Welcome to another edition of the 2021-22 Fantasy Basketball Division Preview! I will be diving into the very competitive Atlantic division.
Though it is a competitive division, the division winner is pretty much set with the Brooklyn Nets. With teams like the Broken Process (Philadelphia 76ers) and Boston Celtics trailing behind them. Along with them, we have the upstart New York Knicks, who were the darling of the division last year. But the question needs to be asked will Tom Thibodeau's shine wear off in year two. And finally, we have a team coming off of a championship just a few years ago, the Toronto Raptors.
First things first, let's talk about the team that most people have already in the NBA finals. That team is no other than the Brooklyn Nets. The Nets are essentially that one Fantasy team that seems to have every great player in the division. The Nets have three guys that are probably top five to ten in your drafts with Kevin Durant, James Harden and
Blake Griffin Kyrie Irving.
Next, we have the Philadelphia 76'ers. The Sixers are in a state of flux as of this writing. Reports tell us that leading point guard Ben Simmons is likely going to be moved before the NBA season starts. This leaves us talking about one of my favorite players to watch, and that is the Shirley Temple King himself, Joel Embiid. Of course, Joel is not alone on the Sixers when it comes to Fantasy assets - there is Tobias Harris as well.
We are shipping up to Boston and watching one of the best young duos in basketball take their next step. Total transparency here, I've been a Celtics season ticket holder going on five years. They are the reason I have good days and bad days through October and June (hopefully). The Celtics are lead by their two pillars Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown. These two are bonafide stars in the division, and both have room to grow into even better ballplayers. Boston has had a very busy offseason retooling and getting out of bad contracts (I am looking at you, Kemba).
The Knicks were a fun ragtag group last season and had a busy off-season. They signed a hometown hero in Kemba Walker, who will operate the point for them this season. There is another thing that the Knicks have this year that they did not have last year - expectations. The Garden was the place to be last year when the gritty Knicks were on their way to the NBA Playoffs with fans in the arena. However, now, with expectations, will the team play the same way? For Thibs sake, I hope so.
Finally, the Toronto Raptors are in a type of limbo this year. They lost their "Mr. Raptor" in Kyle Lowry to the Miam Heat. They seem to be in a kind of a rebuild, and I think they need to move away from Pascal Siakam.
2021-22 Fantasy Basketball Division Preview – Atlantic
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New Faces in the Division
- Toronto Raptors - Scottie Barnes
- New York Knicks - Quintin Grimes
- Brooklyn Nets - Cameron Thomas, Day'Ron Sharpe
- Philadelphia 76ers - Jaden Springer
This is, unfortunately, going to be a very dull section when it comes to Fantasy. Since there are so many good teams in the division, the only player here who I anticipate to have an immediate contribution will be Scottie Barnes. Barnes looks like a prototypical wing in the NBA; his direct impact will be on the defensive end. The good thing about the situation for Barnes is that he is going to get minutes. Rookies must have room for mistakes. The Raptors will not win the division this year, which means Scottie will have time to develop. If he can add a consistent jumper to his game, he will be a player in this league for a long time. A player he reminds me of out of college is another player in this division: Jaylen Brown. When drafted, he was touted as a high motor defensive guy who couldn't shoot.
Impact Free agents
- New York Knicks- Kemba Walker, Evan Fournier
- Boston Celtics - Dennis Schroder, Enes Kanter
- Philadelphia 76ers - Andre Drummond
It has been a pretty low-key offseason in free agency for the Atlantic division. The Nets added a bunch of veteran depth, but all are pretty irrelevant Fantasy-wise. The biggest splash was made by the other team in New York, the Knicks. They added recently traded by the Boston Celtics and bought out by the Oklahoma City Thunder Kemba Walker. Kemba is an enigma of some sort; as a Celtics fan, I know the highs and lows of Kemba. When he is healthy, he is a game-changer, a fun player to watch, and you think of Cardiac Kemba for UConn. However, Kemba cannot stay healthy; last season, he did not play in any back-to-backs. Luckily the Knicks have one of the least amount of scheduled back-to-backs. As drafts come closer, you should consider Kemba as a possible lottery ticket. When he is in the Knicks lineup, he is a must play in your lineup as well.
Let's get this out of the way, Evan Fournier got PAID. The Knicks handed him an astonishing $78 million for four years. Surely the veteran has averaged 20 points once throughout his nine-year career. Well, no, he has not; last year was his best shooting season, and he averaged a hair over 17. Before he was traded by the Orlando Magic, he averaged 19.7, but with the limited number of shots available in Boston, that forced his average down to 13 points per game. On paper, he looks like the third or possible fourth offensive option on the Knicks, behind Julius Randle and R.J. Barrett. And now maybe even former teammate Kemba Walker and the one and only Derrick Rose. He is coming off of his best three-point shooting season and could be a solid contributor f0r your Fantasy team.
Everyone loves a story where we hear about a player betting on themselves when it comes to a contract. Usually, these stories end with a player performing well, which helps them get a bigger bang in the offseason. Well, Dennis Schroder bet on himself, and it cost him a life-changing amount of money. The Lakers offered Schroder $80 million dollars to be their leading point guard. He rejected it to bet on himself to get a possible $100 million elsewhere. Well, Schroder had an okay season and eventually did hit free agency. Starting point guard jobs were being filled, and there sat Schroder. Now that there were no $100 million dollars on the table, what should he do? Well, he signed a one-year deal with my Boston Celtics. This deal is essentially a bridge contract to get to his next hopeful payday. Schroder looks to be coming off the bench with the starting point guard being Marcus Smart. I would keep an eye on that starting PG position in Boston, though. Smart did just sign an extension, but I could easily see him and Schroder swapping from starter to the sixth man.
Goran Dragic was traded to the Toronto Raptors in the sign-and-trade deal for Kyle Lowry. However, it does not appear that he will play for them and could land with the Dallas Mavericks. Other than that, there were no notable Fantasy-relevant trades in this division this offseason. The Nets traded away DeAndre Jordan and Landry Shamet and the Boston Celtics added Josh Richardson and brought back Al Horford, but he might be around when the season tips off.
Draft With Confidence
PG - Kyrie Irving, Fred VanVleet, Ben Simmons
SG - James Harden, Jaylen Brown
SF - Kevin Durant, Jayson Tatum, Tobias Harris
PF - Julius Randle
C - Joel Embiid
Category Specific Players (last season stats)
True Shooting (TS%) - shooting efficiency including 2pt field goals, 3pt field goals and free throws
Effective Field Goal (eFG%) - adjust for the fact that a 3pt FG is worth more than a 2pt FG
|Player||Pts||FG%||3pt%||eFG%||TS%||Pts Per |
ORL & BOS
CLE & LAL
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