As we settle into Week 4 of the NBA season, it’s clear that some things in the league are going very differently than expected. The Warriors are struggling, to begin with. And the rebuilding Jazz is near the top of the Western Conference standings. All of this, and the players behind it, have a huge impact on fantasy basketball.
So what would our fantasy basketball pundits do if they could reformulate their teams today?
Here are Andre Snellings, Eric Moody, Eric Karabell and Jim McCormick to offer their biggest draft day shakeups.
In the War Room league, in the 3rd round, I hoped one of Darius Garland, Jalen Brunson or Paul George would fall on me. I even had Julius Randle in my lineup, thinking it would be a rebound season for him, and with the 7th pick in the third round of a 14-team league, he would have been invaluable. Of course, my queue emptied before my choice, and I was stuck watching Kawhi Leonard.
I don’t usually pick Leonard because even when healthy he sits around 1/4 games for load management. That’s what I expected of him this season, 16 months after his ACL surgery. But, after taking a solid but unspectacular player in the second round (DeMar DeRozan, the pick after taking LeBron James), I swung for the upside fences.
Of course, Kawhi is still struggling with his knee and it’s unclear if/when he’ll be able to regain even his 75% of games status at around full strength. Also, two picks after taking Kawhi, Donovan Mitchell went. I thought Mitchell would lose value this season playing on such a deep and talented Cavs team…and he’s likely to slow down a bit, since Darius Garland is back now…but Mitchell has been one fastest in my ranking. this week because his production has been so stellar. With Kawhi struggling, my team got off to an 0-3 start. Had I taken Mitchell over Kawhi, I might be 3-0 down, and I’d definitely be looking at a more positive outlook going forward. — Snelling
Find a way to get SGA, Fox and Banchero
The first thing that comes to mind is to prioritize Shai Gilgeous-Alexander in fantasy drafts. He already has five games with a fantastic 65 or more points this season. De’Aaron Fox also exceeded expectations with 26.5 PPG, 5.4 RPG, and 4.8 APG, showing a significantly improved jump shot.
Another name I wish I had jumped at the chance to get – Paolo Banchero. He should have been an exception to my rule of not reaching fantasy basketball rookies. Banchero recently became just the second Magic rookie to average 30 points and 10 rebounds over a two-game span, joining Shaquille O’Neal (1992-93). There is no doubt that these three players exceed their ADP expectations. — Moody
Don’t be shy about Shai
I would like to be more daring in pursuing Gilgeous-Alexander in the drafts. I had mentioned during a pre-season roundtable that the fade was probably too strong for the tanking teams and especially for “SGA”, as a vague knee ailment cast doubt on his start to the season. It’s clear that Gilgeous-Alexander is a statistical superstar, confirmed by his third-place finish in the Player Rater overall. Likewise, those who have boldly invested in the theoretically linked lottery rosters like Utah and Orlando have been rewarded. — McCormick
Jazz it up
I would have invested more in a few Utah Jazz players. Lauri Markkanen burned me a few seasons back in the Bulls days because I thought he could hit enough 3-pointers to average 20 PPG. What’s interesting here is that he hits less at 3-pointers, but gets so many shots that it works, and he bounces more. It seems legit. With Mike Conley it’s usually games played, but I like that he’s more of a playmaker – he’s never averaged 7 APG! — and less shooter. And who knew Jordan Clarkson could average 5 APG. Might as well be a hollow fancy option. — Karabell