With fewer than three weeks until the start of the NBA’s 41st season, we’re previewing all 25 teams. Whatchu say? Twenty-five teams? Yup. We’re looking at every franchise in addition to shining a light on the new Eastern Conference expansion Charlotte Hornets and Western Conference expansion Miami Heat. And if Charlotte’s more East than Miami, I’ll apparently be previewing the new United States map. From now until the start of the season, we’re bringing you the 1988-89 Fantasy Team Previews, which will focus on each team in order to paint a clearer fantasy picture. Razzball‘s got all the ins-and-outs of the season covered. Who’s new to each team, who’s old (Kareem!), and how are you possibly going to compete with whoever takes Jordan with the first pick of your draft? Unless the first pick in your draft belongs to you, in which case, turn off your IBM PS/2, kick up your feet and put your fantasy roster on cruise control. Next up – The Portland Trail Blazers (I miss him already).

Gained – Adrian Branch, Danny Young

Lost – Maurice Lucas, Mike Holton, Kevin Gamble

Probable position depth –
PG – Terry Porter, Jerry Sichting
SG – Clyde Drexler, Craig Neal, Brook Steppe
SF – Mark Bryant, Adrian Branch, Kiki Vandeweghe
PF – Jerome Kersey, Steve Johnson, Richard Anderson
C – Kevin Duckworth, Caldwell Jones, Sam Bowie, Rolando Ferreira

Surprising Team Fact From Last Season – New owner, computer mogul and philanthropist Paul Allen, purchased the Blazers from Larry Weinberg for $70 million earlier this year. Eighteen years ago, Weinberg, Herman Sarkowsky and Robert Schmertz paid $3.7 million to secure the then-expansion team.

Number of Top 20 Fantasy Players   (par 0-1)1, Drexler
Number of Top 50 Fantasy Players   (par 1-2)2, Porter
Number of Top 75 Fantasy Players   (par 2-3)3, Kersey
Number of Top 100 Fantasy Players
(par 3-4)0,
Number of Top 200 Fantasy Players (par 6-7) – 6, Duckworth, Johnson, Vandeweghe

3 Concerns Heading Into the Season

1. If I was trying to come ensure a last place finish in my league, do I draft Bowie or Ferreira as my starting center?
Neither. Just crush the tooth with the cyanide and be done with it already. Seriously, you add Pops Jones to that mix and you have over 20 feet of terribly ineffective centers. Bowie is the one you’re going to want to draft the most because you’ll hope he’s just a slow learner. You’ll hope this is the year Bowie “gets” it. And although he’ll produce more than Ferreira, you’d have to be a lad insane to pick Bowie. Nothing is hunky-dory with this guy (I know Sam emphasizes the “Boo” sound, I did too when I saw the “The Glass Spider” tour). Oh, and I haven’t mentioned the worst of it yet. The worst of it is that Bowie’s being paid $1.08 million this year to average 9/5/2. That’s $880k more than Terry Porter.

2. Will Vandeweghe be aweghe all season, or will the injured forward make a fantasy impact at some point in the season?
He’s supposed to be out until at least Christmas and when he returns he’s still supposed to lack defensive ability or the willingness to do anything besides bailout threes and drives through the lane. I’d hope that people forget about him until after the 13th round and target him as a sleeper pick.

3. Take me through the roadmap of how Clyde Drexler can improve on his 27/7/6 line from last season.
Brooke Steppe totaled 244 mp/103 pts and Neal managed fewer than 250 points in his final year with Georgia Tech. Drexler averaged 39.3 mpg last season and he could easily clear 40 in ’88. There. It was a short road.

Rookie Review! Mark Bryant (no.21 overall), Rolando Ferreira (no. 26 overall), Craig Neal (no. 71 overall). Bryant is the only one of Portland’s rookie trio worth considering. He has a decent outside shot and is as good a bet as Branch to take the starter’s minutes at the three while Vandeweghe is laid aweghe. The other two players? Honestly, I’m pretty sure Weinberg’s crew drafted them as a prank to the new owners. Senior Week!

Fantasy Disappointment in ’11 – Kevin Duckworth. I more or less think it will be business as usual for Portland’s top three. They haven’t made any significant improvements and have lost Mo Lucas for good and Kiki Vandeweghe for a third of the season. This should be where Duck waddles to prominence. He’ll be 24 this season, entering his third year. He should be comfortable, ready. He leaped from 5/3/0 as a rookie to 16/7/1 last season in just 29 mpg. He’ll average 34-36 and improve mightily, right? He should make another jump to 21/10/2 by this rationale. But I just don’t see it. I don’t think he’s a double-double guy. He’s not athletic enough. He doesn’t block, doesn’t steal, he got outrebounded by a guy 12 years his senior on a per-minute basis. He’s a big body, but it’s an unathletic body. I don’t think he’ll necessarily regress, but a lot of people are expecting him to make a leap I just don’t see the guy making, mostly because the guy doesn’t leap all that well. That’s the problem.

Biggest Fantasy Contributor in ’11 – Clyde Drexler. If you have to ask … well, you shouldn’t have to ask.

Fantasy Sleeper – Kiki Vandeweghe. If you want to argue a better sleeper pick than Kiki, go ahead. But I have three rules when drafting fantasy players from Portland: 1) This is not Sam Bowie’s year. It will never be Sam Bowie’s year. 2) Never own a Blazer who doesn’t start. Your team will never recover. 3) … Unless you’re passed the 13th round and Kiki Vandeweghe is still available.

  1. Tony says:

    Adam- whats up man, so the NBA season has went from terrible outlook, to progress, to terrible, and now back to maybeeee we’re getting somewhere. I’ve asked some large keeper league questions before. Just found out about a week ago, in that same 20 teamer that one guy was bailing and then another guy decided to bail out to making the league an even 18 teams. There players would be thrown back to the draft, and the one owner just happened to own Kevin Durant, maybe the only good player from the two teams getting pitched back to the auction.

    If I keep Stephen Curry, Darren Collinson, David Lee, and Paul George I’d spend $93 of my $210 I have…. leaving me with $117 for the auction to buy 4 more players… Big names like Melo, etc went last yr for $60+ if they got tossed in, im expecting durant to $70+…. maybe into the 80s or 90s…. would you go that far? Like I’ve mentioned before, there’s so many teams, so much money, players dollar values are overpriced due to the inflation. Last year we drafted at auction our 8 then did a snake draft for 5 more players. THEN the season was daily line up changes…. they’re talking about going back to weekly since we had so many probs with daily…. What do you think about me throwing down on DURANT? Going to $80 or $90 if thats what it takes to get him?

    Durant, S. Curry, David Lee, Darren Collinson, and Paul George is a pretty nice start…. especially if Curry pans out to the next level like he can/should…. and with it being WEEKLY line ups depth isn’t as important….? Even if i drop $90 of my $117 on him, i have $27 for 3 more guys? I could go $25 on one of them then spend $1 and $1 on my last two guys and get my choice of basically whatevers left at the end….? thoughts?

    I want to go for it, not try to draft value and in the end get old guys like garnett for $25, brand for $25, etc etc ….. i mean Nash is going back in, Melo probably, these guys will fetch HIGH $50s or even into the 60’s…. can’t compete if i dont have the talent in a league this big.


  2. Tony says:

    ha that post was huge! enjoy….

  3. Adam

    Adam says:

    @Tony: I’m halfway done with a response, Tony. I need to refill my water bottle, stretch for a few minutes and then finish strong. Stay tuned …

  4. Adam

    Adam says:

    @Tony: Certainly any player in the league has a value threshold. You wouldn’t want to pay $114 for Durant and $1 for each of your remaining three players, but I’d feel more confident overpaying for an elite player like Durant and scouring the free agent pool for the rest of the season. There were huge pickups available 10, 20, 30 games into the season last year (Kris Humphries, Nick Young, Tyson Chandler and so-on) and there will be equally valuable free agents this year.

    If you think you can remain faster than your league in the free agency pool, I’d follow your instincts and pay what you need to for Durantula.

    Hopin’ for some hoopin.’

  5. Tony says:

    @Adam: yeah i at least feel more confident if i start with some big dogs on my team and go from there…. rather than start with ehhhhh mediocre whoevers that are like 30-40 a piece….. the FA wire is a bidding system as well, so if there’s a guy explode then on like weds and sundays u can put in your highest bid of your 100 FA dollars to bid on him…. so i can be quick but its more about quality scouting and figuring if a player will continue and is he worth bidding on…. thanks again for the reply, im defly going to go balls out i think on DURANT, id much rather own a team with him on it losing than with other donkeys and STILL losing!

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