This week, I offer some random observations about the state of the fantasy basketball world.
The 2015-2016 has been one of the highest scoring seasons I can remember. I’ve played in the same keeper league since 1998, and I can think of no other season to match this one. When Lebron James isn’t even in the top five in fantasy production, you know it’s a special year. Stephen Curry is making threes at an unprecedented clip, and guys like Russell Westbrook and Draymond Green are flirting with triple doubles on a nightly basis.
This season has offered a clear preview of the guys who will dominant the fantasy landscape in the years to come. The following guys are all 22 years old or younger: Andre Drummond, Giannis Antetokounmpo, Jabari Parker, Karl-Anthony Towns, Nerlens Noel, Kristaps Porzingas, Jahlil Okafor, and Myles Turner. Most of these guys are putting up big numbers on a regular basis. Some of them like Drummond, Towns, and Antetokounmpo are legitimate stars right now, and in the future will likely occupy spots in the top ten every year. It’s a great year to glimpse the future.
Speaking of the future, have you seen the Milwaukee Bucks play lately? I have. I also watched them play earlier in the season, and the contrast is stunning. Earlier in the season, the Bucks were slow, plodding even, as guys like Antetokounmpo and Parker stood around while Michael Carter Williams tried to force feed the ball inside to Greg Monroe. It wasn’t working, and what’s worse (at least from a fantasy perspective) is that two of their best young prospects were not thriving under this system. Jason Kidd eventually figured it out, though, sending Monroe and Carter Williams to the bench and put the ball into Giannis Antetokounmpo’s giant hands. At 6’11, Antetokounmpo isn’t anybody’s idea of an ideal point guard, but the results have been nothing short of amazing. The Bucks are running, and Jabari Parker looks like James Worthy to Antetokounmpo’s Magic Johnson. They probably won’t make the playoffs this year, but they’ve definitely caught the attention of fantasy owners.
It’ll be interesting to watch how the season turns out, as I’m sure we’ll be in for many, many more surprises. Now to the important stuff, your starts and sits for week 20.
Week 20 Fantasy Basketball Preview
|Team||Number of Games||Schedule Favorability||Must Start||Consider Sitting|
|Favorable||Paul Millsap, Al Horford, Jeff Teague||Dennis Schroder, Kent Bazemore|
|Unfavorable||Isaiah Thomas, Jae Crowder||Evan Turner, Jared Sullinger, Avery Bradley|
|Unfavorable||Brook Lopez, Thaddeus Young||Jarrett Jack|
|Favorable||Kemba Walker, Nicolas Batum, Marvin Williams||Al Jefferson|
|Neutral||Pau Gasol, Jimmy Butler||Derrick Rose, Nikola Mirotic|
|Favorable||Lebron James, Kevin Love, Tristan Thompson, Kyrie Irving||Mo Williams, J.R. Smith,|
|Neutral||Chandler Parsons, Dirk Nowitzki||Deron Williams|
|Favorable||Danilo Gallinari, Nikola Jokic, Emmanuel Mudiay||Kenneth Faried, Will Barton|
|Poor||Andre Drummond, Reggie Jackson, Tobias Harris||Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, Stanley Johnson|
|Golden State||4 home|
|Highly Favorable||Stephen Curry, Draymond Green, Klay Thompson||Andre Iguodala|
|Neutral||James Harden, Dwight Howard||Ty Lawson, Trevor Ariza|
|Unfavorable||Paul George||Monta Ellis, George Hill, Ian Mahinmi, Myles Turner|
|Los Angeles Clippers||2 home|
|Favorable||Deandre Jordan, Chris Paul||Blake Griffin|
|Los Angeles Lakers||3 home|
|Neutral||Julius Randle, D'Angelo Russell||Roy Hibbert, Kobe Bryant|
|Neutral||Marc Gasol, Mike Conley||Zach Randolph|
|Unfavorable||Hassan Whitehead, Dwyane Wade||Goran Dragic, Chris Bosh|
|Highly Favorable||Greg Monroe, Khris Middleton, Giannis Antekokounmpo, Jabari Parker||Michael Carter Williams|
|Poor||Karl-Anthony Towns||Andrew Wiggins, Ricky Rubio, Gorgui Dieng|
|New Orleans||1 home|
|Favorable||Anthony Davis||Eric Gordon, Tyreke Evans, Ryan Anderson|
|New York||0 home|
|Neutral||Carmelo Anthony, Kristaps Porzingis||Robin Lopez|
|Oklahoma City||2 home|
|Favorable||Russel Westbrook, Kevin Durant||Serge Ibaka|
|Favorable||Victor Oladipo, Nikola Vucevic||Elfrid Payton|
|Neutral||Jahlil Okafor, Nerlens Noel||Robert Covington|
|Unfavorable||Devin Booker, Alex Len||Tyson Chandler, TJ Warren, Brandon Knight|
|Neutral||Damian Lillard, CJ McCollum||Mason Plumlee|
|Favorable||Demarcus Cousins, Rajon Rondo, Rudy Gay||Omri Casspi|
|San Antonio||2 home|
|Highly Favorable||Kawhi Leonard, LaMarcus Aldridge||Tony Parker, Tim Duncan|
|Favorable||Kyle Lowery, DeMar DeRozan||Jonas Valanciunas, Bismack Biyombo|
|Favorable||Rudy Gobert, Derrick Favors||Rodney Hood, Gordon Hayward|
|Favorable||John Wall, Otto Porter||Marcin Gortat, Bradley Beal, Markieff Morris|
Giannis Antetokounmpo, SF/ PG, Milwaukee Bucks
Antetokounmpo is finally earning his nickname, “The Freak.” Point guards just don’t come at six feet and eleven inches, especially 22 year old point guards who also finish in the open court as good as anybody in the league (check out what he did to Serge Ibaka) on Sunday.
He’s currently the second–that’s right, second–ranked fantasy player in my keeper league over the last six games. Not bad for a guy whose name I still can’t say.
Kemba Walker, PG, Charlotte Hornets
Walker’s really hit his stride in the last few weeks, going from simply an inconsistent threat to a source of nightly production. Even more important than the 38 percent from three over the last seven games are his rebounding and assists averages of four and 6.5 respectively. He’s quickly turning into one of the elite guards in the game.
— Bring Back The Buzz™ (@BringBackTheBuz) March 6, 2016
D’Angelo Russell, PG, Los Angeles Lakers
Don’t look now but the number two overall pick from the 2015 draft is finally starting to live up to expectations. Over the last seven games, he’s made 50% of his three point attempts (22 of 44) and has turned that into nearly 20 points per game over the same period. Here’s hoping the kid has hit his stride.
Gorgui Dieng, PF, Minnesota Timberwolves
The Timberwolves have the most challenging schedule in the NBA this week with away games at Charlotte and Oklahoma City, and tough one at home against the Spurs.
Dieng has been playing well as of late, as proven by the tweet below, but ultimately I think his numbers will suffer this week. Keep him on the bench if at all possible.
— Hoop Ball (@HoopBallTweets) February 25, 2016
Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, SG, Detroit Pistons
I love KCP. In many ways, he’s the glue that holds the Pistons together in Detroit. However, he’s struggled since coming back from injury, and the Pistons’ have a tough week ahead with only three games, all of which are on the road.
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