FIVE… DAYS. The NBA “offseason” has kept us almost constantly entertained with a loaded draft, free agency rumors, the best summer league ever, and multiple superstar trades. But, it’s time for some real, official action. And by that, I mean actual stats that count in our fantasy leagues, of course. This season, more than any other, I’m just a huge fan of the entire NBA and my fantasy teams. You see, I’m a longtime Bulls fan. And while I’m an optimist that’s been quite obsessed with the Sixers rebuild and their amazing potential, the Bulls have messed up their tank job in half a dozen ways prior to even getting it off the ground. So, I’m really itching for some Lonzo outlets, CP3-to-Capela lobs, and an unexpected six-steal game from my most recent free agent acquisition. Let’s get going already with this new crop of talent!
Copyright 2017 NBAE (Photo by Joe Murphy/NBAE via Getty Images)
Last week, I talked about ways to find advantages by removing certain stats your team doesn’t need for various reasons and shuffling up player values so you have a better idea of who’s actually the most helpful for your team during drafts. That’ll be a theme as the season goes on, because it really leads us to trades that can help us a ton, while helping the other team enough that they pull the trigger. But we’ve got another weekend of drafting to go, so I’ve compiled a list of a few more places to take advantage of what I see as market inequities. If you’ve already drafted, maybe this can spark some trade proposal ideas, too.
Philadelphia has #TTP. Orlando has #??? Since they blew up the operation when they traded Dwight Howard in 2012, the Magic have drafted Andrew Nicholson, Kyle O’Quinn, Victor Oladipo, Romero Osby, Aaron Gordon, Dario Saric, Mario Hezonja, Tyler Harvey, Domantas Sabonis, Stephen Zimmerman, Jake Layman, Jonathan Isaac, Anzejs Pasecniks, Wesley Iwundu, and Ivan Rabb. They traded away O’Quinn, Oladipo, Saric, and Sabonis. So, they basically have Gordon and Hezonja and haven’t had enough time to trade away this year’s crop of rookies. The player they traded Oladipo and Sabonis for was Serge Ibaka, who they traded away to the Raptors. They just gave Evan Fournier a five-year, $85 million contract. What’s the vision here guys? I believe that languishing in mediocrity is the worst place to be in sports. You either have to tank to try and acquire a franchise player through the draft or go for it if you’re in the position to do so. What’s the point of trying to win 30 games?
Before I begin, head on over to the football side and play and/or host some RCLs by clicking here. I’ve got my league up, so come get it. I have no doubt that you are a degenerate so I’m just trying to help a brother or sister out. Also, check out Jay’s rankings. Not because he’s a swell guy, but because he was the third-most accurate ranker according to FantasyPros.
Ok, now back to hoops. If you missed it, here are the links for the Top 10 and Top 25. I’ll keep the intro to this piece short and sweet because there’s a ton of players to get through.
As always, big shout-out to Slim, who provided projections and insight.
Playoff basketball – yes spelled “basketball” – is underway, got some great games to kick it off, including from our boy PBev! While I’m coming around and trying to watch more playoff hoops (baseball is still fresh and new, sue me!), I’m still more excited for the hopes and dreams of 2017-18 fantasy titles.
In case you’re still catching up, here’s my Way Too Early Top 10 ranks, which hopefully mostly hold up (they mostly come out at night…) for the 2017-18 season. Of course my boldest call of Rudy #10 gets greeted by a first quarter knee injury in game 1 of the playoffs, hooray! C’mon Rudy, just stay healthy, no one in fantasy cares how you play in the playoffs! Hah! So let’s all hope none of these guys in my 11-25 get injuries their next postseason game… Here’s my Way Too Early Top 25 for the 2017-18 Fantasy Basketball Season:
It’s been a while since the East has boasted a better division than the West, but even when you spot a lowly East team a big lead on a West team, nothing is safe! Russell Westbrook just went insane (I would too if the Magic were beating my playoff bound team!) in the OKC comeback charge, turning around a 21-point deficit during the second half on his way to a 57/13/11/3/0 line. He shot 21-40 from the field with 6 treys, just willing OKC to the W after this dramatic 3 to get it into OT.
Good thing Nikola Vucevic can’t hit his FT! Westbrook took the missed freebie board, and no Magic was gonna stop him… Take that, Voldemort! It’s come to pass as just the norm, but at 31.8/10.6/10.4, it looks like Westbrook is going to easily average the tripdub, something I really didn’t think we’d ever see again. Hopefully you built your team around his deficiencies fairly well, because man he’s tough to beat if you can slaughter the right cats. Westy is your besty! What an unbelievable season, Here’s what else went down last night in fantasy basketball action:
No, it’s not the title of some campy 1970’s Sci-Fi movie – Zubac really IS the savior of the world!
I don’t need to keep tooting my own horn – if I was a dog I would – but Ivica Zubac continues to impress, and I’m happy to have the big fellah leading the charge in my RCL playoff efforts! Getting his second consecutive start, the Zubes tore up the Nuggets for a career-high 25 points on a 25/11/1/0/1 line. Now, now, I know Nikola Jokic and the Nuggets in general have putrid interior defense, but I don’t care!
Post move O face! Look at how smooth he is! Well, despite the fact Jokic has no interest in playing defense, I concede that haha… Zubac is going to promote World Peace (not the Metta kind though!), figure out how everyone is going to get water, and we’ll be building statues of him by the 2050s. He shot 12-15 from the field, but weirdly only 1-4 FT as that is a little bit of an issue lately, despite profiling as more of an 80% FT shooter… So don’t let that bugga-ya-boo, I think that’ll improve. Just let our future defeater of invading aliens and our inventor of light-speed travel take you to the promised land. Here’s what else went down last night in fantasy basketball action:
Timing. It’s a bitch. Losing one of your bedrocks the weekend before the H2H playoffs is the injury gods spitting into our faces and hitting us across the jaw! No joke, last night I had a dream that DeMarcus Cousins straight cold-cocked Salah Mejri in the face. Must’ve lingered from a convo I had with Grey last week about how there’s no more NBA fights, and Mejri always seems to wanna mix it up. Weird how spot on that dream could be!
Anywho, my trip out West certainly didn’t help my focus! We got some awful news Saturday that LaMarcus Aldridge is going to be out indefinitely with minor heart arrhythmia. He missed the final 9 games in his rookie year and 10 days in 2011 due to heart-related issues, so if the further testing done today is positive, maybe we could get him back by the semi-finals next week. For teams scrapping their way in a do-or-die quarterfinals in the playoffs, unless you have an open INJ spot, Aldridge can probably go. Get well soon, LA! In the meantime, David Lee (12/6/2 – 18 mins) and Dewayne Dedmon (9/7/0/0/2 – 22 mins) should get a little added run, but those numbers quoted there were in that weird game Saturday night against the Dubs, with Kerr and Pop benching everyone. I’m sure ABC was THRILLED when they heard GSW was DNPing everyone and the Spurs were going to be without Kawhi Leonard and LA! I’m not huge on Lee, but I think he’s your biggest benefactor, and could help deeper leagues or be a streamer for those boring Pts/Reb cats. Hopefully losing LA doesn’t make you a Ded Mon! Here’s what else went down over the weekend in fantasy basketball action:
Oh man, the jet lag is real! Sorry for the later daily notes again this morning, I’m in sunny Florida but couldn’t get my ass up in the morning! Still on LA time! And you could probably say the same for those lousy Chicago Bulls these days, they were sleepwalking in Orlando. The walking of the Bulls! Doesn’t have the same ring as running of the Bulls… But they looked old last night, even on only 1 hour difference, and no one covered Elfrid while owning from the Shelfrid! 20/14/14/2/2 last night, in an epic rainbow tripdub from Elfrid Payton. As voluptuous as his hair! He’s been unreal the past week going 16.3/10.0/8.8/1.5/0.8 hitting 66% from the field. Of course it’s just a hot streak, and in the daily notes I’ve been really apprehensive the minutes/production would go back down, but things be hot hot hot in Orlando! But one thing that occurred to me is Nikola Vucevic went down 4 games ago, and these last 3 games have been without Vucci Mane and his USG-whoreness down low. Replace him with Bismack Biyombo down low, and you need a lot more playmaking elsewhere. So while yet another season of SKIIIIIIIIIILES!!! residue and inconsistency for Elfrid has me hesitant to push for him yet again in 17-18, if they move on from Vuc and keep more-or-less this same core, I’ll be buying right back in and getting him on my Shelfrid on 17-18 teams. Here’s what else went down last night in fantasy basketball action:
JB be California dreamin’! Sorry for the later notes today, as I wrap up my West Coast trip and head for sunny Florida tomorrow. I’m so discombobulated with my jet lag and California culture, I thought the Jamal version of Crawford got traded to the Pelicans or something! But nooooooo, Jordan Crawford is back in the NBA ladies and germs!
In a game where the Pelicans were unsurprisingly stagnated by the Jazz D, Jordan of the Crawfords kept it close with a bench spark, going 19/1/3/2/0 with 3 treys on 8-15 shooting. All that in 20 minutes too! Did the Pelicans expect the ridiculous offensive prowess of E’Twuan Moore and Solomon Hill would provide some bench wing scoring?! It isn’t shocking that a 28-year-old Crawford was slaying the D-League with nearly 24 points a game, and isn’t surprising to see him be a good bench scorer on the right squad. Maybe you give him a look in the Michael Beasley/Derrick Williams sort of way as a deep league scorer, but this is likely one of his best lines on the season. Not like he can gel with the twin tower USG-whores in the starting 5 – he’s gonna be the bench scorer like we’ve always seen from Jamal Crawford. Wait, I mean Jordan Crawford! Ahhhhhhhhhh! Here’s what else went down last night in NBA action:
Man, big weekends all around! And only fitting one of the breakout weekends of the NBA would be someone from the Suns! I was in Phoenix all weekend! …sadly not to see the Suns, but I don’t think anyone was… Grey and I were scouting some Spring Training, and us goofballs had a good ol’ desert time… Speaking of goofballs, check out this jump ball for the Suns/Celtics game on Sunday night!
It’s all fun and games for the Celtics until the Suns actually beat ya! And who better to drive home the dagger than who faced off in the short-man jump ball!
NBA getting taken over by shorties! Grey might have a shot to make the NBA at this rate! 20/2/5/1/0 for Tyler Ulis with no TO on 8-12 shooting, following 8/1/8 then 14/4/7 lines the two games prior. Of course Earl Watson would love this guy and start giving him minutes, the short guy love going all around! 23, 21, then 33 minutes in that big win yesterday. While he’s certainly worth a look in 12ers, minutes would absolutely have to come at the expense of Eric Bledsoe or Devin Booker, and I don’t see the Suns being able to give Ulis a 30+ MPG role. So that keeps him behind the Cojo’s of the world, and I’m not really fretting that I didn’t add him anywhere while I was in baseball scouting mode. Although I will say the NBA definitely has it down with being an indoor sport, my feet got sunburnt to a crisp wearing my flip flops in Phoenix! Stupid pale skin… I’m not built for the desert, even in early March! Here’s what else went down over the weekend in fantasy basketball action: