Share on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterShare on Google+

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…

Minnesota Timberwolves (29-53)

Wolves

Key Acquisitions:

Kris Dunn (Rookie)

C Cole Aldrich

F/C Jordan Hill

G/F Brandon Rush

COACH TIBBY TIBS!

Key Losses:

Kevin Martin

G Andre Miller

Mayyyyybe Kevin Garnett, which would dramatically drop their average age…

Wow, this is going to be one of the most similar looking teams from last year to this season, with their only overhaul at the head coaching position.  And yet, I think they’re going to be a popular sleeper playoff pick after finishing 5th worst in the NBA last year.

The Wolves will presumably roll out the same starting 5 that ended 15-16, and it’s a mad fun team.  Rubio with the passes, LaVine with dunks, KAT with the post game, Wiggins with the isos, Dieng with the D, lions and tigers and bears, OH MY!  And they add into the fold another combo guard who easily looks ready for the NBA, not to mention the Summer League MVP.  Plus some underrated vet backups to get this young crew through their run at making the playoffs.  Here’s how their roster is shaping up:

PG – Despite Minnesota’s best efforts, Senor Kankle Ricky Rubio is still on the team and still your starting PG. BORING!  I still love Rubio though.  Mi amor.  Mi corizon!  Want to hear an ugly number?  Rubio made 2.9 FG a game last year.  Less than 3 baskets a game!!!  Wow.  But on the flip side, his horrific FG% did go up a tad even with more 3s attempted and made, he got to the line more, and had more steals and less turnovers.  The 2+ SPG plus the FG% being really low volume still has him a little underrated in my book.  8.6 AST:2.5 TO is pretty solid for anyone.

Even with all that said, Kris Dunn looks ready NOW.  I know I was pretty cold on him in our draft day prep/analysis, but after seeing him utterly dominate Summer League and reading more and more advanced scouting, I am buying in.  Dunn only played in two games due to a concussion this Summer, but was arguably the best player stats-wise going 24/7/3/2/1 shooting 54.3% from the field and getting to the stripe for 15 freebies (7.5 per).  That said, it still has that tinge of MCW…  3 turnovers per (that’s not the worst…), 7.5 fouls (ouch!), 1-6 from deep and only shot 60% on those free throws.  I worried about the TO/FG%/FT% coming into the league, but there’s still plenty of time to see what happens in those cats and this was obviously a very small sample.  If Rubio gets dealt in the pre-season somehow, Dunn might vault into that Dennis Schroder range.  But if that doesn’t happen, I honestly don’t know how Dunn can be draftable.  Tom Thibodeau loves playing his starters big minutes, and Dunn isn’t pushing LaVine from the starting 2-guard, despite Tibby Tibs saying Rubio and Dunn can play together in a presser.

Then just to make things more interesting, Tyus Jones, who was/is probably looking at D-League time, goes out and wins the Summer League MVP and takes a below-average team according to Summer League pre-rankings all the way to the Summer League Finals, losing on a pair of buzzer beaters in the 4th and OT by Denzel Valentine.  Jones ended up going 20.4/3.8/6.8/1.4/0.0 through 8 games, taking 9+ FT attempts in each of the final four contests.  He easily could function as the backup PG if Rubio is moved.

SG – It’s LaVine time!  Get out your punny team names!  LaVine La Vida Loca!  LaVine on a Prayer!  After a slow-ish start (mostly due to being a backup), LaVine exploded in the second half and went 17.3/2.8/3.2/1.1/0.2 with 2.4 treys on 47.4% FG shooting as a starter.  With 2.1 TO and the low D stars and FT volume it indeed is a little ThrAGNOFfy, but LaVine has taken huge steps from being a raw rookie to a plus starter in two short seasons, so I believe\when he says a big goal is getting to the line more that we will see more FTA.  I’m not going to rank him too crazy, but he should be within the top-75.

Behind LaVine, it’s probably Dunn and Jones as they feature frequent sets of combo guards.  The more I look at this, the more upside I see for Dunn to get maybe 25 MPG out of the gate.  Mayyyyybe I’ll have to think on this a little more and push for Dunn to be a last or second-to-last round sleeper.

SF – F you, eh!  Friggin’ Andrew Wiggins.  Thanks for looking like you could push into the superstar realm only to be a boring mid-range shooter.  Although, DeMar DeRozan got paid plenty.  I guess it could be worse…  I certainly won’t be the Wiggins’ pundit I was last year, but there were still some encouraging signs in his brutal second season.  FG% went up virtually every month, month-to-month, to 50+% in March and April. The FT% went up post-ASB (although volume sunk a tad), steals went up as the season went on, and he averaged a trey a game in March + April.  But the blocks-upside never materialized, the boards went wayyy down, and it just wasn’t the step forward I thought we’d see.  Despite all his flaws, he’s pretty safe though.  Only missed one game last year, and played through a back issue early on that hurt his numbers.  I think he’ll be a solid mid-round buy.  Plus he was already playing a boatload of minutes, and now has Thibodeau as his coach…

It’s a little annoying that Shabazz Muhammad has to continue to toil as a reserve.  And it’s not like the Wolves need extra offense at the 2 or 3.  With Tibby’s aforementioned rotational history, don’t be surprised if Bazz sees another season of his minutes going down, and slipping to under 20.  Blah.

Others in the mix at wing will be the recently-signed Brandon Rush for some small-minute ThrAGNOF and Tayshaun Prince refuses to retire.  Maybe KG will convince Prince to join him for a game of bingo at the retirement home.

PF – Huh?  Wait what?  What is that?  I think I hear something…  Chugga chugga chugga, chugga chugga chugga chugga, CHOO CHOO!!!!  It’s the Mother F Dieng Train!  And this beast is out of control!  Let’s blow some minds with some stats, which I also mentioned in my Way Too Early Top 50.  Through games 14-82 (another subtle thing to love right there, he suited up for all 82 games) Gorgui Dieng played over 28-and-a-half minutes and averaged 10.8/7.5/2.0/1.1/1.2.  It doesn’t hop off the page, but how about with 53.9% from the field and 82.6 FT%!!!  And he STILL only started 39 of those 69 games.  During that span, Gorgui ranked out to 45th in per-game stats, but some of those above him in per-game include some wonky vets who only played in one game.  In total value over that span, wait for this…  24th in overall value! And as a starter, numbers hop up to 12.5/7.9/2.3/1.1/1.4 and 55.8% from the field.

Take that 24th overall value at 28.5 minutes, and extrapolate it to a Tom Thibodeau role.  Yeahhhhhh.  I’m talking dirrrrrrrty and you like it!  In 38.5 minutes per game, he could easily be a second-rounder!  I hope to be a passenger on the Dieng Train in all my leagues.

Backing him up will be the shell-shocked Nemanja Bjelica, who I’m sorry, looked over-matched in the NBA.  He should still get some stretch 4 run though with the second unit.  They’ve also got whatever they get out of KG (if anything), and Adreian Payne is still around as a serviceable backup.  I don’t see any reason why any of these guys should derail The Dieng Train.

C – It’s all like the movie Fallen.  It begins and ends with a KAT.  Spoiler alert!  And kinda a weird reference…  I always liked that movie though!  Denzel can carry anything…  Anyway, Karl-Anthony Towns is a no-question first-rounder, and is going to play a ton.  I don’t think we need to say much more here.

I wish that Cole Aldrich was given a starting role at some point…  He’s got a very underrated fantasy game.  He signs to be a backup to KAT, but it’s not even clear he’s the primary backup.  They also have the floating corpse of Nikola Pekovic, who is reporting to training camp early to try get extra work to keep him healthy.  Sure, more physical activity will keep ya healthy, bud!  Then last but not least, we have SC Apple and the always high Jordan Hill.

All these vets are behind a phenomenal young guy.  Lots of money for sitting down every other night!  Music to the ears of a stoner…

 

JB’s 2016-17 Projection: 48-34

One of the biggest reacharounds we’ll see this season.  Wait, I think I mean turnarounds…

  1. MAC says:
    (link)

    RAZZUP!!!

    great idea to do a team by team analysis razzman! if i may suggest, instead of key acquisitions/losses, how bout PROJECTED STARTERS and KEY RESERVES.

    • JB Gilpin

      JB Gilpin says:
      (link)

      @MAC: Razzup?! Thanks for reading man! Hmmmm I kinda do that in position by position, maybe I put like “PG – Projected Starter – Ricky Rubio” then talk him, then list key reserves below?

      • MAC says:
        (link)

        @JB Gilpin: just kind of replace the key acquisitions and losses part. instead
        PROJECTED STARTERS
        PG
        SG
        SF
        PF
        C
        KEY RESERVES

        haha! at least for me, its more important looking at that list than the acquisition/losses. then proceed with the explanations. hehe.

        • JB Gilpin

          JB Gilpin says:
          (link)

          @MAC: Hah, well I want people to read the whole thing! Haha. Let me try the next one the way I was thinkin’ 🙂

          • MAC says:
            (link)

            @JB Gilpin: everyone definitely read the thing. hehe. sure2, just noticed that most acquisitions/losses has like very minor fantasy impacts. anyways great idea doing team by team analysis. fantasy is definitely more interesting this coming season than reality. its cavs gsw in the finals thats for xur. another thing, players of both teams would be a little risky come fantasy playoffs. as both teams would definitely rest their players.

            • JB Gilpin

              JB Gilpin says:
              (link)

              @MAC: Hah totally agree! Why I kinda fizzle once we get to the playoffs. It’s not fantasy impacting?!?!?! Where’s the fun in that?!?! Yeah I’m prob sticking with LeBron outside my top 10, no one seems to be worried about DNPs and he was right at 10th ish last yr…

  2. miles proudfoot says:
    (link)

    Hey guys! Been following all off season but hadn’t commented til now. Thanks for continuing the discussion to help get our fix! I tried talking to some friends about the new fantasy roles on the thunder aka Westbrook, oladipo, and was shot down for fantasy football. Glad to come here and get on the Dieng Train for the fourth year in a row, I think really paying off this time around!

    • JB Gilpin

      JB Gilpin says:
      (link)

      @miles proudfoot: hey man, thanks for reading! Haha basketball is year round, football you can do in like 2 minutes a week! Haha. Dieng train worked out pretty well last year, but this is the year it’s taking off!

  3. Dante Green says:
    (link)

    I’m ready to use my 5th overall pick on Towns!!! Hah

    I just have a question about the Nugs, who’s starting at the 4 and 5 positions? For sure Jokic is starting but who’s going to be his frontcourt partner?

    • JB Gilpin

      JB Gilpin says:
      (link)

      @Dante Green: hell yes man! I would imagine they go ahead and start Nurkic but I could see like Faried getting 15-20 mins as the “starter” as well. But most likely nurk at the 5 for much needed interior D

    • Slim

      Slim says:
      (link)

      @Dante Green: Yeah I imagine Jokic comes off the bench. Although if Nurk came off the bench as an energy big he might have a 30+ USG. Either way i dont think its going to matter which starts, both should get their minutes. The tough part is if they try to showcase Faried as a 30min guy.

      • JB Gilpin

        JB Gilpin says:
        (link)

        @Dante Green: @Slim: Ewwww let’s hope they don’t do that with Faried…

  4. DORIAN says:
    (link)

    Good morning gents! Let’s talk Twolves turkey. Quite a bold prediction at 48-34 eh?

    One of my biggest regrets last season was not getting on that Dieng Train, he might be the best Twolves fantasy player after big KAT this year.

    However, my fantasy profit headliner for this team is the young rising studmuffin Zachary LeVine. He helped bring my team to the promised land in the second half last year, and as only a third year player, I would be very unsurprised to see him further improve in both those popcorn stats as well as in percentages.

    My bonus profit headliner would be Rubio, I’m expecting a post-hype price drop for the fella, making him very palatable as a second or third point guard. I don’t see a threat from Dunn, as real NBA players and team schemes will definitely make him hit that rookie wall hard.

    • JB Gilpin

      JB Gilpin says:
      (link)

      @DORIAN: Morning man! Yup I am going pretty bold with that call!

      Dieng will be by far my #2 Wolf! Prob 2 rounds ahead of Rubio, well maybe 1.5, and 3 ahead of Wiggins.

      Agree on Rubio possibly being a value. He actually took a nice step forward last year, AND stayed healthy!

  5. v00dr00 says:
    (link)

    Really wish Dunn had gone to the Celts :(. I think Thibs is gonna stifle his growth.

    Anywho, where would you grab him in a dynasty league? Already have a pretty good nucleus with my current keepers (AD, Boogie, Dray, IT 2/3), but I seriously think this guy is going to be a star some day and think he provides some all around stat production to go along with the rest of my gang.

    • JB Gilpin

      JB Gilpin says:
      (link)

      @v00dr00: Yeahhhhh. Def needs Rubio gone for much to happen. Mehhh, he probably should be top 100 overall. Maybe 70s or 80s if you were starting over? I wouldn’t go too nuts

      • v00dr00 says:
        (link)

        @JB Gilpin: FINE, WHATEVER

        • JB Gilpin

          JB Gilpin says:
          (link)

          @v00dr00: HAHA OK

  6. Jay says:
    (link)

    Love this team. I do think that can get a lot more utility (maybe more from reality vs fantasy) from Lavine if he’s a 6th man where he doesn’t have to blend his usage rate full time with that of KAT and Wiggins.

    • JB Gilpin

      JB Gilpin says:
      (link)

      @Jay: Hmmm interesting. Who would start at the two then? Problem is Dunn and Bazz should be strong offense as well with the second unit… Lord help me if they start Wiggins at the 2 and Tayshaun Prince for 15 MPG at the 3 haha

      • A Hill O' Beans says:
        (link)

        @JB Gilpin: So you wouldn’t be for a starting lineup of Rubio/Wiggins/Prince/Garnett/KAT??? Sounds like a great Tibs lineup to me!

      • Jay says:
        (link)

        @JB Gilpin: was thinking Bazz but your idea of Wiggins at 2 and Prince at 3 would definitely suit Thibs love for defense on the wings. Not that Prince is anywhere close to his defensive abilities when he was still in Detroit.

  7. Lasandro says:
    (link)

    You KNOW I’m uber excited about Dieng’s fantasy potential this year, but I’m still concerned about Aldrich’s signing. Between he and Jordan Hill, you have two very capable bigs coming off the bench and, as your rightfully point out, KAT ain’t gonna be the one getting off the floor to accommodate their PT. I’m just being devil’s advocate here. I’d love for “Thibby Thibby Thibby Turner” (Desiigner pun, FYI) to treat D-Train more like Pau than Taj, out there. On a sidenote, he STILL doesn’t get any love in the mainstream media: KAT, Rubio, Wiggins, Lavine, Shabazz, Garnett all get mentions. Kinda helps us for fantasy draft purposes, tho 😉

    I couldn’t find our previous thread on J-Rich in Miami, but it’s safe to say that we can kiss his potential impact this season goodbye, now that Dion has been signed along with murmurs that he may be the starting SG. You, @Slim and I were trying to project his numbers (I went with a Wilson Chandler line from the season before last), but now… adios *sigh*. Some chit-chat about him perhaps playing the 3 position, but he’s too slight for that (and Winslow needs PT). The Heat really needed a solid low post contributor IMO. They didn’t need some one dimensional scoring guard, with guys like Dragic, Rich, Green, Wright and Johnson already there.

    • JB Gilpin

      JB Gilpin says:
      (link)

      @Lasandro: Well one thing Dieng has going for him and he’s EASILY the best defender. Aldrich is fine, Hill is atrocious. But yeah good point on Dieng hopefully staying under the radar, maybe these signings help too!

      Yeahhhhh I texted Slim the same thing when Waiters was signed. Totally agree, I think it’s a “hey look, a guy who scores we can sign for cheap! Let’s nab him, see what happens since we might not be that great, then move him at the deadline”

      • Slim

        Slim says:
        (link)

        @JB Gilpin: Richardson will get 30 min per night and play all 3 positions. Winslow played a ton of PF last year and are we really assuming Bosh is going to get 30 min a night for 70+ games? Yeah Waiters can start and after 4 min when he lets guys walk past him on defense he will get the hook from Spo. You cant be on the Heat and not play defense. You can go ahead and mark Richardsons minutes down in ink.

        • Slim

          Slim says:
          (link)

          @Slim: By the 2nd have of the year we are going to be calling him DNP-Waiters. At best he’s Gerald Green from last year and he got benched regularly down the stretch.

          • Nick says:
            (link)

            @Slim:
            Agree completely, not worried about waiters at all and if anything it means guys will be too scared to draft Richardson. If the guy can carve out minutes in the mid 20’s on a playoff team behind wade as a ROOKIE then he’s got a bright future. Why would we think the Heat organization would play him that much then next year turn around and say, nawwww we signed waiters and Ellington, NOW you’ll have to earn your PT, that’s crazy thinking. If he’s not the 3rd best player on that team next year in real life and fantasy I’ll be shocked!

            • Nick says:
              (link)

              @Nick:
              And I am prematurely implying bosh doesn’t play

    • Slim

      Slim says:
      (link)

      @Lasandro: Yeah the Heat had $20 mil earmarked for Wade and by the time Wade left the market had dried up. C’est la vie.

      • JB Gilpin

        JB Gilpin says:
        (link)

        @Lasandro: @Nick: @Slim: I do think Waiters hurts a little. I don’t think it’s an indictment on Richardson or that he gets buried on the bench. But it was looking like he could be like a 34 MPG guy and it might be more like 28-30 for me now. I think they had some money to spend and no one bought Waiters, so they were like, “let’s see what happens!” and hope to trade him at the deadline or have depth if someone gets hurt

  8. Drez1 says:
    (link)

    Hey, would you guys rather have my Hayward/T.Jones, or Stanley Johnson/Jokic in a dynasty? I’m leaning towards the latter, but I’m torn on moving Hayward (too many options in Utah now, though). I’d don’t think I’d be losing much statwise, but nabbing Johnson/Jokic could pay off in the long run.

    I’ve also got a shot at lavine (kinda interested after your write up), but it’d cost me Aaron Gordon. I could probably hustle a late 1st too, though. I could use the 3’s, but they’re easy enough to find on the wire. Should I sit tight with Gordon, and just play the wire? Also in a dynasty.

    Anyway, thanks for keeping me sane during the off-season, lol.

    • JB Gilpin

      JB Gilpin says:
      (link)

      @Drez1: Ehhhhh, it is close, but Hayward is still young and clearly the best in the deal. I think I would stick with hayward side.

      Orlando HATES Aaron Gordon. I like that move for LaVine if you can get a draft pick on top of it. LaVine is still a baby too.

      Haha any time man, thanks for stopping by!

  9. Aaron says:
    (link)

    Are you going to create a league again where some of us fans or commenters can join you for fantasy basketball ? If so approximately when will you open them up??

    • JB Gilpin

      JB Gilpin says:
      (link)

      @Aaron: Definitely going to have RCL (Razzball Commenter Leagues) again in 2016! Since we do them on Yahoo, it is dependent on when Yahoo launches the 2016-17 game. I *think* it’s typically mid to late August, then we’ll launch a few days later when we’re organized with the launch post. Stay tuned!

Comments are closed.