Welcome to my second round. The second round is on me! That way I can buy all cheaper/low-shelf swill and not look like a cheapskate [underutilized word]. Seriously, try that next time you’re out. Well, to be honest it only really works on the 8th or 9th round. “What is in this snake juice?!” “It’s basically rat poison!” “Baba Booey!”
So these guys are all still elite talents, just have those lingering question marks that would have me passing on them. I know you’re all gonna yell at Paul George being a second rounder for me, I have comment ESP! Here’s how I see the remainder of the top 20 with off-season adjustments (previous ranks from my Off-Season Rankings are in parentheses before this re-rank):
(11) 11. Kevin Love - Not much has changed for me with Love through the offseason, he has first-round ability but the long line of injury question marks keeps him in the 2nd-round for me. As I said in the previous rankings early in Summer, if Love has a healthy preseason, he may hopscotch his way into the bottom end of the first round.
(12) 12. Derrick Rose - Copy-cat analysis from above, MVP talent but we haven’t seen him on the court except shoot arounds in his sweats since 2011-12. I’m just thankful that there won’t be any requests for my projection when I think Rose will be back. He better not get hurt again this year!
(14) ↑ 13. Paul George - Yup. Go ahead. I know it’s coming. Listen, I don’t dislike Paul George all that much, I just still maintain he will be overrated and another owner will pull the trigger before I will. It was an outstanding 2012-13 season, but for those of you that live and die on Basketball Monster’s rankings he was 18th in per-game value, narrowly below Russell Westbrook. Boom – roasted! He hops up to 12th in overall value, but that’s about right to me and where he is in my rankings. There’s also the lingering questions around Danny Granger, who I have no faith in as a fantasy contributor individually, but he will be out there and siphon a smidgen of production as well. Don’t overpay for the emerging star.
(9) ↓ 14. Deron Williams - With the huge Celtics deal bringing in Paul Pierce and KG, it’s as crowded an offense as we’ll see in the East. Williams was brutal early last year, and still ended the season averaging only 7.7 Asts, the lowest since his rookie season and a full assist fewer a game than 2012-13. I see that number plunging even deeper with all the playmakers on that team. Sure he set a career-high in 3′s a game (2.2/per) as a positive takeaway from the plummeting assist figure, but there’s no way I see him making over 2 a game this year with Pierce and Garnett added to that lineup.
(16) ↑ 15. Ricky Rubio - Reports from Eurobasket 2013 are that Rubio’s jumper looks vastly improved and I think we’re going to see a breakout season from the Spaniard. I already had him ranked pretty high, so not much has changed.
(21) ↑ 16. Al Horford – J Smoove moving to Detroit opens up even more scoring upside for Horford, who I think becomes an elite center this year. He was already on that cusp after 17.4/10.2 last year – and you can easily argue he already is elite depending on your definition parameters – but what really impresses me is he took 2.3 more shots a game than his previous career high and his FG% remained nearly 55%. Really excited for the Jeff Teague/Horford two-headed monster in ATL, with Paul Millsap helping more down low as opposed to Josh Smith’s frequent departures to the perimeter. Smith is still the better fantasy asset, but I think Millsap will better fit the Hawks system.
(17) 17. Dwayne Wade - Not much changing on Wade, but as I mentioned in my original ranks, he set a career-high FG% and despite other categories sinking a tad, great mid-2nd value.
(26) ↑ 18. Al Jefferson - I was slightly down on Jefferson in my previous rankings, but the move the Charlotte was probably the best fantasy destination he could land. The Bobcats have absolutely nothing else down low unless Cody Zeller can emerge in a big way (read: very unlikely), so I’m seeing hoards of boards and interior opportunities. As I stated in the Central Division’s Movers & Shakers, I expect Big Al to get closer to his 2011-12 19.2/9.6 a game than his slightly down 2012-13 17.8/9.2.
(18) ↓ 19. Damian Lillard - Still a late 2nd-rounder, I think Lillard improves his FG% in his sophomore campaign and having another ball-handler on the court with him at times with the acquisition of Mo Williams will only help his offensive output. Another big year is coming.
(19) ↓ 20. Carmelo Anthony - While his per-game numbers were first-round valuable, nagging injuries kept Carmelo to only 67 games dropping his overall value. Sure he was the NBA’s leading scorer, but he just doesn’t do enough of anything else (6.9 Rebs 2.6 Asts 0.8 Stls 0.5 Blks) for me to rank him higher than the last 2nd-rounder off the board.
Dropped Out: Brook Lopez, Josh Smith
I’ll be rounding out the top 50 by mid-week, so feel free to give suggestions, comments, hate mail my way until then!