Pearls don’t lie on the seashore. If you want one, you must dive for it.

(Yep, I just dropped a Chinese proverb, so y’all know this article is about to go next level…)

I’ve always found it fun to read – and write – some of the more unconventional or against-the-grain prognostications for the upcoming fantasy basketball season, and it can be a gas to revisit them at various points throughout the year to see if they’re gaining any traction or skidding wildly off the road. It probably goes without saying, but the bolder (see: nuttier) the prediction, the less likely it is to bear fruit. So the intent here is to provide an unpopular – but not unrealistic – take on a player that may actually help you during your fantasy draft. You’re likely to disagree with most (they’d be the consensus if you didn’t) but if I can hit on one akin to last year’s “take a late-round swing at Rudy Gobert and hold him until starter minutes come available,” it can be a season defining gamble. So pick your favorite(s) and let’s go diving for pearls together! (Man, that is without a doubt the least cool analogy I’ve ever come up with. But it’s a call-back to the opening line which I thought was kinda clever, so I’m gonna own it.)

Prepare the hot takes cannon as we fire off 30 bold fantasy basketball predictions (one for each NBA team) for the 2015/2016 season:

ATLANTA HAWKS – Al Horford will post first round fantasy value. The Hawks will follow up a stellar 2014-15 season with a good, but not great campaign that doesn’t afford them the luxury of limiting the minutes (and games played) of their studs. Horford will bounce back up to 32-33 MPG and ride new contributions from behind the arc to a top-12 finish.

BOSTON CELTICS – Tendinitis, shmendinitis. Isaiah Thomas will lead the team in minutes per game, but he’ll do so coming off the bench behind Marcus Smart. IT2/3 will parlay his floor time into a second place finish in Sixth Man of the Year voting while providing fantasy owners with a top-40 asset. (That’s technically three predictions. You’re welcome.)

BROOKLYN NETS – Thomas Robinson will be worth owning in 12-team leagues as early as December. T-Rob will be a strong streaming option for owners in need of rebounds and by the All-Star break (in Toronto!) be owned in over 50% of Yahoo! leagues.

CHARLOTTE HORNETS – Frank “The (S)Tank” Kaminsky will be averaging less than 20 MPG as a borderline rotation player by February. After getting abused early and posting some awful +/- numbers, the playoff-hopeful Hornets will lean towards more reliable options in Cody Zeller and Spencer Hawes down the stretch. Kaminsky won’t be worth a roster spot with value outside the top-200.

CHICAGO BULLS – Preseason sensation (and draft day steal), Bobby Portis will finish the season with higher per-game value than both Taj Gibson and Joakim Noah. Whether due to injury, trade or ineffectiveness, new coach Fred Hoiberg will turn away from his veterans in favor of the rook and Portis will find his way to a top-100 per-game fantasy ranking.

CLEVELAND CAVALIERS – LeBron James will finish the year outside the top-20 in total value and top-12 in per-game value. He will play fewer than 65 games, will average the lowest minutes of his career (currently sitting at 36.1), and after a monstrous season from both Anthony Davis and Kevin Durant, will no longer be regarded as the consensus “best player on the planet.” (Disclaimer: I loathe LeBron. I hate him with a fiery passion typically reserved for crying babies…on a trans-Atlantic red-eye flight…after my iPod and media console have broken and I have no way to drown out the sound…and I have to work the next morning… So this prediction is emotionally-fueled. Just thought you should know.)

DALLAS MAVERICKS – Short & sweet: the Mavs won’t have a single top-50 player on their roster. (Insert the “move along, nothin’ to see here” emoji.)

DENVER NUGGETS – Both Joffrey Lauvergne and Nikola Jokic will finish the season with better fantasy value than Jusuf Nurkic. Why? (I’m glad you asked.) Cascade effect – King Joffrey and the Joker both exceed expectations in the opening month of the season. Nurk rushes his recovery out of fear for losing his spot in the rotation. His knee never gets to 100% health. His play suffers as a result. He loses his spot in the rotation which is what he was afraid of in the first place. (What a dummy, that Nurk.)

DETROIT PISTONS – Everyone’s favorite sleeper, Stanley Johnson (aside – if he’s on all the sharps’ radars he’s no longer a sleeper, by definition, right?), doesn’t start a single game in Motor City and fails to crack the top-120 in total value. Stan Van Gundy (who, BTW, looks more like a street meat vendor than a pro ball coach) decides to roll with Marcus Morris all year blocking the rookie’s path to minutes and production.

GOLDEN STATE WARRIORS – After missing the 50/40/90 club by a hair last year, Steph Curry misses ALL THREE of those benchmarks in 2015/2016. However, his assists rise to 8.5 per game as complimentary players such as Harrison Barnes and Draymond Green chow down on a larger piece of the offensive pie.

HOUSTON ROCKETS – Nobody in Houston’s backcourt rotation benefits (in the fantasy world) from the addition of Ty Lawson, as the minutes and usage rate are distributed far more evenly than last year. Each of James Harden, Lawson, and Patrick Beverley fail to post value at or above their ADP.

INDIANA PACERS – Despite having missed only two games over the last three years combined, Monta Ellis struggles with health, forcing Paul George to be the NBA leader in usage rate (narrowly beating out Damian Lillard). Despite a less-than-stellar FG%, PG13 takes all that opportunity and is a top-8 fantasy asset at seasons end.

LOS ANGELES CLIPPERS – The basketball gods don’t look favorably upon DeAndre Jordan‘s summer of cowardice (handling of Mavs situation) and stupidity (refusal to work on shooting mechanics to improve FT%), and the Clips’ big man sees a negative regression in rebounds, blocks and FG% – the only things that make him attractive to fantasy owners.

LOS ANGELES LAKERS – Kobe Bryant dips a toe in the fountain of youth and posts top-36 per game value. Despite frustration amongst owners in leagues with weekly lineup locks, daily swap-out owners enjoy themselves a valuable asset who only sits on back-to-backs. (Lakers still miss the playoffs though…’cause, Lakers.)

MEMPHIS GRIZZLIES – Brandan Wright eclipses the 20 MPG mark for the first time in his career and parlays that into top-100 fantasy value.

MIAMI HEAT – Gerald Green leads the Heat in 3-pointers made. Capitalizing on the declining health and skills of starting wings, Dwyane Wade and Luol Deng, Green becomes an elite streaming option during certain points of the season. He’s also a helluva DFS value play on nights when Wade sits.

MINNESOTA TIMBERWOLVES – Ricky Rubio finds a way to put together 75+ healthy games and leads the NBA in total assists.

MILWAUKEE BUCKS – Not unlike the Mavericks, the Bucks don’t feature a single player with top-50 total value by the end of the year. Though each of Greg Monroe, Khris Middleton, and Giannis Antetokounmpo find a home inside the top-100, the balanced roster and wonky rotations of Jason Kidd don’t allow anyone to really shine.

NEW ORLEANS PELICANS – Ryan Anderson wins NBA Sixth Man of the Year, playing over 30 MPG off the bench and connecting on over 200 3-pointers. He’s a top-60 player.

NEW YORK KNICKS – Robin Lopez averages a double-double for the first time in his career (previous career-high is 8.5 RPG) for a Knicks team that slides into the 8th playoff seed in the East.

OKLAHOMA CITY THUNDER – With a stacked and healthy roster, Russell Westbrook takes an enormous usage rate hit, precipitating a fall outside the top-15 fantasy players. Westbrook continues to lay bricks from long range and (at times) butts heads with new coach, Billy Donovan over shot selection and ball security. The Thunder are still legitimate title contenders in the Spring, but the road to get there is made of gravel.

ORLANDO MAGIC – Aaron Gordon finishes the season as a more valuable fantasy asset than teammate, Tobias Harris. Book it.

PHILADELPHIA 76ERS – Nik Stauskas overcomes a lost pre-season and enjoys a green light to shoot from deep all year. Sauce Castillo gets hot (get it? – hot Sauce…Castillo) and rides confidence – both his and his coach’s – to 150 triples for the season.

PHOENIX SUNS – Markieff Morris gets traded before the deadline. (I told you to fire up the hot takes cannon!) But seriously, ‘Kieff packs his bags and Mirza Teletovic becomes a top-80 player for the final two months of the season.

PORTLAND TRAILBLAZERS – Mason Plumlee is a more valuable fantasy asset than Meyers Leonard. Plumdog hustles himself to averages of 11 PPG, 8 RPG and over a block per contest. Meanwhile, Leonard gets ice cold from deep and falls into a frustrating time-share at the 4 with the likes of Ed Davis, Noah Vonleh, and Al-Farouq Aminu (in small ball lineups).

SAN ANTONIO SPURS – Patty Mills gets hot from deep early in the year and forces Pop to play him 22-24 MPG. 150 3-pointers and a double-digit scoring average follow. Fantasy owners stream the Aussie ThrAGNOFer to nice returns.

SACRAMENTO KINGS – TWO of DeMarcus Cousins, Rajon Rondo or George Karl are no longer employed by the Kings when the calendar flips to 2016. With better-than-even money on Rondo being one of those two, Darren Collison is a top-50 player from January 1st on.

TORONTO RAPTORS – Patrick Patterson is the steal of every fantasy draft! (Kidding, JB – please still let me write for Razzball.) DeMarre Carroll doesn’t even come close to justifying his fat contract and regresses across the board. He falls outside the fantasy top-80 (after posting a top-50 finish a year ago in Hotlanta).

UTAH JAZZ – Gordon Hayward takes another step forward and joins fellow swingmen Kawhi Leonard, Jimmy Butler, and Klay Thompson in the overall top-15 conversation. Hayward just narrowly misses out on a 20/5/5 season, but is looking at LeBron James and Carmelo Anthony in his rearview mirror.

WASHINGTON WIZARDS – Otto Porter threatens to average a three, a steal, and a block per game in a ~32 MPG role. He falls just short on blocks, but lands well inside the fantasy top-100 for a Wizards team boasting one of the best 1 thru 3 lineups in the league.

 

Now comes the fun part for you, the reader, to add your two cents (which ultimately means nothing to me since my country did away with the penny). Chime in below via the comments to share which prediction you think has the best shot at coming true. Which one(s) is bat-crap crazy? And feel free to offer a prediction or three of your own.

As always, if you want to have a chat in 140 characters or less, come find me on the Twitter @moneyballmatty. Cheers!

  1. Jeremy says:
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    Wow I see the same thing as you on Horford, rubio and otto LOL that’s why I picked them, well I was forced to pick rubio at pick 80 in a 16 team h2h league but yea if he can play 75+ he will be top 4 in assists

    • Jeremy says:
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      @Jeremy:

      I guess I could write that Reggie Jackson will finish as a top 40 player. I also see him as a top 5 assists guy, just behind Chris Paul, John wall, and ahead of curry and rubio.

      P.s I have Reggie too xd super bais.

      • Mike says:
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        @Jeremy: Westbrook should have more assists except for Chris Paul.

        • Mike says:
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          @Mike: I have Westbrook, Jackson and Teague
          as my top 3 guards, I hope Jackson field goal percentage is higher this year.

      • Matty

        Matty says:
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        @Jeremy: Yep, Reggie is going to have a big year and should be among the leaders at his position in all the popcorn stats (PTS/AST/REB). It’ll be the percentages and steals/3s that will determine whether he’s a top-30 player or top-60 player.

    • Matty

      Matty says:
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      @Jeremy: Horford is primed for a big year in ATL. I doubt he’s going to all of a sudden drop in 100 threes, but any contributions there are a boon to his already stellar game. He’s a target for me even in 8-cat.

      Rubio just needs to stay healthy. Minnesota is going to be a fun team to watch if he is “right” and I think Wiggins & KAT are going to really enjoy having him pilot the ship.

  2. SB says:
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    Any thoughts on my team?

    14 team H2h League
    9cat – FG%, FT%, 3ptm.Pts, Rbs, Ast, St,Blk, TO

    PG – Lawson
    PG,SG – G.Dragic, L. Williams
    SG,SF – Harden, Hayward, Korver, Tucker
    PF,C – Randolph, Diengm
    C – M.Gasol, Hibbert,WC Stein, Henson

    I’m thinking of dropping Lou Williams for McDermott or Snell? Who is the better option?

    • Matty

      Matty says:
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      @SB: Really, really nice top 3 (especially for a 14er) with Harden, Gasol & Hayward. Not in love with your PGs, but I do like your front court depth with Dieng and Henson primed for huge value boosts if any big in MIN or MIL gets bitten by the injury bug.

      Lou Will is a tough stash because there are so many back court options in LAL to start the year. If you’re set on dropping him for one of the Bulls’ wingmen, I’d lean towards Snell. But I think that 3 spot in CHI is going to be a platoon approach with bits of Butler (small lineups), Snell, McDermott, and Mirotic (big lineups).

  3. Slim

    Slim says:
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    Doesn’t Patterson have to get drafted to be the steal of the draft? I keed.

    Stanley Johnson is certainly possible but is that assuming Ilyasova plays all 82? If Ilyasova misses one game then doesn’t Marcus move to the 4 and Stanley start at the 3? If KCP misses a game does Meeks move into the starting lineup? I’m not so sure.

    I’m with you on LeBron and if you listened to the F&F podcast there was NO WAY I was going to sit idly by and let JB take him. Not a chance! I have 6 teams and no LeBron. I’m good with that.

    Here’s mine: Wiggins will average 1.2/1.2/1.0 3s, stls, blks and Rotoworld will at some point call him a “bust”.

    Another: CJ McCollum will shoot under 41% on over 16 attempts per game and at some point Rotoworld will call him “elite”. Oh and his A:TO ratio will be under 2:1. And at some point on the podcast me and JB will argue between McCollum, Kobe, DeRozan for who is worse for your FG%.

    • CTMN says:
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      @Slim: Yeah sometimes rotoworld is so freaking annoying blowing air up someone’s…

      • Matty

        Matty says:
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        @CTMN: I actually like it (most of the time) when they are irrationally high on a given player. Because they have such a vast readership, you can take advantage of that and fade the high risk players they’re planting their flag in. McCollum is the PERFECT example this year.

        • CTMN says:
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          @Matty: Haha never thought of it that way…well, good way to look at the positives.

          • Matty

            Matty says:
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            @CTMN: Always looking for that advantage, brother!

    • Matty

      Matty says:
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      @Slim: Ha – yeah, 2Pat is probably going to fall off a lot of radars entirely after this disaster of a preseason. The starting 4 spot was presented to him on a silver platter and he essentially got up and left the table. It’s going to be a season-long issue for the Raps and I bet each of 2Pat and Scola start 30 games this year.

      Who knows what SVG will do in the event of an injury to the starting 2/3/4 positions in DET. Johnson has looked really good this preseason and he probably deserves a starting spot right from jump street, but some coaches are stubborn and/or don’t want to give prized rooks too much, too soon.

      Wow – that is bold for Wiggins! He’s going to have to get a lot more aggressive on D with only 0.6 BPG last year in 36+ mins. And the Wolves just added a great rim protector in KAT (plus Dieng off the pine). If you’re right, AW will crush his ADP and we’ll be talking about taking him in the top-20 at this time next year.

      I was driving the CJM train late last year and had him on my roster for the last few weeks of the season. I also got excited about what he flashed in the playoffs, but apparently everyone else did too. Now he is suuuuch a trendy “sleeper” pick there’s absolutely no profit/upside in where you have to draft him. And with low-40s FG% very possible and uncertainty around STLs & ASTS, his floor is pretty low. Probably an avoid now.

    • Woo says:
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      @Slim: Nice : )

  4. Shawn says:
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    Hey guys
    I just got offered Portis and Nikola Miro for batum?
    What do you think?
    I’m debating dropping koufus and doing it
    Bad call?!
    Thx guys hope all is welll

    • Matty

      Matty says:
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      @Shawn: Depends what stats you need, Shawn. I’m not that high on Mirotic relative to others I’ve seen…even with the likelihood of him as the starting 4. I am bullish on Portis towards the end of the season as I can see Taj getting moved or one of the elder statesmen (Pau/Joakim) struggling to stay healthy. Even still, I prefer Batum as I’m a believer in his chances for a bounceback campaign. Could be a nice source of 3s, ASTs and some decent defensive stats. And the fact that you’d have to drop Koufos (who will have more out-of-the-gate value than Portis) pushes this towards a “don’t do the trade” recommendation from me.

    • Shawn says:
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      @Shawn:

      Thanks guys!! Good call! Like always

      • Matty

        Matty says:
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        @Shawn: Happy to help, Shawn. Hit us back here (in the comments of any Razzball article) if you’ve got more trades you want to bounce off us throughout the season.

  5. Michael says:
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    someone offered goran dragic and david lee for my Giannis Antetukumpo and Jimmy Butler in 9 cat roto

    I turned it down or am I tripping for turning it down?

    • @Michael: don’t give up 1st ish round talent, hold butler , good move man

    • Matty

      Matty says:
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      @Michael: Hey Michael – that’s an easy pass for me. I wouldn’t trade Butler by himself for Dragic/Lee. I definitely wouldn’t do it if I had to throw in Alphabet. You made the right call turning it down, without a doubt.

  6. Alright guys, had my 18 man live auction last night, 14 dudes in a room, 4 on skype, it was a great time. It’s a keeper, fantasy points league, daily line ups, here’s the scoring configs:

    Points = 1
    Rebs = 1.7
    Treys = 4
    Assists =3
    Steals =4.4
    Blocks = 6.5

    Kinda wonky, but the leagues been running 20 years….. It’s normal to us!

    We can keep up to 4, and then fill out our top 8 with our money then we snake for 5 rounds. Again interesting format, and fun…..

    I kept $56 harden, $31 Monroe, $10 Covington, & $9 Danny green and went in with $94 to buy my first 4 guys. Here’s what I bought:

    $50 BIG KAT Karl Anthony towns
    $26 Ty Lawson
    $1 Marcus Morris
    $2 Isaiah Canaan

    All of these guys immediately go up a few bucks according to our sliding scale, anyone under $10 (so Morris and Caanan, will go up to $10) I ended up leaving $15 on the table, which sucks but that’s how it went down!

    Reserve draft is a snake, first pick is a $9 player and so on…..

    $9 Tyson chandker
    $7 Shane Larkin
    $5 Langston Galloway
    $3 Dwight Powell
    $1 nemanja bjelica!

    Yep this league gets hairy at the end…….

    What’s your thoughts? THANKS!

    • CTMN says:
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      @Trophy Tony: Powell looks like a great pick imo

    • Matty

      Matty says:
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      @Trophy Tony: Hey TT – thanks for hitting us back! I remember you commenting in a previous article and trying to decide whether or not to make a move and get some more cash to play with at auction or stand pat with…was it Oladipo? It was Danny Green & money or ‘Dipo and a smaller bankroll, right?

      Looks like you went in with the $94 and came out with a potential stud in that scoring format – KAT is going to be dynamite even if he’s only getting 28 MPG.

      Not sure what other PGs go for, but I’m not a big Lawson guy this year. If Harden gets bit, Ty will be big…but Beard knows how to stay healthy, so you can’t rely on that. Lawson won’t be terrible, but he’s not going to be Denver Ty either. And with declining steals and FT% numbers, he’s going to have a hard time offsetting lower usage/volume stats in HOU.

      Marcus Morris is a good get at a buck. I also like Chandler as your first snake draft pick. You’ve got a solid core group and some fringe players who could surprise if things break right in front of them.

      Good luck this year.

  7. CTMN says:
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    I’m anything but a Clipper fan, and I like to root against them but DeAndre ‘s FT form actually looked much better in preseason. No reason for him to regress.

    • Matty

      Matty says:
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      @CTMN: Yeah, there are certainly worse shooting mechanics out there, but when you are only a few months removed from a high-volume .397 mark and are a major liability to your team down the stretch of close games, you just can’t answer the “what have you done to address your FT issues?” question with the following: “Nothing different. Same.” At least a guy like Drummond has acknowledged that it’s an issue and to take the next step as a player, he has been working with a shooting coach who is calling .500 for the season a win. It’s not great, but it’s progress, right?

  8. Adam

    Adam says:
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    Love all of these except for the LBJ prediction (I think he regresses, but not to that extent). Also, I think the suns keep Morris. If they would have been willing to trade him, I think they would’ve in the preseason. Plus, I doubt the other GMs want a player with that attitude, so he has a lot of proving to do in that area.

    Awesome article man! Love the IT, Ryan Anderson, and Milwaukee predictions, in particular.

    • Matty

      Matty says:
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      @Adam: Thanks, man. Appreciate you reading the article and glad to hear you liked it.

      I know you love you some LeBron and we’ve got our gentlemen’s bet (same benchmarks as my “bold prediction”) for the season. I feel good about it, just as I’m sure you do from your end. And that’s the best part – LBJ is a polarizing guy for what feels like the first time in his career. He’s no longer that surefire top-5 guy…there is variance here now because he requires maintenance after accumulating so many miles.

      Ryan Anderson is to me what CJ McCollum is to Rotoworld – I’m unreasonably high on him because of what he has flashed in the past, but everything has to break right for him to hit on the lofty expectations I have. I just love the opportunity he has on a paper thin Pellies roster with a new pace & space coach and a frontcourt running mate who will demand all the attention. In 30 MPG, Ryno is going to beast.

      I love some of the individual pieces in Milwaukee and I really wish they had a coach who didn’t monkey around with the rotations/lineups so much. Especially with a guy like Henson who could have outstanding value as a reserve, but it just doesn’t look like Kidd will give him over 20 minutes with any sort of consistency.

      • Adam

        Adam says:
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        @Matty: LBJ’s value is going to hinge a lot on the amount of run he gets. With normal run, he’d easily break first round value, but the odds of his playing time being definitively lower, makes the bet interesting.

        Definitely agree about Ryno. Top 50 value, is simply a matter of health for him.

        Milwaukee’s biggest problem is a lack of identity. Everyone on the team is young and seems to think they’re the superstar. If Middleton and Monroe were elevated as the main playmakers, and go-to guys, I think the system would function much more effectively. Instead, you never know who will lead the team in shots etc. It’s an extremely frustrating fantasy, and real life, situation, with all the young talent there.

        • Matty

          Matty says:
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          @Adam: Good point about lack of identity in Milwaukee. I also don’t see any dominant or “killer” personalities on that team either. I wouldn’t go so far as to say “soft,” but MCW, Middleton, Giannis, Monroe all seem like good players who are happy to be in the NBA and collecting a big pay check. Haven’t seen anything from any one of them to suggest they’ve got that “gimme the damn ball and get outta my way” mentality, you know? But they’re all still young and maybe trying to figure out what their niche in this league (and on this team) is.

  9. hisXLNZ says:
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    Wazzzuuuup razzball freaks! Im in a buy in 14 team 9 cat h2h this time and here’s my team….
    Wag Magdeny..Aminu!!
    1. (11) John Wall (Was – PG)
    2. (18) LaMarcus Aldridge (SA – PF,C)
    3. (39) Brook Lopez (Bkn – C)
    4. (46) George Hill (Ind – PG,SG)
    5. (67) Emmanuel Mudiay (Den – PG)
    6. (74) Tyson Chandler (Pho – C)
    7. (95) Al-Farouq Aminu (Por – SF,PF)
    8. (102) Lou Williams (LAL – PG,SG)
    9. (123) Marcus Morris (Det – SF,PF)
    10. (130) Jeff Green (Mem – SG,SF)
    11. (151) Arron Afflalo (NY – SG,SF)
    12. (158) Andrew Bogut (GS – C)
    13. (179) Nene Hilario (Was – PF,C)
    14. (186) Josh Smith (LAC – SF,PF)

    15th spot is for IL, and im planning to pull the plug on Nene…. I know I was a lil bit on a reach when I got into several picks…. which stats should I target when I drop mr. Hilario?

    • Matty

      Matty says:
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      @hisXLNZ: What’s good, hisXLNZ?

      Love the Wall pick at 11th overall – locking up a tough-to-chase cat like assists early is key. There might not be anyone better than Wall this year in dimes, so you’ve got yourself a truly elite option there.

      Not in love with LMA at 18th. He’s going to have to mesh almost perfectly with the established pieces in San Antonio to post top-20 value. Not out of the realm of possibility, but I’d say he’s more likely to be 30th than he is 15th at season’s end.

      Hill is a nice pick, and though he’s not a “sexy” selection, savvy owners can appreciate his 9-cat contributions.

      I think you need some points as Wall is going to be one of the lower average first rounders in that cat, so you start behind the 8-ball. LMA and BroLo should chip in their fair share, but then guys like Hill, Chandler, Aminu, etc. aren’t going to be filling it up.

      You could also use some help in blocks as Aldridge isn’t a prolific rim protector. Chandler will help and Bogut (if healthy) can chip in….it’s a tough category (like assists) to find on the wire.

      Good luck this year.

  10. Luigi Alejandrino says:
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    I just chose Otto Porter over Stanley Johnson late in my draft so I hope you’re right. I did it because of his guaranteed role. I’m with you with Collison and that’s why I consistently reach for him.

    • Matty

      Matty says:
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      @Luigi Alejandrino: Hey Luigi – I think you made a wise choice, my friend. If you were to tell me that both would start 75 games at 30 minutes per, I’d probably lean towards Stanley…but you’re relying on something inherently unpredictable (i.e. an injury to select DET players) to pave the way for StanJo to start and get heavy run, whereas Otto already has it. And while picks beyond 100 are a good spot to take risks and look for upside, there’s still something to be said for the safety of a known starter/minutes role.

      And re: Collison – yeah, Rondo is a disaster. He’ll wear out his welcome pretty quickly in SAC because that organization is so incredibly dysfunctional and Rajon struggles even in the most stable of environments. Collison is effort & guts (plus talent) and he’ll look like a rockstar next to the petulant Rondo.

  11. Ghislain says:
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    Hi all, I discovered your blog a few weeks before my draft and I have to say I Iike your style and I’ve taken some of your advice. Here is my team for a 10 teams 9 -cat H2H:

    6) C. Paul
    15)R. Gobert
    26) P. Gasol
    35) R. Gay
    46) A. Wiggins
    55) H. Whitside
    66) I. Thomas
    75) E. payton
    86) G. Dieng
    95) T. Jones
    106) E. Ilyasova
    115) J. Jack
    126) M. Turner

    I didn’t want whiteside but figure I was getting good value so took him for a trade. Any thoughts on what I should look to improve ? Btw both D. Russel and J. Clarkson are available in my league, should I snatch one of them?

    Thanks, and great blog

    • Matty

      Matty says:
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      @Ghislain: I’m glad you found us, Ghislain. Even happier to hear you’ll be sticking around because you like the content. You’ll probably find that the comments sections are often as helpful as the articles themselves.

      On its face, it’s a really nice team. But when you drill down, it’s kind of a mixed bag for things like FT% – you’ve got studs in that category like CP3, Gay, IT2…but then you’ve got guys who are going to really hurt it like Whiteside, Elfrid, Jones. You’re really solid in what I believe are the two most difficult cats to chase off the wire and that’s ASTs (CP3, IT2, Elfrid, Jack) and BLKs (Rudy, Pau, Whiteside, Dieng). I think your weak spot is going to be in 3PMs unless you get better than expected production from Wiggins and Ilya.

      I think I prefer Clarkson (now that we know the shoulder issue isn’t really an “issue” at all) over Ilya and Turner, and maybe even Jack…though I think JJ is a better first-half player and Clarkson is going to do his work post-ASB.

      • Ghislain says:
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        @Matty: Yeah looks like a whole lot goes on here indeedm and thanks for the input. I think you are right, hence why I’m trying to trade Hassan for a higher FT% shooter. I was even thinking Gortat for Whiteside (the team who has Gortat also has D. Jordan), I wouldn’t get the most value out of Whiteside maybe but Gortat looks like he will be solid all season. Otherwise I target another Pg/Sg, maybe Walker or Knight (also in that D. Jordan team). What do you think?

        I also took your suggestion and grabbed Clarkson instead of Myles Turner, seeing as I’m heavy on the blocks already and besides, I doubt anyone will pick him up immediately in my league.

        • Matty

          Matty says:
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          @Ghislain: Love me some Gortat and I think he fits your team build a bit better. Hassan posts the flashy lines, but he’ll also kill you at the stripe some weeks and appears to be accumulating quite a few bumps & bruises already this preseason. Gortat is more steady but he gives you a lot more peace of mind when he’s in your active lineup.

          Good call grabbing Clarkson and letting Turner go. One thing to consider at the outset is that Indy only has ONE four-game week in the first seven weeks of the season. The Lakeshow have THREE, so you’re getting a bit more opportunity for production there. Not a huge difference, but perhaps enough to make you feel that much more confident about the move. Maybe look to snag Turner once his minutes start to rise or in early- to mid-December when the Pacers have a busier schedule.

  12. SheriffMcRawDawg says:
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    Hey Matty – drafting in 20 minutes, just found out I’m 5th overall pick. Who would you start out with in a 20 teamer, h2h 9 cat?

    thanks man!

    • SheriffMcRawDawg says:
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      @SheriffMcRawDawg: alright just drafted went with CP3 – not in love with it, but let me know what you think! thanks

      PG – CP3 (1, #5)
      SG – Hill (4, #76)
      G – Jack (6, #116)
      SF – Waiters (9, #165)
      PF – Favors (2, #36)
      F – Leonard (5, #85)
      C – Gortat (3, #45)
      Util – Aaron Gordon (7, #125)
      Util – Myles Turner (8, #156)
      Bn – Wroten (10, #196)
      Bn – Nitro Robinson (11, #205)
      Bn – Capela (12, #236)

      • Matty

        Matty says:
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        @SheriffMcRawDawg: Hey man – ok, here’s some thoughts:

        1) You did really well for a 20-teamer!
        2) Favorite pick would be either Gordon @ 125 or Capela @ 236 – both are great values at those spots
        3) Least favorite pick is Dion Waiters probably. I just don’t think he’s going to post top-200 value with bad FG% and his discomfort in the past having to defer to teammates who are higher on the shot-taking totem pole.
        4) You did a great job with your front court players as far as finding complimentary stats – Gortat & Favors are your Steady Eddy players; Meyers gives you 3s and boards and will be good from the stripe; Gordon gives you all the defensive goodies with tantalizing upside; and Turner could chip in really nice blocks with positive shooting as well.

        It’ll be interesting to see when Wroten is ready to come back and what kind of role he’s going to have with so much uncertainty in the Philly back court. Just be careful with him because his weighted FT% could really take away from that being a positive category for you.

        Good luck this year, Sheriff!

        • SheriffMcRawDawg says:
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          @Matty: Thanks a lot man!

          Question –

          Because Waiters is my only SF – drop him for Bazemore, Lamb, Snell or Stephenson?

          Also, with the Ish Smith news, should I drop or hang on to Nate for now?

          Lineups lock for the week with the first game – would you go Nate or Jarret Jack (little banged up) this week?

          Thanks again!

          • Matty

            Matty says:
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            @SheriffMcRawDawg: Yeah, I’d drop Waiters for Baze. The Hawks play a ton during the first month of the season so you can get lots of games from him to insulate you from his inconsistency. Waiters has no path to minutes or shots right now and I doubt anyone will pounce on him if you toss him into the FA pool.

            Eesh, Jack or Nate Dogg…I wish there was more clarity re: Jack and his injury. And I wish Nawlins hadn’t gone and claimed Ish off waivers to muddy the PG waters. I guess I’d go Robinson since he’s almost guaranteed to play three games whereas you could theoretically take a goose egg if Jack aggravates his hammy in practice or pre-game. Sorry I can’t give you a more confident recommendation – it’s a tough call.

            • SheriffMcRawDawg says:
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              @Matty: yeah I’ve been having a tough time with both decisions. I feel like Waiters might be the #1 option off the bench for scoring, whereas Bazemore would be a #5 in the starting lineup for points…

              I’ll wait as long as I can on the other one, might go with my boy Nitro just to play it safe; I feel like it might take a little while for Ish to get acclimated at least..

              • SheriffMcRawDawg says:
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                @SheriffMcRawDawg: sweet news – refreshed yahoo and Aaron Gordon has SF eligibility on top of PF, so I dont have to worry about waiters haha. pumped!

    • Matty

      Matty says:
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      @SheriffMcRawDawg: Hey Sheriff – sorry I couldn’t get to you in time to answer your question pre-draft. I had a big draft last night myself, so I wasn’t floating around in the Razzmosphere to get to comments quickly.

  13. Jason says:
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    8-team 9-cat h2h League

    Should I drop markieff Morris or myles turner for covington (someone dropped him because he’s injured), Ryan Anderson or Darren Collison?

    • Matty

      Matty says:
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      @Jason: I like Ryno better than both ‘Kieff and Turner, but I’m higher on him than just about everyone else I’ve seen. I also really like Collison as I just don’t think Rondo has any staying power in the NBA, let alone with an organization as dysfunctional as Sacramento. I tend to avoid guys who are malcontents because there is just so much that can go wrong based on their attitude – so players like ‘Kieff don’t find their onto my teams very often, if ever.

      Covington is dicey right now. He’s got top-60 upside, but Philly is always uber-cautious with their injured players (because, why not? – not like they’re trying to win) and a sprained MCL could be a two-weeker or a six-weeker depending on the severity and how they handle it.

      So my recommendation would be to drop ‘Kieff for Anderson if you need 3s. And drop Turner for Collison if you need assists. Avoid Covington for now unless you have rock solid starters and can afford to stash him for a month (give or take). They’re all such different players, it really depends on what categories you’re deficient in.

  14. SB says:
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    14 team H2h League
    9cat – FG%, FT%, 3ptm.Pts, Rbs, Ast, St,Blk, TO

    PG – Lowry, Lawson, Collison, MCW
    SG,SF – Harden, Batum, McDermott
    SF,PF – D.Green, T. Harris
    PF,C – Favors, Leonard
    C – M.Gasol, Valanciunas

    I have a trade offer pending for MCW for Otto Porter? And im seriously considering it. I think my assist are well covered by my other guards and I’m looking for a player to boost my 3pts. Though Porter would not be a big boost but I love the upside. Any thoughts?

    • Matty

      Matty says:
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      @SB: Wow – that is a STACKED roster for a 12er, let alone a 14er. Yeesh. By my count you have seven players who should be taken in the top-5 rounds (Lowry, Harden, Batum, Draymond, Favors, Gasol, Valanciunas). And with it being a 14-team league, guys like Tobias and Lawson aren’t far from top-5 round picks either. I don’t know how you pulled that off, but daaaaam – nice work.

      I definitely like Porter better than MCW, but you might be able to get a bit more since assists are a scarce stat and owners tend to overpay for them (and blocks) in my experience. They’ll take a look at the waiver wire, see that there are no assists to be had, and will start going after players who can provide 5+ regardless of deficiencies in other cats. Maybe counter the trade offer and see if you can get a small upgrade elsewhere from that owner. If he stonewalls you though – and he might – I think you should still go after Porter for his upside.

      • SB says:
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        @Matty: Sorry my bad. League is only 10er. Overlooked that one :/. What do you think of my chances? I think my main weaknesses are on 3ptm and FG% (and probably TOs because of my guards)

        • Matty

          Matty says:
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          @SB: I think your chances are great, even in a 10-team league. You’ll be ok in 3s with Harden and Lowry (who has been shooting great from deep this preseason), plus out-of-position contributions from Meyers Leonard. You’ll need Draymond and Tobias to have good years from beyond the arc, but I think you’re ok.

          Overall you’ve got great balance though. Just need good health and you’re laughin’.

          • SB says:
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            @Matty: I’m still thinking of the MCW for Otto Porter trade. I’d tempted to go in for Otto’s upside. But I really love the fact that I’m sure of what I’m getting from MCW, assist and steals, which is very hard stat to find.

  15. Tyler says:
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    Hey man deep leaguer here..
    How would you rank these players for redraft 9cat h2h:
    Jabari Parker
    CJ Miles
    Aaron Brooks

    • Matty

      Matty says:
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      @Tyler: Hey Tyler, thanks for stopping by.

      Love deep leagues! Really favors guys who have a grasp of the entire NBA landscape rather than just the household names plus a few popular sleepers.

      I would rank those guys exactly as you have ’em. Parker has the most upside, but very likely won’t be realized until the second half of the year. I doubt we see him run for longer than 20 minutes until the new year, with gradual increases thereafter. Miles can get pistol hot, but doesn’t do too much else and I’m not sure what his role is with the new-look Pacers. And Brooks doesn’t look like a starter even with Rose on the shelf. Minutes are minutes, so he could be usable if/when Rose goes down again, but I’m thinking that the usage just gets transferred to Jimmy Buckets while guys like Hinrich, Brooks and E’Twaun are mostly afterthoughts.

  16. Thunder from Down Under says:
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    Hi Matty,

    Great article. As an aussie i hope Patty mills gets hot!

    What you think of my team? Its 8 cat roto. Any areas to improve?

    Teague
    Harden
    Draymond Green
    Favors
    Gobert
    Conley
    Monroe
    Gallinari
    Rubio
    Gortat

    Bench: Clarkson, Chandler, Kanter

    Thanks for your help.

    • Matty

      Matty says:
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      @Thunder from Down Under: Thanks, brother! Glad you liked the article.

      Ahhh, 8-cat roto – now you’re speakin’ my language! I have to ask – how many teams are in your league? That’s a ridiculous roster, even for a 10er. A strong argument can be made that all 10 of your starters are worth a look inside the top-6 rounds.

      If I’ve said it once, I’ve said it a thousand times – assists and blocks are the hardest categories to find off the wire (or pay fair market value for via trade) and you’ve got those locked down. Elite AST guy in Rubio, elite BLK guy in Gobert. Then you’ve got rock solid foundation guys like Gortat, Monroe, Conley and Teague – none are sexy, but all are great contributors. The ONLY place you might struggle just a bit is points as Harden is the only big time scorer on your team. But as a group, you should get enough mid-level production from Teague, Draymond, Favors, Conley, Gallo and Gortat to make up for it, and you can always bring Kanter off the bench for pure points and boards if you’re falling short there.

      Put it this way – if you have even a fair level of luck with regards to health of your players, that’s a championship calibre roster right there. You’re golden, mate!

      • Thunder from Down Under says:
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        @Matty: Thanks a lot Matty. Great to speak with another 8 cat player its the best format. Its a 8 teamer so there a number of good looking sides however i tried to construct a balanced team. The players are definately not pretty players but i am very happy with the team. I am light on scoring but i think i will be able to address that from the waiver! Players such as Dieng, Anderson, Deron Williams, Terrence Jones are all on the waivers would you pick up any of these over my bench.

        Thanks mate!

        • Matty

          Matty says:
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          @Thunder from Down Under: Geez – those are some amazing players available on the wire. Dieng, Anderson and TJ all have top-50 potential this year with enough run. I’d actually rank them in that order as well.

          I’m a pretty risk-averse drafter for the most part, so I have no interest in owning shares of someone like Deron Williams. He’s talented, has some highlight reel crossovers, and can get streaky hot from deep at times, but I would only consider dropping Tyson or Kanter for him…and ONLY if you need the guard stats.

          I would prefer both Dieng and Anderson to Tyson/Kanter and probably Terrence Jones to Kanter (but maybe not Tyson – they’re close for me).

          Good luck!

  17. Lasandro says:
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    Great write-up! Thoughts on which of these 2 will be a better roto asset (14-cat) between JR Smith (at least ’til Kyrie returns), J Jack, Porter, Burke, Holiday (interesting that he played 18min recently) and W Chandler? My Covington is out at least the two weeks so I’m looking to swap him out for a FA – a multi-catting scorer who can hit the 3. Dumping StanJo too, now that he’s def coming off the pine, and I’m in a shallow 10-team L.. Cheers!

    • Lasandro says:
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      @Matty: Just swapped Cov for Jack – pretty chuffed actually. Now wondering if I hold StanJo, or swap for someone with 3pm capability as I’ve lost that with the addition of Jack. My team, for ref (14 cat, incl. 3 REB cats, a/TO, all %s):

      Lillard
      Dragic
      LBJ
      Draymond
      Gobert
      Payton
      StanJo
      KAT
      TJones
      T Harris
      Gay
      M Turner
      Jack

      • Matty

        Matty says:
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        @Lasandro: It’s a good swap out for the first month or two, but beyond that you may end up kicking yourself. If/when Jack gets traded there’s almost ZERO chance it’s to an equal or better situation to what he’s in currently. Covington just has to take the proper amount of time to get his knee right and he’ll be back to posting value inside the top-100. Short-term, good move. Long-term, probably not.

        With regards to StanJo – I’d hold him. You have a really solid roster of players who can give you predictable numbers right out of the gate. You are in a situation where you can afford to wait on StanJo to get his opportunity. There likely aren’t many (or any) players on the wire with Johnson’s upside.

        Best of luck, Lasandro.

      • Lasandro says:
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        @matty: Mate I love the concise response, thanks! Very curious as to why you think JJ’s gonna get traded during the season. I realise BK made it clear that Thad and Lopez are their immediate future, but didn’t get the indication that Jack would be shopped this season. I’ve had Wilson before and love his SG stats with good brds and potential for a block.. They paid him recently so surely they’d have him play the 3-4spots liberally no? Great point re: Cov. I’m just concerned that once he’s back, Wroten will be just around the corner and, as @jb Gilpin has pointed out over the yrs, PHI is a clusterfck with their injured players. I do love him tho as I was one of the dudes last season who nabbed him early off the wire. Meanwhile, do you see JR Smith doin what he did post ASB, while Kyrie is out? If so, surely he’s help my team more than StanJo over the next month or two. Interest in ur thoughts?

        • Matty

          Matty says:
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          @Lasandro: No problem, brotha! We’re here to help.

          To be clear, predicting trades is like predicting injuries – it’s just “best guess” based on certain circumstances and more often than not is a fool’s errand. That being said, I can see a contending team in need of veteran point guard depth taking a run at Jack (in return for a draft pick that may be attractive to the Nets who need to start thinking rebuild sooner rather than later). He’s on a reasonable contract (about $6M for a couple more years) and is neither a franchise player nor a locker room problem – so he can go just about anywhere to be a complimentary piece and will just do his job. That’s normally pretty attractive to a contending team.

          Denver is mostly an avoid for me, almost across the board. I actually really like Mike Malone as a coach and think he’ll do a good job with a young roster, but I don’t know what his plan is, I don’t know what kind of direction he’s getting from the front office, and I don’t know how much he cares about who is getting paid what and “deserves” playing time. I like Wilson Chandler’s game, but it’s looking like it could be a starting 5 of: Mudiay, Harris/Foye, Gallo, Faried, Lauvergne/Jokic/Nurkic with Chandler part of the second unit along with Jameer and a whoever doesn’t start of the options I listed at SG and C. It’s a mess.

          I think Smiff is going to be very valuable for anywhere from 4-6 weeks to start the year while both Kyrie and Shump are out. Then he’ll be really difficult to play unless LeBaby is taking a couple weeks off for “maintenance” of someone else in the back court goes down. JR will almost certainly be more valuable than StanJo through November, yes. Beyond that is anyone’s guess as there are too many moving parts to predict with any sort of confidence.

        • Lasandro says:
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          @Matty: Oof, I could have this convo all damn day man, loving it! Thanks muchly for your thoughts.

          Well you’ve got me considering Porter Jr quite a bit. You make a very valid point re: Wilson in Denver. And you know, I owned him when Gallo was out and he had a much better fascilitating PG running alongside him and he was def ownable in a 10-er, but not groundbreaking. What do you make of Joe Smoove or Bogdanovic? Either of them worth plucking outta this group? Obviously neither are D contributors..

          Porter looks VERY active in WAS, particualrly on D. My only concern is his pts, as Smiff should def outscore him early on. But Porter may be my best bet to bring back similar type numbers to what I’ll be missing from Cov the next 2-3 weeks, right? Lower 3’s, higher brds and comparable D numbers. Aminu is nice with those crazy brds and D, but his shooting is a lil iffy and I can’t depend on him hitting those 3s I’m losing with Cov. Man, if TJ Warren wasn’t in PHO we wouldn’t even be having this convo and I’d snatch Tucker right off the wire haha. Particularly in my L where O brds are counted, that dude can stuff a statline.. *sigh*

          Well, looking like I’ll be dropping StanJo after his game tomorrow (unless he really shows me something.. or Marcus falls on his head). I may get much better immediate prod outta Smiff or Porter (leaning him) right out the gate. Now if Jrue comes back tomorrow and logs close to 20min again, it’ll throw a massive spanner into the works haha. But between Jack, Elfrid, Dragic, LBJ and Lillard, I think I’m good with ASTs.

          • Matty

            Matty says:
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            @Lasandro: Not a fan of either Smoove or Bogdanovic. Neither are on my radar at all.

            Porter won’t be the scorer or volume 3pt contributor that Covington is, but his percentages and defensive stats should be a bit better. Aminu is dinged up to start the year and doesn’t sound like he’s ready to go full-on yet, so he’s gotta be lower on the wish list right now. And like you alluded to, Warren & Tucker are going to sap each other’s value all year long by the looks of it. Need an injury or trade to open things up a bit. You also have Teletovic who is going to get run on the wing given his ability to stretch the floor.

            Yep, you should be ok on ASTs with the guys you mentioned. Just keep an eye on Elfrid as he’s nursing a nagging injury. If he goes down, that’s a good chunk of dimes you’d be looking to replace.

            Enjoy REAL, meaningful basketball tonight! Can’t believe the season is finally here!

    • Matty

      Matty says:
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      @Lasandro: Thanks, Lasandro. Appreciate it.

      Some interesting names mentioned there. Smith & Jack are both first-half players as it’s very possible (borderline “likely”) that Jack gets traded to a team where he’s a backup, and obviously JR loses some minutes once the Cavs get healthy (notably Kyrie & Shump). And then a guy like Holiday isn’t going to be very usable until the new year, but at that time the Pellies will have Tyreke back, so who knows where the usage goes at that point. Porter should be really nice all year long with an outside shot at posting averages of 1 three, 1 steal, and 1 block. I’m bearish on Burke and the 2/3 positional uncertainty in Denver has me down on Wilson Chandler as well. I was higher on him in the summer, but now he’s well outside the top-100 players IMO.

  18. spo says:
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    Rate my team please
    12 Team H2H Standard Yahoo 9-Cat

    (9) Damian Lillard
    (16) Serge Ibaka
    (33) Pau Gasol
    (40) Rudy Gay
    (57) Monta Ellis
    (64) Dwyane Wade
    (81) Robert Covington (Phi – SG,SF)
    (88) Terrence Jones (Hou – SF,PF)
    (105) Joe Johnson (Bkn – SG,SF)
    (112) Stanley Johnson (Det – SF)
    (129) Marcus Smart (Bos – PG)
    (136) Aaron Gordon (Orl – PF)
    (153) Jusuf Nurkic (Den – C)

    • Matty

      Matty says:
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      @spo: What’s up, spo?

      The picks I like – Lillard @ 9, Monta @ 57, TJ @ 88, Gordon @ 136
      The picks I’m not so hot on – Serge @ 16 (I like Ibaka, just not in the top-20), Wade @ 64 (I’m risk averse), Johnson @ 105 (declining skills), Smart @ 129 (probably a fair spot, just not a fan of his game)

      Overall it’s solid for a 12er. Big points with Dame and Rudy. Nice blocks with Serge & Pau. You’re going to struggle with assists and boards I think, but FT% should be nice and TOs shouldn’t be too bad unless Lillard gets out of control.

  19. Nick says:
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    The prediction that really stands out to me, mostly because I just acquired him in a trade is Aaron Gordon finishing the year with more value than Harris. Is it possible? Sure. I’m fairly high on Gordon but it seems many are not (yahoo, BBM). Just a gut feeling or more to it you think?

    • Matty

      Matty says:
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      @Nick: ‘Sup, Nick?

      I wouldn’t bet anything of value on that prediction, let’s put it that way! Ha.

      I’m just not a Tobias Harris fan. I owned him last year and he’s very talented, but he’s soft. Just won’t play through minor injuries and the reporting out of Orlando is awful and will burn you if you are in a weekly lock lineup. I also think he’s a guy who could coast a bit now that he’s gotten paid. That being said, he has looked pretty darn good this preseason.

      Everything needs to break right for Gordon to hit on this prediction, but if you were to tell me that Skiles will give Tobias 32 MPG and Gordon 28 MPG, I like my chances.

      • Nick says:
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        @Matty:
        Yeah I don’t know much about Skiles but all the stuff I read about him says that he heavily favours guys that play defence. With Gordon being their best defender he could be well about 30 minutes post ASB. I agree with you on the Stars needing to align haha but he’s definitely a strong hold for me.

        • Matty

          Matty says:
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          @Nick: Yep, I just read somewhere that a Scott Skiles team on average jumps over 10 spots in the NBA ranks in defensive efficiency year-over-year during his first season coaching them. So obviously he has a system and methodology that works. That being said, you need the horses and I’m not sure ORL has any true rim protectors…so, like you said, Gordon is going to need to be a major help-side swatter as guys like Vuc, Frye and Tobias aren’t exactly striking fear in the hearts of opponents looking to drive the basket against them.

  20. Melo says:
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    Should I drop Covington for Joe Johnson?

    • Matty

      Matty says:
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      @Melo: Hey, Melo.

      Depends. (Super helpful, right?)

      Seriously though, it all comes down to how good your roster is for the first month of the season. Can you afford to wait for Bobby Covington to get his knee right? If so, hold. He has far more upside than Joe Cool. But if you’re thinking that Covington will miss more than the initially reported two weeks and you just can’t afford to lose his production for up to a month or so, it’s not the worst idea to replace him with Joe.

      • Melo says:
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        @Matty:

        I’m leaning on waiting Cov. It’s h2h league and BobCov is playing (that’s 1. week of action) on days when I have the majority of my players avaliable, so I’ll role the dice with him, I just hope he comes back sooner rather then later. I think I can afford to wait, it also helps that the team I’m playing against 1. week have Tyreke Evans who is injured.
        This is my team:

        Lillard, Bledsoe, McCollum, Knight
        Hayward, Tobias Harris, Aminu, Covington
        Draymond Green, Favors
        Greg Monroe, Al Jefferson, Brook Lopez

  21. Yo says:
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    Had a draft last night, what do you think? I think I hate this team.

    PG – lillard
    SG – Wiggins
    SF – Paul George
    PF – bosh
    C – pay gasol
    UTIL – elfrid Payton
    UTIL – Tyson chandler
    UTIL – robin Lopez
    BN – Darren collison
    BN – trey Burke
    BN – Aaron Gordon
    BN – Jeremy Lin

    Thanks

    • Matty

      Matty says:
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      @Yo: Yo, Yo! What’s good, man?

      How could you hate that team?

      Lillard and PG13 are legit studs. Wiggins has mega upside. Bosh and Pau are proven stat stuffers. Elfrid will help you in the tough assists category. And both Collison and Gordon have really nice potential off your bench. I even like RoLo & Tyson as elder statesmen bigs who should be solid, just not spectacular.

      That’s a squad that could contend. I’d feel pretty good about it!

  22. TheJohn says:
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    am pretty new at this game… i have 5 guards in my team currently…

    hayward starting for sure

    mundiay collison rubio wade (which 2 should i start) or 3 if i drop okafor..,

    my utility guys are currently okafor and dirk…

    any suggestion?

    • Matty

      Matty says:
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      @TheJohn: Welcome to the wonderful world of fantasy hoops, TheJohn! It’s my favorite of all the fantasy sports and it’s not even close. Hope you have a good season and keep coming back to us for info and help.

      Of your five guards, yeah Hayward is a no-brainer – he’s gonna be big time this year.

      Then I would rank the others: Rubio (elite ASTs), Collison (just have to wait for Rondo to run himself out of Sacto), Wade (frustrating to own, but still productive when he plays), Mudiay (needs a year or two to work on AST:TO ratio, shooting efficiency).

      Dirk will help you with percentages and chip in some deep balls, but his minutes and role are on the decline, so 2015 Dirk is a different animal than 2005 Dirk. Okafor is helpful in points and boards and likely FG%, but he’s a lousy FT shooter (and could end up taking a bunch if he struggles early and teams start hitting him intentionally, ala Dwight, DeAndre) and won’t block a ton of shots. He’s serviceable on the right team, but he has some refining to do in his game (as do all rooks).

      Really depends what your forwards/centers look like, but with a trio of guards in Hayward, Rubio and Collison, you’re off to a pretty good start as I like all of those guys.

      Good luck!

      • TheJohn says:
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        @Matty: the rest of my boys is

        james ibaka anderson gay whiteside…

        not the best draft… it was auction and i got caught on james a bit… am mediocre in most tiers but not really standout…

        anyone elite player i should trade out or find some replacement?

        thanks load matty! info here are epic…

        • Matty

          Matty says:
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          @TheJohn: Yes – trade LeBron! Seriously. His value will be at its highest while he’s currently healthy and he’s still carrying some heat from that playoff run. Once he starts taking maintenance days, he’ll be a declining asset…and by all accounts, he’s not going to threaten 70 GP this year. Also, you might be able to get some nice value for Whiteside – maybe a more well-rounded big (like a Horford-type) who doesn’t kill your FT%. See if you can wait until Hassan throws in a 15 rebound, 6 block game to max out value though. He’s a bit depressed right now with the preseason bumps & bruises (and atrocious FT shooting).

  23. Michael says:
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    someone offered me tony parker for my roy hibbert in 9 cat roto. what do you guys think of this?

    also, I am thinking of dropping ed davis for jeriam grant (Phili) because of ed davis horrific freethrow percentage

    • Matty

      Matty says:
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      @Michael: Hey Michael. Really depends what stats you need. I’m not high on Parker this year and I think he gets into a pretty decent timeshare with Patty Mills (maybe a 26/22 MPG split in TP’s favor), but he might still be able to flip you a handful of assists, which are very valuable. There isn’t much to get excited about in the Lakers’ front court, so Hibbert is going to get run. He’ll need to have a bit of a career resurgence now that he’s out of Indy. We could see a rise in boards and blocks out of the gate, but he’ll need to sustain it. He’s been down right awful post-ASB each of the last couple years. Neither guy is super exciting to roster, but both have value and are ownable in 12-man leagues (or deeper).

      I could get on board with dropping Ed Davis, but Jerami Grant isn’t even the likely starter while Covington is out. I chatted briefly with the 76ers beat writer and he thinks it’ll be Canaan, Sampson, Thompson starting at the 1-3 spots until Stauskas & Covington are good to go. It’s a mess of a situation and it’s going to change a thousand times this year as Philly tries to be a bigger laughing stock this year than they have been each of the last two. Are there any other solid options on your wire that have nice schedule density out of the gate? Maybe someone like a Kent Bazemore in Atlanta (lots of games early)?

  24. oneman boyband says:
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    Stanley has an early game so i grabbed him for an early game this first week. I know The top 200 posted here wasn’t high on TJ Warren but looking at the Suns rotation he might be huge for points of the bench and steals if he is there go to sixth man. I either need a Thragnof or an a sneaky pg. Parker and Rondo are still sitting on the board in my shallow 10er, who do you like between those two? My percentages are not hurting on either side so i like Parker but Rondo putting up some value and posssibly getting traded seems likely. there you go, two Tony Parker questions in a row. TP for my……

    • Matty

      Matty says:
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      @oneman boyband: Stanley should start out with at MINIMUM 18 MPG, even with a fully healthy Pistons roster. Things should open up really nicely if any of MarcMorris, Ilya, KCP or Meeks goes down. Any of those rotation minutes at SG/SF/PF will shift things around and create a nice opportunity for StanJo. All he needs is the minutes.

      TJ Warren is a nice stash, if you have the roster space to do so. But like I said in a previous comment, he & PJT are going to pilfer value from one another until one of them gets pistol hot and forces Hornacek’s hand into playing them more minutes.

      Oof – Parker or Rondo…I don’t think either is going to average 30 MPG this year. But Rondo will be a better pure assists guy, though his percentages are going to hurt. Hopefully he doesn’t have much weight to his awful FT shooting and can re-establish himself as a good steals guy. As much as I dislike him on a human level, I think Rondo is the better fantasy asset with a bit more upside.

  25. miles proudfoot says:
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    How do you feel about Burks this season with Exam out? I chose Burks right after Collison in one of my drafts, nabbed Collison towards the end in the other two.

    • Matty

      Matty says:
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      @miles proudfoot: I like Burks. Maybe not as much as some of the writers across the fantasy spectrum, but I definitely think he should be owned in 12-team leagues…and maybe even as a bench guy in 10s.

      There are 96 minutes to divvy up at the point and SG spots in Utah and I think nearly all of those go to Burke, Burks and Hood. Neto might get a bit of run, but if I had to guess, I’d say that Burks gets 22ish minutes at the 2 and another 10-12 at point. That’s a nice role with plenty of opportunity to contribute volume guard stats with respectable efficiency.

      Love Collison for the second half of this year. He’s just a flat out better basketball player than Rondo at this point in their respective careers and George Karl isn’t the type of guy to put up with typical Rajon antics for very long. Collison will be starting by January.

  26. Dragos says:
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    Great article, Matty !
    Many of your predictions just make sense, i’m not saying they are not bold, but just by analyzing the situation of some rosters, things start to become very clear, like the Rockets back-court or the Milwaukee rotations. But man, some of you predictions are true food for thought, like the Paul George ascension or the A. Gordon explosion:)
    My bold predictions for this season :
    1.Draymond Green takes a step forward on his “O” game and finishes top 10 in total value,
    2.We will witness Triple-doubles (points, rebs, BLOCKS) form these 3 players: Gobert, Whiteside and Hibbert.
    3.Steph Curry beats Kobe’s record for 3’s made in a game.
    4.Thad Young finishes top 40 total value (steals,blocks,3’s : 4).
    5. Calderon sneaks in the top 80 in per game value.
    Good luck in the 15-16 Fantasy season !

    • Matty

      Matty says:
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      @Dragos: Thanks, brother. Appreciate that.

      Yeah, it’s tough to write a predictions article and find that fine line between “that’s not very bold” and “you’re nuckin’ futs!” It’s of no use to you guys to make wacky claims that have little to no shot coming true. But it’s also silly to just make predictions that are a 50/50 proposition.

      I like some of your calls! I disagree with the Draymond one, but it’s as likely he leaps into the top-10 as it is that he falls out of the top-30. Hibbert getting a trip-dub with PTS/REB/BLK? Woah – I hope you’re right as I’ve got him in my RCL and cringe a bit when I look at him holding a spot on my roster. I kinda hope you’re right about Thad (again, have him in RCL), but kinda hope you’re wrong (passed on him in my money league in favor of higher upside guys).

      Best of luck to you as well, Dragos. It’s poppin’ off tonight and I can’t wait!

  27. The Tristan Thompson Conundrum says:
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    Hope you’re right about Otto, Gordon Heyward, and Robin Lopez. I think Greg Monroe is in for a beastly season though. Hornets are just stupid for taking Kaminsky…anyone would have been better

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