Matt Stroup

Roundball Stew

print article archives RSS

The Best of Boogie Cousins

Friday, November 10, 2017


 

If there were no such thing as life balance, nutrition, optical health and the established benefit of interacting with other human beings, I could stare at fantasy hoops rankings for an unreasonable number of hours on end.

It’s a fun exercise (not to be confused with actual exercise) all season long, but there’s added intrigue this early in the year, because things are still pretty volatile — a couple of big or terrible games can jostle a player’s ranking pretty quickly.

This week, I’ve been concentrating my precious rankings-browsing time on players whose spots surprise me — in both good and bad ways. Below are my findings, five of the positive variety and five negative (all of these rankings are for 9-category leagues, pulled from BasketballMonster.com):

Five Pleasant Surprises

DeMarcus Cousins, No. 6 overall (was No. 3 until a somewhat ugly game on Thursday): Let’s begin by looking at Cousins’ season-by-season ranking through his first seven years in the league…

2010-11: No. 214
2011-12: No. 54
2012-13: No. 73
2013-14: No. 21
2014-15: No. 10
2015-16: No. 20
2016-17: No. 13

So what has changed so far this season? Well, pretty much everything. Just take a look at these numbers through 12 games (career-highs marked in bold):

28.2 ppg, 13.8 rpg, 5.8 apg, 1.7 spg, 1.8 bpg and 2.5 3s (45.8 FG / 78.4 FT / 5.0 TOs)

As a good friend once said about a completely different situation, that’s a lot of cheese. But you know what I’m most excited about? The crazy high turnovers. Yes, I said turnovers, and I’ll explain why — because if they were uncharacteristically low, I’d be more worried that this lofty ranking was a fluke. Boogie plays a bit crazy (understatement) and is going to turn the ball over a lot, but even with his most turnovers ever, he’s putting up the best value of his career. Ultimately, he may not quite stay at #6, but his first finish inside the top 10 looks very much within reach.

Follow me on Twitter: @MattStroup

Otto Porter, No. 8 overall: I was a little skeptical about spending a high draft pick on Porter this season. Yes, he was valuable last year (No. 22 overall), but he was more of a guy who didn’t hurt you anywhere as opposed to one who crushed it in a bunch of categories (13.4 ppg, 6.4 rpg, 1.5 apg, 1.5 spg, 0.5 bpg, good percentages and just 0.5 turnovers a game).

Fast forward to right now, and Porter’s stock, in the parlance of Starsky and Hutch, has just moved up a notch. For the season, Otto is at 17.9 ppg, 7.1 rpg, 1.7 apg, 2.0 spg, 0.7 bpg and 2.3 3s, shooting 57.1 percent from the field — all of which would be career highs. He had been starting to slow down a bit in November (15.7 ppg, 5.0 rpg, 1.0 spg in his first three games), but bounced back with a 20-point, 11-board gem on Thursday. I wouldn’t hesitate to see if you can trade him to a crazed Wizards fan for a Damian Lillard or Kyrie Irving or Nikola Jokic — all players currently ranked behind Porter — but if you get a flat no (which you certainly might), there’s no reason to be upset. Porter could easily stay in the top 15 all season long.

Clint Capela, No. 20 overall: There are a number of surprises in the 14-25 range, including Aaron Gordon (14), Evan Fournier (15), Andre Drummond (21) and Steven Adams (25), but I’ve decided to focus on the player with the lowest minutes of anyone in the top-25: Capela. In fact, Capela’s minutes per game number (25) is the lowest of anyone in the top-50.

This is partially a memo to Mike D’Antoni: Clint is an absolute beast when getting extended minutes. In fact, when getting 25 minutes or more this season (which has happened six times), Capela is averaging 15.8 ppg, 14.0 rpg, 1.2 spg and 2.5 bpg. Let’s just please stop this low-20’s silliness and keep Capela in the 25-30 minute range every game. It doesn’t seem like too much to ask.

Aside from that, the only cause for concern here is Capela’s improved free throw shooting, which is showing signs of cracking a bit lately. After thrilling the masses by hitting 10 of his first 11 free throws this season, he’s at 13-of-21 (61.9 percent) his last five games. The good news is that 61.9 percent would still be a career-best for Capela, but if he keeps clanging he may end up closer to the top 40-50 range than top-20.

Dennis Schroder, No. 34 overall: If you read this column regularly, you already know that I’m a rabid Hawks fan, but I was actually staying away from Schroder in drafts this season. Last year’s experience (when Schroder ranked just 108th overall due to shaky FG percentage, turnovers and steals) was just a bit too aggravating, and I didn’t see his FG percentage (45.1) or turnovers (3.2) improving on a much, much crappier Hawks team.

But that’s exactly what has happened. So far, Dennis has posted 22.6 ppg, 6.6 apg, 1.2 spg and 1.6 3s, shooting 47.6 percent from the field with 2.9 turnovers (the latter two stats being the biggest surprises). He may not quite shoot this well all season, but it looks like the forecast is far better than some of us thought.

Joe Ingles, No. 44 overall: I thought about writing about Devin Booker (No. 42), but we all knew that Booker had big upside and just had to fix some things to make a major leap from last year’s 129. I wasn’t trying to draft him this year, but was very aware of where he went in every one of my drafts. Ingles, on the other hand, was and is just so easy to overlook. He went No. 138 in the 30-Deep league, for example, and now in his first season as a full-time starter, the slow-paced but rather saucy lefty sharpshooter is doing a pretty thrilling late-90’s Brent Barry Sonics impersonation:

Barry (’99-00): 11.8 ppg, 4.7 rpg, 3.6 apg, 1.3 spg, 2.1 3s
Ingles (’17-18): 10.7 ppg, 4.6 rpg, 3.3 apg, 1.8 spg, 2.5 3s

Thank you for indulging that brief moment of nostalgia. As for Ingles, his numbers are pretty consistent with what he did as a starter last season, so I absolutely buy in that a top-50 season is realistic.

Ben Simmons, No. 62 overall: This is a *bonus* sixth pleasant surprise, because Simmons was going to be a shorter note at the end of this column but demanded a longer entry. Simmons has some big statistical flaws — 0.0 treys, 62.3 percent from the line and 3.7 turnovers — but is still the No. 62 player overall. His mid-range jumper actually looks pretty good, and if he ever develops three-point range, he’s going to be an insanely awesome fantasy player. And come to think of it, he may get to Giannis levels (and dominate without a reliable 3-point stroke) quicker than we think. Check this out:

Antetokounmpo, 2015-16: 16.9 ppg, 7.7 rpg, 4.3 apg, 1.2 spg, 1.4 bpg, 0.4 3s (50.6 FG / 72.4 FT)

Ben Simmons, 2017-18: 17.8 ppg, 9.4 rpg, 7.8 apg, 1.7 spg, 0.8 bpg, 0.0 3s (50.0 FG / 62.3 FT)

The more I write here, the more deliriously excited I get. Those numbers through his first 11 games are borderline insane, and only getting better. Over his last eight games, Simmons is No. 32 overall behind 18.6 ppg, 9.0 rpg, 8.5 apg, 2.0 spg and 1.0 bpg, and could be surging into the top 20 pretty quickly.

(Click below to continue to the Unpleasant Surprises section…)


continue story »
12
Matt Stroup covers basketball, baseball and football for Rotoworld.com. You can find him on Twitter here .
Email :Matt Stroup



Highest Searched Players over the last 7 days



Video Center

  •  
    Waivers: Perine a must-add

    Waivers: Perine a must-add
  •  
    Dose: Wilson breaks loose

    Dose: Wilson breaks loose
  •  
    Dose: Allen explodes vs. Bills

    Dose: Allen explodes vs. Bills
  •  
    Dose: Brown lights up Titans

    Dose: Brown lights up Titans
  •  
    Silva: Week 11 Matchups

    Silva: Week 11 Matchups
  •  
    Dose: Bills to Start Peterman

    Dose: Bills to Start Peterman
  •  
    Matchups: Burkhead vs. Raiders

    Matchups: Burkhead vs. Raiders
  •  
    Waivers: Davis

    Waivers: Davis' Time to Shine