August 9, 2017, 12:35 pm
The Mavs will have an open competition in training camp to determine their starting point guard and though Dennis Smith Jr. remains the favorite to win out, president of basketball operations saying “those keys are earned.”
Smith will have plenty of people in his way, as Dallas boasts plenty of point guard depth with Seth Curry, Yogi Ferrell and J.J. Barea also on the roster. Smith absolutely lit up Summer League and the Mavs were thrilled to land him at No. 9 in the draft, so he should have the edge as the team is in the midst of a rebuild. That being said, Mark Cuban also praised Ferrell’s competitiveness and Curry showed that he’s earned a larger role with a strong finish to last season. DSJ is a great pick in dynasty formats and has mid-round upside if he ends up winning the starting job, and more importantly, starter’s minutes.
July 8, 2020, 8:54 amLauri MarkkanenPF, Chicago Bulls
Lauri Markkanen struggled in his third year with the Bulls scoring only 14.7 points to go with 6.3 rebounds, 2.2 triples, 1.5 assists, 0.8 steals and 0.5 blocks on .425/.344/.824 splits, returning 100/104 value in 8/9-cat scoring formats.
Markkanen missed 15 games due to a pelvis injury but the truth of the matter is that he never seemed to be confortable in Jim Boylen’s system becoming one of the most frustrating and inconsistent fantasy players of the year. The Finnish forward was reportedly unhappy with the Bulls management but the recent reshuffle in their front office, with Arturas Karnisovas as the new VP of Basketball Operations, is only good news for him. The Bulls have not made a decision about their head coach position yet but it’s possible that they move on from Boylen and managers in dynasty leagues should try to buy-low Markkanen if they can.
July 8, 2020, 8:36 amKris DunnPG, Chicago Bulls
Even though Kris Dunn forfeited his starting job at the point for the Bulls, he still managed to average 7.3 points, 3.6 rebounds, 3.4 assists and 2.0 steals, good for 98/88 value in 8/9-cat formats.
Dunn filled in the void at the small forward position after Otto Porter Jr. and Denzel Valentine went down with injuries. He made 32 starts and was a key piece of a young Bulls team that tried to make a push for the playoffs. Still, the defensive minded guard struggled with his 3-point shot making just 0.6 triples per game on a career-low .259 percent and it’s uncertain where he ends up next year as he is a restricted free agent.
July 8, 2020, 12:12 amMiles BridgesSF, Charlotte Hornets
Miles Bridges, the second-year forward out of Michigan State, had a decent season for the Hornets, but he wasn't too kind to fantasy owners who were high on him in drafts last fall.
Bridges' ADP was inside the top-100 in both Yahoo (83) and ESPN (94) after draft season concluded last October. At the current juncture, he ranks 162 in 9-cat and 148 in 8-cat; not the jump forward many thought, fantasy GMs and analysts alike, Bridges would take in this his second season in the league. The Hornets obviously still have reason for optimism and have far from given up on him, but there's also reason to believe the 2020-21 campaign could be a pivotal one for Bridges in terms of showcasing the progress he's making in getting fully adjusted to the NBA.
July 7, 2020, 11:42 pmDwayne BaconSF, Charlotte Hornets
Third-year guard Dwayne Bacon, the 10th pick of the second round of the 2017 NBA Draft, did little to improve his game during the 2019-20 season, finishing the year with very underwhelming numbers.
Bacon has always torn it up in the G League but has never been able to translate his production to the NBA. He averaged just 17.6 minutes in 39 games, his fewest games played in three NBA seasons, although this one got cut short by the on-going coronavirus pandemic. His biggest problem seems to be his shot, as his averages from the floor this year were paltry, at best. After shooting 47.5 percent from the floor in 2018-19, Bacon took a big step back (34.8 percent) this season. He was also pitiful from beyond the arc (28.4 percent) and from the free throw stripe (66.0 percent). It seems unlikely that the Hornets will extend the $2 million qualifying offer lined up for Bacon this offseason, so there's a decent chance he suits up elsewhere in his next NBA appearance.
July 7, 2020, 11:29 pmNicolas BatumSG, Charlotte Hornets
Nicolas Batum played only 22 games during the 2019-20 regular season (the last of which came on January 24), finishing the year ranked outside the top-225 in categories formats.
The veteran swingman had an injury-riddled campaign, Batum's fifth with the Hornets. He averaged just 3.6 points, 4.5 boards and 3.0 assists in 23.0 minutes per night. A longtime threat from deep, Batum shot 28.6 percent from three, which was also a disappointing development. He only has one year remaining on the gigantic, $120 million deal he inked prior to the 2016-17 season, and the Hornets are probably wishing it wrapped up after this season. They have no use for Batum moving forward, but they owe him $27 million next year. Yikes.
July 7, 2020, 10:54 pmCody MartinPF, Charlotte Hornets
Cody Martin, the sixth pick of the second round of the 2019 NBA draft out of the University of Nevada, showed signs of productivity during his rookie campaign with the Hornets, averaging 5.0 PTS, 3.3 REB, 2.0 AST and 0.8 STL in 18.8 minutes per game (48 games).
Those per-game numbers actually put him below his twin brother, Caleb (who was not drafted), despite Cody playing in 30 more games. Cody ranked right around 300 in 8 and 9-cat leagues on the season but was playing well to close out the year. He snuck inside the top-230 over the final two weeks prior to the COVID-19 pause, and was a streamable player in March due to his versatility and consistency.
July 7, 2020, 10:51 pmDevonte' GrahamPG, Charlotte Hornets
Devonte' Graham emerged as the biggest beneficiary of the departure of Kemba Walker, taking over the reins as the starting point guard and finishing the season ranked 55th in 8-cat and 77th 9-cat scoring formats.
After averaging just 14.7 minutes per game in his rookie season in 2018-19, Graham got thrust into the spotlight in 2019-20, jumping to a playing time of 35.1 minutes per game. The 24-year-old sophomore saw an across-the-board improvement in his stats and became a solid source of threes and dimes for small-ball fantasy lineups. Graham shot just 38.2 percent from the field but ticked other boxes with averages of 18.2 PPG, 3.5 3PG, 7.5 APG and 1.0 SPG. If he can somehow rein in his poor shooting and allow the game to slow down for him, he should be someone to watch come 2020-21.
July 7, 2020, 10:41 pmTerry RozierPG, Charlotte Hornets
Terry Rozier ranked inside the top-75 in both 8 and 9-cat fantasy leagues on a per game basis in 2019-20, his first season with the Hornets after four years with the Celtics.
Rozier swapped places with longtime fan-favorite and Hornets legend, Kemba Walker. Rozier inked a sign-and-trade for three years, $56.7 million ($18.9 million annually) that included Walker going to the Celtics. Starting all 63 games he played this season, Rozier averaged 18.0 points, 4.4 rebounds, 4.1 assists, 1.0 steals and 2.7 threes per game for an underwhelming Hornets squad (23-42). Fellow backcourt mate Devonte' Graham unexpectedly put up outstanding numbers from the outset, so that put a bit of a damper on Rozier's first season with the team, as the two finished with similar numbers and fantasy rankings. Look for the backcourt tandem of Graham and Rozier to stay together moving forward for the Hornets, at least for next season. They will likely inhibit each other's fantasy ceilings, however.
July 7, 2020, 10:19 pmPJ WashingtonPF, Charlotte Hornets
P.J. Washington was one of bigger pleasant surprises from the rookie class of 2019, making a name for himself with the Hornets as a key player and finishing the season ranked 142/159 in 8/9-cat per-game value and 126/136 in 8/9-cat on total value.
As a rookie, Washington proved doubters that he was far more NBA-ready than initially projected. A strong Summer League and promising preseason run, translated reasonably well into viable fantasy value. Washington ended up playing 58 games for the Hornets and notched averages of 12.2 PPG, 5.4 RPG, 1.5 3PG, 0.9 SPG and 0.8 BPG in just over 30 minutes per game. Still, Washington's biggest weakness remains his .647 shooting percentage from the free throw line. Overall, he gets solid marks for passing the eye test and flashing some promising impact on the box score on occasion.
July 7, 2020, 10:09 pmCody ZellerC, Charlotte Hornets
Cody Zeller took a step backward during the 2019-20 season, finishing the year ranked 178 in 8-cat and 185 in 9-cat.
The emergence and immediate productivity of rookie PJ Washington was a key reason for Zeller's rather disappointing year. He played in all but seven of the Hornets' games but had a rough stretch in February that included three straight DNP-CD's to close out the month. Zeller, as one might expect, came back strong after that absence, averaging 11.0 points, 7.2 rebounds, 2.2 assists, 0.8 blocks in five games to close out his 2019-20 campaign. Zeller will be an unrestricted free agent after next season.