It was a tumultuous NBA regular season that just wrapped up, not only on the court but here at Razzball. There were ups (Tobias Harris), there were downs (Thomas Robinson), but when it was all said and done I think we helped more than we hurt. Pretty much all we can hope to do!
We didn’t see any Derrick Rose, we saw a resurgent Tim Duncan, and we saw a new Razzball basketball editor have some big shoes to fill (well not really, I wear size 17, I doubt many people have bigger shoes). As I start to put together my way too early rankings for the 2013-2014 Fantasy Basketball season, I thought it might be best to start from scratch with some gut reactions to the season and some stat takeaways leading into the offseason:
As mentioned above, Derrick Rose never saw the court and looks like he’ll miss the entire postseason as well. So what does that mean for next year? What’s interesting is that it could be argued in both ways. Either Rose is too much an injury risk for his price tag or the fact he sat out so long means he’ll be 100% and after his 2nd MVP. I’m probably closer to the former, as Rose was a player who was medically cleared to play but didn’t feel right, and his game is dependent on speed and explosiveness. I might change these thoughts by the time preseason rolls around and we can finally see how Rose looks, but for now, I’m not as optimistic as I’ve seen where other early rankers have him.
Also mentioned above, Tobias Harris became a 2nd half, trade deadline-darling last year. Even with all the injuries and rookie Moe Harkless in the mix, I think Harris has won himself a starting job for next season. A guy who does it all, I will have him ranked pretty highly. In 27 games with the Magic (and don’t forget he wasn’t immediately a starter either), he averaged 36 minutes a night and 17.3 Pts 1.0 3PTM 8.5 Rebs 2.1 Asts 0.9 Stls and 1.4 Blks.
The luminescent Lithuanian (not Latvian!) – which may or may not be added into his official nickname after that huge mistake – whoops! - Jonas Valanciunas became a big favorite of mine once he was back in the lineup after a broken ring finger in mid-December. Not that their styles are similar, but he reminds me a lot of what Tyler Hansbrough did in college – smooth even when there’s contact and able to frequently get to the line. He had a 16-18 FT game in there, and while only 20-years old (he will be 21 next year), he’s been playing professionally since 2008! Love him for next year.
While we did see some of Danny Granger, it was extremely limited and extremely bad. Not only is it important for his value to bounce back, it will also impact what we get out of Paul George next year. As a George owner in virtually all leagues this (or I guess technically this past) year, I think I will be passing this coming season. George is definitely a beast, but it’s going to cost you a first-round pick most likely. A little too inconsistent to be a first-rounder for me (although a triple-double to start the playoffs is tough to ignore). Depending on how a few things shake out, I might be a Granger supporter as a sleeper, but we’ll see what the price tag looks like.
The LeBron James vs. Kevin Durant debate for #1 overall. I’m sticking with LeBron for now. I know the knock is he let everyone down in the fantasy playoffs, but there’s very little chance the Heat have another streak putting them so far ahead like we saw this year (we’ve only seen one better in NBA history!) and I expect the Heat to be closer to the pack for seeding next year. Who’s to say the aging Spurs and the rest of the West don’t get blown by by the Thunder and Durant gets benched a lot late?
Kawhi Leonard will officially be on all of my teams next year. I’ve seen a few rankings already with Leonard out of the top 100 for next year. Say whaaaa? I think the passing of the guard in 2-3 years will make this Leonard’s team, with a big emergence coming next year. Now I don’t think Leornard will necessarily be the so-called “leader” but I think he will be the star.
Just what do you do about Andrew Bynum for next season? I of course would like to see him healthy all preseason (and get a haircut), and need to see where he ends up. Surprisingly, the front-runners might be a return (or staying with in order to debut with) to the 76ers. Unless he falls out of the top 10-rounds in a 10-team league I’m probably not drafting him unless we see a sparkling preseason, which I think is doubtful. Knee surgeries on both knees of a 7-footer isn’t a recipe for success.
Speaking of Bynum’s former team, what will happen with Kobe Bryant as he recovers from the Achilles tear and Dwight Howard as he may or may not return to the Lakers. I don’t think I’ll be the one to stash Bryant, even though I was the guy who drafted John Wall in a lot of leagues this year. Bryant has shown ridiculous resilience to injuries, I just don’t know about this one. I’ll put my gambling money elsewhere. I’m surprised to see Howard so low on so many lists though – I know it was a non-stop soap opera in LA and the shoulder-issue is looming, but dude still put up good big man numbers, despite not being able to hit free throws. I actually think both a change of scenery or staying in LA will both have optimistic spins on his outlook for next year. He’ll be the face of a franchise either way on opening night.
Got a lot more musings for Part 2, but if you have anyone else you’d like me to include shoot some comments below and rankings for next year will start coming out next week.