74. Jeff Green, BOS (60)
75. Taj Gibson, CHI (76)
76. Tyreke Evans, NO (18)
77. Zach Randolph, MEM (57)
78. Brandon Jennings, DET (61)
79. Ryan Anderson, NO (NR)
80. J.R. Smith, NY (53)
81. Tobias Harris, ORL (68)
82. Wilson Chandler, DEN (NR)
83. Spencer Hawes, CLE (81)
84. David West, IND (79)
85. Trey Burke, UTAH (78)
86. Paul Pierce, BKN (67)
87. Eric Gordon, NO (NR)
88. Derrick Rose, CHI (NR)
89. Randy Foye, DEN (54)
90. Jameer Nelson, ORL (87)
91. J.J. Redick, LAC (106)
92. Jose Calderon, DAL (88)
93. Joe Johnson, BKN (55)
94. Jodie Meeks, LAL (48)
95. Kyle Korver, ATL (74)
96. Nene Hilario, WSH (NR)
97. Jamal Crawford, LAC (NR)
98. Robin Lopez, POR (86)
99. Jonas Valanciunas, TOR (98)
100. Anderson Varejao, CLE (NR)

Eric Bledsoe, PG/SG, Phoenix Suns: He missed 39 games because of shin and knee injuries, but Bledsoe was brilliant when healthy, posting 17.9 points, 4.8 rebounds, 5.6 assists, 1.6 steals and 1.2 3-pointers per game while shooting 47.4 percent from the floor and 78.0 percent from the line in 40 games on the year. Bledsoe is a diverse fantasy talent given his ability to contribute in multiple categories while maintaining healthy percentages. Just 24 years old and still improving, Bledsoe is a potential top-20 to -25 player next season if he can remain healthy.

Kawhi Leonard, SG/SF, San Antonio Spurs: Leonard was on every "breakout" list prior to this season, but he lost some of his luster after a slow start and a hand injury that caused him to miss 14 games in the middle of the season. Since then, Leonard has been a top-10- to -15 fantasy player, with averages of 14.8 points, 6.5 rebounds, 1.9 steals, 1.2 blocks and 1.4 3-pointers per game while shooting 52.8 percent from the floor and 86.2 percent from the free throw line in 24 games since the All-Star break. Already producing ridiculous numbers in steals, blocks and 3-pointers, the 22-year old should do big things next year, as the Spurs will continue to rely heavily on him as the rest of the roster continues to age.

Victor Oladipo, SG/PG, Orlando Magic: We discussed Oladipo at length last week, so I'll keep this short and sweet. Oladipo's per-minute numbers suggest that he's capable of posting 16/5/5 with 2 steals per game if given a few more minutes per game next season. Considering he posted 14.0 points, 4.2 boards, 4.2 assists, 1.6 steals and 0.9 3-pointers in only 31.4 minutes per game as a rookie, Oladipo's future looks extremely bright, even if he does need to improve his shot selection and field goal percentage.

Returning from injury

Al Horford, PF/C, Atlanta Hawks: Red flags will stick with Horford for quite some time after he suffered his second torn pectoral muscle in the past three years. He played in just 11 games during the 2011-12 season before tearing his left pectoral, returning to post 17.4 points, 10.2 boards and 1.1 blocks in 2012-13. But tore his right pectoral muscle just 29 games into the 2013-14 campaign. Prior to the injury, Horford was up to his usual tricks, with 18.6 points, 8.4 boards, 0.9 steals and 1.5 blocks per game. He'll be a high-risk/high-reward option come September, but it's worth noting he bounced back strong after suffering a similar injury two years ago.

Brook Lopez, C, Brooklyn Nets: Like Horford, Lopez has missed significant time over the past three seasons with similar injuries to his right foot. After missing all but five games in 2011-12, Lopez managed just 17 games this season before suffering yet another season-ending injury to his troublesome foot. Although Lopez is a dominant fantasy force when healthy, foot injuries can become chronic issues for 7-footers. Sure, he was averaging 20.7 points, 6.0 boards and 1.8 blocks with great percentages before the injury, but fantasy owners should consider the history of big men with foot issues before investing in Lopez next season.

Kobe Bryant, SG, Los Angeles Lakers: Kobe returned from Achilles surgery in December but lasted just six games before succumbing to a knee injury that forced him to miss the remainder of the season. Expected to be 100 percent by the start of the 2014-15 season, Kobe could become a sneaky value pick in next year's drafts. He'll be 36 years old by the time the season starts, so time isn't on his side, but he definitely has a few more years left in his tank as long as he can keep himself on the court.

Ryan Anderson, PF, New Orleans Pelicans: Anderson suffered a scary neck injury back in January, causing him to miss all but 22 games this season. After undergoing surgery on Tuesday to repair his herniated cervical disc, he is expected to resume basketball activities in four to six months, which might put his status for the start of next season in jeopardy. We'll have to watch his status closely over the summer, but Anderson is one of the league's best sharpshooters from downtown and could pay huge dividends for fantasy owners if he's able to make a full recovery. He was averaging a cool 19.8 points, 6.5 rebounds and 3.0 3-pointers per game before the injury.

Derrick Rose, PG, Chicago Bulls: With two knee surgeries in the past three years, Rose will continue to be a high-risk option until he can prove that he has put his knee issues behind him. Knee injuries are particularly worrisome for players who rely heavily on their explosiveness and quickness, as Rose does. Of course, we all know Rose has first-round upside if he can return to full strength, so we'll just have to keep a close eye on his progress this offseason before investing in him next season. Here's to hoping he suits up for Team USA over the summer.