The period of free agency continues to shape the fantasy basketball-scape with fresh meat on terrible teams and players signing with contenders to be relegated to bench duty. With baseball in full swing and the NFL getting half of the ESPN air time no matter what time of year it is, a lot of NBA moves have been made under the radar. Look for every division to get a team-by-team breakdown and some early fantasy thoughts on the new faces in new places:
New in Green: Kelly Olynyk, Gerald Wallace, Kris Humphries, MarShon Brooks
Perhaps the most tumultuous of offseasons in the history of offseaons, Celtics fans will see an entirely new franchise. Starting at head coach, Brad Stevens – best known from his role as kid #2 picked on in the film Bully - will theoretically make this team defensive with very little excitement fantasy wise. With the blockbuster trade with the Nets shipping off Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett, it opens up a huge fantasy Pavlovian response for Jeff Green, who I love, and gives Olynyk a starting gig at the 5. I could see Olynyk being useful as your last big man, more for sheer volume than anything else, and have him as the number 7 rookie heading into the season. The way he’s looking in Summer ball, I may move him up a few. Rumors are that the Celtics are already shopping Wallace and Humphries. Humphries’ tenure with the Celtics may be even shorter than his last marriage. Just like his ex-wife, he doesn’t have any value either (for fantasy – wait, Kim Kardashian does have fantasy value though…) but I could see Wallace starting if he’s not traded, and the Celtics giving him tons of minutes and shots for a hopeful trade deadline deal. His contract makes him tough to trade right now, but at the deadline, things can change. Brooks is a little interesting to me too; he had a couple of solid games when the Nets had half their team injured mid-season, and if Avery Bradley were to go down, Brooks would be a solid contributor.
New guys in town (and a lot from Boston…): Paul Pierce, Kevin Garnett, Andrei Kirilenko, Jason Terry
Well I guess the fear of in-division trading only applies to the MLB, because the Nets basically merged teams with the Celtics. The trade gives the Nets a ridiculous starting line-up of Deron Williams, Joe Johnson, Pierce, Garnett and Brook Lopez - aka the Arnold Schwarzenegger to his twin brother’s Danny DeVito. New head coach Jason Kidd (feels weird not bolding him) looks at his line-up and quotes the taxi driver from Total Recall - “Hey man, I got five kids to feed!” I’m probably moving Williams down a few out of the top ten, just won’t be scoring and having the ball in his hands as much, Garnett out of the top 100, with the other three guys about where they will be. Kirilenko will be an energetic sixth man – I’ve never been a huge fan of his for fantasy, but think he might go a tad underrated since he’s not starting. He’ll still be around 30 minutes a night backing up the grandpas on the front line. The real downfall of all these moves means virtually no playing time for Mirza Teletovic and I can’t clown him for airballing three in a row anymore!
New York Knicks
Welcome to the Big Apple: Andrea Bargnani, Metta World Peace, Tim Hardaway Jr.
The Knicks went out and resigned J.R. Smith, giving them a pretty similar look to last season’s squad. I don’t see Hardaway Jr. doing too much even though he has a little hype, and think Bargnani is going to be overdrafted. He’s got some name value after being a top five center back in the day, but doesn’t board, career is in a downspin – I’m not touching him even with a late round flyer. He and Amar’e Stoudemire are in the same boat, bigs that might come off the bench and be horrible. Metta World Peace should be about what he gave you from the Lakers, and might have an interesting first few weeks as J.R. Smith is undergoing surgery for a torn meniscus and may miss a few games out of the gate.
Do I really have to play here?: Nerlens Noel, Michael Carter-Williams, James Anderson
Looks like it’s going to be another tough year in Philly for hoops fans. The Andrew Bynum experience involved a surprising amount of sitting down, and now it’s full rebuild mode. I will give it to the Sixers though – I think did very well in the draft. They’re going to give the keys to Carter-Williams and that opportunity has him my #3 rookie heading into the season just for sheer volume. There are going to be some really rough games, you might get TO rocked worse than Dallas Stadium, but for a late-round spec pick, I like him. I like Noel’s NBA future, but he didn’t crack my top ten rookies for this year as he’s just going to miss too much time and they’ll be very patient easing him in. I mention Anderson because he’s the third best thing they’ve brought in thus far. What does that tell ya? Well he is a former first-round pick on a team that will give virtually anyone a shot – I’m keeping his name on my radar.
Better be sure my passport is up to date: Tyler Hansbrough, D.J. Augustin, Marcus Camby, Steve Novak
Really nothing in here is too big for fantasy. Psycho T is obviously pulling an Eric Snowden and seeking asylum, eating baby octopus is a crime in the US! And his name came from “primal screams” during workouts…? Man, sounds miserable. And I’m a Chapel Hill fan! Still a little surprised the Knicks dumped crowd fav Novak just to haul in Bargnani – soon to be crowd least fav. I still really like the Raptors to be a 6 or 7 in the East this year behind Rudy Gay, DeMar DeRozan, who I love, and Jonas Valanciunas, who I’d marry. I just have a feeling this becomes a really solid team with a year to gel with Gay. Augustin would carry some solid value should Kyle Lowry miss extended time, which happens more often than not.