The nitty gritty! Oh man, ranking an early Top 50 before the draft and free agency is a bigger fool’s errand than hiring the Clippers a FT coach. Especially since DeAndre Jordan might go to the Mavs! Cuban will use some sort of Shark Tank invention to help him out at the stripe. Flubber 2!
We’ve gone through the Top 10 and Top 20 for our early 2015-16 ranks, but 21-50 certainly gets interesting. My biggest takeaway is the sheer depth at PG. Almost every team will have a fantasy-viable PG (cough, not the Bucks, cough) so it’s a position to fill up on in the mid rounds. Sure I’d like to start with one of the top 10 overall elite guys, but I’m likely filling up on a wing and a big, then it’s time to go with the sides. Mmmmm, this is sounding like a great KFC order… Here’s my Way Too Early Top 50 for the 2015-16 Fantasy Basketball Season:
21. Draymond Green – #Occupy baby! Man, what a year… And my perception was that he faded a bit down the stretch – turns out, the only numbers that were significantly down were 6% in FT% and 0.4 blocks. That’s with marginal BOOSTS in virtually all cats. He’s not gonna come up and smack the fantasy world in the face this year!
22. Eric Bledsoe – I have a feeling E Bled could be a mainstay for my teams next season. Bledsoe is a tier above the bevvy of mid-round PG after his huge 14-15 campaign, and even if Brandon Knight stays, he’s locked-in as the pure PG and the Suns just have to accept they need to move off the combo-guard system with him. If Knight walks, I don’t think they bring in a PG. Bledsoe should have another great year, and I think a near-elite 15-16.
23. Andrew Wiggins – Woooo, let’s stir some shizz early, amiright?! After a really rough 3-game stretch in the middle of December, Wiggins finished the final 56 games with a 19.2/4.8/2.4/1.1/0.7 slash, and the FT bumped to 77.6%. Dat FT volume doe! 5.0-6.5 in that span. Sure Kevin Martin hanging around hurts the upside, but this is Wiggins’ team now.
24. Carmelo Anthony – To knee or not to knee… To Melo or not Melo. If I had to guess now, his ADP would be in the top-20, so I’m likely avoiding. So much risk and even Melo said he probably won’t be 100% ever again. But hell, 90% of Melo is still a solid fantasy option, especially if he can get through 90% of a season.
25. Pau Gasol – Oh man, I told Slim I had Gasol top-25 and he almost bitch slapped me! I mean, any further down means you’re just 100% convinced he only plays 50 games after finishing last year seventh, yes #7, in total value. Of course getting through 78 games helps, but even down at 24 it builds in some regression to some career-best [or at least right close to] numbers we saw from Pau last year.
26. Al Horford – Like Millsap, I feel like both started a smidge sluggish and our high Hawks ranks drew some scrutiny. But all-in-all, ended up being some solid ranks! A whopping 11th total value in 76 games, but a lot of that is driven by the metrics-friendly algorithms – he’s solid everywhere except 3s. I think he’ll be steady, albeit with limited upside – boards have gone way down the past 3 years and he only played 30:30 a game in 14-15.
27. Marc Gasol – Another great season from baby Gasol, who went from worse Gasol, to better Gasol, back to worse Gasol. Well, they’re both great and Marcy Marc is off a 9th total value finish. After a somewhat disappointing 13-14, Gasol brought the scoring and FG% back up. But dude is getting old like his bro – will turn 31 halfway though 15-16 – and is off a career worst TO season. 2.2 won’t kill you, but I think I’ll wait for more of the block-specialist bigs than grab Marcy Marc round 2.
28. Nikola Vucevic – I feel like it’s been 3 years that he’s been right on the precipice of being a legit mid-2nd round big, but it just hasn’t happened. He finished 21st in overall value in 74 games last year, mainly due to a spike in scoring to a career-best 19.3 topping his previous high by over 5 points. All with a career-best 52.3 FG% While his O is fantastic, his boards and blocks have gone down three straight years. Sure the drop has been marginal, but in per-36s they’re more pronounced as he upped his minutes as well.
29. Kyle Lowry – After some stretches where he looked like a first-rounder, Lowry hurt his hand and struggled late when DeMar DeRozan got back. His 3PT% fell horrifically, he shot 37% in the second half, assists fell by 2 per game in the second half, and before 13-14 he had a horrible time staying healthy. Sure he got to 70 games last year, but a lot of those were trying to gut it out. I couldn’t invest any higher.
30. Andre Drummond – Like our Hotlanta boys, Drummo also started mad slow but put it together. Crazy that through November he was shooting sub-45%! His FG% almost got worse than his FT%! His slow blocks also picked up, but on the down side his fouls per-36 jumped even higher.
31. Hassan Whiteside – Hassanity continues! Even Whiteside suffered a little Hassanity… Olynyk meet elbow! I think he out-blocks and bests Drummo in FT% (whoa, look at how bold I am!), but Drum will get boards, steals and probably points. Coin flip between the two.
32. Gordon Hayward – Slim certainly would flip him with Pau, as Slim is all on the Gordon’s fisherman. And even I had him up 7-8 spots, but his 31st overall finish seems about the ceiling. Sure the offensive numbers went up, but his assists fell and the Jazz are turning into a defensive-only team.
33. Rudy Gay – Always Mr. Solid, Gay put together a 25th per-game season last year in 68 games, although some spikes late with DeMarcus Cousins disintegrating as the season wore on. If Gay weren’t entering his 12th season and wasn’t on the travesty that is the Kings, I might be all about him as an earlier pick: had by far his best A:TO ratio at 3.7:2.7 last year. And you know I love my A:TO swings!
34. DeAndre Jordan – It’s mind-boggling to me that even in 9-cat metrics and with that horrific FT%, he ended up 23rd overall last year in total value. Twenty-third! And unfortunately, the Clips weren’t able enough to hide Hack-A-Dre anymore, as his FTA per game more than doubled to 8.7 post-ASB. Plus 14-34 in that Game 4 vs. HOU, ewwww-eeee! What makes him so solid beyond that is his ridiculous durability – hasn’t missed a game in 4 years. If he was at all injury prone, no way that FT% would crush my team.
35. Jeff Teague – This feels a little risky. A little… “I could feel this go way wrong.” A little, “I’ve made a huge mistake…” The awesome-ness of Dennis Schroder looms on the bench and Teague only played 30:31 MPG last year, but even with the low PT he was 30th in total value last year! A lot of that was a career best in steals and he’s not a high-TO PG.
36. Chris Bosh – All news is good with his recovery from the scary blood clots suffered last year, and he should be good to go for a full 15-16. Other than that fluke issue, Bosh has been durable through his NBA career and should contribute as a solid mid-round guy. We’ll have to see how he looks through the preseason, but with a true PG now in the fold, I think he can get some better shots than that rough FG% streak he went though most of last year.
37. Kevin Love – What a disaster! Love’s fantasy value was bigger than the Goodyear Blimp in 13-14 and turned into the Hindenburg last year! I’ll be here all night with my blimp metaphors… This ranking is assuming he stays with Cleveland, which seems very unlikely especially after a dislocated shoulder and subsequent surgery knocked him out of the playoffs. He’s better than he was last year, but I doubt he ever gets back to the MIN glory days.
38. Ty Lawson – Speaking of disasters, man those Nuggets really didn’t put together a good season, huh?! For all the bad knocks on him – bad ankles, a DUI, and an oopsie-Tweet – Lawson finished with 15.2 PPG and 9.6 dimes last year. Unfortunately he didn’t do enough anywhere else to have a solid overall rank (54 in total value last year), but a weird case of the yips at the FT line early on really hurt as well. Possibly a new team, still only 27, I think there’s value here.
39. Goran Dragic – Everyone knows how much I loved my Dragon last year, but this offseason someone needs to re-train their Dragon… Had some choice comments for the Suns front office, he was shifting into almost a pure SG in PHO, then after the trade to MIA he wasn’t much better. Dwyane Wade is still going to eat up all that usage while he’s healthy and I don’t see a big boost from last year. That said, the low TO and a full offseason with the team puts him ahead of the big field of PG coming soon after.
40. Nerlens Noel – Wooooo, look at Captain N! Came oh so close to AVERAGING a rainbow line in the 2nd half, putting up 13.1/10.0/1.9/2.1/2.3 with the FT% improved to 68.8%. The TO at 2.1 hurt a tad, and there’s still some concern with how he co-exists with Joel Embiid.
41. Derrick Favors – I want to like him more… I WANT TO! But can’t… It’s kinda like coffee porters – I like coffee, I like porters, I like beer, I like heavy beer, but bleck! Finished 37th last year in total value, and while the boards and blocks didn’t go down with the force in the middle that is Rudy Gobert, his FG% fell from 54% to 49.8% post-ASB. Gobert is going to clog the middle and force Favors into a little more of a mid-range game – not a huge hit but enough to keep him out of the top-40 for me.
42. Al Jefferson – Ughee. Kinda think of the sound you make when your groin pops in half and you have the knees of an 80-year-old rodeo clown. That’s Big Al last year, but he still has great hands and great post skills that I think can translate if he has a good, healthy offseason. He plans to stay in Charlotte, a team that will be entirely focused on him in the post, I think there’s still something here.
43. Elfrid Payton – Put that Elfrid on my Shelfrid! He had an unbelievable second half last year, which looks even better when you look at his final 21 games after a terrible 3-game stretch late Feb-early Mar: 12.4/5.6/8.7/2.4/0.5 with 0.3 3PTM – a low number, but considering he had made only 4 on the season before that final stretch, was another big improvement. He’s almost Rajon Rondo, but the good Rondo! Ugh, that comp sure sucks now! 2009 Rondo!
44. Danny Green – Sure, the fact he played 81 games last year helped (on top of the metrics-friendly game), but Danny G finished an unbelievable 14th last year in total value. It was even better than that 12-13 breakout and he averaged over a block per game. While the minutes and the Pop system is concerning, he averaged a career high 28:32 last year and the Spurs old guys are another year older. But aren’t we all?!
45. Reggie Jackson – Finally! Reggie got a starting gig! And unfortunately we have even more question marks… Is he staying in DET? Is Brandon Jennings going to hurt his value? Can he average at least 1 steal a game? Can he shoot a little better from deep? If he related to the baseball legend? Is heaven real?! The answers and more on this week’s Podcast!
46. Jordan Clarkson – Time to go big or go home! What a find for the Lakers last year as they picked him up for a bag of potato chips, and I have to believe they can be smart enough to put all that cap money into other positions. He’s good enough to start with solid numbers as the starting PG, and improved dramatically over the final 3 months including an unreal April.
47. Monta Ellis – He was kinda a nightmare to own last year, but he still put together yet another top 50 season. A lot of question marks here too: he seemed hurt closing out the playoffs and he has an $8.7 mil player option that seems very 50/50 if he’ll take it. He could probably get more and a long term deal in the market if he declines. We shall see.
48. Ricky Rubio – I bet a lot of people are cringing at Rubio even Top-50. What can I say, I have a soft spot for my Latin Lover! Even with a gimpy ankle, Rubio played fairly well last year, narrowly getting a career-best dimes and grabbing by far a career best boards with Kevin Love not around to vacuum em up (say that three time fast). Of course there’s risk since he’s had these injuries and a lot of people want to see Zach LaVine unleashed as the pure 1, but I think Rubio still has a surprising season coming soon.
49. Kemba Walker – A minor knee surgery sucked up a lot of his games, while a career-worst 30.4% from downtown sucked up a lot of his value. I think it makes sense for Mo Williams to come back to the Hornets – it’s been speculated by their blogs as well – so it’s fair to assume he will have another bad assists season (5.1 last year, down from 6.1 & 5.7 previous two years). That said, TO also went way down and the STL went back up, dramatically so in per-36.
50. Trevor Ariza – Ariza owners that got knocked out of contention early – especially with FG% issues – may cringe even worse than Rubio owners at this one! After a horrific 37.8 FG% in the first half, Ariza found his stroke to go over 45% post-ASB and the steals more than carried over, averaging a career-best 1.9. He’s going to play a ton of minutes again in 15-16, probably shoot even better, and last year his metrics-friendly game gave him a 22nd overall value.
Whew, ranks are tough this far out! We’ll begin our official rankings after the draft, and we’ll be recapping the Draft Lottery and these early ranks in our first offseason Podcast on Thursday. Happy Summer, Razzball Nation!