Jonas Nader

NBA Roundtable

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Roundtable: Most-Owned Players

Thursday, October 18, 2018


Hello and welcome to the first NBA Roundtable of the season! For this week’s topic, I asked the Rotoworld Hoops crew to talk about the players that they drafted the most across all their leagues. I’ll kick things off…

 
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Jonas Nader (@JonasNader)
 
Caris LeVert- I did an unhealthy amount of drafts this season and I was fortunate to grab LeVert in 90% of them around Round 10 (9-category leagues). After Wednesday’s 27-4-4 line in the season opener, you would be very fortunate if he slipped past pick No. 75 if you drafted knowing what we know now, and that’s being conservative. The thing that stood out to me the most was his insane usage, as he posted a 31.2% usage rate in the opener compared to his 2017-18 season average of 22.5%. The Nets also put the ball in his hands with the game on the line, and while they eventually fell short, it nice to know that coach Kenny Atkinson is willing to put that kind of trust in him.
 
Myles Turner and Domantas Sabonis- I made it a priority to target Sabonis in the late rounds of every draft that I took Myles Turner in Round 4, and based off the opener, I’m very pleased with that decision. Turner has one of the best floors in fantasy (he was top-50 in a down year in 2017-18 and top-15 in 2016-17) because he can get you two blocks with good percentages, and on the nights things aren’t going well for him, I can have peace of mind knowing that Sabonis is going to be a stud with his elite per-minute production in points, rebounds and out-of-position assists. Sabonis was actually among the league leaders in usage rate in the preseason, so fantasy owners who suffered through exhibition games that featured Emmanuel Mudiay and Ian Mahinmi were able to take note of that and grab Sabonis for cheap. Who says the preseason doesn’t matter!?
 
Jaren Jackson Jr.- We know the Grizzlies are going to bring him along slowly and he only got to 25 minutes in the opener because of garbage time. However, Wednesday’s blowout defeat confirmed that the Grizzlies are going to be really bad this year with coach J.B. Bickerstaff steering the tank, so that’s going to set up JJJ to feast after the All-Star break. Luka Doncic and DeAndre Ayton are clearly the best rookies in re-draft leagues right now, but guys like JJJ and Wendell Carter could be in the conversation at the turn of the new year. 
 
Jordan Bell- Hey, we can’t win them all right? I’m still going to see how things unfold over the next couple weeks because his steal/block upside is too juicy. 
 
Shai Gilgeous-Alexander- Forget Trae Young, SGA is the best rookie PG in this class and it says a lot that coach Doc Rivers already called him a top-6 player on a playoff-level team in the West. I took SGA in the final rounds of most of my drafts and believe he could really turn on the jets in January-April. 
 
Jarrett Allen- The season opener pretty much did all the talking. He was worth the steep price tag after a summer full of Rotoworld hyping him up. Blake Griffin is going to have nightmares about this guy. 
 
Dejounte Murray- I Miss You by Blink 182. 
 
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Tommy Beer (@TommyBeer)
 
James Johnson: I didn’t think I’d end up with Johnson in the vast majority of my drafts as of a few weeks ago. However, I picked him in the low 100’s in my first couple of drafts and then kept scooping him up in subsequent drafts as he kept falling further and further. Last week, I was able to nab him with my last pick on two separate occasions. He is currently owned in just 54 percent of Yahoo! leagues, which means he went undrafted quite frequently. Yes, he is currently sidelined by a hernia issue, but he appears to have a good chance of returning to the lineup next week. Dealing with a few missed games seems but a small price to pay for a player that ranked 111th overall in nine-cat leagues last season, and 74th overall when he was fully healthy back in 2016-17
 
Joe Ingles: Nobody was overly excited to draft Joe Ingles. He didn’t force other GM’s to gush when you selected him. He definitely isn’t as exciting a pick as an up-and-coming rookie who oozes potential. However, Ingles is a rock selection that will likely help you win your league. This “average Joe” finished last season ranked 61st overall in nine-cat formats. He tallied 22 points, six assists, four steals and four 3-pointers in 35 minutes in Utah’s season-opener on Wednesday. While the “sexier” picks go through their ups and down, I’ll sit back and enjoy a smooth ride with Mr. Ingles. 
 
Derrick Favors: Like Ingles, Favors is another “boring” Jazz forward I happily scooped up in numerous drafts after he inexplicably fell far further than he should have. Favors played in 77 games in 2017-18 and averaged 12.3 points, 7.2 boards and 1.1 blocks, while shooting a career-best 56.3% from the floor. At just 27 years of age, he is still in the heart of his prime. While he doesn’t have the upside of some other more popular players, Favors is a reliable, effective big that can contribute on both ends of the floor and contributes across the board. He started off the season on a positive note, scoring 18 points (on 7-of-8 shooting) with nine rebounds, one assist and one block on Wednesday night. 
 
Taj Gibson: I assume you are noticing a theme. Uncool veterans that don’t hurt you in any categories. Last season, Gibson started all 82 games and averaged 12.2 points, 7.1 rebounds and 1.2 assists in a career-high 33.3 minutes per contest. He also shot a career-best and franchise-record 57.7 percent from the floor, ranking 6th in the NBA, as well as a career-high 76.8 percent from the charity stripe. He finished the year ranked 73rd overall. 
 
 
Matt Stroup (@MattStroup)
 
Nikola Vucevic - I found that I could get him without too much trouble in my drafts (Yahoo ADP: 57.5), probably because people were already beginning to be swept up in Mo BambaMania. I don’t blame anyone for that, but I still think Vuc has a path to top-30 value. Putting aside a mildly disappointing opener on Wednesday (12-8-4 with a steal, no blocks and no 3s in 28 minutes), Vucevic was the No. 27 player in 9-category leagues last year, and was producing at nearly a first-round level (No. 12 overall the first two months of the season) before he got hurt. 
 
Kris Dunn - He’s missing Thursday’s opener due to personal reasons, so we’ll have to wait to see his season debut. When it happens, I think Dunn is going to be pretty dynamic in fantasy leagues, something he strongly suggested with his stat line last year. During a 30-game stretch from mid-November from mid-January, he posted 14.9 ppg, 4.7 rpg, 7.1 apg, 2.1 spg, 0.5 bpg and 0.9 3s, shooting 44.7 percent from the field during that stretch. I’m expecting a big breakout from the 24-year-old this season.
 
Jusuf Nurkic - I didn’t get him in as many leagues as I wanted, but it was not for a lack of trying. Nurkic showed signs of having added 3-pointers to his arsenal this preseason, and if you add some treys to an already solid stat line of 14.3 ppg, 9.0 rpg, 1.8 apg, 0.8 spg and 1.4 bpg, watch out.
 
 
Mike Gallagher (@MikeSGallagher)
 
Jarrett Allen - Back in September, he was often going in the third round of 12-team, nine-cat drafts and it was almost too expensive. Thankfully, his terrible game against Enes Kanter dropped the price on him enough to where he was falling to the fifth round, which made him an excellent value. His foul rate dropped in the 2018 portion of the year and his instincts just keep getting better. A double-double with good percentages and two blocks is well within his range of outcomes. Two 3-pointers last night, too!
 
Caris LeVert - Even before it was announced DeMarre Carroll had surgery, Carroll just looked a step slow and there was just too much buzz on LeVert at media day. Sure, he makes mistakes and his turnovers can be sloppy, but it looks pretty clear LeVert is the Nets perimeter player you want over D'Angelo Russell or Allen Crabbe. He had restrictions on him throughout his rookie year and this is really the first chance he gets to show how high his ceiling is. #LeVertSZN
 
Harry Giles - This one was a long play and his opener went about as poorly as it could have gone as coach Dave Joerger did the bait and switch on us after talking about developing his young players. I still wouldn't drop him yet after a high usage rate in the preseason and strong play dating back to July.
 
Terry Rozier - He played decent minutes next to Kyrie Irving last year and that was before we found out how good Rozier is. On top of Kyrie Irving missing 19 games per season and making Rozier one of the best handcuffs in fantasy, he's going to feast in the second unit and again we saw him play 7.5 minutes with Irving in the opener -- also 19 without Uncle Drew.
 
Kemba Walker and Damian Lillard - I picked after nine in way too many drafts and came away with this duo in all of them. I was hoping for Paul George on the way each time, but Kemba just looks poised for another step forward as his new coach puts emphasis on pace and space.
 
Boban Marjanovic - I drafted him for a buck in some auctions and with my last pick of a 16-team deep league just to see what happens. Well, something happened and I added him everywhere I could last night in the fourth quarter. Could this be just a one-game tease and you're dropping him tomorrow? Absolutely. That said, are you really not going to make another move all season? Who cares if you just have to drop him over the weekend? Boban is the most fun player to own maybe ever and we know he only needs 15 minutes. Fantasy is all about taking chances and dropping your worst guy to see if Boban could be a thing seems like a no-brainer move.
 
 
Ryan Knaus (@Knaus_RW)
 
Kyle Anderson - I was scoring him in the 80-100 range consistently, but this was before his heel injury. Head coach J.B. Bickerstaff initially referred to it as "an Achilles thing" on Oct. 4, which had me running away. Heel/Achilles soreness prior to opening night? No thanks. I'm still holding Slo-Mo in most leagues with the expectation that he'll supplant Chandler Parsons as a starter and lock into top-75 value, but the margin for error is way smaller with an injury on the radar.
 
Eric Bledsoe - Early this summer I hyped EB on a podcast with Mike, yet despite my best efforts to bump up his draft stock he was still floating into the 35-45 range consistently. Yes, he's not a primary option on a team with Giannis Antetokounmpo and Khris Middleton. But he gets plenty of easy looks to improve his efficiency, and has enough across-the-board juice to hit top-20 value for stretches. I see no downside here.
 
Deandre Ayton - I don't watch much college basketball, so Ayton's 2017-18 season with Arizona was lost on me. Highlight reels can only yield so much information. When I watched him play in the preseason, though, and subsequently heard veteran teammate Tyson Chandler raving about him, I was sold. He's as polished as could be expected for a 20-year-old, has tremendous size and a skill-set you can't teach. His draft stock spiked in the weeks prior to opening night, but I still managed to land him in roughly 60% of my leagues.
 
Kevin Love - He's had some injury problems in the past, but none of them have been chronic or lower-body, so I'm not very concerned about DNPs. The key here is that K-Love was dipping into 3rd-round territory in a shocking number of my drafts, at which point I couldn't resist. He attempted 14 free throws and 18 field goals in the Cavs' opener, and would have had a massive line if he shot better than 5-of-18 -- he also battled foul trouble and collected only seven rebounds, but I expect him to be an automatic 20 & 10 guy most nights.
 
Hassan Whiteside - Another player with high ownership rates on my teams, simply because he fell into the 6th-7th round range. This is a guy who needs just 20-24 minutes to hit top-50 value. I don't buy into glowing offseason reports too often, but literally everything we heard about Hassan was positive, and he backed it up with a great preseason. So yeah, at pick 70 I was taking him every time.
 
Other players I have a ton of exposure to across various leagues: Caris LeVert (I even snagged him in 30-Deep at No. 96 and couldn't be happier), Jeff Teague (there was a serious drop-off between the upper tier of PGs and everyone else, but Teague fit nicely into the middle-round range), Devin Booker (the hand injury didn't scare me, but it did present him at a discount), Will Barton (career-year on tap in a full-time starting role), Buddy Hield (if he fell past top-75 I was taking him), Danilo Gallinari (not thrilled about it but he was available at 120 in virtually every draft, despite having top-40 upside). 
 
 
David Leggieri (@legsanity)
 
Elfrid Payton - After a certain point in drafts, assists become much harder to find. That's when I snag Payton. Yeah, he's not going to hit 3-pointers or score a lot of points, but he'll fill the role vacated by Rajon Rondo quite perfectly for the Pelicans. He'll be on triple-double watch a lot this season, as we saw in game one. Plus, he cut his hair! He can see now!
 
Brandon Ingram - I'm buying hard on Ingram's breakout this year. I've been grabbing him a round or two before consensus because of his all-around upside. He flashed in the preseason and I think he'll benefit quite a bit from LeBron's presence.
 
Domantas Sabonis - I don't really have any good reasons for this one, I just really like his game. He doesn't provide many defensive stats, but he'll rebound the ball with a good amount of dimes. He doesn't have a ton of upside in terms of workload, especially with Myles Turner signing a big extension, but getting him late makes up for that.
 
 
Steve Alexander (@Docktora)
 

This 10-team draft I had pretty much answers this question, as I seemed to get "all my guys". And when I say all of them, I mean every single one of them. 

 

Karl-Anthony Towns

Ben Simmons

Kemba Walker

Aaron Gordon

Zach LaVine

Taurean Prince

Jarrett Allen

Josh Richardson

Nicolas Batum

Caris LeVert

Jonathan Isaac

 

Now, to do that, I obviously reached for some guys. But I didn't mind doing it - especially given how "off" I felt like some of ESPN's rankings were. Way off in some cases. But this group of players, in my mind, is set to blow up this season and they are the guys I wanted to roll with, every time I drafted a team. While nearly every one of these guys perfectly meets the "my guy" criteria, I'd say that Aaron Gordon, Taurean Prince and Josh Richardson were the three that caused me to get really bummed if someone else reached further than I did. It didn't happen very often...




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