Kawhi Leonard is averaging 12.5 ppg, 6.5 rpg, and a pair of.0 apg over two video games this season.
Welcome to the very first version of the NBA.com fantasy basketball mailbag! Each few weeks all through the season, we’ll area your questions and supply some perception on one of the simplest ways to deal with your fantasy dilemmas.
In case you have a query, you’ll want to tweet at us at @RotoWireNBA and @NBAFantasy for an opportunity to be featured on this column. This week, we sort out questions on Russell Westbrook, Kawhi Leonard, the stunning Utah Jazz, the Path Blazers and extra.
Would you quite roster Klay Thompson or Russell Westbrook for the remainder of the season?
That is a simple one for me. I would a lot quite roster Thompson. Gone are the times of Klay perennially ending inside the highest 50 in class leagues, however he is nonetheless an elite supply of three-pointers who additionally provides uncooked scoring and helps out in free throw share (90.2% FT final season). He might by no means be the identical participant he was pre-injury, however I used to be inspired by how he completed final season. It has been a comparatively gradual begin, however Thompson did simply hit 5 three-pointers in opposition to the Warmth on Thursday – so long as he stays wholesome, the numbers will come round over the course of a full season.
For as a lot as we pile on Westbrook, I perceive that he nonetheless has extra fantasy worth than we give him credit score for. Final season, he managed to hold round as a top-100 participant, although it is extremely unlikely that he matches his 2021-22 manufacturing – 18.5 PPG, 7.4 RBG, 7.1 APG, 1.0 SPG) – so long as he is a member of the Lakers . That scenario seems to be heading towards a divorce in some unspecified time in the future, so there’s a likelihood he lands with one other crew prepared to unleash him as a featured choice – very like the Wizards did in 2020-21. Nevertheless, the checklist of potential touchdown spots is extraordinarily brief, and Westbrook’s talent set seems to have diminished significantly since that yr in Washington.
Lengthy story brief, I would choose the safer, more-efficient choice in Thompson.
Ought to I roster Shaedon Sharpe or RJ Hampton (factors league)?
Whereas a fast take a look at Hampton’s recreation log might depart you questioning why anybody would choose him up, understand that Cole Anthony, Markelle Fultz, Jalen Suggs and Gary Harris are all at the moment injured. All 4 gamers are with out clear timetables, so there could possibly be a multi-week interval through which Hampton is pressured right into a a lot bigger function. Hampton confirmed glimpses of his potential in 2021-22, although he averaged solely 10.3 factors, 4.0 rebounds, 3.6 assists and 1.4 threes – whereas capturing 37% from the sphere – within the 24 video games through which he performed no less than 25 minutes.
In the meantime, Sharpe has performed in precisely 5 NBA video games, so we do not have a lot of a pattern to attract from. Like Hampton, he’ll be in place to profit from harm after Damian Lillard suffered a calf pressure earlier within the week. With Lillard doubtless out no less than two weeks, I’d lean towards rostering Sharpe in hopes that his workload is bumped as much as round 25 minutes per night time. If that is the case, he ought to be an honest supply of factors and 3s with some rebounds and free throws.
Finally, each gamers are comparatively low-upside fantasy belongings, however I would choose the untapped potential of Sharpe over Hampton.
Expectations for Anfernee Simons with Damian Lillard out?
Happily, we caught an prolonged glimpse of Simons working with out Lillard final season, and for essentially the most half it was encouraging. In 27 video games after Lillard went down with an stomach harm, Simons averaged 23.4 factors, 5.8 assists, 2.7 rebounds and 4.4 threes per recreation (42.3% 3Pt) along with capturing 86.6% on the charity stripe.
This time round, Portland has a greater supporting forged, however there is a case to be made that Simons will break up No. 1 choice duties with Jerami Grant for the subsequent few weeks. The hope is that his assists manufacturing, particularly, will rise with out Lillard, however he must also see an considerable bump in scoring, 3s and free-throw quantity. Earlier this week in opposition to Denver, Simons went off for seven 3s en path to 29 factors – and that was with Lillard within the lineup.
Suffice it to say I am optimistic about what we’ll see from Simons so long as Lillard is sidelined.
How do I deal with Kawhi Leonard? Ought to I already be seeking to commerce?
It is a nice query, and sadly one which I am grappling with myself in a league. Leonard’s harm occurred two postseasons in the past, so I used to be absolutely anticipating him to be again at full power for the beginning of the season. Maybe I ought to’ve recognized higher, however he is already coping with discomfort within the knee, and it could possibly be just a few extra weeks till he is cleared for a full workload. Even then, Leonard will virtually definitely sit out one-half of each back-to-back, with extra built-in relaxation days to return all through the season.
Buying and selling low a participant you in all probability drafted within the second spherical is a troublesome tablet to swallow, however I’d look to buy him round your league and see what you may get in return. Whilst you’ll must be ready to just accept a reasonably underwhelming return – his worth could also be at its lowest proper now – there could possibly be a fantasy supervisor who’s prepared to tackle that danger. Even should you’re not thrilled with the return, understand that getting 70-to-75 video games out of a less-productive participant may simply find yourself being extra helpful than 45-to-50 video games from Leonard.
Do I maintain onto Walker Kessler and/or Collin Sexton? I am getting impatient. 12-team, head-to-head league.
One other good query. Kessler has performed 19 complete minutes over the past two video games, so I’d really feel fairly comfy chopping bait until you actually must chase his blocks. Later this season, I believe there’s a terrific likelihood Kessler strikes right into a a lot bigger function, however which may not be for a pair extra months.
The Sexton scenario is a little more sophisticated. There’s been no outright indication that his workload is being monitored coming off of the meniscus harm, and but he is performed 19, 19, 15 and 10 minutes, respectively, in Utah’s final 4 video games. In some unspecified time in the future, that is going to vary, however it might not be till the Jazz inevitably trades one – or each – of Mike Conley and Jordan Clarkson.
It is going to doubtless be a bumpy experience for some time, however I’d maintain on to Sexton (he is 82% rostered in Yahoo leagues as of Friday) should you can spare the roster spot. The Jazz did not signal him to an extension to play him quarter-hour per recreation off the bench.
What is going on on with Alperen Sengun? Is he ever going to start out at middle?
For the sake of some of my fantasy groups, I certain hope so. Coach Stephen Silas hoodwinked, bamboozled and allow us to astray on Opening Evening, when he opted to start out Bruno Fernando at middle over Sengun. Silas even took it a step additional final week when he began Usman Garuba at middle whereas Sengun got here off the bench.
The waters have been muddied a bit by Sengun lacking the Rockets’ final two video games with an sickness, however he is anticipated to return Friday in opposition to Portland. In the intervening time, Silas has given no indication that he plans to start out Sengun, although he did be aware that he prefers to make use of him off the bench, as he provides Sengun extra alternatives to have the ball in his fingers.
To Sengun’s credit score, he is nonetheless managing 15.7 factors, 10.0 rebounds and 1.0 block per recreation, so it hasn’t been an entire catastrophe by any means. So long as he is constantly seeing round 25 minutes per recreation, he ought to be viable in a reserve function. And my guess is that ultimately Silas cracks and strikes Sengun into the lineup. In shallower leagues, Sengun might not be an every-week starter, however I would not be seeking to transfer him but.