Mike Gallagher

Offseason Beat

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Fantasy Hoops Mailbag

Saturday, September 20, 2014


Can you believe it? NBA Media Day for the Spurs, Cavs, Heat, Kings and Nets is just four days away. Four days!!
 
That means we should have more actual news and less "news" of a player gaining 10 pounds of muscle while looking to improve his conditioning in what he thinks will be a career year. Yeah, we had too many of those. 
 
If you were slacking at all in keeping track of the news, we have profiles on 350 players, over 30 columns, projections, and rankings for four different formats in our Draft Guide. We spent a major part of our summers putting this together, so it's worth checking out.
 
We had a lot of questions for the mailbag this time around, so I’m going to address them in more of a rapid-fire style:
 
You can hit me up on Twitter @MikeSGallagher for questions and follow me for analysis, stats and video highlights.
 
@sch_rom  @MikeSGallagher Sessions or Collison?
 
We had some big news on Saturday with Sessions signing a two-year deal with the Kings.
 
Personally, I’m not a fan of any of these guys. Collison is not a pass-first point guard and he just doesn’t fit with Rudy Gay and DeMarcus Cousins. Sessions isn’t a great fit either because he’s not a strong 3-point shooter and is a sub-par passer, but it’s a great pickup for them.
 
I won’t be drafting either, but DC is worth a pick around 100. You can ignore Sessions in 14-team leagues and shallower. He needs big minutes to be a consistent contributor.
 
@ryanchristie777  @MikeSGallagher how much do you worry about a players injury history? If he says he is fit, do you pay market value
 
This is probably my favorite thing to cover. There are two things you have to watch out for: Age and recurring issues.
 
If a guy routinely is missing games for a knee injury, he’s probably not going to be a guy you’re going to want to target. On the other hand, if he had a fluky break of his metacarpal or something, then there’s little reason to knock him down in your rankings.
 
I don’t think fitness is an issue and I’ll use myself as an example. I’ll admit I have a bad left quad and I have probably strained it 100 times. Of those times, I’ve strained it every single time while playing in a game (basketball, softball, tennis or flag football) and not on a treadmill, running or practicing.
 
Plus, a lot of fantasy basketball leagues do not have an I.R. spot, so that means it’s extremely important to avoid injuries. If you’re going to draft an injury-prone guy, make sure you’re not drafting too many of them and I’d especially try to avoid it in the early going.
 
@BreanneMyBaby  @MikeSGallagher Bledsoe vs Carter-Williams. Who is a more valuable keeper? MCW in general, can he really improve on his great rookie season?
 
I have Bledsoe by a lot here. MCW was the worst guard for percentages because he’s a serious detriment to both categories. On top of that, he doesn’t make 3-pointers often enough to offset those shooting inefficiencies. In fact, he was dead last among qualifiers in effective field goal percentage and true shooting percentage.
 
I really don’t think that MCW is a starting-caliber point guard, so his keeper value is likely going to fall off in a couple years.
 
As for Bledsoe, he’s awesome and just needs to keep his meniscus tear in check. He shot the ball much better from beyond the arc last season and he’s going to be fantastic in the defensive categories. What's more, he’s already terrific at getting to the rim, which will help him buoy is FG%.

 

 @MikeSGallagher Are you reaching for Giannis this year?

Apparently, I’m the Giannis Antetokounmpo guy and I’m fine with that. He’s probably the only player you can draft near pick 100 and have a legitimate hope of him averaging one steal, one block and one triple. Plus, the Bucks seem very serious about playing him at point guard.

 

In case you missed it earlier this week, they are going to bring Gary Payton on to help Antetokounmpo learn some of the idiosyncrasies of the point guard spot. He dribbled into traps often during summer league and didn't lead his man into picks very well either. He'll also have to use his body better to protect the ball and keep his turnovers down.

 

If you’re in a 10-team league, I’d definitely consider pouncing around pick 80 because if you swing and miss, you can just cut him for a strong player off the wire. In a 12-team, I'd probably grab him around 90 as long as guys like Terrence Jones, Markieff Morris, Jonas Valanciunas, Reggie Jackson and Robin Lopez are gone. Yes, I know those guys should not be there at pick 90, but Yahoo! has them ranked below that number.

 

The Alphabet is on a top-10 players to watch in training camp. Hey, that sounds like a column idea.


 @MikeSGallagher DeAndre vs Drummond. Compare and contrast draft value. Who would you take?
 
I like Drummond. His defensive production is better and he’s only going to improve this season. The Pistons are building around him and I’d expect his points and boards to go up. He’s a very good bet to win the board crown. Surprisingly, he doesn't foul too much and he's somewhat skilled on defense at just letting his body do the work without moving. Although, that's part of the reason he's one of the worst big men from a stats standpoint. Again, he'll get better.
 
As for Jordan, I don’t think his minutes will be nearly as high. He was actually top 10 in total minutes last season and it was due to the lack of depth on the Clippers. Coach Doc Rivers played him a little more than almost anyone expected and you’d think they overpaid for Spencer Hawes to take it easy on him. Not to mention, they also probably don't want DJ out there late in the game because of his free throw shooting.
 
I still like DJ, but I would take him after Howard and Drummond.
 
 
 @MikeSGallagher after KD, Bron, Curry, Harden, CP3 and Brow, who's next? Pick 7 gotta be the worst dropoff
 
Yep, you're definitely right. I'd say the No. 7 pick is the worst in a snake draft and you could go with really like 10 guys and it wouldn't be a horrible pick in a nine-cat format. If you're talking eight-cat, I don't think it's a drop at all and I would take John Wall without even thinking about it. I'd consider Russell Westbrook, but he's had three knee surgeries.
 
In a nine-cat, I'd still probably take Wall, but you could look at Carmelo Anthony, too. I'd also have no problem taking DeMarcus Cousins or Serge Ibaka. I love Kawhi, but there'd be a good chance you can get him on the way back, assuming you're not drafting with Doctor A, Aaron Bruski or me.
 
@al0ber  @MikeSGallagher dragic or lillard for 2nd pick? 16team draft 9cat h2h
 
I like Lillard here, but I could see you going with Dragic. Lillard in’t going to be losing minutes to sophomore C.J. McCollum and he is unbelievably durable, playing in all 82 games. I also noticed he was better with his left hand around the rim as the season went on, so that should help his shooting percentage a decent amount.
 
I like Dragic, but he was more of a late third-round pick while Eric Bledsoe was on the court. He was the Most Improved Player last season, but I don't see him getting much better this year.
 
@Joshlee_1980  @MikeSGallagher how does Ricky Rubio's value look this year? If they run and stun surely and uptick?

 
I’m not touching Rubio. He hasn’t shown any serious improvements as a scorer and losing Kevin Love will only hurt more. With Love on the bench last season, Rubio shot just 36.7 percent from the field while his usage rate was seven percentage points higher. He's not going to be stealing the ball more and he'll have to take more contested triples. Sure, he did shoot a somewhat respectable 33.1 percent from beyond the arc last season. The bad news is that he only shot 21.1 percent on treys off the dribble. Yikes.
 
 
@Jmicro89  @MikeSGallagher who will lead Indiana and Minnesota in scoring?
 
 
I’d be surprised if Thaddeus Young doesn’t lead them in scoring. He’s a good fit in their system and I don’t think Andrew Wiggins is ready to score in the high teens just yet. Kevin Martin could also lead the team, but he’s going to be a trade candidate — he’s hurt a lot too. 
 
Indiana should definitely have David West as their top scorer. Yes, he’s a year older, but they leaned on him a lot in the postseason. The 34-year-old forward ranked second with his 15.1 points per game and that should jump up to around 18 this season. After him, I’d say George Hill is their No. 2 scorer with Rodney Stuckey as the third option.
 
 
Of course, Roy Hibbert could improve on his 9.3 points per game from last season, but his offensive game was broken after the All-Star break and in the playoffs.
 
 
@Its_Ed_son  @MikeSGallagher which rookies and sophomores will have the most fantasy value? &Any surprise rooks or sophs that will excel in expectations?

 

I posted the top 25 sophomores for redraft leagues in our draft guide and we also have Ed Isaacson ranking our rookies as well. Plus, I also did some rookie rankings over the summer, so go ahead and check those out (free).

 

Short answer: I’d say my two favorite surprise rookies are going to be K.J. McDaniels and Rodney Hood. I like Otto Porter and Solomon Hill as surprise sophomores.

 

@MikeSGallagher Would u rather have elite PG's (Paul, Wall, etc) & late round bigs? OR elite BIGS (Davis, Ibaka, Cousins) & late round PG’s?

 
When it comes to strategy in a snake draft, I’ve always stuck with the same plan: You draft the best player available in the first half of the draft, then you can just fill in your needs on the back end. In a perfect world, you never need to draft for need and you wind up with the best player on every pick. That should never happen in a legit league, though.
 
In all the mocks I’ve done, I’ve had a mixture of weak spots in my lineups. In other words, I don’t think there is a glaring position with a lack of depth. Although, most of my sleepers are wings, so I would be slightly inclined to grab my bigs earlier -- I tend to have bigs ranked higher than most people. Plus, blocks are tougher to fill later in the draft while keeping your FT% in top-tier form.
 
@womblesLG  @MikeSGallagher Kyrie, Wall or Lillard?

 

That one is easy: Wall.

 

On top of the injury concerns, Kyrie’s role is not defined and I don’t think there is any doubt his usage rate will drop. He was an elite usage guy and I covered how the drop in that department will hurt his value a couple times:

 
Only Russell Westbrook and Stephen Curry played point guard and had a higher usage rate than Kyrie last year, and I think we all know that’s going to take a huge hit. LeBron James ranked fifth in the NBA for usage, and Kevin Love ranked ninth overall. Usage rate is an underrated stat, so let’s just take a look at the elite usage guys ahead of Kyrie: Russell Westbrook, Kevin Durant, DeMarcus Cousins, Carmelo Anthony, LeBron James, LaMarcus Aldridge, Al Jefferson, Blake Griffin, Kevin Love, DeMar DeRozan, Paul George and Stephen Curry.
 
Basically every one of those guys except DeRozan will be off the board in the first two rounds of your fantasy draft. Kyrie wasn’t even that great with his high usage rate last season, turning in third-round value on the season.
 
A common thing I’ve seen is that Kyrie’s assists are going to go up, but I’m not sure about that. His best month of his career is just 7.2 assists per game, so he’s never even really gone on a month-long assist fest like just about every elite point guard will do.
 
Unless he becomes a lights-out shooter from deep, I don’t think he’s worth a pick in the second round.
 
I like Lillard as mentioned above, but you’re basically paying a lot for triples, which you can draft later.
 
Wall is going to give you a little bit of everything and he is becoming much more efficient. Plus, his knee cap injury from a couple seasons ago is a complete fluke. He played in 82 games last season and didn't miss action after returning from that aforementioned knee issue.

 

 @MikeSGallagher what is the chance Rondo is traded? If so what is the most likely landing place?
 
Despite how coach Brad Stevens said he sees Rondo as part of the team’s future, the Celtics have grown fondly of acquiring assets.  
The Kings were considered as the frontrunners, but adding Ramon Sessions makes them much less likely. Rondo is probably going to wind up on a contender who either gets desperate or suffers an injury. Basically, teams like the Mavericks or Rockets come to mind, assuming they can move some money around. It's probably about a 70 percent chance he's in another uniform.
 
@RichardZaker @MikeSGallagher Where do put Rose in your rankings?

 

He’s a fourth-round pick in both eight- and nine-category leagues. Yes, we all know he’s dealing with his knee issues, but it’s so much more than that. Don’t forget he was last in the NBA in effective field goal percentage last season (minimum 26 minutes per game) and he was extremely turnover prone.

 

There are just too many risks and the Team USA dud is icing on the cake.

  

@addanihel  @MikeSGallagher what do you think Kevin loves line will be this year? I'm thinking 21-10-3
 
That sounds about right, but I think he’ll be a little less in points and more in rebounds. LeBron is going to run the offense and Kyrie is still going to get his chances to score. The team probably won’t be drawing up as many plays for him and he should be more like a Chris Bosh with more treys. That’s still very promising and he could be a first-round guy.
 
I won’t be drafting him, though.


Mike Gallagher has covered fantasy hoops for eight years and this season is his second with Rotoworld. You can find him on Twitter talking about a player's shots at the rim.



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