• Sometimes the offseason is more exciting than the actual season.  In the midst of signings, it’s easy to jump to Basketball Reference and look at the stats of the added players and cherry-pick good ones to conform to a positive narrative.

    It’s the honeymoon stage, and in the honeymoon stage, new players (typically) haven’t been a locker room issue for your team, nor have you watched any of them airmail a bad pass to your favorite team’s opponent in crunch time during a big game.

    If you asked each team’s fans to estimate its record relative to Vegas, I bet the fans of most franchises would take the over.

    But beyond synergy, beyond age curves, and beyond skill sets, there are other considerations that will impact the immediate performance of a team. Of these, perhaps one of the biggest ones is continuity.  Even if a new lineup unit is a match made in heaven, that doesn’t mean that the unit will skyrocket to great performances right away.  Players need time to get acclimated to one another and to the systems in which they play.

    The Pelicans will have a new defensive coach and will also get major minutes from a number of players who haven’t played together.  But in the NBA, particularly this year, this seems to be the rule and not the exception.  With that in mind, I sought to find out the answer to this question: how much continuity do the Pelicans have relative to other teams?

    I sought to answer this question with a quick skim of how many remaining minutes and points each team has from last season.  A big thanks to Jeff Siegel for the rosters (I took them from his great site, Early Bird Rights), and a big thanks to Basketball Reference as well. Players who are free agents were not included in these results and teams with more than 15 players were not edited for the sums of minutes/points.

    The Results

    The results are pretty clear.  The Pelicans ranked 24th in remaining minutes and 27th in remaining points.  To be clear, this is not meant to be “perfect” analysis: what I am looking for is how different the Pelicans roster is versus those of other teams.  The Pelicans rank near the very bottom of the league in these metrics.

    Teams like Denver, Milwaukee, and Houston may have an edge early in the season with their excellent rosters and their continuity.

Fantasy News

  • Damian Lillard
    PG, Portland Trail Blazers

    Damian Lillard put forth a valiant effort with 29 points, seven rebounds, eight assists and two threes in Friday's 113-136 loss to the Lakers.

    Even as the Blazers continue to scuffle, Lillard is locked in as an elite fantasy talent. It's looking increasingly unlikely that the Blazers make the postseason this year but, A: Never count out Lillard and B: He doesn't seem like the kind to accept a shutdown. We're a long way off from that point, thankfully, and you can continue to enjoy first-round value in the meantime.

  • Hassan Whiteside
    C, Portland Trail Blazers

    Hassan Whiteside had another productive game with 17 points (8-for-12 shooting), 13 rebounds, three steals and a block in 32 minutes on Friday night.

    Whiteside is rolling along in fantasy land even as his on-court lapses continue to harm the Blazers. We wouldn't expect him to finish at his current top-35 standing so there's a bit of a sell-high window, though the numbers he's bringing back in blocks and rebounds might change the calculus since you probably won't be able to replace them in a trade.

  • Kent Bazemore
    SG, Portland Trail Blazers

    Kent Bazemore logged 25 minutes in Friday's loss to the Lakers, notching 10 points, two rebounds and a 3-pointer.

    Bazemore is staring at a much heavier workload with Rodney Hood now out for the season and Portland completely devoid of other viable wing options. He's been a top-100 guy in starter's minutes in the past, so he's a pickup in all competitive leagues.

  • Anthony Davis
    PF-C, Los Angeles Lakers

    Anthony Davis and LeBron James both torched the Blazers in Friday's road win.

    Davis put up 39 points (12-for-21 FG, 13-of-15 FT), nine rebounds, two steals, three blocks and a pair of 3-pointers while James had 31 points (11-of-23 FG, 5-for-7 FT), seven rebounds, eight assists, a block and four threes. They're alright at this.

  • Alex Caruso
    SG, Los Angeles Lakers

    Alex Caruso played 24 minutes on Friday night, posting eight points, three assists, a steal and a three.

    Caruso got some extra run with Rajon Rondo departing early because of hamstring tightness, and given the likelihood that he misses some time you can consider Caruso a potential pickup in deep leagues.

  • JaVale McGee
    C, Los Angeles Lakers

    JaVale McGee finished Friday's win with 13 points (6-of-7 shooting) and two blocks in 15 minutes.

    McGee isn't nearly as fun to rock with as he was last season but he's still blocking shots and boosting your field goal percentage enough to return late-round value in 12-teamers. Dwight Howard is doing the same thing with more boards and slightly fewer blocks, as he had five points, 10 rebounds and two steals tonight. Neither is a must-own in 12-team leagues.

  • Danny Green
    SG, Los Angeles Lakers

    Danny Green had a lackluster showing, to be polite about it, on Friday with a 3-pointer, five rebounds, a steal and a block in 21 minutes.

    Green is just a late-round guy and doesn't have a ton of upside given that he's only getting 25.5 mpg on the year. He's worth holding onto in general, but a drop won't hurt you that much. The same goes for Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, who had five points, five assists, a steal and a 3-pointer in 27 minutes.

  • Kevin Love
    PF, Cleveland Cavaliers

    Adrian Wojnarowski is reporting that the Cavs are prepared to listen to trade talks involving Kevin Love.

    The Cavs simply have no use for Love, who can be a series-shifting player as a second or third option on a good team. Cleveland is predictably seeking young players and future draft picks, but it remains to be seen if they'll get much considering Love is still owed $90 million over the next three seasons. That's not inconsequential, and most teams in position to get pushed over the top by adding Love to the mix also don't have the ability to add such a big financial commitment to their books easily. While Love would be bumped down the pecking order on a better team, he might also end up playing more games. We won't go too much deeper than that until Love starts getting connected to specific suitors.

    Source: ESPN

  • DeMar DeRozan
    SG, San Antonio Spurs

    DeMar DeRozan's 3-point binge continued in Friday's 105-104 OT win over the Kings, as he hit three more triples on his way to 15 points, 10 rebounds, seven assists and two steals.

    DeRozan has now hit five threes in his last four games after hitting zero in over a full year. That obviously won't keep up but DeRozan is back in the top-50 area after scuffling early in the year. He's about as reliable as they come.

  • Jakob Poeltl
    C, San Antonio Spurs

    Jakob Poeltl returned to the bench on Friday with LaMarcus Aldridge back but still delivered three blocks in 18 minutes.

    Poeltl also tallied 13 points on a perfect 5-of-5 from the field and a less-perfect 3-of-5 from the line. He's now climbed up to top-170 value on the year and should be on any rosters where fantasy GMs are short on blocks. In the past two weeks he's been a top-60 player.