NBA Roundtable: Doncic or Towns the Rest of the Way?

NBA Roundtable: Doncic or Towns the Rest of the Way?

This article is part of our NBA Roundtable series.

Long-term injuries aside, which players are you having the most buyer's remorse about thus far?

James Anderson: Luka Doncic. I wasn't "low" on him at all, and am not surprised by what he is doing. I was the last guy to drop out of the bidding on him in all my auctions because the winning owner kept being willing to go higher than I wanted to go on any player, and I hate myself for not going the extra dollar.

Ken Crites: I really expected more from Jeff Teague with the T'Wolves. Didn't spend big on him and there's lots of time to turn things around, but when is he going to return to form?

Adam King: Jaren Jackson. He hasn't progressed as I had hoped he would on the defensive end and I feel as though he is being underutilized on the offensive end. There is still time for him to turn things around but I'm not sure he is going to return value based on where he was being drafted.

Mike Barner: Enes Kanter. Yes, he did miss some time due to injury, but even when he's healthy, he's been stuck in a limited role off the bench for the Celtics. Their winning games and Daniel Theis is playing well, so the odds of things changing anytime soon aren't great.

Nick Whalen: I probably should've seen it coming, but I was too optimistic about Joel Embiid -- particularly regarding his workload. He's averaging fewer than 30 minutes per game and has already missed a quarter of the Sixers' games.

What is your Finals matchup prediction? And has that prediction changed since before the season started?

Anderson: Bucks vs. Clippers. My prediction hasn't changed.

Crites: Man oh man would I love to see a Clippers versus Celtics finals. Monday night's OT thriller was a blast. As a grouchy old man, I loved the old school defense in that game.

King: I like the Clippers in the West. I'm not sure they finish with the best record but come the playoffs, I'm not sure I see anyone taking four games off them. I'm still leaning towards the Bucks in the East although I love how good the Celtics look right now.

Barner: Clippers and Bucks, which is what I though heading into the season.

Whalen: My preseason prediction was Clippers-76ers, and I'll stick with that for now. I still feel good about the Clippers, but Philly's path through the top of the East won't be easy.

Who would you rather roster for the remainder of the year: Luka Doncic or Karl-Anthony Towns?

Anderson: Luka Doncic is my answer to every question involving Luka Doncic, even though I think KAT's numbers will improve (FT% is well below career norms).

Crites: Luka. Andrew Wiggins has finally figured things out, and that's going to eat into KAT's field goal attempts.

King: I think I would go with Towns, but only slightly. There is a compelling case for both, however, I just think Towns has the track record whereas Doncic is still unproven to some degree.

Barner: The fact that his is a question a month in shows how awesome Doncic has been. I prefer Towns, especially in 9-cat leagues, but I don't think it's out of the realm of possibility for Doncic to threaten to average a triple-double for the season.

Whalen: I'd still side with the stability and proven durability of Towns, but obviously you can't go wrong with either option. The final piece of the puzzle for Doncic will be keeping his three-point percentage above 35 percent for a sustained period of time.

Which sub-.500 Western Conference team is off to the most disappointing start, relative to expectations? The Blazers, Spurs, Pelicans or Kings?

Anderson: The Spurs. The Pelicans, Kings and Blazers can blame injuries. Portland should also be dinged for their bad offseason, although I was lower on them coming into the year because of that anyway. Sacramento should be blamed for a willingness to downgrade at coach and some bad contracts. I had the Spurs comfortably making the playoffs, ahead of the Blazers, while I had the Kings and Pelicans missing the playoffs. All that said, I'm not counting the Spurs out, I actually think they'll have the best ROS record of these four teams, I just think their start has been the most disappointing. 

Crites: The Spurs. I still expect great things from Gregg Popovich. LMA and DeRozan, with an up-and-coming Dejounte Murray. That should be a winning core.

King: It would have to be the Blazers for me. I just think their lack of foresight in bolstering the playing stocks has been highlighted by a couple of injuries. The Spurs would be a close second, however, I think they get things figured out at some point.

Barner: The Spurs because they have been mostly healthy. The Kings and Pelicans have been without some of their best players for significant stretches and the loss of Zach Collins was a killer for the Blazers.

Whalen: I think it has to be the Spurs. At least the other three teams can cling to injuries as an excuse. San Antonio, meanwhile, got an important core piece back from injury in Dejounte Murray and seemingly hasn't been able to settle on a rotation. Despite having two top-tier individual defenders in Murray and Derrick White on the perimeter, the Spurs are a bottom-five defense, and Gregg Popovich has been hesitant to adapt to his personnel.

Which players were you low on during draft season who have outperformed expectations thus far? 

Anderson: Kyrie Irving, Paul George, Kelly Oubre have been better on a per-game basis than I was expecting.

Crites: I certainly never expected Andrew Wiggins to play this well. I drafted and auctioned for him a few times out of desperation, and I'm looking smarter than I deserve in those leagues.

King: It has to be Andrew Wiggins. I wasn't going anywhere near him during draft season and he is putting together his best season by far. It remains to be seen whether he can maintain his current production but he certainly looks to have turned a corner.

Barner: I was afraid of what Gordon Hayward had possibly become and avoided him in my drafts. However, before going down with his hand injury, he looked to have returned to the type of production we were accustomed to seeing from him with the Jazz.

Whalen: Jonathan Isaac, Fred VanVleet, Clint Capela and Andrew Wiggins

Name one or two players off to fast starts who you'd consider selling high on.

Anderson: Damian Lillard, Kevin Love, Chris Paul -- I think they're all decent bets to miss double-digit games ROS, it's obvious with Love and CP, but with Lillard I just think he's been playing too many minutes and will eventually wear down or could just start playing less if the Blazers fall out of it.

Crites: Andre Drummond is ranked sixth overall in Yahoo leagues. With a healthy Blake Griffin finally returning to form in a week or two, he's going to eat into Drummond's boards and points.

King: Kyrie Irving might be one player I would try to sell high, only because I am concerned he misses more time if the Nets can't get things going in the right direction. Another would be Brandon Ingram, who I feel will cool off as soon as the Pelicans start getting their players back.

Barner: As good as Malcolm Brogdon has been, his usage rate isn't going to be the same once Victor Oladipo returns. He probably won't have the ball in his hands as much, either, reducing his opportunities for assists. I'd look to cash in on his insane start if you can.

Whalen: There's a case to be made that Brandon Ingram could slow down once Zion Williamson returns to the Pelicans. Given the clouded timetable, I wouldn't be rushing out to find a deal for Ingram, but it may be worth floating some deals to owners in your league if you can acquire a more proven commodity.

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ABOUT THE AUTHORS
James Anderson
James Anderson is RotoWire's Lead Prospect Analyst, Assistant Baseball Editor, and co-host of Farm Fridays on Sirius/XM radio and the RotoWire Prospect Podcast.
Mike Barner
Mike started covering fantasy sports in 2007, joining RotoWire in 2010. In 2018, he was a finalist for the FSWA Basketball Writer of the Year award. Mike also won the 2022-23 FSGA NBA Experts Champions league. In addition to RotoWire, Mike has written for Sportsline, Sports Illustrated, DK Live, RealTime Fantasy Sports, Lineup Lab and KFFL.com.
Ken
An early RotoWire contributor from the 90's, K-Train returns with the grace of Gheorghe Muresan and the wisdom of Joe Gibbs. Ken is a two-time FSWA award winner and a co-host on the RW NBA Podcast. Championships incude: 2016 RW Staff NBA Keeper, 2019 RW Staff NFL Ottoneu Keeper, 2022-23 SiriusXM NBA Experts, 2022-23 SiriusXM NBA Kamla Keeper and 2023-24 FSGA NBA Expert Champions. Ken still owns a RotoNews shirt.
Adam King
Adam is a Remote NBA Writer for Rotowire, the Lead Analyst for Fantasy Basketball International, and the host of the Balls Deep Fantasy Basketball Podcast. Adam resides in Queanbeyan, Australia. He likes piña coladas and gettin' caught in the rain. He continues to strive for the Flint, Michigan Mega Bowl. Let's get tropical.
Nick Whalen
Now in his 10th year with the company, Nick is RotoWire's Senior Media Analyst, a position he took on after several years as the Head of Basketball Content. A multi-time FSGA and FSWA award winner, Nick co-hosts RotoWire's flagship show on Sirius XM Fantasy alongside Jeff Erickson, as well as The RotoWire NBA Show on Sirius XM NBA with Alex Barutha. He also co-hosts RotoWire's Football and Basketball podcasts. You can catch Nick's NBA and NFL analysis on VSiN and DraftKings, as well as RotoWire's various social and video channels. Follow him on Twitter and Instagram @wha1en.
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