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Whoa, how weird is that?!  “2017-18 Fantasy Basketball”?!?!  Already?!  Well, as what typically happens with postseason fantasy hoops disappointments for me, I’m ready to again turn the page.  Gonna get nothing but titles next year, wooooo!  I’m gonna be like UCLA in the 60s-70s.  Plenty of white players on those teams, right LaVar Ball!?  Oh shizz, yeah let’s get straight to the inappropriate right off the bat for 2017-18!

As tradition, we’re kicking off our Way Too Early Ranks for 17-18 on the last day of the 16-17 season, passing the torch to next year on a hot handoff, but not hot enough to knock the baton out of someone’s hands.  Ish ain’t allowed!  Also, I should be disallowed from ranking Chandler Parsons, amiright?!  Thanks again to everyone reading through the season, and let’s get some early rankings on!  Here’s my Way Too Early Top 10 for the 2017-18 Fantasy Basketball Season:

1. Giannis Antetokounmpo Starting off with a bang!  Yeah F all the traditional top-5 guys, no more Slim Reaper, get those TO drain guys outta here, and Steph too easily gives up the alpha status…  Let’s go full Greek (fitting since I just said “alpha!”) and full upside!  According to Rotoworld, Giannis is the first player in NBA history to finish in the top-20 in points, rebounds, assists, steals and blocks.  Popcorn stat multi-cat!  He also has dramatically improved his FG% every year – 52.1% in 16-17 – and boasted huge jumps in FT% and volume.  And it surely helps he’s played 77+ games every year in his now 4-year career (he’s been around that long?!) and 80+ the past 3 seasons.  A do-it-all player with the best shot at not missing games and still getting 2+ blocks?!  Greek is fleek!

2. Kevin Durant After being fantasy’s #1 per-game player in 16-17 by a good margin, I can see why some would argue KD at #1.  But I ask you, loyal compatriots of Razzball Nation, one simple question: is Kevin Durant injury prone?  Last 3 seasons games played – 27, 72, 61 (well, might be 62, sounds like he’s playing tonight).  How does that not scare you?!  Sure the foot is healed, and sure, Zaza flapping around like a 300-pound fish-out-of-water can’t be expected, but he is 28 and will turn 29 before next season, and I do think the mileage on those tires is at least a minor concern.  While he was undeniably awesome in 16-17 – career-high REB and massive career-marks in FG%, TO, and BLK – I think the rebounds and blocks feel a little fluky.  I know the argument is that fast-paced system lends itself to more possessions and more chances to take risks on D, but I see all those career marks regressing – at least a smidge – in 17-18.

3. Anthony Davis Way to underscore your injury-risk argument on KD, JB!  Ranking Brow this high is hypocrisy!  Yeah, yeah, recency bias and all – he was healthy this season, wooooo! – but as we’ve seen with several young athletes, sometimes it takes a few years of injuries and getting through the grind before you can stay healthy.  Plus it certainly helps when you score at elite rates (28 PPG, 50.5% FG), are still blocking 2+ shots, and will now have DeMarcus Cousins as a shock absorber to bang with all the centers down low.  Let’s take some Unibrow Rides!

4. James Harden Now to some Beard rides!  This late wrist injury has slightly impacted the numbers, as he was shooting a phenomenal 44.8% from the field with 3.2 treys until these last 7 games.  If he’s going to be a 45% shooter while making 3 treys and racking up 11+ dimes, he’s going to no-question be right in the conversation for the fantasy MVP.  Damn, there are 5 sure-fire studs that you could make the argument for to take with the first pick in 17-18 drafts…  Makes missing out on the top pick not the worst thing in the world!

5. Russell Westbrook A guy averages not only the first triple-double in a season since the seemingly impossible-to-top Oscar Robinson year, but also does it scoring 31.9 points a game?!  If you told me that 10 years ago and said he wouldn’t be a top-4 fantasy player, I woulda said “what do the five fingers say to the face?!”  We all know the popcorn stats, but the steals fell a little bit and the TO were historically bad, if not for Harden.  The biggie is the FG% (42.6%) and in such a ridiculous volume (24.1 shots per game) that you become multi-punt.  Even so, in H2H, that’s not the worst route to take.  But give me the 3 guys with blocks, then narrowly going with Beard over Westy for the ~2 points in FG% and added assists.  It’s razor close though.

6. Stephen Curry Wowwwwwww.  After Curry’s monumental 14-15, I didn’t think there would be any way he’d be outside the top-3 for the next 3 or 4 years.  But here we are!  Settling to take a beta role too many times in games, the scoring fell from 30 to 25, the treys from 5 to 4, and oddly the FG% fell from 50%+ to 46.9% this season.  The FT volume went down, the steals down, the rebounds down…  Well, you get the picture, pretty much everything went down.  He still offers a great FG% from a guy winning you 3PTM, and there’s still the upside with the loaded line-up that we see the FG% get back to the 50% range with all their weapons spreading out opposing Ds.

7. Karl-Anthony Towns Dude, KAT is an unbelievable player, and I thought he could easily hop into the top 2 or 3 by this season.  16-17 wasn’t really a “disappointment” – 25/12, 54% from the field, added 1.2 treys, and improved most areas – but where’s the beef?!  The blocks fell from 1.7 to 1.3.  If he had hopped up to 2+ blocks, he might be right after Brow with those swatters up top.  Plus his TO rate got a little too high for my taste, going from 2.2 to 2.6 his rookie-to-soph seasons.  Durability and efficient scoring keep him a clear first-rounder, but hopefully he starts getting up for some more swattage in 17-18!

8. Chris Paul I imagine several CP3 owners have been too spurned.  Spurned I say!  After another season with an injury – and will be turning 32 before next year – I could see him getting passed in drafts until the 10-11 range.  Twould be a big mistake!  While his dimes fell to single-digits (and the PG above are racking up dimebags like they’re Harrison Ford), CP3 continues to flash an elite TO rate compared to his PG contemporaries (2.4 in 16-17).  Plus he hit a career-high treys per game of 2.0, thanks in part to that Lasik.  “Is that goal regulation size, or what?!”  I know I quote that all the time, but Happy Gilmore is always on TV!  I always linger on it every time it’s on too…  With aging guys, you’d expect to see more treys, lower FG%, and lower steals, but Paul maintained his FG% with the added treys, and his steals remained right at 2 per.  If I miss out on those top-5 studs and get a late draft slot, CP3 will be a just-fine consolation.

9. Kawhi Leonard Ka-Why JB gotta rank him so low?!  I’ll bet he’s ranked a few guys higher, but as we all know, it’s the Spurs man!  They make owning elite players a headache, plus Kawhi’s roto-ways get overvalued in H2H.  Who cares if you’re close in several cats most weeks and win TO, then get murdered in the popcorn stats by a Westbrook/Cousins team in the playoffs?!  Kawhi had another season where he vastly improved as the primary scorer in the Spurs O, but steals stayed at 1.8, blocks at 0.8, and his value gets propped up amongst the other first-rounders by the 2.1 TO.  Love Kawhi in real life and he’s one of my REL pillars, but I rarely get him at his premium in RCLs/re-draft.

10. Rudy Gobert We back to Rudy!  Monsieur Elbow is back in my top-11!  Watch him get worn out by some international competition again, and burn me like in 15-16.  While he’s only 18th in BBMonster’s per-game valuation for 16-17, with those three pillars up top, I want to secure the blocks in my first round and pair Gobert with a PG.  Wall/Gobert is looking like a fun combo again!  Plus Rudy gets a little boost with how he’s finishing offensively to 16-17: last 18 games, 18.0/13.7/1.9/0.5/3.2 at 71.3% from the field.  If he’s going to make 70+% FG and score that much, it’s not going to be a throw-away big man cat!  The FT% still hasn’t quite taken the strides we were hoping – 65.4% this year – but his stroke keeps looking better, and I wouldn’t be surprised if it’s 70+% in 17-18.  Monsiuer moi elbow, s’il vous plait!

 

And there you have it, likely my top-10 for the 2017-18 Fantasy Basketball Season!  Can’t see too much changing with those guys, but you never know in the off-season!  Stay tuned through next week as I rank my top-25 then top-50 as we get the jump on prepping for next year!

  1. Jensen says:
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    I said this before but I love Giannis at #1. If he can get to 80% FT and 30% on 3’s he is going to crush. God help the NBA if this kid learns to shoot any better than that bc he will just light teams on fire. Did you see he already tied the Bucks career record for trip-dbus? at 22 yrs old ha! Fun time to be a bucks fan.

    Not sure what you knock on Steph is. Top 3 in per game value and total value. I would have thought he would be ahead of Harden and Westy. And I would swap Kawhi and CP3. Kawhi you know if going to get 72-75 games. CP3 you hope gets 75, don’t see the injury risk worth taking him over Kawhi.

    On a side note, with Noah headed for surgery where do you see Willy next season? Thinking about keeping him but I’m worried when Noah is ready they will start him regardless just due to money owed.

    • JB Gilpin

      JB Gilpin says:
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      @Jensen: Haha wow, see comment below. Gonna be some dissenting comment opinions haha. Agree, very fun time to like Da Bucks.

      Steph – top 3 in roto, sure! Gimme the stat killing of Harden and Westbrook though. 3s are easiest to find streaming… ThrAGNOF!

      I would argue Kawhi has just as much injury risk as CP3. CP3 just broke his hand, Kawhi has had a lot of minor leg injuries that cost him 2-3 games past few years. May be a function of Spurs just resting him, but yeah…

      Agree, they might do that for Noah, play him 15 mpg as a starter haha. Maybe top-80ish for Willy? I dunno, they have a lot in flux with how they assemble their “super” roster for 17-18 hah!

      • Jensen says:
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        @JB Gilpin: Like you referenced, he is going to be the first player in NBA history to finish top 20 in pts/rbd/ast/stl/blk and he shoots over 50% on good volume and doesn’t kill FT% or TO. His FT% is up, 3pt% is up, and he’s 22!!!! Even Slim will like him next to old man Durant. Where is the downside here?

        Giannis feels both super safe, and very upsidy at the same time. And he is freaking 22 years old.

        • JB Gilpin

          JB Gilpin says:
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          @Jensen: I am 100% with you. We have dissenters below!

  2. Shahed says:
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    No way! Giannis not #1. He’s gonna lose shots to Middleton for sure, and he doesn’t shoot 3s! KD’s not injury prone, come on! KAT not getting the blocks recently, not good. I like Jimmy Butler for top 10.

    • JB Gilpin

      JB Gilpin says:
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      @Shahed: Giannis FG before Middleton – 8.5-16.1 When Middleton got back – 7.7-15.1. I’m not gonna lose sweat over 1 shot a game. And 3s are the easiest stat to stream!

      I need to write a click bait article “Kevin Durant is too injury prone to be the NBA’s best player”. Haha 🙂 I agree for the most part, but he is missing games and is older…

      Butler will be top 15 no question. Rather blocks from Gobert though. i think top 9 are pretty universal

      • Shahed says:
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        @JB Gilpin: Yeah but Jabari will be back, he said he hopes to play 50 games or so, so will be back by play offs, then you have Giannis, Middleton and Jabari. I know Jabari is injured, but still, Durant is a sure bet. And Giannis FT isn’t great.

        • Shahed says:
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          @Shahed: If I had 1st pick, I would take Durant 1st, and then if you want blocks you can take Porzingis 24th, if he’s still around, probably not available, or Myles Turner, Whiteside, or maybe even Nurkic.

          • JB Gilpin

            JB Gilpin says:
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            @Shahed: I dunno, KD a lot older, I didn’t even make the “rested in playoffs” argument, and I think he had some fluky high stats this year. It’s 1 vs. 2, not like I think there’s a big gap in between, can’t go wrong either way.

            Giannis continues to improve in FT though, I think he’ll be high-volume 80%+. All those guys present different layers of risk, I would rather get Giannis and build on the needed 3s/FT% later in the draft

            • Shahed says:
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              @JB Gilpin: I see we disagree, lol. All good, that’s what rankings are all about. I love KDs fantasy value, Giannis close second. I don’t think Giannis will get his FT up, it’s actually down since the all star break.

              I’d take KD 1st, Whiteside 24th, McCollum 25th, Rubio 48th and Dragic 49th, if all available.

              • Shahed says:
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                @Shahed: Also, I think consistency has to play a part. KD is super consistent, he went 72 consecutive games with 20 points or more, he has only failed to score 20 points 10 times, twice since injury, whereas Giannis has failed to score 20 on 23 occasions. I’d rather have KDs consistency, though Giannis could get even better, he’s only 22, (WOW!).

                Don’t you think IF Favors has a full season, he could affect Gobert’s stats, I know thats a BIG IF.

                And I don’t like how KAT has lost the Blocks, and assists are down.

                I think I’m goint to draft McCollum and Nurkic 2nd and 3rd round, I’m a Blazers fan, lol. I think Nurkic is kind of Gobert Lite, much worse FG%, more TO, but more assists, better FT% and more points I think.

                • JB Gilpin

                  JB Gilpin says:
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                  @Shahed: Yeah I’m in same boat, just Giannis 1, KD a close second. Meh FT post-asb is such a small sample, I ain’t too worried. That would be a hell of a team tho! I dunno if Whiteside will fall that far…

                  Yeah but the 20 point streak almost entirely was on OKC… Playoff resting, age, I think regress in some areas as I mention… I feel pretty confident with him 2.

                  Wowwwwww Nurk 3rd round?!?!?! Man I’m not sure he makes my top 50, but haven’t gotten close to that far yet 🙂

                  • Shahed says:
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                    @JB Gilpin: Ha, I know I’m not going to convince you, but I’m going to throw some stats at you, lol.
                    Giannis scored less than 20 points AND got less than 8 rebounds on 11 occasions this year, Durant had no such games. Durant scored less than 20 points 10 times, but got 8 rebounds and 5 assists every time, except one game of 10/9/2/1/5. That consistency has him #1 for me, I think he stays at 1.5 blocks. Giannis still has duds, 7 games of less than 15 points and less than 8 rebounds, 5 games of less than 15 points, less than 8 rebounds and less than 5 assists. STATS, STATS, STATS, lol.

                    Yeah I want Nurkic, Blazers fan, lol.

                    BTW, you misspelled Basketball in the title, lol.

                    • JB Gilpin

                      JB Gilpin says:
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                      @Shahed: Well how many 0/0/0 games did KD have 🙂 How many WILL he have in the playoffs next year? Seems like you’re avoiding the 0/0/0 stats there, amiright?!?!?!

                      I have no idea what you’re talking about, I would never make an egregious typo like that 🙂

  3. Pong says:
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    Here we go again with Gobert lol….

    I do own him this year though (somehow managed to trade DJ & Dlo for Gobert and Rlo mid season) with Kat, and Wall and it’s been an awesome ride. However I’m fairly certain most average GMs won’t be drafting him in the first round over more buzz worthy guys like Lillard, DMC and PG so hopefully I can snag him in the 2nd round!

    Thoughts on whether Giannis will get that sweet PG/SG/SF/PF designation in yahoo again lol?

    • JB Gilpin

      JB Gilpin says:
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      @Pong: Hahahaha, yeah watch him be an odd/even year kinda guy and flame out for me haha. Maybe on those guys, Lillard might be interesting, Lillard/Gobert would be fun if you get AST later. I hope he does! Positions on Yahoo are “based on their data provider” and kinda inconsistent, to put it lightly

      • Pong says:
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        @JB Gilpin:

        Yea, I got burned so badly last season. AD at #1 overall, and followed up with Gobert in a 12-team league. And we know how they turned out. Both proceeded to have career years this season instead….

        • JB Gilpin

          JB Gilpin says:
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          @Pong: Hah how it always goes! Same with my ranks… Had Brow 1, Gobert ranked highest in industry. Yikes

  4. Jeremy says:
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    I like the ranks. I’m with others here tho, Kawhi has to be ahead of cp3. Kawhi is turning 26 next month. 26-28 are the prime years. Kawhi has improved and taken on a bigger load for the spurs every year. I think there’s a big chance the next 2 years will be his peak years, and this year is just a glimpse of what is coming. Spurs are getting really old, i think there’s a chance they might slide next year and have to fight for 2-4 seeds which will lead to less(or no) rest for Kawhi in crunch time of fantasy.

    I personally have kawhi ahead of curry just because i think there’s a bigger chance gsw will rest their stars than kawhi getting rested, esp if gsw wins the title this year. IF they win a title, im sure they will copy the cavs and make sure their stars are well rested for a repeat.

    Also have wall, lillard, butler (and IT4 if boston doesn’t bring in another star) ahead of gobert. Just because most people won’t be taking gobert at 10th so you can still get gobert at early 2nd. Plus it’s nice to have a star that will consistently drop 20 every night with a chance to blow up for 40 on any given night.

    • JB Gilpin

      JB Gilpin says:
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      @Jeremy: Thanks man! Yeah I mean, they’re neck and neck, i think for me it comes down to the Spurs missed games. If Kawhi someone improves yet again (surely is possible!), then yeah, he’ll prob out-do Paul. I just think the Spurs have resting so ingrained that they’re gonna rest even as 3rd or 4th seed haha.

      Agree, I just kinda have em flipped. I’ll get Gobert at 10 then Lillard or Butler or Wall at 14 haha 🙂 As I mentioned on baseball, I do ranks completely with how I think players value will play out, and how I think I’d build my team amongst my own values, and don’t bring in ADP or other ranks into my thought process at all. i adjust my ranking to the league/site I’m drafting on

      • Jensen says:
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        @JB Gilpin: Seems like your approach to next season has shifted slightly, pretty heavy value placed on blocks here and an even greater sense that you can ignore 3’s for the first few picks and just find them later. If you have Curry 6 you aren’t getting him anywhere. How many of your teams got burned on blocks JB? haha.

        • JB Gilpin

          JB Gilpin says:
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          @Jensen: Haha none that I can think of specifically 🙂 But I think it’s a nice stat to get with the all around guys.

          Curry is like 1st in Roto. Big difference. I want the stat killers for h2h though, and Curry really took a step back too many times

          • Jeremy says:
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            @JB Gilpin:

            I like my usage whores over blocks my first 2 picks haha, that has been the successful recipe for me the last 2 year. That’s why i totally agree with giannis #1 cuz he’s both the team’s #1 option and get em blocks.

            • JB Gilpin

              JB Gilpin says:
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              @Jeremy: Same with all 3 of my top guys! Gets blocks, but are usg whores 🙂

  5. Chris says:
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    Thanks for putting these out so quick! I’m already planning for next year haha….keep em coming!

    • JB Gilpin

      JB Gilpin says:
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      @Chris: Thanks man, appreciate ya dropping by! Probably will have 11-25 on Monday, then 25-50 late next week. Can’t wait for next year either!

    • Chris says:
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      @Chris:

      JB, regarding CP3, I think his steals are going to drop off next year. I owned him this year and his split stats after the break have him at 1.5 stls.

      Also, check out this article on CP3 regarding the injuries on his hands preventing him from going for more steals.

      https://www.nytimes.com/2017/03/22/sports/chris-paul-clippers-los-angeles-hands.html?_r=0

      Quote: “I see plays all the time where I know I can reach for the ball and I know I can steal it,” he said. “But it’s like risk versus reward: Do I go for it?”

      Just something to consider! This was released a few games after cp3 returned from his hand injury and was screwing me over in steals in h2h haha….not sure many ppl were aware of this trend

      • JB Gilpin

        JB Gilpin says:
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        @Chris: Interesting, this is a great article, thanks for sharing! Yeah I only had him one guard-heavy league where I was still easily winning steals, so didn’t give it much though. i wonder if a healthy offseason brings confidence back tho. If he is 2+ steals in the playoffs, I don’t think I’d have any concern

        • Chris says:
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          @JB Gilpin:

          Thanks JB!

          Also, I’m in a 9 cat h2h keeper league where we get to keep 2 players from our current team. I’ve already decided that I will be keeping Westbrook and Lowry. I have the number 1 pick next year as well.

          Based on the other players being kept, I think it comes down to either Isaiah Thomas or Nikola Jokic. Currently I am leaning towards Jokic so that I can combine his high assists/rebs/fg% from a big with Westbrook’s high assists/rebs/low fg%.

          But at the same time, having a combo of Westbrook, Lowry, and IT would be tempting to win points, assists, 3ptm right there, but also leaves me pretty thin on bigs with 3 guards to start the draft.

          What option would you go with JB?

          • JB Gilpin

            JB Gilpin says:
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            @Chris: Nice, good to have two elite guards to start off! I think I indeed would go Jokic, punt TO, and have Fg% winnable some of the time. IT2/3 I think completely punts FG%, and you have a decent start in 3s already, and I don’t value those too much. ThrAGNOF!

            • Chris says:
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              @JB Gilpin:

              Completely agree thanks!

              Also, there’s a chance the guy who has Jokic keeps him and puts Lillard in the draft instead. Between Lillard and IT, do you go Lillard? I feel he would be the safer pick due to a more secure role in Portland with Boston possibly adding some key free agents in the offseason. Other than that, those two are pretty close.

              • JB Gilpin

                JB Gilpin says:
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                @Chris: Whewwwww, yeah too much value there in Lillard, I would have to take him, then draft bigs the next few rounds. Agree with your IT2/3 analysis for right now. Lillard had an unreal 2nd half

  6. Steve Stevenson says:
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    Playoff pts league, 9-man rosters (3G 2F 1C 3Util), can keep 3 from reg season roster. I’m def keeping Durant and Love. Who should my 3rd be–Paul (best player), D. Jordan (due to lack of quality C) or Beverley (scores decently in our format and Rox likely to play more games than Clips)?

    • JB Gilpin

      JB Gilpin says:
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      @Steve Stevenson: Oh cool, sounds like a fun league! I’m not sold Rox play THAT many more than Clips… OKC could bounce em, and Clips could def beat the Jazz. I think I would indeed go Paul

  7. Shahed says:
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    I definitely want to see Jamal Murray top 75, I think he could be Zach LaVine-ish numbers, with more assists. Hield could get in top 75, maybe like Wesley Matthews numbers. And Yogi Ferrell could sneak in too.

    • JB Gilpin

      JB Gilpin says:
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      @Shahed: He easily will be for me. I like him a TON. Agree on that comp! Hield I kinda disagree on, but we’ll have to see what the Kings do. If they don’t bring in any more scorers, he might have to be ranked high haha

  8. MD says:
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    Hey! I’m stuck in the craziest situation possible and have no idea who to pick for next years draft.
    It’s a 12 team , 10 cat (FGM) , H2H league where I have the first and sixth pick. I’m keeping Blake, Wiggins and Simmons too.
    Which pair would be the best?
    Thanks!

    • JB Gilpin

      JB Gilpin says:
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      @MD: Ohhhhh love those early picks! Pick 1 you’re almost certainly taking the best PG on the board. Any idea who will be avail? then 6th either another PG, or if a good C is still out there

      • MD says:
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        @JB Gilpin: Hopefully I’d be able to get Giannis or Harden at number one and Curry/Towns at 6th lol.
        Also have the 19th 25th and 26th

        • JB Gilpin

          JB Gilpin says:
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          @MD: Damnnnnnn yeah that’s how to rebuild it! Sounds like you have a lot of good options

  9. Dante Green says:
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    Should people reach for the unicorn in the 12-14 range?

    • JB Gilpin

      JB Gilpin says:
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      @Dante Green: That feels a little early… Still gotta get Wall, Lillard, probably still LeBron in the early 2nd round range, but you’ll see either tomo or Wed where I’ll have 11-25 🙂

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