June 21, 2017, 11:08 pm
The day has finally arrived! It’s 2017 NBA Draft. I’m sure a lot of people have been eagerly anticipating this day. It marks the arrival of a fresh crop of talent in the league. Promising players from the NCAA and various parts of the world will be hoping to “live the dream” and get to play on the biggest stage in basketball today.
Aside from the influx of players, this day is also an opportunity for teams to make trades, in what they hope will be are in the best interest of their immediate or long-term future. Leading up to today, some trades have already taken place. We’ve seen Dwight Howard traded away to Charlotte in what’s a salary dump move to give the Atlanta Hawks even more flexibility in charting their future as they rebuild.
Leading up to today, some interesting trades have already taken place.
The first shoe that dropped this week was the Boston Celtics trading away the first overall pick to the Philadelphia 76ers in exchange for the third pick in the draft and a future first-round pick. The Sixers have reportedly zeroed in on Washington University’s Markelle Fultz and plan to take him with the pick. The Celtics have their eye on Duke’s Jayson Tatum to fill their desperate need of a serviceable big man to play alongside Al Horford.
We’ve seen Dwight Howard traded away to Charlotte in what’s a salary dump move to give the Atlanta Hawks even more flexibility in charting their future as they rebuild. The Hawks have also been entertaining calls for power forward, Paul Millsap. So he could be on the move as well, sooner rather than later.
The Los Angeles Lakers have positioned themselves to become a solid landing spot for a “superstar” in 2018 by trading away the bloated contract of Timofey Mozgov and former second pick, D’Angelo Russell to the Brooklyn Nets in exchange for Brook Lopez and the 27th pick of tonight’s draft. “Magic” Johnson is already major waves as he builds up to his vision of the franchise.
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In some of the latest buzz, the Knicks have been engaging in talks with other teams regarding a potential trade involving Kristaps Porzingis, hoping to land a Top-4 pick. On a personal level, I’m saddened that a franchise like the Knicks does not have the foresight to see what they are willing to let go of in Porzingis. Still on a personal level, the fantasy manager in me is a bit giddy to potentially see the future Latvian superstar thrive in a team not hobbled by the presence of a Carmelo Anthony. If Porzingis does find his way to another team, expect him to get a bump in my personal fantasy basketball rankings. The size of the bump will depend on the team and the talent surrounding him in his new environment.
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Big moves, blockbuster trades
Considering the depth of talent in free agency this off-season, I expect more than a few teams to make major moves tonight. Whether we will see marquee assets like Paul George or Jimmy Butler find their way to new teams, still remains an uncertainty. Still, there are enough team needs to be filled and players who want to get paid (or win championships), that it is reasonable to expect some wheeling and dealing to take place.
As things stand, everyone is just playing catch-up to NBA champions, the Golden State Warriors. Not every team will be working to build their own version of a “super team” and it is in these varied roads and approaches towards an NBA title that makes for a volatile player movement market.
At the end of the day, my attention will be focused on trades involving established players and veterans. While there is a lot of excitement that accompanies the NBA draft, rookies have historically rarely made immediate fantasy impacts. We’re talking about the likes of Chris Paul, Blake Griffin, and even the not-so-recently retired Tim Duncan. In recent years, we’ve seen a good crop of players put on those team caps in 2015. Karl-Anthony Towns and the aforementioned Kristaps Porzingis had reasonably solid rookie campaigns.
Take it from years of experience though, most managers in fantasy tend to overvalue rookies in fantasy drafts. Rookies in “bad teams” get extra love in our make-believe drafts, but their year-end value never lives up to their average draft positions (ADP).
Is Markelle Fultz, for example, worth an early round pick in fantasy, considering how much Philly needs his scoring punch? In re-draft leagues, counting on an asset with no historical data to project performance, is not a good idea. Leave that “risk” and accompanying level of uncertainty to other managers. Feel free to gamble on rookies with your last pick, but not your fourth, fifth, or sixth. At those spots, you’ll want to be filling your core’s deficiencies and/or locking down some specific categories, if you’re playing head-to-head. You will not be able to accomplish those objectives with confidence by picking a rookie.
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