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!

  1. Lasandro says:

    Marvelous! Can’t wait for dat sweet sweet pod!

    Incredible how many names on this list were on my shallow roto team from last season – sooo many boo boos (Rubio, Kemba, Big Al). Hell, my healthiest guy was prob the geezer Gasol!

    • JB Gilpin

      JB Gilpin says:

      @Lasandro: Hah yeah well, they all barely made it and we gotta get them some major band aids! Good to see ya man!

  2. Slim

    Slim says:

    I’m pretty sure when Thibodeau leaves it means we can drop the Bulls down a bit. I think we can assume all of them get fewer minutes and a new coach means there will also be a bit of a learning curve.

    I think I can argue that better defense and a slashing Alec Burks should improve Gordon Haywards overall numbers (esp efficiency) but I’ll save that debate for later. I’m not worried about Favors either. FT% is a concern but it isn’t as bad as alot of guys out there. Low end Favors is still 16/8 and 1.7 blocks. Only a handful of players do that. Brow, Cousins, Ibaka, Gasol boys. All are ranked significantly higher. #41 is probably fine but I’m pretty sure I take Favors over Bosh and Love. I don’t need that injury risk and low blocks out of a big.

    I’m not going to argue with Wiggins. If I can get him in the 3rd I’ll be pretty excited about it. Hayward vs Wiggins is a good one. If I get Brow then I would rather pair him with Hayward.

    The Clarkson rank is either going to look really bad or really good. I don’t think there is much of a middle ground there. But… if the Lakers sign Rondo then what do you think we see from Clarkson? Sounds like a podcast question…

    Danny Green in the 4th feels WAY too high. 25 post all star break min, sub 1 stl and block. His value is buoyed by FT% on low volume, low TOs, and a bunch of 3s. Too boring…. I’ll take KMidd later.

    Who have you left out that was top 50 last year… Noah, Batum, Dirk, Conley, Kobe, Rose, Wade, Deron, Howard, Parsons, DeRozan. Nope I don’t want any of them in the 4th round,well maybe Conley.

    • kisses says:

      @Slim: I am all about that Clarkson rank. Also, where do you see guys like Middleton, Wes Matthews, IT 2/3, and Giannis? Are they all just on the other side of this top-50? God, I really hope the Lakers keep their pick tonight and don’t trade for Rondo…

      • JB Gilpin

        JB Gilpin says:

        @Slim: Yeah that’s a good point on Tibs, I started these before he was let go. I’d agree and take Favors before those guys if I didn’t need Pts/3s.

        Clarkson would have to go way down, and it would make me a sad panda…

        Sounds like Danny Green will be a point of contention for us this year after we talked him earlier 🙂

        Conley and Batum were on the fringe for me, Conley the closest but he’s been going the wrong way. Batum get an upgrade if the Blazers let Aldridge walk and build a certain way? Maybe…

        @kisses: Thanks! I hope to get him on a ton of teams if they keep him starting.

        Giannis is the closest. But yeah I doubt any of those will be out of the top 70. I like Middleton a lot, but Jabari coming back is really going to spread the Buck thin. See what I did there?! 🙂

        Matthews I would like too, but off the Achilles… I know he’s not Kobe coming off it, but enough of a worry

        • kisses says:

          @JB Gilpin: how could I forget about Jabari? I’ve been singing his praises all off season (Lakers not making playoffs = off season started early)

          • JB Gilpin

            JB Gilpin says:

            @kisses: Hah, well a few nice free agent pieces and a little Kobe might have ya in the race next yr!

  3. Bryce Krispie Treats says:

    Annnnd Kevin Love shows why he’s not worth the max contract!

    David Kahn a genius? — Id get murdered here in MN for saying that

    • JB Gilpin

      JB Gilpin says:

      @Bryce Krispie Treats: Haha, well most people seem to hate the poor Rubio signing…. Poor as in, poor lil’ Rubio, it was a rich contract haha

  4. Ryan says:

    Hey JB,

    I don’t know what compelled me to check out the site (draft-lotto hype?), but I’m liking most of these rankings so far. I’m going to have a hard time deciding my keepers, so I’m likely going to try trading some to get a 1st-2nd rd value player.

    Biggest question marks on my roster are: Giannis, Jrue Holiday, Gortat, and Embiid (picked up after playoffs). Where do you see these guys going? Giannis was 53rd on ESPN’s player rater, and Gortat was 22nd??! Jrue ranked 27th in average player value per game. I know we’re both fans of Jrue, so I’m speculating that the injury risk is what has you ranking him outside the top 50? If so, does that bump up Reke’s value? Ihdek what to expect of Embiid; does anyone?

    Besides them I have: Westbrook, Ibaka, Vucevic, Hassanity, Gay, and Dragic.

    • JB Gilpin

      JB Gilpin says:

      @Ryan: Well thanks for stopping by man!

      Yeah I was shocked to see Gortat’s final rank valuation. No way I’m going to be a buyer, he had some dreadful spells through the year. I think the 1.2 TO really helped his 9 cat value.\

      Yup, Jrue just has so much risk with these leg issues. The whole “fool me once, fool me twice thing” so it’ll have to come as a big discount so I’m not fooled again. Giannis is def 50s. He was close. Reke will be… Probably 60s as well. He shot way too many 3s last year for being such a bad perimeter shooter.

      Yeah I don’t think anyone knows on Embiid. Him vs. like Alex Len? Nurkic? Kinda in that range but I think he’ll be after for me. Excited to actually see him play Summer ball.

      Very nice core man!

  5. Dante Green says:

    I was kinda taken aback with how you ranked ma boy wiggins and jclark! But I love wiggins don’t get me wrong man! I like how I held onto him during the early part of last season then when KMart went down to an injury, mannn that was the time Wiggins showed everyone why they shouldn’t have dropped or traded him! ha!! But nevertheless man I’m lovin the list!

    Just one question man, which would you prefer, an 8 team playoffs, or a 6 team? Thanks man!

    • JB Gilpin

      JB Gilpin says:

      @Dante Green: Hah, well I’ll certainly be all in on Wiggy. Clarkson has that volatility after free agency hits, but we’ll see. Yeah I had to tell everyone hold fast and buy low on Wiggins, that final 50 games was unreal!

      I think I kinda like 6 team – incentive to finish top 2 for a bye week. Any time my man!

      • Dante Green says:

        @JB Gilpin: is that fine with espn? We’re usin espn…

        Just a thought man, if Klove bolts and ends up in a better situation than what he had with the cavs where’d you rank him? Thanks man!

        • Slim

          Slim says:

          @Dante Green: I think I have an answer for this… His value is entirely dependent on shot volume since he doesn’t really help us in defensive stats. So as is (the Cavs) he’s the third option in the offense, mid 30s rank. If he went to lets say the Knicks or Lakers he would be the #2 option and I would put him in the mid 20s. If he goes somewhere in which he’s the defacto 1st option, like Boston, then I would say a 15ish ranking.

          • JB Gilpin

            JB Gilpin says:

            @Dante Green: @Slim: Yeah I could see mid-20s in the right situations, but I don’t know if I could go top-20 anywhere. Health is a major concern with apparent declining skill set (mostly in boards, but makes sense they were down in CLE).

            Yeah ESPN should be pretty customizable, I think changing playoff teams is an easy edit

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