Fantasy Basketball: Risers in Rankings from Offseason Moves
In fantasy basketball, it is a complex process to forecast a player’s statistical production from year to year. The challenge is even greater when that player changes teams because their fantasy value is significantly effected by teammates and the overall team style of play. The players discussed below are some of the more debated topics this off-season.
Andre Iguodala was involved in the blockbuster trade that sent Dwight Howard to the Lakers this past summer. Some analysts believe that Iguodala’s fantasy value will lower because the offense will run through Ty Lawson and Andre Miller. But if you watched any Philadelphia 76ers games last year, Jrue Holiday, Lou Williams, and at times Evan Turner, “ran the offense,” yet Iguodala still managed 5.5 assists per game. Iguodala does not need plays called for him to be effective. To the contrary, his skill-set thrives in a fast paced offense and when surrounded by talent. The Nuggets were arguably the most up-tempo offense in the NBA last season and offer an upgrade in talent compared to the 76ers. Whether he is called “AI2,” from back when he was teammates with Allen Iverson, or “mini-Lebron,” alluding to his ability to generate stats across the board to a lesser extent than Lebron James, Andre Iguodala will continue to be a key contributor in points, rebounds, assists, steals, and three-pointers in Denver.
Kyle Lowry had All-Star caliber numbers in his second season as the starting point guard for the Houston Rockets in last year. In 38 starts, Lowry averaged 15.9 points, 7.2 assists, 5.3 rebounds, 1.8 steals and 1.9 three-pointers per game. A move up north to the ever-rebuilding Toronto Raptors team and his 2012-13 season being cut short by injuries, could explain his lower than deserved fantasy ranking. Lowry appeared completely healthy and in charge of his new team in the Friday night pre-season game win over the New York Knicks, knocking down 5 threes, dishing out 5 assists and grabbing 4 rebounds. Although they were hardly front page headlines, the Raptors quietly improved this season with the arrival of their 2011 draft pick Jonas Valanciunas to fill the big void at Center. On the perimeter, they signed free agent Landry Fields. 3-point specialist Andrea Bargnani and Fields should help Lowry maintain high assist numbers. At the same time, the Raptors will require a lot of points from Lowry on a day-to-day basis. Some are worried that Jose Calderon will eat into Lowry’s minutes. However, I strongly believe that Calderon’s lack of defense and decreasing efficiency will keep Lowry’s court time well above 30 minutes.
Mo Williams moves from the crowded backcourt on the L.A. Clippers to being the clear-cut starting point guard for the Utah Jazz. Devin Harris is no longer in Utah and the rest of the new Jazz point guard depth chart is thin, consisting of old-timer Jamaal Tinsley and journey-man Earl Watson. Randy Foye is also in Utah, but he will most likely be Gordon Hayward’s backup at shooting guard. Although Williams is a shoot-first guard, he is surrounded by one of the deepest frontcourts in the NBA, featuring Al Jefferson, Paul Millsap, Derrick Favors, and Enes Kanter. In other words, he will be forced to share the ball to a level where I believe he will reach a career high in assists. Mo should be able to generate per game averages of 16 points, 7 assists, 2 threes and over a steal for the Jazz this season.
Written by Justin Hasan exclusively for WinMyFantasyLeague.com
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