It’s definitely fantasy football season and I’ll admit I’ve spent more time on the Rotoworld NFL Player News page than I probably should, but we don’t take days off here on the NBA side.
We had some big NBA news this week with the report of Kevin Love heading to the Cavs. I broke it all down in a 3,000-word column covering all the moving parts and how it affects both teams. There probably won't be quite as much news besides Eric Bledsoe and Greg Monroe, so I'll be looking to you guys for some content. This is the second week of the Fantasy Hoops Mailbag and you guys are batting 1.000 on good questions! You can @ me any time @MikeSGallagher and I'll throw your question in next weekend's edition.
Considering he’s had consecutive season-ending leg injuries and he’s going to turn 36 later this month, I don’t think people will be champing at the bit to draft the Black Mamba. He went 45th in a recent mock draft, which seems like a bargain. Personally, I drafted Derrick Favors at 39 because I have extremely high hopes for him, but Kobe was next on my list to take.
Kobe was also horrible in his six games last year, averaging 13.8 points, 4.3 boards, 6.3 dimes, 1.2 steals, 5.7 turnovers (!) and 1.7 triples. On the bright side, his usage was 29.3, which puts him in elite company and usually guys with that high of a usage rate will be putting up second-round value.
He’s definitely capable of being a 20-5-5 guy, especially considering the lack of help around him. The numbers will be there, but that’s not why he’s going to slide in your draft. If you don’t roll the dice on a bunch of injury-prone guys, I’d say Kobe makes sense in the third round.
There probably won’t be much of a change if Josh Smith is on the move, but I think if Monroe doesn’t come back he could see more chances on offense. We all know Dre’s offensive skill set is really a lost cause with respect to shooting and dribbling, but he really doesn’t need to do that just because he’s such a beast. Oh, and he turns 21 on Sunday. Yes, he shot just 12.1 percent on his 66 jump shots last season, but his play breakdown on Synergy really shows what he brings to the table:
The two big ways Drummond contributed were on the glass and on cuts while his transition buckets certainly helped him. Although, his 77 PNR attempts were a ridiculous 74.0 percent. Plus, it’s also worth mentioning D.J. Augustin runs more pick-and-rolls than Brandon Jennings while also having a score percentage five points higher. Even with Smoove and Monroe, you’d think Drummond’s PNR plays go up, which could add like two points per game alone. Coach Stan Van Gundy should be using more PNRs for AD as well.
His post presence isn’t really there yet, so he’s not going to command a double team. If you take free throws out of the equation, Drummond should have one of the best seasons of any player. Right now I’d project him at 17 points, 14 rebounds, 1.8 blocks and 1.1 steals. Baller.
I would take Chris Bosh here. While Griffin has been one of the most durable players in the NBA since his debut, his recent back fracture has to be a concern. I think Griffin is going to be phenomenal, but his free throw shooting is still going to hold him back despite some major improvements last season.
Bosh was so good last season and it was due to his efficiency. He ranked 18th in standard leagues last season and did it all on just 12.1 shots per game — only Joakim Noah averaged fewer shots and had a higher fantasy value. Clearly, he’s going to be in a different situation.
The obvious big concern here is Bosh’s expected drop in field goal percentage, which is justified. In fact, he shot just 41.5 percent with LeBron on the bench compared to 53.5 percent with him. Plus, he had 80 percent of his field goals come via an assist and that’s well above the 50 percent he had back in 2009-10 with the Raptors. In other words, I don’t think it’s a given that Bosh increases his fantasy value.
On the bright side, he shot 45.3 percent on his 64 isolation shots, a terrific number. Bosh also shot 46.8 percent in post-ups, so he’s still got it as a scorer. He’s a top-15 pick in my book.
Griffin put up 15th-ranked value last season, so he’s definitely a second-round pick just behind Bosh. If he didn’t have a back fracture, it would be extremely close.
Not at all. Personally, I wouldn’t do it because of all the injuries, but Anthony Davis is probably the only guy who can unseat Kevin Durant from his five-year run as fantasy basketball’s best player (that’s crazy about KD by the way). AD was No. 2 for fantasy value on a per-game basis and the thought of him getting better is kind of scary.
He recently went second in a mock draft and there’s really no way you can knock that. Davis led the NBA in blocks per game, he’s going to be one of the best players for percentages, and there will be double-doubles on a regular basis. He will probably have a triple-double or two, as well.
I have AD at No. 3 on my board.
Non-fantasy question alert! I have it like this:
- Cleveland: Their ridiculous offense is going to be almost unstoppable.
- Chicago: If D-Rose stays healthy, they could easily be No. 1. Their frontcourt is awesome.
- Washington: Their schedule gets a lot easier and they’re not so young anymore.
- Toronto: Kyle Lowry has to stay healthy again. Valanciunas could take a bigger leap.
- Brooklyn: It’s easy to forgot how great Brook Lopez can be.
- Charlotte: I feel like this is too low and they could easily get the No. 3 or 4 seed.
- Atlanta: Another team that can really get going. They need Horford to be healthy.
- New York: I’m really concerned about their frontcourt and wouldn’t be surprised if they finish 13th.
Al Horford will be ready and that means Millsap won’t have quite as many opportunities. However, he still was putting up second-round value even before Horford went down, averaging 16.8 points, 8.3 boards, 2.8 dimes, 1.6 steals, 1.0 blocks and 1.1 triples on a 26.4 usage rate.
After that point, he upped his points per game to 18.6 to go with 8.6 boards, 3.4 assists, 1.8 steals, 1.1 blocks and 1.0 triples on a 23.3 usage rate. The tradeoff for usage rate came in percentages, which is pretty much the norm.
I don’t see how you can let him slide beyond the 25th pick.
Tough one. When it comes to keepers, I have to point out how you should target the right fantasy owner to trade with rather than a specific set of players. It’s all about who is going to pay the highest price. A guy with a team looking to go for it this year isn’t going to want George while a team with a bunch of O.J. Mayos and Andrew Bynums on its roster is would be much more inclined to acquire him.
I’ll be putting together the keeper rankings for our draft guide, so I’ll have a little more research at the ready, but I’d project him as like a 50-75 guy in a keeper if we were starting a new league today. That means, I’d probably be looking for guys like Jonas Valanciunas, Robin Lopez, Deron Williams, Wesley Matthews, Tony Parker or Marcin Gortat. If you want a rookie, I would pull the trigger to get Jabari or even Andrew Wiggins if he fits your team.
Payton should have no problem getting minutes in the high 20s and he should have a decent chance to crack 5.0 dimes per game and flirt with a couple steals per game. Plus, he shouldn't destroy field goal percentage and is also a plus-rebounder. He has huge upside and you’d think the Magic push the tempo.
George Hill was a mild letdown, but he was still able to post nice value. He should have plenty more offensive chances with the Pacers currently gutted. Plus, he has a fantasy-friendly game except for FG%.
Draymond Green is going to get minutes somehow. The Warriors are just a better team on the court and coach Steve Kerr seems to like him. If he's able to get 25 minutes per game, he'll definitely be a top-100 guy and perhaps a top-60 guy. He's a stat stuffer.
The preseason schedules are out now and the NBA is expected to announce the full schedule later this month. Here’s a link to a story with a little more detail. We’ll have a schedule breakdown column in our draft guide, by the way.
I don’t think so. The Mavericks are really going to need Monta to step up. The loss of Jose Calderon is big and I’d expect Monta to run the offense a ton. He put up 28th-ranked value last season and I think he absolutely could exceed that next year. He’s a strong third-round target. Even late-second if you’re feeling saucy.
As for Parsons, a lot of his buckets came through the Rockets’ system. While the Mavericks should be very similar in a halfcourt set, I don’t think he’s going to be getting a big amount of plays called his way. He was only 20-of-72 (27.8 percent) on isolation last year (Synergy) and 53.8 percent of his shots came in transition or as spot-ups.
Parsons also wasn’t great on drives, making just 38.2 percent of those, which ranked last among small forward with at least 2.0 points per game off drives. He also had just 2.3 points per game on pull-ups. Basically, he will need someone to help him get his buckets, or he’ll have to dominate in transition again.
Despite all that, I don’t think there’s any way you can pass on him in the fifth round. There are probably some other guys I like a little more, so I don’t think I’ll be drafting him.
Aaron Bruski just did some minute projections on the Magic (check out his column here). Here’s what he came up with:
Elfrid Payton (26-32) / Luke Ridnour (16-25) / Willie Green (0, 10-16)
Victor Oladipo (32-37) / Evan Fournier (20-26) / Ben Gordon (0, 12-20) / Devyn Marble (0, 5-10)
Tobias Harris (29-35) / Moe Harkless (18-25)
Channing Frye (24-30) / Aaron Gordon (20-28) / Andrew Nicholson (0, 10-18)
Nikola Vucevic (32-36) / Kyle O’Quinn (18-23) / Anthony Randolph (0, 4-8,*) / Dewayne Dedmon (0, 4-8,*)
I’m definitely down with that. I’m not 100 percent sure that Tobias Harris gets most of his minutes at small forward since coach Jacque Vaughn was against that idea last year and played Andrew Nicholson there way too often However, what else are they going to do? I don’t think they can play Aaron Gordon at small forward yet because his skills aren’t there to put him that far away from the basket.
I watched a fair amount of Arizona Wildcat basketball compared to other schools (my girlfriend went there), and I thought he’d be able to eventually become a small forward. It was a little different in summer league, though. He doesn’t have a fluid motion just yet and his shot needs a lot of work. Apparently Gordon wants to play small forward, so we’ll see what happens. He has some serious potential and just needs an identity — and work on his free throws, obviously.
They're a young team and should have to run an up-tempo to limit their halfcourt scoring. They were actually 28th in the NBA in scoring percentage in transition, so that will be a big area they’ll need to improve. Their personnel really suggests they should run with VO, Payton and Gordon as their core. We'll see what Vaughn does.
Victor Oladipo could be in for a huge breakout considering how he can fill up a stat sheet. As mentioned above, I love Payton, and I also think Tobias could be quite a small forward considering how quick he is for his size. There should be a lot of fantasy value to go around.
I don’t think the Bucks are there yet and it’s going to be a long rebuild. When you have a massive swing-and-miss like they did last summer, it’s going to take a few years. Basically every contract decision was a disaster: O.J. Mayo, Larry Sanders, Ersan Ilyasova, Carlos Delfino, Gary Neal and Zaza Pachulia. Don’t forget they traded away Tobias Harris at the deadline before their bad summer and only got a couple months of J.J. Redick. Yikes.
If I’m the general manager, I’d go all-out Sam Hinkie. I would absolutely trade Ersan Ilyasova for anything possible. He still has three more years left on his deal and he’s a really bad fit next to Jabari Parker and Giannis Antetokounmpo — the two best Bucks assets by a mile.
I’d trade O.J. Mayo for a jar of Miracle Whip.
I do like John Henson and think he has potential, but he really needs to bulk up because he isn’t quick enough to play power forward effectively on either end. Larry Sanders was great on defense in 2012-13 and last season just goes to show how signing a defensive guy to a huge deal can backfire quickly -- Serge Ibaka is not just a defensive guy, by the way. I wouldn’t have a problem trading Sanders away either, but he has to play well to start the season in order to boost his value. His 2013-14 was horrible on and off the court.
I’m not a big fan of Brandon Knight as a point guard and I really do think the Bucks will start Kendall Marshall to help ball movement in their offense. I’d say he’s a top-60 guard in reality and he can score on his own, so I wouldn’t totally unload him a la Hinkie.
I like how their offseason is going so far, drafting a project in Damien Inglis, only signing to Jerryd Bayless to a two-year, $3 million deal and Marshall is a good fit on their roster.
Looking down the line, it’s all about Jabari and Giannis. I’d hope to sign them to an extension in the last years of their rookie deals, assuming they play well.