Welcome to the eleventh installment of Weekly Yinteresting Thoughts (WYT). In these posts, I’ll be sharing some of my random thoughts, opinions, and questions about the NBA landscape as it pertains to fantasy basketball. Feel free to drop your comments and questions below! Let’s get started.
This week is full of Luka-Doncic talk, and rightfully so. The 23 year old is breaking records left and right with no sign of slowing down. I checked the KIA MVP ladder recently to see if it reflected Doncic’s historical dominance this past week, and here were the results.
A Tight MVP Race
1. Nikola Jokic (9-cat season rank: 3rd)
The Nuggets are sitting on the 2nd seed in the West with a 22-12 record and are 8-2 in their last ten. Much of this is due to the excellent play of Nikola Jokic, a two-time MVP who’s flying up the standings. I didn’t believe Jokic was a surefire bet to finish 1st as he had in the past two years. Last season, the absence of Michael Porter and Jamal Murray opened up usage that led to Jokic’s highest PPG of his career. He boasted career-highs in steals, blocks, rebounding, 2-point FG% (65%), and FG% (58%). This season, those numbers largely remain the same. While he takes fewer shots this year, he’s taken a leap in the playmaking department and is averaging 9.4 assists per game. Incredible. It’s tough to think this is going to slow down anytime soon, and with the Nuggets chasing a top seed in the West, Jokic will continue to dominate a third straight year on his way to maybe a third straight MVP.
2. Jayson Tatum (9-cat season rank: 7th)
It’s been an excellent bounce-back year for Tatum, as he finished last season ranked 13th after an annoyingly slow first half of the season. The Celtics have the best record in the East behind his 31 ppg on good percentages. He’s shooting a career-high 56% from 2 and matching a career-high 0.9 blocks. He’s doing an excellent job of getting to the line this season, and his 86% FT% on 8.5 attempts a game is doing wonders for his fantasy profile. It’s tough to think this will regress. The 24 year old is on track for his first ever 1st round finish in fantasy.
3. Luka Doncic (9-cat season rank: 8th)
The man of the hour. There aren’t many unused superlatives I can find to describe his recent play. The 23 year old is keeping the Mavericks in contention as the 5th seed and is dropping nightly triple-doubles as he marks career-highs in multiple categories: FG%, PPG, steals, 2p%, and 3p%. Unfortunately, it’s hard to see Doncic landing his first MVP this year due to low confidence in the Mavericks securing a top seed, but if he continues this dominant run, it’s not out of the question. Fantasy wise, Doncic is ranked 2nd over the past week, averaging 44 ppg on 59% shooting. On the season, he’s ranked 8th due to the problematic FT shooting on high attempts, but managers shouldn’t be complaining. If you punt FT, he’s ranked 2nd, one spot ahead of Nikola Jokic. If these are the conversations we’re having about Doncic at 23, what will we be saying about him at 28?
4. Kevin Durant (9-cat season rank: 4th)
I avoided drafting KD due to his injury history over the past couple of years, but he’s been rewarding believers lately. The Nets have ripped off a ten game win streak and have rejuvenated Ben Simmons’ career. KD is averaging a career-high 62% 2p and 1.5 blocks per game. He’s the best mid-range player in the league. His newfound defensive proficiency and hyper efficiency will keep him in the top 6 with no signs of slowing down barring injury. We’d love to see KD land the second MVP award of his career, and if the Nets keep rolling like this, he just might.
5. Giannis Antetokounmpo (9-cat season rank: 114th)
Giannis’ ranking outside of the top-100 is due to a few things. The FG% was fairly bad by his standards earlier this season. His FT% is almost a career low while his FTA are at a career high. These factors don’t make for an enticing fantasy player, despite him putting up 31-11 on a down year. The blocks have gone down, the steals have gone down, the assists have gone down, and the frustration has gone up. It’s kind of funny because, to fantasy managers, his production has been disappointing, but in real life, the Bucks are the 3rd seed without Khris Middleton. Watching Giannis play will let you know that he’s defending at his usual level (very high) while helping the Bucks secure a top three defensive rating.