The start to the NBA season is nearing. This is the start of the best time of year, DRAFT SEASON!
During the 2016-17 season, we have seen two guys go head to head from October through April to crown the MVP. Russell Westbrook reigned victorious over James Harden in one of the most historic individual season statistically. Although neither proved to get their teams deep in playoffs in real life, they proved to be valuable assets in Fantasy. Russell clinching a new triple-double record was essential to making him this year's No. 1 pick in many Fantasy Basketball drafts.
During the off-season, there were some high profile names moved to new cities. The blockbuster trade of the summer finalized just a few weeks ago seeing Kyrie Irving trade his maroon Cavs jersey in for Boston green. After numerous rumors leaked that Kyrie asked for a trade, he finally got his wish and was moved for the fourth quarter machine, Isaiah Thomas. Boston fans were stunned to see the heart and soul of the Eastern Conference top seed traded.
Another high-profile point guard was traded just hours before the Free Agency market opened. Chris Paul, after many years of service in LA, was traded to Houston for several role players. It was a great decision to move CP3 before Free Agency as Paul had the ability to opt out of his contract. The Clippers were able to get something in return rather than seeing Paul walk away from the team and leave them empty-handed.
The 2017 NBA Draft saw five point guards chosen in the first 10 picks, all of whom are freshman. This year's draft saw some potential all-stars, MVP's, and even a hall of famers selected. Guys like Markelle Fultz, Lonzo Ball, and De'Aaron Fox are poised to run the offense of their respective teams this season. You also have guys like Dennis Smith Jr. and Frank Ntilikina who rounded out the top 10, but are no joke when it comes to making themselves known. I could see any or all of these players making an impact on their franchises this season.
2017 Fantasy Basketball Point Guard Preview
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Which NBA Rookie PG will shine brightest?
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As stated earlier, there were five point guards in the first ten picks to be chosen. Three of those five will see starting minutes from Opening Night on.
Markelle Fultz, ran much of the offense at Washington, will have to give up the reigns of taking the ball up the court to Ben Simmons. Simmons, a "rookie" himself, will be having the offense run through him. Fultz is a great scorer and I could predict seeing him as a second or third option scorer behind Embiid and Simmons. I predict him to be a 14pt/5a average this season. Lonzo will be running the Laker offense this season. This young core will have to rely on the high-profile eldest Ball to send them to the
Lonzo Ball will be running the Laker offense this season. This young core will have to rely on the high-profile eldest Ball to send them to the promise land. Despite his unorthodox release point and youth, I foresee Lonzo having the biggest green light of all the rookies. Ball could have a ceiling of 18p/6a as a rookie.
De'Aaron Fox has the least to work with as the starting lineup looks to be one of the youngest in the league. Although Fox is running the show in Sacramento, Buddy Hield will be the main scorer. Look for Fox to put up 15p/7a numbers on a consistent basis.
Who will be the breakout star PG this season?
There are several young veteran point guards that have the ability to become a breakout Fantasy Star. The biggest upside, due to his new team and will to prove others wrong, is D'Angelo Russell. Although he did well in LA, Brooklyn could be just the fit for him.
In LA, his rookie season he had to deal with Kobe's farewell tour. Although he learned a lot from the veteran, the season was a wash from the moment Kobe announced his retirement. His second season, he obtained a more crucial role as a core member of the Laker Squad. Dealing with chemistry issues within the locker, Russell did not get the warm embrace of the fans that he should have.
Now that he has a fresh start in a smaller spotlight like Brooklyn, look for Russell to be a top 10 PG this season. He looks to play 30+ minutes and be there crunch time player.
Which newly acquired PG will make the biggest fantasy impact?
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There are three high-quality players in this argument, Kyrie, CP3, and Isaiah.
Thomas being out the first couple of months will immediately impact his fantasy projection for the upcoming season. Also dealing with the injury he has, there are unsure if and when he will become fully healthy. I would caution drafting Thomas all together as I feel he is a complete stay away in my league.
Chris Paul and James Harden are both guys who like to have control of the ball. Although they say they are on the same page, I feel it will take nearly half the season until we see some true unity on the court.
That leaves Kyrie Irving, the new face of the Celtics. Irving wanted to go to a place where he could be a leader and demonstrate his abilities to the fullest. Now that he has a ring under his belt, he wanted to go out on his own and prove he could lead a team to the promise land. I believe that Kyrie has the best chance of impacting his new team with Gordon Hayward by his side helping him along the way. Hayward played as a star in Utah but I think he will co-lead this team with Kyrie and allow Kyrie to take control when necessary.
I look to draft the best available player round one. As key as it may be to get a guy like Westbrook or Harden, if you're not first or second pick, don't count on getting them.
My strategy is to find guys who can be drafted and positioned at multiple spots within my lineup. Using diversity is key especially when you draft. In the early rounds I'd target guys like Steph or Damian Lillard.
If you look to cover your forwards in the first couple rounds, I would focus on someone like Eric Bledsoe or Goran Dragic. Both of those guys are ones who can take control and drop 25 points with the hot hand.
If you are looking for someone who you could get deep that could eventually be a starter on your fantasy team, I'd look at someone like Victor Oladipo or Dennis Smith Jr. Victor, now in Indiana, has yet another opportunity to prove his worth to a franchise. Although he was behind Russ last season, he still averaged 16 points and two three-pointers per game. Dennis Smith Jr., rookie out of NC State, is my favorite to shock the world. He has the tools and team behind him to make him successful.
Isaiah Thomas, Cleveland Cavaliers
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Isaiah is coming off his best statistical season of his career. Dealing with the hip injury that occurred last season, his fantasy value is in big question. In a new city with a new team run by LeBron James, I can't see his value at No. 7 being accurate. I project him to be more of a No. 12-15 PG. I can't say it enough, PROCEED WITH CAUTION!
Jrue Holiday, New Orleans Pelicans
Since leaving the 76ers in 2013, Jrue Holiday has never seen the numbers he had in Philadelphia. His career highs in Points, Assists, and Minutes were all posted the year prior to his departure. Philly definitely sold high in order to get eventual draft pick, Nerlens Noel. Last season, Jrue posted numbers that we hadn't seen since his second year in the league. Now, with Rajon Rondo coming off the bench, his court time will be cut even further to appease the veteran. I could see Jrue falling out of the Top 20 PG rankings this season.
Victor Oladipo, Indiana Pacers
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Currently No. 25 in the PG rankings, I think Victor has a breakout year that everyone has been waiting for. Orlando was not the right fit for him when drafted behind Anthony Bennett in 2013. Last season, in Oklahoma City, he had to fight for his touches with Russell Westbrook has Russ was the dominant guy on the team, en route to his 42 Triple Doubles. Look for Oladipo to be the No. 1 option in the Pacers offense and see him break the 20 point average barrier.
Jamal Murray, Denver Nuggets
My second pick for breakout player of the year is the second-year man out of Kentucky, Jamal Murray.
Last season, averaging just under 10 PPG and 21 MPG, the rookie was eased into the league. Now that he has a year of experience under his belt, look for his role to expand in the Nuggets offense as they seek to make the playoffs. The Nuggets will be an entertaining bunch, lead by the young backcourt.
I foresee Jamal making an impact and eventually taking a starting role in their lineup en route to a 15pt/5a/3r average. That could project him to be inside the Top 25 and have a ceiling as high as No. 15 on my rankings list.
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