Fantasy Basketball

2017 Fantasy Basketball Center Preview

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As the season draws near, everyone is itching to get the best fantasy information. We’re seeing the dynamics of the Center position start to get questioned. The pace of the league is getting faster and with that, the old paint protectors aren’t as highly touted.

Highlighting the movement of centers was Dwight Howard, heading to Charlotte. Atlanta fans couldn’t have seemed to get rid of him fast enough just a year after they were cheering his hometown return. Also, Brooke Lopez was an asset received by the Lakers in the trade for D’Angelo Russell. Look for him to be a bigger force than the questionably overpaid Mozgov was. Also expect him to show his veteranship on a youth-dominated team led by Ingram, Ball, and Randle.

2017 Fantasy Basketball Center Preview

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Can we trust Joel Embiid to make it through a full season?

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Joel Embiid has been the media sensation that NBA needed. His antics on and off the court are memorable in a positive way. When healthy, he is a dominant force and a top 5 NBA center. He was even a finalist in the Rookie of the Year award last season, despite only playing 31 games.

Look for his numbers to slightly decrease from last seasons 20/8/2 with the addition of Markelle Fultz.  Don’t expect Embiid to play more than 60 games but produce when he is on the floor.

How will the DeAndre Jordan react to losing Chris Paul?

The core of the Clippers for better part of the decade is no longer together. CP3 headed to Houston and JJ Reddick to Philly. This means DJ and Blake Griffin are all that is left.

For the last three seasons, DeAndre has been one of the more efficient scorers with better than a 70% FG percentage. He also is a top rebounder.

Look for his points to increase with him becoming the second option on a team who is trying to figure themselves out. Although Lob City is no more, DJ won’t let people forget about him.

Can Rudy Gobert lead the Jazz back to the Playoffs?

With the loss of Gordon Hayward, the Utah fan based was left stunned. Less than two months removed from a conference semis berth, the Jazz lost their star to Boston.

They now look to the DPOY to lead the team back to the playoffs. Although we’ve seen vast improvements for Gobert over the last four years, look for the Jazz to struggle to find leadership beyond Joe Johnson. I’m not 100% sold on the production Gobert can produce year to year.

Draft Strategy

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The Center position is oddly deep this season. With the influx of dual roles between PF and C, you do not have to struggle to find one or two high-quality starters mid-draft. I would not focus on a Center early unless you have the ability to obtain Karl-Anthony Towns. You can find a strong 14/12 guy like DeAndre Jordan or Andre Drummond deeper in the draft.

The only downside to drafting some of these centers later in the draft is the drain on the free throw percentage. If you do plan on drafting guys like Drummond or Jordan, you will need to draft players who get to the line often and make a high percentage of them. Guys like James Harden or Russell Westbrook come to mind immediately as great pairs for these types of Centers.

Reaches

Rudy Gobert, Utah Jazz

Gobert is coming off a strong 2017-18 season, the best of his career. Many think last season was his coming out party but I am just not convinced. At an ADP overall of 17, I feel that Gobert is going to fail to reach that value.

Look for him to stay around a 14/11 average, with solid block numbers. I would wait and draft Hassan Whiteside or Andre Drummond before trusting Gobert to elevate to the level he did last season.

DeMarcus Cousins, New Orleans Pelicans

The 2017-18 season is his first full season in New Orleans. We will see if Anthony Davis and Cousins can co-exist on the floor.

After the All-Star Break, we were expecting great things from this duo, but it just didn’t happen. I have a strong feeling that Cousins numbers will drop slightly from the 25/12 numbers we’ve seen in years past. Also, don’t be so sure we will see Cousins in a Pelicans jersey by April.

Steals

Jusuf Nurkic, Portland Trail Blazers

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After being traded from Denver last season, we saw that Portland strongly utilized their new acquired asset. Seeing an elevation in his numbers to 15/10, it was obvious Nurkic got just what he needed to revamp his career.

At just 23, Nurkic will be highly touted in leagues with his first full year starting at Center. At No. 49 overall, look for Nurkic to creep into the top 30 before the year is out.

Enes Kanter, New York Knicks

The recently traded Kanter enters a new opportunity in New York. After small market teams like Utah and OKC pass on his talent, look for Knicks to take advantage.

I foresee Kanter to be a steal outside of the top 100 ADP. He’s a solid bench player and in a new city look for him to put up numbers similar to the 2014-15 season, when he was sent to OKC.


Don’t miss the rest of our Fantasy Basketball draft content, including rankings and the rest of the position preview

About Devon Frey

Devon is a graduate of Kutztown University of Pennsylvania with a Bachelor's Degree in Sport Management. Devon is an avid fan of all sports. He has been playing fantasy sports for almost a decade, starting with Fantasy Football in 2008. Recently, his addiction has turned to his love of the NBA. He is a daily fantasy NBA player on several platforms. Devon currently resides in the Allentown, Pennsylvania area working in Sales. His favorite teams are the Atlanta Braves, Los Angeles Lakers, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Colorado Avalanche, and Florida Gators. Feel free to follow him on Twitter: @devonafrey

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