Steve Alexander

Offseason Beat

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NBA News Roundup

Monday, September 3, 2018


Ryan Anderson was traded to the Suns on Thursday night, along with rookie guard De’Anthony Melton, for point guard Brandon Knight and embattled power forward Marquese Chriss. The more I think about this deal, the less sense it seems to make. At least in fantasy.

 

For starters, the rebuilding Suns say they’re going to start Anderson at power forward. The guy is 30 years old, injury prone and can’t play defense, but maybe a couple years of dealing with the antics of Chriss made Suns’ management delusional. And with Anderson taking up a big chunk of minutes at PF, that leaves Trevor Ariza, T.J. Warren and Josh Jackson to fight it out for the starting SF job.

 

I loved Jackson last year, but it feels like there are going to be too many mouths to feed at the forward spots in Phoenix this year. The only silver lining is that both Anderson and Ariza could be shutdown candidates once the Suns are 20 games back in the new year.  And while this is a fantasy focused column, the fact the Rockets were finally able to get someone to take on Anderson’s bad contract is a miracle. Yes, they took back a couple years of bad money on Knight, but the Rockets have to be fired up about getting rid of Anderson. And despite the fact that Melton was a second-round pick (46), he could turn out to be a stud after tearing up Summer League.

 

The loss of Knight means that two rookies, Elie Okobo and Melton, will battle it out for the starting point guard job in Phoenix. I think Okobo will win the job and will be the guy with the fantasy value, but we’ll have to see what happens in training camp.  Okobo spent the last three years playing in France and should come in pretty NBA ready, while Melton looked good in the SL. The Suns also cut Tyler Ulis after they drafted Okobo, so it would appear they’ve got a lot of faith in him.

 

As for the Rockets, the loss of Anderson is countered by the arrival of Chriss, who probably needed a fresh start with a new team more than any other player in the league. The Rockets will have to sort out whether it will be Carmelo Anthony, P.J. Tucker or Chriss starting at power forward, but I don’t really have much interest in any of them – especially Melo. And I’m hoping the move will jump-start Chriss’ battery.

 

Lastly, Knight’s fantasy value disappears with this move, as he’ll be playing behind Chris Paul. Oh, and he’s also coming off major knee surgery for a torn ACL, and we recently learned that he had a minor procedure done on the same knee about six weeks ago. And he may not even be ready to start the season.

 

I still can’t believe the Suns signed 33-year-old Ariza to a one-year deal over the summer, and are now adding Anderson to the mix. Maybe there are other deals in the works, or maybe they’re planning on signing a veteran point guard to start. But regardless of what the plan is, it doesn’t make a lot of sense.

  

Reports are that Kawhi Leonard is 100 percent and looks “remarkable” in workouts for the Raptors lately. There are no limitations, his head appears to be right now that he’s out of San Antonio, and he’s setting up for a huge, bounce-back season. I’m not ready to say I’m all-in on Leonard, but if these reports are true and he’s ready to rock and roll in Toronto, there’s an excellent chance he’ll be the steal of a ton of fantasy drafts this year. In case you missed it, he played in just nine games last year due to a quad injury, as well as some trust issues with the Spurs. Leonard is the ultimate risk vs. reward player this year, but I think the potential reward is much greater than the risk involved with picking him. Danny Green is also playing for the Raptors now, and I'm not sure why, but I think he's going to have a bounce-back season in Toronto. He burns me every year, and this one might not be any different, but i think he's going to rally in Canada. 

 

Manu Ginobili retired on Monday, causing Adrian Wojnarowski’s Twitter alerts to blow up my phone. I enjoyed Manu as much as the next guy, but I didn’t get too emotional over the retirement news. He had a great career and was an iconic Spur, but if you weren’t a San Antonio die hard, you probably just appreciated Ginobili from afar, avoiding emotional attachment. The Spurs are going to be an interesting team to watch this year, and somehow Gregg Popovich outlasted David Robinson, Tim Duncan, Tony Parker, Kawhi Leonard and Manu. It will be up to DeMar DeRozan, LaMarcus Aldridge and Dejounte Murray to keep the Spurs relevant this season.

 

I was of the belief that Jordan Bell would start at center for the Warriors this season while DeMarcus Cousins recovers from his ruptured achilles heel. But a recent report out of Oakland suggests that Bell will compete with Damian Jones and Kevon Looney for the job. I still think Bell and Looney are the guys you want to own in fantasy, but this news puts Jones on the map, as well. Coach Steve Kerr called him “explosive and powerful” recently, but the kid has only played in 25 games and I find it hard to believe that he’ll make a fantasy impact this season. I believe in Bell.

 

Luol Deng’s contract was finally bought out by the Lakers, and Deng left $7.5 million on the table. Deng still wants to the play and the Baby Lakers had no use for him, so the move makes sense for both parties. Deng is 33 and his NBA career could be over, but it wouldn’t be surprising to see him land in Minnesota with former coach Tom Thibodeau. The Lakers have a ton of guys with expiring contracts and finally got rid of Deng’s hideous contract, setting them up for an incredible summer a year from now.

 

Lastly, David West quietly retired from the Warriors on Thursday. This should be good news for Looney, who will see time at both power forward and center. I don’t know that he’s actually draftworthy with Draymond Green around, but I don’t hate the idea of using a last-round flier on him.

 

The Rotoworld NBA Draft Guide will be released online on Wednesday and I can’t wait for the new season to get here. It gets going with a double header on October 16, featuring the Sixers vs. the Celtics, and the Thunder at the Warriors. Let’s go!



Steve "Dr. A" Alexander is the senior editor for the NBA for Rotoworld.com and a contributor to NBCSports.com. The 2017-18 NBA season marks (at least) his 16th year of covering fantasy hoops for Rotoworld. Follow him on Twitter - @Docktora.
Email :Steve Alexander



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