2022-23 Fantasy Basketball Atlantic Division Preview

by Andrew Barton
2021-22 Fantasy Basketball Division Preview - Atlantic

Welcome to the 2022-23 Fantasy Basketball Atlantic Division Preview!

Coming into this season the Atlantic is likely to be home to three teams with NBA Finals aspirations. Many, including myself, will likely look to the Boston Celtics to repeat as division winners coming off their Finals run last year.

Both the Brooklyn Nets and Philadelphia 76ers will also be in contention. Unfortunately, concerns about James Harden’s potential decline and Kyrie Irving’s off-court antics leave both teams with some questions.

The New York Knicks are hoping that newly signed point guard Jalen Brunson will bring winning basketball back to the Garden. Lastly, the Toronto Raptors have been one of the most consistent teams in the NBA for years and look to build on last year’s playoff berth.

Starting with the defending Eastern Conference champions, the Boston Celtics are loaded with fantasy-relevant players. Obviously, Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown are a formidable duo of All-Stars. But players like Malcolm Brogdon, Marcus Smart, Robert Williams III & the ageless Al Horford all offer fantasy value. This is a deep roster with eight players that are worth drafting in fantasy.

The Brooklyn Nets have become one of the more interesting yet infuriating organizations in the league. Kevin Durant is at worst a top 10 fantasy player, albeit one who has continuously missed time do an array of injuries. After Durant, there are a lot of unknowns on this talented but flawed roster. Will Kyrie play a full season? Is Ben Simmons physically and mentally ready to play ball again? Brooklyn has a lot of questions to answer this year.

Up next is the Philadelphia 76ers. Joel Embiid, when healthy, is arguably the best player in the league. He is coming off a career-high 68 games played and should be viewed as no worse than a top-five fantasy option. While James Harden showed worrying signs of scoring decline, he still remains a viable fantasy starter given his outstanding rebounding and assists numbers. The supporting cast of Tyrese Maxey, Tobias Harris & Montrezl Harrell is also draftable come fantasy season.

The Toronto Raptors have been one of the more consistent teams out East for almost a decade.  Pascal Siakam and Fred VanVleet will both likely be off draft boards no later than the third round. Sophomore Scottie Barnes will likely see his fantasy stock drastically increase after winning rookie of the year. Starting wings Gary Trent Jr. and OG Anunoby are also solid contributors that should be on fantasy rosters.

Lastly, we have the New York Knicks. There is talent on this roster between the trio of Jalen Brunson, R.J. Barrett & Julius Randle. Each one has had moments of strong fantasy production over the past two seasons. Unfortunately, none of them stack up to the proven star power across the rest of the Atlantic division. The rest of their roster may be worth a late-round flyer but in my opinion, are best left to the waiver wire to start the year.

2022-23 Fantasy Basketball Atlantic Division Preview

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New Faces in the Division

NBA Draft

Overall, the Atlantic division had an uneventful draft in terms of incoming, fantasy-relevant, rookie talent. Christian Koloko, the center out of Arizona, is the only rookie who could possibly pop up on fantasy radars. He has great shot-blocking instincts and will likely provide solid rebounding numbers in his playing time. If he somehow plays his way into solid, rotational minutes he could find marginal value in deeper leagues. Unfortunately for Trevor Keels from Duke and JD Davison from Alabama, playing time doesn’t look to be in their future. Both point guards will be playing behind two or three proven veterans. Minutes will be hard to come by.

Impactful Additions

      • New York Knicks- Jalen Brunson
      • Brooklyn Nets- T.J. Warren
      • Philadelphia 76ers- Montrezl Harrell, James Harden (Resigned)
      • Boston Celtics- Malcolm Brogdon,

The most high-profile free agency addition in the Atlantic is the Knicks signing guard Jalen Brunson to a four-year, $104 million contract. Coming off a playoff run where he averaged 21.6 points, 4.6 rebounds, and 3.7 assists, the Knicks are banking on his ascension to continue as the featured guard in New York. Brunson should be viewed as a top 15-point guard for this coming season. While we haven’t seen him produce All-Star caliber numbers for the course of a season, he did finish as the 18th overall point guard in terms of fantasy points according to ESPN. Without having to share the spotlight with Luka Doncic, Brunson should have no problem cracking the top 15 as a fantasy point guard.

The Brooklyn Nets made one of the more under-the-radar signings in free agency by bringing in ex-Indiana Pacer T.J. Warren. Warren has been sidelined since late December 2020 due to a stress fracture in his left foot. Most will remember Warren’s exploits in the “bubble” where he averaged 20 points and six rebounds while shooting 47% from the field. Yet, he was even more efficient during his last full regular season in 2019-2020. He averaged 19.8 points per game with shooting slashes of 54/40/82. If he returns to form, he could quickly become a dominant scorer in Brooklyn’s second unit. He should be on your radar as a late-round draft pick.

Philadelphia managed to secure two prior 6th Man of the Year award winners in resigning James Harden with a two-year, $68 million deal and Monterzl Harrell also signed a two-year contract worth roughly $5.22 million. Harden is a known commodity at this point in his career. There is some concern about his scoring decline but his passing and rebounding are still elite. With more than 10 assists and seven rebounds a game last year, Harden will continue to produce fantasy points at a strong rate. Montrezl Harrell has had trouble sticking to a roster these past few years but his fantasy production has always held relatively firm. Given Joel Embiid's tendency to miss games during the regular season, Harrell is a great insurance policy. He will find a way to score 15 points and pull down six or seven rebounds a game.

The biggest trade in the division was made by the Boston Celtics as they acquired combo guard Malcolm Brogdon from the Indiana Pacers. The Celtics shipped out a handful of bench players and a 2023 first-round pick in an effort to add a more natural playmaker to their contending core. Brogdon has outplayed his second-round draft status but has struggled with staying healthy during his career. He has not played more than 60 games since the 2018-2109 season and missed 46 last year. When healthy, Brogdon is a great fantasy option who fills the stat sheet with career averages of 15.5 points, 4.8 assists, and 3.4 rebounds per game. While his scoring will likely dip with the Celtics, his assist numbers could rise significantly and his shooting percentages could also increase as well. I would have no problems drafting Brogdon to fill a Flex spot on my roster.

Draft With Confidence

  • PG-Tyrese Maxey, Fred VanFleet, Jalen Brunson
  • SG- James Harden, Jaylen Brown
  • SF-Kevin Durant, Jayson Tatum, Scottie Barnes
  • PF-Pascal Siakam
  • 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

Scorers

PlayerPts per GameFG%3PT%eFG%TS%Pts per 100 Poss
Kyrie Irving27.446.941.855.059.235.4
Malcolm Brogdon19.044.831.250.155.727.9
Tobias Harris17.248.236.753.256.624.7
Marcus Smart12.341.833.150.154.018.6

3pt Shooters

Player3PT Att3PT%eFG%TS%
Gary Trent Jr.7.838.351.154.6
Joe Harris 6.346.661.762.4
Seth Curry5.842.259.461.5
De'Anthony Melton5.137.450.452.9

Rebounds/Blocks

PlayerREB per GameREB Per 100 PossREB %BLKS per GameBLK%
Robert Williams III9.616.217.52.26.8
Precious Achiuwa6.513.714.90.62.3
Montrezl Harrell6.112.913.90.62.3
Al Horford7.713.114.31.34.2

 


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