Jonas Nader

NBA Roundtable

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Roundtable: Early Takeaways

Thursday, October 25, 2018


Hello and welcome back to the NBA Roundtable! Last week the Rotoworld Hoops crew discussed which players we owned the most shares of (check that out here), but this week we’re going to open things up a bit and just talk about the biggest takeaways/observations of the first 1.5 weeks. Steve Alexander will kick things off for us this week!

 

 

Steve Alexander (@docktora)

 

Avery Bradley looks horrible, and by horrible, I mean really, really bad. I honestly thought he was going to get it together and bounce back, but I've already dropped him to pick up hot free agents. Maybe he'll get it going eventually, but he started the season off with eight points, has gotten progressively worse from there, and is shooting just 26 percent on the season. 


Zach LaVine is who I thought he was. He's averaging 32.3 points and is shooting 62 percent from the floor, while most of his shots aren't even touching the rim. He's also ticked off that his teammates aren't feeding him more when he's hot, which is all the time, 


I wish I wouldn't have slept on JaVale McGee. He's averaging 15 points, 7.3 rebounds and 3.0 blocks, and looks like he's going to be a big part of what the Lakers do this season. If I had a do-over, I'd be drafting McGee as my second or third center.



Tommy Beer (@TommyBeer)


For a player I think is the real deal, I'll go with Blake Griffin. While he won't be able to keep up his incredible pace (36.3, 11.3 rebounds, 5.7 assists, 3.7 treys and only 0.7 turnovers), I think he is a terrific position to set career-highs in multiple statistical categories this season. With the way the Pistons are using him, as a point-forward that facilitates the offense, he should have an opportunity to stuff the stat sheet every single night. He currently ranks second in the NBA in minutes per game and is eighth in the league in Usage Rate. That is a beautiful recipe for fantasy success. Congrats if you drafted him.

Honorable mention goes to Khris Middleton. He's a monster. 

 

For a player it is time to drop, I'll go with Avery Brady. I was higher on Bradley than most coming into this season, but he has been awful for the Clippers. He is averaging just 4.3 points, 1.8 rebounds and 1.3 assists in 27.3 minutes; and is shooting an abysmal 25.8 percent from the floor. With as much depth as the Clippers have at guard, it's only a matter of time before he starts seeing his playing time reduced. Time to cut bait. 

 

For a player that will be volatile all season, I'll go with D'Angelo Russell. His assist numbers have been solid and he's had some good scoring nights, but he's shooting just 35.3% from the floor. He'll have plenty of big games, but duds mixed in there as well.

 

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Jonas Nader (@JonasNader)

 

Caris LeVert is the early frontrunner for the Most Improved Player of the Year Award and was probably Rotoworld’s best sleeper pick so far. Prior to Wednesday, LeVert ranked 5th in the NBA in true shooting percentage among players who have averaged 25+ minutes. He leads the Nets in usage rate (25.7%), and even after he finally cooled on Wednesday, he’s returning 4th-round value right now and is obliterating his late-round ADP. 

 

Jaren Jackson Jr. is everything I thought he’d be and more. His post game has developed very quickly, so it looks like we’re seeing the dividends of his offseason workouts with Kevin Garnett. JJJ’s not even hitting his 3-point shot right now (16.7%) which was money in college and during the Summer League, and his 1.6 blocks per 36 minutes is still well short of where I think he’ll finish — remember, he had the highest block rate of any first round center prospect over the past 15 years. He’s around the top-50 in 9-category rankings with a ton of room for growth.

 

I can’t remember a player coming out of nowhere as emphatically as Rodney McGruder since Hassan Whiteside and Robert Covington a few years ago. He has nearly doubled his per-36 minute averages from last season, and when people ask me if he’s for real, I have no clue what to say. I’m still skeptical because this guy brought nothing to the table in fantasy in his first two years, but if you have him you have to stick with him and hope that you got a gem on your hands. 

 

Myles Turner is the most scrutinized top-50 fantasy player in recent memory. A lot of people are blasting this guy, and while he’s off to an admittedly slow start on offense, he’s still ranked 43rd in 9-category leagues because of his efficiency and 1.8 blocks per game. Even with a modest improvement on offense (shoot the ball man!), Turner could easily climb into the early rounds. 

 

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People are panicking. There are so many overreactions in the first couple weeks, making this an ideal time to buy low or sell high. As an example, I just flipped Lou Williams and De’Aaron Fox for a slumping Jrue Holiday. Holiday’s FG% (31.6) is a mile away from his 49.4% last season, so his fantasy owner panicked after a 3-game sample size. Holiday was a first-round value last season and is going to right the ship any day now. 

 

Injuries and rest were glaring concerns last season, and we’re already off to a rocky start in 2018-19. Jimmy Butler and Kawhi Leonard already needed a maintenance day after one week, and there are already too many injuries to bother listing. Hopefully this isn’t a sign of things to come. 

 

 

Ryan Knaus (@Knaus_RW)

 

I was happily drafting Kyle Anderson in the 80-100 range throughout the summer, though I avoided him the moment 'heel soreness' arose in early October (it didn't help that coach J.B. Bickerstaff referred to it as "an Achilles thing"). He's looked healthy and perhaps my bigger concern should have been his role in Memphis. I was expecting an increase in shot attempts and playmaking duties, but instead Slo-Mo's usage rate (14.0%) is lowest on the entire roster -- lower than Dillon Brooks, Shelvin Mack, Garrett Temple and Wayne Selden. Anderson has only started one game and should steadily improve as he adapts to his new environs, so I'm holding him, but if he's still this quiet in mid-November there will be a reckoning. 

 

The Cavaliers are horrendous, and I'm desperate to unload Kevin Love for equitable value while I still can. Cleveland is 0-4 and they're coming off blowout losses (at home) to the Hawks and Nets. To quote Love, it's "alarming." The team's resident All-Star isn't helping matters by shooting a category-killing 32.3% from the field on high-volume attempts, and he's not contributing any defensive stats, but that's not what worries me. Instead, it's the prospect of the Cavs tanking sooner than later, sporadically resting Love, limiting his minutes, etc. He could be traded in late January but there's obviously no guarantee a deal will coalesce around Love, who just inked a four-year, $120 million extension. The FG% will rise and I'm not giving him up cheap, since he still has early-round upside, but the moment he drops consecutive 20/20 games I'll be shopping him.

 

Quick-Hit Takeaways: JaVale McGee has been legitimately productive and the Lakers have no depth behind him, so he should sustain nice value as a blocks/boards/FG% guy...Zach LaVine's efficiency will inevitably decline, but he's already a steal for owners and I'm thrilled to own him in multiple leagues...Josh Hart looks terrific and was vastly underrated based on his ADP...Danny Green has turned back the clock with his sneaky 9-cat ways in Toronto, and I don't see why low-end roto value wouldn't be sustainable...Markieff Morris is loving life as a small-ball center and is sitting on top-20 value (!), so enjoy it while it lasts...just in case their owners buy into the small-sample-size struggles, it's time to float buy-low offers for Klay Thompson, Goran Dragic, Draymond Green, Jrue Holiday and Ricky Rubio (who has legitimately been brutal). And if you own Markelle Fultz, good luck.




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