• We finally got here, folks! The end of the line, the last day of the 2016-17 NBA regular season. It’s been one hell of a ride.

    Before we proceed, let me just say that’s been a blast doing the Thursday’s Daily Dish here at Hoop-Ball for all of you loyal readers and followers.

    Let’s face it, unless you’re in a hardcore rotisserie league or some other league with funky custom settings, your fantasy season ended last week.

    Many teams were uninterested in the outcomes of today’s games. As a result, teams that had secure playoff berths rested their key players. If you were in the finals week of a head-to-head league that played out the games to the last drop, then I’m pretty sure this day threw your team for a loop.

    With this being my last Daily Dish of the season, I’ve decided to stray from convention and not focus on recapping the 14 games that took place on Wednesday night, but rather share some thoughts I have about the season that just passed us by. I hope you don’t mind. Well, unless of course, you do care about Alex Poythress and that he scored 18 points today and have wild plans of drafting him next season. But somehow I doubt that. Seriously.

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    High- Impact Players

    First thought, is that we’ve entered a new age of NBA basketball and it has definitely reshaped the fantasy basketball landscape. Case in point is that we now have a guy who is averaging a triple-double in Russell Westbrook. We also have Giannis Antetokounmpo, who has now officially come into his own and literally does everything, as in finishing the season in the Top 20 of points, assists, rebounds, steals, and blocks level of does everything. We’re in a time when a 24-year-old Anthony Davis manages to play 75 games in a season. It’s a crazy, crazy time when James Harden has found his calling as an insanely good point guard.

    Those aforementioned players were by far some of most impactful in fantasy basketball this season, for obvious reasons.

    Both James Harden and Russell Westbrook are Gods of the 8-cat format and that should still hold true for next season.

    Karl-Anthony Towns ended being the hands-down best center in fantasy and the funny thing is that he actually has even more room to improve.

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    Break-Out Studs

    Isaiah Thomas proved that he is a first-round caliber kind of player, leapfrogging big-ticket names like LeBron James, Paul George, and DeMarcus Cousins in 9-cat value.

    The biggest roller-coaster ride in value this season was brought to us by none other than Nikola Jokic. He was a high-upside pick in drafts but fell flat early on. Then after a few adjustments by Denver, Jokic found his groove, and boy was it a sight to behold. I’m excited as hell to see where he takes his game next season.

    Otto Porter had his ups and downs this season but has shown that his fantasy-friendly game is something worth valuing in the future. He did falter and wobble a bit when Bojan Bogdanovic came on board but I’m inclined to believe that he will be able to elevate his game further next season.

    Both Avery Bradley and Gary Harris upped their games in a quiet and understated way. At least quiet enough that both guys are worth remembering when it comes to the sneaky picks in the middle rounds next season.

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    Health is Wealth

    2016-17 was particularly interesting because of all of the injury-prone players who managed to stay relatively healthy.

    While Anthony Davis’ 75 games played proved to be a huge boon for his owners, yours truly included, I’m still not 100 percent convinced my favorite big man will be able to stay healthy enough to repeat the feat. He did head to the locker room in several games, still exhibiting his propensity for getting banged up. That said, his improvement in games played and the addition of DeMarcus Cousins bodes well for another step in the right direction in 2017-18.

    Pre-draft concerns about Marc Gasol’s foot allowed him to fall in projections. Managers who were able to snag him at the right spots in the middle rounds of fantasy drafts got a huge return in value.

    Goran Dragic thrived as he ushered in Miami’s post-Dwyane-Wade era and reminded us how talented he is as a scorer.

    Bradley Beal played 77 games. It’s the first time in his five-year NBA career that the guard has cracked the 75-game mark. His Top-30 value in 9-cat leagues was a huge for guys who took a chance on him this season.

    Rudy Gobert bounced back from a 61-game, injury-plagued 2015-16 season and emerged as one of the most impressive big men in the league. He played in 81 games this season, led the league in blocks (2.6 BPG), and fourth in rebounds (12.8 RPG).

    Picks that Bricked

    As part of my ever-continuing process of improving in fantasy basketball, I like to take stock and remember who were the players that I overvalued on draft day.

    I had high expectations for Ryan Anderson finding a perfect fit in Houston with Mike D’Antoni’s system and grabbed him far too early in all but one of my leagues. He ended being an over-costed three-point shooting specialist who hurt my team’s field-goal percentage.

    I thought Darren Collison would blossom as he inherited the point guard job from the departed Rajon Rondo. I was sorely mistaken and paid a hefty price.

    I thought Kent Bazemore would be able to take his game to another level and develop as a multi-cat contributing “glue guy” for my team. He was a headache to own, at best, all season long.

    I expected good things from George Hill in his move to the Utah Jazz. He did start out strong but was unable to stay healthy enough for me to get a fractional return on my investment in him.

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    That’s it. Thanks for reading. Don’t forget to follow me on Twitter: @FantasyHoopla for more fantasy basketball related interaction. I’m already excited for 2017-18 so you can rest assured that I’m going to be share with you all of my preparations. So stay tuned.

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