• A couple of weeks ago we took a look at players’ games played over the last three seasons to get an idea of how many games they’ve missed over the years and how often. It was an assessment of their durability for purposes of preparing for the upcoming fantasy basketball season.

    Another factor worth considering when ranking players aside from historical statistics and games played, is age. It’s part of any player’s career life cycle that at some point in their career, their production will decline. Some players adjust to aging better than others. Tim Duncan, for example, gave us solid seasons up until arguably the season before he retired. He was 40. Shaquille O’Neal, on the other hand, played until he was 39 and overstayed in the NBA with his name value overshadowing the decay of his production. His numbers from 2009 and onward were awful. As a general rule though, guards tend to have better quality years late into their careers. They get less banged up in the paint than big men do.

    In today’s Daily Dish, I will share with you another step in my preparation for the 2017-18 season yet again. I combed through the top 150 players in fantasy in 2016-17 and looked at who were 32 years of age and older at the time. I want to assess who among them are worth trusting and who we should avoid or rank lower due to the downward trend of their production. This was a worthwhile exercise, especially considering that not everyone has Uncle Drew’s game, right?

    I tapped some of Hoop Ball’s brightest fantasy minds to form a consensus of how much we “trust” these players. Each of us rated on a scale of 1-10 (0.5 allowed) how reliable we felt a player is currently. I then averaged our ratings to come up with a consensus value.

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    How are we supposed to use these “trust ratings”? Well for starters, if we at Hoop Ball rate a player highly, it is safe to say that he’s worthy of the ratings and rankings he’s been given based purely off stats. Conversely, if a player has a rating below 5.0, he might be worth bumping down a few to several spots in your personal rankings.

    Chris Paul, PG Houston Rockets (NEW)
    2016-17 9-CAT Rank: 9
    Age: 32
    Games Played: 61
    Minutes Per Game: 31.5
    Average Trust Rating: 8.8

    CP3 is getting a fresh start in Houston this season but can his 32-year-old body handle the Rockets’ high-octane, run-and-gun style of play? Most likely. He does have a nasty habit of getting injured over the last few seasons and that’s what’s weighing down his outlook for 2017-18.

    LeBron James, SF/PF Cleveland Cavaliers
    2016-17 9-CAT Rank: 14
    Age: 32
    Games Played: 74
    Minutes Per Game: 37.8
    Average Trust Rating: 9.5

    “King James” has always been a unique physical specimen and has been known to go to great lengths to keep himself in peak physical condition. He’s a beast and is the most trustworthy 32-year-old player in the league. It’s insane considering he came out of high school and technically has been in the NBA longer than most of his peers. Still, LBJ is a multi-cat monster who, despite his age, should give us roughly 73 games or more on average this season.

    Marc Gasol, C Memphis Grizzlies
    2016-17 9-CAT Rank: 28
    Age: 32
    Games Played: 74
    Minutes Per Game: 34.2
    Average Trust Rating: 7.7

    Gasol was a bit of surprise in 2016-17 considering his ADP took a hit as he was recovering from a bad foot injury the previous season. He had a great year, finishing in the Top 30 of fantasy. He’s shown that he can recover well despite his age.

    Trevor Ariza, SF Houston Rockets
    2016-17 9-CAT Rank: 39
    Age: 32
    Games Played: 80
    Minutes Per Game: 34.7
    Average Trust Rating: 8.0

    Ariza is an unsung iron man in fantasy. Seriously. He’s 32 but hardly ever misses games. He logs a ton of minutes and delivers the goods when it comes to those key numbers. This great role player is often underrated but is actually worth grabbing ahead of some higher scoring players in his draft range.

    Paul Millsap, PF Denver Nuggets (NEW)
    2016-17 9-CAT Rank: 45
    Age: 32
    Games Played: 69
    Minutes Per Game: 34
    Average Trust Rating: 7.8

    Millsap’s numbers took a hit last season and he was also hampered by knee problems, something that is a bit of a concern especially when it comes to big men his age. He’s in a new environment and system after signing with Denver and will be more of a mentor/role-model to Nikola Jokic. Paul still has some gas left in his tank but he’s clearly passed his fantasy prime.

    LaMarcus Aldridge, PF San Antonio Spurs
    2016-17 9-CAT Rank: 53
    Age: 32
    Games Played: 72
    Minutes Per Game: 32.4
    Average Trust Rating: 5.7

    LMA has been a “meh” big man in fantasy basketball for quite some time now and his age is not doing his limited appeal any favors. Still, Aldridge does just enough to be taken in the middle rounds if you’re trying to preserve your shooting percentages.

    Carmelo Anthony, SF New York Knicks
    2016-17 9-CAT Rank: 60
    Age: 33
    Games Played: 74
    Minutes Per Game: 34.3
    Average Trust Rating: 6.3

    Melo has never been much of slasher and his mid-range shooting keeps out of harm’s way most of the time. His game lends itself to be kind to his durability. The biggest swing factor in his value right now (if at all) is the uncertainty surrounding which he will suiting up for this season.

    Tyson Chandler, C Phoenix Suns
    2016-17 9-CAT Rank: 70
    Age: 34
    Games Played: 47
    Minutes Per Game: 27.7
    Average Trust Rating: 3.5

    The injury-prone big has not gotten much love in fantasy recently, which is understandable. There are emerging, younger big men who can bring a similar rebounding game to the table. I’d personally prefer to draft Chandler’s backup, Alan Williams, ahead of him.

    Dwyane Wade, SG Chicago Bulls
    2016-17 9-CAT Rank: 72
    Age: 35
    Games Played: 60
    Minutes Per Game: 29.9
    Average Trust Rating: 4.8

    Despite making adjustments to his game, Wade’s sad history of DNPs does not bode well for his trust rating. At age 35 and with rumors of a buyout in the air, Dwyane could very well be the decorative buddy on another roster this season.

    Pau Gasol, PF/C San Antonio Spurs
    2016-17 9-CAT Rank: 75
    Age: 37
    Games Played: 64
    Minutes Per Game: 25.4
    Average Trust Rating: 5.2

    Pau Gasol’s minutes were carefully managed by the Spurs and he is likely to get his fair share of “DNP-Old” alerts this 2017-18. He’s barely in “Trustworthy Country,” making him a strong candidate for a serious bump down from his 75-rank range of last season.

    Dirk Nowitzki, PF Dallas Mavericks
    2016-17 9-CAT Rank: 77
    Age: 39
    Games Played: 54
    Minutes Per Game: 26.4
    Average Trust Rating: 4.9

    Dirk successfully managed to stay relevant despite his age for quite a while. That said, the signs have been all over the wall in recent seasons. Nowitzki is but a shadow of his former first-round value self. It’s time to wish him well, let go, and allow someone else to own him this 2017-18.

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    Marcin Gortat, C Washington Wizards
    2016-17 9-CAT Rank: 85
    Age: 33
    Games Played: 82
    Minutes Per Game: 31.2
    Average Trust Rating: 7.0

    Despite Gortat’s less than impressive big-man numbers, he does have secure playing time and a role to fill with the Washington Wizards. He might not have as much of a spring in his step and the same endurance to bang in the paint with some of today’s younger centers and power forwards, but Gortat does bring enough to the table to be considered as a third center for most fantasy teams.

    Andre Iguodala, G/F Golden State Warriors
    2016-17 9-CAT Rank: 88
    Age: 33
    Games Played: 76
    Minutes Per Game: 26.3
    Average Trust Rating: 5.6

    While it’s a fact that Iggy is normally “preserved” for the playoffs, he still got over 25 minutes a game in a team that added Kevin Durant. Andre does a bit of everything and is a solid glue guy for rotisserie leagues.

    J.J. Redick, SG Philadelphia 76ers (NEW)
    2016-17 9-CAT Rank: 100
    Age: 33
    Games Played: 78
    Minutes Per Game: 28.2
    Average Trust Rating: 6.6

    He’s a pure shooter who hardly ever sees any action in the paint, making him a safe bet to deliver his game with some level of reliability. He’s now with a youth-oriented team and will take a backseat to some Philly’s future assets. He’s still a solid threes guy who is field-goal percentage friendly.

    Nick Young, G/F Golden State Warriors (NEW)
    2016-17 9-CAT Rank: 107
    Age: 32
    Games Played: 60
    Minutes Per Game: 25.9
    Average Trust Rating: 3.5

    Putting a guy named “Young” in a list of “old” players is a bit of an oxymoron. I know, that was just a cheap excuse to type out “oxymoron”. We did see glimpses of his best season in fantasy with the Lakers in 2016-17 but you can scratch all of that now that he’s with the loaded Warriors.

    Thabo Sefolosha, G/F Utah Jazz (NEW)
    2016-17 9-CAT Rank: 112
    Age: 33
    Games Played: 62
    Minutes Per Game: 25.7
    Average Trust Rating: 4.1

    This roto steals specialist has landed with a rebuilding Jazz team and will see some minutes off the bench. His defensive presence does not translate well to the stat sheet, so adding his age factor makes him even less desirable a target on draft day.

    P.J. Tucker, G/F Houston Rockets (NEW)
    2016-17 9-CAT Rank: 116
    Age: 32
    Games Played: 81
    Minutes Per Game: 27.6
    Average Trust Rating: 5.9

    Tucker did not get much run while he was with the Suns and will be a staple in Houston’s second unit this season. He’s a marginal guy to pick up in the late rounds of drafts and I’d personally prefer of grabbing a high-upside youngster at that spot instead.

    Kyle Korver, G/F Cleveland Cavaliers
    2016-17 9-CAT Rank: 130
    Age: 36
    Games Played: 67
    Minutes Per Game: 26.2
    Average Trust Rating: 4.5

    At 36 years of age, Korver does one thing. He shoots threes. Since three-point shooting has widely been regarded as the easiest stat to get late in drafts and off the waiver wires, the fade of Kyle’s relevance has simply picked up too much steam.

    Tony Allen, G/F Free Agent
    2016-17 9-CAT Rank: 142
    Age: 35
    Games Played: 71
    Minutes Per Game: 27.0
    Average Trust Rating: 3.4

    Sadly, the steals specialist who was once a cult favorite in fantasy circles has not drawn much interest from teams this offseason. Allen may still get signed but is no longer worth consideration in standard leagues at this stage in his career.

    Channing Frye, F/C Cleveland Cavaliers
    2016-17 9-CAT Rank: 145
    Age: 34
    Games Played: 74
    Minutes Per Game: 18.9
    Average Trust Rating: 3.2

    Frye is the least trustworthy aging player on this list. He didn’t crack 20 minutes per game last season and has an injury history thicker than a now-archaic phone book. The new NBA has a bunch of stretch fours who can knock down treys from the four spot and make their free throws, rendering Channing’s value pretty much fried.

    Taj Gibson, PF Minnesota Timberwolves (NEW)
    2016-17 9-CAT Rank: 146
    Age: 32
    Games Played: 78
    Minutes Per Game: 25.5
    Average Trust Rating: 5.4

    Taj barely made fantasy’s Top 150 last season and is now on a young Timerwolves club that will have minimal use for him as a back-up big. Gibson is worth considering only in very deep leagues at this point in his career.

    Special mention has to go out to Vince Carter, G/F Sacramento Kings (NEW)
    2016-17 9-CAT Rank: 156
    Age: 40
    Games Played: 73
    Minutes Per Game: 24.7
    Average Trust Rating: 3.4

    He’s the oldest active player in the league and yet somehow was able to finish 2016-17 a stone’s throw out of the Top 150. Color me impressed. The once “Half-man, Half-Amazing” Carter is now just “One-third Amazing and two-thirds Old Man”.

    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