There are a ton of elite point guards that will be taken in the first three rounds of your draft. From Russell Westbrook to Mike Conley, there are not enough guys to go around for everybody. Okay, maybe there are, but nobody in any league I’ve ever been in was into sharing. There are even elite wings that will get you point-guard-like assists. This is mainly Giannis Antetokounmpo and LeBron James, but can even apply to guys like Kevin Durant and Jimmy Butler.
But what happens if you’re picking in round 3 and you haven’t gotten an elite assist getter yet?
Do you panic? No.
Do you reach? Not for a point guard, but maybe for your beer (unless it’s Bud Light– if it’s Bud Light you throw that shit in the trash and re-evaluate.)
This is where you can adopt the “punt assist” strategy. This punt strategy often gets overlooked by more common punting strategies such as punting free throws, but it’s very helpful if the assist dominoes don’t fall in your favour the first few rounds. Here are some guys to target if you decide to go down the punt assist route, and how your team should shape up by the end of the draft.
FIVE… DAYS. The NBA “offseason” has kept us almost constantly entertained with a loaded draft, free agency rumors, the best summer league ever, and multiple superstar trades. But, it’s time for some real, official action. And by that, I mean actual stats that count in our fantasy leagues, of course. This season, more than any other, I’m just a huge fan of the entire NBA and my fantasy teams. You see, I’m a longtime Bulls fan. And while I’m an optimist that’s been quite obsessed with the Sixers rebuild and their amazing potential, the Bulls have messed up their tank job in half a dozen ways prior to even getting it off the ground. So, I’m really itching for some Lonzo outlets, CP3-to-Capela lobs, and an unexpected six-steal game from my most recent free agent acquisition. Let’s get going already with this new crop of talent!
Copyright 2017 NBAE (Photo by Joe Murphy/NBAE via Getty Images)
Last week, I talked about ways to find advantages by removing certain stats your team doesn’t need for various reasons and shuffling up player values so you have a better idea of who’s actually the most helpful for your team during drafts. That’ll be a theme as the season goes on, because it really leads us to trades that can help us a ton, while helping the other team enough that they pull the trigger. But we’ve got another weekend of drafting to go, so I’ve compiled a list of a few more places to take advantage of what I see as market inequities. If you’ve already drafted, maybe this can spark some trade proposal ideas, too.
As a Lakers fan, it pains me to say this, but the Clippers are going to be a juggernaut sooner rather than later. I’m a firm believer in the notion that success comes from the top. Well, the Clippers have an owner who is smart (Harvard BA), brilliant (dropped out of Stanford to join Microsoft), rich ($33.1 billion net worth), and passionate.
In addition, he brought in Jerry West this year, the literal GOAT, to serve as a consultant. The last team to hire West as a consultant was the Golden State Warriors. That worked out pretty well. I still can’t believe West is with the Clippers, as he really should be a Lakers for life. I’m sad now. Anyways, he knows basketball and has such a great eye for talent.
Let me start by saying this: do not go into a draft planning on building a punt FT (or punt anything for that matter) team. Never. Don’t. You aren’t being smarter than everybody else. You’re playing yourself. Unless you’re a late draft pick in a 36-team league, it’s probably not gonna work for you.
Also, never decide to build a punt FT team just because a punt FT guy falls a bit. I made this mistake last year and took Drummond in one of my leagues, after having Davis and Porzingis already on my roster. My thought process was, “I can definitely make some trades to make this work.” I did get Gobert, which helped, but throwing away a category to get better at stats your fantasy team already generates is, not only inefficient, it’s frustrating.
On top of this, do not draft guys when building a punt FT team just because they’re bad at free throws. I can not stress this enough. The point of drafting is to build a team that can win as many categories for you as possible, not to see how bad you can lose one. It’s comical how often people (myself included) try to see how bad they can get their FT percentage, thinking that they’re outplaying everyone else. You guys think this article is for you, it’s actually for me. I’m just trying to hold myself accountable when I’m drafting.
So when do you build a punt FT team? The simple answer is: when it helps you. What I’m hoping this article does is give you some scenarios when building a punt FT team makes sense. If you’re stubborn and are gonna go ahead and build one anyway, I’ll also give some advice on how to round out your team.
Wait, I forgot the most important piece of information you’ll see in this article. How the hell are there NBA players shooting less than 50% from the FT line? Seriously. I can’t wrap my head around it. That’s like an illiterate writer. That’s like a runner that can’t walk. That’s like the restaurant I used to work at who’s name was Burger’s etc. and stopped selling burgers. So many confused customers, just like there must be so many confused NBA fans.
JB be California dreamin’! Sorry for the later notes today, as I wrap up my West Coast trip and head for sunny Florida tomorrow. I’m so discombobulated with my jet lag and California culture, I thought the Jamal version of Crawford got traded to the Pelicans or something! But nooooooo, Jordan Crawford is back in the NBA ladies and germs!
In a game where the Pelicans were unsurprisingly stagnated by the Jazz D, Jordan of the Crawfords kept it close with a bench spark, going 19/1/3/2/0 with 3 treys on 8-15 shooting. All that in 20 minutes too! Did the Pelicans expect the ridiculous offensive prowess of E’Twuan Moore and Solomon Hill would provide some bench wing scoring?! It isn’t shocking that a 28-year-old Crawford was slaying the D-League with nearly 24 points a game, and isn’t surprising to see him be a good bench scorer on the right squad. Maybe you give him a look in the Michael Beasley/Derrick Williams sort of way as a deep league scorer, but this is likely one of his best lines on the season. Not like he can gel with the twin tower USG-whores in the starting 5 – he’s gonna be the bench scorer like we’ve always seen from Jamal Crawford. Wait, I mean Jordan Crawford! Ahhhhhhhhhh! Here’s what else went down last night in NBA action:
Man, what a horrid week for injuries! Highlighted by the worst injury of all: yesterday we got news that JB Gilpin – yes pickup basketball superstar – rolled his ankle in his after-work pickup game on someone else’s fat foot. That’s right, I got a kankle! Some rough swelling, probably out 1-2 weeks, go ahead and give me that INJ tag! No joke, this is the second time in a row I’ve gotten a kankle before a big trip. Now I’m gonna be gimpy walking around Spring Training games on my baseball trip starting this weekend! Stupid kankles…
Anyway, some lower-tier basketball talents also got news of rough injuries, of course highlighted by Kevin Durant‘s MRI revealing a Grade 2 MCL strain and a tibial bone bruise. Stupid Zaza Pachulia flying around willy-nilly! He’s going to be “re-evaluated” in 4 weeks, so there’s no way he’s making an impact on your fantasy playoffs. Mayyyyybe he plays in the last game or two, but I highly doubt it. According to BB Monster, he was by far the best per-game player and total value player, so it’s an unbelievable loss. But hey, he got you to your fantasy playoffs (hopefully) and anything can happen week-to-week in H2H leagues. Injuries are the mother-flippin’ worst! Here’s what else went down across the NBA last night, including one other major injury piece of news:
… A Long Ass post trade deadline analysis (couldn’t come up with a word that rhymes with automobiles). I’ll dive deep into a couple of trades (Boogie and Nerlens Noel). I’ll also cover the much hyped but somewhat boring (thanks to Boston, Indiana & Chicago!) trade deadline that has come and gone.
Oh and by the way, if you’d rather just listen to an analysis instead of read and see some copy/pasted stats from NBA.COM, just go ahead and listen to JB’s podcast.
The most exciting part of the evening, was clearly the debut of the Pelicans shiny new front court. While the Pels did get overwhelmed by the Rockets shooting, the chemistry was obviously there with the New Orleans big men. I would say though, that they’re both a bit tentative, and that will change as they get more comfortable and assertive. I am not scared to say though, that this is possibly the greatest PF/C duo in NBA history. Up there with McHale and Parrish, and Duncan and Robinson. Both bigs have absurd skillsets. I think the key for the Pelicans will be the play of Jrue Holiday, and how involved in the offense he is. Tonight, he was locked down by Beverly, but more slashing in the pick and roll should really help him. I could see his efficiency being extremely high, given the opposite player in the pick and roll.
At any rate, here’s your recap for most of Thursday night! Thank goodness the break is over…
All we needed is a royal event! Unfurl the red carpet, roll it out in the The Colonies’ biggest city, and The Duchess will grace over his royal territory! Wow, I just made a Brooklyn Mess game sound like a big event. FOOL YOU!
As we continue to see Khris Middleton get his minutes ramped up, this was maybe the most encouraging game of the night for me yesterday, as he gets the ASB to rest up and looks ready for a big second half. Even though it’s more like a big final 1/3, but ya know, NBA… 20/3/7/3/0 for The Duchess K Middleton, with only 1 TO and shooting 7-13 with a trey. His most minutes thus far (played 26 off the bench) and I just loved this little glimpse of chemistry with Giannis Antetokounmpo with the big highlight from this game:
Guys are looking N’Sync! I would totally watch The Duchess and Greek Freak lead a boy band… Through his 4 games back, Middleton hasn’t looked like he’s lost anything, with a stellar 18:4 AST:TO, is shooting 47%, and has two 3 steal games. With Jabari Parker out and a line-up that will need a playmaker next to Greek, this could be a really fun upcoming stretch. Kudos if you were able to stash him all season on your IL, and get ready for a royal finish! Here’s what else went down on the last busy slate of action before the All-Star Weekend: