The fantasy basketball season is just around the corner and you might want 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… and with every preview, there is going to be a TL;DR section if you scroll down. So far, I’ve covered the Atlantic and Central divisions and the previous post was on the Miami Heat. This time we’re going to Disney World!
Notable Arrivals: Serge Ibaka (Oklahoma City), Bismack Biyombo (Toronto), DJ Augustin (Denver), Jodie Meeks (Detroit), and Jeff Green (Los Angeles)
Notable Departures: Victor Oladipo (Oklahoma City), Ersan Ilyasova (Oklahoma City), Andrew Nicholson (Washington), Brandon Jennings (New York), Dewayne Dedmon (San Antonio), Jason Smith (Washington), and Joe Harris (Brooklyn)
Let me be the millionth person to say this…but what the f*** are the Magic doing? This offseason, the Orlando Magic mortgaged their future for a potential one-year rental of Serge Ibaka, and what makes it worse is that the trades don’t make them a better team. In the year of 2016, the Magic literally shipped away Victor Oladipo, Tobias Harris and a lottery pick in Domantas Sabonis, for a shot blocker who forgot how to block shots in Serge Ibaka and a shot blocker who has no offensive game in Bismack Biyombo. By trading away Oladipo and Harris, it allows space for the backcourt players, Elfrid Payton, Evan Fournier, and Mario Hezonja (wow the magic still have a bright future) to develop but it’ll be interesting to see how new coach, Frank Vogel, fit all his pieces into the puzzle.
Serge Ibaka – Last year, I was torn between picking Ibaka or Rudy Gobert in the second round, and I chose to go with the latter. However, both players ended up falling way below their ADP, so I don’t really feel as bad with my pick (yes, I could’ve done better). Ibaka had a disappointing year, not because of injuries, but because he just wasn’t good enough. He averaged a measly 12.6 points, 6.8 rebounds, 0.8 threes and 1.9 in 32.1 minutes per game. It’s solid but it’s not the Ibak that we used to love back in ‘11 when he averaged 3.7 blocks then. He’s slowly transitioning his game further away from the basket to a catch and shoot player, and the drop in points, rebounds and blocks is proof of this. The change of scenery would definitely benefit Ibaka, as he’s not playing with two ball dominant players in Russell Westbrook and Kevin Durant anymore. Moreover, it’s his contract year and he’s definitely looking to earn a massive paycheck with the salary cap increasing even more next season. I think he’ll get the same amount of minutes, but the Magic will go to him more for a basket especially if he’s on the floor with Biyombo than Nikola Vucevic. Just don’t expect a sudden increase to 17-18 points a game, when 14-15 points is probably more realistic. Yahoo!’s rankings listed him at 25 but Iblocka is not a second-round player anymore, dropping him down to late-third or early-fourth-round would be better.
Nikola Vucevic – With the addition of Bismack Biyombo, the center position for the Magic is up in the air. Nikola Vucevic looks to compete minutes and the starting gig for this coming season. Personally, I feel like it’ll be a three-man rotation between the two spots for Ibaka, Vooch and Bismack, but come opening day, it should be Vooch that starts on the floor. Just because of his polished offensive game, and ability to play the pick and roll or pop game with Elfrid Payton, I think he’ll lock down the center spot. Vooch had a solid season when he was on the floor, averaging 18.2 points, 8.9 rebounds, a career high of 2.8 assists, 0.8 steals and also a career high of 1.1 blocks in 31.4 minutes on the floor. Vooch started to show his defensive prowess by averaging more than a block per game. Having improved his ability to shot block, and pair that up with Ibaka’s shot blocking ability, they can probably handle themselves well enough against the best front courts in the league. The Montenegrin had third-round value last year but heading into this years draft, picking Vooch is risky because you’re picking a player knowing that he’s going to enter in a position battle already at the start of the season. Yahoo! listed him at 50 and I think this is the first time I sort of agree with Yahoo!’s rankings. With the minutes projected to drop, he’ll he’s no longer an early-round pick, instead he’ll be a solid big man in the mid-rounds.
Aaron Gordon – I’m a big Aaron Gordon fan and he got robbed in last year’s dunk contest. In terms of fantasy, it seems like Gordon’s athleticism is still not translating to fantasy production. This year, with the addition of Ibaka playing the 4-spot, it’s putting Gordon out of position at the small forward. I don’t think it’ll hinder his growth but rather he won’t get as many rebounds or blocks at the 3-spot. The reason I say this is because Frank Vogel turned Paul George into something special in Indiana, and I believe that Gordon might actually benefit a lot under Vogel’s guidance. Personally, I think the sky’s the limit for Gordon, he’s raw, he’s young and he has upside. Anything will be better than Scott Skiles as the head coach. Last year, Gordon averaged 9.2 points, 6.5 rebounds, 0.5 threes, 0.8 steals and 0.7 blocks in 23.9 minutes per game. He’s a potential breakout player and with his minutes and usage rate expected to increase, it’s only up to Gordon to grasp that opportunity to elevate his game. So far, Yahoo! ranked him at 90, whilst his ADP is at 94. If Gordon does improve his on-the-ball game, he has top-50 upside and an optimistic projection of his stats should be around 14 points, 8 rebounds and a triple 1 in threes, steals and blocks. If I were you I’d sneak him up a couple rounds earlier.
Evan Fournier – I didn’t expect Fournier to win the starting shooting guard position between Oladipo and him. The Frenchman surprised a lot of owners and probably majority of us slept on him heading into the draft last year. It was recently reported that Fournier “hated” that he was left off the French National team, and I’d like to think that he’ll use this to fuel his fire even more to have an awesome season. In his breakout season last year, Fournier averaged 15.4 points, 2.8 rebounds, 2.7 assists, 2.0 threes and 1.2 steals in 32.5 minutes a game. He also remained healthy and played in 79 games which is a plus. Entering into his fifth-year, Fournier is going to be expected to carry the offensive load for this new Magic team, which is good news for fantasy owners. Currently, everyone is sleeping on Fournier, with his Yahoo! rank at 215 and his ADP at 123. Just last year alone, he managed to have sixth-round value, and I think it’s reasonable to see a replication of that stat line if not better, so I’m probably reaching for him way higher than his ADP, probably 3-4 rounds earlier which makes a solid mid-round pick up.
Elfrid Payton – Between Oladipo and Payton, I didn’t expect Payton would be the one that survived the cut. It feels weird to say this, since it’s only his third year in the league, but it seems like he’s almost reached his ceiling. He’ll have a decent amount of assists, and steals, and not the best free throw shooter you’re going to have, like a Rajon Rondo lite. Last season, he averaged 10.7 points, 3.6 rebounds, 6.4 assists, 0.4 threes and 1.2 steals in 29.4 minutes per game. Apparently, he’s been working on his shot, mid-range, finishing around the rim, but as long as he doesn’t develop a three ball, defenders will sag off him and give him the Rondo treatment. This will cramp up spacing for the Magic and cause some trouble on the offensive end. He’s a solid late-round pick if you’re in need of assists but I’m not expecting a breakout year with Payton. He also finished way off the fantasy radar last year, and his ADP is currently at 107. That’ll probably be around the vicinity of me picking him if I am in desperate need of assists.
Bismack Biyombo – The frontcourt of the magic is a mess, yet you can also call them diverse. If you need defense, you can start Bismack. If you need shooting, leave Bismack on the bench. That’s like the situation he had in Toronto when he’s playing behind Jonas Valanciunas. Last season, he averaged 5.5 points, 8.0 rebounds and 1.6 blocks in 22.1 minutes per game. He doesn’t really affect your percentages because he doesn’t shoot much so his value will come from solely rebounds and blocks. It’s hard to envision his minutes going up in this Magic frontcourt logjam, even if Magic committed to him long-term. If one of the big men goes down, Biyombo will step it up, like he did when Valanciunas missed 2 months last year. He’s a low-end source of rebounds and blocks, but currently in Yahoo! drafts, he’s being drafted at pick 91, which is extremely high. That’s using a seventh-round pick on a Biyombo, in a minute sharing situation. I’d drop him down to a tenth or eleventh-round pick if he’s still there.
- Early-Rounds: Serge Ibaka
- Mid-Rounds:Nikola Vucevic, Aaron Gordon, Evan Fournier
- Late-Round:Elfrid Payton, Bismack Biyombo
- Deep Leagues:DJ Augustin, Mario Hezonja
- Sleepers: Aaron Gordon, Evan Fournier
- Busts:Serge Ibaka, Bismack Biyombo
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