2022-23 Fantasy Basketball Northwest Division Preview

by Charles Vakassian
2021-22 Fantasy Basketball Division Preview - Northwest

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

After another quality regular season, the Jazz faltered in the playoffs once again, falling to the Mavericks. Feeling stuck with their current core, the Jazz blew up their roster, trading cornerstones Donovan Mitchell and Rudy Gobert. These moves brought in a load of first-round picks, along with some younger talent. Walker Kessler, Colin Sexton, and Talen Horton-Tucker join veterans Jordan Clarkson and Bojan Bogdanovic on a team headed for a rebuild.

The Nuggets also made the playoffs last year on the backs of MVP Nikola Jokic, although they immediately fell to the Warriors in five games. Their two big offseason moves were giving Jokic the supermax extension, and bringing in Kentavious Caldwell-Pope plus Ish Smith via trade. The move cost them Will Barton and Monte Morris, key contributors on past teams. The hope is that adding more experienced veteran players, along with a healthy Jamal Murray and MPJ, will benefit Denver.

Portland was in full-on tank mode following the abdominal injury to All-Star Damian Lillard. CJ McCollum was traded to New Orleans and left Lillard without a true running mate. The Blazers then decided to retool this offseason, adding Jerami Grant and Gary Payton II. Their defense and shooting will be a welcome sight. Portland also got the seventh overall pick and selected Shaedon Sharpe, one of the highest ceiling players in the draft. Portland additionally resigned key contributors in Anfernee Simons and Jusuf Nurkic, ensuring Lillard has some help for when he is off the court.

Minnesota made one of the biggest splashes of the offseason, getting Rudy Gobert from division rival Utah. Gobert will serve as an anchor on a team that was sorely lacking defensively. The dynamic duo of Gobert and Karl-Anthony Towns will menace the West for the next several years.  To replace starters Patrick Beverly and Jarred Vanderbilt (part of the trade), Minnesota signed some vets in free agency. Bryn Forbes is a sniper off the bench, and Kyle Anderson can provide good defense at the power forward position when one of the big men is sitting. Austin Rivers can be a quality ball handler behind D'Angelo Russell.

The OKC Thunder, similar to Portland, were essentially in tank mode for the 2021-22 season. They were rewarded with the second overall pick and took the player with the most potential in Chet Holmgren. He has since suffered an unlucky foot injury which will sideline him for the year. The Thunder also took care of their own, extending Luguentz Dort and Kenrich Williams. OKC also had two other lottery picks, selecting Ousmane Dieng and Jalen Williams. This will be all about the rookies, along with more leaps taken by OKC's core players.

2022-23 Fantasy Basketball Northwest Division Preview

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New Faces in the Divison

NBA Draft

  • Oklahoma City Thunder - Chet Holmgren, Ousmane Dieng, Jalen Williams, Jaylen Williams
  • Denver Nuggets - Christian Braun, Peyton Watson, Ismael Kamagate
  • Minnesota Timberwolves- Wendell Moore
  • Portland Trail Blazers - Shaedon Sharpe, Jabari Walker,
  • Utah Jazz-Walker Kessler (Via MIN from Gobert trade)

As was the case last year, Oklahoma City came away with the biggest draft haul. Holmgren has All-Star potential when he gets healthy, while Dieng and Williams look to be key contributors after strong performances in the Summer League. Braun and Watson can be bench contributors for a contending Nuggets squad.

Sharpe is the biggest question mark of the 2022 draft class. His tantalizing blend of athleticism and defense is tempered by his lack of experience (no college ball) and shooting questions. Walker is an intriguing flier for a Blazers team that is trying to get the most out of Lillard and retool on the fly.

Kessler has a chance to step in and see minutes right away, with a gigantic hole open at the center position following the Gobert trade. Veteran Hassan Whiteside will not get in the way of the rookie seeing time.

Moore will be stuck behind the two star big men on a contending Minnesota team, and will have limited playing time.

Impact Free Agents

  • Denver Nuggets-Deandre Jordan
  • Minnesota Timberwolves- Kyle Anderson, Bryn Forbes, Austin Rivers
  • Portland Trail Blazers- Gary Payton II

Much like last season, the Northwest Division stayed away from the bigger names in the free agent pool. Instead, they focused on complimentary pieces or bringing back their own players. Jordan will serve as a backup big behind Jokic in Denver, while Anderson and Forbes will be 3 and D type players for Minnesota, Payton will bring stifling defense and fresh young legs to a retooling Blazers squad. Utah and Oklahoma City made little to no moves in free agency, outside of re-signing their own players.

Trade

  • Utah Jazz- Colin Sexton, Lauri Markannen, Ochai Agbaji, Talen Horton-Tucker, Malik Beasley
  • Portland Trail Blazers- Jerami Grant
  • Denver Nuggets- Ish Smith, Kentavius Caldwell-Pope
  • Minnesota Timberwolves-Rudy Gobert

The Jazz went full rebuild with their trades, but Sexton and Markannen can put up empty numbers on a bad team, which is excellent for fantasy owners. Grant will be an excellent 3 and D player who can shoot the ball from downtown and create his own shot. KCP is another quality wing player but more of a real-life asset than one for fantasy. Gobert is a certified fantasy stud, no need to delve any further.

Draft With Confidence

PG - Damian Lillard, Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, D'Angelo Russell

SG - Donovan Mitchell, Josh Giddey, Anthony Edwards

SF - Michael Porter Jr.

PF - Karl-Anthony Towns

C - Nikola Jokic,  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%
Shai-Gilgeous Alexander24.545.3%30%49.6%
DeAngelo Russell18.141.1%34%50.2%
Colin Sexton (2020-21 stats)24.347.5%37.1%51.9%

3pt Shooters

Player3Pt Attempts3Pt%eFG%TS%
Mike Muscala3.842.959.763
Karl-Anthony Towns4.94159.164
Anfernee Simons7.840.555.558.3

 

Rebounds/Blocks

PlayerRebReb Per 100 PossReb%Block%
Jusuf Nurkic11.119.221.52.1
Rudy Gobert14.722.6255.7
Nikola Jokic13.820.2232.3

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