Fantasy Basketball

2021-22 Fantasy Basketball Division Preview – Northwest

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Welcome to the preview of the Northwest Division for the 2021-22 Fantasy Basketball Season!

The Utah Jazz are coming off of a surprising 50 plus win season which netted them the top seed in the Western Conference, but a disappointing defeat in the conference semifinals left questions surrounding the roster build, not including stars Donovan Mitchell and Rudy Gobert. They made some modest acquisitions, bringing in frontcourt help with Rudy Gay and Hassan Whiteside, as well as acquiring Eric Paschall to bring some youth and energy to the team.

The Denver Nuggets are also fresh off of a conference semifinals defeat, which was a severe disappointment for the team who made the conference finals the year before. Ownership has not really done much to try and improve the fortunes of Denver, only bringing in Jeff Green, as well as resigning Will Barton and JaMychal Green. This speaks to the belief ownership holds in the current construct of the roster. Jamal Murray does not have a timeframe for his return from a torn ACL suffered last April.

Portland also reached the playoffs last season, on the back of Damian Lillard with little help from anyone not named CJ McCollum. Surrounded by Lillard trade rumors, the Blazers did little to dampen said rumors, only bringing in Larry Nance Jr. and lesser names like Ben McLemore and Cody Zeller. Not exactly inspiring.

The Minnesota Timberwolves, coming off of a weak season, saw the need to improve a ghastly defense and made the move to acquire gritty guard Patrick Beverly. Other than bringing in Taurean Prince, the Timberwolves did not have much to do, with limited cap space and their pick conveying to Golden State. The health of Karl-Anthony Towns and D’Angelo Russell are paramount to the hopes of Minnesota.

Oklahoma City spent most of the 2021 season in an outright tank job, and it landed them the 6th pick in the draft. This was considered a bit of a disappointment considering they had a shot at 2 top 5 picks, as they owned Houston’s pick if it fell out of the top 4. The Thunder’s biggest moves were in the draft and via trade, as they drafted Josh Giddey and Tre Mann, then traded for and bought out Kemba Walker. Another long season looms in OKC, although the rising star of Shai Gilgeous-Alexander leaves cause for hope.

2021-22 Fantasy Basketball Division Preview – Northwest

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New Faces in the Divison

NBA Draft

  • Oklahoma City Thunder – Josh Giddey, Tre Mann
  • Denver Nuggets – Nah’Shon Hyland
  • Utah Jazz – Jared Butler
  • Portland Trail Blazers – Greg Brown

Jared Butler should see some time off the bench for Utah as an above-average shooter, but Hyland and Brown are stuck behind several veterans on their respective teams. Out of all of the draft selections in this division, it will be those of the Thunder that are most likely to see extended time on the court. As a rebuilding team, OKC needs to see what it has in these young players.

Coming out of Australia, Josh Giddey is known as a facilitator-first type of player, a point forward in the mold of Ben Simmons, albeit with better shooting and less ferocity at the rim. Giddey has the potential to put up triple-doubles on a consistent basis, eerily similar to another floor general who once prowled the court in OKC. He could be an intriguing late-round option in most formats and is obviously more valuable in dynasty.

Mann is more of a scorer, who could light it up from downtown for Florida and shot over 40% from 3. He is looking as though he will be a backup guard in OKC this year and has a chance to put up points in a reserve role. The same goes for Robinson-Earl, although OKC is bereft of big men, so he could see his role increase as the season comes along. Wiggins will not see much floor time stuck behind other players like Kenrich Williams, Darius Bazley, and Ty Jerome.

Impact Free Agents

  • Utah Jazz – Hassan Whiteside, Rudy Gay
  • Denver Nuggets – Jeff Green
  • Portland Trail Blazers – Cody Zeller, Tony Snell, Ben McLemore

As you can see, this division was not too keen to dip into the free-agent market. The biggest names were added by Utah, as Whiteside and Gay can still have sizeable roles on a contending team. Green will be a decent stretch 5 for Denver, as he shot 41% from 3 in a solid chunk of playing time for the Nets. Zeller is an interesting add for a Blazers team that already has Jusuf Nurkic and Enes Kanter in the frontcourt. Snell and McLemore can be serviceable wing players off the bench. That being said, none of these players are worth adding unless there is an injury to a key starter.

Trade

Most of these moves, like free agency, are not too exciting for fantasy but good for the teams in real life. Nance has a very balanced skill set, averaging almost 10 points and 7 rebounds per game while shooting slightly above average from 3 point range (36%). Beverley has never been an offensive weapon, but can shoot the three-ball (39.7% last year), and is a dog on defense. Unfortunately, that doesn’t always show up in the stat sheets and makes him nearly worthless in Fantasy. Favors has the best chance to have fantasy value, on a Thunder team without any true centers. He shot a career-best 63.8% from the field this past year and can put up empty numbers on a bad team. Trust nobody, but consider Favors in the later rounds.

Draft With Confidence

PG – Damian Lillard, Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, Mike Conley

SG – Donovan Mitchell, C.J. McCollum, Anthony Edwards

SF – Michael Porter Jr.

PF – Bojan Bogdanovic

C – Nikola Jokic, Karl-Anthony Towns, Rudy Gobert

Category Specific Players (Last Seasons 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 field goal is worth more than a 2pt field goal


Scorers

PlayerPtsFG%3pt%eFG%TS%Pts Per
100 Poss
D'Angelo Russell19.043.138.752.355.531.4
Malik Beasley19.644.039.954.857.028.2
Norman Powell
(w/ Blazers)
17.044.336.151.857.624.2

3pt Shooters

Player3pt Att3pt%eFG%TS%
Jordan Clarkson8.834.752.254.9
Joe Ingles6.145.165.267.2
Ty Jerome5.142.357.058.5
Luguentz Dort6.334.347.551.3
Robert Covington5.137.953.355.3

Rebounds/Blocks

PlayerRebReb Per
100 Poss
Reb%Block%
Jusuf Nurkic9.018.420.24.0
Derrick Favors5.517.619.25.3
Hassan Whiteside6.018.921.97.1

Click here to read the Southeast Division Fantasy Basketball Preview, Atlantic Preview, Pacific Preview and the Central Preview

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About Charles Vakassian

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