NBA Preseason Fantasy Basketball Observations
By Rocco Minsk NBA preseason is upon us and while games played thus far don’t have direct fantasy basketball implications, one can start to see the seeds of breakouts being sown, especially when they pile on top of NBA Summer League results. With that in mind, here are some observations from the thankfully truncated NBA preseason schedule.
John Collins will be a fantasy factor by midseason – Collins wowed at the Summer league with his mix of physicality and athleticism. He averaged 15.4 PPG and 9.2 RPG in Las Vegas. These were on top of his college numbers at Wake Forest, where he averaged a near double double in his sole season there. In his opening preseason game, Collins grabbed 15 boards.. He won’t pick up huge minutes right off the bat, but Dwayne Dedmon can only take a team so far. Look for Collins’ minutes to increase as the season goes on and once he plays steady minutes 12 PPG and 8 RPG is not an unreasonable expectation.
Don’t Expect Lonzo Ball to dominate his rookie season – Ball’s summer league performance gave hope of the second coming of Jason Kidd, but as Ball’s preseason opener showed, he will have his struggles from time to time. Ball shot 2-9 in his opener, while at the same time giving a taste of his stat stuffing ability with eight rebounds and seven assists. Ball rebounded to shoot slightly better in his second game, but has not showed to be a dominant force yet. I think an Elfrid Payton like performance is his ceiling for his rookie year.
Jusuf Nurkic will be a beast – I have said it here already and will say it again; Nurkic will put up second round numbers this season. In his first preseason game, Nurkic scored 16 points in 16 minutes with a block and a steal. Nurkic shot 13 times in 16 minutes which evidences the fact that his scoring numbers should go up this season.
Tyson Chandler Should Just Go Away – For some reason, the Suns insist on giving the corpse of Tyson Chandler significant minutes at the expense of Alex Len. While Len does not have the physicality to play 32 plus minutes per game, imagine what Len would be if playing a consistent 27-29 MPG. Len double doubled in 20 minutes in his preseason opener and this would be a regular occurrence if he was playing more minutes. For the umpteenth time, I would say to look for the Suns to send Chandler to the bench as the season progresses.
Jayson Tatum will get his opportunities – the Celtics mauled their team depth in all of their offseason moves. Brad Stevens thrives off of deep teams, but this squad does not have more than nine solid players and they are thin in the front court. Tatum played 33 minutes in the preseason opener, getting minutes from Stevens in an attempt to fill the gaps. Tatum should be involved right off the bat for the Celtics, perhaps the first or second man off the bench.