We’ve gone through the Top 25. You’ve made the choice between SUV or sports car. The engine and transmission have been selected and you’re ready to go varoom varooooom. Now it’s time for the meat and potatoes of the squad. How is the interior going to be flushed out? Rims? Of course, but how big? Cost is always a concern but so is supply and demand. Make sure the pieces fit. There’s no reason to get a spoiler if you have a SUV.
This is NOT a rankings list. This list just shows the overall value for a player based on my projections. I go through each team, set the depth chart and allocate minutes accordingly. I figure out the per-minute numbers for every stat as best as I can then use z-scores for each category, which culminates in the overall value. This year, I incorporated totals and replacement value into the equation. Shoutout to Eric Jenike and Guiseppe Racco for showing me the light. If you want to learn more from EJ and GR, listen to episodes 41 and 44 of the Son Pod. Totals help me with allocating the pie for each team which keeps the projections honest. In addition, they factor in games played, which per-minute stats cannot. Is it perfect? Niet but I try my best.
Do NOT draft straight from this list. It is meant only as a guide. It does not factor in ADP, different strategies, and roster construction, which is the most important thing when it comes to fantasy basketball. It’s all about figuring out what puzzle you want to construct then fitting in the appropriate pieces. Drafting Giannis Antetokounmpo requires a completely different build than selecting Stephen Curry in the first round. As a result, subsequent players in the draft pool will be elevated or lose value.
In the stat boxes below each player, FT% and FG% are volume-adjusted.
Alright. Enough. Let’s get to it.
There’s Randall Cunningham. Billy Cunningham. Liam Cunningham. Past them, the Cunningham list isn’t so impressive. I think Cade has a good chance to slide right behind Randall on the Cunningham list. Why? Because he’s freaking good. That’s why! There’s a reason why he went numero uno in the 2021 NBA Draft. He has good measureables, excellent hoops IQ, and I love the pace in which he plays. Never rushed. Always in control, and he’s only 20 years old. Now, as with most rookies, he struggled with turnovers and efficiency last season. That said, the efficiency markedly improved as the season progressed. In 44 games before the All-Star break, he shot 39% from the field. After the break, he was at 45% on three more attempts. The turnovers went up but so did the usage rate, which finished in the 30% range. Cade barely finished as a Top 100 player on a per-game basis last season, but I expect a huge jump. The free-throw shooting is above 80% and the field goal percentage should be good for a guard. He’s going to score, grab boards, dish out those precious dimes, get his 211 on, block more than the average guard, and drain some treys. Randall, better watch yo back!
Float like a butterfly, sting like a bee. Add in having hops like ANT so you can leap over any tree!
Man, his athleticism is Off. The. Charts. That said, he is not strictly an And1 superstar. There’s a reason why he went numero uno in the 2020 NBA Draft. He shot a respectable 35% from downtown last season while providing a little something something in all the counting cats. While the 3.8 dimes aren’t bad, it’s the 21.3 points and 1.5 steals that really stand out. Now, steals are volatile from season-to-season, so he could regress back closer to the 1.1 mark he put up his rookie season. That said, with his athleticism and the addition of Rudy Gobert protecting the rim, it’s within the range of outcomes that he gets closer to 2!
There was a brief moment in time when Vucevic could see the champagne room in the Nikola Pantheon but POOF! Like Kaiser Soze, it was gone. There is no shame in that, though. He is still a VIP member. It’s just that Tesla and Jokic are on a different plane of existence. When he first arrived in Chicago, much of the offense went through him and he averaged over 20 points per game in 26 contests. Then DeMar DeRozan arrived in Chicago last season and the usage and points plummeted to 17.6. He attempted three fewer shots per game. Still, the scoring isn’t bad and he still grabbed double-digit boards while being a 1/1/1 player. He also dished out over three dimes per game while shooting 76% from the line. The field goal percentage is lower than most centers at 47%, but you’re getting so many out-of-position stats that the total package is Nikola-ice. Say that fast three times.
Murray finished as a top 10 player on a per-game basis last season. It will be difficult to replicate that feat this year as the move to Atlanta will bring decreased usage playing alongside Trae Young. That said, that doesn’t mean he can’t be useful for fantasy. The points and dimes will come down but he will still provide a healthy portion of each. Where Murray derives much of his value is from steals. He pilfered 2 a game last season and should approach that number this season as well. With lower usage, the turnovers should come down. The free-throw shooting is good at around 80% while the field goal efficiency should be good with the amount of shooting on the Atlanta squad.
There’s no need to take Rozier in this level. Remember, this list is about overall value. Not a rankings list that incorporates ADP. Once a scary player to own for fantasy due to the awful efficiency (shot sub-40% for the first four years of his career), Rozier has now converted 44% and 45% of his attempts over the last two seasons. From downtown, he’s been at 37% and 39%. The free-throw shooting is excellent and he chips in a healthy amount of boards and dimes. As with most guards, the blocks are light but he does get his 211 on at around a 1.3 clip. He should score around 20 ppg and could see some increased usage with the prospects of Miles Bridges playing decreased. Projection systems love low turnovers. Maybe that’s why you don’t see any at the buffet! Anyways, he had a 1.3 turnover number last season and has been over 2 just once in his career. There’s plenty to like about Terry from a fantasy perspective. No need to be scared anymore.
My wife is very budget conscious. That is one of the many reasons why she is my better half. There have been times that we have gone on vacation, deciding to forgo the popular, more high-priced options for the tier below. Sometimes we have gotten what we paid for. Other times, we have been pleasantly surprised. That is Jrue Holiday in a nutshell for fantasy. He is not sexy by any means but he’s not exhorbiantantly priced either and delivers the goods. You’re getting the dimes that you expect from a point guard and the 1.6 steals are B. U. T. ful. The turnovers are under 3. The free-throw shooting isn’t great at sub-80% but he shot 50% from the field last season and 41% from downtown! His career marks are 46% and 36% respectively so the natural inclination is to scream regression from the hilltops. But, but, but….Not only do I like big butts, I cannot lie, but maybe there’s something to playing in a Budhenholzer system alongside Giannis Antetokounmpo. Since being in Milwaukee, Jrue has played 126 games. He’s shot 50% from the field over that span with a 40% mark from downtown.
According to the publications that my wife drools over, Booker and Jenner were first linked to be a thing back in April 2020. The following NBA season, Booker, averaged a career-high in points, three-point percentage, boards, steals, and blocks while having the lowest turnover rate since his rookie season. The correlation factor is 1:1. That’s the type of hard-hitting analysis that you expect from Razzball. You’re welcome. Booker was eighth in the league with 26.8 points last season and finished as the 19th player on a per-game basis. Much of the same should be expected for this upcoming season. He would lose some value if the steals dip below 1, which is definitely well within the range of outcomes because of the nature of the cat.
Am I drafting Vassell here? Niet. You will be able to get him much, much later. That said, there’s a huge usage vacuum left from the departure of Dejounte Murray. I’m expecting Vassell and Keldon Johnson to soak up most of it. As a result, the field goal attempts and points should skyrocket from the 10.8 FGA and 12.3 points last season. Vassell contributes well in the defensive stats and rebounds decently for the position. The big bugaboos will be the efficiency and lack of dimes. He shot 42% last season and I don’t expect that to increase since he will carry more of the load and defensive attention. One of the main reasons that he gets a boost in value is due to the extremely low turnovers. He was at 0.8 last season. That’s going to increase with more usage but should be well below that of his contemporaries.
Middleton had surgery to repair a torn ligament in his left wrist back in July, but expectations are for him to be ready for the start of the season. There’s some risk but at least he’s not recovering from a lower body injury or his shooting hand. Middleton was drafted in the second round of the 2012 NBA Draft. Michael Kidd-Gilchrist went number two that year! Dion Waiters at 4. Damn, there were some good second rounders that year: Draymond Green, Tomas Satoransky, Jae Crowder, and Will Barton. It took some time for Khris to warm up but, once he did, he became one of the most consistent and solid fantasy producers in the land. 20 points? Check. 5 to 6 boards? Check. 4 to 5 dimes? Check. A steal per game? Check. The percentages are good from both the line and field while he makes it rain from downtown. The only bugaboo is the lack of blocks.
I love Shai. I also love that if you say SGA fast enough, it sounds like Shai. Mr. and Mrs. Gilgeous-Alexander are out here playing 6D chess while we are playing checkers. When he plays, Shai is close to the perfect fantasy player. The usage rate is around 30%, he scores a shit ton of points, rebounds well, dishes out those precious dimes, drains treys, contributes the D (all the ladies in the back go hey!), and provides excellent percentages. The free-throw shooting will be over 80% while he comes close to making 50% of his shots from the field. The turnover rate will likely be under 3 as well. Damn, I want to move him up so bad now. Here’s the thing, though. With Chet Holmgren in the mix, I could have seen the team letting the squad play out things if they were in the mix, and they could have been. With Chet out, the pendulum swings more towards the other way. If they are out of playoff contention or close to it…..
Did you know that Wembanyama has an 8-foot wingspan? Victor Pteradactyl is more like it. Wembanyama has guard-like skills, can shoot from outside, and be a force on defense. He is a true unicorn. If OKC has any chance at pairing him with Chet, Shai, and Giddey, then that is the path that makes the most sense.
We love Toronto players because Nick Nurse loves his guys. But upon further contemplation, does he really love his guys? On one hand, he plays his guys a ton. On the other hand, he plays his guys a ton. A Nurse should be more mindful of the wear and tear that playing his guys 38 minutes per night does. Right? Buehler? I love that Nurse plays his guys.
More minutes equats to more fantasy goodies. Yippee! As long as they don’t die. It’s not just about the minutes, though. P.S. – He’s actually really good at this basketball thing too. He can play one through five if needed, as he has the handles to break down slower defenders on the perimeter to go along with the length to hold his own in the paint. He’s averaged over 20 points in each of the last three seasons and has increased the boards and dimes. He has an outside chance of being a 1/1/1. He blocked 0.6 shots last season but posted a 0.9 number back in 2019. The percentages are good. The free-throw shooting was only 74% last season but was in the 80% range the prior three seasons.
Has Morant missed games in his career? Ja. 25 last season but he only missed nine and five the prior two seasons. Does Morant have issues converting at the line? Ja. He is a career 75% shooter from the charity stripe. That said, he shot over 80% in both college seasons. It’s in the bag. Is Morant good? Ja, Ja and Ja! He’s an athletic freak who is only 22 years old and entering his fourth season in the league. He averaged 27.4 points last season to go along with 5.7 boards, 6.7 dimes and 1.2 steals. We have not seen his ceiling yet. There’s a reason why he was selected number two overall.
By George, I think he’s ____ ? What would you fill in there? I’m going with “gotten hurt again!” After being pretty close to an iron man, playing 81, 75, 79, and 77 games from 2015 to 2018, George has played 48, 54, and 31 games over the last three seasons. The 48 and 54 game seasons were the COVID ones, so those were 72-game seasons. The Clippers have 15 back-to-backs this season, so both Kawhi and George will likely miss close to that number at a minimum. You probably have to sprinkle in a few more, and not just for shits and giggles. A cut here, a bruise there, and voila….another 10 games! On a per-game basis, George is a top 25 player with the potential to be top 10 if things break right.
Double Ds are too much for me. They look disgusting. Someone needs to milk those things! What if they are fake? Well, I truly feel bad for those who have to carry those things. Gonna need a strong back. When they get old, wrinkly and start sagging, yuck, yuck, and yuck. There have been no yucks for the Double D of the NBA, though. DeRozan has aged well like a fine wine. The midrange assassin has continued to slay in the efficiency departments and surprisingly played 36 minutes per game last season while garnering a 31.6% usage rate. There could be some regression this season but I wouldn’t expect the blueprint for the Bulls to change too much. DeRozan is weak in the defensive stats and treys but the points, low turnovers, efficiency, and boards/dimes are pretty, pretty good, especially after the first two rounds have passed.
I love watching nature shows, especially the ones that show a group of babies all growing up together. The trials and tribulations of learning basic survival skills. The goofing around, but the most fascinating parts are when the hierarchy is established. It’s survival of the fittest and the strong move to the top in order to get more food or attention from mom and dad. Often times, they injure or kill their siblings. Regardless of how things shake down, the survivor shines because there are no other worries and the energy is now focused on being the best. Fox was thrown into the mix from the get go, starting 60 games his rookie season at the age of 20. He has shown flashes of brilliance but still has warts to his game, namely the free-throw and three-point prowess. Last season, the Kings traded away Tyrese Haliburton and the nest was all Fox’s. He responded by averaging 29.1 points, 3.9 boards, 7.1 dimes, 1.1 steals, and 2.1 treys while shooting 50% from the field and 75% from the line. Granted, the sample size was only 14 games but it shows the upside. He’s still only 24 years old and will garner a usage rate over 30%.
Inflation is wreaking havoc in all facets of life right now! It’s so bad that the Costco gas lines are nonexistent. At the end of the day, though, things come down to supply and demand. I went into a restaurant the other night and was perusing the menu when……
$100 $50 Beal Parmesan. Whoa, half off? In this economy? Supply and demand. Beal was a top 15 player from 2018 to 2020 but last season, he only played in 40 games due to undergoing surgery on his left wrist. I haven’t heard or read of any setbacks so things look good for a bounceback. He is one of the few players who can average 30 a night, something he did in 2019 and 2020. That shouldn’t be the expectation this season, especially since Porzingis is on the squad now, but somewhere in the mid-20s seems likely.
Will Jarrett bling so bright that sunglasses need to be adorned? Niet. Will Jarrett bring a smile to faces like the women, and men, in that commercial? I think so. The price isn’t exhorbitant and the rock does look good. Where Allen truly shines is in the field goal efficiency, shooting over 60% in the last three seasons with a mark of 67% last year. He won’t kill you in the free-throw department like most bigs, as he converted 70% from the line last season. He scored 16 points per game last season, so you won’t fall behind in points like with other big men later. Finally, he provides those big man stats with around 10 boards and 1.4 blocks. He also contributes a little something something in steals. It’s the overall package that is alluring with Jarrett.
Garland broke out last season and big, big things were expected for this season. Then, the Cavs traded for Donovan Mitchell and…..
His value isn’t completely nuked, though, as he will still contribute a healthy amount of dimes, treys, and points. He is just no longer going to be the alpha.
LaVine tore his ACL back in 2017. He was able to bounce back and become a 20-a-night scorer. The explosiveness remained and he was still able to jump like a flea. In 2022, he was playing through some knee pain and underwent arthroscopic knee surgery. The Bulls extended him to a five-year, $215 million contract over the summer. If the Bulls are that confident, then so am I. Follow the money as many wise men have said. That said, knee issues for a high-flyer like LaVine always make me shiver. When on the court, LaVine is one of the better sources for high-efficiency and high-volume points. He shot 47% from the field, 39% from downtown, and 85% from the line last season. The defensive stats are light but 4.6 boards and 4.5 dimes are pretty nice.
Mikal is the “You’re the type of guy to date my daughter” fantasy player. He doesn’t do anything wrong. Like literally. He hasn’t missed a game in his career, doesn’t turn the ball over, contributes a little something something in every category, and provides pristine percentages. He’s not picking up your daughter at 2 am on a weekday, putting her on the back seat of the motorcycle, and hauling ass at over 100 mph on the streets. Nope. Mikal is texting me for permission first, making sure my daughter has finished all her homework, and driving over in his Prius. There are no tattoos, he doesn’t smoke, the hair is meticulous, and the shoes are spit shined. He’s not winning a week for you but becomes part of a solid foundation.
I can never resist. Here are the numbers with POR and NOP last season:
McCollum was the point guard when he arrived in New Orleans, so saw an increased usage rate. With Zion Williamson back, he will cede usage so the points may not be as voluminous. That said, the dimes should remain and even increase while the efficiency gains should stay. The big oddidity for McCollum’s season was the free-throw shooting. He’s a career 81% from the line. Maybe fatigue from the increased usage? I’d expect that to bounceback this season.
The career arc has been a strange one for Collins. So many ups and downs that Phil could write an entire album. Collins steadily improved then broke out in his third season, putting up 21.6 points, 10.1 boards, 0.8 steals, 1.6 blocks and 1.4 treys while shooting 58% from the field and 80% from the line. He averaged 33.2 minutes per game that season. Then it went downhill. The minutes decreased to 30 and he became the subject of multiple trade rumors. Why? Collins is young, athletic, and efficient. Maybe it’s because he’s not the type of player that you can throw him the ball to get his shot at anytime? I’m not sure. But regardless, that shouldn’t matter this season, as Dejounte Murray and Trae Young form one of the best backcourts in the league, which should provide Collins with plenty of open looks and cheapies. It all comes down to the playing time.
I like Deandre Ayton. Like A-ton. Do the Suns? Well, they did give him a four-year, $132 million extension. Follow the money said the wise man. He and Jarrett Allen are similar in that the overall package is nice and you know what you’re getting. Allen provides more defensive stats but Ayton provides more offensive upside. It comes down whether he gets fed or not. Ayton was 19th in dub-dubs last season and shot 63% from the field. The free-throw shooting is better than most big men at 74%. The blocks are the big question. He ended at 0.7 last season but finished at 1.5 in 2019. He’s still only 23 years old and it’s possible that some of the off-the-court stuff is behind him.
Porzingis is a true unicorn, in that he is rarely seen!
I’ll be here all season. Please leave tips in the hat by the front door. Porzingis played 72 games his rookie season. Since then, it’s been all downhill. After missing the 2018 season due to an ACL injury, he hasn’t played more than 57 games in any season. Now, on a per-game basis, he’s a top 15 player. The efficiency is poor compared to other big men, but that’s because he shoots more from the perimeter. Imagine if he developed a post game. Oh, Lordy. So, you’re getting the big man stats (rebounds and blocks) but with a shit ton of points, excellent free-throw shooting, and treys. The usage rate will also be in the high-20s to low-30s. Playing alongside Bradley Beal should provide him with excellent looks as well. It all comes down to health.
The trade from Indiana to Sacramento didn’t change much for him, as the stats remained similar. The only difference was that he saw an increase in shot attempts. That’s good for fantasy. Indiana was 16th in offensive pace while Sacramento was eighth in pace last season. I don’t see that changing much. If Fox plays like he did at the end of last season, then that would have a positive impact on Sabonis. He is going to score points and grab boards. He finished tied for fourth in dub-dubs last season. The defensive stats are light, which sucks for a big man, but he does provide a nice amount of dimes.