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 at BFantasyHoops, you’re going to see every team’s fantasy preview right here… So far, I’ve covered the Bulls, the Cavs, the Pistons and the previous post was on the Pacers. This time it’s the lanky and lengthy Milwaukee Bucks.
Notable Additions: Matthew Dellavedova (Cleveland), Mirza Teletovic (Phoenix), and Thon Maker (rookie)
Notable Subtractions: Jerryd Bayless (Philadelphia), and Greivis Vasquez (Brooklyn)
Not that many teams feared the deer last season, as they finished with a measly 33-49 record. They’re sticking with the same group of athletic, long and young players. In the second half of last season, Jason Kidd experimented with “Point Giannis” (you’re going to see me mention about this a lot) and surprised a lot of people. It wasn’t that successful to turn it in to a winning record, so it’s still in the R&D stage, but it turned out good for a lot of fantasy owners. Assuming they’re continue with this transition, the Bucks are going to produce a lot of fantasy goodies this year. Let’s dive into the players you may want to target for this year’s draft!
Giannis Antetokounmpo – I’m not really a big fan of post All-Star break stats but Jason Kidd transitioned the playmaking responsibilities to Giannis Antetokounmpo during that time. Thus, I think it’s crucial to take a look at post All-Star stats for players on the Bucks as it’s a relatively reliable preview to what they can provide for fantasy GMs this year. In the 28 games played after the All-Star break, Giannis averaged a beastly 18.8 points, 8.6 rebounds, 7.2 assists, along with 1.4 steals and 1.9 blocks. He also shot an efficient .509 from the field with most of his baskets coming from around the rim. The general manager of the Bucks, John Hammond, came out and said he’s going to be one of the primary ball handlers on the team this offseason, which basically means the Bucks are handing the keys to Giannis. The upside is unreal for the Greek Freak and he’s going to have an immense year. The expectations for him are already sky high as he’s going to flirt with a triple double game-in-game-out. His draft stock right now is at early second round value, right around rank 10-14, anywhere between those spots are okay with me.
Khris Middleton – It seems like every player for the Bucks played well after the All-Star break and the Point Giannis transition. Another player who had a mini-breakout in the second half of the season is Khris Middleton. He was a sleeper last year, but nobody should be sleeping on Middleton for fantasy drafts this year. He averaged 18.8 points, shooting at a .474 from the field, which was four percent higher than his pre All-Star numbers. He also grabbed 3.9 boards, handed out 4.6 dimes, shot 1.6 threes and had 2.4 steals. The Point Giannis experiment is working out for everybody, and there’s not much reason to suspect any changes towards these kind of stats from Middleton. Since post All-Star break, Middleton was the 18th best player according to Basketball Monster, where his contribution at the steals department really hiked up his value. His Yahoo! Expert’s rank currently is at 38, but that’s below players like Otto Porter, Tobias Harris, which is ludicrous! Hiking his spot up to early 30s would be reasonable.
Greg Monroe – One player that didn’t really benefit from the transitions to Point Giannis after the All-Star break is Greg Monroe. He ended the year with fourth-round value but that’s because he had a solid start to the year. His post All-Star stats were relatively poor, averaging 12.7 points, 7.1 rebounds, 2.2 assists along with 0.9 steals and 0.8 blocks. Compared to his pre All-Star line, his minutes and touches went down resulting in a dip in points and rebounds. Monroe, aka Moose (that’s actually a pretty cool nickname), is probably not the center that Jason Kidd wants to stick with in the long run after handing him a 3-year contract worth $50 million in 2015. With block machine John Henson, and “50 19 year old” rookie, Thon Maker behind the rotation, Monroe might have some competition and potential minutes sharing with the backup centers. Moreover, with rumours of Bucks trading him away, and Marc Stein of ESPN reporting that Monroe wants be at New Orleans instead, all signs are pointing towards Monroe not wearing a Bucks jersey at the end of the season, leading to some risk involved with picking him. His Yahoo! rank is at 61 as of now, but with a center with so many risks involved and does not really contribute to blocks, he’s probably worth a late 70s or early 80s pick but I would try and stay away from him. On the other hand, you might want to give John Henson a look in deep leagues for some blocks and rebounds, and a contingency plan if Monroe does get shipped away.
Jabari Parker – The second overall pick of the 2014 NBA draft, Jabari Parker, started off the season a bit slow, since he was coming off an ACL injury that he suffered in his rookie year. However, after the rust was shaken off, he was showing steady improvement as each month went by, increasing his scoring output progressively. Although Jason Kidd shifted the primary ball handler role to Giannis after the All-Star break, he also instilled confidence in Jabari by giving him heavy minutes and the green light to shoot, which Kidd didn’t really gain credit for. He averaged 18.9 points, 6.1 rebounds 2.2 assists, to go along with 1.1 steals in 36.5 minutes per game after the All-Star break. His minutes hiked up and his attempts per game nearly doubled! During that period, Jabari was ranked 82nd according to Basketball Monster in a 9-cat league. That’s a solid 7th round in 12-team leagues. His lack of blocks and triples hinders his value even though he increase his scoring and rebounds. With one full season under his belt, the upside still remains for the third year player, and it’s reported that he’s working extremely hard on his threes. This is going to be crucial for the Bucks since Middleton is the only player from the starting line up that can shoot from range, they would need another player to be able to knock down the three, and the closest player to do that would be Parker. He’s listed at rank 67 at Yahoo! leagues right now, which I think is agreeable as of now. However, when pre-season comes, and Parker has shown he can hit a three consistently (maybe around 1 per game), his value should be bolstered then.
Michael Carter-Williams/Matthew Dellavedova – Just a quick note on the point guard situation for the Bucks. Jason Kidd hasn’t came out publicly and said this but I think Matthew Dellavedova is going to start over Michael Carter-Williams. This is because Giannis would be the primary ball handler in the starting unit, meaning MCW would cramp up the spacing when he’s playing off the ball. With Giannis, MCW, Jabari, and Monroe on the floor, there’s going to be some bad spacing which can jam up the offense. Defensively, Dellavedova can hold his own by contributing in toughness, feistiness, and hustle in what he lacks in length compared to Carter-Williams. With MCW coming off the bench, and leading as the second unit as the sixth man, it will be his chance to flourish in that role. Keep in mind that Jason Kidd started O.J. Mayo for quite a lot over MCW last season, so I wouldn’t be surprised to see Dellavedova in the starting lineup come opening night. In terms of fantasy, Carter-Williams fantasy outlook is still better than Delly, with his potential to flirt with 11 points, 5 rebounds, and 5 assists. He’s worth a look during the really late-rounds but ranking 96 in Yahoo! is too much of a reach. Meanwhile you can target the Australian in deep leagues for some source of assists and threes.
- Early-Rounds: Giannis Antetokounmpo, Khris Middleton
- Mid-Rounds: Jabari Parker, Greg Monroe
- Late-Rounds: Michael Carter-Williams
- Deep Leagues: Matthew Dellavedova, John Henson
- Sleepers: Jabari Parker
- Busts: Greg Monroe, Michael Carter-Williams
Follow me on @BFantasyHoops to keep up to date with news, previews and fantasy goodies! Come back tomorrow for the Atlanta Hawks, KA-KAW!