Hey, it’s football season, so there’s that. If you’re into that sort of thing and play fantasy football, the NFL team has you covered with Pat Daugherty’s (@RotoPat) rankings, Adam Levitan’s (@AdamLevitan) waiver column, Evan Silva’s (@EvanSilva) ridiculous matchups and tons of other features.
In the basketball world, the news side of things has really died down lately. That’s a big reason why we were able to get in more features than ever for our 2014 Fantasy Basketball Draft Guide. It’s LIVE right now with projections and profiles on 350 players, four different types of rankings (eight- and nine-category, points-based and dynasty rankings), schedule grids and breakdowns, in-depth team overviews, custom scoring, and we’re already at 28 features. In other words, we’ll keep you busy and get you extremely prepared for your fantasy drafts for just $14.99.
As mentioned, there has been nothing going on and I was even able to go on a four-day vacation. Still, there is some info worth dissecting:
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Sound the horn for Ryno
OK, that was a brutal pun, I’ll give you that. Anyway, Ryan Anderson is all cleared for contact which reminds us how stacked the Pelicans are on offense. If you’re neglecting life’s responsibilities and have been watching super-human Anthony Davis, you’re probably thinking what the heck coach Monty Williams is going to do with Ryan Anderson. It’s not hard to think about, though.
Yes, Tyreke Evans could play some minutes at small forward, but it is definitely possible Reke gets his minutes at shooting guard. In fact, there is some buzz that Reke starts at the two and Eric Gordon comes off the bench. Personally, I don’t think makes any sense because you want Tyreke to have the highest usage rate possible, but that at least shows you that Monty is looking to give Ryno some minutes at the three.
As confident as that sounds, it’s really not. Anderson did not play any small forward next to Davis whatsoever last season. Here’s a list of the other forwards playing next to Davis and Anderson last season: Al-Farouq Aminu, Tyreke Evans, Darius Miller, Anthony Morrow and Josh Childress… Whelp.
Still, I think Ryno will find a way to get run. I definitely wouldn’t target him and I don’t plan on drafting him at all unless I swing and miss on 3-pointers in the first five or six rounds.
Rajon and off
Apparently, Rajon Rondo is not a happy camper in Boston. No, not because he turned in 11th-round value in standard leagues on a per-game basis and didn’t even show up on top-200 overall value. It's because of Boston set up to tank this season.
Anyway, Rondo could be dealt to another team and there is very little to be intrigued about here. Sure, he can pass, but he can’t score on his own and hasn’t been any better at the rim either. He had his worst field goal percentage in the paint in his career and there has been a downward trend in that department.
It’s pretty clear that Rondo can’t play well without any talent around him. It won't be easy for him to pick it up with new teammates and score the ball well with them either. You can’t just pick up a ball and play point guard with strangers. If RR has a solid year, the Rotoworld crew will all look bad, but we’re unified here.
Just Dough It
Warning: This has nothing to do with fantasy basketball, so you can skip it if you want. I won't get mad. Promise.
Nike is going to sign Kevin Durant for upwards of $325 million for his new shoe deal. KD is certainly doing the dam thing with the Beaverton company and Nike is clearly committed to him. They just launched their new KD7 this summer and a lot of players at summer league were rockin’ them, so it would have been a huge loss to lose Durant to Under Armour.
I’ll admit that I’m a fairly big sneakerhead and have spent way too much money on Jordans, Foamposites, Air Maxes, LeBrons and KDs, so I get the investment. Nike isn’t just banking on Durant for the next eight years or so of him being a top-three player, they’re looking to turn him into the next Jordan. OK, well almost Jordan. Nobody will ever been Jordan from a shoe standpoint. As a quick aside, think about how many different Jordan XI remakes have come out this year. The low-top remakes and the futures are awesome. I have some black-white Futures being shipped right now! But I digress.
Think about it, though. People weren't sneakerheads back in Jordan days and it wasn’t cool to rock throwback J’s until like seven years ago. Personally, nobody really cared about my Jordan 11s I bought about 10 years ago until about five years ago. Now, it’s a huge deal when I wear them out.
Sneakers are cool now and I’d say Nike adding velcro to the top of the KD7 is just a new signature to his style. I’d guess Nike is going to add to a lot more into their style of KDs and LeBrons, which is a win for all of us. Well, except for our wallets. We can probably say goodbye to getting a KD pair for less than $150 ever again.
Oh, he’s fantasy basketball’s best player. Draft him No. 1 or spend big in an auction. It’ll be worth it.
More of J-Smoove
To the surprise of nobody, Josh Smith is expected to play more power forward with the Pistons this season. On the surface, that may sound like bad news to Smith and Monroe, but I’m not worried about it. Monroe can play center and he’s still going to his.
Smoove played a total of 721 minutes with Drummond while Monroe was on the bench last season and 510 minutes in the opposite scenario. Those situations accounted for nearly half of his playing time.
Smith was horrible as small forward and that experiment is why the Pistons are rebuilding. He had a horrific 43.0 effective field goal percentage when playing next to Monroe and Drummond last season, which looks even worse compared to Drummond’s 61.6 and Monroe’s 50.6 in those situations. Heck, even Jennings had a higher eFG% at 43.3. Yep, the league’s FG% worst guy beat Smoove.
The Pistons will be running a tighter rotation in the front court and will likely use their two big men at the center spot. That would mean Jonas Jerebko and whoever else they add would likely take a hit -- I'm not buying Jerebko's career-high 3-point percentage, by the way. That also means there could be some playing time open for Caron Butler. If you’re in a deep league, you shouldn’t be sleeping on Butler at all. Call me crazy, but I think he could hit 1.4 treys per game and become very relevant in standard leagues. Of course, that's assuming he stays healthy.
Getting back on the Smoove track, I’m still not touching him. He’s been a disaster in post-ups and he just can’t score very well with his back to the basket. I wouldn’t worry about Monroe as a center much either and would take him over Smoove all day long.
What are the Sixers doing? Jason Richardson might not even make it back for the season and there’s a good chance Arnett Moultrie doesn’t even make the team. J-Rich isn’t a spring chicken anymore, and general manager Sam Hinkie would probably rather have an actual spring chicken in his lineup over an aging vet.
Coach Brett Brown displayed his dislike for Moultrie last season and put him on the bench right after he showed he can’t play big minutes. Or any minutes, really. I think Moultrie is on his way out with the 76ers. He has the talent, but Brown wants to run and Moultrie can’t do it. Plus, he’s a sub-par rim protector and is a horrific passer. You guys can avoid him.
Let’s just hit on what you should do in this favorable position. The Sixers are going to yield some awesome fantasy production because of their tempo and lack of depth. Personally, K.J. McDaniels is the guy I want and I will not be outbid for him in auction draft. The upside is huge, especially since Michael Carter-Williams can’t score. There will be threes and blocks, so he seriously could be a top-50 guy. If you’re not feeling anyone at like 100, then just take him.
Obviously Nerlens Noel could be in for a massive breakout. Of course, he does have some injury risk and don't forget he's not much of a foul shooter. After him, it gets to be pretty messy. Henry Sims probably has the inside track to be the No. 2 option up front, but I wouldn't sleep on Jarvis Varnado or Jerami Grant. You can just put those two on your watch list for now.
Noah Vonleh is going to be out 6-8 weeks for sports hernia surgery. While this isn’t a devastating surgery like an ACL, and is hardly an injury to give him a red flag, I’m still worried about how it affects his outlook.
Vonleh looked out of place in Vegas and coach Steve Clifford even said he’s going to bring his lotto guy along slowly. This injury is eerily similar for Otto Porter of the Wizards, who couldn’t get anything going in his rookie season.
I would back off on Vonleh as a late-round pick and I’m very concerned about him as a keeper pick. His upside is there, but it’s going to take a while. Don’t forget this freak slipped in the draft among teams of scouting staffs.