Jonas Nader

NBA Roundtable

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Roundtable: Our Best Calls

Thursday, March 15, 2018


Hello and welcome back to the NBA Roundtable! Last week we poked some fun at ourselves and talked about our “biggest misses” of the 2017-18 fantasy season, so click here in case you missed it. With those guys in the rear-view mirror, it’s now time to take a look at our best calls of the season. I’ll start things off for us…

 

Jonas Nader (@JonasNader)

 

Josh Richardson- I think we all started to sweat a bit when Richardson got off to a slow start this season, as he hit just 39.7% from the field in October and 35.4% in November. However, Richardson lived up to the hype in the months that followed, as he has been the 22nd best player in standard 9-category leagues over the past three months, averaging 15.1 points, 3.5 rebounds, 3.4 assists, 1.7 steals, 1.0 blocks and 1.8 triples on 47.9% shooting. Coach Erik Spoelstra said he “doesn’t want to put a ceiling on him” and I’m one of many who believe he should’ve been named to the All-Star team. I was able to draft him towards the end of the middle rounds of eight out of my 10 fantasy leagues and he’s easily one of my best calls of the season and I know a lot of my colleagues are in the same boat. He’s just 24 and could be an early-round guy for a long time, so the secret is finally out and his ADP should reflect that next season. One of my bold predictions was that J-Rich would be a top-25 player, so I’m pretty proud of that. 

 

Victor Oladipo- He burned a lot of fantasy owners in Oklahoma City last season, as Oladipo disappeared in Russell Westbrook’s shadow. That suppressed his value on draft day, making him one of the best values of the season. His average ADP was just under 60.0, and I consistently targeted him in the fourth round of my drafts with great results. He’s leading the charge for a Pacers team that is ranked third in the East, averaging 23.6 points, 5.3 rebounds, 4.3 assists, 2.2 steals, 0.8 blocks and 2.2 triples on 47.2% shooting. He has first-round value in standard leagues on the season and has a total of 188 steals and blocks which leads the entire NBA for guards. Oladipo is only 25 and has entered the first-round conversation for next season. Stud.

 

Donovan Mitchell- Going into the season, I was extremely high on rookies Donovan Mitchell and Jonathan Isaac. I’m still convinced that Isaac is going to be a monster, but his season has been derailed by an ankle injury. As for Mitchell, he didn’t get off to a smooth start with some poor shooting numbers, but he turned things around in a hurry and has been playing at a borderline All-Star level. He’s already the second best player in Utah behind Rudy Gobert, but at this rate, it won’t be long before he’s one of the best players in the West. He’s going to be on a lot of championship rosters and I’m curious to see what the hype will do to his ADP next season. As of right now, most people are pegging him as third- or fourth-round pick which is absolutely fair. 

 

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Michael Gallagher (@MikeSGallagher)

 

Victor Oladipo - During our draft podcast season, we said countless times that you should take Victor Oladipo in round four and don’t look back. Sure, we love guys that we took in the middle rounds that yield like top 30 value, but VO is the only top-10 player that wasn’t taken in the first round. Well, unless you count…

 

Damian Lillard - Post-break stats are my jam, and Lillard was a top-five player after the break last year. It was pretty easy to pick in the top seven this year, but Dame coming through as a pick in the 7-12 range has been big time. You usually need to hit in the first two rounds to win your league.

 

Bradley Beal - Shoutout to a pod listener for reminding me of my hot take, saying I think Beal will finish ahead of John Wall in fantasy this year. Like Lillard, Beal crushed post-break last year, and once again he’s dominating.

 

Josh Richardson - Last year’s fantasy playoffs add of the year was no fluke and Richardson has been an absolute steal with third-round value. He said he wanted to lead SG/SFs in blocks, and he’s pretty close to top three with only Kevin Durant, Jerami Grant and LeBron James as the only players ahead of him. 

 

Jamal Murray - Sure, he didn’t completely break out, but he’s sitting at top-50 value on the season for nine-cat leagues. That’s a win, especially after his horrendous start and how so many people were dropping him.

 

Donovan Mitchell - Fantasy value = talent + opportunity, especially for rookies. We weren’t sure what Donny’s opportunity was going to be, but we all saw him light up Summer League. Much like J-Rich and the Blue Arrow, we were getting so many “drop Mitchell?” questions after the first two weeks. Well, Mitchell has been a top-35 player since Nov. 1.

 

Rookies! - I won’t leave a draft without at least two rookies on my roster, and so many of them hit hard this year. Lauri Markkanen and Jayson Tatum were difference-making picks for a lot of teams, and you could’ve had them in the last round of a 12-team league. My credo of "end your draft with young players on bad teams" may be my first tattoo.

 

 

Ryan Knaus (@Knaus_RW)

 

I was fortunately on board the Victor Oladipo and Gary Harris hype-train...and if you're in a league with me, you probably don't own Harris. In looking at some of my main leagues, I was able to draft him at Nos. 70, 65, 65 and 53...and also paid $14 for him in an auction. Those are all category-based leagues, in which he's cruising with top-30 value with 17.8 points (48% FGs, 83% FTs), 2.4 triples, 2.7 boards, 3.0 dimes and a value-anchoring 2.0 steals. 

 

T.J. Warren - This is another guy I have a near-monopoly on in my leagues, mostly because fantasy GMs were scared away by the presence of rookie Josh Jackson. I figured there was enough flex in the Suns' rotation to accommodate them both, and it's paid off with steady mid-round value for a guy I drafted at Nos. 110, 80, 93, 104, etc. Sporadic injuries have only cost him six games, and I'll take it -- he's one of the few players to escape the mess in Phoenix unscathed this season.

 

Taurean Prince - I projected Prince at No. 71 overall in my preseason ranks (8-cat) and he's currently sitting inside the top-80 for season-long value. There's a caveat here -- like many owners, I got fed up with his awful FG% and inconsistency, and foolishly cut him in a few leagues. In the leagues where I kept him, I'm sure glad I did. Since the break he's been awesome with 17.3 points, 3.1 triples, 4.7 boards, 2.5 assists, 1.6 steals and 0.6 blocks. Yes, his FG% still isn't great, but he's helping plenty of owners make or win their fantasy playoffs.

 

 

Jared Johnson (@JaredJ831)

 

This is what I wrote about Donovan Mitchell prior to the preseason for our draft guide:

 

" The No. 13 pick in the 2017 NBA draft put on a show during Summer League, averaging 20.4 points, 2.6 assists, 2.4 rebounds, 4.4 steals and 2.2 triples a night, and with Gordon Hayward leaving the Jazz this summer, there’s a massive hole to fill in Utah’s offense. Mitchell will likely begin his rookie year coming off the bench, but he should eventually be earning quality minutes as one of the few players in Utah’s backcourt capable of creating his own shot, and there could also be stretches were he enters the starting five given Rodney Hood’s well-documented durability concerns. There’s plenty of upside here, and Mitchell is a guy I love taking a flier on towards the later rounds on draft day."

 

Needless to say, that particular hot take aged extremely well as it only took Donny Mitch a grand total of 12 games to prove to Utah management that he was demonstrably better than Rodney Hood and belonged in the starting lineup. Now, I'd be lying if I told you I thought he'd be this good, but I am sure glad I loaded up on the Donny Mitch stock in nearly all my leagues this year.

 

This is what I wrote about Josh Richardson prior the preseason for our draft guide:

 

"Richardson took a long time to get going last season as he missed the beginning of the year recovering from a partially torn MCL in his right knee, and then dealt with various injuries to his ankle, foot, and wrist, but once he was able to finally get healthy for the final month of the season he was able to sustain a top-40 evaluation behind averages of 11.7 points, 3.0 assists, 1.6 steals, 1.5 blocks and 1.9 triples per contest on 43.2 percent shooting. Richardson figures to be a focal point in Miami's attack after signing a four-year, $42 million extension this offseason, and you have to love his ability to rack up the blocks from the two-guard position. He's had a full offseason to work on his game and shouldn't have much trouble finding minutes in Miami, so he's one of my favorite late-round, high-upside draft day targets."

 

J-Rich got off to an awfully slow start this year, but I never backed off on his potential. While his jumper seemed broken to start the year, he was still consistently coming through with those defensive stats which kept me on board, and I talked down more than a few of my Twitter followers from cutting him. In fact, I got into a fairly boisterous argument early in the season when one of my followers asked me to give odds on the chances that Courtney Lee would finish with a higher ranking than Josh Richardson when all was said and done; to which I responded zero. 

 

Gary Harris has been another difference maker for me this season, I'm not really sure why he was flying under the radar like he was during fantasy draft season, maybe it's because he plays for a small market team and is named after a popular cartoon snail from Nickelodeon, but he was a guy that you could consistently get towards the late-middle rounds (ADP 93.7) on draft day despite coming off a top-55 campaign. The dude is just 23 years old, closed out the 2016-17 season as a top-30 stud, and he's not the type of player that needs to dominate the rock to put up value so I wasn't worried about Paul Millsap messing with his numbers. Gary's been consistently crushing it this season, and he's going to be an early-round stud for many years to come.

 

 

Matt Stroup (@MattStroup)

 

Jrue Holiday and Nikola Vucevic are two players I was drafting aggressively early. With Holiday there were some understandable injury concerns, but when healthy he has always been a dynamo, and this year he has taken it to another level as the No. 22 player on the Basketball Monster 9-category leaderboard. 

 

As for Vucevic, the main reason for my elevated level of interest was the talk during the preseason that he was going to take more 3s. Vuc has backed that up by hitting 1.3 treys this season -- just a huge boost to his value. On a per-game basis, he's been the No. 17 player in 9-category leagues. 

 

Later in drafts, I was targeting Lou Williams and Will Barton. Both have been even better than I expected. Unfortunately, Tommy is threatening to ruin the fun for Lou and Jrue in the 30-Deep playoffs. He currently leads my squad 5-4 in the quarterfinals. 

 

 

Tommy Beer (@TommyBeer)

 

* Clint Capela:

I loved Capela coming into the season, as he was primed to take advantage of running pick-and-rolls with Chris Paul and getting all those easy dunks that DeAndre Jordan enjoyed while CP3 ran with the Clippers. Capela has delivered on the promise, leading the league in field goal percentage and setting career-highs across the board.

 

* Kris Dunn:

I predicted that Dunn would bounce back from a disappointing rookie season in Chicago, as he’d be in the ideal position of logging heavy minutes and racking up plenty of stats on a bad team. Dunn has done just that. He’s the only player in the league this season averaging 13 points, six assists, four rebounds and two steals per game. 

 

* Victor Oladipo:

I wasn't exactly going out on a limb here, as many of my Rotoworld brethren were super high on ‘Dipo as well. Welp, as we all know, Victor has exceeded even the most optimistic of expectations. 

 

 

Ethan Norof (@Ethan_Norof)

 

Victor Oladipo: The post-hype sleeper appeal was too strong to ignore, and Dipo has rewarded those investors that bought in at an early-round ADP. 

 

Brandon Ingram: It's beyond ridiculous that there were pundits already writing Ingram off based off of his rookie season alone, and the incredible amount of growth from the sophomore has the Lakers tremendously excited—for good reason—about his future. A 16/5/4 triple-slash with defense in an expanded role at 20 years young while growing his confidence on a daily basis...I'll take that on any day of the week. 

 

Gary Harris: Harris has been more than worthy of that mid-round pick that was spent to get him, and no one should be sleeping on his stud status entering 2018-19. 

 

 

Steve Alexander (@Docktora)

 

They’re minor players, but I was into DeMarre Carroll and JaMychal Green coming into the season and both players have been worth owning, and exceeded expectations.

 

D’Angelo Russell’s injury was a buzzkill, but he’s played great since returning and was on fire before getting hurt. I’ll take it.

 

I’m always a little bit higher on LeBron James than the other guys and he came through with one of his best seasons ever. I’ll take that, too.

 

We were all really high on Victor Oladipo and he’s single handedly turned the Pacers into one of the best teams in the East. It wasn’t a tough call, but we were REALLY high on him and he came through.

 

Brandon Ingram and Julius Randle are two of “my guys” and Ingram was really coming on before his injury and Randle is on fire right now. I’m pretty happy with being a little high on both of these guys coming in. And Randle has really come through after a disturbingly slow start.

 

Josh Richardson was a guy we were calling a “must-own player” before fantasy drafts and he was available late in almost all of them. He’s been worth a solid fifth-round pick despite a slow start, and he’s been a blast to own, although he’s cooled off lately due to a foot issue.

 

Jamaal Murray is someone who Gallagher got me on board with and I went all in. And after a slow start, he’s been worth a sixth-round pick this season.

 

Aaron Gordon is another guy I was really into and I drafted him on nearly all my teams. His injuries have been a killer, but when healthy he’s a sixth-round performer this season, so I’ll take it.

 

Karl-Anthony Towns was my No. 1 pick in several leagues, because he doesn’t miss games and won’t hurt you anywhere. Anf if you sort Basketballmonster.com rankings by ‘totals,’ instead of ‘per game’, he checks out as the No. 2 player in fantasy this season. Not ever missing games goes a long way in my book and I’m not sorry for touting him at No. 1.




Email :Jonas Nader



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