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As we prepare for the 2016-17 Fantasy Basketball Season, I’ll be taking a look at each NBA team with their major adds and drops to see if we can pan for any surprise rotational gold.  This open is especially witty for the Nuggets.  We’ll be counting down from worst NBA regular season to the best, mainly because I’m still figuring out how to rank the Warriors…

Los Angeles Lakers (17-65)

Lakers

Key Acquisitions:

Luol Deng

Brandon Ingram (Rookie)

C Timofey Mozgov

C Ivica Zubac (Rookie)

G Jose Calderon

Key Losses:

Kobe Bryant

C Roy Hibbert

D’Angelo Russell’s Cell Phone Privileges

Wow, you’d think a roster this bad would bring in something better than that!  Deng is a pretty good haul, but I’m not giving a unique opinion saying that Mozgov’s deal was preposteroni.  The Lakers go into 2016-17 still rebuilding, and obviously the key to rebuild is to sign mid-range free agents to big deals…  Ahhhh, the lunacy of this Mozgov deal!  [pretend in a Trump voice] “The first thing I’d do is repeal Healthcare.Mozgov!  …you’re fired.”

Despite a lackluster output from the Lakers fantasy options last year, there’s some interesting pieces that could be late round steals.  Here’s how the purp and gold are suiting up:

PG – Well, they’re combo guards, but I’ll start with D’Angelo Russell here.  After immaturity issue after immaturity issue, he then makes a commercial making fun of the cell phone thing, and drops a “I played like SHIT!” on National TV.  He’s killing Summer League right now though to the tune of 21.8/6.2/4.0/1.5/0.5, so it’s certainly possible he becomes the G to own in LA.  I’m likely staying away though, but we’ll see how his ADP looks.  It could be all over the place.

The we get to some old Spaniards.  Marcelo Huertas will continue to make baffling decisions, and in a pure salary dump, the Bulls handed over Jose Calderon after owning him for only a few days.  Even in the deepest of leagues like the REL, it’s tough to be excited owning either.

SG – SINCE YOU BEEN GONE!!!  I miss Clarkson so much…  What I don’t miss is his outlandishly low AST rate.  2.4 AST last year, are you friggin’ kidding me?!  I guess this implies Jordan Clarkson is more the SG, although both he and Russell won’t be keen to labels.  Clarkson did score pretty well as a starter last year, got some rebounds for a guard and a few steals, but he’ll need to step it up.  The low TO is nice and all, but I won’t be investing like last year.

Then to some shoot-first vets.  And I don’t mean with fireworks.  Nick Young is technically there, but with his Katy Perry antics, he’s likely out.

So that leaves Lou Williams on the last year of his deal, and depending on how much they play Calderon, Sweet Lou could see decent minutes behind both guards to kick off the season.  His combination of low TO and FT volume keep him really intriguing.  After setting by far career highs in freebies with the Raptors in 14-15, he greatly exceeded them again last year going 5.3-6.3 a game at 83%.  That number goes even higher if you take our March when his minutes got spotty (and he didn’t play in April, because, ya know, player development).  You definitely don’t need to draft him in redraft, but I think he could have some pretty boring-name-sleeper-value in the deepers.  Or a frequent streaming choice.

SF – Brandon Ingram is like, “ohhhh man!”  After being drafted second and looking the like heir apparent to Mamba, the Lakers sign Luol Deng for 4 years, $72 mil.  Not too shabby for a 31-year-old who looked like his better days were way behind him with the Bulls!  Despite his overall numbers looking poopy, Deng’s last 28 games were 15.2/8.1/2.5/1.2/0.5 with 1.1 treys, 48.4% from the field, and only 1.4 TO.  Dem fighting numbers!  Of course, I picked that sample as the range of time he played PF minutes, as the cutoff was when Chris Bosh went down.  That said, it’s not like Mozgov and Randle are a murderer’s row of bigs and Deng should still get his touches.  He’s a boring name, but I think he is a 75-80 kind of player that will be ranked a few rounds lower.

To Ingram, and blahhhhh.  Can’t draft him now.  I guess the best-case scenario for the Lakers is Deng is pretty good the next year or two, his contract looks pretty solid as caps keep rising, and they dump him for a first rounder and clear the way for Ingram.  As I mentioned in our draft pieces, I still question how good a fantasy asset Ingram will really be (I have doubts on his perimeter shot, how the D stats translate), and he’s struggled thus far in Summer Ball (31.6% from the field, 15.4% from deep [told you!], non-existent D or rebounding stats in 26.5 MPG).  With a bench role headed his way, he’s clearly out of redraft consideration.  There’s still upside in dynasties, but I’m probably steering clear of an inflated draft day price due to him going #2.

PF – Slim loves to slam him, but Julius Randle was actually pretty good for being more-or-less a rookie.  After that terribly unfortunate injury kept his 14-15 to one game, Randle averaged a dubdub in only 28 MPG going 11.3/10.2/1.8/0.7/0.4.  The low blocks hurt, but rebounds are still a cat!  Sadly, FG% is a cat too and he only shot a putrid 42.9%…  OK, maybe he wasn’t that good…  I owned Randle on a few teams – he was a pickup and boosted my boards as a last roster spot – no more, no less.  If your blocks look OK and you need one more big, I think he could be a last-pick kinda guy.

I guess Tarik Black maybe snags a few backup PF minutes?  Or maybe they go small and put Deng or Ingram in some backup minutes as a stretch 4 as well.  Larry Nance could also factor into SF/PF minutes as he was decent in a few trial runs last year, but he just fractured his hand.  Hopefully that doesn’t set him back too far…

C – Aight, here we go, time to clown the Mozgov!  Gets a monster deal (for him at least), to play assumedly 28-30 MPG.  Before Tristan Thompson took virtually all the minutes, Mozgov was semi-usable as a BLOCKnof kinda guy.  Since some of that Roy Hibbert residue is still around though, I can’t see investing anything other than a last-round pick on him.  I think when your final pick comes around and you need a big, you go Randle for REB or Mozgov for BLK.

Besides Black mentioned above, rookie Ivicia Zubac looks primed for the backup big role.  A foot fracture in the 19-year-old’s past sunk his draft value a little bit, but he’s a big 7’1 dude who is playing well in Summer Ball.  In 22.2 MPG he’s 9.2/6.2 with 1.8 blocks per in 4 appearances, with only 3 overall TO.  Plus shooing 70%.  This could become a time share sooner than later.  What a get for the Lakers in the second round!

 

JB’s 2016-17 Projection: 16-66

They’re one game better than the Sixers, but still the by-far doormat of the West.

  1. Nick says:
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    Hey guys! Thanks for the write up, poor lakers aren’t giving much intrigue to write home about though unfortunately haha.

    I finally got around listening to your latest podcast and a few questions. Are you guys actually going to be ranking nurkic that high?! I’ve got him in dynasty and I’ve got high hopes but I didn’t expect to see him ranked in the top 100 out of the gate.

    Also, these are some FA I’m targeting before the season starts. Assuming rosters stay as is where do you suppose you’d tank these guys – ball park average?

    Josh Richardson
    Jermey Lin
    Steven Adams

    • JB Gilpin

      JB Gilpin says:
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      @Nick: Hah yeah they’re pretty boring… Zubac in deep dynasties and Deng for kinda a boring pick are my two highlights.

      Yup I’ll have him that high! His per-minute numbers are pretty saucy. And if this weight loss is for real… Hopefully it will appear he can hold up.

      Lin maybe 90ish. J Rich and Adams both in that 110ish kinda range

      • Nick says:
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        @JB Gilpin:
        Sweet! Well hopefully big Nurk can carve out minutes and then stay healthy.

        So I need to decide if I should dump Barton and Len (assuming I can’t trade them), for 2 of those guys if possible. Are you higher on either Len or Barton ahead of any of those guys?

      • Slim

        Slim says:
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        @JB Gilpin: It kind of annoys me that im gonna have to fight for Zubac in REL. We’ll see how it goes I guess… I think you are underselling Clarkson and Russell sans Kobe. Thats a whole lot of usage that those 2 will have to make up for. For me Russell is approaching top 50. Clarkson is top 75, not enough steals but he’s going to have a lot more to do in the offense with Kobe gone and Deng basically catch and shoot now. Russell might go 18-19 pts 6-7 ast and over 1.5 for both 3s and steals. Yeah some growing pains but the minutes are solid and I think hes ready to be their best player right now.

        Adams is going to be solid but he gets the ‘better real life player than fantasy’ moniker. 12/10 with 0.8/1.2 stl/blk. Hurts FT%… Yeah theres going to be a vet in the top 100 i would pass over for Adams im sure. But no more than your 3rd big in a 12er, tops.

        Lin should be ok. Its a heck of a role with barely any competition. I’d assume his per36s will be lower than last year though, but more minutes.

        I love me some Josh Richardson but with Tyler Johnson coming back I can no longer predict 48 minutes per game. But as the starting SG and 32ish minutes I think he gives what people were hoping to get from Danny Green last year. 1.8/1.2/1.0, 3s/stl/blk feels about right. 4 or so assists are also possible. But theres upside for more in nearly every category. I think hes in the top 100 but like Otto Porter last year you probably dont need to draft him in the top 100.

        If I had just one Grey-like Stanton-esque man crush it would be for Nurkic. Future Allstar starter. With a healthy offseason I think we could see massive growth in efficiency. I dont think we will by any means be the only ones calling him top75.

        • JB Gilpin

          JB Gilpin says:
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          @Nick: @Slim: Mehhhh, Russell def has the upside, I dunno if Clarkson does. Feels like he was still pretty meh in non-Kobe games, but I’d have to run those numbers.

          Well Russell might do that with 4.0 TO and shoot 37%. Might be Mudiay with usable FT% and the treys. Which I guess could be OK…

          Def agree on Adams being better real life. I dunno, Nurk might be our guy this year. I was too bold on him off injury last yr.

          I’d probably keep Lin anddddd. Ugh the 2nd one is hard. Gimme Len because that’s just more fun to keep both haha

          • jay says:
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            @JB Gilpin: intrigued with Russell too. Summer league stats did look good. Then again, it’s Summer League. He did shoot close to 45% FG in College but I’m not sure if there are any stats of how college FG stats translate to the NBA for PGs. Thinking at best 43-44% and at worst, low 38ish% (Kemba Walker-ish)?I agree on TOs. Usage will be high though especially if the expectation is that Walton tries to model them after the Warriors offense.

            Is it really that crazy to think that he would be a better pick over Teague? I’m starting to think that it’s not.

            • JB Gilpin

              JB Gilpin says:
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              @jay: That’s def not crazy at all! Barring injuries to like, both PG13 and Monta, Teague doesn’t really have much upside. Russell is like, nothing BUT upside. They’ll be in a similar range because of that. But unless I’ve gone all out TO punt and either FG punt or have great bigs, I just dunno if the risk will be worth it at that point. Doesn’t help Russell is kinda a head case too. Team or league suspension for something wouldn’t surprise anyone…

      • Froeign Affairs says:
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        @JB Gilpin:
        I had a feeling you guys had noticed Grab your Glock when you see Zubac, I was hoping I could get him under the radar but hes been to solid in limited minutes in summer league to be unnoticed in the REL. I think he had a chance of ending up in the none starter Dieng ranking because of what looks to be great % and low to’s going forward.

        You should be abit more excited about Clarkson and Russell JB, I think Russells summer league numbers are going to be around the numbers he puts up this season though his ft% and to’s are going to be an issue so he probably will be build dependent, for Clarkson I think you just were a year early on him, or a kobe retirement away from him being who you were projecting last year.

        His first year he averaged 5asts per 36 minutes and Kobe only played 35 games, last year his assists went down with Kobe playing 66 games taking 17 shots, mostly on iso’s and with a usage of 32.2% so I think he’ll take a big step forward now.

        Lin is going to probably be like he was the first year he was in Houston I forget were he ranked that year but probably similar stats

        You might actually be surprised @Slim: for Nurkic sliding alittle, that 32 game season is going to have some people alittle worried or forgetful, and I keep hearing people talking about Jokic and Joffrey and not even mentioning Nurkic so you guys might have another guy your higher on lol.

        • Slim

          Slim says:
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          @Froeign Affairs: Zubac… Yeah and Mozgov is terrible, and Tarik Black isn’t an NBA calibur player. I’m assuming lots of losses for LA and I think we may see a full blown time share at center by the allstar break. I’ve already told JB I’m in the $5 to $10 range for Zubac. Crazy for a 2nd rounder but I mock drafted him at #19 as an oversees stash and if I knew he’d be here already I might have mocked him higher. Now I’m not expecting 12er value this year and we probably get some early DNPs with a possible DLeague stint but he just looks so damn good on both sides of the ball in Summer league to ignore in a dynasty. Did you see his last game? 16/11 with good FG% and 6 blocks. I absolutely do not want to be having this conversation since it isn’t going to help me get him in REL but… oh well. Gorgui is a solid comp but Gorgui was a 23yr old rookie and Zubac is only 19! Yeah I don’t understand why he fell to the 2nd round.

          Hehe, Joffrey is no threat. Career bench guy. And Yeah I know Faried is killing my twin tower dreams in Denver, but I still think Jokic-Nurkic play together even if Faried is starting. I like Jokic and I think he’s going to develop into a solid player but there are 2 things Nurkic has that Jokic doesn’t and I don’t think ever will. 1.Nurkic is a rim protector and Jokic just isn’t. That’s fine and all but a Jokic/Faried backcourt isn’t going to scare anyone attacking the rim. 2.Nurkic is super aggressive and Jokic is more of a play within the flow kind of player. You can really see it in the USG numbers. In April in particular, once Nurkic starting getting 25+ minutes, Jokic’s USG dropped from the 21 or so he had been all the way down to 13.5. The numbers were fine since he got 30 min, aprox 11/10/4/1/1. Solid and borderline 12er worthy but that was in 30 minutes which I think we can safely call his max. But to be completely honest, I’m done with Faried and I would probably draft Jokic before I draft Faried again.

          • JB Gilpin

            JB Gilpin says:
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            @Froeign Affairs: @Slim: Mehhhhhh, let’s not compare summer leagues numbers to NBA in direct correlation just yet for D’Angelo haha. Pts/Reb/3s all are not gonna be that high. The 4.5 TO might correlate though! Haha.

            I think Lin might be better than HOU too, there’s just no playmakers on BKN! What an awful team.

            Yikes, yeah Faried Jokic is gonna get TORN UP on D. They might squeeze Manimal for minutes for sure.

            WE ARE THE ZUBAC HYPE TRAIN. apparently…

  2. DORIAN says:
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    Great write-up. I’m loving Luol Deng this year after what he did with minutes in Miami last year, at the low cost he will be to draft.

    • JB Gilpin

      JB Gilpin says:
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      @DORIAN: Thanks for dropping by man! And yup, my thoughts exactly! Gonna be a great bargain for the price

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