Oh man, things are going to get saucy in the second round! After Slim and I (and most of you commenters) seemed to more-or-less agree on most of my top-10, here’s where I gotta get my defending pants on. They kinda look like waders, but they’re decked out in OKC branded colors and logos. I call them my “Dion Waiters”! BOOM! Offseason jokes are in in-season form!
While we’re all watching StanVan complain about the LeBron calls and crossing our fingers Steph is healthy enough to come back for game 3, there’s no better time to dive into the deep end of hoops rankings a good 5 months too early. Can I put Ben Simmons in the top-25 yet?! Pssshhh, thing be gettin’ crazy outside the top 10, but not dat crazy! Here’s my Way Too Early Top 25 for the 2016-17 Fantasy Basketball Season:
11. Paul Millsap – The Trillsap is so Trill! And let’s be real, I ranked him 11 on so I could change his name to Tri11sap! The biggest disagreement through my top-10 seems to be Whiteside – and totally understandable, let’s see where he ends up – but other than that, my top 11 are as ironclad as I can remember heading into a new season. Millsap… I mean Mi11sap… averaged a rainbow line the final month and a half and shows no signs of slowing down – might even be improving – as he enters his age 31 season. Things might even get better if Horford walks, with some added freedom/usage for Millsap that would follow. But for now, my multi-cat love for Millsap is cemented at #11.
12. Giannis Antetokounmpo – This is where we get a little crazy! A little Greeky in my Freaky. While the Bucks were a dumpster fire cycling through awful PG (cough, MCW, cough), they finally tried out the Greek at PG (technically playing point-forward, but you get it) experiment with fabulous returns. 18.7/8.8/7.0/1.4/1.9 over the final 29 games, he played 80 games total, the FG% was over 50% and he knocked down some treys at the end – 10 3PTM in the final 6 games. Plus when your biggest fantasy deficiency (3PTM) is what you say you’re gonna work on all off-season, it makes me warm-n-fuzzy on the inside. Just needs to get a little more consistent at the FT line though!
13. LeBron James – Aight, aight, bring the negative comments, Razzball Nation! That’s right, I’m bouncing the King from the first round. All-in-all, 2015-16 wasn’t a disaster or anything, but he didn’t play 36 minutes a game for the first time in his career, steals went to a career-low, FT% remains horrible given his pedigree, and the DNPs worry me something fierce. It was nice to see the FG% go way back over 50%, but that was at the cost of a drop in treys. While that’s welcome and all – I’d prefer the FG% too – I just don’t see enough here to spend a first round pick anymore. Giannis is gonna do something similar with less scoring but a boatload of blocks. Gimme da swats!
14. Kyle Lowry – I dunno what Slim hates more. Razors? Shirts? DNPs?!?! But I don’t get the hatred on Lowry, as he got through 77 games and was 12th in per game stats according to BBMonster. A few years ago I was way low on Lowry due to his injury issues, but it’s 3+ years of 70+ games now. He just turned 30, so it’s not like he’s Pau Gasol out there either. I love he had career-highs in 3s, FTA+FTM, and STL all in the same season. More aggression, and somehow more treys to boot! What is there to worry aboot?!
15. John Wall – We’ve been yelled at in the past for having Wall as a first rounder, and it’s really only the metrics holding him down. FG% dipped a tad but he hit 1.5 treys in a massive bounceback from the perimeter, averaged a dimebag per, and set a career mark in STL. Unfortunately he tried to keep up with Harden in TO, giving away 4.1 a game I think Bradley Beal staying or going is a double-edged sword – if Beal stays there still should be good spacing, if Beal leaves, Wall might try to do too much and average 4.5 TO and see the FG% drop even more. I like Wall a lot, he makes a great TO punt anchor, but not quite a first rounder in my ranks anymore.
16. Al Horford – Big Al just keeps chuggin’ along, finishing with another strong season. Solid across the board, and added 1.1 3PTM to become a true multi-cat C. The boards are a little low from a big this early, but those are so replaceable! TO at 1.3 the past two seasons is a godsend as well. We still don’t know where FA will take him, but I imagine he’ll command big money and he’s still only 29! I definitely thought he had passed 30.
17. DeMarcus Cousins – Probably going to get some flack for this one too! While writing your negative comment saying Boogie should still be top-12, imagine me making complainy-whiny faces like Boogie does all game to the refs. If you can’t stand DNPs, Cousins and his average of 17 games missed the past 3 years should have you staying far away. The good – career-high scoring, added 1.1 3PTM a game after only 11 career 3PTM going into the year, George Karl got fired. The bad – at 10.2 FTA a game 71.8% is soul-crushing, Rajon Rondo made Boogie’s assists regress, still awful TO, he’s likely staying on the Kings. I left that final point as the kicker for dramatic effect. Sorry, Sacramento readers!
18. Damian Lillard – While it wasn’t the catastrophic failure of, let’s say Andrew Wiggins, he didn’t quite come through for my #7 ranked guy as I woulda hoped. We all know his FG% would be a major risk (41.9% ended up being a career low), he’d make a boatload of treys (3.1, a career-high) and would score (25.1 Pts, career mark). Unfortunately, the dimes barely went up to a ho-hum (for an elite PG) 6.8, TO went up to 3.2, and he regressed in steals to an unholy sub-1.0. Yeah, Omen, that’s unholy! Hopefully a little more talent comes to Portland and he can be a smidge more selective with his shots – and hopefully improve the A:TO ratio – but the steals really bog him down after improving through 14-15. Still a solid mid-2nd pick.
19. Paul George – Uh oh, the legions of PG13 fans will be all over us for this one! Bringing back the Paul George elite debate! We’re nothing if not skilled at dredging up the past! George was awesome in a must-root-for kinda 15-16, playing 81 games, averaging a career-high in Pts, and didn’t lack aggression getting to the stripe at a career best rate. But at 41.8% shooting and 3.3 TO to 4.1 AST, I’m a little iffy investing a top-15 pick. I will say it was nice seeing the TO go down as the season wore on, but I feel better with the above options in the second round.
20. Kemba Walker – An amazing breakout year from Kemba, with BB Monster having him at 18th in per-game numbers. Really befitting from better wing play next to Batum and a lot less usage going to Big Al, Kemba managed the difficult feat of taking a career high in FG and 3PTA and having a career best FG% (42.7) while scoring 20.9 a game, besting his previous career mark by over 3.0 a game. And while some will knock his assists vs. this high rank, he also sits at 2.0 TO a game rather than 3+ like almost all the other G ranked earlier.
21. Jimmy Butler – Buckets! I want to love you soooo muchhhhhh, Buckets! But your bucket is so leaky! Another awesome finish in per-game stats (15th on BBMonster), yet 67 games played and now 67 and under for 3 straight seasons. Ouch. Literally and metaphorically. I’m like Beyonce in my mansion, “I CAINT LIVE WITHOUT MY BUTLER!” Same with my fantasy teams if I pick him higher…
22. Kristaps Porzingis – Kristaps… POISON GOOSE! Kristaps… POISON GOOSE! What an unreal season from the rook, and I’m not embarrassed to straight plagiarize Rotoworld’s stat on him (or re-plagarize from wherever they got it, but you get the idea!): “Porzingis had a solid season with averages of 14.3 points, 7.3 boards, 1.3 assists, 1.9 blocks, 0.7 steals and 1.1 3-pointers, becoming the first rookie to ever score more than 1,000 points, grab 500-plus rebounds, make 75-plus 3-pointers and block more than a 100 shots.” He’s pretty much the best we could’ve hoped for from Serge Ibaka last year! Really the only knock against him is the FG%. I could see durability being a question mark, but he sat late with a shoulder strain that I think was more out-of-the-playoffs-cautiousness than a concerning injury. Plus with a high rank, it’ll make us keep playing the song on the Pod all offseason!
23. Klay Thompson – Yawn. I tried to come up with something interesting and I fell asleep while trying to pump up Splash Bro #2. He’s boring, but the metrics will love him, he’ll make a ton of 3s for you, and score well without killing your FG% and without turning it over. Along with Steph, managed to improve his FG% despite taking more shots and more 3s. Most boring 2nd round pick in history. Woopity Woo!
24. LaMarcus Aldridge – Slim hates old people. Aldridge is only 30! And while I ranked him low coming into 15-16, I think it ended up working out pretty well. 26th overall per-game finish last year, with a soul crushing bad start. But dat second half doe! From Jan 27 on he was 20.9/8.3/1.7/0.8/1.3 on 54.7% shooting from the field. That’s some ridiculous volume on 20.9 Pts a game! Really found his role on the Spurs, scrapped the 3s which is helping the %, and the D stats didn’t really fall off even though he played in fewer minutes. Only 74 games though… If he was doing this on a different team without the DNPs, he might be top-20 again for me.
25. Andre Drummond – Rounding out my top-25 is ol’ shoulder hair himself! We all know exactly what Drummo is at this point – punt the FT%, be a force in REB, and get 1-1.5 STL on top of 1.5ish blocks. As a punt, he’ll fill in admirably, and despite looking like an aging hairy hobo, he is still only 22 so could have a little upside left in him. I’m not a big punter with assets this early, but he’d be fine for me with the right builds at the 2/3 turn.
There’s your top-25! I’m sure we’re gonna have debates on several of these guys, so shoot your comments below. Happy offseason, Razzball Nation!