As we rapidly approach the start of the 2017 NBA season, I simply couldn’t wait to write-up some solid NBA DFS content. With opening night right around the corner, I have prepared the very first JaguarLou NBA Preview article to briefly discuss some of the more noteworthy off-season moves and how these moves are going to affect your DFS strategy to start the 2017 NBA season. Let’s go one by one:
Houston Rockets receive: Chris Paul
L.A Clippers receive: Patrick Beverley, Lou Williams, Sam Dekker, DeAndre Liggins, Montrezl Harrell, Danilo Gallinari (separate trade)
Despite the quantity of solid depth that the Clippers received in this trade, I believe the Houston Rockets benefit in a much more significant way. Chris Paul starting with James Harden, Trevor Ariza and Ryan Anderson is going to create a lot of fantasy goodness but who benefits the most? It’s easy to say, “Pair up Chris Paul with James Harden, Paul will dish out 15+ assists a game and Harden will be scoring 30+ a game off Paul’s assist.” I Can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard that, thanks for the sneaky pick! The real question is, how does this change in personnel create value? The answer, Ryan Anderson. Ryan Anderson did not perform to his potential but still impressed in his first season with the Houston Rockets. It’s not that his numbers were horrible, because they weren’t. In fact, a lot of his stats remained consistent from the year before when he played for the New Orleans Pelicans. His minutes remained consistent at roughly 30.0 mpg, his FG% dropped slightly from .427 to .418 and his 3PT% slightly increased to .403. Nothing too major. The only noticeable change was a decrease in his shot attempts, which will happen when you join a team with James Harden who last season averaged 18.9 FGA/game. James Harden was forced to take on most of the point guard work himself last season and I don’t think that this was what the Rockets wanted. I think they were forced to put Harden in this role due to a lack of production from their other point guards. Now this off-season they go out and get the point guard of all point guards, Chris Paul. Chris Paul was brought onto this team for one main reason, to facilitate the ball. Yes, he’s getting up there in age but with Paul’s clearly defined role as a facilitator, I believe Coach Mike D’Antoni uses the 32-year-old future Hall of Famer in a smart yet effective way to where I don’t think age becomes a factor just yet. In the most prolonged way possible, my overall point is that I believe the addition of Chris Paul benefits one main player, Ryan Anderson. Anderson has been in the NBA nine years and has consistently produced in whatever situation he’s been put into. After being traded to the powerhouse Houston Rockets in 2016, I predicted an all-star season for Ryan Anderson. I had been watching him for years and knew that a talented big man who could also shoot the three would thrive on a high scoring team like the Rockets…Things didn’t quite work out this way for a variety of reasons but with Chris Paul running the point, I’m going back to the well and predicting that Ryan Anderson will be in store for his best season yet. With James Harden no longer responsible for running the point, he can now play the two guard and do what he does best…score! Opposing teams around the league are going to have to pick their poison – Doubling Harden, pressuring Chris Paul, these strategies always leave someone unaccounted for and/or mismatched. I firmly believe Ryan Anderson (and Trevor Ariza for that matter) benefit most from the addition of Chris Paul. Chris Paul is currently a pass first point guard – with Ryan Anderson’s natural skill set, it’s only a matter of time before Paul’s pass first mentality gives the three-point shooting forward massively productive games.
**I got so amped up writing about Anderson, I forgot that I wanted to briefly mention Clint Capela. With Montrezl Harrell getting traded to the Clippers, Houston management is making a statement and that statement is, Clint Capela is our Center. Capela should be in for a productive season benefiting from the pick and roll that Chris Paul has perfected throughout his 12 years in the league. Montrezl Harrell and Clint Capela sharing minutes last season hurt both players overall production but now with Montrezl Harrell in Los Angeles, expect major numbers from Houston’s Primary big man, Clint Capela.**
Putting aside the obvious notion that Blake Griffin’s usage will increase becoming the Clippers main offensive option, I wanted to briefly mention Danilo Gallinari. Gallinari is a great addition to this team and is complimented well by the players around him. Starting at Small Forward, I believe Danilo Gallinari can put up big numbers in the early going as opposing teams will most likely be concerned with limiting Blake Griffin and DeAndre Jordan inside the paint. Losing Chris Paul is tough but Patrick Beverly isn’t a scrub. Gallinari has always been capable of accumulating a variety of fantasy relevant stats – Los Angeles might be the perfect place for him to showcase these capabilities, especially with Chris Paul no longer the focal point of this offense.
Boston Celtics receive: Kyrie Irving
Cleveland Cavaliers receive: Isaiah Thomas, Jae Crowder, Ante Zizic
This could very well be considered the most controversial trade of the off season. Isaiah Thomas, in the last year of his contract gets sent to Cleveland to try and replace one of the most talented players in the NBA, Kyrie Irving. Putting aside my own bias opinions about this trade, I believe the affect this trade will have on the Daily Fantasy Sports world is pretty cut and dry. I am fully expecting Kyrie Irving to make it his business to show everyone who “won” this trade as early on as possible. Boston fans might gather outside my house with flaming pitch forks after I say this but I truly believe Boston clearly got the better deal here. In terms of raw skill, Isaiah Thomas doesn’t even come close to the talents Kyrie Irving possesses. Not to mention, Isaiah Thomas is constantly targeted to create matchup problems due to his size. Yes, Jae Crowder is a great team player and it sucks to see such a smart/physical player get traded as an add on but it was the right move. With Gordon Heyward taking over the Small Forward position and Kyrie Irving running the point, Boston becomes a realistic championship contender. The Celtics also have some talented younger players like, Marcus Smart & Jaylen Brown, who last year were fighting for time but should be able to rack up more minutes this season. With the additions of Marcus Morris and Jayson Tatum as well as Al Horford continuing to hold it down inside the paint, I am expecting Boston’s off-season moves to pay off in a big way. NBA DFS is all about matchups, player usage and injury reports. Understand that this article is not just me saying play Kyrie because it’s just not that simple. Every game is different and it’s up to you to know these teams and find the mismatches. Just remember, narratives are always something to keep in mind. Kyrie Irving should come out of the gates red-hot, for no other reason than to show Lebron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers what they lost.
As for the Cavs, I expect Lebron James and Kevin Love’s usage rate to go through the roof. Kyrie Irving attempted 1,420 field goals last season. These shots need to go somewhere. Assuming J.R. Smith has a slightly larger role, there is still a major void in this offense. Until Isaiah Thomas proves himself on the Cavs, my only DFS decision when contemplating who to roster on Cavaliers will most likely be, whether (or not) to pay up for Lebron James and Kevin Love. And believe me, if this usage uptick goes the way I think it’s going to, you will be paying through the roof for these guys.
Oklahoma City Thunder receive: Paul George, Carmelo Anthony
Indiana Pacers receive: Victor Oladipo, Domantas Sabonis
Oklahoma City Thunder
The Oklahoma City Thunder made the biggest splash this off season acquiring Paul George and Carmelo Anthony to complement Russel Westbrook in attempts to defeat the most elite NBA teams. Okay, let’s start by mentioning that I am one of the world’s most pathetic creatures…a Knicks fan. So, it’s hard for me to be overly confident in the NBA’s newest “Big 3” when Carmelo Anthony is a big part of their potential success. Obviously, I think they’ll be fine and make the playoffs simply because they have so much talent. I’m just trying to figure out how this is going to work. Similar to when Demarcus Cousins joined Anthony Davis and the New Orleans Pelicans, Oklahoma City will have their growing pains, I can guarantee that. In terms of DFS, I recommend holding off on some of these new “Big 3” teams until you see what their trying to do. Yes, these players will all put up big numbers at some point throughout the season, that’s not hard to predict. The difficult part is understanding when and why “value players” exceed value. With that said, value players who I’m expecting to benefit from the arrival of Paul George and Carmelo Anthony are Steven Adams and Andre Roberson. Although there are clearly be less shots to go around, Adams and Roberson don’t necessary need to score to exceed fantasy value. Both Roberson and Adams accumulate most of their fantasy points on the defensive side of the court. By allowing Anthony, Westbrook and George to take on most of the offensive responsibilities, players like Roberson and Adams can focus on what they do best which are steals, blocks, rebounds etc. I’m not saying they won’t be involved in the offense, I’m just saying under their current industry salaries, I’m expecting them to significantly exceed value in the right matchups.
In DFS it’s important to differentiate between something that’s bad for a team’s pursuit of a Championship and something that’s bad for fantasy stats. Obviously, the Pacers were affected in a negative way after Paul George’s departure but oddly enough in terms of DFS, the Indiana Pacers now have multiple players who will have the opportunity to produce in a big way without Paul George’s 18.0 FGA/game. When I look at this updated pacer roster I see Victor Oladipo scoring a ton while racking up steals and rebounds. I see Myles Turner, Bojan Bogdanovic and Thaddeus Young all getting increased shot attempts…I see fantasy goodness. Like I said before, I don’t expect them to win the division, maybe not even make the playoffs, all I’m saying is, there are talented players on this Pacers team – all of which now have an increased roll without Paul George and his 1,348 FG attempts last season. Monitor this Pacer team in the first few weeks, they could realistically supply multiple low-owned, cheap GPP plays on a consistent basis.
Good luck to all for the upcoming 2017 NBA DFS season. I look forward to proving you with expert GPP analysis, allowing you to learn how to take down some of these NBA GPP Tournaments.