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2017-18 Fantasy Basketball Rankings

RotoWire's fantasy basketball rankings for the 2017-18 NBA season.

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1.
James Harden 
Houston Rockets  PG / SF / SG / G / F

2017-18 Proj:   80 G   36.9 MIN   27.7 PTS  6.8 REB  7.6 AST  1.5 STL  0.5 BLK  3.4 3PT  

Harden is coming off one of the most memorable seasons in recent memory. While teams across the league were resting star players to keep them fresh, Harden had no intention of sitting out and instead played in 81 of the 82 regular-season games. Nearly averaging a triple-double, Harden finished with 29.1 points, 8.1 rebounds and 11.2 assists per game, while also picking up 1.5 steals on the defensive end. He finished second in the league in points and first in assists, while also posting personal bests in points, assists and rebounds for his career. His three-point shooting did tumble in terms of percentage, as he shot just 34.7 percent from deep, which was a career-low. However, he took a whopping 9.3 three-pointers per game and hit an average of 3.2, which still made him a fantastic source of threes. While in the past this sort of season would likely have made Harden a unanimous choice for league MVP honors, Russell Westbrook ended up taking that crown, as he completed the season long triple-double average. Still, Harden was invited to his fifth straight All-Star game, he picked up his third All-NBA First Team honors and was a finalist for league MVP alongside Westbrook and Kawhi Leonard. Looking forward to 2017-18, the Rockets could have an adjustment period early on. They made a big splash and traded for Chris Paul, who should immediately jump into the starting lineup at point guard and push Harden to shooting guard. Harden is likely to see his ball-handling responsibilities decline in response to adding another playmaker and that means his assists per game should take a hit. It could be tough for him to match his rebounding numbers as well, but don't expect Paul's presence to stop Harden from being one of the league's elite scorers. Harden is still going to demand the ball and be the team's go-to option, and his ability to get to the free-throw line (9.2 FTM per game) is a thing of beauty. If anything, Paul could help Harden get some more open looks with his elite passing ability, which could help Harden increase his shooting percentages overall. Coach Mike D'Antoni is planning on staggering the playing time of both Paul and Harden, hoping to have one of them on the floor at all times if possible. That should give Harden plenty of opportunities to be the lead guard despite starting at shooting guard, so his usage shouldn't be significantly hurt. That all being said, Harden is locked into a top-5 pick in almost any format. His turnovers continue to be a concern, as he averaged 5.7 in 2016-17, though his impressive ability to rack up multi-category stats elsewhere easily makes up for it. He's also missed a total of just two games over the last three years, so expect Harden to once again fight for league MVP honors, in addition to being one of the top Fantasy targets in the entire NBA.

2.
Russell Westbrook 
Oklahoma City Thunder  PG / G

2017-18 Proj:   80 G   34.3 MIN   29.0 PTS  8.8 REB  10.0 AST  1.7 STL  0.4 BLK  2.1 3PT  

Westbrook racked up accolades at an alarming rate last season in his first year without the accompaniment of Kevin Durant. Most Valuable Player, First-Team All-NBA, sixth consecutive All-Star Game, averaged a triple-double for the first time since Oscar Robertson in 1962, and many more to boot. But with that season done and in the history books, can he do it again? The offseason acquisition of Paul George suggests that Westbrook will at least be less inclined to average a triple-double again since Westbrook won’t likely have to will a lackluster supporting cast to victory each and every night like what took place last season. While averaging another triple-double seems unlikely, he’s right in the middle of his prime and should still be widely sought after as the No. 1 draft pick across most Fantasy formats. Those not inclined to use the first overall pick on Westbrook are probably alarmed by the 5.3 turnovers he averaged last season, the fact that his field-goal percentage fell short of the league average by 3.2 percent, or adverse effects overall from the addition of George. After setting career highs in points (31.6 -- previously 28.1), rebounds (10.7 -- previously 7.8), and three-pointers (2.5 -- previously 1.5), there's a decent chance the 28-year-old takes a step back in those three categories in particular, though he'll still be one of the top Fantasy options in what's expected to be another spectacular season.

3.
Stephen Curry 
Golden State Warriors  PG / SG / G

2017-18 Proj:   78 G   33.9 MIN   26.5 PTS  4.6 REB  6.9 AST  1.8 STL  0.2 BLK  4.4 3PT  

Following back-to-back MVP campaigns in which he established new records for three-pointers in a single season, Curry was always going to be hard pressed to take his game to greater heights in 2016-17, especially after the Warriors added another former MVP to the roster in Kevin Durant. Indeed, Curry saw a nearly five-point drop in his scoring average and made one less three-pointer per game, but those that invested in the point guard on draft day may not have anticipated slight declines in just about every other category. Curry’s 46.7 percent mark from the field and career-worst 41.1 percent mark from 3-point range were somewhat disappointing given that the arrival of Durant was expected to open up more clean looks, though Curry still comfortably led the NBA with 324 three-pointers, and no other perimeter player could match his all-around efficiency. Perhaps owing to more comfort with playing alongside Durant, Curry seemed to hit his stride in postseason as the Warriors recaptured the title, averaging 28.1 points, 6.7 assists, 6.2 rebounds and 4.2 treys along the way. While Curry can no longer be considered the consensus top overall pick in most Fantasy settings, at 29 years old, he’s still firmly in the midst of his prime, which the Warriors surely recognized when they inked him to a record-breaking five-year, $201 million extension in the offseason. With that in mind, Curry still makes for a viable first-round selection in drafts, and the case could be made for him to be the top pick if a prospective owner believes he’ll be able to return to the peak levels of shooting efficiency he posted during his second MVP season. Since Curry has a full year of experience playing alongside Durant already under his belt, there should be less of an adjustment period between the two superstars to begin the upcoming season, seemingly making at least a minor improvement in Curry’s shooting percentages an inevitability.

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