It’s not like Jose Calderon came out of nowhere, but it’s just not a name you can consistently count on — read just 68 games played each of the last three seasons — in NBA fantasy. But the Toronto Raptors’ guard is currently the third-best point guard in nine-category leagues this season and fantasy’s 12th-best player overall.
Calderon goes into Friday night’s game against the visiting New Jersey Nets already with four double-doubles under his belt and shows no signs of slowing down. The ankle injury to Jerryd Bayless, and no timetable for his return, will help Calderon to keep logging the minutes.
Calderon has reached double digits in assists in four of six games and has 60 of them to just 10 turnovers. He has reached double digits in points in four games and is shooting 52.9 percent from the field. Calderon is also perfect from the free-throw line (9-of-9).
Add in 4.2 boards per game, and he is taking great point guard numbers and turning himself into a great player across all categories.
ESPN had Calderon ranked 23rd amongst fantasy point guards entering the season, and he held an ADP of 107.8 in Yahoo leagues — a late 11th, early 12th round selection in 12-team leagues. That’s exactly where he went in the Athlon Sports one-man keeper annual NBA fantasy draft — 11th in the 11th round.
Obviously, the presence of Bayless in the lineup pushed Calderon down the board, but Bayless isn’t in there now and Calderon was still getting 30-plus minutes per game prior to Bayless’ Dec. 30 ankle injury.
Calderon has seen his minutes this season rise seven minutes above his career average (27:48), his points per game go up by 2.4, his shooting percentage rise four points, his 3-point percentage rise seven points, his free-throw percentage rise over 12 points, his assists go up by three per game.
Yes, it’s early, as just six games have been played. But all signs are pointing up for Calderon.
The one thing that has consistently held him back is just being on the court. Calderon has played exactly 68 of 82 games the last three years and has played above 77 just twice in his seven-year career.
If he can stay healthy, hold Bayless at bay, keep those shooting percentages up, Calderon is going to be a great steal as a 12th-round point guard.
By Corby A. Yarbrough @Corby_Yarbrough on Twitter