• One more exciting weekend in the books and we are now on to the Final Four!

    Unfortunately, my Kansas Jayhawks were upset by Villanova to exit the tournament on what has become my annual “saddest day of the year”.  A single number one seed remains, but a handful of prospects to consider for future fantasy rosters are still in the field.

    Last week, the report analyzed some fantasy prospects on the remaining sixteen teams.  Prior editions of the prospect report covered other college prospects as their seasons came to an end.  Feel free to click here and read up on any analysis you may have missed.

    Editor’s Note: If you’re not already following John on Twitter you can click here to make that happen – Bru

    As the tournament comes to an end, I will turn my focus towards the NBA Draft and Fantasy Keepers.  Keep an eye out for future articles with these key NBA dates in mind:

    May 11-15: NBA Draft Combine

    May 17: NBA Draft Lottery

    June 23: NBA Draft

    This week, the report will provide fantasy insight on the teams remaining – the Final Four.  The winners of each matchup will advance to play on Monday, April 4th for a National Championship.

    Game 1 – Saturday, April 2

    Villanova (2 Seed) vs. Oklahoma (2 Seed)

    Players to watch:  Josh Hart (Villanova, SG, Junior), Buddy Hield (Oklahoma, SG, Senior), Isaiah Cousins (Oklahoma, SG, Senior)

    Game Narrative:  Villanova is currently favored in this game with a three-quarters court press that disrupts offenses.  However, Oklahoma has the 3-point shooting ability capable of breaking this defense.  Oklahoma has been susceptible to turnovers throughout the tournament, which could be problematic against a Villanova team that forced the number 1 team (Kansas) to commit 16 turnovers in the Elite Eight matchup.

    Featured Fantasy Player:  This game will feature a handful of great college basketball players, but one player stands head and shoulders above the rest as a NBA prospect.  That player is Buddy Hield.  Already considered the favorite for the player of the year award, Hield continues to add impressive tournament performances to his resume.  He has shown the ability to score in bunches and is no longer in doubt as a lottery pick.  Some mock drafts have him going as high as 3, but he should not fall past 10.  Hield is susceptible to streaky shooting and turnovers and is on the shorter side for NBA shooting guards, but is a versatile offensive weapon with NBA-ready moves.  His range and ability to make space were on full display against the 1 seed Oregon Ducks this past weekend (videos below).

    In the Elite Eight game, Hield put up 37 points (13-for-20 FG, 3-for-4 FT), eight 3-pointers, four rebounds, no defensive stats and a problematic six turnovers.  He is averaging almost 30 points per tournament game while logging heavy minutes.


     

    My Pick:  Oklahoma – the Sooners have the dynamic backcourt capable of breaking this press and will hit outside shots in half court sets.  Villanova was able to shut down Kansas’ leading scoring by denying interior passing.  Villanova is vulnerable to outside scoring and I see Oklahoma’s range being on full display in this matchup.

Fantasy News

  • Kevin Knox
    SF, New York Knicks

    Coach Fizdale told the Knicks players that no starters have been determined and players had to earn their minutes.

    Kevin Knox will battle with veteran Marcus Morris for the starting small forward spot. Knox has been working on getting his body stronger to be able to take on more contact on drives to the basket. Last season as a rookie, he averaged 12.8 points on a putrid 37 percent from the field. Knox will look to get more looks closer to the basket and increase his field goal percentage to more respectable levels. Knox provided little else outside of points and rebounds last season and will need to improve his shooting and defense to be considered a standard-league player.

    Source: New York Post

  • Bol Bol
    C, Denver Nuggets

    According to Nick Kosmider of The Athletic, Bol Bol could spend his entire rookie season in the G-League.

    Bol Bol was not drafted to be an immediate impact player, but just fell too late fore the Nuggets liking. The 44th overall pick needs to bulk up and show that he could take the bumps and bruises before having his chance on the big stage.

    Source: Nick Kosmider of The Athletic

  • Kawhi Leonard
    SF, Los Angeles Clippers

    After speaking with Doc Rivers and Lawrence Frank, Dan Woike's takeaway is that Kawhi Leonard's "load management" will not be as strict as it was last year.

    It was reported in July that Kawhi said he wants to play all next season fully and approach load management on a game-to-game basis so this is further confirmation that he will most likely play more than the 60 games he played last year but surely won't play all 82 either. Kurt Helin of NBC Sports speculates that this could be for several reasons. One could be that Leonard can take on more now that he is a little healthier while he believes the Clippers might also limit his per-game minutes to help him play more games. The other idea is that because the Western Conference is so deep, the Clippers will not be able to get a good seed if Leonard sits too many games. Fantasy wise, Leonard finished last season seventh in per game value but 18th in total value since he played only 60 games. Near the top of the second round would be a great place to snag him if he plays around 70 games this season.

    Source: Dan Woike on Twitter

  • Malik Beasley
    SG, Denver Nuggets

    The Nuggets want to extend Malik Beasley and Juan Hernagomez before the October 21 deadline.

    The Nuggets already locked up one of their 2016 first-round picks (Jamal Murray) to a long-term deal and now want to do the same with their other two 2016 first-round picks, Hernangomez and Beasley. If not, the two will likely become restricted free-agents at the end of the season. Both players saw stretches of big minutes last season due to injuries but at full health, Beasley was around 20 minutes per game while Hernangomez was at around 10. Fantasy wise, neither player puts up big defensive stats but Beasley is a very efficient shooter with low turnovers, knocking down 2.0 triples per game last year, putting him near top-150 value at only 23.2 minutes per game. Hernangomez is a decent rebounder and knocked down 0.9 triples per game but he would need closer to 30 minutes per game to be a factor in standard leagues.

    Source: Denver Post

  • OG Anunoby
    SF, Toronto Raptors

    Coach Nick Nurse intends to put OG Anunoby "back out there in a primary role."

    With Kawhi Leonard vacating the starting small forward spot, Anunoby is the leading candidate to take the role. Before the arrival of Leonard, Anunoby started 62 games in his rookie season. Last season he started 6 out of 67 games, and missed the entire playoffs due to an emergency appendectomy. He averaged 7.0 points, 2.9 rebounds, 0.7 assists, 0.7 steals and 0.3 blocks over 20.2 minutes per game, while shooting 45.3 percent from the floor, 33.2 percent from 3-point range and 58.1 percent from the free-throw line. He can be picked up as a late round flier in drafts.

    Source: The Athletic

  • Daryl Macon
    PG, Miami Heat

    The Heat have signed Daryl Macon.

    Macon getting picked up by another NBA squad after a solid Summer League campaign is not a shocker. If he were to crack the rotation he would post a nice assist rate, but it is unlikely Macon will be getting playing time unless something goes terribly wrong for the Heat this season.

    Source: NBA

  • Tahjere McCall
    F, Atlanta Hawks

    The Hawks signed Tahjere McCall from their Summer League team.

    This is just a depth signing for the Hawks. He shouldn't see much court time on the NBA floor if he makes the main roster out of camp

    Source: Kevin Chouinard on Twitter

  • Thabo Sefolosha
    SF, Houston Rockets

    Marc Stein is reporting that the Rockets will sign Thabo Sefolosha.

    Sefolosha was among the names at a recent mini camp, and he should make for a nice fit as a defensive stopper off the bench. The Rockets have a pretty thin group of reserves so we'd expect Sefolosha to be a regular rotation player, which puts him on the board as a steals specialist in deep leagues.

    Source: Marc Stein on Twitter

  • Tyler Zeller
    C, Denver Nuggets

    The Nuggets have signed C Tyler Zeller to the training camp roster on Thursday.

    Zeller played all of six games last season with the Hawks and Grizzlies. Zeller will try to latch on as a third-string C for the Nuggets' deep frontcourt. Zeller is off the fantasy radar.

    Source: Chris Dempsey on Twitter

  • Luke Kennard
    SG, Detroit Pistons

    Coach Dwane Casey said that he is not sure if he will start Luke Kennard or have him run a lot of the second-team offense.

    In addition, Casey mentioned that Kennard dealt with some knee tendinitis earlier this summer. Kennard is likely competing with Bruce Brown Jr. for the starting two-guard spot. We'll see how the rotation starts to shape in the preseason, but both players will get minutes either way.

    Source: NBA