The fantasy basketball season is almost here and it’s time for you to do some preparation 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 and the previous post on the Golden State Warriors. This time we’re heading to the Lob City.
Notable Arrivals: Raymond Felton (Dallas), Brandon Bass (Los Angeles), Marreese Speights (Golden State) and Alan Anderson (Washington),
Notable Departures: Jeff Green (Orlando), Pablo Prigioni (Houston) and Cole Aldrich (Minnesota)
It was a rather unfortunate season for the Clippers last year. Their window of opportunity to take down the Warriors was shut because of injuries. Heading into this coming season, the Clippers are sticking with their Chris Paul-Blake Griffin-DeAndre Jordan core for probably one last season. If the Clippers struggle to remain in contention in the first half of the season, I wouldn’t be surprised of trade rumours surrounding Paul and Griffin. Fantasy wise, the outlook of the players will probably look similar to last year. Let’s go!
Chris Paul – Paul had to do majority of the carrying when Griffin was out last season. He ended the year as the sixth best fantasy player in 9-cat, averaging 19.5 points, 4.2 rebounds and 10.0 assists. He also contributed 1.6 threes, 2.0 steals and 2.6 turnovers. Paul was his usual efficient self as well, shooting 46.2 percent from the field and 89.6 percent from the charity stripes. Apart from blocks, he’s able to contribute to all categories from a point guard position. The 31-year old averaged 33 minutes per game even when Griffin was out for more than half the season. His minutes won’t take a dramatic dip as the Clips don’t really have a solid second unit or a solid secondary ball handler that’s not named Jamal Crawford or Austin Rivers. He’s hovering around the eighth pick in drafts but you can really make a case for drafting Paul on the sixth pick. Point guards with elite assists, steals with low turnovers are hard to find in this year’s drafts, which makes Paul really valuable.
Blake Griffin – Although Griffin missed out on 47 games last year, I’m not ready to put an injury prone label on him. However, I’m still not a fan of Blake’s fantasy game. In the 35 games he played, Griffin averaged 21.4 points on 49.9 percent from the field and 72.7 percent from the free throw line. He also had 8.4 rebounds, 4.9 assists to go along with 0.2 threes, 0.8 steals, 0.5 blocks and 2.4 turnovers per game. He’s an elite scorer and passer in his position. He somehow improved his free throws and is not detrimental to that category anymore. However, what concerns me is his rebounding numbers. He’s no longer an elite rebounder that could rival against the likes of Kevin Love back in the day. He averaged 12.1 rebounds per game but after six years in the league, that number has dropped to 8.4. Furthermore, his lack of threes, steals and blocks really turns me off. What confuses me still is how Griffin’s athleticism doesn’t translate into blocks or steals. His ADP and Yahoo! rank is hovering around the 27th pick. If you’re drafting him, be aware of trade talks as Griffin is probably the first player that they might trade away if the Clips don’t look good. Personally I have him a lot lower, as he’s only a popcorn-stat stuffer. If you need some solid assists that’s not in a point guard spot, Griffin is your man, as long as he doesn’t punch anyone and break his hand again.
DeAndre Jordan – Is it me or does it seem like Jordan was in the shadow of Hassan Whiteside last year. He still had himself a solid year, averaging 12.7 points, 13.8 boards, 2.3 blocks and 0.7 steals. He shot 70.3 percent from the field and 43.0 percent from the charity stripe. He’s second in the league in rebounds and blocks, right behind Andre Drummond and Whiteside. Jordan was the fifth best player for a punt free throw team, trailing Stephen Curry, Whiteside, Anthony Davis and Kevin Durant. We all know about Jordan’s ability to contribute in rebounds and blocks. People also know about his super high field goal percentage as majority of his shots are dunks. However, with 6.6 field goal attempts per game, how much value does he actually bring to the field goal department? According to Basketball Monster, in terms of field goal percent-volume, Jordan leads the league by a comfortable margin to Whiteside. He also has low turnovers, making him an elite player in four categories. It’s hard to compare Jordan to his ADP and rankings because they’re mainly for 9-cat. If you’re punting free throws, he should probably be drafted way ahead of his ADP, probably in the third-round. If you’re not punting free throws, stay away from him even if you see him still available in the draft.
J.J. Redick – My favourite podcast to listen to is definitely Redick’s. I definitely suggest you to give it a listen to if you have the time. Anyways, Redick’s podcast outlook seems better than his fantasy outlook for this season. He had himself a solid year, averaging 16.3 points on 48.0 percent shooting and 88.8 percent from the line. He also had 2.7 threes at a ridiculous 47.5 percent from range (leads the league with at least 150 attempts). That’s about it with Redick and that’s all you’re going to get. He basically has no contribution to anything else. He’s 32-years old and heading into his 11th season, his outlook doesn’t really brighten at all with the return of Austin Rivers and Jamal Crawford. It’s hard to see J.J. hit his threes at such an absurd rate again this year. He finished the year with sixth-round value in 9-cat but that’s only because of his low turnovers. His ADP is hovering around the 92nd pick, which is right around where I would want to draft him, but if there are better available options for other statistical categories, you might want to prioritise that first as triples are the easiest stats to find in the waiver wire.
Deep Leagues – The only fantasy relevant players that’s only worth picking in the deep leagues is Wesley Johnson and Jamal Crawford in that order. Johnson might not be the starter on opening night, but he’s able to provide fantasy production in limited minutes. Johnson only averaged 20.8 minutes per game but he was able to average 1.3 triples, 1.1 steals and 0.7 blocks. He’s a triple-one threat, which is a definite asset for deep-league teams. Jamal Crawford won the sixth man of the year for his third time even though he didn’t play that well last year. It’s pretty obvious Crawford is at his decline, especially now that he’s 36-years of age. He’s still a good streamer or a deep-league flier if you need a source of points and threes, but he’ll hurt you in other categories.
- Early–Rounds: Chris Paul, Blake Griffin
- Mid–Rounds: DeAndre Jordan
- Late–Rounds: J.J. Redick
- Deep-Leagues: Wesley Johnson, Jamal Crawford
- Busts: Blake Griffin, Jamal Crawford
- Sleepers: None
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