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…

Phoenix Suns (23-59)

Suns

Key Acquisitions:

Jared Dudley

F/C Dragan Bender (Rookie)

F Marquese Chriss (Rookie)

Tyler Ulis (Rookie)

Leandro Barbosa

Key Losses:

F Markieff Morris

F Mirza Teletovic

Jon Leuer

Ronnie Price

G/F Chase Budinger

A Feeling of Complacency

Is it weird that I always really liked the Suns logo?!  It just looks cool every time I see it!

What a draft day for the Suns!  Absolutely loaded at guard, the Suns manage to snag two upside-y bigs that can stretch the floor, hit treys, and play some D.  Of course, they’re 19-year-old projects and have a wide range of outcomes, but as a rebuilding team, they made awesome moves.

Besides the rookie class, the Suns hold off on free agency and only invest in a few Milk Duds.  They still have one too many guards, but given the injury issues of Knight & Bledsoe, depth isn’t the worst thing.  That said, it wouldn’t be surprising to see one of the two dealt at the deadline through Phoenix’s rebuilding efforts.  But going into opening night, here’s how they’re looking:

PG – No matter what happens with the crowded Suns G rotation, Eric Bledsoe is gonna start, play a ton, and dominate.  Mini-Bron!  Although I have it on good authority that’s also what LeBron calls his – – Nevermind.

I’ll go ahead and talk about Brandon Knight here.  Maybe I should’ve made a PG/SG position just for him…  A lot of speculation out there if he starts vs. plays 6th man and backs up both G spots, and I’m leaning more and more towards the latter.  Which wouldn’t hurt his value too, too much.

Phoenix also has Ulis , who slid to the second round due to his height.  Ulis had a great Summer League showing, but is unlikely to have much of a role, if any this year.

SG – Devin Booker really surprised me last season.  I thought he was gonna come out and be a pretty boring ThrAGNOF, but he chipped in FT volume and dimes at an impressive rate.  He was 17.4/3.0/3.5/0.6/0.3 as a starter last year with 1.5 treys; however, at 41.2% from the field overall, it would’ve been nice to see more like 2.5 treys.  Maybe with a better supporting cast, he can improve on the shooting.  At 6-6, I wouldn’t be surprised to see some small ball E Bled/Knight/Booker line-ups either.

Behind Book, the Suns brought in vet and former Pirate captain Leandro Barbosa for some depth and there’s still Archie Goodwin, who is surprisingly still only 21.  If E Bled or Knight is dealt at the deadline, we could see Goodwin having a role again, even if his FG% and TO rate will destroy ratios like when he started last year…

SF – The Suns stay SUPER boring, and bring back the super character of P.J. Tucker.  Super sucks for T.J. Warren, who has shown a few flashes.  Warren is coming off a broken foot, but is likely to be ready for the start of the season.  Maybe they ease him in and hope Tucker on a cheap contract can garner some trade bait.

PF – Hereeeeeee’s where it gets interesting!  Dammit, not really, I honestly had forgotten about Jared Dudley, even though I just typed his name 20 minutes ago to format this article.  He’s the epitome of boring.  I’m surprised the Nets didn’t sign him…  To be fair, Milk Duds was pretty useful at 10.1/4.1/2.7/1.1/0.2 with 1.8 treys as a starter last year, making 49% from the field with only 1.0 TO.  METRICS WHORE!  The Suns starting SF and PF could start a metrics-brothel.

I’m going to leave Len for the centers, well, the hell with it.  Let’s talk some Alex Len now, because even though he’s likely gonna pick up more 5 minutes than the 4, he might fit in some PF run too.  The Suns hate him though.  HATE HIM!  After giving us some sexy flashes last year (13.7/11.2/2.1 March with a pretty sizable FT volume), they bring in Milk Duds as a smaller stretch 4 and it’ll be tough to see Len cracking much more than 25 overall minutes.  Despite his height, he’s not the best shot blocker and he shoots a lot of mid-range so his FG% isn’t great either.

Then to project #1 – Marquese Chriss.  He was flying up draft boards in the days leading up to the big night, and I think the Suns got a steal here.  Unfortunately his Summer Ball numbers weren’t great, shooting 33% from the field, missed all 7 of his treys, and averaged 3.33 TO and 5.33 fouls a game.  That said, I think he has a better chance of staying on the roster than project #2 since the Suns have less PF depth…

C – …but they loaded at center!  Including the dynamic, spry, other-worldly ability of the one and only Tyson Chandler.  Your starter, ladies and gentleman!  Although as much as Slim likes to slam ol’ Tyson, he actually had a decent second half of 8.9/10.3/1.2/0.5/0.8 in his last 33 games, shooting 63.3% from the field and 60% FT in a very low volume.  Rebounds is a cat, Slim!  I’ll like Chandler over say, Julius Randle?  And it makes sense for the Suns to start him and play him 26-27 MPG out of the gate, to try and drum up some trade value.

Len is likely to play more here than PF, but if there’s any leftovers, it could go to project #2 – Dragan Bender.   Bender also struggled in Summer League – playing even worse than Chriss – shooting 27.5% from the field and averaging 3.8 TO with a 50% FT clip.  Yuck.  I think D League is Bender’s short-term future, but maybe they let him stay up with the big boys and play junky junky time.  Also something LeBron calls his – –  You get the picture.

 

JB’s 2016-17 Projection: 30-52

Even though they’re rebuilding, if the guards stay healthy they will be better than last year.

  1. v00dr00 says:
    (link)

    What round are we taking these G’s in 9-cat? Being EBled, Knight, and Booker.

    • JB Gilpin

      JB Gilpin says:
      (link)

      @v00dr00: Great question, E Bled probably 2/3, Knight in 6th for me (I could see his ADP being 5th), Booker… That’s the hardest one. Maybe 9 or 10, but I could see sleeper buzz on him having him fly all over the place

      • v00dr00 says:
        (link)

        @JB Gilpin: Feels weird typing this, but I’m leaning towards picking Booker over the rest of the lot as a “safe” pick, even though Booker is still far from a proven commodity at this stage in his career. I’ve been bitten by the injury bug one too many times, so unless there is a ton of slippage in my drafts, then it’s likely I won’t get any of these guys esp. with the potential that someone will be overbuzzy with Book.

        • JB Gilpin

          JB Gilpin says:
          (link)

          @v00dr00: That’s not too weird for me, but I think that kind of thinking might push that sleeper buzz I mention and push him to an ADP where it’s too high vs. “safe-ness”. Knight I would never feel great on. if Bledsoe fell to the 3rd, I think I could invest there

  2. Lasandro says:
    (link)

    No Markieff Morris talk?

    • JB Gilpin

      JB Gilpin says:
      (link)

      @Lasandro: I dunno how I forgot him as a key loss! I think I looked at end of year roster… But not too much to talk about beyond that 🙂

  3. DORIAN says:
    (link)

    This team has a weird mix of players, almost all with questions: Bledsoe/injury, knight/injury-minutes, Len/minutes, Chandler/age-diminishing minutes. The rookies are RAW as fuck, and Booker is about the only sure thing on this team – and will be overpriced for how THRAGNOFy he will be with Bledsoe back. But let me speak on the guy I think has the best profit potential on this team from a fantasy standpoint.

    I was sad that when Len got off the leash last season he pretty much imploded from the added responsibility. However, I still like his profit potential as a big that can score, rebound, block and hit free throws – and that face plant probably made him cheaper to get in drafts this year. Add to that Chandler is wilting with age and the R.A.F. rookies and I think Len becomes the key big man for that team.

    • JB Gilpin

      JB Gilpin says:
      (link)

      @DORIAN: 100% agree. I think they did the right thing though, bringing in raw upside-y rookies.

      Mehhh, his block numbers I think will always be overrated, they were pretty awful given his size last year. I certainly agree he will be a key big, probably as the season goes on, but even so I think his fantasy upside is a little limited due to low blocks, bad FG%, no 3s…

      • DORIAN says:
        (link)

        @JB Gilpin:

        Agree, if his development stopped last year then he probably isn’t worth it. But, it is also common knowledge that the learning curve for the NBA might be the hardest for big men. His situation actually reminds me of his co-C Tyson Chandler who people were speculating was a bust until he left Chicago and finally had enough seasoning to blossom.

        All I’m saying is that Len should have a better sense of what it takes too be good after being in that crucible, most importantly has the opportunity to play, and, if he progresses to be even 10% better this year (very achievable), then he could very easily turn a fantasy profit.

        • JB Gilpin

          JB Gilpin says:
          (link)

          @DORIAN: Definitely agree with that. I just think blocks usually translate earlier than later. FG% boost could come, but then it goes back out the other ear if he tries to add 3s.

          I’m certainly not saying he should be left for dead and has no upside. But for 10 or 12ers he might be tough to own until Chandler is traded or Len gets 30+ MPG

  4. Nick says:
    (link)

    Man I don’t know what to do with Len either. In dynasty would you trade him + Barton for mirotic?

    • JB Gilpin

      JB Gilpin says:
      (link)

      @Nick: Mehhhh, I’m honestly not so huge on any of the 3 haha. I think Mirotic has the most upside though, I think I’d do that

      • Nick says:
        (link)

        @JB Gilpin:
        Yeah neither am I, he just might be what’s available for trades at this point. Any thoughts on Ryno’s stock? He might be available as well

        • JB Gilpin

          JB Gilpin says:
          (link)

          @Nick: It’s certainly a great situation. Could be a home run on that team if he stays healthy, and he really fits their PF needs well. I might do that one

  5. Dante Green says:
    (link)

    PJ Tucker be like 4 points in 56 minutes (double OT). Mann, I don’t know why he’s still on the team!!
    Him and Chandler have got to go!!!!!!!!!!!!! And Knight too!!!!

    • JB Gilpin

      JB Gilpin says:
      (link)

      @Dante Green: Hah it is pretty likely that all 3 of those are moved by the deadline! I hearby rename you “GM Dante Green”

  6. A Hill O' Beans says:
    (link)

    “They’re high,” Rose said. “I mean, with these teams right now, they’re saying us and Golden State are the super teams, and they’re trying not to build that many super teams, and Adam Silver came out with the statement and this and that.”
    ~ Derrick Rose on the expectations for the Knicks

    Hahahahaha! I’m sorry, what?!?!? Who in the world are the “they” that are saying this, because I’m pretty sure I’ve never heard anyone call the Knicks a super team, haha. I think Derrick Rose should get a psych eval…

    • JB Gilpin

      JB Gilpin says:
      (link)

      @A Hill O’ Beans: You glossed over the key word. The quote was about to be “they’re high, but not as high as me right now!” [cough, cough]… I’m guessing it was the synthetic stuff so he could pass the drug tests, unlike Le’Veon Bell…

  7. Slim

    Slim says:
    (link)

    I dont want to be saying this but I think I’m in on Bender in REL, at least till $15-$20. I know the Summer League stats are bad but I saw other things that impressed me. Big one is that he played a lot of SF. Yeah i know he’s tall but he’s also silky smooth, dare I say more athletic than Goose? They are different kinds of players though. The coaches are all raving about his BBall IQ. I’m getting an ‘NBA ready far sooner than anticipated’ kind of vibe.

    Here I know… Over/Under – Benders minutes after the real world trade deadline – 23 min?

    • v00dr00 says:
      (link)

      @Slim: This right here. I might need to bite in my dynasty draft.

      • JB Gilpin

        JB Gilpin says:
        (link)

        @Slim: @v00dr00: Wow, SF? Can he keep up on D with SF? Whewwwww, that’s a great line to set post deadline. I’ll say under still though

        • Foreign Affairs says:
          (link)

          @Slim: @v00dr00: @JB Gilpin: I think im going to be bullish and say over 23 minutes after the trade deadline, Dudley, Chandler and Tucker I think are just sticking around to help the transition for their young frontcourt and I could see two of them getting traded, plus I really can see Dragan getting some SF minutes with a Len, Chriss and Dragan lineup. Plus Dragon’s idol who hes been modeling his game after is Kukoc and he used to mostly play sf so I think he can survive out there and not kill the team. Ofcourse this goes out the window if the rumors of them giving Booker some time at the sf are true.

          How much do you guys think investing in Ulis is worth, he had a great summer league and im not sold on the Suns keeping Bledsoe and Knight long term but he is really small. Think he has any Isiah Thomas surprise potential or just another in the long line of guards that did well in summer league then fizzled?

          • JB Gilpin

            JB Gilpin says:
            (link)

            @Foreign Affairs: Mannnn, Len/Chriss/Bender?! I dunno, I think they might get ROCKED on the defensive end. Well, kukoc was like 6’9 right?! Bender at 7’3 or whatever is quite a difference haha.

            I’d lean more towards the latter – summer league standout, meh in the pros. Still might play Goodwin some haha

Comments are closed.