The most important stat in fantasy basketball is minutes (unless you’re Joe Johnson, Jeff Green, Evan Turner, Tayshaun Prince, John Salmons, or Arron Afflalo). It’s an axiom as old as Devon Sawa himself. But this past season was the first time a player didn’t breach 3,000 minutes played since the 1958-59 season when the NBA consisted of eight teams and a 72-game schedule. In fact, I had the following conversation with my boss:
While most of us enjoyed some rest and relaxation with relatives over the holiday, two of the NBA’s three summer leagues kicked off. Games started in Orlando on Saturday and in Salt Lake City on Monday.
A player’s summer league statistics should almost always be taken with a grain of salt, but the game is still the game, and this is our only legit chance to watch the new rookies play before the preseason starts up at the end of October.
Since a lot of free agents have already agreed to terms on new deals, it’s time to start thinking about potential roles and rotations the NBA’s first and second-year players will have heading into the 2015-16 season.
For the second half of the 2013-14 season, James Harden provided first-overall fantasy value. It was a precursor to Harden’s fabulous 2014-15 season, one that lead to him being in the MVP discussion down to the bitter end.
This article aims to provide an overview of this season’s second-half performances, both good and bad, in order to try and find players who performed better in the second half of this season so that we can consider whether their improved production will continue next season or merely be a mirage of circumstance this season.
There are two days left, and unfortunately, these last couple days feel like we are watching a different sport. A sport when a guy called Arinze Onuaku may become the player who decides a fantasy championship. Strange times indeed. With teams either packing up for the season, or preparing for the next phase, there are basically one or two games each night that have any relevance and that is reflected in the box scores. And if, as J.J. Calle put it yesterday, RotoWire is resting their starters and he is a sixth man, then you are stuck with RotoWire’s Arinze Onuaku today, for my final Box Score Breakdown of the season.
I give this year a ‘D,’ for delightful! Sunday brought about widespread resting and blowouts galore. With RotoWire applying similar tactics by resting their starters, sixth men like myself are left playing out the string. That string includes watching the Game of Thrones marathon for the fourth straight Sunday. Much of what you’ll read is a summary of yesterday’s uninspiring basketball. The average margin of victory was 17.7 points. Seven of the nine victors won by at least 11 points. This may be my shortest breakdown of box scores all season.
Tim Duncan blocks James Harden and the world loses their collective minds. Victor Oladipo hit the go-ahead three-pointer only to be one-upped by Lou Williams, Oladipo’s defensive assignment, seconds later. Gordon Hayward missed the game-tying free throw with 0.1 seconds left. Raymond Felton blocked Kenneth Faried’s layup in double-overtime, triggering a little-known out clause for the Nuggets due to the absurdity of the event. Lou Amundson rejected Giannis Antetokounmpo at the summit, yet no one reported that because the only witnesses were the crowd and me. People would rather focus on Antetokounmpo’s coast-to-coast block/dunk instead. I’ll support the unheralded, those not as accepted by the mainstream. Because if I don’t, someone else will.
Jimmy Butler became the latest star player to sit out a game in this last week of action, with an injury that could most accurately be described as minor, and potentially swinging the momentum in plenty of fantasy matchups. On a brighter note, Steph Curry broke his own single season record for three-pointers made, ending the night with 276 three-pointers on the season.