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With the full 2014-15 Fantasy Basketball Rankings now complete, let’s take a look at the top 20.  I’ve gotten really bored of Imagine Dragons… They were fine and it was good hearing decent music on the pop stations, but now I cringe almost as much as that friggin’ Fancy song.  I haven’t heard anything more talent-less since Ashlee Simpson!  And parallel-o-ly, or some real word that means that, I imagine some cringing for my sky high Goran Dragic rank.  I’m on the dragon wave!  Dragons are just as hot as vampires or zombies right now.  You got movies how to train them, hot blondes mothering them, Hobbits sneaking up on them in caves… I’m just swept in the fever.  And here’s to hoping I sweep you too! Here’s my top 20 for the 2014-15 Fantasy Basketball Season (based on 9-cat H2H):

11. Carmelo Anthony – New York Knicks - People are like, “Where’s the Melo, where’s the Melo?!”  Kinda like, “Where’s the beef?!”  Well, only if you had a Melo crush I guess… Melo is a guy that just never ends up on my team.  It’s nothing personal!  I’m just not huge on the high-volume scorers, unless you’re counting Val Kilmer in his prime, ya dig?!  I mean, that redhead in Willow had it goin’ on!  Obviously the scoring was elite, but Melo’s 8.1 boards a game – by a good margin a career best – helped vault his value last year.  And while it’s also marginal, 0.7 blocks a contest was a career high.  With Tyson Chandler hurt most of the year and old the rest, Melo had to be a consistent force down low.  When Chandler was hurt, Il Diva was the 5!  I think I could’ve played some center for that team… Needless to say, I see both stats going down with comparable scoring.  He’ll probably go top-10 in most drafts, but he’d have to fall just out for me.

12. DeMarcus Cousins – Sacramento Kings - For his whole career, Run-DMC has been high-upside, high-risk.  With it never turning into the full package.  Until last year!  When you score more than 4.5 PPG over your career-high while shooting more than 3% better than your previous career high, you’re an efficient Edward!  Efficient Effie?  That one bombed.  A 14-15 slash of 22.7/11.7/2.9/1.5/1.3 while shooing 49.6% from the field was straight dirty.  And there’s nothing to indicate it won’t repeat.  He gets a minor knock in standard 9-cat leagues with the 3.5 TO a game probably carrying over to 14-15, but I see an increase in scoring coming his way with Isaiah Thomas replaced with Darren Collison at the point.  We all know IT2 likes to chuck it!  If I’ve got a low pick, I’d be ecstatic getting DMC at the turn in 12ers.

13. Paul Millsap – Atlanta Hawks - Reach alert!  I think virtually all ranks will have the same top 12 as me in some sort of order pretty consistently.  13 is where it gets interesting.  I had Millsap at 18 in May thinking it was fairly bold, but after comparing it to the bevy of 2nd round bigs, I’m actually moving him to the top of the 2nd round.  Career-highs in scoring, treys, and assists, the Hawks got themselves a haul in signing Paul.  Pizzaz from the Jazz.  A perky nurple from the purple.  Anyway, 17.9/8.5/3.1/1.7/1.1 last year, turning in one of the few 1+ slashes of 13-14.  But unlike Cousins, it included a trey per game.  A lot of people seem concerned that Horford’s return to the line-up will [Mill]sap some of his production, but December was Millsap’s best month with Horford going down near Christmas.  The twin towers were finally gelling, and Horford establishing in the post gave Millsap a season-best 1.6 3PTM that month.  I see Millsap as a safe multi-cat contributor, with increases in both treys and points in 14-15.

14. Al Horford – Atlanta Hawks - I’m sticking in Hotlanta like a drop of chili from a Varsity dog!  The torn pec ended Horford’s season rudely after only 29 games; Horford said he was in pain and the trainer was like, “Whatdaya have, whatdaya have?!”  Given it was a small sample, but Horford pulled a Cousins with career-bests in FG% and PPG at 56.7%/18.6.  Millsap effect!  Horford also was at a career-pace in blocks, and came 0.1 steals from averaging a 1+ 5-cat slash.  Horford sometimes gets the injury prone label, but other than 11-12 when he tore the other pec, he’s played almost every game in his other 5 seasons.  With both pecs repaired he should have pep in his step.  If that isn’t the most throw away sentence you’ve read this year, then I’d be ashamed!  I like both Horford and Millsap to rekindle that December success and have big multi-cat production from your talons.

15. LaMarcus Aldridge – Portland Trailblazers - Yet another big with a career season, Aldridge was a monster in 13-14 scoring more than 2 points a game better than his career-best and destroyed the glass for 11.1 boards a game, obliterating his previous high of 9.1.  When you’ve got a patsy like Robin Lopez at center, someone has to board!  That’s right, I’m back in mid-season, hate on Robin Lopez form, folks!  But unlike the scoring boosts from Cousins and Horford, it came with a FG% cost 3% under his career norm down to 45.8%.  While that’s no bueno from your big, Aldridge was also just 0.1 steals from a 1+ slash, giving you some pretty sneaky multi-cat stats.  Nothing has changed in Portland, and while he battled a few injury issues last year, I see no reason to doubt the 29-year-old from having a strong, healthy season.

16. Al Jefferson – Charlotte Hornets – Speaking of strong healthy seasons, Big Al was a monster after getting over the ankle woes!  But unfortunately for Bobcats fans and Heat-haters, plantar fascia kept him ineffective and out for most of the playoffs.  Reports are encouraging that his foot won’t be an issue, so I’m not hesitant to grab Jefferson in the early/mid-second round.  After a poor 2013 getting over the ankle issues, his season from January 14th on yielded an unreal 25.2/11.4/2.3/1/1 slash.  Dem fightin’ numbers!  Hopefully coming into the year healthy with a full season to gel on the now Hornets (which I’m stoked about as a life long Charlotte Hornets fan, even if the logo looks like it’s taking a silver dump), I could see Big Al being a big steal with a big second round pick.

17. Dirk Nowitzki – Dallas Mavericks – Yikes is Dirk a toughie!  The Germinator was a monster pick for fantasy owners who got him in the third round last year (a-thank-you!), and despite being a 7-foot 36-year-old, there’s not too much doubt that he can be a fantasy wunderkind again this season… if healthy.  About the only blemish on his very typical-Dirk season last year was a rebounding rate his lowest since his rookie season, but the nice FG% from a 20+ PPG scorer with some treys should be solid for you yet again.  I see no reason to Diggler him lower in my ranks.

18. Blake Griffin – Los Angeles Clippers - Yet another breakout PF in our run of exclusively bigs, Blake proved to be a near-elite fantasy-asset for once and worth every penny of draft day value.  Unlike his ad spots which are worth no pennies.  I know Pete Nice agrees!  Even though you hate Kias even more now, Blake set a career-high with 24.1 PPG and finally erected (har-har) that terrible FT% to 71.5%.  While the emergence of DeAndre Jordan will likely prohibit Blake from averaging a double-double again, the slash line should be pretty consistent for you in 14-15.  The only thing that continually irks me about his game is even with those ridiculous hops, he still couldn’t get close to a block a game last year!  0.6 Blks last year with a career-high of 0.7 is unacceptable.  Stop messing with opposing teams’ PFs with ticky-tack mind games and swat some shots!

19. Damian Lillard – Portland Trailblazers - About effing time!  I’m tired of reading about PF/Cs and need something new!  We’re finally into the big PG run that will flood into the 20s, with Damian the flagship.  A nearly identical sophomore season from lil’ Lill, he boosted his points with more treys, but at the cost of an assist per.  What you’re buying from Lillard is the consistency and elite FT shooting as he’s under a steal per game and not an elite assists guy.  But paired with a high-volume dimer, or even a later-round assists-guru (already thinking of you Jose Calderon!), Damian should be an omen of success if you land him late in the second round.

20. Goran Dragic – Phoenix Suns - Whoa, this pick is out of nowhere!  That’s what someone would say if they didn’t read the open… This is my boldest pick, well maybe Millsap at 13 can rival it, in my top 20.  And the pick I struggled the most with… In overall value according to Basketball Monster, Dragic was a shocking 25th last year, and 28th in per game.  So maybe not so bold after all!  The big boon for Goran Targaryen was the absolutely unreal 50.5 FG% while scoring a career-high 20.3 PPG after never topping 15.  All hail Hornacek!  Plus he shot over 40% from deep with 1.6 treys a game.  His FT shooting is a little blah for a PG, but that FG% has got me flaming for Dragic!  As in, the dragon reference, OK?!  The assists dropped a bit, but the Eric Bledsoe shituation with the contract dispute only helps Dragic’s case and I think IT2 fits well next to Dragic as well.  Bledsoe and IT2 should be duking it out for minutes, with Dragic the most consistent.  Do I think he shoots over 50% from the field again?  Probably not, but should be close.  Like Lillard, I think a Dragic pairing with a high-assists PG later (cough, mi amor Calderon, cough), should give you a dirty backcourt (cough, cough, cough, cough).

 

And there’s my top 20!  As always, all ranks are consolidated into our Master Rankings with Slim’s awesome projections.  Look for the Top 50 to be out later this week!

From Around The Web

  1. Pada says:
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    Hi Guys,
    1st post regarding Millsap: I had him so far around 17/18th on my board at 33/34 min. If he reaches 35/36 minutes, it bumps him to 12/14th range. Question: Atlanta has Millsap, Horford, Antic, Scott (new 3yr contract) and the rookie Payne which seems he can play => so far I had: Millsap at 33/34, Horford at 33, Scott at 12, Antic at 12 and Payne at 6min. So, the difference could be coming from Payne: you think Budenholzer will not give some minutes to the rook?
    (he seems inclined to not make rookies come too strong too early / eg Schroeder?)

    • Slim

      Slim says:
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      @Pada: I like Millsap to get over that 34 min hump. I put him at 36. So we’ll say 34-36. Horford should get a few less with his injury so I’ve got him at 32-34. With everyone healthy I don’t think Antic gets off the bench. He’s not a good defender and he’s redundant with Mike Scott. So that leaves about 22-26 minutes at the 4/5. I think in the beginning those minutes will mostly go to Scott with Payne getting a few. I also think Scott and Millsap will steal a few minutes from SF so we should be able to add a few more to that 22-26 number. Off the top of my head I’ll peg Scott for 18 and Payne for 12, but probably more for Payne as the season progresses. Schroeder is a little different because he was only 19. Payne is already 23.

      • JB Gilpin

        JB Gilpin says:
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        @Pada: I’m totally with @Slim: and see Millsap at 36. He said exactly what I was thinking while reading, I see both Millsap and Scott being able to play the combo 3/4 to help stretch their minutes and Antic a virtual non-factor barring injuries. Payne struggling in Summer League wasn’t a good start. Millsap 36, Horford 34, Scott 20 Payne 10. If the math works out there…. Haha

  2. Zach says:
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    I’m currently in a 20-man H2H 9-cat keeper league (10 slots, 3 bench, 2 IR). because its so active, these rankings are really crucial because our keepers lock at the end of august.

    as an owner of lillard and harden, I noticed JB said it would be better to group lillard with a
    “high-volume dimer”. I don’t think I have that type of talent on my team, is it bad to build around these two? we can keep up to 12 keepers, but what the heck should I do about my supporting cast? keep, drop, replace?

    guards: darren collison, louis williams, jodie meeks, evan turner
    forwards: luol deng, gerald green, brandon bass, maurice harkless
    centers: nikola pekovic

    • JB Gilpin

      JB Gilpin says:
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      @Zach: No, it’s fine to build around those two since Harden gives you out of position SG/SF assists. I think he tops the career high 6.1 we saw last year with no Lin. With a league that deep, I’m probably keeping all of those guys. The top picks that aren’t rookies will all probably be worse than that, minus maybe Evan Turner, who is awful haha. I’m just a Turner hater :)

  3. Fenris-77 says:
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    Where are you picturing Calderon’s value? I just grabbed him in the mid-6th round in BBMs board mock, to mixed reviews. I’m comfy with him there for roto given the ratios and three ball.

    • JB Gilpin

      JB Gilpin says:
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      @Fenris-77: Yeah that sounds about right, I might have him all the way in the 60s. I think the dimes come back up moving on from Monta. A lot depends with your roster construction when you get to that range and how much I’d want to reach.

    • Slim

      Slim says:
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      @Fenris-77: So mid-6th in a 12er would be about a 66 ranking. Yeah that feels a little high to me. Calderon is one that JB and I are very much in disagreement about. Personally I’d rather have Collison who I think should be about the same ADP. I think Calderon isn’t going to get much higher than about 6 assists, JB thinks much higher. The FT% is absolutely irrelevant at only about 70-80 attempts for the entire season. The math is pretty simple and I see less than a 0.1% difference even if he never misses (even more useless in H2H but that’s a whole nother thing). FG% is nice and TOs are nice but you get a better FG% and even less TOs by playing no one! Ehh. I like Calderon closer to about the 100 ranking and Collison about 70-80 maybe. I’m not 100% sure about those until I see who else is around there.

      I don’t think the offense will go through Calderon. In the triangle offense when Jordan was winning his PGs were Armstrong and Kerr, shooters who never topped 5 ast. When Kobe was winning the PGs were Farmar and Fisher, 2 shooters who never topped 5 ast. I think the offense goes through Melo with Calderon as a spot up shooter. Then there’s JR Smith who will shoot every time he touches the ball. Same goes for ‘Lil Timmy Jr. I could be wrong but this is how I see it.

      • JB Gilpin

        JB Gilpin says:
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        @Slim: Yeah I think Calderon can get back to 7.5-8. If that ends up holding true, that makes the pick justified.

        I think Calderon is just a better player and passer than those previous PGs, and both Jordan and Kobe better playmakers/passers than Melo. Melo can score, but he’s also a PF vs. SG.

        It’s still an assist if it’s a worthless pass and someone chucks it! I think Calderon could really be sneaky with the dimes.

  4. JoeMorgan'sMustache says:
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    No Bosh to me is a shock. Usage rate will go up significantly and he should see an uptick across the boss. Fg% may drop a but with more post looks it shouldn’t be much. Also , he is very efficient. I would consider removing Dragic ( he must repeat close to 50% to justify ranking…very unlikely). Also, with Bledsoe on the floor he simply wasn’t as good….at this point it seems Bledsoe will return but not sign a long-term deal. Even without Bledsoe hard to see him too 20…more 30 range to me. Then possibly Horford. I love his game, but the injuries just drop him down some for me. I like the bold Millsap rank…he is very good all-around and to me a top 20 player with the added 3 ball. Thabks for the update man.

    • JB Gilpin

      JB Gilpin says:
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      @JoeMorgan’sMustache: Really, a shock? I have (spoiler alert!) him at 29 and I thought that was high. I agree he’s going to be really good and underrated, but I figured his ADP would be in the 30s… Maybe he’ll move up with some updates closer to the season.

      Yeah, I know my Dragic rank is high, but I think IT2 takes PT from Bledsoe more than Dragic, and the whole Bledsoe situation sucks. Plus Bledsoe is a little injury prone.

      So with Horford, other than the pecs, he’s been pretty healthy. I think it’s one of those things that is anatomically iffy for him, and now with both fixed, he’ll be good to go. Kinda like hitters with wrist sheath or hamate bones. Seems like once fixed they’re fine.

      Thanks for droppin by!

      • JoeMorgan'sMustache says:
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        @JB Gilpin: Yeah man, I see Bosh as about a top 15 player. He has been 21 and 25 the last 2 years in 9 cat and in games where Lebron sat Bosh averaged 23.9 ppg. I think we are gonna see 20/8 with 50/80 percentages and he has the skills to drop 1/1/1 with that 3/st/bl. He changed his game some for the sake of Lebron and the team…now he will be relied upon much more and he still has exceptional skills. Expect a big year.

        • JoeMorgan'sMustache says:
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          @JoeMorgan’sMustache: Also no qualms with your horford rebuttle..he will prob be fine. I guess I just see a little risk and i like tj avoid risk ewrly. He has great skills no doubt.

          I guess we shall see on Dragic…just a lot will hinge on his fg%. And yeah the Bledsoe situation does suck…hopefully resolved soon. He is fun to watch man.

          • JB Gilpin

            JB Gilpin says:
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            @JoeMorgan’sMustache: Ya know, you might be right… Just moved him to 28 haha, so you’ve convinced me a little! I just am wrapped in the PG run before going to Bosh, but getting him 3rd round would be solid.

            I know Dragic has a lot tied in the %, but he is a great driver and got a lot of high percentage shots in Suns games I saw last year. I am hoping Bledsoe can get into a great situation next year too, maybe we get lucky and he gets traded to a team needing a point. Trade him to the Heat!

            • JoeMorgan'sMustache says:
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              @JB Gilpin: Haha, nice. I just like Bosh with Lebron gone. I think some probably assume his skills diminished but it’s just not true. He can still be the man, so to speak. His game against Portland last year when he dropped 37/10 on 15/26 shooting with Lebron out is a great example. Hard to find a big man with great percentages that truly hurts you nowhere and can contribute across the board.

              • JB Gilpin

                JB Gilpin says:
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                @JoeMorgan’sMustache: Totally agree. I’ll be interested to see where the ADP is, but I think we’ll both be above it, with you a good round higher.

  5. Fenris-77 says:
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    Well, Calderon put up 69th per game value last year when he only averaged 4.7 Ast, so I’m not sure the Ast actually have to go up to make the pick worth it. I do think they’ll go up, but I’m not expecting more than 6 Ast per, mostly because of the triangle. That said, long as he keeps the volume three ball going he’s pretty much a lock to at least return 7th round value (unless he gets hurt).

    It’s funny you should mention Collison since that’s who I drafted the round after Jose (79th overall). I’m quite happy with either guy drafted in that range, for roto anyway. For HtH I’d probably lean toward Collison because I think he’s got more big game potential.

    • JB Gilpin

      JB Gilpin says:
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      @Fenris-77: Agree with everything, except I’m all-in on big dimes. Maybe I’m discounting the triangle a little too much, but I think Calderon gets more dimes than people expect. Kinda like the big Felton assist games. You watch it and go, “eh maybe he had 3-4 dimes…” and it ends up being 8 or 9. Lots of just hand offs and BS passes into shots. I like Collison a lot too, at 79 is a great value.

  6. padara says:
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    ya all think collison will kick mccallum’s butt? I had envisioned around 28-30 min max for collison and 18-20 minutes for mccallum….

    • JB Gilpin

      JB Gilpin says:
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      @padara: Yeah I think he will, I def see Colly over 30 a game. McCallum has good upside, but I think he’s way on the outside looking in for much more than 18 mins.

  7. Fenris-77 says:
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    I’m not too worried about McCallum. Dude is already 23 and he was pretty terrible last year, so I think he’s got a ways to go before he’s playing serious reserve minutes. Right now Collison is better in pretty much every way. Even if McCallum does play 18mpg I think Collison will still get his minutes when Terry and Stauskas are the only options behind an already shaky McLemore.

    @JB – yeah, I’m higher than Slim on the size of Calderon’s dime bag in NY. I think banking on 6 for projection purposes is probably where I’ll stay, mostly to avoid having to over-rank him, but the potential is certainly there for something more in the neighborhood of 7-8 Ast/game.

    Funny though, the rest of the crew doing the BBM mock, guys whose opinion I respect a lot, don’t much like either pick. Whatevs I guess, it’s early days yet for next year’s projections.

    • JB Gilpin

      JB Gilpin says:
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      @Fenris-77: Well McCallum did have some hot runs towards the end of the year, but yeah I’m with ya.

      Surprised you got flack for those, I like em both! Slim and I have talked a lot about those two and how we like them, I have a feeling at least 1 of those guys will be on virtually on all my teams.

  8. jkid says:
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    forget about the top 20, we are currently in our 11th round of a 14 team league. any thoughts or projections for the zeller’s brother? can tyler zeller be the starting C for the celtics?

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