So it’s time to start gearing up for 2015-16! Man am I pumped… Mostly because I know Michael Carter-Williams won’t burn me. In my never again pile! MCW is like that sexy crazy chick that you know you’ll regret hooking up with again… Sexy assets, but makes you wanna blow your brains out! Kinda a shocker MCW isn’t a redhead, as all firecrotches are nuts. Sorry Scottish readers, but it’s true! Even on Game of Thrones the tall Stark one had to dye her hair…
As tradition, we’ll be ranking the Top 50 in our Way Too Early Rankings to get an idea of where we stand heading into the upcoming season. We’ve got a lot of great stuff planned through the Summer with Draft analysis, Team Previews, and a whole hell-of-a-lot of rankings extravaganzas. Here’s the Way Too Early Top 10 for the 2015-16 Fantasy Basketball Season:
1. James Harden – Don’t fear the #1 Beard! Although, fellow Houstonite Dallas Keuchel’s beard is mad saucy right now. Wait, a guy named Dallas pitches for Houston?! Wait, isn’t this an NBA rankings post?! I’m so confused right now! I have a feeling the top 3 will be some variation of my top 3, and I’m going with consistency over sexiness. But it’s not like Brow or Curry are redheads! In average stats, Harden came in at 3rd on both Basketball Monster and Yahoo, and 2nd on both in total stats. Not like it’s going to happen, but if Harden cut his TO in half he would be BY FAR fantasy’s #1 player. It’s the only real knock, and what puts him at 1 for me is the category clinching FT%. Even with one of the FT-punt Cs, you’re going to do fine. Assists went up to a career high 7.0 in 14-15, and he’s only missed 14 games the past 3 seasons. With Dwight Howard losing effectiveness and the ability to stay on the court and clog the middle, Rockets will again be all Harden and only a ridiculous PG acquisition or fluke injury will scare me away.
2. Anthony Davis – I think this will raise some eyebrow! I know people will be very anti-Brow #1 or #2, but even with the nagging injuries he was the #1 player in average stats across 68 games. Plus tied for 2nd on Basketball Monster and 4th on Yahoo in total stats. Seems like he missed more than 14 games! The issues with all those naggers (don’t miss that word on Wheel of Fortune…) has me keeping Brow 2 instead of the clear #1 that I thought I’d have him for the second straight season. Not much to say that we don’t already know – FG% went up on more shots, will hit his FT for a big, blocks are NBA best, and his 1.4 TO a game are unreal. Stay healthy Brow, all my teams with the #2 pick will need you!
3. Stephen Curry – Well, let’s get some of the first hate mail for the 2015-16 season goin’! Curry was the #1 player last year in total stats, 2nd behind Brow in average, and I have a feeling he’s going to be ranked 1 or 2 more often than 3. We all know the good – record-setting 3s, nice dimes, and had a career-best 2.0 steals. What concerns me is 32:39. That’s how many minutes he played a game in 14-15, and I don’t see a scenario where the Warriors are any worse next year. Steve Kerr, yet another who’s been in the Popovich system, is likely to keep it low again in blowouts and I could see even more DNPs in 15-16. He’s obviously an elite player, and at 3 I’d really be happy with any of these guys, it’s razor close.
4. Kevin Durant – Here comes the flood of hatemail! I better make a JB’s Ark to survive this deluge! If the foot heals, this is a steal. If it acts up or limits him at all, it’s a bust. That’s it – plain and simple. I know a lot of KD owners last year will have the Slim Reaper in their “never again” pile like me and MCW, but even with a foot that never healed right and the battle through an ankle sprain, Durant was still the #5 player in average stats. Pretty crazy for a guy who wasn’t close to himself. Even with the most optimistic of offseasons I don’t think he’ll crack the big 3, but with anything negative he might slide.
5. LeBron James – The [former] King vs. Paul. Twas a toughie for me, but I’m going LBJ 5 mostly because I feel bad about his receding hairline… The headbands make so much more sense now! To hit this rank, James will need to improve drastically. #12 in average stats on Basketball Monster, #16 in Yahoo, the 13 missed games drops him even further in total stats. Dat TO rate doe! A career worst 3.9 last year with it over 4 most of the season, and a 2nd-career-worst 71.0% from the FT line. What has me encouraged for a bounce back was he had his worst TO rate before 14-15 in his first year in Miami, and I think we all know Kevin Love is going to become an even more ancillary guy. I mean, dude can’t even keep his shoulders in place!
6. Chris Paul – I could see these last two switching up, as Paul do what Paul does with over 10 dimes a game, hits his FT, and turns the ball over a lot less than some of the studs ahead of him. While he hit a career best 1.7 from deep, I really didn’t like seeing a career worst in FTM as it shows he’s settling a little more for jump shots. Plus the elite steals fell to below 2 for the second time in his career, previously in 06-07. I still expect elite stuff, but it’s enough of a knock to move him out of the top 5.
7. Russell Westbrook – An interesting thought would be where Westbrook would be if Durant was no longer on the Thunder… We shall never know! For now at least… But we know Scotty B ain’t there! Westbrook was dead on at 7 last year in average stats, which means he’ll really need to improve his efficiency while co-existing with Durant for 15-16. The days of the crazy tripdubs and 30+ Pts every other night will probably dissipate, but hopefully it will cut down on that atrocious career-worst 4.4 TO a game and he takes a few less 3s after shooting under 30% from downtown on 4.3 attempts last year.
8. Kawhi Leonard – Mmmmmm, the day is finally here! Kawhi is a first rounder! One of my favorite players in the NBA, Kawhi was 6th in average stats last year, which may surprise some people given his unflashy slashes. It’s all about contributing everywhere – only elite in the steals – but it’s another year of tread on the Spurs tires and if the grandpas retire, I think Kawhi will move even further up my board.
9. Damian Lillard – This may be one of the higher ranks you’ll see for The Omen, but I’m a cautious man! Well, not really, I like to live a little dangerously, but the safety makes him a first rounder to me. In average stats he was 16 and 14 per Basketball Monster and Yahoo, respectively, but he shoots to 6 on both in total stats. Nothing too drastic has changed – he’s marginally upped the scoring every year but did have a career-worst 3PT% – but the biggest number here is 0. That’s how many games he’s missed in his 3-year career. After painfully trying to sift through all the DNPs over the final month in 14-15, having a PG that’s the closest thing to an 82 game lock will have me excited at 9th.
10. DeMarcus Cousins – Man, if a couple things fall right we could easily see Boogie break into the top 5 in 15-16. But as it stands now with the Kings still an abomination, I don’t see much changing. Great numbers across the board for a big, good FT shooter, it’s just so tough to like a C that gives up 4.3 TO a game. I was hoping to find some sort of evidence that it was much better with Darren Collison there, but nope, worse in the first half. You pretty much have to walk on eggshells with your gaurds in a Boogie build, but it’s not enough to knock him outside the top 10.
I hope everyone is pumped for the 2015-16 Season which is still a good bit away, but it’s never too early to start weighing your options. Happy offseason Razzball Nation!