Your Go To Fantasy Basketball Guide
It is that time of the year again. With the new NBA season about to get going, another season is about to commence for the fans. The 2016/17 NBA fantasy season is nearly upon us!
Leagues are beginning to fill up, draft dates are being circled, player rankings are being released, and fantasy owners are readying their draft day wish list.
It is very easy to separate the rookies from the pros. Guys like DeMar DeRozan and Bradley Beal may be great scorers, but their fantasy value lies in only one category. Whereas lesser known players like Elfrid Payton and Jae Crowder can rack up fantasy stats across the board.
10) LeBron James, Cleveland Cavaliers
Normally, LeBron James would be on the other end any NBA top-10 list. Not so much when fantasy sports is concerned. Still with great value, and the perfect pick late in the first round, James can still fill up the stat sheet.
How does he do it?
King James possesses probably the highest basketball IQ out of any player in the league. He can anticipated passes and run in for the steal. He also has great court vision and may just be one of the purest passers in the game, which allows him to find his teammates with easy looks and grant his fantasy owners with assists.
Although the free throw percentage may not be what you want, nor will James provide his owners with the three pointers, LeBron is a great off-ball defender who can get the blocks, as well as dominate the opposition with his size and strength to grab boards and score a ton of points.
9) DeMarcus Cousins, Sacramento Kings
‘Boogie’ is a monster and quite possibly the most dominant big man in the game today and he straight up bullies his defenders. What that means is, on what will be a very weak Sacramento Kings team, DeMarcus Cousins will be scoring over people in bunches, and using his sheer strength and size to grab down as many rebounds as humanly possible.
Cousins is also a superior passer for a centre and has been stretching out his game, shooting more three pointers which will only help him become a fantasy darling. After shooting a very respectable 33% from behind the arc, fantasy owners should expect to see a spike in those numbers in 2016-17.
On the Kings, there is no doubt in anyone’s mind that Cousins will dominate and make his fantasy owners happy, but will he remain a King for the span of the entire 82-game season?
8) James Harden, Houston Rockets
With the drama surrounding Dwight Howard now gone, James Harden reassumes his rightful spot as the one and only face of the Houston Rockets franchise. What the Rockets are still missing is a point guard who can take the pressure of the Rockets’ bearded superstar, but to fantasy owners everywhere, having Harden dominate the ball will be just fine.
Harden can do a little bit of everything. He can score in bunches, he can find his teammates, he can even grab quite a few boards. He can hit free throws and he can hit from beyond the three-point line. The field goal percentage will not be pretty by any means and his defence will be somewhat brutal as per usual, but even Harden can come up with a couple of steals on a game to game basis, just by standing around hoping to swipe the ball away an opponent being guarded by his teammate.
Cherry picking isn’t usually great, but in fantasy sports, owners will take it on any given day.
7) Hassan Whiteside, Miami Heat
Hassan Whiteside will do everything for his fantasy team except for hit free throws. In fact, he may even force his fantasy owner to surrounder the free throw percentage stat on a weekly basis. But for a guy who can do so much for a fantasy team like Whiteside, it is well worth the sacrifice.
May I remind you that this is a dude who has gotten multiple triple-doubles last season by blocking ten or more shots. There will be teams in fantasy league’s who will struggle to find ten blocks in a week; this dude can get you that in one basketball game.
At 7’0’’, 265-pounds, Whiteside is the type of guy every fantasy owner craves to have – a guy who wants to get the blocks. Whenever an opposing player is in the paint, Whiteside will always jump and try to go for the block. It will drive Coach Spoelstra crazy because when there is a ball fake, there is an easy lay-up, but when there is not, it is a block more often than not.
With his long arms, the steals will come and of course because of his size the rebounds will too. Being a big man, Whiteside will live in the paint, and with that, a high field goal percentage should always be expected and with Dwyane Wade and Joe Johnson now gone and Chris Bosh still on the shelf, there will be more balls being fed to the new $100-million man in the paint.
6) Karl-Anthony Towns, Minnesota Timberwolves
Karl-Anthony Towns will be the next young superstar in the NBA. Since coming into the NBA, he was able to do it all. With Towns, you have a seven-footer, with an NBA-ready body, the ability to score in the paint, from mid-range and from three, all of which he can do in efficient fashion. Moreover, he is a seven-foot centre who can handle the basketball as if he is a point guard and has the court vision to pick up a few assists each game.
Unlike his 2015 NBA Draft big man counterpart, Jahlil Okafor, Towns can do it all on the defensive end as well. He is a great defender, who has great instincts and that helps him pick up a ton of blocks and with those instincts and long reach, he can get fantasy owners the steals as well.
So what can Towns not do? Maybe shoot free throws because he is a seven-footer and what big man can shoot free throws? This is where the Kentucky Wildcat alum comes up clutch yet again as in his rookie season; Towns shot a very impressive 81% from free throw line.
If it is not obvious yet, then let me make it crystal clear for fantasy owners everywhere: You want Karl-Anthony Towns on your fantasy basketball team every single season for the next decade.
5) Giannis Antetokounmpo, Milwaukee Bucks
The ‘Greek Freak’ cracks the fantasy top-10 and for very good reason. His nickname gives off a huge hint. He is exactly what every basketball fan and aficionado thinks he is – a freak of nature.
And that comes with its set of perks.
Giannis has become the new starting point guard of the Milwaukee Bucks near the end of the 2015-16 season. So essentially, Jason Kidd has a 6’11’’ dude running his team on the floor.
What fantasy owners always need are players who will dominate the ball. Antetokounmpo has great floor vision, can get from one side of the court to the other in five steps, has the ability to rack up defensive stats like steals, boards, and blocks in a hurry with his height and incredible wingspan.
His field goal percentage will solid, his free throw percentage will be respectable, and if Giannis can introduce a better three point stroke into his game, he will be a guy who can put up numbers across the board.
4) Draymond Green, Golden State Warriors
Why is Draymond Green ranked so high on the list when fellow teammates Kevin Durant and Klay Thompson could not even crack the top-10? It is a fair question, but here is the breakdown of why Green will be a guy that fantasy owners must have this upcoming NBA season.
With the array of stars assembled on the Golden State Warriors, someone will have to run the offence and with Andrew Bogut and Festus Ezeli now gone, a defensive anchor will be necessary for a team with so much offensive firepower.
That is where Draymond Green comes into the equation. He is a point guard, who plays power forward in a small forwards body. He is a defensive player of the year calibre player who will rack up steals and blocks, and with his ability to handle the basketball he will be able to push the tempo, run to the basket for lay ups, or distribute the basketball to three guys who can stop on a dime and nail shots from anywhere with ease.
If that does not convince anyone yet, Draymond Green is also a great three-point shooter, a guy who understands his role so his field goal percentage will be solid on most nights, a good free throw shooter.
And really who doesn’t like a good Coach Tom Izzo boy on their fantasy team roster?
3) Anthony Davis, New Orleans Pelicans
To whoever drafts Anthony Davis in the first round this year, do yourself a favour and go light a candle for Davis because if he can finally stay healthy, he can single-handedly win weekly matchups for his owners.
He can shoot threes, he can dominate inside, he has the size, the wingspan, and the skill. Point is, Anthony Davis, when healthy is a beast on the floor. He can score 40-50-points on some nights, or grab 20-plus on other nights. He’s a solid free throw shooter, he can rack up steals and blocks in bunches and his shooting percentage will always help teams in fantasy matchups.
Only question that remains is, will Davis be healthy for at least 65-70-games this season? If he will, well Davis will be the guy that can take fantasy teams to the Promised Land in 2016-17.
2) Stephen Curry
The final two on the list should come to no surprise. Starting off with Mr. two-time reigning MVP, Steph Curry will no doubt be a must-have guy who will and should be a top three pick.
This is a no-brainer. Curry has the ability to score a double-digit amount of points in the span of two-minutes simply by flicking his wrist from behind the three-point line. He is also a feisty defender who can get the steals, he is a solid rebounder for a point guard, and with the guys he will have around him, the assists will come too.
Three pointers, high shooting percentage, from all over the court including the free throw line, Steph Curry can enough to blow opposing fantasy teams out on a weekly basis.
1) Russell Westbrook
You know that kid on your high school team that is one rebound from a triple double so he will throw the ball off the backboard instead of going in for the easy lay-up just to get to 10-rebounds? The kid who is super crazy about his stats that is borderline egotistical? That is Russell Westbrook in a nutshell, and that is that time of arrogant players that every fantasy owner must have. Players that look out for themselves first and put the team on the backburner.
No one will score more points than Russell Westbrook this year. No one will get as many triple-doubles. Westbrook will be racking up video game like stats all season long and his fantasy owners will love him for it. There will be no Kevin Durant holding him back. There will be not a single person having a problem with Westbrook holding the ball for 99% of his team’s possessions or taking 99% of the team’s shots.
When a guy is so hell bent on bumping up his own stats as well as helping his team win and is as good as Russell Westbrook is, I think it is fairly obvious who the number one overall pick should be.