This is my intro, walk up, get hyped, and official theme song of SON Enterprises. I’m so pumped that a million words are about to be written. Since it is Thanksgiving, I want to give thanks to Grey for giving me the opportunity to write about hoops. I especially give thanks to those who read my stuff and actually laugh at the jokes, but the real MVPs are those who ask questions AFTER reading the whole post! With that said….We back, baby!!! It’s been a crazy year for fantasy hoops, as the season ended abruptly last year and the turnaround for this upcoming season was about as quick as a sexy time session with the wife. You know what wasn’t quick? Doing all the projections for the upcoming season. It is said that pimpin’ ain’t easy. Well, compared to doing projections, pimpin’ is child’s play. Alright, before I begin, the yearly public service annoucement:
THESE RANKINGS MUST BE UTILIZED IN THE CONTEXT OF YOUR LEAGUE SETTINGS, TEAM ROSTER CONSTRUCTION, AVERAGE DRAFT POSITION, AND PERSONAL PHILOSOPHIES.
If you draft Mitchell Robinson, you could pair him with Rudy Gobert and dominate blocks, or construct a more balanced roster and complement him with players who contribute in tres, dimes, and points. Maybe you don’t care about turnovers or free throw percentage and decide to punt categories. That obviously changes the value of players. What if I have a player ranked at 10 but the ADP is at 25? If you want said player, drafting him in the first round wouldn’t be ideal, as you’d be drafting at the ceiling and nuking any potential value.
Fantasy hoops is an evolving puzzle with many paths to victory. Use rankings as a guide, not as the be all, end all.
As for my process, I went to each team and tried to figure out their rotations with minutes distributions as best I could. Then I went to each player and projected the per minute stats for each player. So, yes, there is subjectivity in the process. With all the players in the overall pool, I then took the z-score for each category and added up those numbers to produce an overall value number. For free throw and field goal percentage, I weighted them for volume.
The rankings below are what the projections spit out. It is not indicative of where I’d draft a player, as I will try to explain in each blurb.
So, there you have it. I hope I don’t make another Corey Brewer-type mistake this year, but at least I’m confident in knowing that you guys will keep me honest.
One last thing. I’m using Fantrax for the positional designations.
The NFBKC is now LIVE for the 2020-21 season. All contests are available on Registration with Draft Champions leagues ready to begin 30 minutes after they sell out with 2-hour and 4-hour options available. Sign up and join the action TODAY: https://nfc.shgn.com/basketball
(Projections for 9-cat leagues)
#1 – James Harden (G/F – Houston Rockets) – Will Harden stay in Houston or will he be sent to, say, Brooklyn? Going to Brooklyn might be better for him fantasy-wise. Might. Mike D’Antoni and Daryl Morey are out in Houston, while Stephen Silas is in as coach. We don’t know how Silas is going to run things. With the signing of DeMarcus Cousins, small ball could be out. If Harden ends up in Brooklyn, we know that the pace is going to be fast with Steve Nash as head coach with D’Antoni on the staff, but the minutes and usage could decrease with Kyrie Irving and Kevin Durant also on the squad. <insert shrug emoji> As it stands, I am projecting Harden in Houston with similar numbers from last year. It’s not like Sterling Brown is going to come in and take away usage. Even with Christian Wood and Cousins in the mix, Harden will maintain his elite usage rate in the 30s. Until I see what Silas has in store, that’s the only thing I can do. You’re getting elite points, three-pointers made, free throw percentage, and assists. Harden also contributes heavily in rebounds and steals. The only knocks are the low blocks, high turnovers, and suspect field goal percentage. UPDATE: I had Harden at 3, but bumped his numbers back up after the Russell Westbrook trade. I could be moving Harden around again, if he gets traded.
#2 – Karl-Anthony Towns (C – Minnesota Timberwolves) – After playing in all 82 games the first three seasons of his career, Towns played 77 in 2018 and 35 last season. Meow. The trend is not your friend. If you’ve been with me from the beginning, y’all know I soured on KAT after Jimmy Butler exposed that he had no dog in him. With that said, he’s been remarkably consistent from a fantasy persective, as he’s been a top 5 player per game over the past three seasons. His lowest ranking was 12th, back in his rookie year. What makes KAT so enticing are the excellent percentages (both FG and FT), three-pointers, boards, and blocks. He also dishes out a decent sample of dimes and a pinch of steals, but not enough to put him in the 1/1/1 club. Meow meow meow meow. KAT is the top dog. How ironic.
#3 – Anthony Davis (F/C – Los Angeles Lakers) – All day and all night I dream of Anthony Davis galloping in the plains of my head, frolicking with my desires, and delivering ‘chips and ‘ships to my mental mantel. In an 8-cat, roto league, I took AD numero uno overall. My reasoning? 24.9 points. 9.52 boards. 3.4 dimes. 1.4 steals. 2.2 blocks. 49% field goal percentage. 79% from the line. 1.12 tres. He delivers in all cats while hurting you in none. That’s marriage material right there. And he makes me laugh when I look at his eyebrows. As for turnovers, only 2.3 per game. That’s bad for the buffet but great for fantasy hoops. Now, there’s injury concern and possible load management due to the quick turnaround, but the per-game production mitigates the risk.
#4 – Stephen Curry (G – Golden State Warriors) – Since 2012, Curry has finished, on a per-game basis, as the number 4, 4, 2, 1, 3, 2, 4, and 31st player (only played 5 games) for fantasy. The last three seasons, he’s played 5, 69, and 51 games, after playing at least 78 games in each of the prior five seasons. It’s all about health for Curry. If he can stave off the injury bug, you can bank on a top 5 finish, as he contributes points, boards, dimes, steals, and those tres, that he rains down upon the fantasy masses like God providing manna to the Israelites. In addition, the free throw shooting is elite while the field goal percentage is excellent for the guard position. It’s remarkable considering the range at which he shoots from. If drafting Curry, buy all the Curry voodoo dolls on the market, light them on fire, then offer virgin bones and cartilage to the injury gods so that they may be preoccupied. Oh, I almost forgot. Klay Thompson is likely done for the year, so the usage rate will likely be in the low 30s all season.
#5 – Damian Lillard (G – Portland Trail Blazers) – Dame $ola! That never gets old because you know what time it is. A clock ticks and tocks, steadily rotating its hands to a number higher than before. In Dame’s case, since 2015, he’s methodically been ticking higher up the fantasy rankings: 21st in 2015, 16th in 2016, 8th in 2017, daylight savings came in 2018 as he finished 12th, but then spring forward to 3rd last year. He averaged over 37.6 minutes per game and, for the first time in his career, he averaged 30 points, made 4 tres, dished out 8 dimes, and shot over 20 shots per game. Some regression could be in the works, but tick…tock. The only thing lacking from Dame’s game is the blocks, but know this and pair him with a big man who blocks. EZ PZ.
#6 – Giannis Antetokounmpo (F/C – Milwaukee Bucks) – There is no “I” in team, but G comes before “I”, literally and figuratively, and neither are in Bucks or team. As Ace of Base used to sing, “I Saw the Sign.” Bucks fans should be very worried. I’m not smart or connected enough to know where G is going to play after this season. What I do know is that he will be playing for the Bucks this year, who led the League with a 107.2 pace and have surrounded their G with a bevy of talented shooters. Unfortunately, Mike Budenholzer will still limit his minutes played per game, in order to keep him fresh for the playoffs, so that he can limit his minutes there. Brilliant! That keeps his ceiling tinted at best, but even so, G will likely be a 1/1/1 member who will provide a shit ton of points and boards with a handful of dimes. The only blemish is the free throw shooting, which at 70% on a huge volume of 10 attempts per game, is crushing in roto leagues.
#7 – Luka Doncic (G/F – Dallas Mavericks) – Oh Luka, you’re so fine. You’re so fine you blow my mind. Oh Luka! HalleF’ingLuka! I heart Luka so much, as his game is magnifique. If there was no ball to play with, men would cut theirs off just so they wouldn’t be deprived of witnessing the living masterpiece of Luka bounce and get buckets with them. He led the NBA in usage rate last season at 38.3, and there’s no reason to see that decreasing. In fact, it could uptick into the 40s. Points, tres, dimes, and steals are all on the menu. No poo poo platters in this establishment. Now, the turnovers are high and the percentages aren’t great. He also contributes very little in the blocks department. I’d have no problems taking Luka number one overall, but it comes down to the league settings and path you wish to take.
#8 – Kawhi Leonard (G/F – Los Angeles Clippers) – What it do baby! Outside of 2017, when he played only nine games, the Island of Kawhi has finished as a top 10 player on a per-game basis the past six year, with three of those top 5 finishes. Now, load management is a real thing with Kawhi, but, but, but….The impact could be mitigated this season because many other teams and players could be on a similar schedule and Tyronn Lue could alter things. Regardless, when he plays, Kawhi becomes a Fantasy Island. The plane boss! The plane! There is no weakness to his game: points, tres, boards, dimes, steals, and excellent percentages. The blocks are a little light, but he still contributes a little something something.
#9 – Jayson Tatum (F – Boston Celtics) – Channing is rooting for Jayson as much as investors sweat the price of Bitcoin, and both have been ecstatic lately. How else is Channing going to be seen on Google searches? In his third season in the League, Jayson took huge leaps in field goal attempts, three-point attempts, boards, and dimes, as he played a career-high 34.3 minutes per game. The usage rate was a robust 28.6 as well. Tatum produces across-the-board fantasy production and could become the newest member of the 1/1/1 club if he can get his Mutombo on a little more.
#10 – Nikola Jokic (F/C – Denver Nuggets) – Tesla still has the edge in supremacy for the Nikola name, but Jokic is right on his heels. How many trip-dubs did Tesla produce? The lack of blocks sucks from the big man position, but the 7 dimes more than makes up for it. In addition, you’re getting over a tres per game. Now, I have Jokic down for 32 mpg, but there’s a slight chance that he sees an uptick in minutes, as Mason Plumlee is no longer on the roster. Sure, Bol Bol could get more run, but he’s still a young pup. That would be lovely. Regardless, you’re getting excellent percentages and the dimes are no Jokic from the center position.