Hello and welcome back to the NBA Roundtable! Every year there are several teams who drive us crazy from a fantasy standpoint, so I got the Rotoworld hoops crew together to talk about the three teams that have annoyed us the most this season. I’ll start us off…
Jonas Nader (@JonasNader)
The Pelicans- Anthony Davis just returned from a one-game absence because of a knee scare, so what do the Pelicans do? They play him a combined 84 minutes over his last two games. They have put together the weirdest collection of players such as Tony Allen, Josh Smith and Rajon Rondo, because who needs floor spacing!
I also don’t understand why they refuse to play their best young prospect in Cheick Diallo, while Dante Cunningham is playing over 28 minutes per game with averages of 4.8 points, 4.6 rebounds and 0.9 3-pointers on 29.2 percent shooting. Yikes.
The 76ers- Joel Embiid just played 30 minutes in a game for the second time in his career, yet the 76ers made No. 1 overall pick Markelle Fultz play through a serious shoulder issue and messed up his jumper in the process. The 76ers are probably the least transparent team when it comes to injuries, and their handling of the Jahlil Okafor situation has been embarrassing to say the least — he wants out and is even willing to negotiate a buyout, but the 76ers have stood pat for months.
The Knicks- Coach Jeff Hornacek said he’s not playing Willy Hernangomez because of his defense, but Enes Kanter is starting and is one of the worst interior defenders in the league. They basically ran Carmelo Anthony out of New York, deflating his trade value in the process. It’s a good thing that they made re-signing Ron Baker a top priority in free agency with a player option for a second season though, as he may go down as the best player of all time…
Tommy Beer (@TommyBeer)
Towards the end of last season and over the summer, coach Stan Van Gundy heaped praise on Boban Marjanovic after Boban closed out the 2016-17 campaign in fine fashion. Then, after Aron Baynes signed with Boston in free agency, it certainly appeared that Boban, whom the Pistons signed to a three-year, $27 million contract in 2016, was going to inherit the backup center spot behind Andre Drummond.
Instead, Marjanovic has appeared in just one game and played a grand total of four minutes over the Pistons first eight contests. There doesn’t seem to be a clear path to playing time for Boban, as Van Gundy has used a number of different players behind Drummond, depending on matchups. As a result, Boban is aimlessly floating around waivers wires throughout the land.
In one respect, coach Kenny Atkinson engenders love from the fantasy community: His Nets push the ball at every opportunity. Last season, their pace of 103.6 possessions per 48 minutes was the fastest for any team in the last 25 years. This season, they are moving even faster, averaging a mind-boggling 108.5 possessions per 48 minutes.
However, the downside in Brooklyn is Atkinson’s insistence on limiting minutes for even his best players. Last season, they were the only team in the NBA without at least one player averaging 30 minutes per game. Atkinson is back at it again this year. The Nets have nine players averaging at least 20.0 minutes per contest, but no player averaging more than 28.1. D'Angelo Russell is averaging 21.7 points, 4.1 rebounds and 5.0 assists, yet logging just 26.4 minutes a night. Rondae Hollis-Jefferson is stuffing the stat sheet on a daily basis in only 26.1 minutes. Let your big dogs eat, Kenny!
I gotta agree with you on this one, Jonas. The Willy Hernangomez benching is particularly puzzling. Willy made the most of his opportunities as a rookie, averaging 16.0 points and 13.6 rebounds per-36 minutes. He was also solid in preseason action. Yet, he’s been buried on the bench and has been smacked with a DNP-CD in three of the team’s eight games this season. As noted, Enes Kanter has been abysmal defensively. The Knicks are getting outscored by 10.9 points per 100 possessions with Kanter on the floor.
Ethan Norof (@Ethan_Norof)
Outside of Hassan Whiteside and Goran Dragic, there is a lot of depth, volatility, and uncertainty when it comes to the other contributors on the roster. James Johnson and Josh Richardson are obviously worth roster spots in all leagues, but there's an argument for and against rostering every other member of the team, including Dion Waiters.
Hovering somewhere in between a rebuild and trying to extract trade value from veterans that would be better suited on another roster, Phoenix needs to finally decide on a direction, trim some of the fat and commit to a group of young contributors that will be given real opportunity.
Steve Alexander (@Docktora)
The Nets - Love the pace, love the talent, hate that Timofey Mozgov starts and guys like Caris LeVert, Allen Crabbe, DeMarre Carroll, D'Angelo Russell and Rondae Hollis-Jefferson all seem to go off on different nights, meaning it's hard to trust any of them fully (although I do trust D'Angelo and Carroll). #freeJarrettAllen
The Lakers - I don't know what Luke Walton is doing, but the three power forwards (Larry Nance, Kyle Kuzma, Julius Randle) and Brook Lopez have all been kind of messy. The bigs rotation is a train wreck and the only Laker I like messing with is, ironically, Brandon Ingram.
Mike Gallagher (@MikeSGallagher)
Bucks - Jason Kidd likes to keep things pretty quiet and he would mislead us at every turn a few years ago, but he’s been better in the last year or so. This team also comes in at most annoying because there really aren’t many people covering them, so it’s harder to get news on them.
Heat - Coach Erik Spoesltra is the king of thinking outside the box. That means it’s a little tougher to predict what he’s going to do in a particular spot. Plus, he is always very quiet on his starting lineups, so we always have to keep a close eye on the starting lineups every game. I actually had them here even before the James Johnson (knee) news yesterday, so they’re rock solid here. I think Spo is a genius, but he definitely makes our jobs as fantasy owners a lot harder. I’ll add coach Terry Stotts is similar, but he doesn’t totally shock us with his gameplan like when Spo started Jordan Mickey last month.
Kangz - Coach Dave Joerger doesn’t release stuff early, so there’s a lot of guess work on almost a nightly basis. Plus, their attempt to have their cake and eat it too with playing veterans and resting them within the same week is frustrating. It is also really annoying because most of their games start late, so it’s really tough to take advantage of in DFS most nights.