• In today’s Daily Dish, I want to highlight a stat that I feel is not getting the attention it deserves in a lot of conversations. “Games Played” factors in heavily as far as the success or failure of fantasy teams is concerned. You might own a player who has amazing per-game statistical averages but if he plays less than 70 or 65 games in a season, those averages don’t do diddly squat for your team while he’s out of commission with an injury.

    One of the things that stood out to me about the 2016-17 season was that there were many players, who normally missed a lot of games, found a way to log an uncharacteristically high number of games. Guys like Anthony Davis, Bradley Beal, and Eric Gordon beat games played estimates and as a result ended up being major swing factors for managers who were brave enough to draft them.

    Bluechip assets like Giannis Antetokounmpo and James Harden earn extra brownie points in my book, considering neither player has missed more than five games over the last three seasons combined. Neither player has missed more than two games in any of those seasons. Harden, in particular, who was dealing with a nagging ankle injury late into 2016-17, manned up and said he would not be shut down.

    One of fantasy’s most underrated players is Trevor Ariza. He’s a “Three-and-D” guy chips in treys and steals while committing few turnovers. He finished last season as a Top-40 player in 9-CAT and is an iron man as far as games played, averaging 81 over the last three seasons. He’s an example of someone who isn’t flashy but is reliable.

    As I’ve said before, I’m sharing with you readers my process of preparation for the upcoming season. This is part of it. I’ve listed the Top 75 players in 9-CAT, based on per game averages and jotted down how many games these players played over the last three seasons. At the end of the day, how many games players play, should figure into your personal pre-fantasy draft rankings. As a rule of thumb, I’m happy if a player plays at least 75 games in a season. Less than 70 games is a red flag. 79 games or more is great and a noteworthy factor to consider as far as the player’s reliability is concerned.

    Kevin Durant was the best player in fantasy in 2016-17 but he has failed to play over 72 games in a single season over the last three. Does this mean you should not pick him first overall next season? Not necessarily. At the very least, if you do pick at number one, you should be aware that he may miss some time and plan the rest of your draft and in-season moves accordingly.

    Editor’s Note: Hoop Ball Premium Subscribers get access to even more info, articles, live chats, tools and more. Subscribers to our Hoop Ball Fantasy Pro Service get in-depth analysis on a one-on-one basis from our pros. Check it out!

    That said, looking at how many games a player played in the previous season is not enough. This is where context comes into play. Say, a quality player missed 18 games last season, which was obviously a bummer. What was his injury? Was this an injury something he’s had trouble with throughout his career, or in recent memory? More in-depth research should go into determining whether you can properly label a player as “injury prone” or not. But that is not what this list is about. This is a tool for you to peruse to help you (us) assess a player’s risk factor. You can easily see which players are durable while taking note which ones may need further research as far as their recent injury history is concerned.

    Rank Player 2016-17 2015-16 2014-15 AVG
    1 Kevin Durant 62 72 27 54
    2 Anthony Davis 75 61 68 68
    3 Stephen Curry 79 79 80 79
    4 Kawhi Leonard 74 72 64 70
    5 Giannis Antetokounmpo 80 80 81 80
    6 Karl-Anthony Towns 82 82  NA 82
    7 James Harden 81 82 81 81
    8 Russell Westbrook 81 80 67 76
    9 Chris Paul 61 74 82 72
    10 Jimmy Butler 76 67 65 69
    11 Isaiah Thomas 76 82 67 75
    12 Kyle Lowry 60 77 70 69
    13 DeMarcus Cousins 72 72 65 70
    14 LeBron James 74 76 69 73
    15 Paul George 75 81 6 54
    16 Damian Lillard 75 75 81 77
    17 Kyrie Irving 72 53 75 67
    18 John Wall 78 77 79 78
    19 Rudy Gobert 81 62 82 75
    20 Nikola Jokic 73 80  NA 77
    21 Draymond Green 76 81 79 79
    22 Otto Porter 80 75 74 76
    23 Mike Conley 69 56 70 65
    24 Hassan Whiteside 77 73 48 66
    25 Myles Turner 81 60  NA 71
    26 Kemba Walker 79 81 62 74
    27 CJ McCollum 80 80 62 74
    28 Marc Gasol 74 52 81 69
    29 Bradley Beal 77 55 63 65
    30 Kevin Love 60 77 75 71
    31 Klay Thompson 78 80 77 78
    32 Rudy Gay 30 70 68 56
    33 Gordon Hayward 73 80 76 76
    34 Al Horford 68 82 76 75
    35 Kristaps Porzingis 66 72  NA 69
    36 Robert Covington 67 67 70 68
    37 Joel Embiid 22  NA  NA 22
    38 Eric Bledsoe 66 31 81 59
    39 Trevor Ariza 80 81 82 81
    40 Brook Lopez 75 73 72 73
    41 Serge Ibaka 79 79 78 79
    42 Blake Griffin 61 35 67 54
    43 Danilo Gallinari 63 53 59 58
    44 Jeff Teague 82 79 73 78
    45 Paul Millsap 69 81 73 74
    46 DeMar DeRozan 74 78 60 71
    47 Ricky Rubio 75 76 22 58
    48 Nikola Vucevic 75 65 74 71
    49 DeAndre Jordan 81 77 82 80
    50 Jae Crowder 72 73 82 76
    51 Gorgui Dieng 82 82 73 79
    52 Jrue Holiday 67 65 40 57
    53 LaMarcus Aldridge 72 74 71 72
    54 Jabari Parker 51 76 25 51
    55 Gary Harris 57 76 55 63
    56 Goran Dragic 73 72 78 74
    57 Avery Bradley 55 76 77 69
    58 Patrick Beverley 67 71 56 65
    59 Nicolas Batum 77 70 71 73
    60 Carmelo Anthony 74 72 40 62
    61 George Hill 49 74 43 55
    62 Zach LaVine 47 82 77 69
    63 Khris Middleton 29 79 79 62
    64 Tobias Harris 82 76 68 75
    65 Nerlens Noel 51 67 75 64
    66 TJ Warren 66 47 40 51
    67 Thaddeus Young 74 73 76 74
    68 Marvin Williams 76 81 78 78
    69 Jonas Valanciunas 80 60 80 73
    70 Tyson Chandler 47 66 75 63
    71 Lou Williams 81 67 80 76
    72 Dwyane Wade 60 74 62 65
    73 Clint Capela 65 77 12 51
    74 Markieff Morris 76 64 82 74
    75 Pau Gasol 64 72 78 71


    There you go. I hope this bit of research was helpful to you in some way as we prep for the 2017-18 fantasy basketball season.

    By the way, have I mentioned how excited I am for the upcoming season? Yeah. Maybe, just a little bit hyped.

    Remember, you can always reach me on Twitter: @FantasyHoopla, if you want to chat about fantasy hoops!

Fantasy News

  • Dan Gilbert - Team - Cleveland Cavaliers

    Cavs’ owner Dan Gilbert was admitted to the hospital yesterday morning after experiencing stroke-like symptoms.

    “He received immediate medical attention and is currently recovering comfortably,” a Quicken Loans company spokesman said.

    Source: Adrian Wojnarowski on Twitter

  • Jimmy Butler - G/F - Philadelphia Sixers

    According to Tom Moore, it's a good move for the Sixers to sign Jimmy Butler and Tobias Harris to big deals over the summer.

    Moore points out that the move to acquire Butler at the NBA trade deadline was with the intention of keeping him with the team long-term. Butler was one of the more reliable Sixers players in the playoffs and his experience and composure shined through. Both he and Harris are expected to get a lot of suitors come free agency so it will be interesting to see how much the Sixers will be willing to cough up to retain their talented veterans.

    Source: Tom Moore on Twitter

  • Brook Lopez - C - Milwaukee Bucks

    The Bucks have multiple decisions to make when free agency starts but re-signing Brook Lopez is a priority, according to Malika Andrews.

    The Bucks will likely lock up Khris Middleton first and then will have to decide on Malcolm Brogdon. He is a restricted free agent, but keeping him may vault Milwaukee into the luxury tax. After those two, Lopez is a priority over the other pending free agents such as Nikola Mirotic and George Hill. The Bucks won't have Bird Rights on Brook Lopez meaning they'd only have the mid-level exception to offer him, and if they go into the luxury tax, the mid-level exception drops from about $9 million to about $5 million. He'd almost certainly be taking a discount to stay in Milwaukee, but it's still possible he remains a Buck.

    Source: Malika Andrews on ESPN

  • Nick Nurse - Team - Toronto Raptors

    According to Peter Yannopoulos, Nick Nurse will be the coach of Team Canada this summer at the World Championships in China.

    Nurse will be succeeding Hornets assistant coach Jay Triano, and will be in a similar position that Gregg Popovich has with Team USA. Nurse has had a meteoric rise since being the innovator of the Raptors new offense in 2017-18 as an assistant, to being promoted to head coach, to making the NBA Finals and now being named Team Canada's head coach.

    Source: Peter Yannopoulos on Twitter

  • OG Anunoby - F - Toronto Raptors

    The Raptors are expressing optimism that OG Anunoby will be able to see the floor for their NBA Finals matchup with the Golden State Warriors.

    Anunoby's size and defensive versatility could make for a very valuable weapon against the Warriors' small-ball lineups. That being said, he has been out for nearly a month and a half, and the Raptors' eight man rotation has hit its stride in the crux of this playoff run. It remains to be seen if he will make it back, but in the event that he can, there is no guarantee that he will be able to crack meaningful minutes in Toronto's tight rotation.

    Source: Ryan Wolstat on Twitter

  • Michael Porter Jr. - F - Denver Nuggets

    As a symptom from his back surgeries, Michael Porter Jr. developed drop foot, and will wear to a leg brace to help stabilize it when he makes his professional debut in Summer League according to Mike Singer of the Denver Post.

    Drop foot makes it hard for one to lift the front part of their foot and is a common symptom of back related ailments, of which Porter Jr. has had two surgeries to address over the last year and a half. Porter Jr. remains an unknown commodity with a laundry list of health concerns as an NBA player. There has been some recent success with young guys being able to bounce back in big ways after suffering year-long injuries, but Porter Jr. will remain a mystery until we see him on the court for his inaugural season.

    Source: The Denver Post

  • Jonas Valanciunas - C - Memphis Grizzlies

    Jonas Valanciunas said that he wants to see who the Memphis Grizzlies hire as their next head coach before deciding on his $17.6 million player option.

    Valanciunas saw his role increase in Memphis after being traded from Toronto, and actually played to compete with the Grizz trying to win enough games to convert their, at the time, low-end lottery pick to Boston. Valanciunas made it clear that he doesn't want to return to Memphis if their plans are to pivot to a rebuild and not compete again next year, saying, "I want to know, how we gonna look in 82 games. I don't want to be a tourist. I want to win.". The Hoop Ball favorite will be hard pressed to find a situation that will give him as much run, and fantasy value, as Memphis did, making this a decision fantasy owners everywhere should monitor.

    Source: Dontas Urbonas on Twitter

  • Kawhi Leonard - F - Toronto Raptors

    Kawhi Leonard held Giannis Antetekounmpo to just .353 shooting from the floor with an offensive rating of 89.4 when guarding him in the Eastern Conference Finals.

    This is needed to emphasize just how dominant of a defensive player Leonard really is. For reference, Giannis shot .578 from the floor with an offensive rating of 121 through the regular season. A total swing of nearly 23 percent and 32 less points per 100 possessions is preposterous for any player, especially an MVP caliber offensive juggernaut in Antetokounmpo. Keep these numbers in mind as the debate over Leonard being the league's best player continues to heat up.

    Source: Micha Adams on Twitter

  • Kawhi Leonard - F - Toronto Raptors

    Kawhi Leonard posted a monster line in Saturday's 100-94 Game 6 win, scoring 27 points with 17 rebounds, seven assist, two steals, two blocks and six turnovers.

    Leonard put the Raptors on his back and carried them into their first NBA Finals appearance. After losing the first two games of the Eastern Conference Finals the Raptors stormed back to take the next four to seal the series. Kawhi has been simply marvelous for this team and found a way to crank it up another notch, averaging almost 30 points per game this series. He was all over the court this game and dominated the Bucks from inside the paint. A 4th quarter dunk over Giannis Antetokounmpo punctuated this dominance and sent the hometown crowd in a frenzy. The Raptors will try to keep their hot streak going as they face the Warriors in the NBA Finals.

  • Giannis Antetokounmpo - F - Milwaukee Bucks

    While Giannis Antetokounmpo will be eligible for a five-year supermax contract worth over $247 million, ESPN's Malika Andrews is reporting that the 2020 playoff run could swing whether or not Antetokounmpo stays with the Bucks long-term.

    The Bucks have three of their starters and two key bench pieces heading into free agency this summer, so they might have to make some bold choices to keep the necessary parts around while also improving the team on a budget. It's possible that this is the Antetokounmpo camp's way of encouraging Milwaukee to empty the wallet and keep the current group together, but it goes against what Giannis has said publicly about the team and city from day one. The Bucks were eliminated mere hours ago but we're already having this conversation. The NBA news cycle is perpetual.

    Source: ESPN