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 Eastern Conference with the previous post on the Washington Wizards. This time we’re heading to the Oakland.
Notable Arrivals: Kevin Durant (Oklahoma City), Zaza Pachulia (Dallas), David West (San Antonio), JaVale McGee (Dallas), Damian Jones (rookie), Patrick McCaw (rookie)
Notable Departures: Harrison Barnes (Dallas), Andrew Bogut (Dallas), Leandro Barbosa (Phoenix), Festus Ezeli (Portland), Marreese Speights (Los Angeles), Brandon Rush (Minnesota)
Golden State Warriors is probably the most talked about team this offseason and weirdly, the team everyone wants to beat even though they came off a disappointing loss in the finals. You should probably know this by now but one of the top-3 players in the league just joined the team who won 73 games, and has the back-to-back regular season MVP. On paper, the starting line up looks sexy as hell but what’s overlooked is the lack of depth on the Dub’s bench. In order to acquire Kevin Durant’s services, the Warriors gave up a lot of key role players that played an integral role the success that they had. Let’s see what kind of impact Kevin Durant will bring to other players on the team fantasy wise.
Quick note before we dive in to the players. People are talking about how the Warriors are going to blow a lot of teams out and they’ll rest players come fourth quarters a lot of the times. Firstly, the Warriors are going to experience some team chemistry issues at the early stages of the season. Integrating a big piece like Kevin Durant will take some time for them to gel. Hence, they’re not going to start 24-0 like they did last season. Secondly, the Dubs’ bench is undeniably a lot thinner compared to last year. I don’t see them maintaining leads and outscoring opposing team’s second units as much. Thirdly, Coach Steve Kerr is likely going to stagger the minutes of the core four of Curry, Durant, Green and Thompson. Meaning that in 48 minutes of play, Kerr would try to have at least two All-Stars on the court at the same time. Last but not least, when Warriors are trucking through teams by at least 20-30 points, the main players already padded their stats. Players like Durant, Curry or Thompson are not going to beat teams by 30 points if they each scored 15. They’re the main source of points in this Dubs team and they’ll probably reach their averages before getting taken out.
Stephen Curry – The first unanimous regular season MVP was clearly the best fantasy player last year, head and shoulders above everyone else. According to Basketball Monster, he had a league value of 1.27 in 9-cat leagues while the second best player was Kevin Durant with 0.87 league value. Just to let you have a little perspective, Curry was the best player in the league at points, steals, threes and field goal percent to volume ratio. That’s four categories out of eight or nine categories that you play with. Also he’s not bad in assists and free throws. However, the question that everyone’s asking is whether you should draft Curry as your number one pick this year. Curry is going to take a dip in points and a tiny drop in threes but with a player like Durant coming in, Curry is going to be even more efficient (if that’s even possible). I don’t think the hit will be as large as everyone anticipates and it’s definitely not a 0.40 drop in value if you use Basketball Monster’s rankings. Furthermore, I’m not really considering Westbrook as my top pick because you can mark down a loss in turnovers week-in-week-out and he could also be detrimental to your field goal percentage. The gap between number 1 and 2 is definitely closer this year and you can definitely make a case for James Harden or Anthony Davis but it’s still Chef Curry for me.
Kevin Durant – Kevin Durant jumped ship and decided to join the team that beat them in the playoffs. This caused a lot of stir in the NBA world, but it actually impacted the fantasy world quite a lot as well. The seven-time All-Star was the second best fantasy player last year, right behind his new teammate Curry. He came back healthy after having multiple foot surgeries and reminded everyone around the league why he was considered as the best player in the league a couple of years ago. Last year, Durant averaged 28.2 points, 8.2 rebounds, 5.0 assists along with 2.6 treys, 0.9 steals, 1.2 blocks and 3.5 turnovers. It’s safe to say that Durant’s shot attempts are going to take a slight hit, maybe a shot or two less than his OKC days but joining better players and shooters around him is going to make his game even more efficient as it already is. He’s also going to take a dip in assists as the Dubs don’t need Durant to be the point forward to make plays for his teammates as Draymond Green and Curry will be in charge of that. Defensively, I believe Durant would increase his blocks total this year while playing the four a lot more. We all witnessed his defensive ability in the playoffs this year, and the two-way game that Durant has developed is going to play a big part for the Warriors’ chance to win the chip this year. He’s my fourth overall pick right behind Westbrook and James Harden.
Draymond Green – Draymond Green had himself a breakout year, averaging a career high in points (14.0), rebounds (9.4), assists (7.4), and blocks (1.4). His ability to find teammates and make plays at the top of the key was crucial to Warriors success this season. This coming year, he’s another player on the Warriors who’s going to take a hit in points and shot attempts. It’s not going to impact Green’s value as his contribution comes from rebounds, assists, steals, blocks and the occasional three. His defense is going to be crucial for the Dubs this year as they lost their anchor in Andrew Bogut and hopefully this will translate into more defensive stats for Green. His ADP and Yahoo! rank is at 17 and 16 respectively. As long as Draymond doesn’t snapchat his private parts to me, I’ll be fine drafting him in the second round this year.
Klay Thompson – Klay Thompson might be the one with most to lose in terms of fantasy production this year. In an interview he did with Shams Charania of The Vertical, Thompson said “I’m not sacrificing shit, because my game isn’t changing. I’m still going to try to get buckets, hit shots, come off screens. I want to win and have a fun time every game we play.” Let’s be realistic Klay, even if you’re not calling it “sacrifice”, you’re still going to lose some shots and that’s where your fantasy value stems from. Last year, Thompson averaged 22.1 points, 3.8 rebounds, 2.1 assists with 3.5 threes, 0.8 steals and 0.6 blocks per game. He had 17.3 shots per game and made them at 47.0 percent rate. To put it in perspective, he had more shot attempts than players like Kyrie Irving, Jimmy Butler and Kawhi Leonard. Thompson is going to take a couple of shots less, maybe at 15 shots per game but like Durant and Curry, he’s also going to be more efficient and shooting it better from the field. He probably won’t hit 22 points every night, rather dropping that down to just below 20 points per game seems more realistic. He’s still going to light it up once in a while and win you threes singlehandedly that week. His ADP and Yahoo! rank is at 22 and 23 respectively which is at the end of the second-round in 12-team leagues. That’s a little bit too high for me and I have him right at the third-round.
- Early–Rounds: Stephen Curry, Kevin Durant, Draymond Green, Klay Thompson
- Mid–Rounds: None
- Late–Rounds: None
- Deep-Leagues: Andre Iguodala, Zaza Pachulia
- Busts: None
- Sleepers: None
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