We’re almost there, you guys. By this time next week, we’ll have our NBA Draft Guide live and ready to go! We have all sorts of different features on there to cover all the angles to get you ready for the draft. Personally, I have five different features (and counting), I’ll be writing up at least four mock drafts/auctions, and the Rotoworld team will be updating our rankings on a daily basis to make sure you’re going into your draft as prepared as possible. If you fail to prepare, then prepare to fail… or something.
Anyway, it’s been fairly quiet on the news front. We’ve mostly been looking at training camp deals, official signings, and Team USA news over the past week. We can still break down some of the interesting developments, though.
You can follow me on Twitter @MikeSGallagher. I'll be doing some random mock drafts with our readers, so be on the lookout for that stuff.
Roses are read
Rose For the third summer in a row, Derrick Rose is the biggest story heading into the NBA season. Unlike the past two years, we actually get to look at Rose before training camp and he’s looked good so far. That wasn't the case on Tuesday, when he scored three points with three turnovers, one assist and one rebound on 0-of-3 shooting. Before Tuesday, he shot 55.6 percent in his two tune-up games, but he did turn the ball over seven times in just 48.7 minutes to go with five assists. The good news is that he’s blowing by people and getting to the basket at will.
We’ve seen this movie before, though. Rose carved up everyone in the preseason last October, scoring 23.7 points in just 28.3 minutes per game over his last four preseason contests. He actually kept his turnover down and was easily the most eye-catching guy last October. Of course, he shot just 35.4 percent from the field in the regular season last year to go with a 4.3:3.4 assist:turnover ratio.
Team USA is still being careful with Rose as they prepare for FIBA, which shouldn’t change during the tournament. They’re going to alternate Kyrie Irving and Rose at the starting point guard spot, which makes sense due to how Kyrie looks amazing. Coach Tom Thibodeau is with the team and he’ll likely get a chance to voice his opinion on how much playing time he gets.
All that said, we shouldn’t put too much stock into how Rose looks this month. As long as he comes out of it healthy, that’s all we can ask for. As far as fantasy goes, I’m not touching him. There are just too many safer studs you’ll be passing on instead of the former MVP.
Shouldering the load
Michael Carter-Williams is still not cleared for basketball activity. That’s not good considering he’s been shooting a basketball for almost two months now. We’ve talked about this a couple times in previous Week in Review columns, and how it lingered throughout the season.
It’s to his shooting shoulder and the reigning Rookie of the Year will have to shoot the ball more sans Thaddeus Young. That’s a bit scary considering he’s one of the worst shooting point guards in the NBA. He finished strong last season, but I’d be concerned he falls apart from the field in his sophomore year.
Plus, this shoulder injury dragging out is a concern. Don’t forget the 76ers took their sweet time with MCW’s knee injury, so they won’t play him at less than 100 percent. Casper Ware and Tony Wroten will back him up, and should probably be on deep-league watch lists. I’m not targeting MCW in any league.
Dion Waiters has been studying tape of Dwyane Wade as he prepares to play next to LeBron James. Of course, a player just watching tape of another player doesn’t mean much. Wade is one of the best finishers around the basket while Waiters is one of the worst. He shot 47.9 percent in the paint last season and also had just 30.8 percent of his shots come from within three feet. Those are terrible numbers.
Waiters doesn’t drive the ball much and he’s not much of a passer either. There’s little reason for Waiters to model his game after Wade and he should really just work on his 3-point shooting. He won’t be asked to create much at all and you can expect his usage rate to take a nosedive. Unless you’re fishing for treys, there’s little reason to be excited about Waiters this season. Plus, Matthew Dellavedova is a better defender on the perimeter. There are plenty of other guys with higher upside worth taking over Waiters.
The reports out of Milwaukee are that John Henson adding some strength and weight to his frame it could result in him being the opening-night starter at center. That’s interesting for a few reasons.
First and foremost, what happened to Larry Sanders? The big man broke out in 2012-13 and earned a four-year deal last summer. Well, then he just broke in 2013-14. On top of his off-the-court issues, Sanders couldn’t stay healthy, couldn’t make free throws, fouled too much and didn’t score the ball. That raises the question of whether or not the Bucks might be moving on from him. For what it's worth, there doesn't seem to be much buzz about him from the team.
Clearly, they are entering this season in rebuild mode. They traded for Jared Dudley to get a 2017 first-round pick and take Dudley off the Clippers’ books. The deals of Sanders and Ersan Ilyasova basically ruin any chance of success for the next three years. Sanders wouldn’t be the first gigantic deal to be swept under the rug and perhaps the new ownership isn’t happy with him. No thanks on Sanders in fantasy drafts.
As for Henson, last season he looked awful. Jeff Adrien beat him for playing time and Henson barely even deserved to play based on his performance. Perhaps he has to harness all those arms and legs and maybe adding some weight can help him on the block. Still, I watched him look bad way too often to draft him in most leagues, and he’s a sub-par foul shooter anyway.
The Rockets are expected to pursue Ramon Sessions in a trade with the Bucks, which would definitely be a win-win. It’s an easy win for the Rockets. Sessions would almost be a perfect fit, especially considering he shot 36.2 percent from beyond the arc after the break last season. Of course, the body of work of a career 31.1 percent from deep makes it a bit of a fluke, but it’s still worth mentioning. His bread and butter is driving to the basket, which is the way the Rockets run their offense.
While Sessions himself wouldn’t be on the standard-league radar, it would hurt Patrick Beverley’s upside. Pat-Bev was starting to come around on offense and he’s going to get every opportunity to make 2.0 triples per game. If you add that to possible 2.0 steals per game, solid foul shooting and maybe 3.5 dimes per game, you’re looking at a solid pick to take before 100. Based on what I’ve seen, he’s been going too late in drafts. And yes, I remember how bad of a start he had last year.
Get Smart... Later
Assistant coach Walter McCarty said he’s liked what he’s seen from Marcus Smart, especially on defense. The defensive praise is not a surprise considering Smart was the biggest NBA-ready point guard to come out of the draft. Plus, he has some length and was aggressive in passing lanes at Oklahoma State.
McCarty added he expects Smart to have a “tremendous” first season. I’m not too sure, though. He couldn’t make anything at Orlando Pro Summer League and didn’t really get around guys on the dribble either.
He can’t shoot the trey yet, so it’s going to be almost impossible for him to put up numbers at the shooting guard spot. If you’re going to draft him, he should only be considered as a stash for the first couple months of the season, because the Celtics may want to allow Rajon Rondo to boost his trade value.
According to the Washington Post, Otto Porter is favored to back up Paul Pierce, and that makes sense. Trevor Ariza was superb in his role as a 3-and-D guy, so Porter would seem to be easier to groom in that role compared to Glen Rice Jr.
We all know the story on the Wizards wings and how they’re going to run their offense. It’s going to be a lot of John Wall and the Wizards were tremendous in drive-and-kick treys last season. Pierce isn’t much of a catch-and-shoot trey guy, so he might not be playing a conventional small forward for the Wizards. Although, I wouldn’t be the least bit surprised to see Pierce and Bradley Beal kind of change roles. In other words, Pierce could play more on the wing while Beal could be in the corner for catch-and-shoot treys. That wouldn’t hurt Beal at all, by the way. It might actually help him and give him a good chance to hit 2.0 treys.
I like drafting the Wizards. Wall is a top-10 pick, Beal is a high-upside guy to take in the middle of drafts, Marcin Gortat is a solid low-end C1 and I think Porter offers some nice upside in deeper leagues.
Lastly, good luck in your fantasy football drafts! I can't tell you enough how you should just spend a few bucks on the NFL Draft Guide. It's totally worth it and I love every team I've drafted so far.