Your fantasy draft is coming soon and you have no idea what happened over the summer. I’m here to help. For the next few weeks at BFantasyHoops, you’re going to see every team’s fantasy preview and outlook for the coming season…You’ll see who I think are the players to aim for and who to avoid. If you’re lazy, you can just scroll down to the TL;DR section. Let’s go up north and see what The 6ix has done this past offseason.
Notable Arrivals: Jared Sullinger (Boston) and some players fighting for the final roster spot
Notable Departures: Bismack Biyombo (Orlando), Luis Scola (Brooklyn), and James Johnson (Miami)
First things first, I would like to say the Raptors in the regular season was entirely different from the Raptors in the playoffs. I didn’t like Coach Casey’s iso-heavy game plan come playoff time, I also didn’t like how he’s restricting Jonas Valanciunas from breaking out. Now that I got that out of the way, they were surprisingly good during the regular season and was comfortably sitting at the second seed for majority of the season. Fantasy wise, a lot will be the same, but I’m really excited for the big man in T-Dot.
DeMar DeRozan – The Raptors heading into this offseason made re-signing DeMar DeRozan their biggest priority to keep their core intact. DeRozan ended last year as the 48th best player according to Basketball Monster. He ended the season with 23.5 points, 4.5 rebounds and 4 assists with a steal per game. His true value comes from the free throws category, where he hits 85% on 8.4 attempts a game, sort of a James Harden lite. His teammate, Kyle Lowry, encourages him to shoot from range, but he’s only been hitting 0.6 threes per game, so if you’re punting threes on your team, his value will skyrocket up. He’s a solid pick for fourth-fifth round value.
Kyle Lowry – Skinny Lowry amazed people in fantasy last year, as he ended the year with first round value. The two-time all-star’s numbers was immense, 21.2 points, 4.7 boards, 6.4 dimes, 2.1 steals and 2.8 treys in 37 minutes a game! Him and DeRozan is expected to carry the load on the offensive end again this year in a relatively stronger Eastern Conference. They were the second seed by the end of the regular season, but this year they’re going up against some tough competition in their own division with Boston making some major acquisitions. Games are going to be more competitive for The North this year, but having been to the playoffs and knowing what it takes to be successful there, they might lower Lowry’s minutes just a bit to give him some legs for the playoffs. He’ll still be good for you in an early second round pick but I think it’s a little bit of a reach if he ends up as the top 10 pick.
Jonas Valanciunas – Is this finally the year Jonas Valanciunas breaks out (again)? It’s been the same question every year for the Lithuanian big man. He only averaged 26 minutes a game last year, which was the lowest compared to the previous two years (26.2 and 28.2). However, he had a career high of 12.8 points and 9.1 rebounds in the 60 games he played. Even though it was his career high, we all expected a little more out of the center right? This year, the center position is finally all his, no more Bismack Biyombo, meaning no need to share minutes. Unless Lucas Nogueira suddenly makes a leap, which is unlikely. I expect big things from JV this year and he should see an increase in usage rate and minutes. Then again, it’s been said for the past three years. Valanciunas ended the year with 5th round value last year, and I’m big on him this season. He would be solid for fourth round pick. If JV’s minutes don’t hike up, Dwane Casey is going to hear it from the whole of Lithuania.
DeMarre Carroll – DeMarre Carroll was a disappointment to the fantasy owners who used a draft pick on him. Before his big time move to the Raptors, he was Jae Crowder before Jae Crowder had his excellent season last year. But because of injuries that only made him play 26 games, he couldn’t bounce back to the Carroll that we all loved when he was in Atlanta. He’s going to play a vital part for the Raptors to be successful this year as he’s going to have the responsibility to defend the opposing team’s best scorer. If he can remain healthy next year, we’re going to see the DeMarre Carroll of old, and he might slip under a lot of people’s radar when it’s time to draft. He’s worth a seventh or eighth round pick right now, which would be a little bit higher than his ADP but peak Carroll in 2014-15 season had fifth round value, so sniping him off then is worth a risk. I’d put him in your watch list if I were you.
Jared Sullinger – Sully was disappointing in Boston’s playoff run last season. He’s still overweight, and not much has changed about his game. He luckily signed a one-year contract with the Raptors this offseason and hopefully it’ll give him a shot at redemption. In a contract year again, and the change in environment, it should give him motivation for him to do well this season. I wouldn’t mind taking a late-round flier on Sully in hopes of him playing minutes a game. He’s a good source of points, rebounds, steals and the occasional three. He’s going to share minutes with Patrick Patterson and both of them are kind of similar in terms of play style with Sullinger having the higher upside.
- Early-Rounds: Kyle Lowry, Jonas Valanciunas
- Middle-Rounds: DeMar DeRozan, DeMarre Carroll
- Late-Rounds: Jared Sullinger
- Deep League: Norman Powell, Patrick Patterson
- Sleepers: DeMarre Carroll
- Busts: DeMar DeRozan
Come back soon for the previews of the remaining teams in the NBA. Meanwhile, you can also hit me up @bfantasyhoops on Twitter!