Fantasy basketball roundtable – Will Zion cut into Jonas’ production, what to do about John Wall, and other big questions

by Msnbctv news staff


Our workforce of fantasy consultants — Eric Karabell, Andre Snelllings, Eric Moody and Jim McCormick — bought collectively to go over among the greatest questions presently swirling around the globe of fantasy basketball.

Here is what they needed to say about Zion Williamson, John Wall and different scorching matters across the league.


Jonas Valanciunas is ranked No. 9 on ESPN’s Participant Rater — one spot forward of Giannis Antetokounmpo — and is off to an important begin this season. How a lot do you anticipate his manufacturing being impacted as soon as Zion Williamson returns?

Karabell: I suppose the primary query I might have there may be when is Zion coming back from his foot harm and will we anticipate he can keep on the courtroom the remainder of the season? I’m a bit skeptical, particularly with the Pelicans off to such a brutal begin and prone to take no probabilities. Certain, Valanciunas appears unlikely to attain and rebound at fairly this charge with Zion round, however he would in all probability shoot a a lot better share from the sector with him, too. I’m not panicking if I roster Valanciunas. I believe he stays a top-30 fantasy possibility.

Snellings: If Zion returns at full energy, Valanciunas’ scoring must drop. Maybe significantly. Final season, Zion (17.0 FGA, 8.7 FTA) and Ingram (18.0 FGA, 5.2 FTA) mixed to make use of nearly 42 shot possessions per sport whereas beginning middle Steven Adams (5.3 FGA, 2.3 FTA) used simply over six. Presently, Valanciunas (14.4 FGA, 3.8 FTA) is using about 16 shot possessions to generate his 19.3 PPG. It would not be shocking if his photographs and factors drop by as a lot as a 3rd. His different numbers, together with rebounds, ought to keep sturdy.

McCormick: Adams was among the many league leaders in rebounding probabilities final 12 months, so the difficulty would not come on the glass. The important thing concern is what number of submit touches and post-ups Williamson will demand as soon as he is again; Valanciunas presently paces the workforce with 5.8 post-ups per sport, nobody else has greater than 1.1. Williamson demanded 4.8 final 12 months, with nobody else on the roster topping 1.7. Can a contemporary NBA offense afford two gamers with top-10 post-up charges? They may simply need to. I am a believer given Valanciunas is posting very comparable manufacturing to his numbers with Memphis.

Moody: The largest influence Williamson may have on Valanciunas is the variety of area objectives he makes an attempt. Presently, he averages 14.4, however Williamson will scale back that. Since Williamson has barely performed middle within the NBA, it might be shocking to see Valanciunas’ minutes lower. Valanciunas contributes to so many different statistical areas that he can stay a beneficial fantasy participant.

At this level of the season, which participant/gamers have been the largest disappointment (not counting injured gamers)?

McCormick: It is clear New York’s RJ Barrett is struggling to construct on final 12 months’s breakout; the shot is not falling and each his minutes and defensive charges have dipped. I am extra involved with Chris Boucher, nevertheless, who went from league-swaying shot-blocking power final season to only 13.6 MPG this 12 months. It is comprehensible to lose confidence in Boucher on condition that his coach already has as properly.

Snellings: I might say the largest disappointments have been Boucher, Kemba Walker and Marvin Bagley III. All three appeared to have the potential to supply massive seasons, and all three have fallen nearly fully out of their respective rotations as coaches selections. I drafted every of them in at the least one league, they usually’ve been wasted picks.

Karabell: One thing is clearly incorrect with Sacramento’s backcourt, and it can’t be rookie Davion Mitchell’s fault. De’Aaron Fox is capturing 25% on 3-pointers. Yikes! His assists are down from 7.2 to five.8. Double yikes! The scoring dip is a bit anticipated, and explainable to poor capturing and fewer quantity. We’d have assumed Tyrese Haliburton was consuming into Fox’s manufacturing, however he’s not! Can this all be concerning the Kings’ teaching? This model of Fox is properly outdoors the highest 50 on our Rater, and he might keep there. Each he and Haliburton regarded much better final season.

Moody: Boucher stands out to me. Regardless of enjoying simply 24.2 minutes an evening, he averaged career-highs final season, together with 13.6 PPG (on 51.4% capturing), 6.7 RPG, 1.1 APG, 1.5 3PG, 0.6 SPG and 1.9 BPG. Moreover enjoying at the least 20 minutes in solely three video games this season, Boucher has performed 10 minutes or fewer eight instances, with all of his stats from final season down significantly. It is arduous to belief him in lineups proper now.

Who’s one participant you might be relying on to extend their manufacturing throughout the closing ¾ of the season?

Moody: It is Cade Cunningham for me. Whereas he solely performed one season at Oklahoma State, there have been considerations over his area objective share (43.8%) and his turnover charge (4.0). Nonetheless, Cunningham has steadily improved with every sport within the NBA and has the talent set to contribute in a number of statistical classes corresponding to steals and blocks. In an analogous method to LaMelo Ball final season, he might be a difference-maker for the remainder of the season.

Karabell: Cunningham isn’t going to shoot 33% from the sector for for much longer, and when he begins capturing extra mid-range jumpers and fewer from 3-point vary, we’ll see it. Oh, we will even see nightly threats with triple-doubles as a result of Cunningham is a easy, good participant able to incredible numbers if we’re affected person. Look, Luka Doncic averaged 21 PPG, 7.8 RPG and 6.0 APG as a rookie. Cunningham can do an approximation of this, and we must always anticipate an enormous second half.

Snellings: It is a five-way battle royal between James Harden, Damian Lillard, Jayson Tatum, Bradley Beal and Fox. The league rule modifications appear to have an actual, official influence on quantity perimeter scorers and these are 5 that appear to be most hard-hit. I might say Tatum is most certainly of this group to enhance essentially the most, as a result of along with his measurement and athletic means he ought to be capable to drive/function within the paint sufficient to get his sport working nearer to regular ranges within the new guidelines surroundings.

McCormick: I will guess it is pretty apparent that Tatum goes to appropriate to his profession capturing charges and revive his fantasy worth. A extra fascinating nomination could be Jaren Jackson Jr, who has seen a large 6.8% leap in utilization charge with Morant off the ground. “JJJ” is averaging a wild 26.1 factors, 8.4 boards, and 4 blocks per 36 minutes with Morant off the ground this 12 months — suggesting he would possibly simply ship star manufacturing whereas tasked because the workforce’s chief.

How optimistic are you about John Wall returning to the Rockets lineup and returning to fantasy relevance?

Snellings: I’ve zero optimism that we’ll ever see Wall play in a Rockets lineup once more. I believe that ship has sailed. Nonetheless, there’ve been some social media rumblings {that a} workforce just like the Knicks may be taken with buying and selling their out-of-the-rotation star guard Walker for Wall. If that sort of deal materializes, I might see Wall getting enjoying time for a workforce making an attempt to compete now that is not in full-on rebuild. However I’ve bother seeing the circumstances that will get him again on the courtroom for the Rockets.

McCormick: Jalen Inexperienced, Christian Wooden, and Kevin Porter Jr. are younger, high-usage constructing blocks. The framing from the entrance workplace is that Wall could be a complementary piece to a younger core, intimating it isn’t a roster designed to be younger gamers constructed round Wall. Essentially the most optimistic path is Wall assuming a Derrick Rose-like perch because the resident bench microwave who perhaps carves actual fourth quarter fairness. I am not so optimistic Wall adapts or thrives as Rose has, nevertheless it’s possible the one viable path to fantasy relevance.

Moody: For my part, there is no such thing as a optimism since Wall and the Rockets aren’t aligned concerning his position on the workforce ought to he play. Houston is presently within the midst of a youth motion, and it’s unlikely that Wall will probably be traded given his contract with two years and $91 million remaining.

Karabell: I might be stunned if Wall performs once more for the Rockets. Frankly, I believe it will be an important massive tie in NBA video games performed this 2021-22 season between Wall, Kyrie Irving, Ben Simmons, Kawhi Leonard, Mookie Betts, Alex Ovechkin and also you and me. Yep, I went there. (Jamal Murray will play in March, nevertheless.) I simply don’t see why the Rockets would hassle with Wall. He’s not a part of their future. Maybe they discover one other workforce keen to provide him an opportunity, and that workforce will discover he ought to grow to be a job participant at this level. Good luck.



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