On and on, and on and on. We keep breaking down the players. Won’t stop until we are done. Here is the next iteration of projections/rankings. If you missed previous editions, here you go:
Before I begin…
THESE RANKINGS MUST BE UTILIZED IN THE CONTEXT OF YOUR LEAGUE SETTINGS, TEAM ROSTER CONSTRUCTION, AVERAGE DRAFT POSITION, AND PERSONAL PHILOSOPHIES.
I shouldn’t even name them rankings, as they are simply projections, but the people want rankings so here they are. 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. I’m also still refining my process and trying to get better with each iteration. 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.
So, where a player lands in the rankings doesn’t mean that I would draft said player there. It simply gives a macro view of a player’s overall value.
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(Projections are for 9-cat leagues)
76) Lauri Markkanen (F – Chicago Bulls) – I’ve always appreciated Markkanen since his performance in the EuroBasket 2017 tournament. He was such a dog and showcased his skill and demeanor. I thought he’d be an instant star. Fast forward three years, and he’s a good player, but not a star. Plus, he’s been unable to stay healthy. He has the skills to be productive, but is the book out on him to stifle his development? Hopefully, a new coach can unlock his potential. Now, from a fantasy perspective, the field goal percentage sucks and the defensive stats are lacking, but points, tres, boards, and excellent free throw percentage are in the offering.
77) Dejounte Murray (G – San Antonio Spurs) – Murray oozes with potential, as he’s a beast in transition, is one of the better rebounding guards in the league, and is a maven on defense. The outside shooting is suspect, but he’s not a complete zero from downtown. There are injury concerns, which ties into playing time, but hopefully Pop unleashes Murray and lets him flourish.
78) Hassan Whiteside (C – Sacramento Kings) – Mt. Whiteside was erupting on a regular basis last season, swatting shots into the atmosphere and blessing his loyal followers with fantasy goodness. He finished as the number 9 player on a per-game basis! Then Nurkic returned to the Portland lineup and it was kaput. Now he finds himself in Sacramento. Cue a serenading of cow bells. Unfortunately, the Kings already have Richaun Holmes on the depth chart. Oh, silly Kings. Anyways, Holmes and Whiteside will likely split the center minutes right down the middle so all is not lost. There will be Mt. Whiteside eruptions but not as frequent as last season. Boards, blocks, and excellent field goal percentage are what he offers. Don’t expect much and keep in mind that he’s going to hurt your free throw percentage.
79) Delon Wright (G/F – Detroit Pistons) – I may be wrong to be so high on Wright, but minutes are gold, Jerry! While playing for the Raptors, Grizzlies, and Mavericks, Wright never averaged more than 22 minutes per game. Now he’s in Detroit, where he reunites with Dwane Casey and has the opportunity to approach 28 to 30 minutes of run, playing both the point and shooting guard positions. Wright won’t score much, but he will chip in a little something something in each of the categories, and is particularly valuable in the steals department.
80) Steven Adams (C – New Orleans Pelicans) – The man who boxes kangaroos for fun and considers beef jerkey to be pillars of driftwood will be playing for the New Orleans Pelicans this season. Stan Van Gundy may slow down the pace some, but the emphasis could be on defense. As a result, 30+ minutes of run could be in the offering as Jaxson Hayes is still young and Willy Hernangomez wouldn’t know what defense is if it smacked him in the face. Back in 2017, Adams was a top 70 player, as he averaged 32.7 mpg. A similar season could be in the works this year. Adams is a nightly dub-dub machine and will provide steals, blocks, and excellent field goal percentage. The free throw shooting is kangaroo poo bad, though.
81) Eric Bledsoe (G – New Orleans Pelicans) – Who Bledsoe Eric could get out of Milwaukee? Or is someone bleeding because he left? These are the important questions in life. Bledsoe will likely start at shooting guard for the Pelicans and will likely play some backup point as well. As a result, he should average around 30 mpg, which would be a boon since Budenholzer decreased his playing time 2 minutes each season – from 31.4 to 20.1 to 27 last season. Points, tres, a handful of boards and blocks, steals, and decent percentages are what you’re getting.
82) Kevin Love (F/C – Cleveland Cavaliers) – Love hurts. Literally and figuratively. Love has played 56, 22, 59, and 60 games the past four seasons. He’s 32 years old, so unless he’s Ponce de Leon and discovered the Fountain of Youth, or concocted Love Potion #9, it’s a good chance he misses a ton of games. In addition, there’s a chance he gets traded. Kevin Love Will Get Traded is the new Sky is Falling. Anyways, when he’s actually playing, Love is a decent option for points, tres, boards, dimes, and free throw percentage. Just don’t expect defensive stats and the field goal percentage is poor.
83) James Wiseman (C – Golden State Warriors) – Rookies are so hard to project, especially one who didn’t play many games last season in college. With that said, all indications are that the Warriors plan to start Wiseman at center and let him rock and roll. It helps that he’s playing alongside Steph Curry and Draymond Green. He should get plenty of cheapies at the rim, grab boards, and get his block on. He does have a decent shooting stroke, so the free throw percentage shouldn’t kill you.
84) Terrence Ross (G/F – Orlando Magic) – We know who Ross is – one of the better 3-and-D fantasy players in the league. What we don’t know is if he will be hot or cold on any given night. Hey, just like shopping at Ross! The field goal percentage is an awful 40%, but he has 30-point upside on any given night. Some of the other Razzball writers also believe that Evan Fournier gets traded, which would provide more opportunity for Ross.
85) Elfrid Payton (G – New York Knicks) – I feel like an elf having Elfrid here, but the numbers are the numbers. Would I draft him here? Probably not. With that said, all indications are that Payton will be the starting point guard for the Knicks. I do have some hope for Ntilikina winning that job. I have lost hope on Dennis Smith Jr., which makes me very, very sad because I thought he’d be Stevie Franchise Part Deux. Anyways, Elf should be the guy and he’s a threat to mess around on any given night. He has 17 career trip-dubs. With that said, the points and tres will be low, and the free throw shooting is terrible. But those precious, precious dimes.
86) Jaylen Brown (G/F – Boston Celtics) – I once wrote that Brown would be the next Kawhi. Whoops. Good thing no one reads my stuff. Brown has a ton of physical talent and can get buckets. He will also chip in some boards and steals. The dimes and blocks are low, though. The big thing regarding Brown is the efficiency. Through the first three years of his career, he was a 46% shooter from the field and 65% from the line. Last year, he improved to 48% and 72% respectively. If there’s any regression in the efficiency, he plummets through the top 100 barrier.
87) Evan Fournier (G/F – Orlando Magic) – Poof. And then he was gone. Like magic. Will that be the fate of Fournier this season, as he will be an UFA after this season? If so, then his will take a hit since he won’t be playing 32 mpg for a contender and the usage rate won’t be 24. But I cannot see into the future. All a mere mortal like myself can do is project what I can. And in the current state of affairs, Fournier is a good source of points and tres. He also contributes a little in the boards, dimes, and steals cats, while shooting an excellent percentage from the free throw line. He doesn’t fizz or provide a jolt of caffeine, but the Evan is pure, wholesome, and quenches the thirst.
88) Davis Bertans (F/C – Washington Wizards) – Bertans drained 200 tres last season. James Harden led the league with 299 total. Bertans played 14 fewer games and 900 less minutes, but he wasn’t just spray and pray Rambo style. No, he was a straight sniper, converting 42% of his attempts. Only Duncan Robinson was more efficient on a higher number of attempts. The cool thing about Bertans is that he will also chip in some boards and defensive stats. Not a lot, but at least a little something something.
89) Ja Morant (G – Memphis Grizzlies) – Morant is good, right? Ja. He won the Rookie of the Year, right? Ja. He tries to dunk and take the souls of anyone in his path, right? Ja. After a vicious crossover, Ja explodes past his hapless defender, dribbles into the paint, sees the help defender slide into position to take the charge…..C’mon, man, he voices as a smirk forms at the edges of his lips. Ja rises. Ja extends. Ja flushes down a vicious dunk. It’s murrddeeeeeeeeer. Ja rules once again. The only thing you’re not getting from Ja are blocks. The percentages are very nice while the points and dimes are plentiful. He does fall behind other guards in tres and steals, but he will still rack up over 1 per game.
90) Aaron Gordon (F – Orlando Magic) – I thought Gordon was going to be The One. I even called him The Commissioner way back in the day. Unfortunately, he’s been more like a joker, which is a shame because he has so much talent. He jumps like a flea, is taller than 99.999% of the world’s population, and possesses the handle package of a guard. Yet….he kind of sucks for fantasy. The field goal percentage is whatever, the free throw shooting is sub-70%, and the defensive stats are lacking.
91) Coby White (G – Chicago Bulls) – White is the new green, as in cash money. He displayed all the skills that induced the Bulls to select him with the number seven pick in the 2019 NBA Draft. Now, White should get a big bump in minutes this season, as he will be the starting point guard. So plenty of points and tres should be expected. The boards and dimes will be there as well, but he’s a score-first point guard. While the free throw shooting is good, the field goal percentage is very poor. Don’t expect any blocks.
92) Daniel Theis (F/C – Boston Celtics) – Theis Theis, baby. Dum dum dum dumdumdum dum. Vanilla Theis Theis, baby. Hey, stop! Collaborate and listen. Theis is back for a brand new season. You want tres? Naw, he don’t drain those. But count up those blocks and boards for days though. Dum dum dum dumdumdum dum. I can’t believe I get paid to do this. Looks at check. Ok, that’s about right then. Theis did have a minor knee procedure a few months ago, but it sounds like he’s fully recovered and ready to go. In addition, Tristan Thompson and Robert Williams are viable options at center for the Celtics, but Theis should receive at least half of the pie, and Brad Stevens said he could play some 4. Yipee! Boards and blocks with good percentages are what he provides.
93) Derrick White (G – San Antonio Spurs) – White was amazing in the Bubble, with Pop opting for a small-ball attack. I should probably have him higher, but I guess there are some concerns with how everything will operate with a fully healthy Spurs lineup. Regardless, he’s solid across the board and has an outside chance of being a 1/1/1 player if he can get his steals and blocks up a tick.
94) Chris Boucher (F/C – Toronto Raptors) – Boucher isn’t a water boy, but the per-36 minutes excellence hasn’t translated into consistent run. With Marc Gasol gone, could his opportunity be nigh? I’m not so sure, as I like Aron Baynes a lot and Alex Len is there to scoop up some minutes. Nick Nurse did say he could play some power forward, which I think is a better path for him. With that said, he should get an increase from the 13.2 minutes he averaged last season. When he plays, boards, tres, and blocks with decent percentages are provided.
95) Will Barton (G/F – Denver Nuggets) – Oh, Will. What a thrill it’s been over the past few years. Like a roller coaster, the ride has been filled with highs and lows. 58, 43, 81, 60, 82, 58, 41, and 73. Those are the number of games Barton has played over the past seven seasons. Now, to be fair, the highs haven’t been of epic proportions, but when healthy, Barton has been able to contribute points, tres, boards, and dimes. The defensive stats haven’t been robust, but not lacking either. The free throw percentage has been good but the field goal percentage fluctuates in the 40-45% range.
96) Wendell Carter Jr. (C – Chicago Bulls) – The Carter Administration has been a bumpy one. There have been injuries and the leadership at the top has been fraught with corruption. With Billy Donovan at the helm now, the ship should sail much smoother now, utilizing all the resources at its disposal. WCJ is a mult-faceted big man who will provide excellent percentages, do big man things like board and rack up defensive stats, and be able shoot and dish out dimes.
97) Julius Randle (F/C – New York Knicks) – Randle is a bull in a china shop, rampaging his way through without a care for what falls on the ground. Thibs is all about making sure nothing breaks, so how long will this relationship last? Randle can score and board, and the improvement in three-point shooting over the years has been a welcome development. The lack of defensive stats, though. Yuck.
98) Mike Conley (G – Utah Jazz) – Are we there yet? Daddy, are we there yet? 20 minutes later. Are we there yet? That was the Conley experience last season. He was so brutal in the early going that all the questions were regarding him. Can we drop Conley? How about now? It took Conley quite some time to adjust to the system, but when he did, it wasn’t too shabby. Now, he’s not going to be the top 30 Conley from years past, but a contribution in points, tres, dimes, and good free throw percentage are on the docket.
99) Mason Plumlee (F/C – Detroit Pistons) – After being blocked by Jokic all these years, Plumlee has finally been freed. Hallelujah!!! The depth chart in Detroit is barren, like the rest of the city. Ba dum dum. I kid. I’ve actually heard some good revitalization stories about Detroit lately. With that said, during the housing crash, I remember going onto sites and seeing 3 bedroom, 5,000 square homes going for under $1,000. Lol. Plus…..
Plumlee will provide boards and defensive stats. Nothing over 1 per game, but enough to be palatable. He also passes well for a big man, so some dimes are dished. the big bugaboo is the free throw percentage, as it is worse than his field goal percentage. Yeah, have fun with that Detroit.
100) Larry Nance Jr. (F/C – Cleveland Cavaliers) – Unlike Plumlee, Nance will never be freed. Wait a minute. Send him to Detroit!!! Nance has developed a shot from downtown over the years, which is nice. The points will never be voluminous, but he will grab boards and get his 211 on. I’m always baffled by the low block numbers, especially with his athleticism. A defensive IQ thing I assume, which may be the reason why he’s never been unleashed. I know that I do not know. Anyways, the free throw shooting isn’t great either, but the volume is low so the impact is mitigated. You know what is great?
Hang that shit up in the Louvre!!!