Hello and welcome back to the NBA Roundtable! It’s never too early to start preparing for the next fantasy basketball season, so most of my material in the coming weeks is going to be focused on the 2018-19 campaign. We’ll be talking about our favorite bounce-back candidates this week, but if you have a question or if there’s a topic you want to see discussed in the future, then don’t hesitate to reach out to me on Twitter! I’ll start things off.
Jonas Nader (@JonasNader)
Marquese Chriss- I can’t believe he’s roping me in again, but here we are. After falling way short of expectations this season, Chriss has finally started to show glimpses of his upside since he re-entered the starting lineup on March 23rd. In that span, he’s averaging 13.4 points, 9.3 rebounds, 1.4 assists, 1.1 steals, 1.3 blocks and 0.6 triples with sixth-round value. His mindset has changed and he sounds like someone who genuinely wants to turn his career around.
“I think I did. I think I was before,” Chriss said when asked if he took his job for granted. “I think I was being ungrateful — the position that I’m in, I’m in the NBA. I’m doing things that a lot of people want to do. I’m blessed to be doing it and be healthy. I’m happy to be here and just try to make the most out of it.” After having to cough up a mid-round pick on him due to an incredible amount of preseason hype, I think we’ll be able to grab him pretty late in 2018-19 and I’ll always have a soft spot for guys with 1-1-1 potential in the money stat categories (blocks, steals and 3s).
D’Angelo Russell- There are so many people ready to write off Russell even though he turned 22 less than two months ago. He’s had trouble staying healthy and has struggled with consistency, but the Nets have a lot invested in him and this is a big season coming up for him with a possible contract extension on the table. Before his knee surgery, Russell was averaging 20.9 points, 5.6 assists, 4.6 rebounds, 1.0 steals and 1.5 steals while shooting 46% from the field, and though he’s been all over the place since he’s been back, we’ve seen plenty of flashes including his first triple-double and a 24-point first quarter with seven triples. With a full offseason to get his body right and to better learn the system and his teammates, I look forward to drafting him at a reduced cost.
Nerlens Noel- The five-game suspension was the nail in the coffin of a forgettable season for Noel, but there are reasons to be optimistic. His knees no longer seem to be an issue, there’s little to no chance he returns to Dallas and hopefully he’ll play for a team that isn’t blatantly tanking. I mean, who sits a young player who has barely played in order to give Salah Mejri a “fair look.” With career per-36 minute averages of 12.8 points, 10.0 rebounds, 2.0 assists, 2.4 steals and 1.7 blocks, all Noel needs is a team that is actually willing to give him a chance.
Steve Alexander (@Docktora)
I'll take the bait and say that next year is the year that our man Marquese Chriss breaks out. Maybe I also had him on my "never again" list, but he's probably been on a ton of lists lately and none of them are good. He's showing signs of life though, and we all know he has the talent. We just have to hope he gets his head screwed on straight and starts ballin' out.
Myles Turner didn't necessarily have a terrible year and still held some fantasy value, but blocked shots had a lot to do with it. I know he's better than he showed this year and still think he's got a pretty decent chance of molding into the fantasy beast we expected him to be this year.
Taurean Prince and John Collins HAVE to be set free by the Hawks and dominate next year. I don't see how they don't build everything around these two guys and I can't imagine them being held back for long next season, if at all.
Milos Teodosic will get healthy over the summer and come back next year to finally show us the skills that everyone has been so excited about. He just never got into a groove this year due to his foot, as well as not really knowing what he was doing. It's coming.
Zach LaVine is going to be healthy and turn back into the beast we saw last year. I have a lot of faith in him, actually, even though I never considered touching him this year.
Dennis Smith Jr. learned a lot this season and wasn't actually as bad as the rankings show, in my opinion. If he can stay healthy he's going to start living up to the hype.
Michael Gallagher (@MikeSGallagher)
Kawhi Leonard - He actually didn’t have much to smile about this season. Leonard has dealt with knee injuries before, so there’s still some risk in taking him in the top 12. If he’s there at 20, it’ll be hard to pass on him after being a consensus top-seven pick when healthy.
Patrick Beverley - He only played 11 games due to injury and he’s had a lot of injuries before, but Beverley should have a solidified role. You can probably pick him up at around 100.
Isaiah Thomas - This hip surgery he’s rehabbing right now isn’t nearly as bad as the surgery he had last summer. It’ll be interesting to see where he lands, but either way he should get 25-30 minutes in a high-usage role.
Myles Turner - Hey, he wasn’t terrible and he’s still a top-50 player per game in nine-category leagues. I will take him in the fourth all day next year. Maybe third.
D’Angelo Russell - He’s still just 22 and he’s playing some of his worst ball of his career over his last three games. He’s probably going to come at a steep discount next season.
Tommy Beer (@TommyBeer)
Whiteside has seen his counting stats drop across the board this season; however, that’s due primarily to a sharp decrease in playing time. Whiteside averaged 32.6 minutes per game in 2016-17, but is logging just 25.5 minutes a night in 2017-18. He’s been very vocal of late about his unhappiness with his lack of playing time. If the Heat were to trade Whiteside, it would lead to a significant boost in his fantasy value. Consider this: Whiteside is on pace to become the first player in NBA history to average at least 19 points, 16 rebounds and two blocks per-36 minutes (via Basketball-Reference).
Fultz is blessed with a world of talent, so much so that he was viewed by nearly all pundits as the most promising player in the 2017 NBA draft. His first season was a train wreck, as some combination of a shoulder injury and confidence issues derailed his rookie campaign. It will be very interesting to see how he performs in the playoffs and then in Summer League, but I’ll happily buy-low on a player with his immense upside.
This season has been a complete washout for Conley, as he’s appeared in just 12 games all year. However, let’s not forget this dude averaged 20.5 points, 6.3 assists, 2.5 treys and 1.3 steals over 68 games in 2016-17.
Bradley never found his footing in Detroit and then, like Mike Conley, had his season cut short due to an injury. Still, like Conley, Bradley was a fantasy stud in 2016-17, when he averaged 16.3 points, 6.1 rebounds, 2.0 triples and 1.2 steals. I assume that his stock price has dropped to the point where he can be drafted at a steep discount come October. I'll happily scoop up shares of AB.
Ethan Norof (@Ethan_Norof)
Kawhi Leonard, San Antonio Spurs: This one is rather obvious, so we won't spend a lot of time here. Assuming Leonard's mutant quad finally heals, Kawhi is going to be a fantasy stud once again.
Malcolm Brogdon, Milwaukee Bucks: It sure feels like a lot of people have forgotten about Brogdon since the reigning Rookie of the Year has been sidelined for over two months with a partially torn quad tendon, but that just means you might be able to get him at a discount entering the 2018-19 campaign. We'll all be watching Jabari Parker's restricted free agency process very closely this summer.
Carmelo Anthony, OKC Thunder: Continuity breeds confidence, and Paul George's potential departure would put Melo in a much more familiar role within the offense. That being said, Anthony should be better regardless of what happens with PG-13 heading into next season, and Melo should come at a very palatable price point in all re-draft formats.