September’s here! This means that there’s only less than 2 months until the NBA season kicks off. Right about time for you to start thinking of the players you want on your fantasy team… It has been one of, if not the busiest offseason in the NBA. Let’s recap on the notable moves each team has made in this offseason and how I think it will impact players’ fantasy stock for this coming year. Boston Celtics is up first!
Notable Arrivals: Al Horford (Atlanta), Gerald Green (Miami), Jaylen Brown (rookie), and some rooks fighting for a roster spot.
Notable Departures: Jared Sullinger (Toronto), and Evan Turner (Portland)
The four-time all-star, Al Horford, decided to wear the iconic green jerseys for this coming season. He’ll fit in with Brad Stevens’ system with his high basketball IQ, good passing skills, ability to stretch the floor and anchor the defense in the paint. He’s going to bring all-star calibre talent to the table, and at the same time he’s going to fit in nicely with the Celtics’ team chemistry. Fantasy wise, he’s going to get his usual 15 points and 7 rebounds with good percentages. But what made him a stud last year was his ability to shoot from range, averaging a three per game. Coach Stevens and the Celts are going to utilize his ability to stretch the floor and make plays for others. All signs are pointing up for his fantasy stock, as you’ll see him get drafted inside the top-20 range.
The pizza guy, Isaiah Thomas, made his first all-star appearance last year, but what was so undervalue was the fact that he played all 82 games last season (one of 18 players to accomplish this feat). With so many teams resting players with little nagging injuries, it’s rare to see a player fully fit for an 82 game season. With that in mind, he only averaged 32 minutes a game, and ranked 37th on Basketball Monster last season. The new signing of Horford would boost Thomas’ fantasy stock, as Horford is the type of player who can make others around him better. Imagine the pick and roll between the two all-stars, it’s going to be a nightmare to handle for the defenders, with both players able to shoot from the outside or finish around the rim efficiently. The addition of Horford is going to increase Thomas’ assists and his percentages and you might need to use a third or fourth round to try and grab him.
Jae Crowder was the surprising breakthrough player from last year. If you drafted him late or picked him up from the waiver wire, you’re a lucky guy and you’re probably cheekishly smiling right now. He ended the season with 3rd round value with his solid steals, threes, percentages and low turnovers. However, Horford’s shots are going to have to come from somewhere and I think this is where Crowder’s attempts is going to take a hit. Also, drafting the 3rd pick of the draft, Jaylen Brown, might also cut down his minutes from a early 30s to a late 20s kind of player. Crowder is a really good player, but it seems like Celts picked Brown for a reason and might give him and Marcus Smart some minutes to develop. He’ll still have a solid mid round value but don’t reach high for him.
Avery Bradley had a decent season last year, averaging a career high of 15.2 points. Another player who might take a hit in shot attempts because of the newly acquire Horford coming to town. Also, with Celtics really buying into the development of Marcus Smart, that might eat into Bradley’s minutes (led the team in minutes). With the loss of Evan Turner in free agency, that only opens up the minutes for Smart, Bradley, Crowder, Brown and Terry Rozier to share. Smart and Bradley are both players who’s going to be hovering in the later-rounds with Smart having more upside, but his efficiency still remains questionable (.348 from field and .253 from range). In terms of the bigs that’s pairing up with Horford, Amir Johnson and Kelly Olynyk are the only players that might be worth drafting in deep leagues.
- Early-Rounds: Al Horford, Isaiah Thomas
- Mid-Rounds: Jae Crowder
- Late-Rounds: Avery Bradley, Marcus Smart
- Deep Leagues: Amir Johnson, Kelly Olynyk
- Sleepers: Jae Crowder
- Busts: Avery Bradley
Come back soon for the previews of the remaining teams in the NBA. Meanwhile, you can also hit me up @bfantasyhoops on Twitter!