Ethan Norof

Risers and Fallers

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Risers & Fallers: SG Edition

Saturday, May 13, 2017


Welcome to the second installment of Risers & Fallers, a positional preview piece that we’ll adventure through together over the course of the next five weeks.

 

In each installment, I’ll identify a few players expected to rise and fall in 2017-18 fantasy basketball drafts. It should be a nice little look-ahead to get us in the mood for the other NBA campaign: The Offseason

 

Previous installments:

 

Point Guard

 

RISERS

 

Avery Bradley, Boston Celtics (Yahoo 2016-17 ADP: Pick 75.8, Round 7.8)

 

What a regular season it was for Mr. Bradley.

 

With most focused on Boston’s potential future and/or Isaiah Thomas’ well-earned ascent from afterthought to superstar, Bradley—an excellent two-way player who doesn’t get enough credit for his value to this team—was busy with the business of stacking statistics, racking up career-high averages in points (16.3), rebounds (6.1), assists (2.2), and 3-pointers (2.0). Although there could very well be even more competition for touches next season, Bradley should remain an important part of anything the Celtics do at both ends of the court.

 

Like with so many others, belief in Bradley’s health will be key to your draft process. But it won’t be surprising when Bradley is off the board as a top-60 pick, especially in competitive formats.

 

Editor’s Note: Introducing FanDuel Mixup, the newest way to play FanDuel Baseball. Smaller lineups, so you can draft your team on the go, plus fun themes every week! Play now.

 

Devin Booker, Phoenix Suns (Yahoo 2016-17 ADP: Pick 86.2, Round 8.8)

 

Booker is very clearly the future of the franchise, and this isn’t just about his ridiculous 70-point game. As a 20-year old NBA sophomore on a rebuilding team, Booker impressively finished the campaign as a top-75 asset in eight-cat (no turnovers) leagues with averages of 22.1 points, 3.2 boards, 3.4. assists, 0.9 steals and 1.9 triples on 42.3% from the floor. A lot of things are likely to change about Phoenix’s roster, but Booker as the focal point will remain the constant. 

 

It’s scary to think about how good this kid—yes, kid, especially since he doesn’t turn 21 until October—can ultimately wind up being. An already capable scorer able to create his own offense, Booker’s flower is blossoming sooner than most had previously anticipated. Given where he is in his trajectory, the fact that he averaged nearly 25 points per game after the All-Star Break and finished the year on a scoring binge, expect expectations to grow and the hype train to start rolling in order to deliver Booker into higher draft territory.

 

Gary Harris, Denver Nuggets (Yahoo 2016-17 ADP: 107.0, 10.7)

 

I’m willing to assume that Harris was a member of a lot of fantasy basketball teams that took home a 2017 championship.

 

Despite dealing with some injury issues that limited him to fewer than 60 games, Harris had a solid season with a phenomenal run to conclude his season following the All-Star Break. With averages of 16.8 points, 3.2 rebounds, 3.3 assists, 1.4 steals and 2.2 3-pointers on 53.3% shooting, including 41.9% from distance and 82.5% from the free throw line over his final 25 games, Harris flashed the type of fantasy intrigue that should have everyone wide-eyed and monitoring his progress this summer.

 

Assuming Harris can keep himself on the basketball court and the injury bug away, Denver is going to develop a heck of a pairing with he and Nikola Jokic. Harris is a player I’ll have no trouble reaching for in the selection process when it comes time to make that move. 

 

Stars on the Rise: Gordon Hayward, UTA; Bradley Beal, WAS

 

Others in the Running: Seth Curry, DAL; Buddy Hield SAC; Caris LeVert BKN

 

 

FALLERS

 

Monta Ellis, Indiana Pacers (Yahoo 2016-17 ADP: Pick 89.0, Round 9.0)

 

Ellis was universally regretted as a draft choice this season, and it’s fairly easy to see why given he averaged his worst numbers since his rookie season with a paltry 8.5 points, 2.8 rebounds, 3.2 assists and 1.1 steals. Even in the event that Ellis is traded or the Pacers roster looks dramatically different entering 2017-18, expect Monta not to have it all when it comes to his status as a fantasy asset.

 

Given the veteran barely finished inside the top 200, there is absolutely no way to justify a top-100 selection on Ellis this time around. That makes him a natural fit for this category, but it’s likely he’ll spiral closer to the 150 range when the clock starts ticking.

 

Keep this in mind: there is no team that’s trading for Ellis in order to rely on him after the season he just had—but the status quo in Indiana isn’t working for him either with too many ball-handlers and not enough mouths to feed. If Jeff Teague re-signs and Paul George remains, Ellis will again be on the outside looking in.

 

Wesley Matthews, Dallas Mavericks (Yahoo 2016-17 ADP: Pick 93.6, Round 9.4)

 

Matthews can keep talking about his shot coming back, but perception can serve as reality and he followed up a season in which he shot 38.8% from the field with 2016-17 that saw him hit just 39.3% of his attempts. While he’s still hitting a respectable clip from behind the 3-point line—36.3% this season and 2.4 makes per game—over half of his shots came from deep and that really limited his potential in the field goal percentage category as a result. Drafting Matthews as a 3-point specialist can make some sense if in need of triples late, but in a league where more and more players are letting it fly, the value of that specialist isn’t what it once was.

 

Matthews has been largely underwhelming since signing his massive—at that time—contract with Dallas and evidence in the case for a sudden shift in dynamic is rather unconvincing. In a show me don’t tell me NBA, Matthews is going to have to again prove that he’s the player he keeps talking about being.

 

Brandon Knight, Phoenix Suns (Yahoo 2016-17 ADP: Pick 80.5, Round 8.2)

 

We all know that the Suns have must move Knight, but so does every other NBA team. Like us, those teams also all saw a very disappointing version of the other player in the Khris Middleton trade, and that preseason discussion about Knight as a Sixth Man of the Year candidate came to a screeching halt.

 

It’s hard to believe that a single jumpstart is going to restart Knight’s engine, and that’s why a trade isn’t necessarily the magic bullet for a quick fix. He’s going to have to have his confidence and belief restored before he can perform at his potential, but if that has a chance of happening, it has to be in a different uniform.

 

Others in the Running: J.J Redick, LAC; Danny Green, SA; Rodney Hood, UTA



Follow Ethan Norof on Twitter @Ethan_Norof for more fantasy basketball analysis, advice and all things Los Angeles Lakers.
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