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Previous “Jump Ball” articles:

9/19 – Russell Westbrook v Damian Lillard

TALE OF THE TAPE

KAWHI LEONARDJIMMY BUTLER
San Antonio SpursTeamChicago Bulls
SG, SFPosition (Y! Eligibility)SG, SF
2014 Results
12th9-Cat Rank (Total Value)15th
6th9-Cat Rank (Per Game)8th
64Games Played65
31.8Minutes Per Game38.7
21.4 (T-93rd)Usage Rate (Rank)20.6 (T-112th)

THE CASE FOR KAWHI LEONARD

At 24-years old, entering his fifth NBA season, and with the financial security of a recently signed 5-year/$90 million deal, Kawhi Leonard is in what can only be described as the “sweet spot” of his career. The Spurs’ talented and versatile small forward saw a career-high 31.7 minutes per game in 2014 and used the extra floor time to post career-best averages in points (16.5), rebounds (7.2), assists (2.5), and steals (a league leading 2.3). Kawhi was featured on the scoring end far more than in seasons past, as evidenced by a spike in both field goal and free throw attempts – the 2014/2015 NBA Defensive Player of the Year became a legitimate offensive threat.

Detractors are likely to point towards two things when attempting to shoot down Leonard’s candidacy as a first round fantasy pick: 1) his inability to stay healthy, and 2) the deep and balanced Spurs roster being unsupportive of a “superstar” fantasy asset. Allow me a moment to quell any fears about those two things…

First, the injury angle – it’s true that Kawhi Leonard has never played even 70 games in an NBA season and has missed a combined 58 games over the last three seasons. Those are facts. Irrefutable. It’s also true, however, that his ailments have not been to his lower body and his feet, ankles and knees have remained mostly healthy throughout his career. His hand injuries don’t exactly weigh on my mind the same way that Derrick Rose’s knees or Brook Lopez’s feet do. Does durability deserve serious consideration when deciding who to pick? Absolutely. But in Kawhi’s case, his missed games feel more like bad luck than they do a “proneness” to injuries.

Second, when I look at the 2015/2016 San Antonio roster, I see a wealth of talent. What I don’t see is a whole lot of depth in the way that it actually matters to our purposes of valuing Kawhi Leonard. The majority of the Spurs rotation (Tony Parker, Manu Ginobili, LaMarcus Aldridge, David West, Boris Diaw, Tim Duncan) is on the wrong side of 30. Kawhi Leonard (24) and Danny Green (28) are really the only major contributors who won’t be at risk of minutes restrictions or “DNP-Rest” days during a championship-or-bust season in the Alamo City.

Kawhi Leonard was a first round value even when accounting for the 18 games he missed last year. If he can somehow figure out a way to play 75-80 games in 2015/2016, fantasy owners are going to see a nice return on their late-first/early-second round draft day investment.

THE CASE FOR JIMMY BUTLER

“First off, I think I am a point guard…I want some triple-doubles.” That quote came straight from Jimmy Butler just this past August. So let’s set the table here – we have a shooting guard who scores 20 points a game, produces 3.5 combined threes/steals/blocks, shoots 46% from the field and 83% from the stripe, and barely ever turns the ball over. This same individual now envisions himself as a lead guard who will handle the ball so much as to put himself in position to record double-digit assists multiple times throughout the upcoming season? For a fantasy owner, this smells like freshly baked cinnamon buns on Christmas morning.

If the numbers above don’t get your motor running, I submit to you this: Four. Four. Five. 4-4-5 is the number of games Jimmy Butler’s Chicago Bulls play during the fantasy playoffs this season. As fellow Razzball ink slinger, Slim, so eloquently put it in his outstanding schedule analysis piece “It’s. The. Return.”: those 13 games in three weeks are “da cream of da crop.” Opportunity – mostly in the form of minutes and games played – is huge in fantasy sports, with increased significance during the playoffs. So when you compare Butler’s 13 games to Kawhi Leonard’s 10 (3-4-3) with the money/trophy on the line, there is a considerable advantage in Jimmy’s favor.

Another boon to JB’s value could – and should – be the arrival of new head coach, Fred Hoiberg. Last year the Bulls were T-20th in pace and 10th in offensive efficiency under the guidance of Tom Thibodeau. That’s very middle-of-the-pack’ish and yet Butler was still able to post top-8 fantasy numbers on a per game basis. The defensive-minded Thibs is out, replaced by Hoiberg who oversaw the 24th (of 351 qualifying NCAA teams) fastest paced and 22nd most offensively efficient Iowa State Cyclones last year. With tremendous depth in the Bulls frontcourt (thus the ability to keep the bigs fresh), there is no reason to think that the rookie NBA head coach won’t look to push the pace in Chicago.

Add this all up and you have a versatile player who plays a ton of minutes, is looking to expand his offensive game, has an extremely favorable fantasy playoff schedule, and is going to be operating in a (presumably) more fantasy-friendly system. Jimmy Butler is what the kids today call “money in the bank.”

Let’s take a look at how these two players should stack up head-to-head for fantasy owners in 2015 looking to roster an elite dual-eligibility SG/SF near the 1st/2nd round turn (* denotes my projected category winner):

KAWHI LEONARDJIMMY BUTLER
Points*
*Rebounds
Assists*
*Steals
*Blocks
*FG%
FT%*
*TO
3PM*
5Categories Won4

JUMP BALL

I must admit, when I started writing this piece I actually didn’t know who was going to emerge as the winner. I was excited to think that I’d write myself into a confident decision. And I did just that.

As a necessary disclaimer I should tell you that Kawhi Leonard is my favorite NBA player and I knew I had to set aside personal bias if there was to be any chance at objective analysis. And even though Kawhi is poised to take 5 of 9 categories head-to-head versus Jimmy Butler, it’s the Bulls’ fifth-year guard who gets my pick if I’m on the clock and these two are at the top of my queue.

Both guys have struggled to stay completely healthy and I believe that’s a bi-product of how hard they play on both ends of the court. I am a firm believer that trying to predict injuries is a fool’s errand and so I won’t attempt to do that here. If you want to suggest that both players are unlikely to play more than 75 games this season, I can’t make a very strong argument against it based on history. But for our purposes of comparing these two individuals, the health angle doesn’t carry much weight as neither has proven to be an iron man nor a china doll thus far in their respective careers.

I am swayed mostly by the fact that last year Jimmy Butler was able to post a top-15 total value season missing 17 games and ranking outside of the top-100 in usage rate. Put the ball in his hands slightly more often for, say, 72 games and you have a sure-fire first rounder. With a new coach in Chicago, I don’t see much chance that his offensive involvement doesn’t increase on a team that should be more efficient as an overall unit. Kawhi Leonard, for all the platitudes I can throw at him, just feels like he has a lower ceiling. That is an awkward thing to write seeing as he has proven first round potential, but for my fantasy team I want upside. And in 2015, that means I’m pulling the trigger on Jimmy Butler.

 

Agree/disagree? Who is your choice when you’re on the clock? Feedback is always welcome, so please share your thoughts in the comments section below or come find me in the Twitterverse at @moneyballmatty. Cheers!

 

H/T to the following sources for providing the stats & info that help build the foundation of this article: Basketball Reference, Basketball Monster, ESPN (Hollinger’s Stats), Team Rankings, and Rotoworld.

  1. CTMN says:
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    Kawhi is also one of my favorite players, just amazing to watch defensively and his offense keeps getting better. I agree you can’t really predict injuries at this point with those 2. I think a lot of these category advantages will be very slight, so no matter who wins the overall count, it’s still pretty close. I agree Jimmy has potential to improve with that usage rate and increased pace, but he could also lose some minutes with Thibs gone. Kawhi could lose a lot of usage with Aldridge there, might have been worth a mention. But Kawhi could gain some minutes though with surprising lack of depth for the Spurs at SF.
    I think it’s kind of a push but seeing as I don’t think I’d trade either of them, I would want Jimmy for playoff schedule advantage.

    • Matty

      Matty says:
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      @CTMN: Thanks for the comment, CTMN.

      Hoiberg is a huge x-factor in all of this. As I wrote in “Minutes Men,” I don’t think Jimmy will see too significant a reduction in minutes, if for no other reason than a lack of options. Especially now with the late-breaking news that Dunleavy is sidelined for the next couple months, the wing is not a position of depth/strength for the Bulls. Snell and McDermott are serviceable, but it wouldn’t surprise me to see Butler take on a bit of a Tyreke Evans-type role where he’s piloting the offense a bunch while technically playing the 2 or 3. (FWIW, Jimmy & ‘Reke are almost identical in size, with 1″ and zero pounds separating them.)

      It would actually be kind of fun to attempt building a team around BOTH Leonard & Butler if you landed the 12th pick and had that option. Snag a 3rd tier PG and C at the 3/4 turn and see where it goes from there. If both guys find a way to stay healthy, you’d have secured two top-8 players from the 12 hole. Dynamite in roto, but not without its challenges still in H2H, I’d wager.

      • Matty

        Matty says:
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        @Matty: Oh, and one other funny little note re: the Jimmy & ‘Reke comp – there is a grand total of five DAYS separating them in age. (Evans has played two more seasons though.) Thought that was kinda interesting.

        • CTMN says:
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          @Matty: Wow, didn’t know any of that about Tyreke/Jimmy. Hard to believe that tyreke was rookie of the year and Butler was a late first round pick.
          The Dunleavy injury is a good point. Even if McBuckets and Snell play good (which I think they might), there’s still basically no other option. Mirotic can’t guard SFs so maybe Jimmy will keep those minutes.
          The Butler/Leonard combo would be super fun so maybe I’d risk it in an RCL but in my league with friends for money, if I get a late pick I’m gonna go the safer route with Gobert/Millsap/Draymond/Bledsoe or punting. Those guys are fun too!

          • Matty

            Matty says:
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            @CTMN: If you happen to give the Jimmy/Kawhi @ 12/13 a try, hit us back here and let us know how it goes. I’d be really interested to see how the team shook out after all was said and done. I know the Razzball community en masse is on board the PG/C train for the first couple rounds, so I say kudos to the owner who has the stones to go wing/wing right out of the gate. Sometimes it’s fun to zig when everyone else zags, you know?

            • CTMN says:
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              @Matty: Yeah of course, could be fun! Need to get the 11-12th pick in a league full of smart people though for it to become a legit possibility.

  2. dan-o1 says:
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    nothin for nothin but you’ve somehow chosen three of my favorite nba players to watch, for “jump ball”,. and it’ s making for entertaining reads….you must have a drummond vs cousins or gobert coming up next lol

    • Matty

      Matty says:
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      @dan-o1: I hear ya, dan-01! Love me some Dame, this year especially. I was able to ride Russ’ otherworldly late-season run to a decent winners cheque (American english = check) last year so I have quite an affinity for him as well. And both Jimmy & Kawhi are two of the last “old school” shut up & play, two-way guys left kickin’ in the NBA who really crank my tractor.

      Next up will be a couple of bigs, but I won’t say exactly who. Just that they’re top-20’ish players who impact the game (and our fantasy teams) in very different ways. Look for it this coming week.

      FWIW – I’d rank the three bigs you have listed there as DMC, Rudy, Drummond in that order. DMC is worth a mid- to late-first rounder. I can support a Rudy selection anywhere around the 1/2 turn in a 12er. And Drummond is really dependent on your punt or no-punt philosophy. As someone who favors balance whenever possible, I have a hard time placing the FT% killers, so I rarely end up owning any shares of such guys.

  3. Jason says:
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    My team:
    James Harden
    John Wall
    Rudy Gobert
    Chris Bosh
    Rudy Gay
    Derrick Favors
    Andrew Wiggins
    Isaiah Thomas
    Reggie Jackson
    Danilo Gallinari
    Gorgui Dieng
    Myles Turner
    Alec Burks
    Jusuf Nurkic

    Good waivers:
    Brandon Knight
    C.J. McCollum
    Stanley Johnson

    Are there any players I should trade for or pick up that would fit my team? Also, should I drop Myles Turner because reports say he won’t be starting?

    • Matty

      Matty says:
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      @Jason: Man, you are stacked! Beauty of a team and I can only guess this is a dynasty squad because there’s no way you could draft all those guys at their current value. By my count you have 10 players who are worthy of being drafted in the top-75 (or roughly the first 6 rounds).

      That being said – run, don’t walk, to the wire to pick up Brandon Knight. Even if your team doesn’t need his stats, he’s a terrific trade chip and will likely carry more value than the bottom four players you have listed on your roster.

      Personally I like McCollum a bit better than Burks, so I’d swap them out. I can see them each playing a combo PG/SG role and earning ~30 minutes of court time. I think each belongs in the top-100, but I see higher upside with CJM which lends itself better to a bench spot on your roster.

      With regards to Turner, I wouldn’t make a knee-jerk reaction. Even as a rookie I think his talent wins out in short order and he’s either starting and/or seeing the most front court minutes of all the Indy true bigs (i.e. NOT Paul George, the pseudo-PF). I’d dump Nurk before Turner and just sit on the rook for a few weeks to see how the rotation sorts itself out.

      • Jason says:
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        @Matty:

        Thanks! It’s a 10 team H2H league and I just took advantage of the yahoo preranks. I also just realized that Wesley Matthews is free too. I probably won’t get knight or Wes because I’m 9th on waivers but should I try going knight and Wes for nurkic and Burks?

        • James says:
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          @Jason:

          Brandon Knight on the waivers in a 10 teamer?! Wow that’s nuts.

          You have to question the overall knowledge of your league if you were able to draft Harden, Wall and Gobert not to mention the others whilst having Knight on the waivers. No offense but it sounds like a 4 team league to me.

          Good luck, you should romp home with that team.

          • Jason says:
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            @James:

            Nah one team couldn’t make the draft and auto-drafted. His team was filled with injured players so he had to drop a few of them including knight

        • Matty

          Matty says:
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          @<a href="#[email protected]Jason: Jason: Yep, I’d prefer Wes (to Nurk for sure). And though I don’t think we’ll see Matthews in a 30+ MPG role until maybe closer to Christmas, you have such a deep team that you could afford to stash him until then…which probably makes him worth the roster spot over Burks too.

          Just be mindful of your PF/C depth if you dump Nurkic for Knight or Matthews or another high-upside guard (like McCollum). The Utah boys are really your only two high rate rebounders. Bosh will settle in the 7ish RPG range, and until we get a clearer picture of their minutes/roles, both Dieng & Turner could struggle to contribute big boy stats for a bit.

          • Jason says:
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            @Matty:

            Thanks a lot! Should I try to offer wall and favors for cp3 and t jones?
            Or should I target some more boards from guys lIke Randolph?

            • Matty

              Matty says:
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              @Jason: I would rather have Wall/Favors. I don’t see a whole lot separating JW & CP3, but Favors holds more value (currently) than Jones.

              Randolph is a known commodity – at this point in his career he is what he is and that’s a reliable 15 & 10 baseline who might toss you a steal, plus decent (but not great) percentages for 70-some odd games. Not a cornerstone of a fantasy squad, but he has value to teams short on boards. So he’s definitely worth rostering for you until Dieng and Turner get sorted out.

  4. Dante Green says:
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    This one’s a toughie. I love Kawhi’s game so much, I was even planning to draft him in the 8th-10th (but LA’s arrival of course changed all that). Butler’s a beast too, and the Bulls’ extra games in the playoffs will win you a championship… But damn I dunno who to pick, I’m reaaalllly leaning towards drafting Leonard tho (just a little). I’ll cross the bridge when I get there. Lol

    • Matty

      Matty says:
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      @Dante Green: I’m with ya, 100%. I wasn’t kidding when I said that I wrote myself into a decision on this one. And Slim’s playoff schedule breakdown masterpiece came at the perfect time as it’s a pretty good kicker for the Kawhi/Jimmy throwdown.

      That’s why Razzball is so great – you’re getting a number of different voices speaking to you from a number of different angles. Makes for a pretty comprehensive look at these players when you put it all together. Add in the community we’ve got here and it’s a pretty tough place to beat for fantasy roundball info.

  5. Stro

    Daniel says:
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    I’m in a 8-Cat ESPN roto. Thinking of maybe combing the two wings @ pick 12/13. Either butler and Klay/Leonard. I’d then hopefully target Reggie Jackson & Noel at 36/37 and another PG and BIG at 60-61. Or I might just draft Gobert @ 13. Who knows. What are people’s thought and which tactic do you think I should go? If I drafted Gobert and a wing @ 12/13 I’d then take two PG @ 36/37 then two bigs @60/61

    • Matty

      Matty says:
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      @Daniel: Well, there’s obviously a number of different paths you can choose…so let’s break ’em down…

      1) If you go Butler/Kawhi at 12/13 – you’ll need to go pure PG for the assists (and preferably one who hits 3s at a higher clip than Reggie) and a pure big for the blocks and boards.

      2) If you go Bulter/Klay at 12/13 – you’ll still need to go with the best dime-dropping PG availabe, but Klay’s proficiency from deep allows you to take someone like Reggie…and then of course your big.

      3) If you go Butler/Gobert at 12/13 – you are better suited to go PG at 36, plus best player available at 37.

      I’d be a bit concerned waiting to nab two PGs at 36/37 in 8-cat as it’s unlikely that more than one of Teague, Lowry, Dragic, Reggie will fall – but that depends on the savvy of your leaguemates, I suppose. You might feel forced into taking Conley or reaching for a Lawson/Kemba type (who shouldn’t be taken that early IMO).

      Best of luck whichever way you choose to go. Hit us back here and let us know how it works out.

    • CTMN says:
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      @Daniel: I think going wing/big or PG/big is better. There just seems to be plenty of wings around 36/37 (Wiggins, Gay, Hayward) that you’d be happy to get there and would even take earlier if you could. PGs – there should be one but maybe not 2 good ones at 36/37, but Clarkson could be there at 60/61 and Kemba/Elfrid/Isaiah could fall. There are just so many good big man options at 12/13 that I’d rather take at least one big there.

  6. James says:
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    Yeah I’ve been draft Butler over Kawhi this season, I know he has no real direct competitors at the 3 but LMA has publicly stated he only agreed to come to the Spurs if he could continue to play his game so I think guys like Kawhi aren’t going to see as many touches on offense. However all his defensive stats you would imagine would still be attainable but yeah I think for this season at least Butler is the guy to go for although it is really close.

    • Matty

      Matty says:
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      @James: I agree with you overall. But I can also understand the case being made that LMA coming to the Spurs will be a boon to Kawhi’s value. There is no longer a single player that defenses can ignore in SA’s starting five. Parker can still break down a D and get to the hoop with relative ease. Danny Green is lethal from outside. And we all know how well LMA & Timmy play down on the block.

      There’s no more need to run a Diaw or Bonner or Splitter out there just to have a fifth warm body on the floor to start games. The entire starting unit is dangerous, so that means single coverage all day long. With Kawhi’s emergence on offense, he may have been subject to double-teams had the Spurs not landed LMA. Shot selection is going to be fun to watch as there are probably going to be a lot of good ones getting passed up for GREAT ones this year.

      Efficiency by wing players is a good thing for fantasy owners and I think LMA helps Kawhi in that respect. You could be right that he loses a shot or two a game, but if he’s making them at a higher clip and can also continue getting to the FT line more frequently (3.9 FTA/gm in 2014 vs 1.9 in 2013), it’ll offset pretty well.

  7. John says:
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    Thought on my team?

    1. (6) James Harden (Hou – SG,SF)
    2. (19) Rudy Gobert (Uta – C)
    3. (30) Victor Oladipo (Orl – PG,SG)
    4. (43) Kemba Walker (Cha – PG)
    5. (54) Marcin Gortat (Was – C)
    6. (67) Danilo Gallinari (Den – SF)
    7. (78) Nikola Mirotic (Chi – SF,PF)
    8. (91) Terrence Jones (Hou – SF,PF)
    9. (102) Kevin Martin (Min – SG,SF)
    10. (115) Jordan Clarkson (LAL – PG)
    11. (126) Aaron Gordon (Orl – PF)
    12. (139) Avery Bradley (Bos – PG,SG)
    13. (150) Kentavious Caldwell-Pope (Det – SG)

    • Matty

      Matty says:
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      @John: A couple takeaways:

      1) Harden fell to 6th? That’s the first time I’ve seen that happen this year regardless of format.

      2) Gobert at 19 is also a really good value and you’re off to a great start.

      3) I’m not a huge Kemba fan and I think he’ll cede a lot of touches to a resurgent Batum this year. It could lead to less of an offensive burden and improved efficiency for Kemba (sorely needed in his game), but he has a steep mountain to climb to get back to a respectable level.

      4) Terrence Jones at 91 overall is theft. It’s an even more valuable get if Motie isn’t ready to run in a month.

      5) I love two of your last four picks and strongly dislike the other two. Clarkson & Gordon have monstrous potential if the playing time is there. Bradley and KCP are specialists who offer very little versatility and upside. With Harden, ‘Dipo, Kemba, Gallo, Mirotic and Martin all giving you production in 3s, you didn’t need to chase that cat with AB & KCP. I’d have looked to shore up some more big man stats late, but maybe there weren’t any good ones left?

      Overall it looks good. First three picks were beauties and you have some nice upside with your 6th/7th/8th round picks. If one or both of Clarkson & Gordon hit, you’re sitting pretty.

  8. Trophy Tony says:
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    Matty& other razz heads need some advice

    18 team keeper, keep up to 4, live auction, fantasy points! essentially you add up your 4 keeper salaries, subtract from $200 and that’s the money you have left to spend at auction on 4 more players Then we have a 5 round snake…. 13 players rosters total.

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

    What’s a better keeper set, value wise, money to spend wise, & obviously weighing in keepers potential etc

    A) harden $56, millsap $39, Monroe $31 NURK $10 gives me $64 to spend at auction

    Or

    B) harden $56 Dipo $53 Faried $22 & Covington $10?
    $59 to spend at auction

    I’d have to deal a $39 millsap and $31 Monroe to obtain Dipo Faried and Covington? Do it?

    Go! Thanks ahead of time

    • Matty

      Matty says:
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      @Trophy Tony: Yowzers, that’s a unique format and the scoring is unlike anything I’ve seen before. I really like the idea of the keeper/auction/snake re-draft…a little something for everyone!

      For your options, I think you need to go with the Millsap team because of the value he provides in STLs & BLKs. He’s going to get you in that 2.5-2.8 range combined and that’ll be huge at 4.4 per STL & 6.5 per BLK. He also pumped in 77 3s in 73 games last year which wasn’t that far behind what Oladipo did (84 3PM in 72 games).

      I really like Monroe this year, but he doesn’t have a ton of value in your league’s scoring format since his production will be mostly points and boards which are devalued. But on the flip side, Faried’s defensive production has fallen each of the last couple years.

      I’d lean towards option A and make that extra auction money count by nabbing a PG like Rubio (if he’s available) who steals and dimes at a high rate.

      Good luck!

      • Trophy Tony says:
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        @Matty: Rubio might be available haha

        Gotta remember I’m not shooting for categories but moreso overall fpts

        I’m leaning towards the Dipo side because NURK is a future piece but almost irrelevant with the injury, so I don’t really have 4 strong keepers in that set

        Harden millsap is the best combo but NURK tilts it

        Idk, it’s a tough one, Dipo still has upside, millsap isn’t going any higher, he’s good but guards seem to rule this league, 3’s and treys….. If Covington continues and Faried is unleashed with a new coach and a strong finish last year? Idk

        Tough to move the Sapper

        • kai says:
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          @Trophy Tony:

          one way to think about it is to add up the points they’d receive from their projected average stats above
          millsap: 1.2/18.0/8.0/3.2/1.8/1.0 = 5.4+18+13.6+9.6+7.92+6.5 = 61.02
          oladipo: 1.3/19.0/4.3/4.3/1.8/0.4 = 3.9+19+7.31+12.9+7.92+2.6 = 53.63

          Millsap is the far superior player in your format and is on the better contract. now, let’s do a couple more…

          Monroe 51.93
          Faried 47.54

          Nurkic 41.18
          Covington 45.95

          there are other things to consider. maybe you don’t trust the stats. maybe you want to retain some keeper value. but what this exercise is showing is that the trade is probably not a good idea.

          if you have these values in a spreadsheet (i heard one would be available soon), it would be easy to convert the values with a series of functions and then rerank your players accordingly.

          • kai says:
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            @kai:

            slight error in my milsap calculations. should be 59.22
            totals for the two builds:
            millsap+monroe+nurk = 152.33
            oladipo+cov+faried = 147.1

            it’s closer…but with the fact that the second build costs more money, i still wouldn’t do it.

        • Matty

          Matty says:
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          @Trophy Tony: Kai makes a good case there with the numbers…and like he mentions, even in a dead heat, you’re better to stand pat because you’ll have that extra little cushion for the auction.

          The only way I could see doing the swap and going with option B is if you really believe Oladipo is going to make the third year jump and that Millsap has his head pressed firmly against his ceiling. Or, if you just really like one player over another (say, you’re from Central Florida, the Magic are your team, and you just want to be able to catch all 82 of Oladipo’s games this year).

          It’s close enough that I’d say “follow your guy” and if that’s to go flip Sapper/Monroe/Nurk for ‘Dipo/Faried/Covington, I won’t be mad atcha!

          • Trophy Tony says:
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            @Matty: good points guys

            Dipo is a guy who I think is going to explode. The $10 Covington is kind of a nice piece too, I mean he could fade into nothing but he put up solid numbers once he was in and I could see him repeating.

            I actually don’t even have to deal NURK to the guy I’d just be dealing millsap and Monroe

            For the 3

            We’re voting on some league settings right now, daily vs weekly, etx so that will make some of my decision for me

            But thanks!

  9. Lasandro says:
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    GREAT write-up once again my man. Ugh… gonna be a hard one for me. These are my two fav players in the L – by far! All I can pray for is that one of them ends up on each of my fantasy squads this year. I remember drafting Jimmy last season in a super shallow roto league and ppl questioning my sanity, with some sexier guard picks still on the table (a la Monta). Then he started putting those numbers up. Had he not played so damn well in preseason, he prob woulda gona unnoticed on my radar, TBH. Hoping to pick up another gem this season based on preseason play.

    Keep up these great posts playa! How about a Horford v DMC? Or… Serge v Favors? I dunno, just throwing some out..

    • Lasandro says:
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      Meant to say: Millsap vs DMC.. although a Horford v Ibaka may be apt. Carroll leaving them Hawks does open up a touch more offense IMO

    • Matty

      Matty says:
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      @Lasandro: Thanks, Lasandro. I’ll keep pumping out the “Jump Ball” articles as often as I can throughout October.

      It’s hard NOT to like either of Jimmy or Kawhi, right? They are high effort, high IQ, high skill players. Unfortunately there just aren’t that many guys like them left in the league, so the scarcity of their combined qualities makes them all the more special for fantasy and real world purposes.

      If I had to pick one wing player who could join the Kawhi/Jimmy group this year, it’s Gordon Hayward. With Exum’s injury I think we’ll see a lot more point-forward time from GH and the increased usage should give him a shot at posting 2nd round value. With an elite rim protector behind him, I’d like to see a bit more aggression on defense, and hopefully that translates to a new high in steals. And if he can continue to get to the FT line more frequently (as he’s done in each of his first five seasons) and also bump his FG% above .450, he’s got a shot at being a top-15 player by season’s end.

      Thanks for the ideas on “Jump Ball” combos. Always happy to hear suggestions and I’ve got one cooking in the oven right now with at least one of the bigs you mentioned! Hoping to have it ready later this week. Cheers.

  10. Jeremy says:
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    Hi there, Can you please do Hayward vs Wiggins? i keep running into this dilemma in the 3rd round, they both make a fine 3rd round pick, esp after you get a pg and big man after the first two rounds. I know wiggins has the slight edge in playoffs schedule, but Hayward is in his prime and he has only been improving each year. Wiggins is definitely higher risk but he’s just so appealing esp if he can add a 3ball to his game. Im looking forward to your feedback. Thank you!

    • Matty

      Matty says:
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      @Jeremy: Hey Jeremy. Thanks for the comment and the suggestion.

      I could certainly look into Wiggins v Hayward for a “Jump Ball” pairing. It’s one where I know which way I’d go before even digging into the numbers at any depth, but based on JB’s rankings and Slim’s projections, it might be a good read for Razzball nation.

      I’ve got some other commitments in the next few days and I’m off on vacation next Tuesday, but I”ll see if I can pound it out before I pack my bags!

      • Jeremy says:
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        @Matty:

        Thank you so much. That’d would be great! That would definitely help me in the RCL draft i have on the 11th haha. But don’t worry about it if you are too busy, i will just toss a coin if the situation presents itself lol.

  11. Rey says:
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    hey, I’m in a ESPN fantasy league that is H2H points, I am in a 10 man league and have the 10th and 11th pick in my draft. My plan was to take either Lillard or wall depending on who’s available with my first pick (if both are then I’ll take lillard) for my second pick, I’m not sure if I should take Gobert or Butler, they are both sensational, and I’m just a huge Gobert fan. Any suggestions on who to take, the scoring in my league is as follows:

    Rebounds: .31 (per rebound0
    Assist: .66
    steals: .9
    Blocks: .6
    TO: -.9
    3pt made: .86
    FG made (including 3s): 1.42
    free throw made: .66
    fg missed: -.86
    free throw missed: -.33
    Double doubles: 1.5
    Triple doubles: 1.5

    Please let me know! who would better compliment lillard or wall with my second pick, gobert or butler?

  12. Rain says:
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    Nice read. I just grabbed Jimmy over Kawhi on a 14-team 9-cat h2h league. I got 12th pick. I grabbed him on round 1 and Gobert in round 2. Now I am unsure what path to take should I be punting some stats? H2h leagues are new to me, I’ve won roti leagues before and I got Jimmy on my other roti leagues this year as well. I am not confident with h2h. Haha. Can you give me a piece of advice for h2h using Jimmy?

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