Yikes, after the top 10 things become a hodgepodge of nitpickery! I think I made that word up, but I’m not going to let my creativity wane during the offseason!
After putting out my Way Too Early Top 10 last week, I fought some procrastination and internal debates to get 11-20 down. Fought some ranker’s block! It’s like writer’s block, except I’m a lot less cool than Hank Moody in Californication. Ranker’s block doesn’t score me the Hollywood A-listers! But with a bottle of booze and in a plain black T, I truck forward thanks to the insistence of Runkle. Here’s my Way Too Early Top 20 for the 2015-16 Fantasy Basketball Season:
11. Kyrie Irving – Uncle Drew, member of The Big 2! Not the Big 3 anymore with Kevin Love not gelling, amiright?! Who woulda thought Irving would have scored more (21.7) points a game than in 13-14 with LeBron James returning home, while not giving up too many dimes at 5.2 APG (down from 6.1). Sure it was a career-low, but with the TO also going to a career-low (or career-best, semantics!) 2.5, we will take it! Career-high in 3PTM and games played at 75 help as well. I could actually see him improving on last year’s numbers and he was top-10 in total value as it was.
12. Paul Millsap – Unlike Kyrie and his flashy ball-handling and 50+ Pt games, Trillsap is the quiet assassin. Silent but deadly! Wait, that’s actually LeBron… Millsap came out 18 or higher in both per-game & total value metrics in both Yahoo and Basketball Monster algorithms, and I think comes with some inherent safety and multi-cat prowess. 13-14 & 14-15 were very comparable giving him back-to-back top 20 finishes, and while owning any Hawks after their DNP-fests late might seem unappealing, I doubt the Cavs aren’t right there (double negative police are after me!) record-wise through next season.
13. Klay Thompson – Ughhhhh, well with a Razzie to his name due to my skulduggery, I guess I have to rank Klay serviceably after his breakout 14-15. 5th in total value last season, Klay got to a career-best 3.1 3PTM while shooting a career-best FG% (46.3%), and that’s on top of the big strides made in the defensive stats (1.1 Stl 0.8 Blk). Plus he’s only missed 6 games the past 3 seasons. I could see some owners drafting him a few higher, but I still believe in ThrAGNOF assets late in drafts/streaming and you don’t need the treys too early in H2H.
14. Rudy Gobert – Here we go Razzball Nation, it’s time to start pumping the Rudy bandwagon! Wait, why would a bandwagon be pumped? It runs on pump-up sneakers power! Once Enes Kanter finally got the boot, Monsieur Elbow had that monster second half averaging 11.1/13.4 and 2.6 blocks. Didn’t kill you at the FT line at 63.3% and also chipped in a steal. The elite defensive numbers, huge rebounding output, and the boost in FG% makes him the #1 Bloc Party I’m jamming with.
15. John Wall – A dimebag per game = fantasy owners high as a kite! Wall showed us a great deal by averaging right at 10.0 APG, but it came at a cost. While the TO didn’t change too much, he lost a half a three from his already low 3PTM numbers (1.3 down to 0.8) and lost 1.7 PPG. It’s not huge, but my first round rank of Wall last year was envisioning a slight downtick in TO and uptick in treys. As it stands, it’s tough to take a PG that doesn’t bury 3s much higher, and assists have become more plentiful in a more robust PG class in 15-16 drafts.
16. Blake Griffin – Speaking of plentiful assists, the dimes from Blake ain’t fake! See, rhyming – I’m not the best at… (Same with sentence construction!) My rap album “JB, ya see?!” didn’t do too well… While Blake lost some points and boards, he shot up to 5.3 dimes and went down from 2.8 to 2.3 TO the past two years. Mmmmmm, I love me A:TO ratio turnarounds! It’s like a reacharound, but less sloppy. And post-ASB, Blake went ham at the FT line hitting 76.7% of his freebies. That used to be a big knock on his game, but no mas! His lowly Stl/Blk also lagged early, but picked up to 1.0/0.9 in the second half (sure 16 games is a small sample since he missed some time with that elbow infection, but it includes a few games pre and post injury).
17. Jimmy Butler – Everyone’s favorite Mr. Bucket (sorry, Charlie…)! Just crowned the Most Improved Player, I think we see a comparable 2015-16. The injury bugaboos are the big concern though. 67 then 65 games the past two seasons suffering a variety of ailments, but at least we know ol’ Tibby Tibs will run his guys to death with Jimmy B playing 38:39 and 38:40 MPG the past two years. Consistent consistency! Are the big minutes causing injuries? I doubt it, but you never know. That big leap forward in FT attempts (and making 83.4% of them) is mad saucy, plus mmmmmm. A:TO turnarounds! 2.6:1.5 in 13-14 to 3.3:1.4 last year. It’s marginal, but the key of all these stats is only 1.4 TO from a multi-cat stuffer. Worth the risk of another sub-70 game season at this point.
18. Serge Ibaka – Well, back-to-back top-10 ranks and Serge has finally fallen down. It was a brutal start for Serge averaging sub-46% from the field in the first half with the rebounds falling even further down. But in his brief stint alongside Enes Kanter (11 games), Serge ditched the 3s and got the blocks back over 3. He’s still young at only 25, but off that knee procedure that ended 14-15 early, I still worry that the blocks continue to fall as they’ve regressed four straight seasons. All that said, I could see #18 being a tad higher than a lot of other boards – FT% (albeit low volume) + I’d say 0.8-0.9 3PTM + 2.0 BPG is an unparalleled combo.
19. Paul George – This might be the most epic question of 15-16 drafts… Where to take PG13? To me, this even feels like a little bit of a leap. I’ve been notoriously anti-George – I was on the pump-the-brakes bandwagon after he was a monster in the first half of 13-14 (then he went sub-40 FG% cold in the Pacers collapse) – and even at his peak I don’t think he’s a top-12 guy. So at 19, I’m guessing he’s right back to his best, which will certainly take positive reports all through the offseason and early preseason play. Plus it’s encouraging to hear the Pacers want to go a little faster-pace and play George at some 4 next year. Anything would be better than seeing David West and Roy Hibbert lumbering around all the time!
20. LaMarcus Aldridge – Sure he’s got a lot of tread on the tires, but L.A. will have just turned 30 heading into the 15-16 season and I have no concerns he will still be a sure-fire 2nd rounder. Well, he was 14th in per-game value last year according to BBMonster, so I guess there is a smidge of risk, but it mainly boils down to if he’s still with the Blazers. Really anywhere else he goes would slow his tempo. That said, he introduced a lot more of the deep ball (0.5 3PTM) and doesn’t hurt you in any cat. It’s low-end in the steals and blocks, but they’ll both be at or near 1 and he doesn’t turn it over. If the 3s bump up to closer to 1 per game and he maintains everything else, he’ll easily finish around the top-12 if he stays healthy (missed 11 games last year and 13 in 13-14).
There you have it! 21-50 will be out next week, lead by the Gasol brothers and Razzball’s own Draymond Green. I mean, we more-or-less made his career amiright?! #OccupyDraymondGreen baby! I hope everyone is enjoying the playoffs, and happy Summer Razzball Nation!