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2016-17 is so close, we can taste it!  Well, it’s not that close…  The season is gonna have a very pungent taste!

Speaking of pungent taste, you can take a look at how our ranks went last year.  Yeesh!  Here’s to turning over a new leaf, a fresh start, and well, screw you Kevin Durant!  My top-4 from the Way too Early Ranks were locked in, set in stone, easy-peezy…  Then you had to go ruin it!  I officially mirror all of Reggie Miller’s thoughts on him moving to Golden State.  Took a Golden State all over my ranks, that’s for sure!

Enough links, let’s get down to business!  As we do every year, our ranks will be put together in one master post that will include Slim’s 9-cat and MPG projections.  Plus be sure to listen and subscribe to the Razzball Basketball Podcast, where we will argue over these ranks incessantly.  Patrick Patterson top 50!  Here’s the Top 10 for the 2016-17 Fantasy Basketball Season:

1. Stephen Curry, Golden State Warriors

I haven’t been doing fantasy basketball since, I dunno, when Wilt Chamberlain changed teams, but I can’t think of a time when one free agent made ripples like this across the top few players.

Let me preface with this – all of my top 4 are razor, razor close.  A preseason hangnail might move someone around.  Despite Durantula climbing out of the desert and wandering to the sea (Oklahoma City isn’t really desert though I don’t think…), I am sticking with Curry as my numero uno.

The big question is what Durant will do for Curry’s usage and shots.  My argument on the Pod and remains true now:  Durant is a phenomenal player.  A hall of famer.  A very rightful MVP and multi-scoring champ winner.  But Stephen Curry is a transcendent player.  He’s broken the record for 3s in consecutive seasons, people are comparing his on-the-court impact to Michael Jordan, etc. etc.  Does that really matter in fantasy though?  Not really.  However, I do think that Curry continues to be in the driver’s seat and it’s KD’s stats that go down a slightly larger percentage than Curry.  Plus, who is taking the ball up the court most of the time?  It’s gonna be Curry with the ball in his hands first, and we know he always has an itchy trigger finger.

Does that mean Durant won’t have phenomenal games and outscore Curry 45% of the time game-to-game?  Of course not.  But Curry offers such ridiculousness across the stat sheet, in FG% given NBA record 3s (50.4% from the field while BREAKING THE 3PTM RECORD?!), upped his free throws at 90%, gets assists, gets 2+ steals…  Even if he sinks to 25 points a game and back to 4ish threes a game, the rest of the package will keep him #1.

2. James Harden, Houston Rockets

Harden.  D’Antoni.  Sign me the F up!

We just talked about Curry breaking NBA records, so our #2 has to break records too right?!  How about the TO record!  374 turnovers…  As DeMarcus Cousins would say, “Lord give me strength”.

Thankfully the rest is so purdy, you can nab Harden 2 and punt TO.  And despite what his haters absolutely loathe about his game, his eliteness in FT volume had me keep him #2.  Here’s something interesting with Harden in his career stats: his AST have gone up each and every season in the NBA.  7 straight years!  Sure the TO have gone up too, but I think we see 8+ in D’Antoni’s offense.  With the Golden State Dream Team assembly bottle-necking individual scoring, Harden could lead the league in scoring as well.  And Harden’s lapses on D that frequently make Shaqtin’ A Fool?!  Well, that doesn’t matter to shoot-first-ask-questions-later D’Antoni!  We’ll probably see a pretty similar season to what we got in 15-16, and with surprisingly a little upside in the up-tempo O.

3. Kevin Durant, Golden State Warriors

Durant, Durant, why did you have to be a sycophant!?  Ok, well I don’t know what that word really means, but whatever!

One of the most likable and affable guys in the NBA took the unpopular road to join the Warriors and form the NBA Western Conference All-Stars of Oakland.  I think I might change their team name to that…  A lot of my thoughts on Durant you can see above there with Curry, and as mentioned up there as well, it really wouldn’t surprise me if Durant is “the guy” in roughly half the Warriors games.

But unlike Curry, Durant won’t quite make a bajillion 3s (I do think he could push for 3.0+ though which would be a career high), and won’t quite get the same assists.  He will chip in boards and a block every game, but Durant is coming off a 35:48 MPG season while Curry was at 34:10 last year.  I expect both to be at a very similar range, maybe 33ish, so Durant takes that extra 1:30 hit or so.  Look, I know it’s uber-nitpicking, but that’s how close these guys are.  Durant is gonna be great this season, but he’s merely #1C to me, not #3.

4. Russell Westbrook, Oklahoma City Thunder

Finally to #1D, and I think a lot of people are going to be taken aback not seeing Westbrook 1 or 2.  Seems like that’s the direction rankers are going.

I have a stat that will blow your mind.  It kinda blew mine.  I ran the 9-cat ranks for all players in 2014-15 from the date range 2/20/2015 – 4/15/2015.  Why that range?  Kevin Durant’s last game in 14-15 was Feb 19th before having season-ending [re]foot surgery.  As everyone cites with their universal Westbrook love, “he could go on that run again like he did when Durant was hurt!”  And I don’t really disagree with that.  But his 9-cat line during that timeframe looks like this:

31.3/8.8/9.9/2.0/0.3, 1.7 treys, 41.7 FG% on 24.4(!!!!!) FGA, 5.3 TO

James Harden is like, “whoa, that’s a lot of turnovers…”  That line is awesome if you’re punting TO and FG% and all, but just on the raw 9-cat output itself, Westbrook was 6th – SIXTH – in per-game over that span according to BBMonster at a 0.65 Value.

14-15 Westbrook

We always talk about how bubble-gum stats can be overrated, so let’s say Westbrook goes Oscar Robinson and does average a tripdub.  It really wouldn’t look all that different than that line above, and be ridiculously overrated in fantasy.

Plus my main hidden fear – mid-season trade.  Remember OKC on that run when Westbrook was putting up Jordan numbers?  Jordan at least took his team to the playoffs!  Westbrook couldn’t even do that!  I’m not sure OKC, if they’re 8th or 9th in the West, at the deadline don’t use that final opportunity to sell Westbrook for 3 first round picks or something.  You can sell me Westbrook is the best player on 25 NBA teams, but you can’t sell me that a trade won’t hurt his numbers, especially on a contender with more mouths to feed.

All this said, the difference between Curry and Westbrook for me is marginal.  I wouldn’t call anyone crazy for pulling one of these four names out of a hat if they had a #1 pick.  If I was in 4 RCLs with the first pick, I might spread out my bets to all 4.  Not even kidding.

5. Karl-Anthony Towns, Minnesota Timberwolves

Tier dropoff!  I love KAT, but if you don’t land a top-4 pick, 5 is kinda annoying…

I remember last year continually bumping up the unstoppable rookie’s projected draft slot on the Pod last year, and I think Slim and I both landed on 5 as last season closed.  Just unbelievable.  Both his minutes and stats improved as the season wore on, he played all 82 games, and I just love this: Pre-ASB 1.4 AST, Post-ASB 3.0 Ast.  More than doubled his dimes!  Not that it’s a huge number, but 3+ dimes from a center is sexy.

Then to his recent off-season quote – he wants to shoot more 3s.

I was surprised he took 1.1 treys a game last year already, bumping it up to 1.4 3PTA in the second half.  All that from a big, plus he makes FT.  KatDawg!

6. Anthony Davis, New Orleans Pelicans

I almost said “KAT is in a tier unto himself”, but I actually don’t think it’s 100% true.  If you gave me 82 games of Brow, I’d probably put him ahead of KAT.  But we all know why Brow is ranked lower…

I think there’s a case to be made that Brow is fantasy’s most frustrating player.  When healthy and on his game, he is leaps and bounds fantasy’s best player.  Well, at least he WAS until Curry started making 30,000 treys a season…  He just can’t stay healthy, and it’s not fluky injuries either.  It’s nagging bumps and sprains that inevitably lead to a shutdown.  Those are just KILLER in leagues with IL spots or weekly line-up locks.  Hey, the human body isn’t supposed to be 7 feet tall, so it’s nothing personal, Brow!

While we all pray for Brow’s health, his 15-16 had some warning signs as well. We were salivating over the 3 ball last year, and while he made 0.6 a game, it made his FG% fall to sub-50, he got to 2.0 TO which was a career worst, FT volume fell (can’t take the lumps), and blocks fell a whopping 2.9 to 2.0.  Brow was still 5th in per-game last year, so even a marginal fall in stats with 80+ games would make him a fantastic pick here.  I’m not greedy, I’ll take 75 games!

7. Chris Paul, Los Angeles Clippers

Hopefully no one remembers, but I was getting a little worried about CP3 early on last year.  Wait, if I’m hoping no one remembers, why am I reminding them?!

Paul had a rough start of 14.8/3.4/8.1/1.8/0.0 with 2.7 TO and 45.4% shooting with 1.1 treys through the first 16 games – still fine but not first-round-capable – that could partially be blamed on inflamed rib cartilage that had him miss a few contests in there.  Mmmmmm, ribs.  But from that point on, he went 20.3/4.4/10.5/2.1/0.2 with 2.6 TO and 46.4% shooting with 1.8 treys.  That’s what I’m talkin’ about!

Zoolander_That_s_what_I_m_talking_about

He’s not a spring chicken, but Paul is still only 31, and has such a smooth game that doesn’t rely on constant banging ala Russell Westbrook, IT2/3, or Nick Young.  Swaggy P slam!  I don’t see any reason not to expect vintage CP3 in 16-17.

8. Hassan Whiteside, Miami Heat

Mannnnnn, I traded him in REL thinking he was 98% certain to leave the Heat.  But it turns out he LOVED coming off the bench for Spoelstra!  Not that it hurt his numbers or anything though…

The big improvement we saw from Whiteside was a change in his FT mechanics and a huge boost to the %.  He started shooting freebies like a little mid-range half jumper, and over the final 37 games he played, he hit 3.9-5.4 FT good for 73.2%.  LeBron is jealous at that!  Prior to that run, his first 36 was 1.9-3.6 at 52.7%.  Very drastic change in % and volume, and you have to think he was afraid to attack.  Scoring went up from 12.5 to 16.3 PPG as well.

There’s something to be said for this rank in relative safety.  We know that he’s going to go 18/13ish, 60% from the field, probably 70% FT, and 3.0+ blocks.  Be hard to see him not get that.  The risk is mainly injuries (can go for anyone!), age (hard to believe he’s 27 already), and makeup.  He wears too much blush.  Hah, I mean all the elbows and punches thrown on the court hooblah.  If he can keep that in check and play 80 games, he could easily pass a healthy Brow.

9. Kawhi Leonard, San Antonio Spurs

The ultimate Swiss Army Knife!  I feel like Kawhi is the wing version of Whiteside.  We know about what we’re going to get, it’s just he needs to stay healthy.  And again, this argument holds true for 75% of players!

I don’t have any worry that Pau Gasol is going to hurt Kawhi’s output, and as I correctly predicted last year, I saw him shooting more 3s and having a better FG% due to LaMarcus Aldridge opening lanes.  While the steals fell a little, the blocks got to a career-best 1.0.  FT% took a massive step forward in volume (4.1-4.6) and % (87.4) as well.  Nothing not to like, just needs to get to 75+ games.  I think he can this year.

10. Giannis Antetokounmpo, Milwaukee Bucks

Before everyone loses their minds, I have LeBron 11.  But they’re razor close and this was a big debate for me.  I’ll table my LeBron thoughts for 11-25.  Hold your comment vitriol for that article!

You can’t really look at Giannis’ numbers on the season and get the full picture.  It’s up across the board, but not why he’s a first rounder.  It’s when Kidd finally embraced Giannis as the PG that things went nuts.  Are you sitting down?  Over the last 26 games, Greek Freak went 18.8/8.4/7.5/1.5/1.9.  It’s likely preposterous, but what if he averaged a tripdub AND a rainbow line?!  20/10/10/2/2!?  OK, maybe that is indeed a little nuts…

Over that stretch he shot 51.5% as well.  Unfortunately, he had a big volume 4.0-6.0 FT good for only 67.1% and only made 0.5 treys per.  But unlike several of the first rounders, he only had 2.8 TO in that final stretch for a pretty saucy 7.5:2.8 AST:TO ratio.

It all comes down to those sexy D stats.  1.9 blocks?!  You get a point guard AND a center with your first round pick!  At only 21, there’s still a wide range of outcomes which has me keep him at only 10, but he could push for that 5th spot by 17-18.

 

Mannnnn, 2200+ words on the top 10!  I gotta start whittling this down if I’m ever going to get through the ranks, haha.  Let me know what you think of this top-10, and happy off-season prep Razzball Nation!

  1. Lior says:
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    I like the list, JB! Gotta say though, I think Harden is my number 1 and Westbrook 2 (unless he’s traded, which you mentioned). You made some good points about why you have them lower, but I think Kerr will rest Steph/KD down the stretch. After last year’s disaster, they’re never gonna gun for any regular season records again, so 73-9 is out of the question. I’d expect GSW to rest their starters a ton and screw over fantasy owners during playoff time.

    • JB Gilpin

      JB Gilpin says:
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      @Lior: Thanks man! Yeah as I said, 1-4 are all soooo razor close. Agree there is risk of resting with the GS guys, and also agree GS isn’t gonna have 73 wins again. It’s just so tough to predict how many games guys will be rested (unless they’re on the Spurs) but Steph and KD are finess guys that don’t take huge beatings. I think they play most of the way if healthy. Also I dunno if last year was a disaster, bareeeeely losing game 7 haha

      • MAC says:
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        @JB Gilpin: gsw and cle players are definitely risky come playoffs, but id still have curry as 1 and kd at 3. i agree with ur ranking 1-7. im not that high on whiteside, id pick kawhi, greek and lbj for xur. can see several bigs in the 2nd round especially the punt ft duo of drumm/dj with cuz. as well as all around bigs like dray, sap and horf.

        • JB Gilpin

          JB Gilpin says:
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          @MAC: Thanks man! Well yeah, Whiteside hops over a few because he’s nto a punt FT anymore, PLUS crushes them in blocks now. I think Whiteside + Lowry is better than Paul + Drum/DJ, not sure if Dray or Sap will fall that far in the 2nd. Horf I keep finding myself lowering… Love him, but dunno how Celtics will fit him

          • MAC says:
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            @JB Gilpin: whiteside def a tad above the punt duo. but, id still like paul + drum/dj combo. hehe. but thats assuming ur picking 7, in regards to ur rankings. but having the 8th pick, id rather pick one of lbj-kawhi-greek over whiteside. just gives u a ton of flexibilty going to pick 17 and pick 32. with white, u just have to pick a PG next round, maybe next 2. especially in the 2nd round, several BIGS and PG to choose from, u can go either way. like having the idea of lbj at 8 then dray or sap at 17.

            • JB Gilpin

              JB Gilpin says:
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              @MAC: Yeah Slim just argued that on the Pod, more for LeBron at 8 vs Whiteside, but I indeed like Paul over Whiteside too 🙂

              Meh I dunno if I love the LBJ/ Sap Dray combo. I think you’ll be hurting in blocks, then LBJ Dray really risks playoff DNPs too on both ends… But I dunno, I still haven’t done a single mock yet!

      • Lior says:
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        @JB Gilpin: Definitely depends on those rest days, which are super hard to predict.
        Ha yeah, I didn’t mean “disaster” like a failure, just like the 18-1 Pats – really don’t wanna break a regular season record and then not finish the job.

        • JB Gilpin

          JB Gilpin says:
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          @Lior: Haha yeah it certainly didn’t complete the reg season record by losing…

  2. Nick says:
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    Pretty stoked off of the Whiteside ranking, and Whiteside in general! I was able to snag him in my dynasty league for Batum, Gallo and Okafor…feeling REALLLYY good at this point haha.

    • JB Gilpin

      JB Gilpin says:
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      @Nick: Yeah man, staying in MIA was a godsend for him!

      In REL (deep 20 team), I traded $1 Whiteside for $1 Crowder $1 Capela $1 Powell. Given ages and the dire need for depth, I still think I did OK. But him not going to another team hurt haha

  3. Russell MacDougall says:
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    I have a really strong desire to take AD @ 4 in my draft (given that I pretty much know Harden, Westbrook, Curry are all going to be gone) Is this bad and wrong …or badong? I traded for this 4th pick and I also have the 13th overall. AD matched with John Wall, Lowry or Lillard could do stuff ye?

    • JB Gilpin

      JB Gilpin says:
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      @Russell MacDougall: Haha it’s a little badong. If Brow didn’t show some of the regression we saw last year, particularly in the blocks, then I would be more on board as a swing for the fences pick. But I think at 4, you gotta take who is left of those 3 or KD, so sounds like you gotta go KD. So much safer, injury wise and stats wise to me. Durant matched with a PG is still pretty sexy to me, given big men depth these days

      • Ryan Eaton says:
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        Russ is in my league and does not need any more help.

        Sincerely,

        People’s Tribune and Consistent League Runner-Up
        Ryan

        • JB Gilpin

          JB Gilpin says:
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          @Russell MacDougall: @Ryan Eaton: Haha, I think Ryan is trying to coerce me into saying your 4th pick should be Patrick Patterson!

  4. jay says:
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    of all the years I get the top pick on Redraft, and KD has to f&*n ruin it. I’m so tempted to just trade down to #5 and hopefully the 4th pick doesn’t skip one of the top 4 and pick KAT.

    our league is currently voting for either a keeper or keep the redraft setup. i know Steph still has a lot of years ahead of him but would it be crazy to pick KAT as #1 on a keeper league?

    • jay says:
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      @jay: follow-up question–if this latest news is accurate and Westbrook does sign an extension with OKC..does this change anything? I think not but just wondering.

      • JB Gilpin

        JB Gilpin says:
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        @jay: Haha I hear ya! Stupid KD. Ummm, it’s not crazy, but I think it’s still Steph #1. KAT would be my #2 I think though.

        Hmmmm, it does a little. I was not expecting that extension AT ALL. I think he’s still #4 but it makes it closer.

        • v00dr00 says:
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          @JB Gilpin: I was actually hoping you guys might do a Lite Dynasty Ranks blip. 5 year term – 20 players. Idk, just a thought 🙂

          • JB Gilpin

            JB Gilpin says:
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            @v00dr00: Ohhhh maybe, there was a comment below on that too. [email protected] is joining us from the other sports on Razz and is brainstorming, maybe I give him that 🙂

  5. DORIAN says:
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    Great list! I would probably rather take Whiteside ahead of AD, because that guy is a fantasy death sentence AND because Whiteside doesn’t have to do anything but more of what he’s already done the last 2 years in limited minutes and role to put up top 5 stats.

    Admittedly I’m higher on Hassan than most. I will definitely have him on my team, just need to figure out a good pairing for him.

    • JB Gilpin

      JB Gilpin says:
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      @DORIAN: I hear ya, they’re not too far apart. I think Brow’s scoring embodies a first rounder a little better, and I think there’s still that risk with Whiteside injury wise.

      Whiteside with the FG% next to Damian or Kemba?!??! There ya go!

  6. Marlon ( aka: chicballs) says:
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    I believe in ypur 1st 4 JB! But, Can AD move to 1 and 2 even in 70 games played? I am an AD fan. Drafted him 1st round in his breakout year @ #10…. previous 3 years?….. just forecastig his upside that time. and ended @ 1 or 2. Still hope AD can bounce back to top! Im always a fan with your ranking! Always Guided me to win more leagues. WHO AREL BE THE BIG MAN who will have a breakout this year?

    • JB Gilpin

      JB Gilpin says:
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      @Marlon ( aka: chicballs): Ummmm, I dunno, the regression in blocks, FG%, TO up… Not the greatest year for Brow last year. If you wanted to reach for him at 5 over KAT I could see that argument, but I think he’s not pushing the top 4.

      Ummm, Gorgui is my big one! His numbers last year were preposterous and sooooo under the radar. I like Capela if he can make FT, but that’s a late round pick.

      • v00dr00 says:
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        @JB Gilpin: What do you think Gorgui’s ADP will be? and where do you think he SHOULD be taken?

        • JB Gilpin

          JB Gilpin says:
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          @v00dr00: ADP 50s-60s, should go mid-30s

      • Slim

        Slim says:
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        @JB Gilpin: I fear for your REL teams FT%. Capela is Drummond-lite. Strictly hands off unless you’re punting FTs.

        • JB Gilpin

          JB Gilpin says:
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          @Slim: Won’t lie, I fear a little too 🙂 Maybe he can improve, he still is like 19 or 20 or whatever. I hope the volume stays low enough and there’s enough of an improvement where it wont hurt too bad

        • Lior says:
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          @JB Gilpin: @Slim: Hey, at least hack-a is gone for the last 2 minutes of every quarter (when teams are far more likely to be in the bonus). That could reduce the pain.

          • Ryan says:
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            So true. This is awesome for FT punt guys.

            I could see the new rule being quite beneficial for them tbh, and I may try to reach for one of them this year if projections have them taking as many FTA as they have in year’s past. (I’m expecting this to be the case)

            I think the new rules will lead to few less attempts, making the punt a little less brutal, or maybe even manageable for some low-volume guys. Also, coaches won’t feel as much pressure to sit them during the 4th Q, so this may lead to a couple more minutes and a tad more boards/points too.

            • JB Gilpin

              JB Gilpin says:
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              @Lior: @Ryan: I’m still kinda on the fence how impactful that rule will be… I know hacks are done usually late in games so it should help some… The extra few minutes I think is a key indeed Ryan, vs. the volume changing too much.

              • Ryan says:
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                Yeah, I think it will take away an attempt or two at most. So, it’s not like DJ or Drummond won’t destroy your FT% anymore!

                But it would be huge if low-volume guys like Capela had just 0.5 less attempts last season, or if any of the punt FT guys got more run in the 4th because their coaches weren’t worried about losing a possession for nothing.

                Idk, I’m optimistic. I don’t think it will be game changing, but it raises their draft stock a tad in my book.

                • JB Gilpin

                  JB Gilpin says:
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                  @Ryan: Agree, a tad of a raise is what I am gonna give em all too. I feel like Drum had a few games he came out early for Aron Baynes. Makes Capela redraft worthy for sure too

                  • Slim

                    Slim says:
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                    @JB Gilpin: I just checked Capela per-36 last year. 2.0/5.2. Ouch. Whereas someone like Steven Adams was at 2.0/3.5 per-36. Capela’s DLeague in 14-15, 4.5 attempts per game in only 24.5 min. His volume scares the bejesus out of me. Granted he wasn’t terrible at nearly 60% but from all accounts that’s about 20% too high.

                    • JB Gilpin

                      JB Gilpin says:
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                      @Slim: Well, you have to imagine a few were hack moments, plus he’s a solid player we both like otherwise and probably got fouled by lesser 2nd units. I don’t think it’ll be too bad, especially if he nears 60%, but I know that was prob fluky small sample

                    • Slim

                      Slim says:
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                      @Slim: Oh yeah, love the player. Might end up being top 50 in a league that doesn’t count FT%, big time DFS guy. One of the top later round targets of a punt FT team that only got one of Drummond/DeAndre. I don’t want to make it seem like I don’t think he’ll have a really good year. Like in a punt FT team I’d prefer Capela over Adams and it looks like Adams might be a 32 min per game guy this year. Capela should out rebound and block Adams even in fewer minutes.

  7. Zar says:
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    Hey JB long time.

    Although my warriors lost the finals, I at least get some revenge! Lebron not ranked in the top 10 makes everything (slightly) better.

    • JB Gilpin

      JB Gilpin says:
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      @Zar: Hey man, good to see ya! Sorry about those finals…. Unbelievable series. Hahaha well he’s 11, and everyone is getting suckered into the playoff performance I think. Wasn’t phenomenal in the reg season last year

  8. Lasandro says:
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    Well with Russ now all but guaranteed to stay with OKC for the next three years, does that shift his position on your list? He and Dipo clocking close to 80 games for the season would be a fantasy orgasm of explosive proportions!

    • JB Gilpin

      JB Gilpin says:
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      @Lasandro: I’m debating a switch to 3, but not going over Harden. I think I’m staying 4. I dunno how this will work, I said this on the Pod, but this team reminds me of a rich-man’s Suns… Gulp

  9. Ryan says:
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    I’m glad RW stuck around, that would have been devastating for OKC had he gone. So he’s still 3 or 4 for ya, huh? Can’t fault you at all really. There really isn’t a wrong pick yet for the 2-4 range.

    I am curious though if your top-10 would change much if it were a dynasty/keeper format. Does CP3 fall out, and does Giannis rise a spot or two? Are we getting close to paying for Giannis’ ceiling, or do you think he has the potential to vault into top-5 contention over the coming years?

    The comments for the BrookLin Nets write-up are closed, but I just had to share my idea for a potential team name: Linsane Clownfoot Posse.

    • JB Gilpin

      JB Gilpin says:
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      @Ryan: Yeah, it still looks kinda bleak though… I think I’m sticking with him 4, but it’s another kink in the confusion haha.

      Yeah as mentioned above, we might have someone do some dyno ranks 🙂 Def moving Giannis over Paul. Maybe over Brow too given age and injury concern. It’s def getting close to Giannis’ ceiling, as I think he might score and dime a tad more, but lose some steals and blocks as he ages.

      Hahahaha yes! Love that team name!

  10. Jay says:
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    Love that the updated rank articles are back, and love pretty much all of this top 10, just don’t know if I could pull the trigger on some of these guys at the spots they’re positioned at.

    You can’t (really) go wrong with any of the Big 4, so as long as you have a top 4 pick, you’re in prime position to start the draft way ahead of everyone else. Curry and Harden are a safe #1 and #2 (could even take Harden #1 if you don’t want to worry about the drop in usage from Curry), but with Russ staying in OKC, I think I’m taking him in a FG% punt build (I already punt TO’s anyways) over KD… I THINK.

    5 is set in stone, so no questions to be raised here.

    At 6, I’m putting safety over upside and rolling with CP instead of the Brow. The Brow just cannot be trusted healthwise, and no matter how otherworldly his statlines will carry you through the first part of the season, he’s irreplaceable, and it’s almost impossible to win with him being shutdown almost every single season. Personally, I’m not risking it, and although CP has injury problems as well, I still have more faith in him than I do in the Brow, so I’d push the Brow to #7.

    Not sure if there’s anyone else who feels this way about Hassan (I’m a diehard Heat fan), but I just don’t know how on board I am with him at #8. Sure, he’s “the only one getting triple doubles with blocks,” and his 18/13 line with super high FG% and a not-so-soul-crushing 70-73% from the line is alright, but there’s still gunna be games where he only gets 1 or 2 blocks – and he also has injury/maturity risks while giving you nothing in terms of threes, assists, or steals. I just don’t know, man… I guess if it came down between him and Kawhi (I HATE KAWHI) at #8, I’d roll with Hassan, but I still think LBJ has to be somewhere in this conversation. I know what the stats and metrics and whatever else say, but at bare minimum, Bron gives you something in every single category, and I think that’s incredibly valuable.

    At #9… ugh… I don’t even know. I just don’t like Kawhi and probably wouldn’t draft him here even if he was the best player left at this point. Giannis is alright, but I think you’re paying too much for his upside if you draft him this early.

    Guess I’d have it…

    1. Curry
    2. Harden
    3. Russ (ONLY if punting FG% and TOs)
    4. KD
    5. KAT
    6. CP3
    7. AD (I’d hate to be the one to draft him, though)
    8. LeBron (I know… I’m in the minority)
    9. Whiteside
    10. Kawhi (still hate you though, buddy)

    • JB Gilpin

      JB Gilpin says:
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      @Jay: Thanks man, glad it’s ranking season again! Yeah I usually punt TO too which was a big part of his rank when he went insane which I attached above, but it’s punting two cats with your stud…I mean, it’s nit picky, but I think KD might fit most builds better. I might change after I do more and more mocks.

      No big issue with flip flopping 6 and 7, theyre close. I think we agree, 1-4 is close, 5 is KAT, 6-7 is close. That’s how I felt at least.

      Well, there’s definitely a draft philosophy schism there. Do you wanna get a bunch of guys who crush 5-6 cats, or all multicat guys? The latter spreads your risk, the former gives you upside. I think since Whiteside is the only big who really does what he can (lead league blocks and not a FT punt), it warrants a high pick. Totally agree on the injury and maturity risk, I think I wrote that in there.

      So yeah Bron is a little safer, but shutdown concern and minutes limits in blowouts worry me a little. People are quick to forget he was only meh for a while. But blew up in the playoffs.

      Hah why hate Kawhi?!?!?!

      • Slim

        Slim says:
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        @JB Gilpin: “I’m a diehard Heat fan”

    • Slim

      Slim says:
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      @Jay: Whiteside definitely isnt without risk. I dont know the numbers but the pNr allyoop was usually coming from Wade. Whiteside is going to shoot more jumpers and those 2 things combined should bring his FG% down. I bet the TOs go up as he tries to do more/ way too much. The FT% post ASB could easily be a fluke too. Yeah Whiteside comes with a fair amount of risk. I wont argue against LeBron ahead of him but I’ll be looking for Drummond with my next pick.

      • JB Gilpin

        JB Gilpin says:
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        @Slim: Hah I guess that makes sense, didn’t know the Heat still harbored hate for Kawhi 🙂

        Drum Lebron mean… Who at PG then? I guess AST has some coverage though…

        • MAC says:
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          @JB Gilpin: its def lbj-drumm combo if ur going lebron at 8. thats the flexibility going lbj at 8, can different directions at pick 17. drumm for xur, but if not there, DJ or go another direction with dray/millsap multicat combo or a PG with walker/lowry/lillard

        • jay says:
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          @JB Gilpin: I mean the most obvious one with a punt FT would be Bledsoe. Inj a problem for Bledsoe so maybe IT3 then seek out Collison as 2nd PG as another route?

          • MAC says:
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            @jay: i dont understand wat ur saying. hehe. anyways, bledsoe is definitely a nyc target in the 3rd round. preferably in the 30s. the risk is definitely there, but the upside as well. so maybe late 20s? looking at him, kyrie, IT2/3, oladipo in the 20-30 range for a PG2.

            • JB Gilpin

              JB Gilpin says:
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              @jay: @MAC: Yup LeBron Drum is what Slim talked up on the Pod. Pretty epic duo more I think on it.

              Yeah why would Bledsoe be a punt FT? I think Oladipo would fit the LeBron build since you don’t need huge AST yet. I think I’ll have him highest of those PG in that tier

              • jay says:
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                @JB Gilpin: only mentioned Bledsoe because of the tier 2 elite PGs (+assts, +stls) sub 80% ft career stats. so thinking why waste a higher (end of rd 2 or mid 3rd rd

                • MAC says:
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                  @jay:bled definitely has the most upside of the bunch, though he has also the most risk with injuries. yup, a punt ft teams quality actually depends on ur PGs. so get them early and often.

                  • JB Gilpin

                    JB Gilpin says:
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                    @jay: @MAC: Ah gotcha jay. Yeah I have Bled right in that range, behind Lillard and Kemba but still ahead of say Kyrie

    • Psykomerc says:
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      @Jay:

      This comment here is what I love about Kawhi, past 2 years, he’s generally underrated and disliked, most of it attributed to Pop/Spurs old and resting stigma(fair). But people also seem to forget or don’t trust he’s top 6 fantasy in 9 cats. He’s generally projected end of first round to late 2nd round pre draft rankings. I LOVE taking him for that price in auction and snake drafts. The value gained from taking Kawhi late is amazing.

      Kawhi may be boring but his Ceiling is as high as top 3, and for everything you dislike about Kawhi, Lebron has a similar issue of coasting/resting. I feel like Lebron will no longer be the Miami Lebron, he’s satisfied with not being the Unquestioned #1 option 82 games during the year(his stats in Cle support that). Kawhi is the younger Lebron, only lacking in Assists, but will likely end higher ranked than Lebron each year going forward(AND CHEAPER! but maybe not for long) I’d take Kawhi over Lebron any day, higher ceiling, similar floor, 80% of the cost!

      • JB Gilpin

        JB Gilpin says:
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        @Jay: @Psykomerc: Hah, well it seems the hate is more spurned Heat fan than fantasy hate haha. But yes I agree, I feel like I’ve had to fight for him to be higher in my ranks more often than not.

        Agree, it’s Kawhi for me as well!

  11. Philzilla says:
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    Nice list. Totally agree on Harden but I would take Harden over Curry (less injury risk, no Durant risk, Dantoni). Totally agree on KAT. I remember arguing with your top 50 ranking last year that Giannis should easily be top 50 (I was especially mad that Conley was ranked over him). Crazy how he’s in the discussion for top 10 now. He’s reminds me so much of Tracy McGrady with his all-around game. Not sure if he really is a first rounder (Kidd and all), but if he can start making his 3’s, he should be a top 20 lock for a long long time.

    • JB Gilpin

      JB Gilpin says:
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      @Philzilla: Thanks man, appreciate ya stopping by! Yeahhhh, well for a while on Giannis, I wasn’t too wrong. Numbers BEFORE that stretch I posted were 15.8/7.0/2.8/1.1/1.2 with 2.5 TO and only 0.3 treys. Maybe a smidge better than I thought, but that’s kinda what I envisioned before they legit let him run the offense. Then everything changed 🙂

  12. Lior says:
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    What’s up with DeMarcus? Didn’t he average like 27-12 last season? I know his turnovers are a mess…

    • MAC says:
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      @Lior: 45% FG from a big with that volume is not good. TO are atrocious even for a PG. and, he has quietly been an injury risk. avg 62 games the last 2 yrs. the techs and corresponding suspension that comes with it, shutdown risk come playoffs if he stays with the kings. yeah, trade rumors as well all year. actually rooting for him to be traded, i believe it will be benefit him fantasy wise and reality. hehe

      • JB Gilpin

        JB Gilpin says:
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        @Lior: @MAC: Yeah %s, injuries, and situation are all tough. He’s def in my second round, but he just hasn’t delivered on the frist round promise yet with a healthy season with usable enough TO and %s

  13. Jeremy says:
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    I just gotta say that watching Westbrook all through last year, he grew alot as a player, he seems to understand the game alot more than 2 years ago in which his assist number went way up last year. I don’t think it’s fair that you point out that stretch and say that he will avg 5 tos and shoot sub-41% again. Plus, he had no one else to help him during that stretch unlike now he has oladipo and kanter to share the scoring load, not to mention the growth of S.Adams.

    As far as your point on him being traded. After signing an extension, I think the chance of him being trade just went way down. He’s shown that he’s committed to the thunder, and the thunder is actively trying to find another superstar to pair with him. Westbrook is a superstar and he’s still young. He can help attract good free agents for the thunder therefore I don’t believe the thunder will be in rush to trade him mid-season even if they are in danger of missing the playoff.

    With all that said, Westbrook is without a doubt a top -2 pick no matter what in my opinion. Whether you think harden or curry is the other top -2 pick.

    • JB Gilpin

      JB Gilpin says:
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      @Jeremy: This was put out a day before he signed the extension 🙂 So I had no idea on it, I don’t think there was any rumors or anything at the time.

      On the Pod, I did say I was debating putting him #3 now. Your point on player growth is interesting. Well, not like Adams is gonna help on offense. And my point wasn’t that he was going to be that TO prone and a FG% drain, but was more about how I’ve seen everyone argue “he could go on that run again sans Durant”.

      • Jeremy says:
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        @JB Gilpin:

        My apologies, I did not realize the timeline there haha. I still need to listen to the pod.

        I disagree on S.Adams. I know you stated that you don’t really watch playoff basketball so from what I have seen (I watched every playoff game) , adams and westbrook run a ton of pick and rolls together. Adams actually has great hands and he showed a couple good moves in the golden state series. (though limited) I think next year he will avg 10-12 points with the increase in mins and usage. (ibaka and durant gone) . But the main point was that having oladipo and kanter is a whole differernt story than the previous solo run where his efficiency was terrible.

        I can see why everyone is saying that because he did get 17 triple doubles with durant on the team. I just don’t see how he won’t exceed that next year with durant now gone. He’s going to dominate the ball every single possession, plain and simple.

        • JB Gilpin

          JB Gilpin says:
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          @Jeremy: No worries! Agree Adams has good hands and might be a little underrated, but 10 PPG I would still classify as “little help” based on the MPG he *should* play.

          No question Westbrook will be right there with NBA leader in usage (probably Harden). But the Fg% (with low 3s) and high TO I don’t think quite get him to 1 or 2/Curry or Harden. Vs. Durant is still tricky for me, I still might change this once the big list goes up haha

  14. Great start with these rankings! Quick question, in my h2h keeper league (over 20 players), what direction would you go? I’m obviously building around Giannis, but I have a ton of these borderline players that I think I should off before our keepers lock!

    Is a Giannis + D12 combination even worth it? Is the Reggie Jackson, Monta Ellis, Devin Booker guard situation too mediocre? It’s a clash between young and old…

    Giannis Antetokounmpo
    Dwight Howard
    Reggie Jackson
    Monta Ellis
    Markieff Morris
    Jamal Crawford
    Devin Booker
    Rondae Hollis-Jefferson

    • JB Gilpin

      JB Gilpin says:
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      @Case Periche: Thanks man, thanks for dropping by!

      Yeah we are kinda notorious Howard haters over here haha. Standard 9 cat h2h? And how many can you keep?

      I def would hold RJax. Probably holding Booker as it sounds like it’s a deep league (over 20 meant over 20 teams, right?). If a 20+ teamer, a core of Giannis/RJax/Booker isn’t too bad!

      • @JB Gilpin: Haha, D12 was a killer last year, but I just took over the team. And yep to all the questions, standard 9-cat, can keep 13 with over 20 teams. thinking of swapping D12 for a better FT% center, even if means settling for a Greg Monroe type of guy.

        • JB Gilpin

          JB Gilpin says:
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          @Case Periche: Yeah, I would def take Monroe, even with a cloudy future in MIL or elsewhere.

          All those guys are definitely keepable in a league that deep, do you get earlier draft picks if you forfeit keepers? Kieff might be another good option to trade pre-draft due to name value, I don’t really like him at all this yr haha.

          • @JB Gilpin: That’s what makes it exciting, you do get earlier draft picks if you give up keepers. Some teams just keep a core and head into the draft early and some teams try to keep closer to 9-13 players and level out their team.

            I would probably add Ellis into the mix of pre-draft trade bait if I can find a home for Kieff and D12.

            • JB Gilpin

              JB Gilpin says:
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              @Case Periche: Gotttttttttcha. In that case RHJ and Crawford are pretty blah. Well, RHJ is young at least, maybe hold him, then yeah, shop Ellis Kieff and D12 and hope for the best. Maybe if there’s a team that looks good with 7-8 keepers and looking for depth, flip all 3 for one of their young guys…

  15. MAC says:
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    RAZZUP!!!

    SCHED is out.

    if im right heres the games of 1st rounders teams

    GSW 3/4/4
    HOU 3/3/4
    OKC 3/3/4
    MIN 4/3/3
    NOR 4/3/4
    LAC 4/5/3
    CLE 4/3/4
    SAS 4/3/4
    MIA 3/3/4

    • JB Gilpin

      JB Gilpin says:
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      @MAC: Slim’s got some work to do! Clippers and the 5 game is interesting, might have me vault Jordan a little more. FT punt with a 5 game DJ in the semis?! Mmmmmm

      • MAC says:
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        @JB Gilpin: yup. cp3 as well solid at 7 now. drumm and jordan for punt ft are close now.

        • JB Gilpin

          JB Gilpin says:
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          @MAC: Agree!

          • MAC says:
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            @JB Gilpin: clips might have the best PO sched. GSW might be deceiving as those semis and finals week, if they have b2b, studs have a big chance to rest. same with CAVS.

            • JB Gilpin

              JB Gilpin says:
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              @MAC: Yup, I still think Curry stays #1 for me though. Might be leaning Durant 4 now

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