Rotoworld's 2017 NBA Draft Guide has arrived!
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Rotoworld's NBA crew has written 20+ columns and counting, covering a wide variety of topics including:
Schedule Grid & Analysis
Abusing the Default Rankings
Sleepers & Busts
Top-100 Dynasty Draft
East & West Injury Reports
Risk vs. Reward
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Mock drafts are already available for 8-cat and 9-cat formats, and more will be steadily added to the Guide as we march toward opening night, showing you how experts and hardcore fantasy owners view the league. Will James Harden be a No. 1 pick this year? Where is John Wall going in 9-cat leagues? We'll analyze our drafts round-by-round, to help you win yours.
Below are excerpts from columns you'll find in the Draft Guide -- Bold Predictions, Top Transactions, Fantasy Busts, Risk/Reward, Non-Established Studs, Potential Duds, and a 12-team expert mock draft. The paragraphs quoted are only a sliver of the full columns. Enjoy!
Top Transactions: East (@Knaus_RW)
Kyrie Irving traded to the Celtics
In a late-summer blockbuster, Kyrie's trade demands were met in spectacular fashion when Cleveland dealt him to the Conference-rival Celtics. Irving reportedly wanted to get out of LeBron James' shadow, and he'll have every opportunity to play in the spotlight on Boston's balanced roster.
A whopping 35.0% of Kyrie's field goals last season came off 7+ dribbles, and he tends to operate more as an isolation player, scoring off unassisted plays. That contrasts with Boston's ball-movement-heavy style of play, but there's no reason to think Kyrie can't adapt his game. If anything, it should create easier looks while leaving him the option to go into bail-out mode late in the shot clock.
Comparing advanced stats between Kyrie and IT last season, there’s reason to be optimistic about Irving’s fantasy value. Irving’s usage rate was 3.2% lower than Thomas’ last season – even with Gordon Hayward in town, Irving should easily match or exceed last year’s usage. Even more encouraging is the fact that Kyrie’s 3-point totals could spike in the Celtics’ offense. He shot 40.1% from deep last year with career-highs in attempts (6.1) and makes (2.5). Meanwhile, Isaiah Thomas launched 8.5 triples per game, which was the fourth-highest average behind Eric Gordon, James Harden and Stephen Curry. Boston’s equal-opportunity offense will lead to plenty off-ball play from Irving, with Hayward and Al Horford as capable playmakers, but there’s no reason to expect a drop-off in assists. As the primary option in a prolific offense, Kyrie is a tempting option at the turn in 12-team drafts.
Risk/Reward Players (@JaredJ831)
Jusuf Nurkic – Nurkic’s 2016-17 season ended prematurely when he was forced to the sidelines with a nondisplaced fibular fracture in his right leg, but not before he put up some impressive stat lines as Portland’s starting five-man, flirting with top-40 value behind averages of 15.2 points, 10.3 rebounds, 3.2 dimes, 1.2 steals, 2.0 blocks and 3.1 turnovers per contest on 50.8 percent shooting from the field and 66.0 percent shooting from the line.
He’s currently still recovering from that stress fracture, but it looks like he’ll be good to go when the 2017-18 season kicks off, and he’ll make for a very alluring, yet somewhat risky early mid-round selection. Aside from the freak leg injury, Nurkic also required major knee surgery in 2015 that caused him to miss a majority of the 2015-16 season, so he does have a history with unfortunate injuries, and it’s also worth noting that his sample size of actual success was only over a 20-game span so it might be somewhat unrealistic to expect him to flirt with those numbers over the course of an 82-game season. Still, if there ever were going to be a Year of the Nurk Alert, now would be the time, as he’s locked in as Portland’s unquestioned starting center and the Trail Blazers need every bit of his offense to take their team to the next level.
Fantasy Busts (@DocktorA)
Chicago Point Guards – Kris Dunn, Jerian Grant and Cameron Payne are the point guards in Chicago this season. And that’s not a good thing. Payne broke his foot, never seemed to fit in with the team and it looks like they’re giving up on him. Dunn didn’t live up to the hype in Minnesota last season and didn’t even really put a blip on the radar, then missed most of Summer League this year due to a family situation. Grant simply looks like a career backup. Maybe Dunn will spring to life and break out this season, but I’m not sure he’s good enough to make it happen. Dunn averaged just 3.8 points and 2.4 assists as a rookie.
Rajon Rondo PG Pelicans – Rondo went off late in the season and might have helped the Bulls take out the Celtics had he not injured his thumb in Game 2 of the playoffs. He signed with the Pelicans and it appears that they might be ready to start him at point guard and roll with Jrue Holiday at shooting guard. But Rondo will not be the only point guard on the floor, while he’ll have to compete with studs like Holiday, Anthony Davis and DeMarcus Cousins for shots. The only thing working in Rondo’s favor is a gaping hole at small forward, but E’Twaun Moore and Jordan Crawford should be able to help fill the gap. Rondo’s not going to score much, his free throw shooting is atrocious and he’s probably not worth the headaches that will come with owning him for a few assists and steals.
12-team Mock Draft…Round 3 (@MikeSGallagher)
|25||Kyle Lowry, Tor PG||Team Nader|
|26||Gordon Hayward, Bos SG||Team Bogman|
|27||Joel Embiid, Phi C||Team Gallagher|
|28||Al Horford, Bos C||Team alexander|
|29||Kemba Walker, Cha PG||Team Johnson|
|30||Khris Middleton, Mil SF||Team Norof|
|31||Mike Conley, Mem PG||Team Beer|
|32||Klay Thompson, GS SG||Team Knaus|
|33||Blake Griffin*, LAC PF||Team Klyce|
|34||Marc Gasol, Mem C||Team Stroup|
|35||DeMar DeRozan, Tor SG||Team Dobish|
|36||Devin Booker, Pho SG||Team Kamla|
You can really see the drop off after pick 25 here with a lot of us taking guys with a wide range of draft position. I've seen Hayward go in the 40s and all the offense around him could be a tough adjustment. I reached a smidge on The Process, but I desperately needed a big man. Doctor A was in my boat and perhaps he was reaching a bit on Big Al, but expect him to thrive and finish second for dimes with great percentages and defensive stats. For what it's worth, I did take The Process because I want at least one team with him. He's the most fun player in the NBA. Blake could be a tremendous value, but there is concern he won't be ready for the start of the season. If he had been healthy, I would've grabbed him over TTP. I thought DeMar DeRozan and Booker were a little early, but you can understand Kamla going with a scoring guy after he snapped up Dray. Conley is probably the best value at 30 in this round. Beer gets rewarded for going double big early (AD and Turner), so that gave him a huge edge. I can't stress this enough: GET A BIG IN THE FIRST THREE ROUNDS! For nine cat, especially. Maybe two or even three if you can.
Non-Established Studs (@JonasNader)
1. Thon Maker: Greg Monroe and John Henson are always on the trade block, and coach Jason Kidd showed a lot of confidence in Maker last season by starting him down the stretch. Sure he didn’t get a lot of run, but that should change now that he’s added a lot of muscle over the offseason. I’m expecting him to start again this year and flirt with around 24-26 minutes. He had per-36-minute averages of 14.5 points, 7.3 rebounds, 1.5 assists, 1.7 blocks and 1.8 triples as a rookie, so he’s exactly the kind of high-upside player you should be targeting late in drafts.
2. Jaylen Brown: Avery Bradley is gone, so the starting SG role is Brown’s to lose. His growth over the past year has been a lot of fun to watch and you know coach Brad Stevens trusts him when he throws him on LeBron James in the playoffs. He’ll get a lot of open looks with opposing teams game-planning to stop Kyrie Irving, Gordon Hayward and Al Horford, so I’m expecting big things from Brown in his sophomore season.
3. Norman Powell: DeMarre Carroll and his glass knees are gone, so Powell has a legitimate shot to start on the wings next to DeMar DeRozan. His competition right now is C.J. Miles, but this is a battle Powell should win. As a starter last season, Powell averaged 15.6 points, 3.7 rebounds, 1.8 assists, 1.0 steals and 1.6 triples.
Potential Duds (@TommyBeer)
Gorgui Dieng - Minnesota Timberwolves:
Dieng has been an underrated, and often underappreciated, fantasy force the few years. Surprisingly, he’s ranked 49th, 53rd and 51st overall in nine-category leagues over each of the last three seasons. In previous year’s drafts, savvy fantasy owners were often able to snag him in the seventh round or later and then enjoy watching him return fifth-round value. However, this season I’d caution against expecting the same return on investment. The Wolves have overhauled their roster, meaning Gorgui likely won’t have the same opportunities to match his previous production levels. Not only did the Wolves add offensive-minded guards Jeff Teague and Jamal Crawford, along with superstar wing Jimmy Butler, but they also signed power forward Taj Gibson to a massive two-year, $28 million contract. Head coach and president of basketball operations, Tom Thibodeau, has been outspoken about how much he loved Gibson's game when they were both with the Bulls. Although Dieng is expected to remain in the starting lineup, it’s unlikely he’ll equal the 32.4 minutes per game he logged last season. The durable and dependable Dieng can still be counted on to post solid all-around numbers with favorable percentages, but it’s not wise to assume he’ll crack the top-75 overall in standard leagues in 2017-18.
Bold Predictions (@Ethan_Norof)
Brook Lopez averages 20+ points with 2+ blocks and 2+ 3PM: The Lakers finally have someone they can play to on the offensive end of the floor, and Lopez’s abilities at both ends of the court stand to serve as a sizable asset that the club simply hasn’t had in recent memory.
Kyrie Irving posts top-15 fantasy value: Some are going to be wary of Irving in drafts because he’s sharing the court with Gordon Hayward and Al Horford, and if that means you draft Uncle Drew after pick 15 then you’re already on your way to winning. As a 25-year-old dynamic offensive talent whose game is still evolving, Irving stands to have his best years with the Celtics. It won’t be surprising when Kyrie flirts with 50/40/90 while averaging 25+ points in his new threads.
Taurean Prince is one of the best sleepers of the season: In 10 games as a member of the starting lineup, Prince averaged a fantasy-friendly 11.4 points, 3.9 boards, 1.6 assists, 1.4 steals, 1.1 3-pointers and 0.5 blocks on 41.1% shooting. Given the current state of Atlanta’s roster, there should be plenty of room for Prince to continue to grow and contribute.
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