Portland took a step back last year, falling from 3rd in the Western Conference to 9th despite the best efforts of Damian Lillard, who recorded his best season since turning pro. On the face of it, the most glaring difference was the absence of the Bosnian, Jusuf Nurkic, who sat the entire season with a leg injury. Losing Nurkic and later Zach Collins seriously crippled the Blazers, as they were forced to trot out a starting frontcourt of Hassan Whiteside and Carmelo Anthony for much of the season, though Whiteside owners weren’t complaining. The much-maligned big man absolutely demolished his ADP, ranking within the top-20 on the season. Say what you will about Whiteside, but given the minutes, he’s always produced.

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We’ve yet to see this Indiana Pacers team live up to its potential. With cornerstone pieces such as Victor Oladipo, Domantas Sabonis, Myles Turner, and a nice cast of veterans to round out the team, this is a team that’s engineered to compete. But after getting swept for the third time in four years, this time in the first round of the playoffs, the Pacers saw fit to fire head coach Nate McMillan. Former Toronto Raptors assistant coach Nate Bjorkrgren has been hired as McMillan’s replacement as the Pacers look to straighten things out.

Being that the Pacers don’t have a first-round draft pick and Justin Holiday was the only significant player to hit free agency, it looks like barring potential trade talk (of which there has been plenty), the Pacers are going to run it back. It’d be a shame if the Oladipo-led Pacers didn’t get another year to sort things out. Things started out so promising in 2016, with the team pushing LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers to seven games. The Cavs would go on to get swept by the Warriors but let’s be honest, nobody was beating the Warriors that year.

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In 2019-2020, the Charlotte Hornets looked to be a veritable goldmine for fantasy hoops. Practically out of the gate, youngsters Devonte’ Graham, P.J. Washington and Dwayne Bacon all showed themselves to be unexpected sources of production. But by the time the season had ended, Bacon had fallen out of James Borrego’s rotation and only Devonte’ Graham and Terry Rozier found themselves anywhere close to top-100 production. Let’s not dwell on the negatives, though. Charlotte is a land of basketball opportunity. As proof, Graham and Rozier finished 12th and 25th, respectively, in minutes played per game. That’s a lot of minutes for two solid if not All-Star-caliber players, and it bodes well for future talent.

GM Mitch Kupchak has gone on the record saying that the Hornets won’t be buyers in the upcoming free agent class. That’s to be expected considering where the Hornets are currently situated, firmly at the bottom of the Eastern Conference with a good amount of young talent. Of course, they also have the third overall pick in the 2020 Draft. Putting aside the pick, what this means is we can expect the young guys to continue getting all the minutes they can handle and to make improvements on what we saw from them last season.

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If you heard one thing about last year’s Spurs, it was probably about their 22 year playoff streak ending. 22 years! For the first time in what feels like forever, especially to a young guy like me (I’m not bragging, I swear), not only are the Spurs not contenders but—dare I say it?—they don’t even seem particularly good. The 2019-2020 San Antonio Spurs went 32-39, finished 11th in the Western Conference, and their best players in DeMar DeRozan and LaMarcus Aldridge are arguably on the decline, despite both managing to put up very good numbers. They do have the 11th overall pick in the draft, as well as some league-ready young talent which I’ll get to, but aside from that, things are looking a little gloomy in San Antonio. Luckily for us, this is fantasy basketball, where a gloomy record can mean opportunity for young guys to put up numbers.

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