So we’re out of the top-50, it’s time to start playing it riskier! Although, there’s still some pretty boring vets in this range, but it’s mainly because they have to go somewhere… Kinda like those stupid sheep tiles in Catan. Man, I hate that game… It’s glorified dice without the money, and replace swagger with my nerd friend saying “mad sheep-game!” every time his hotel gets some sheep cards… Worst game ever.
Anyway, it’s cliche to say “you can win your leagues with strong mid-round breakouts”, so I’ll just say “it certainly helps getting your mid-round picks right than getting busts!” Oh man, if that’s not award winning analysis, I don’t know what is… Here’s the Top 75 for the 2015-16 Fantasy Basketball Season:
51. Terrence Jones, Houston Rockets – Sleeper time! Although unlike Gallo rounding out the top 50, I think TJones has a little wider-known buzz. Very unfortunate he had the nerve issue last year derail his season, but even with starting 24 of 33 games, his per-game was 68th last year. As a starter – 13.5/7.6/1.1/0.6/1.8 while shooting 55%, making 0.5 treys, and only 1.3 TO in 29 MPG. Eesh, too late to get him top 50?! Well there is some FT% issues (60% the past two years), but it is low volume. There’s a little injury risk here as well, but depending on build, I could see even going a couple higher.
52. Trevor Ariza, Houston Rockets – Man, Ariza was almost cuttable at times last year! But when it was all said and done, his metrics-friendly game put up a 36th per-game value and amazingly 22nd in total value playing all 82 games. Through his first 47 games, Ariza was shooting an absolutely putrid 37% from the field, but the final 35 games improved to 44.7%. The career-high treys from 13-14 maintained (actually set the career mark last year at 2.4!) and gives you steals from a wing. Fairly boring, but very solid.
53. Mike Conley, Memphis Grizzlies – Yikes, I couldn’t believe the backlash I got for having Conley outside the top 50! Since I’m lazy, I’m going to use my comment defense on the Top 50 post: “scoring down to 15.8 last year, dimes to 5.4 without cutting down on TO, 1.5 treys is fine, but those steals have dried up to 1.3 – dropped three straight years. And after being mad durable most of his career, missed 9 in 13-14 and 12 last year, with a list of injuries like this at one point. I don’t see any upside, he’s starting to look a little fragile especially with the kankles, and on BB Monster which I’ve been using for per-game/total value metrics, 52nd last year in per-game.” Which is not why I have him 53rd! Coincidence they’re this close… I don’t buy him playing for a monster contract either – I don’t see the Grizzlies as a team to suddenly unleash him with either more shots or more minutes. Just not the right team to give him the keys to play for more $$.
54. Tobias Harris, Orlando Magic – Well, after some strife and some benchings, Mrs. Featherbottom is back with the Magic with a pretty exciting swing game ahead of him. Vuc can score low, Dipo can slash, then Harris can play some extra transition and everything in between. He’s the meat in the sandwich! Ummm, that sounds wrong… The metrics love him, as he was 51st in per-game value in 14-15. Per-36s might not be as favorable (he played 35:37 a game as a starter), but 17.6/6.5/1.9/1.1/0.6 with only 1.7 and 1.3 treys is a mad multi-cat output. Great with the %s as well.
55. Chandler Parsons, Dallas Mavericks – The good: 58th in per-game last year, a massive upgrade at PG, Wesley Matthews getting eased in, and Dirk is getting older. The bad: OUCH MY BACK! OUCH ARTHROPOD KNEE SURGERY! I might’ve gotten what kind of knee surgery he had wrong… Anywho, everyone’s favorite DeAndre Jordan slammer is primed for a bigger role in the O, although I don’t see him getting back to the 4 dimes a game we saw in his final Houston year.
56. Kenneth Faried, Denver Nuggets – Oh man, is THIS finally the year?!?!? Eesh, I guess with this rank, I’m thinking so! Despite only playing an extra minute a game, Faried improved vastly in steals and blocks in the second half with a 14.3/9.2/1.1/1.1/1.0 slash post-ASB. 70% FT was acceptable, and 1.7 TO from a big is fine as well. There’s some upside here as you also have to expect more than 30 minutes a game under the new Mike Malone regime. Malone seems to like Faried, and with the money the Manimal makes, now is the time to unleash him and put the money to use.
57. Jordan Clarkson, Los Angeles Lakers – I was all set to just sink Clarkson like every other NBA franchise did (except the Lakers – they’ve done ONE thing right!), but re-looking at his numbers – and my apprehension D’Angelo Russell is going to have a huge impact this year – I think Clarkson is going to be a solid value in the 50s. The Lakers have said they want to run Clarkson and Russell as combo guards with that fossil playing SF, and as a starter in 14-15 – Clarkson was 15.8/4.2/5.0/1.1/0.2 with 0.9 treys and 84% from the stripe. I don’t see Russell becoming the main facilitator, so I see those numbers repeatable. Maybe my favorite thing for Clarkson is he only averaged 2.2 TO on that atrocious Lakers team, as an [at first] unheralded rookie running an abhorrent line-up.
58. Danny Green, San Antonio Spurs – Everyone’s favorite unsung hero (wait, is that an oxymoron?), Green is an absolute metrics dream even though he plays low minutes and can be downright invisible at times. Eventually the stats accrue! 23rd in per-game value last year, but there’s a giant elephant in the room. LaMarcus the Elephant! Dude – I should totally write kids’ books based on fantasy metaphors… Career-high 9.1 shots a game last year I see going down, career-best 2.4 treys will shrink, the minutes at 28-and-a-half seem about right, and I guess everything else seems fairly repeatable. Great glue guy, but not someone I’ll reach for. Although I could see this rank well above ADP, as he’s always unappreciated by those who appreciate him (definitely an oxymoron that makes no sense!).
59. Brook Lopez, Brooklyn Nets – Ugh, finally here at Brolo. When healthy, he’s a great fantasy player… 24th last year was mad solid, including a huge 2nd half run. But there’s a giant elephant in the room… Clownfoot the Elephant! Well, just injuries in general make Lopez not worth the risk any higher. Not elite in blocks but usable, AST and STL are non-existent, but low TO and great %s. Enjoy if you feel lucky!
60. Brandon Knight, Phoenix Suns – Wooo, my boyfriend is back! 14-15 started with an unbelievable run, but he tailed off a tad, got traded, then blew out his ankle. Time to turn over a new leaf! Just don’t turn over a new ankle! I really like that Knight became the backup PG when Eric Bledsoe got subbed out in his brief run with the new team, and Phoenix has paid him. My boy got paid! Knight shot pretty bad in his 11 Suns games, but took a ton of 3s, still got 4 dimes a game, and really cut down on the TO. I don’t think we see anything too special in any specific area, but should have a solid line across the board. Plus a smidge of added upside with Kieff having Phoenix beef. Not to be confused with Mongolian beef.
61. Nicolas Batum, Charlotte Hornets – Frenchy was stenchy! His multi-cat, metrics friendly game had a sharp turn for the worse dropping to 69th in per-game last year, as the Pts dropped to 9.4, FG% to 40%, and he lost nearly two boards per. Never left the perimeter! The Hornets aren’t going to ask him to change much of that, but like Ariza – 37% from the field pre-ASB to 45% post. Fought through a few injuries, should see the scoring bounce back a tad, another solid glue guy. But not the Batum of old.
62. Markieff Morris, Phoenix Suns? – Drama in Zona! After some strife with Hornacek, they traded his brother to DET without consulting him, and now he’s reportedly not talking with the team or management. Maybe some flowers and an apology piece of jewelry will fix everything! The Suns better act fast too, or else a GM might get a Morris’ bros. beating… I only docked Kieff a few spots for the uncertainty, as you never know where he could move to if he indeed forces a trade. Then you never know what this drama could cost him in minutes and with Hornacek’s leash if he stays… Let’s just say I bet Kieff has a bigger womping stick, because Hornacek can’t hide much in those shorts!
63. Myles Turner, Indiana Pacers – Let’s get the rookie nookie cookin’! Does “rookie nookie cookies” sound better? Because that just sounds nasty… Anyway, Turner was easily the buzziest rookie in Summer League looking like a men amongst boys (cliche alert!), putting up 18.7/8.3/0/0.7/4.3 in 3 games, hitting 2-3 from downtown and 8-10 FT. Plus only 3 total TO in 87 minutes! Three games, it’s Summer League, it’s small sample, “why are we all really here?” qualms aside, Bird said Turner is going to play a ton of minutes, and really the only other power forward OR center that can do anything on the Pacers is Jordan Hill. Hill can’t play big minutes, and while Paul George will get some run at the swing 4, Turner is set to play a tonnnnnn. Hits some treys for a big, the swats are legit right away, no TO, hits his FT… Upside for a monster here.
64. Khris Middleton, Milwaukee Bucks – I got so floundered in my phrase “ARE YOU KIDD-ING ME!” that it’s shocking to see The Duchess with a 50th per-game finish, and all the way to 34th in total value. He had a few DNP-CD early on! And EVEN MORE floundering: after the opener, K-Middleton had only two – TWO! – games of over 30 minutes until December 26th! He averaged a mere 23 MPG through the first 27, starting only 7 of those. But when Jabari Parker went down, Jason Kidd had no choice but to make a smart decision. The Duchess was so good from there on out he exploded his value and GOT PAID! Great multi-cat contributor, does everything except block shots, and should have another solid run as the for-sure starter. Although as Parker gets eased in, if Middleton is mad hot through the first few months, I might look to sell-high.
65. DeMarre Carroll, Toronto Raptors – I’m all about that space, bout that space, WITHOUT CARROLL THERE’D BE TROUBLE! Hah, just stemming that from Slim’s comment that without Lowry, the Raps spacing would downgrade from the Raptor scene in Jurassic Park to the one in The Lost World. One of my favorite moments in any of the Honest Trailers… Anyway, Carroll put up a 54th per-game finish last year, AND GOT PAID! AND IT WAS MORE THAN MONTA ELLIS! Hah, just having fun with that one again… Moving north of the border, Carroll should see a few more shots, he’ll be more relied upon for treys since they don’t have a Korver, and obviously replicate the steals with low-TO.
66. Dwyane Wade, Miami Heat – Aight, aight, aight – in a pseudo McConaughey voice – it’s time to start filtering in the injury prone vets that I guess I’d have to take at this point. Even in per-game stats, Wade fell to 95th with the TO rate horrific, his FG% dropped over 7% from last year (!!!) and the steals fell to 1.2. But if you are either punting TO or are in need of a scorer late, I could see rolling with Wade at this point. Luckily with how most fantasy league sites can’t let go of the past, I have a feeling he’ll be taken a good bit earlier. You enjoy those 30 missed games, top-50 Wade drafter!
67. George Hill, Indiana Pacers – First team all-post-ASB all-star! Maybe the worst superlative sentence ever written… Went bananas after the break for 17.2/4.6/5.8/1.2/0.3 with a paltry 1.8 TO and 1.6 3PTM. Dem fighting numbers! But with PG13 and Monta now in the fold, I don’t see the points or dimes repeatable. His previous highs in Pts & Ast was 14.2 and 4.7 back in 12-13, which seem closer to his 15-16 outlook. Gotta love the low TO though, but upside is a bit capped.
68. Tim Duncan, San Antonio Spurs – It feels like a catastrophic falloff has been expected for the past 5 years, and it just hasn’t happened. Per-game he was a monster 21st overall, and even with Aldridge siphoning off a lot of touches, I think this rank builds in the regression/line-up change. He’s been in the 28-30 minutes range five straight seasons, and even with all the benchings, has only been under 69 games once in that span. It’s not like 69 games is awesome or anything, but I think you get enough value from TIMMAY at this point.
69. Dirk Nowitzki, Dallas Mavericks – Unlike Timmy who has been relatively consistent, Dirk had a massive dropoff last year. 44th in per-game was fine, but he was 9th in 13-14! Last year was the first time since his rookie campaign playing under 30 minutes, and also had lows in FTM and boards since then with a career-low in blocks. But he’ll still bring the treys, nice %s, and virtually no TO. This rank will hopefully price me out, but if he fell this far I guess it’s fine.
70. Kyle Korver, Atlanta Hawks – If everyone’s favorite frat boy was coming into the year healthy, I’d have him a good 10 spots higher. But off-season elbow and ankle surgeries have made him “more machine now, than man”… 2.9 treys a game making nearly 50% of them is absurd, plus he got a career-best 0.6 blocks. On a Hawks team – a team that should win and be right with the Cavs in dominating the East – I don’t think they push his minutes, especially early on. I might be priced out at 70, but I think there will be a great buy low opportunity a month or two in.
71. Robert Covington, Philadelphia 76ers – Lord Covington! Or maybe Duke Covington? Earl? Just can’t be Duchess! One of the most successful D-League promotees, Covington was a monster in 49 games as a starter for 15.2/5.0/1.7/1.6/0.6 with a nuts 2.7 treys. Dem not only fighting numbers, dem murderin’ numbers! The 2.3 TO in that line was a smidge high, but the real value on draft day is when drafters look at his overall 70-game output instead of the starting numbers. As Slim put it, the Sixers benched Covington at the end of the year because “you’re helping us win, stop doing that!” Philly should stick him in as the starter all year, and if he’s close to those starting numbers from last year, you’re going to get great value.
72. Derrick Rose, Chicago Bulls – This will definitely price me out. Even in his healthy prime, D-Rose has never been a fantasy elite with a low FG% with not enough treys to support it, low dimes with too many TO to support it, and terribly low STL. Then all of those knocks obviously compound with the injury risk. I really hope he’s not on any of my boards at this point, but I guess the scoring and handful of dimes is worth the pick this late.
73. Giannis Antetokounmpo, Milwaukee Bucks – I’ve gathered through the comments that Giannis is going to be a very buzzy 15-16 selection, but I don’t think his physical upside and young age translate into a sleeper pick any higher. It was very disappointing to see his rookie 0.5 treys drop to 0.1 (only 7 on the season last year), plus no improvement to AST:TO and very marginal upping of the STL + BLK (even with roughly 7 more minutes per). At least with the treys way down it helped his FG% almost get to 50% and he vastly improved at the stripe – both in % and attempts. We tend to think of Giannis as a multi-cat monster, but with no treys and sub 2 STL+BLK last year, he was pretty boring and 93rd in per-game. And the big kicker for me is that boring wing line with 2.1 TO. All that said, I think this rank will be above his ADP for the obvious raw upside. Hopefully the 3s and D-stats develop, or else trendy drafters will be left disappointed. You trendy hipsters, you!
74. Tyson Chandler, Phoenix Suns – I’ve got a few players I’ve never owned shares of through their careers (Gallo being a big one!), but I am all about Tyson to be a holy field of stats. 37th in per-game last year, but he’s a metrics whore (low TO, good %s) and I doubt many rankers have him top-75 at all. The durability scares me a tad, but he gives you some out-of-position steals and I could see him scoring in the 13-14 PPG range aided by Phoenix’s transition game. He’s a perfect fit with the high-flyin’ Suns for some transition alleys. Phoenix was 4th in possessions per-game – Dallas wasn’t far off at 9th – but it helps a smidge with points and boards upside.
75. Tyreke Evans, New Orleans Pelicans – Well, there’s a big name outside of the top 75 that plays PG for Reke’s team, and if Jrue’s legs can’t hold up yet again, Reke should get out of that Bolton kid’s dungeon and help restore the Greyjoy name! 16.6/5.3/6.6 last year, but while the trip-dub stats get the ESPN bottom line excited, horrible 3.1 TO, 0.9 treys at only 30% 3PT% (drive a little more!), and his FT% oddly dropped under 70%. But if I’m going to be too scared of Jrue to keep him out, I have to expect some nice stretches from Evans, assuming he once again fills in at some PG. Evans has injury risk as well, but he’s chameleonic enough to feel pretty good playing him with whomever is healthy around him.
There’s your top 75! May your mid-rounds hit on all the sleepers, and we’ll round out the top 100 on Wednesday!