September 5, 2020, 2:06 pm
Greetings, Hoop Ballers all around the world, and welcome back to our monthly Premium International Dynasty feature. Another fantasy season full of surprises is officially in the books and it’s that time of the year when we take a look at the big picture and identify who the hits and misses were among the international players this year.
Most, if not all, fantasy leagues were abruptly paused in what will be quickly a season to forget but dynasty leagues offer the excitement of being a marathon rather than a sprint to the finish line. The emergence of Luka Doncic was definitely not a surprise to me and I’m glad that people all around the league are slowly realizing how he is really a once-in-a-lifetime generational talent that we are so lucky to watch on a nightly basis. Nobody of course could have predicted his rise to an elite player that fast but I keep repeating to everyone how the kid was lucky enough to have his dad as a coach, teaching him how to read the game from a very early age, and it’s so mesmerizing that even an Xs and Os coach like Rick Carlisle just sits there and watches him manufacture buckets over and over again with defense unable to stop him.
Not much movement happened at the top tier with Giannis Antetokounmpo, Nikola Jokic and Joel Embiid delivering dominant fantasy seasons but there are plenty of international guys who are now regulars in the top-50.
Domantas Sabonis, F/C, 24 years old
Yahoo ADP: 74 | Per-Game Value: 51 | Games Played: 62
2019 – 20 averages: 34.8 MP | 18.5 PTS | 0.3 3PM | 12.4 REB | 5.0 AST | 0.7 STL | 0.5 BLK | 2.8 TOV | .541 FG% | .723 FT%
There were questions about Sabonis’ role with the Pacers coming into the season but the two parties agreed to a four-year, $77 million contract extension prior to the 2019-20 season kicking off, after the team exercised its due diligence and circulated his name in trade talks. On the floor, the Lithuanian big took advantage of the absence of Victor Oladipo and the myriad injuries Malcolm Brogdon and Myles Turner sustained, becoming a double-double machine and a secondary facilitator (5.0 assists per game), earning a place in the All-Star Game in what was undeniably a breakout year. The irony of his career year, however, is that he missed the Orlando bubble due to plantar fasciitis but a long offseason ahead should give him the time to fully recover.
Getting into the in-game specifics, the best part about his performance is that Sabonis didn’t really force the issue, shooting above 54.1 percent from the field and playing to his strengths close to the basket and not just standing on the perimeter and launching threes, the way Oklahoma City tried to use him. His small hands will always be an issue as his defensive stats suffer but he is a great rebounder and he finished ninth in offensive rebounds per game (3.0).
Sabonis’ long-term outlook seems to be on the right track as the Pacers really had a big part in his growth and changes that are coming to Indiana are unlikely to affect him so he should solidify himself as one of the best big men in the paint in the years to come.
Davis Bertans, F, 27 years old
Yahoo ADP: 136 | Per-Game Value: 60 | Games Played: 54
2019 – 20 averages: 29.3 MP | 15.4 PTS | 3.7 3PM | 4.5 REB | 1.7 AST | 0.7 STL | 0.6 BLK | 1.1 TOV | .434 FG% | .852 FT%
Washington was pretty much an unknown this year due to John Wall’s injury and the subsequent transition period for a franchise with a new front office determined to move to a new direction. The Wizards didn’t make any splash moves in the offseason but they acted smart by grabbing low-risk guys like Davis Bertans, Moe Wagner and Isaac Bonga from teams that had to move from them for mainly financial reasons. Scott Brooks never saw an NBA player that could shoot that he didn’t like so he had no issue giving the green light to Bertans to launch 8.7 (!) triples per game and the Latvian forward responded with a career year that even included contributions on the defensive side of the ball, where he chipped in some light steals (0.7) and blocks (0.6).
Bertans has the length and quick release that makes his shot very hard to defend and he is reportedly already getting a lot of attention from teams that will have money to spend in the offseason. The Wizards said that it will be their main priority to sign him but regardless of where he lands, Bertans should remain a scoring machine in an NBA world where big forwards that can shoot triples are in high demand.
OG Anunoby, G/F, 23 years old
Yahoo ADP: 138 | Per-Game Value: 70 | Games Played: 75
2019 – 20 averages: 30.2 MP | 10.7 PTS | 1.3 3PM | 5.3 REB | 1.5 AST | 1.3 STL | 0.7 BLK | 1.1 TOV | .505 FG% | .703 FT%
Anunoby made the All-Injury team of this article last year after a miserable season where he was hit by the unfortunate death of his father and a few injuries that kept him away all the way until the NBA Finals. The Raptors though were always high on him and the departure of Kawhi Leonard opened up the door for him to earn the starting nod and deliver a career year in 30 minutes per game, excelling in the cash counter categories with 1.3 steals, 0.7 blocks and 1.3 triples per contest.
The British forward has slowly become the team’s best defender while I believe there is another level to his offensive game other than spotting up for the corner three. The Raptors are building their team around him and Pascal Siakam and the future is bright for OG, who is a lock to remain in the fantasy top-75.
Daniel Theis, C, 28 years old
Yahoo ADP: – | Per-Game Value: 82 | Games Played: 71
2019-20 averages: 24.1 MP | 9.2 PTS | 0.5 3PM | 6.5 REB | 1.7 AST | 0.6 STL | 1.3 BLK | 0.9 TOV | .548 FG% | .776 FT%
Following the evolution of NBA in recent years, the Celtics decided to let Al Horford walk last summer, opting instead to invest their money into their wings. That left a void in the middle with Daniel Theis, Enes Kanter and Robert Williams all battling for the starting role. Kanter has his limitations but looked like the favorite to win the job while Williams struggled with injuries, but it was Theis who won Brad Stevens’ trust due to a combination of skill set and defensive discipline. The German big, in his third year in Boston, started in 64 games and became the perfect complementary piece for a high-scoring offense that wanted to avoid as many defensive breakdowns as possible.
Theis was able to protect the middle with his 1.3 blocks and even though he wasn’t someone that opponents feared, he held his own while his low usage and ability to stretch the floor and defend with his versatility proved a very valuable commodity for the Celtics. He is not the long-term answer to Boston’s issues in the middle though and I expect him to lose minutes to Williams next year but he did his damage in only 24 minutes per game, making it likely that he can repeat this performance.
Jonas Valanciunas, C, 28 years old
Yahoo ADP: 68 | Per-Game Value: 50 | Games Played: 71
2019 – 20 averages: 26.5 MP | 15.0 PTS | 0.5 3PM | 11.4 REB | 1.9 AST | 0.4 STL | 1.1 BLK | 1.8 TOV | .583 FG% | .748 FT%
Valanciunas was re-signed by the Grizzlies last year in their effort to provide the necessary veteran leadership around Jaren Jackson Jr. and Ja Morant and he was ecstatic about it, delivering the best fantasy season of his career. Staying healthy and looking in great shape, the Lithuanian center shot 59.0 percent from the field and averaged a double-double, while his 0.5 triples and 1.1 blocks were a nice surprise for fantasy managers.
Valanciunas is still only 28 years old and the Grizzlies see him as a necessary part of their future, as evidenced by the adjustments they made to their game plan, putting him in a position to succeed either by letting him play in the middle or facilitate the offense together with rookie sensation Morant.
Evan Fournier, G, 28 years old
Yahoo ADP: 130 | Per-Game Value: 76 | Games Played: 71
2019 – 20 averages: 31.6 MP | 18.1 PTS | 2.6 3PM | 2.7 REB | 3.1 AST | 1.1 STL | 0.3 BLK | 1.9 TOV | .460 FG% | .810 FT%
Magic fans, including me, were disgusted by Fournier’s performance in the playoffs but the truth of the matter is that the French guard had a career year returning borderline top-75 fantasy value. He scored a career-high 18.1 points while shooting exceptionally well from the field and providing managers with a healthy 1.1 steals per game as well. The issue with a Fournier has always been the lack of shooting stability and it remains to be seen whether he can sustain the same productivity next year too.
Nemanja Bjelica, F, 32 years old
Yahoo ADP: 135 | Per-Game Value: 72 | Games Played: 72
2019 – 20 averages: 27.9 MP | 11.5 PTS | 1.9 3PM | 6.4 REB | 2.8 AST | 0.8 STL | 0.6 BLK | 1.4 TOV | .481 FG% | .821 FT%
Injuries to Marvin Bagley and Richaun Holmes forced Bjelica into 67 starts which, predictably, was good for his numbers but bad for the Kings due to his poor shot selection and defensive mishaps. With Vlade Divac out of Sacramento don’t be surprised if you see the Serbian big get moved as well.
Bogdan Bogdanovic, G, 28 years old
Yahoo ADP: 114 | Per-Game Value: 94 | Games Played: 61
2019 – 20 averages: 28.9 MP | 15.1 PTS | 2.7 3PM | 3.4 REB | 3.4 AST | 1.1 STL | 0.2 BLK | 1.7 TOV | .440 FG% | .741 FT%
Amidst a lot of turmoil (hello Kangz!) and a controversial change at the starting shooting guard position, Bogdanovic had his best season in the NBA so far scoring 15.1 points and delivering 3.4 assists and 1.1 steals in another lost year for the Kings who are once again turning the page with a new GM. BB8 is a restricted free agent and the Kings have said that they want to keep him, but he should continue to provide top-100 value regardless of where he lands as he enters the peak of his career.
Lauri Markkanen, F, 23 years old
Yahoo ADP: 45 | Per-Game Value: 100 | Games Played: 50
2019 – 20 averages: 29.8 MP | 14.7 PTS | 2.2 3PM | 6.3 REB | 1.5 AST | 0.8 STL | 0.5 BLK | 1.6 TOV | .425 FG% | .824 FT%
The Finnish forward struggled to stay healthy in his sophomore year while Jim Boylen’s game plan went away from him, pushing him to become more of a spot-up shooter and not the versatile forward that we saw the previous year. The Bulls competed with the Kings for the NBA’s most dysfunctional franchise and it was evident that changes were coming in the offseason so I urged a lot of managers to buy as much Markkanen stock as possible with the eye on the future. The arrival of Arturas Karnisovas in the Windy City seems to be a positive first step towards a better basketball situation and the potential hire of Kenny Atkinson or any coach with a proven track record of player development will do wonders for all the young Bulls, Markkanen included.
Cedi Osman, F, 25 years old
Yahoo ADP: 144 | Per-Game Value: 199 | Games Played: 65
2019 – 20 averages: 29.4 MP | 11.0 PTS | 1.9 3PM | 3.6 REB | 2.4 AST | 0.8 STL | 0.2 BLK | 1.4 TOV | .437 FG% | .670 FT%
Truth be told, I have to take a loss with Cedi as I thought this had the potential to be a breakout year, finally playing with Kevin Love and a more stable coaching environment, but reality proved to be the complete opposite. John Beilein failed to adjust to the NBA life and didn’t play to the strengths of his guys, taking the ball away from Osman, who found himself taking contested shots over and over again. The Turkish forward is still just 25 and new Cavs coach J.B. Bickerstaff has an excellent track record with young players, but unless Cedi dramatically improves his shooting and efficiency, it’s likely that he is not standard-league material anymore.
Enes Kanter, C, 28 years old
Yahoo ADP: 102 | Per-Game Value: 204 | Games Played: 62
2019 – 20 averages: 16.8 MP | 7.0 PTS | 0.0 3PM | 7.3 REB | 1.0 AST | 0.4 STL | 0.7 BLK | 0.9 TOV | .565 FG% | .683 FT%
Kanter has always been a good rebounder and scorer around the rim but he is not a rim protector and remains a complete liability in the defensive end, something that the Celtics quickly found out this year, giving Daniel Theis the starting nod. It looks possible that he is never returning to a starting role in the league anymore and you should be selling all of his stock already.
Al-Farouq Aminu, F, 30 years old
Yahoo ADP: 146 | Per-Game Value: 318 | Games Played: 18
2019 – 20 averages: | 21.1 MP | 4.3 PTS | 0.5 3PM | 4.8 REB | 1.2 AST | 1.0 STL | 0.4 BLK | 0.9 TOV | .291 FG% | .655 FT%
Aminu was sort of a weird signing by the Magic who already had Aaron Gordon and Jonathan Isaac playing in his position. The Nigerian forward played mostly as a small forward, struggling with abysmal percentages and failing to keep up defensively with quicker opponents in a disaster year that ended with him suffering a meniscus tear. The Magic will be without Isaac next season and they will be integrating rookie Chuma Okeke so Aminu’s role remains up in the air even though he could become a solid veteran contributor for the right team.
Dario Saric, F, 26 years old, Yahoo ADP: 138 | Per-Game Value: 168 |
Struggled playing in a new environment but found his role late in the season as a bench contributor; still only 26 so I would take a flier on him.
Nicolas Batum, G/F, 31 years old
Yahoo ADP: 110 | Per-Game Value: 239 | Games Played: 22
I saw Batum getting drafted in standard leagues so this is just a reminder to avoid having Batum on your team unless he lands in a better basketball situation.
All Injury Team
Kristaps Porzingis, F/C, 25 years old
Yahoo ADP: 32 | Per-Game Value: 14 Games Played: 60
2019 – 20 averages: | 31.8 MP | 20.6 PTS | 2.5 3PM | 9.4 REB | 1.7 AST | 0.7 STL | 2.0 BLK | 1.6 TOV | .431 FG% | .804 FT%
KP is making the All-Injury team for a second year in a row even though there was progress and he surpassed his ADP. In my bubble observations a couple weeks ago I wrote how ecstatic I was about KP figuring out his role next to Luka Doncic this year and becoming the player we all though he could be in Rick Carlisle’s system. Unfortunately, the latest injury to his knee puts a big question mark next to his name as it’s unclear whether his body can sustain the grind at the NBA level. Plenty of rest days and an extremely cautious approach by the Mavs is what I see in the future and I wouldn’t be comfortable rostering Porzingis on my dynasty team going forward.
All Upside Team
Sekou Doumbouya, F, 19 years old
Yahoo ADP: – | Per-Game Value: 387 | Games Played: 38
2019 – 20 averages: 19.8 MP | 6.4 PTS | 0.7 3PM | 3.1 REB | 0.5 AST | 0.5 STL | 0.2 BLK | 0.9 TOV | .390 FG% | .674 FT%
I was high on Doumbouya coming into the season but I also expected that he had to earn his minutes playing under Dwane Casey, who is traditionally very hard on his rookies. Sekou spent the beginning of the season in the G League where he showed flashes and he had an excellent run in his very first few games before teams figured out his strengths and adjusted their game plans to him.
The French forward has stayed in the US and has been working on getting his body right and developing a consistent 3-point shot, as the Pistons are slowly rebuilding around him. Casey was instrumental in developing Pascal Siakam and OG Anunoby in Toronto and I expect him to do the same with Doumbouya, who is still 19 and has an excellent work ethic.
Goga Bitadze, C, 21 years old
Yahoo ADP: 139 | Per-Game Value: 394 | Games Played: 54
2019 – 20 averages: 8.7 MP | 3.2 PTS | 0.1 3PM | 2.0 REB | 0.4 AST | 0.2 STL | 0.7 BLK | 0.5 TOV | .467 FG% | .727 FT%
Bitadze didn’t really get a chance in his rookie season after having visa issues in the offseason and struggling with injuries in the training camp, while the presence of an old school coach like Nate McMillan meant that he had to earn his minutes. The Pacers decided to turn the page and fired McMillan while the word around the NBA is that they will be looking to make a hire that is more of a players’ coach on top of developing a better offensive scheme.
Indiana is also a small market and after committing long-term deals to Malcolm Brogdon, Domantas Sabonis and Myles Turner, they might have to move one of them if they want to re-sign Victor Oladipo. I don’t see a path where Bitadze doesn’t get more minutes in his second year as he has the ability to protect the rim and stretch the floor, making him a versatile big who just needs to bring himself up to the speed of the game.
Juan Hernangomez, F, 25 years old
Yahoo ADP: – | Per-Game Value: 138 | Games Played: 48
2019 – 20 averages: | 17.4 MP | 6.0 PTS | 0.9 3PM | 4.1 REB | 0.8 AST | 0.4 STL | 0.2 BLK | 0.6 TOV | .405 FG% | .620 FT%
Hernangomez came into standard-league consideration after the mid-season trade that saw him land in a favorable situation in Minnesota. He ranked inside the top-125 in 11 starts to close out the season where he averaged 12.4 points, 7.6 boards, 1.3 assists, 1.1 steals and 2.1 triples in 29.2 minutes per game. The Wolves are still placing the pieces around Karl-Anthony Towns and it’s quite possible that they either trade for a wing or draft one. Hernangomez was buried in Denver and got a real chance to show what he can do in more minutes so don’t be surprised if he continues his progress either in Minnesota or elsewhere as he is still just 25 yers old.
Furkan Korkmaz, G, 23 years old
Yahoo ADP: | Per-Game Value: 262 | Games Played: 76
2019 – 20 averages: 21.0 MP | 9.3 PTS | 1.9 3PM | 2.3 REB | 1.1 AST | 0.6 STL | 0.2 BLK | 0.8 TOV | .425 FG% | .748 FT%
Korkmaz developed into a terrific shooter for the Sixers this season, something the team badly needed after the departure of J.J. Redick, but inconsistency is still his biggest weakness even though Brett Brown gave him the green light to shoot from anywhere. Korkmaz can be seen as a scoring and triples specialist and he should continue to provide that whether he remains in Philadelphia or moves to another NBA team.
Timothe Luwawu-Cabarrot, G, 25 years old
Yahoo ADP: – | Per-Game Value: 187 | Games Played: 51
2019 – 20 averages: 19.3 MP | 8.4 PTS | 1.5 3PM | 2.8 REB | 0.7 AST | 0.4 STL | 0.1 BLK | 0.9 TOV | .418 FG% | .860 FT%
TLC always had the potential to be a two-way player but his consistent shooting and defense made him re-appear in the fantasy mix this year after he was almost out of the league, getting cut by the Cavs back in October. The Nets have been doing an exceptional job developing their guys in recent years and Luwawu-Cabarrot is their latest reclamation project. Credit goes to Long Island’s head coach Shaun Fein, who had been TLC’s teammate when the French swingman was a teenager in the French League, and it seems that his performance in the bubble and late in the season before the shutdown was not a fluke. The Nets are expected to compete for a championship next year and it’s likely that he struggles to gain minutes but he should be on your radar in deeper leagues due to his contributions across the stat sheet.
Rodions Kurucs, F, 22 years old
Yahoo ADP: 149 | Per-Game Value: 374 | Games Played: 51
2019 – 20 averages: 14.5 MP | 4.6 PTS | 0.6 3PM | 2.9 REB | 1.1 AST | 0.5 STL | 0.1 BLK | 1.0 TOV | .457 FG% | .600 FT%
Kurucs struggled with off-court issues in the offseason and he found himself in the doghouse but when Jacque Vaughn took over as interim coach, Kurucs played some center minutes, showing his versatility and becoming an unfavorable matchup to opponents. He is still just 22 and there is plenty of room for improvement in his game.
Alen Smailagic, F/C, 20 years old
Yahoo ADP: – | Per-Game Value: 398 | Games Played: 14
2019 – 20 averages: 4.2 PTS | 0.2 3PM | 1.9 REB | 0.9 AST | 0.2 STL | 0.3 BLK | 0.8 TOV | .500 FG% | .842 FT%
Smiley has been the main developmental project for the Warriors the last few years and he finally played some NBA minutes in his rookie year after growing up in the G League. His basketball IQ is what makes him special and he could be a piece in the Warriors’ favorite small-ball lineup so make sure he stays on your watchlist.
Chris Boucher, F/C, 27 years old
Yahoo ADP: – | Per-Game Value: 236 | Games Played: 67
2019 – 20 averages: 12.7 MP | 6.2 PTS | 0.6 3PM | 4.3 REB | 0.4 AST | 0.3 STL | 0.9 BLK | 0.4 TOV | .469 FG% | .784 FT%
Boucher remains an intriguing fantasy player due to the combination of length and shooting that make him able to contribute in both sides of the floor but he has his limitations. His per-minute production is the key here and he should be someone to target as an insurance policy since he has delivered the stats when given the minutes.
Thank you for reading this year’s fantasy awards and please to reach out to me on Twitter @philysstar for any fantasy or dynasty trade talk. Stay up to date on all the breaking news and rumors posted on our website and on our Twitter account @HoopBallFantasy.
Stats are courtesy of NBA.com and Basketball-Reference.com and are accurate as of September 5th.