Jonas Nader

NBA Roundtable

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Roundtable: Season Predictions

Thursday, October 19, 2017

Hello and welcome back to the NBA Roundtable! I hope all of you had some success in the first couple days of the season and I'm thrilled that most of my favorite targets (Giannis, Aaron Gordon, Myles Turner, D'Angelo Russell, Victor Oladipo) fared really well. However, another one of my favorite targets made me sick by doing their best Dante Cunningham impersonation. I'm looking at you, Marquese Chriss. Anyways, this week has been tough with the news about Gordon Hayward and Jeremy Lin, so I wanted to do something positive and discuss some fun fantasy predictions with the Rotoworld Hoops crew. Here are the four questions I'll be asking:

1. Who will be the No. 1 player in fantasy this season?
2. Who will be the waiver-wire pickup of the year?
3. Who will be the top rookie in fantasy?
4. What surprise player will finish in the top 20?

Mike Gallagher (@MikeSGallagher)


1.) Karl-Anthony Towns will be the No. 1 player in nine-cat leagues. He hasn't missed a game and he hasn't even really given us a scare besides one minor ankle tweak. Not to mention he was No. 1 in the 2017 portion of last season. Not bad for a guy that is just 21 years old.


2.) Cheick Diallo (under 5% owned) is a double handcuff and he's backing up two guys that aren't exactly like KAT when it comes to durability. Plus, maybe Anthony Davis gets traded.


If we want to go off zero percent owned, let's go with Wayne Selden after his monster summer league.


3.) Dennis Smith Jr. is changing this offense and the Mavs are throwing everything at him.


4.) I’m sure we'll all say Aaron Gordon or even Josh Richardson, so I don't think we can say this would surprise us. I'll go with Rondae Hollis-Jefferson here. He is going to bring so much to the table on the stat sheet besides 3-pointers



Matt Stroup (@MattStroup)


1. As compelling as Karl-Anthony Towns and Giannis Antetokounmpo are, Kevin Durant remains my top choice to return No. 1 value in 9-category leagues. His four blocks in the opener were an early sign that last season's career-high 1.6 bpg could easily happen again. 


2. I'm kind of cheating here because as of this writing he's owned in 38 percent of Yahoo leagues, but I'll say Lauri Markkanen. The Portis-Mirotic incident opens up big minutes for the No. 7 overall pick right away, and in his final two preseason games he posted 15.5 ppg, 6.0 rpg and 3.5 treys. As for someone who's actually owned in less than 25 percent of Yahoo leagues, I'll say Jonathon Simmons. Whether starting or coming off the bench, it looks like he has earned a significant role in Orlando early on. 


3. I'm on board with Dennis Smith Jr. as the clear top rookie in fantasy, but watch out for Josh Jackson


4. As for a surprise player who will finish in the top 20... how about Nikola Vucevic? I'm not actually convinced this will happen, but last year's No. 48 player has added 3s to his arsenal, so he could easily surge close to or into the top 30. 




Tommy Beer (@TommyBeer)


1. I have to go with Giannis Antetokounmpo. Last season his finished 5th overall, when he led his team in points, rebounds, assist, steals and blocks. He’s also remarkably durable, having missed a total of five games over the last three seasons combined. Just 22 years old, he’s ready to enter his prime a bit ahead of schedule. If he can keep his turnovers in check and start knocking down jumpers with a bit more consistency, he’ll be unstoppable. This year will be the first of many in which he finished as fantasy’s top overall player. 


2. Lance Stephenson is currently owned in just 16 percent of Yahoo! Leagues, but that number should start rising shortly. In the Pacers season opener, Sir Lance-a-Lot launched a team-high 19 field goal attempts and finished with 16 points, three assists, two treys, a steal and a block in 25 minutes off the bench. There will be plenty of nights when his shots are falling, and he’ll also consistently contribute a healthy helping of rebounds and assists. 


3. I think Ben Simmons will be the top rookie in five-category points leagues, as he’ll rack up tons of counting stats, while his poor percentages won’t hurt him. In nine-category leagues, Dennis Smith should be the most valuable rookie. 


4. C.J. McCollum has a legit chance to crack the top-20 this season. A prolific scorer who contributes across the board, McCollum’s true value lies in his incredible efficiency. Last season, according to Basketball-Reference, McCollum became just the third player this century to shoot at least 48 percent from the floor, 42 percent from 3-point territory and 90 percent from the free throw stripe in the same season. He has a shot to finish this 2017-18 averaging 24/4/4 with 2-plus treys and impeccable percentages.



Steve Alexander (@Docktora)


1. Who will be the No. 1 player in fantasy this season? KAT, of course.

2. Who will be the waiver-wire pickup of the year? E'Twaun Moore.

3. Who will be the top rookie in fantasy? Dennis Smith Jr., duh.

4. What surprise player will finish in the top 20? Aaron Gordon!!!! Of course



Ethan Norof (@Ethan_Norof)


1) Giannis Antetokounmpo will be the No. 1 fantasy player this season. His versatility allows him to contribute across the stat sheet like nobody else in the NBA, and the ceiling is past the roof when we're talking about Antetokounmpo fulfilling his maximum potential. If 37 & 13 on opening night wasn't a convincing enough statement, you'll have plenty of opportunities to be wowed moving forward.


2) In the wake of Jeremy Lin's season-ending injury, Caris LeVert is a name to watch once again. After emerging as a popular name in the second half of his rookie season, LeVert will be relied upon to play an important role in the remade Brooklyn backcourt. LeVert opened his season with 12 points, two boards, four assists, two steals, a block and a 3-pointer. Other names to watch include Lance Stephenson, Dillon Brooks, Skal Labissiere and Kelly Oubre


3) Dennis Smith Jr. and Ben Simmons will look to stand out above the rest. 


4) I love the C.J. McCollum pick, but I'll add Victor Oladipo, Hassan Whiteside and Joel Embiid into the mix, as well. 



Jonas Nader (@JonasNader)



1.) I’m loving all the Giannis love and I didn’t think I could be any more excited about his season until his 37-point explosion last night against Boston. I’m on record saying that he has the potential to be the greatest fantasy asset of all time and I stand by that. He’s taken a massive leap in each of his first four seasons and he’s only scratching the surface at the age of 22. 


2.) For the waiver-wire pickup of the year, I’m going to be a little bold and say Jonathan Isaac (6% owned in Yahoo Leagues). Yes he’ll start slow, but that’s by design because the Magic want him to earn his minutes. It’s hard to find a player under the age of 21 with a higher ceiling and his game is built for fantasy because of his money stats (3s, blocks and steals). He’s already one of the best defenders on Orlando at the age of 19 and his offensive game is going to surprise a lot of people even though he was “raw” coming out of FSU. In his debut on Wednesday, Isaac had four points, eight rebounds and two blocks in 17 minutes, but I wouldn’t expect any consistent production until January. 


3.) It seems that everyone is on board with either Dennis Smith Jr. and Ben Simmons, but I’ll throw out a darkhorse candidate in Donovan Mitchell. He’s going to get run at both guard spots in Utah and is probably looking at minutes in the mid-20s with room to grow from here on out. It also helps that he plays for a defensive-minded coach. 


4.) Yes he had a somewhat quiet opener, but I think Josh Richardson could be a top-20 player in 9-category leagues this season. Remember when Danny Green was a second-round value in 2014 with 11.7 points, 4 rebounds, 2 assists, 2.4 treys, 1.2 steals and 1.1 blocks? That’s easily within Richardson’s reach if he can shoot it efficiently. 



Jared Johnson (@JaredJ831)


1. Kevin Durant -- I know, I know, kinda boring, but I mean, c'mon, this is Kevin Durant we're talking about here. At 29 years old, he's still very much in his prime, and he's held down that No. 1 spot fives times over the past eight seasons. So yeah, I'm sticking with the Durantula here.


2. John Collins looked great in his regular-season debut, tallying 14 points, five boards, one assist and two steals in just 22 minutes of action, and with Atlanta clearly going through a rebuild, I think there's a good chance he'll be flirting with 30 minutes a night towards the end of the year. He's loaded with upside, yet currently owned in just 11 percent of Yahoo! Leagues, so I think he'd make for a very strong add in most settings.


3. Dennis Smith Jr. hit the ground running in his NBA debut, posting a 16-point, 10-dime double-double to go with one triple, three boards and two turnovers on 50.0 percent shooting. He's going to be an absolute stud this year, and I don't see another rookie overtaking him in the Rookie of the Year voting.


4. I think Khris Middleton will easily attain top-20 status this season, and I honestly think he could go as high as top-15. For a guy that tended to fall in the 40-range on draft day, I'd say too many people were sleeping on Khris.



Ryan Knaus (@Knaus_RW)


1) You truly cannot go wrong with Kevin Durant or Giannis Antetokounmpo, but I'll still take Karl-Anthony Towns at No. 1 in 9-cat. For 8-cat, I'm not against James Harden, either.


2) With Jeremy Lin's ruptured patellar tendon expected to end his season, I'll take Caris LeVert as waiver wire pickup of the year. Elsewhere, owners were panicking after Marquese Chriss played just 12 minutes in the Suns' opener -- if he starts getting cut, he'll leapfrog LeVert for me here. 


3) I'm sold on Dennis Smith Jr. Dillon Brooks won't be the top rookie, of course, but he should also get some love. He looked fantastic in the opener and it's not as though Memphis has wing depth.


4) Based on his ADP this year, it seems a lot of fantasy GMs still don't get that Otto Porter is a fantasy swiss-army knife. Victor Oladipo will also be a top-20 guy.

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