Heading into the upcoming Fantasy Basketball Season, Razzball will be interviewing local NBA beat writers for some actual in-depth basketball knowledge to shed some additional light on our fantasy basketball knowledge. Keep your eye out for an interview for every NBA team through the summer. This installment comes courtesy of Devin Kharpertian from leading Brooklyn Nets blog The Brooklyn Game.
1) Everyone has an opinion on what kind of impact the Big Trade will have on fantasy numbers. Can we expect anything at all out of Paul Pierce, Kevin Garnett and Jason Terry? And if so, what? Will that take away (strictly speaking from a fantasy stat perspective) from what the existing crew was putting up?
I think you can generally expect a downtick across the board from a pure numbers perspective, with a few exceptions. Doc never had KG crash the glass because of KG’s ability to space the floor, but with Brook Lopez in the middle there’s a good chance Garnett’s rebounding numbers will go up. That said, one thing you have to watch for with Garnett is that Kidd has said he won’t play KG in back-to-backs, which means there’s about 20 games you can automatically count him out for. That’ll hurt his value significantly. From JET, he’ll probably see an uptick in his percentages, considering he’ll have a few more floor spacers around him. I have no idea what to expect from Pierce from a fantasy perspective — it all depends on how he meshes with Joe Johnson and if they get them involved in similar ways. I’d say expect lots of threes, maybe some more rebounding, and an increase in assists.
2) I’ve always been a big Brook Lopez fan, but he’s kind of mushy on the inside. The 2.1 bpg last year were nice, but a 7-foot, 260-pound dude should get more than 6.9 boards per game. Do you think the addition of KG will help him get tougher and maybe open him up for more rebounds, or will he take more away?
I think Garnett’s influence on Lopez will appear much more on the court than in the box score. I do think that Lopez has the ability to be a better rebounder than he’s shown in the last few years, and playing most of his minutes next to the jump-shooting Garnett is a far cry from the historically great rebounder and one-trick pony Reggie Evans, but I wouldn’t expect more than 7-8 per game from him. The Nets are also surprisingly deep at the power forward and center positions now, which means Lopez probably won’t play more than 30-32 minutes in most contests.
3) With all these big-name vets filling out the rotation, will there be any minutes at all for Mason Plumlee? Is he worth a flyer late in fantasy drafts or will he essentially be red-shirted during his rookie season?
No. Plumlee’s a nice kid and could get some fun spot minutes as an athletic, run-like-hell forward to wreak havoc on second units, but this team is trying to win a championship. My guess is he’ll get more playing time in Springfield than Brooklyn.
4) Deron Williams had an off year, by his standards, in 2012-’13. Do you see him rising back up to all-star level? Is he entering his prime or hitting the decline? Do you see 10-plus assists?
Ten-plus assists isn’t out of the question, but I wouldn’t say it’s in the cards, with how the NBA’s changed in the last few years. Not even Chris Paul averaged 10 assists per game last year. That said, he’s got a plethora of offensive weapons to set up, so expect more assists (maybe somewhere between 9-10 per game), a better field goal percentage, and fewer overall points per game. Williams also played much more aggressively after undergoing platelet-rich plasma therapy during the All-Star break: 22.9 ppg, 8.0 apg, .481 FG%, .420 3PT%, and significantly more FTAs per game. If he plays like that Deron Williams, he’ll be a huge fantasy get.
5) What kind of offense will new coach Jason Kidd be running, and what kind of fantasy impact will that have on the Nets’ players?
Kidd’s been surprisingly coy about what his on-court decisions will be, but he’s on the record saying he wants to push the pace and run a spread-motion offense. My guess is that no Nets player will average 20 points per game, but at least four starters will score between 15-20 with good percentages. At least one starter will have to take a major step back offensively, and my guess is Garnett will be that guy. If Kidd and offensive assistant John Welch are smart, they’ll bomb a lot of threes with this starting unit too.
Devin Kharpertian is a founding partner and managing editor of The Brooklyn Game. According to this article on Forbes, he is damn funny and damn smart.