The fantasy basketball season is just around the corner and you might need to do some prep work before the big draft. For the next few weeks, you’re going to see every team’s fantasy preview right here at BFantasyHoops…So far in the Central Division, I’ve covered the Chicago Bulls, and the previous post was on the Cleveland Cavaliers. This time…The Motor City.
Notable Additions: Jon Leuer (Phoenix), Boban Marjanovic (San Antonio), Ish Smith (Philadelphia), Ray McCallum (Memphis), and Michael Gbinije (rookie)
Notable Subtractions: Steve Blake (UFA), Anthony Tolliver (Sacramento)
There’s not that much surprise in terms of the outlook for the Pistons this coming season. The starting lineup is pretty much the same bunch as last year, and their main goal this offseason was to beef up up their bench. The core group surrounding Reggie Jackson and Andre Drummond are still young and they gained some valuable experience in playing the Cavaliers in a heavily heated 4 game series in the playoffs. The potential is looking bright for the Pistons and hopefully the young players will do well for fantasy owners for this coming year. Let’s gooo!
Andre Drummond – If you’re drafting Andre Drummond, you should probably know not to look at 9-cat rankings and ADP’s. You should probably have your own set of punt-free-throw rankings on the side. He’s a stud and would probably be a top-5 pick if your league doesn’t count free throw percentages. In 9-cat, he ended the year having eleventh-round value but having said that, you probably shouldn’t take it into consideration. He averaged a beastly 16.2 points, 14.8 rebounds, along with 1.5 steals and 1.4 blocks on .521 from the field. He’s in his fourth year in the NBA and has shown steady improvement year by year. If you decided to punt free throws for your team, you should probably try and pair him up with a Lebron James, Hassan Whiteside, or even Giannis Antetokounmpo, as these players near the first round aren’t really known for their free throw shooting. If you draft a James Harden with a Drummond, the value that Harden brings in free throws is wasted. We can go more in-depth with punting strategies soon. With Drummond, he should be picked around the third-round in consideration of your drafting strategy.
Reggie Jackson – Reggie Jackson played his first full season as a starter for the Pistons last season and was a potential breakout star in fantasy for a lot of owners this time last year. He didn’t disappoint but he didn’t really wow anybody as well. In 9-cat leagues, he was ranked 90th on Basketball Monster’s player rankings for last season. He averaged 18.8 points on .434 from the field. He also grabbed 3.2 rebounds, handed out 6.2 dimes, to go along with 1.5 threes, 0.7 thefts and 2.8 turnovers. The stat line looks better than a rank 90th player would have but the steals department is a little disappointing for the young athletic guard. He’s a solid player to pair up with your better point guard on your team. A fifth-round pick would be solid for Reggie Jackson.
Tobias Harris – Another mid-round target you might want to consider is Tobias Harris. After being traded to the Pistons, the last 2 months, he averaged 16.6 points on .477 percent from the field, 6.2 rebounds, 2.6 assists and 1.2 threes, which is good enough for fourth round value in a 9-cat league. You can pencil him down for this type of stat line for next season as the Pistons are committing to stick with Harris at the 4-spot. He played 33.5 minutes per game in a Pistons jersey, and owners don’t need to worry about Jon Leuer being a threat to cut into his minutes. On ESPN’s player rankings and The Fantasy Fix, both of them listed Harris at rank 73 and 77 respectively. Personally, I have him a little bit higher, in the late-60s, above Nikola Mirotic, Jahlil Okafor, Julius Randle to name a few. Being the third option on the Pistons, specifically in SVG’s system suits Harris’ game perfectly.
Kentavious Caldwell-Pope – A few mid-late-rounders on the Pistons that you might want to consider is Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, Marcus Morris, and Stanley Johnson. Let’s start with KCP, the player with the higher upside of the three. He impressed people in his third season in the league, as he played a career high of 36.7 minutes per game, due to Jodie Meeks’ injury. He stepped it up and averaged 14.5 points, 3.7 rebounds, with 1.5 treys and 1.4 steals. According to Basketball Monster, he’s the 86th best player last season, right behind players like Will Barton and Robin Lopez. For this coming season, expect his minutes to drop a bit but still a good source of steals and triples. The Fantasy Fix has KCP at rank 115, which I believe is a little too low. He should at least be in the top-100 of your rankings.
Marcus Morris/Stanley Johnson – As for Marcus Morris and Stanley Johnson, the latter seems to be locked in for the starting 3-spot in the long run but Morris is probably going to start when late-October comes. They’re pretty much going to share minutes since SVG has came out publicly and said he would reduce Morris’ minutes. In 35.7 minutes per game, Morris had a line of 14.1 points, 5.1 rebounds, 2.5 dimes, 1.4 triples and 0.8 steals with a .434 field goal percentage. That’s good enough for a late-round pick, and you wonder about his value if his minutes are going to drop. Stanley Johnson has the clearer upside between the two, but don’t expect a huge bump in minutes from 23.1 that he averaged last year. He also shot an abysmal .375 from the field, which caused him to not be included in the top-190 fantasy players. You can expect him to grow and his role is going to increase as he is set to be the sixth-man for the Pistons this year. If you believe in Johnson’s sophomore year improvement, you might want to take a late round-flier on him, but with the crowded wing-positions, his upside is not as high as KCP.
- Early-Rounds: Andre Drummond
- Mid-Rounds: Reggie Jackson, Tobias Harris
- Late-Rounds: Kentavious Caldwell-Pope
- Deep Leagues: Marcus Morris, Stanley Johnson
- Sleepers: Tobias Harris
- Busts: Marcus Morris
Follow me on @BFantasyHoops for more updates, on player news, blogs, and just NBA/fantasy goodies. Come back tomorrow for the Pacers Preview!