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DEN (C)
G
80
Min
35.1
PTS
26.8
REB
10.9
AST
8.4
STL
1.3
BLK
0.7
3PT
1.4
The 2020-21 MVP and top fantasy player, Jokic may actually be in position to improve his numbers in 2021-22. Jamal Murray is expected to be out for the majority of the season with a torn ACL, which should only lead to more touches for Jokic. With Murray off the court last season, Jokic posted 29.8 points, 11.2 rebounds, 9.2 assists and 1.1 steals per 36 minutes. Michael Porter should continue improving, and Aaron Gordon will have more time to develop team chemistry, but there's only so much the Nuggets' offense will be able to accomplish when Jokic isn't making things happen. It's possible increased defensive pressure will cause Jokic to be less efficient -- he shot 57/39/87 last season -- but it's unlikely a drastic dip occurs. There are other options for fantasy managers to select with the No. 1 pick in their drafts, but none are safer than Jokic, and he plays a position of scarcity. He's an especially good No. 1 pick for managers in two-center leagues. The only flaw in his fantasy profile is a lack of blocks, but those can be picked up late in any fantasy draft. No matter your league format, the case to take Jokic first overall is obvious, and fantasy managers drafting second or third overall should be elated if he manages to fall that far.
The 2020-21 MVP and top fantasy player, Jokic may actually be in position to improve his numbers in 2021-22. Jamal Murray is expected to be out for the majority of the season with a torn ACL, which should only lead to more touches for Jokic. With Murray off the court last season, Jokic posted 29.8 points, 11.2 rebounds, 9.2 assists and 1.1 steals per 36 minutes. Michael Porter should continue improving, and Aaron Gordon will have more time to develop team chemistry, but there's only so much the Nuggets' offense will be able to accomplish when Jokic isn't making things happen. It's possible increased defensive pressure will cause Jokic to be less efficient -- he shot 57/39/87 last season -- but it's unlikely a drastic dip occurs. There are other options for fantasy managers to select with the No. 1 pick in their drafts, but none are safer than Jokic, and he plays a position of scarcity. He's an especially good No. 1 pick for managers in two-center leagues. The only flaw in his fantasy profile is a lack of blocks, but those can be picked up late in any fantasy draft. No matter your league format, the case to take Jokic first overall is obvious, and fantasy managers drafting second or third overall should be elated if he manages to fall that far.
G
74
Min
32.7
PTS
28.7
REB
12.4
AST
6.0
STL
1.0
BLK
1.3
3PT
1.1
While Antetokounmpo wasn't handed a third straight MVP in 2020-21, he was able to carry the Bucks to an NBA Championship. He still was named to the All-NBA First Team, All-Defensive First Team and finished fourth in MVP voting. During the regular season, he averaged 28.1 points, 11.0 rebounds, 5.9 assists and 2.4 combined steals-plus-blocks. He also finished with seven triple-doubles (sixth-most in the NBA). Heading into 2021-22, the Greek Freak's role shouldn't change much, if at all. That said, fantasy managers in position to potentially draft Antetokounmpo should keep in mind his awful free-throw shooting. Over the past three seasons, he's taking 9.7 freebies per game and hitting them at just a 68.4 percent clip. Considering the volume he's shooting free throws at, it's extremely damaging to his fantasy value. Notably, it's dragged him outside of the top-10 in per-game value in the past two seasons. Despite his otherwise gaudy numbers, he ranked just 11th last year. He's still worth an obvious first-round selection. If he makes even marginal improvement in his free-throw efficiency, he could make it back inside the top 5.
While Antetokounmpo wasn't handed a third straight MVP in 2020-21, he was able to carry the Bucks to an NBA Championship. He still was named to the All-NBA First Team, All-Defensive First Team and finished fourth in MVP voting. During the regular season, he averaged 28.1 points, 11.0 rebounds, 5.9 assists and 2.4 combined steals-plus-blocks. He also finished with seven triple-doubles (sixth-most in the NBA). Heading into 2021-22, the Greek Freak's role shouldn't change much, if at all. That said, fantasy managers in position to potentially draft Antetokounmpo should keep in mind his awful free-throw shooting. Over the past three seasons, he's taking 9.7 freebies per game and hitting them at just a 68.4 percent clip. Considering the volume he's shooting free throws at, it's extremely damaging to his fantasy value. Notably, it's dragged him outside of the top-10 in per-game value in the past two seasons. Despite his otherwise gaudy numbers, he ranked just 11th last year. He's still worth an obvious first-round selection. If he makes even marginal improvement in his free-throw efficiency, he could make it back inside the top 5.
BRO (G)
G
74
Min
36.7
PTS
23.2
REB
7.7
AST
10.4
STL
1.3
BLK
0.7
3PT
2.8
Despite the mid-season change of scenery to a Brooklyn team with Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving also on it, Harden finished the 2020-21 season as the third-best fantasy player on a per-game basis. There will still be fantasy managers willing to take him No. 1 this season, but there's also cause for hesitation. The Nets' Big 3 spent little time on the court together due to injuries, so Harden's numbers were artificially boosted by it often being a Big 2, or just himself. What will happen if Irving and Durant manage to stay healthy for most of the season? For some insight, we can look at Harden's numbers with that pair on the court. In the 201 minutes the Big 3 shared on the court (regular season and playoffs), Harden posted a shockingly-low 18.3 percent usage rate and averaged only 16.1 points, 11.4 assists, 7.3 rebounds and 1.3 steals per 36 minutes. While the three won't often all be on the court at the same time, there's reason for fantasy managers to be concerned that we'll no longer be getting the gaudy numbers from Harden that we've been used to over the past half-decade. He'll always be a threat for 30-and-10, but he's no longer in a situation where that's needed from him on a game-to-game basis.
Despite the mid-season change of scenery to a Brooklyn team with Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving also on it, Harden finished the 2020-21 season as the third-best fantasy player on a per-game basis. There will still be fantasy managers willing to take him No. 1 this season, but there's also cause for hesitation. The Nets' Big 3 spent little time on the court together due to injuries, so Harden's numbers were artificially boosted by it often being a Big 2, or just himself. What will happen if Irving and Durant manage to stay healthy for most of the season? For some insight, we can look at Harden's numbers with that pair on the court. In the 201 minutes the Big 3 shared on the court (regular season and playoffs), Harden posted a shockingly-low 18.3 percent usage rate and averaged only 16.1 points, 11.4 assists, 7.3 rebounds and 1.3 steals per 36 minutes. While the three won't often all be on the court at the same time, there's reason for fantasy managers to be concerned that we'll no longer be getting the gaudy numbers from Harden that we've been used to over the past half-decade. He'll always be a threat for 30-and-10, but he's no longer in a situation where that's needed from him on a game-to-game basis.
DAL (G)
G
75
Min
34.9
PTS
29.6
REB
8.7
AST
9.2
STL
1.1
BLK
0.2
3PT
3.3
Doncic signed a five-year, $207 million extension with the Mavericks in the offseason, coming off a 2020-21 campaign in which he averaged 27.7 points, 8.6 assists, 8.0 rebounds and 1.0 steals in 34.3 minutes. He also reached career-highs in field-goal percentage (47.9) and three-point percentage (35.0). That resulted in Doncic ranking 14th in fantasy production on a per-game basis -- a marginal dip from his 2019-20 rank of 10th. Most impressively was the 22-year-old stepping his game up in the playoffs against the Clippers and the elite wing defense of Kawhi Leonard and Paul George. In the seven-game, first-round series, Doncic averaged 35.7 points on 49/41/53 shooting, 10.3 assists, 7.9 rebounds and 1.3 steals in 40.2 minutes. Doncic is the betting favorite for MVP heading into 2021-22, demonstrating how much of a phenom he already is. His usage should stay stagnant, as the Mavericks didn't make any impactful additions in terms of playmakers during the offseason, and arguably the only meaningful addition they made at all was Reggie Bullock -- a much-needed 3-and-D wing. Putting aside turnovers for the purposes of most fantasy leagues, the only significant hole to poke in Doncic's game is his poor free-throw percentage. He's a 73.5 percent career shooter in the NBA and was an 80.1 percent career shooter in Europe, so there's certainly room for improvement. Even if he doesn't make strides there, Doncic is still worth a first-round selection in almost all fantasy leagues due to his pure upside as a nightly 30-10-10 threat. He also may be the most valuable player in keeper/dynasty fantasy formats.
Doncic signed a five-year, $207 million extension with the Mavericks in the offseason, coming off a 2020-21 campaign in which he averaged 27.7 points, 8.6 assists, 8.0 rebounds and 1.0 steals in 34.3 minutes. He also reached career-highs in field-goal percentage (47.9) and three-point percentage (35.0). That resulted in Doncic ranking 14th in fantasy production on a per-game basis -- a marginal dip from his 2019-20 rank of 10th. Most impressively was the 22-year-old stepping his game up in the playoffs against the Clippers and the elite wing defense of Kawhi Leonard and Paul George. In the seven-game, first-round series, Doncic averaged 35.7 points on 49/41/53 shooting, 10.3 assists, 7.9 rebounds and 1.3 steals in 40.2 minutes. Doncic is the betting favorite for MVP heading into 2021-22, demonstrating how much of a phenom he already is. His usage should stay stagnant, as the Mavericks didn't make any impactful additions in terms of playmakers during the offseason, and arguably the only meaningful addition they made at all was Reggie Bullock -- a much-needed 3-and-D wing. Putting aside turnovers for the purposes of most fantasy leagues, the only significant hole to poke in Doncic's game is his poor free-throw percentage. He's a 73.5 percent career shooter in the NBA and was an 80.1 percent career shooter in Europe, so there's certainly room for improvement. Even if he doesn't make strides there, Doncic is still worth a first-round selection in almost all fantasy leagues due to his pure upside as a nightly 30-10-10 threat. He also may be the most valuable player in keeper/dynasty fantasy formats.
MIN (C)
G
73
Min
34.1
PTS
25.7
REB
10.8
AST
4.0
STL
0.9
BLK
1.3
3PT
3.0
Towns appeared in just 50 games last season, mainly due to COVID-19 protocols, but he still put together a great campaign when on the court. He ranked eighth in per-game fantasy production, averaging 24.8 points, 10.6 rebounds, 4.5 assists and 1.9 combined blocks-plus-steals. He also retained his excellent shooting efficiency with splits of 49/38/86, though it was technically his second-worst season from a true-shooting percentage (61.2) standpoint. Heading into 2021-22, Towns will remain the top offensive option for a struggling Timberwolves team that desperately needs every ounce of production he's able to provide. He should at least be able to cede some responsibilities to emerging sophomore Anthony Edwards and D'Angelo Russell, but the team is so devoid of offensive ability outside of that trio that Towns will unquestionably need to still average roughly 25/10/5. Looking through the noise of the Wolves' team struggles and Towns' subpar defense, the reality is that he's one of the best fantasy players in the NBA, and he deserves to be locked in as a first-round pick in every draft.
Towns appeared in just 50 games last season, mainly due to COVID-19 protocols, but he still put together a great campaign when on the court. He ranked eighth in per-game fantasy production, averaging 24.8 points, 10.6 rebounds, 4.5 assists and 1.9 combined blocks-plus-steals. He also retained his excellent shooting efficiency with splits of 49/38/86, though it was technically his second-worst season from a true-shooting percentage (61.2) standpoint. Heading into 2021-22, Towns will remain the top offensive option for a struggling Timberwolves team that desperately needs every ounce of production he's able to provide. He should at least be able to cede some responsibilities to emerging sophomore Anthony Edwards and D'Angelo Russell, but the team is so devoid of offensive ability outside of that trio that Towns will unquestionably need to still average roughly 25/10/5. Looking through the noise of the Wolves' team struggles and Towns' subpar defense, the reality is that he's one of the best fantasy players in the NBA, and he deserves to be locked in as a first-round pick in every draft.
BOS (F)
G
78
Min
35.8
PTS
26.6
REB
7.3
AST
4.6
STL
1.3
BLK
0.6
3PT
3.1
Tatum returns to the Celtics after his second consecutive All-Star season as well as a significant role on gold-winning Team USA at the Summer Olympics. Tatum and fellow All-Star Jaylen Brown are now the undisputed leaders of the team after the Celtics, in June, traded Kemba Walker to OKC (he was later bought out and signed with the Knicks). Last year, Walker attempted 15.7 shots per game. Expect some of those attempts to shift to Tatum, who led the team last year with 26.4 points and 20.6 shot attempts per game. Little is known about new Celtics' coach Ime Udoka as he begins his reign in Boston. He has mentioned that Boston most improve on last year's 27th rank in total assists. That implies that Tatum, who averaged a career-high 4.3 dimes per game last year, might be expected to distribute even more. Udoka has hinted at pushing both Tatum and Brown harder than prior coach Brad Stevens ever did. Despite four years of NBA experience, Tatum is still only 23 years old. There is still upside for him to improve on a 2020-21 season in which he ranked 10th in the NBA in points per game, 11th in total three-pointers and 13th in usage percentage. Keep in mind that Tatum has improved his points, rebounds and assists per game in each of his four years in the Association. And he's always a threat to earn two-plus combined steals and blocks per contest. Expect Tatum to contend for All-NBA status in 2021-22.
Tatum returns to the Celtics after his second consecutive All-Star season as well as a significant role on gold-winning Team USA at the Summer Olympics. Tatum and fellow All-Star Jaylen Brown are now the undisputed leaders of the team after the Celtics, in June, traded Kemba Walker to OKC (he was later bought out and signed with the Knicks). Last year, Walker attempted 15.7 shots per game. Expect some of those attempts to shift to Tatum, who led the team last year with 26.4 points and 20.6 shot attempts per game. Little is known about new Celtics' coach Ime Udoka as he begins his reign in Boston. He has mentioned that Boston most improve on last year's 27th rank in total assists. That implies that Tatum, who averaged a career-high 4.3 dimes per game last year, might be expected to distribute even more. Udoka has hinted at pushing both Tatum and Brown harder than prior coach Brad Stevens ever did. Despite four years of NBA experience, Tatum is still only 23 years old. There is still upside for him to improve on a 2020-21 season in which he ranked 10th in the NBA in points per game, 11th in total three-pointers and 13th in usage percentage. Keep in mind that Tatum has improved his points, rebounds and assists per game in each of his four years in the Association. And he's always a threat to earn two-plus combined steals and blocks per contest. Expect Tatum to contend for All-NBA status in 2021-22.
GS (G)
G
74
Min
33.8
PTS
28.2
REB
5.1
AST
6.9
STL
1.2
BLK
0.3
3PT
4.8
After missing nearly all of 2019-20 due to a broken hand, Curry came back in massively impressive fashion last season. He ranked second in fantasy on a per-game basis -- the fourth time in his career he has ranked in the top 2. In 34.2 minutes per game, the future first-ballot Hall-of-Famer averaged a league-high 32.0 points, 5.8 assists, 5.5 rebounds and 1.2 steals. He also made a career-high 5.3 threes per game on 12.7 attempts (42.1 percent). The departure of Kevin Durant and absence of Klay Thompson (Achilles) forced Curry to take on a massive role for the Warriors, who just barely missed the playoffs as a result of failing to make it through the play-in games. As a testament to his superb season, Curry scored a career-high 62 points against the Trail Blazers in early January. With Thompson set to return during the upcoming season, Curry may not need to lead the league in scoring for the Warriors to make the playoffs, especially with the West less top-heavy due to the Clippers being down Kawhi Leonard and the Nuggets being down Jamal Murray to start the campaign. Still, Curry is an easy top-5 selection for fantasy managers in 2021-22. He's the fuel that ignites the Warriors' offense, and that will not change anytime soon.
After missing nearly all of 2019-20 due to a broken hand, Curry came back in massively impressive fashion last season. He ranked second in fantasy on a per-game basis -- the fourth time in his career he has ranked in the top 2. In 34.2 minutes per game, the future first-ballot Hall-of-Famer averaged a league-high 32.0 points, 5.8 assists, 5.5 rebounds and 1.2 steals. He also made a career-high 5.3 threes per game on 12.7 attempts (42.1 percent). The departure of Kevin Durant and absence of Klay Thompson (Achilles) forced Curry to take on a massive role for the Warriors, who just barely missed the playoffs as a result of failing to make it through the play-in games. As a testament to his superb season, Curry scored a career-high 62 points against the Trail Blazers in early January. With Thompson set to return during the upcoming season, Curry may not need to lead the league in scoring for the Warriors to make the playoffs, especially with the West less top-heavy due to the Clippers being down Kawhi Leonard and the Nuggets being down Jamal Murray to start the campaign. Still, Curry is an easy top-5 selection for fantasy managers in 2021-22. He's the fuel that ignites the Warriors' offense, and that will not change anytime soon.
POR (G)
G
77
Min
36.6
PTS
29.2
REB
4.2
AST
7.6
STL
1.1
BLK
0.3
3PT
3.9
Lillard's All-NBA Second Team selection in 2020-21 was his fourth straight season making an All-NBA team, and he also finished seventh in MVP voting. The elite guard averaged 28.8 points, 7.5 assists and 4.2 rebounds in 35.8 minutes. He also hit 4.1 threes per game at 39.1 percent and converted 92.8 percent of his free throws. There's been plenty of buzz that Lillard may want out of Portland, with the Blazers failing to make significant progress in the quest for an NBA title. It seems unlikely the situation will reach a point where Lillard will sit out games, however, so fantasy managers shouldn't be too concerned about a potential trade request. Ultimately, wherever the 31-year-old plays, he's a threat to be one of the best players in the league and put up numbers reflecting that. He's finished inside the top-10 in total fantasy production in each of the past four seasons, and he ranked third last year. While he's probably not worth the No. 1 pick in most fantasy drafts, he's certainly a candidate to get drafted any time after that.
Lillard's All-NBA Second Team selection in 2020-21 was his fourth straight season making an All-NBA team, and he also finished seventh in MVP voting. The elite guard averaged 28.8 points, 7.5 assists and 4.2 rebounds in 35.8 minutes. He also hit 4.1 threes per game at 39.1 percent and converted 92.8 percent of his free throws. There's been plenty of buzz that Lillard may want out of Portland, with the Blazers failing to make significant progress in the quest for an NBA title. It seems unlikely the situation will reach a point where Lillard will sit out games, however, so fantasy managers shouldn't be too concerned about a potential trade request. Ultimately, wherever the 31-year-old plays, he's a threat to be one of the best players in the league and put up numbers reflecting that. He's finished inside the top-10 in total fantasy production in each of the past four seasons, and he ranked third last year. While he's probably not worth the No. 1 pick in most fantasy drafts, he's certainly a candidate to get drafted any time after that.
LAL (F)
G
71
Min
32.8
PTS
24.1
REB
7.4
AST
7.5
STL
1.1
BLK
0.6
3PT
2.2
James' numbers during the 2020-21 campaign were mostly unchanged from the previous season, when he finished second in NBA MVP voting. Aside from a marked dip in assists per game (from 10.2 to a still-generous 7.8), the future Hall-of-Famer's per-game stats (25.0 points, 7.7 rebounds, 2.3 three-pointers) were near carbon copies of his regular-season production during the pandemic-shortened 2019-2020 season. What's more, James upped his field-goal percentage two ticks to 51.3 percent and improved his three-point efficiency from 34.8 percent to 36.5 percent. Yet fantasy managers who used an early draft pick to make James the centerpiece of their team last year largely regretted their selection due to the fact that the veteran played in only 45 of the Lakers' 72 regular-season contests. He tweaked his left ankle in a season-opening loss to the Clippers and played through late March despite never fully recovering, then suffered a right ankle sprain that sidelined him for much of the season's second half. A coinciding injury to co-star Anthony Davis and the Lakers' tumble down the Western Conference standings put the onus on James to return before fully healing, and he did so with mostly positive results down the stretch. While the 36-year-old has proven that age can't keep him from being an elite multi-category producer when healthy, the injury risk has to be a concern, especially since James expressed doubt that he'll "ever get back to 100 percent" following his return from the ankle issue. The good news for Lakers fans is that the team devoted the offseason to bringing in a number of reinforcements -- including Russell Westbrook and Carmelo Anthony -- who will almost certainly help reduce James' workload next season. The presence of Westbrook, in particular, will likely cut into James' per-game production, perhaps knocking him into the second round in most fantasy drafts. The tradeoff may be worth it, however, if James is able to parlay the lesser burden into season-long good health.
James' numbers during the 2020-21 campaign were mostly unchanged from the previous season, when he finished second in NBA MVP voting. Aside from a marked dip in assists per game (from 10.2 to a still-generous 7.8), the future Hall-of-Famer's per-game stats (25.0 points, 7.7 rebounds, 2.3 three-pointers) were near carbon copies of his regular-season production during the pandemic-shortened 2019-2020 season. What's more, James upped his field-goal percentage two ticks to 51.3 percent and improved his three-point efficiency from 34.8 percent to 36.5 percent. Yet fantasy managers who used an early draft pick to make James the centerpiece of their team last year largely regretted their selection due to the fact that the veteran played in only 45 of the Lakers' 72 regular-season contests. He tweaked his left ankle in a season-opening loss to the Clippers and played through late March despite never fully recovering, then suffered a right ankle sprain that sidelined him for much of the season's second half. A coinciding injury to co-star Anthony Davis and the Lakers' tumble down the Western Conference standings put the onus on James to return before fully healing, and he did so with mostly positive results down the stretch. While the 36-year-old has proven that age can't keep him from being an elite multi-category producer when healthy, the injury risk has to be a concern, especially since James expressed doubt that he'll "ever get back to 100 percent" following his return from the ankle issue. The good news for Lakers fans is that the team devoted the offseason to bringing in a number of reinforcements -- including Russell Westbrook and Carmelo Anthony -- who will almost certainly help reduce James' workload next season. The presence of Westbrook, in particular, will likely cut into James' per-game production, perhaps knocking him into the second round in most fantasy drafts. The tradeoff may be worth it, however, if James is able to parlay the lesser burden into season-long good health.
TOR (G)
G
75
Min
36.7
PTS
21.2
REB
4.5
AST
7.5
STL
1.8
BLK
0.6
3PT
3.6
Fred VanVleet could be the man this season for the Raptors. With Kyle Lowry in Miami and Pascal Siakam suffering from shoulder surgery, the burden of leading the Raptors into battle probably falls on the 27-year-old guard. FVV's five year history with Toronto demonstrates he's ready for the task at hand. VanVleet has improved his points and rebounds in each of his five seasons, and his assists were on a four-year climb until last season's slight dip. The Wichita State product is coming off a 2020-21 season in which he posted career-highs in per-game points (19.2), rebounds (4.2), blocks (0.7) and made threes (3.3), plus shot a career-best 88.5 percent from the charity stripe. His 6.3 assists and 1.7 steals were rather useful, too. The only concern was his field goal percentage, which dipped to a four-year low of 38.9 percent. That field goal percentage may continue to stay low considering Toronto's other main scoring options are Goran Dragic, Gary Trent and Siakam. Siakam is expected back by mid-November, but like Dragic, he's a candidate to be traded if the Raptors go into rebuild mode. While VanVleet could be facing additional double teams, his arrow continues to point up. Expect a third straight season of 35-plus minutes per game, wonderful counting stats, and possibly a career-first All-Star appearance from the 6-foot-1 guard.
Fred VanVleet could be the man this season for the Raptors. With Kyle Lowry in Miami and Pascal Siakam suffering from shoulder surgery, the burden of leading the Raptors into battle probably falls on the 27-year-old guard. FVV's five year history with Toronto demonstrates he's ready for the task at hand. VanVleet has improved his points and rebounds in each of his five seasons, and his assists were on a four-year climb until last season's slight dip. The Wichita State product is coming off a 2020-21 season in which he posted career-highs in per-game points (19.2), rebounds (4.2), blocks (0.7) and made threes (3.3), plus shot a career-best 88.5 percent from the charity stripe. His 6.3 assists and 1.7 steals were rather useful, too. The only concern was his field goal percentage, which dipped to a four-year low of 38.9 percent. That field goal percentage may continue to stay low considering Toronto's other main scoring options are Goran Dragic, Gary Trent and Siakam. Siakam is expected back by mid-November, but like Dragic, he's a candidate to be traded if the Raptors go into rebuild mode. While VanVleet could be facing additional double teams, his arrow continues to point up. Expect a third straight season of 35-plus minutes per game, wonderful counting stats, and possibly a career-first All-Star appearance from the 6-foot-1 guard.
LAC (G)
G
75
Min
34.6
PTS
27.2
REB
6.6
AST
5.5
STL
1.6
BLK
0.5
3PT
3.8
George played over four more minutes per contest last season than in his first campaign with the Clippers, and his output predictably increased to 23.3 points, 6.6 rebounds and 5.2 assists per game. He also ranked 13th in the league with 3.2 treys per contest, shot a career-best 46.7 percent from the field and converted 86.8 percent of his free-throw attempts while knocking down 41.1 percent of tries from beyond the arc. Despite a dip in his usually-hefty steals output (to 1.1 per game), George's numbers were good enough for a top-20 finish in fantasy on a per-game basis, largely justifying his position as a late second-round draft selection. The coming campaign should look notably different for George, who will be the unquestioned centerpiece of the Clippers' offense for most of the season while Kawhi Leonard recovers from ACL surgery. George proved he could handle the burden after Leonard went down in the playoffs last season, posting per-game averages of 29.6 points, 11.0 rebounds, 5.6 assists and 1.4 steals across eight contests as Los Angeles made a courageous run that ended up just short of the NBA Finals. It isn't unfathomable that he could approach those numbers sans Leonard next season, especially if the Clippers need to lean on him to stay in playoff contention. Load management shouldn't be as much of a concern with the team less likely to cruise near the top of the Western Conference standings, though it should be noted that George has had problems staying healthy since coming to Los Angeles. Still, there is enough potential for the 6-foot-8 star to go nuts as the focal point of a hungry squad to consider selecting him near the end of the first round in fantasy drafts.
George played over four more minutes per contest last season than in his first campaign with the Clippers, and his output predictably increased to 23.3 points, 6.6 rebounds and 5.2 assists per game. He also ranked 13th in the league with 3.2 treys per contest, shot a career-best 46.7 percent from the field and converted 86.8 percent of his free-throw attempts while knocking down 41.1 percent of tries from beyond the arc. Despite a dip in his usually-hefty steals output (to 1.1 per game), George's numbers were good enough for a top-20 finish in fantasy on a per-game basis, largely justifying his position as a late second-round draft selection. The coming campaign should look notably different for George, who will be the unquestioned centerpiece of the Clippers' offense for most of the season while Kawhi Leonard recovers from ACL surgery. George proved he could handle the burden after Leonard went down in the playoffs last season, posting per-game averages of 29.6 points, 11.0 rebounds, 5.6 assists and 1.4 steals across eight contests as Los Angeles made a courageous run that ended up just short of the NBA Finals. It isn't unfathomable that he could approach those numbers sans Leonard next season, especially if the Clippers need to lean on him to stay in playoff contention. Load management shouldn't be as much of a concern with the team less likely to cruise near the top of the Western Conference standings, though it should be noted that George has had problems staying healthy since coming to Los Angeles. Still, there is enough potential for the 6-foot-8 star to go nuts as the focal point of a hungry squad to consider selecting him near the end of the first round in fantasy drafts.
BRO (F)
G
69
Min
35.1
PTS
26.5
REB
7.3
AST
5.2
STL
0.9
BLK
1.1
3PT
2.1
Coming off a torn Achilles that kept him out for all of 2019-20, Durant didn't miss a beat in his return to the court for the Nets. While he dealt with injuries and played in just 35 of a possible 72 games, Durant reminded fans and fantasy managers alike that he's one of the most talented players the game has ever seen. He ranked fourth in per-game fantasy production behind 26.9 points, 7.1 rebounds, 5.6 assists and 2.0 combined blocks-plus-steals while shooting 54/45/88. Durant also put together an absurd postseason run in the Nets' hard-fought, seven-game playoff series against the Bucks. For the series, he averaged 35.4 points on 50/35/83 shooting, plus 10.6 rebounds, 5.4 assists and 2.7 combined steals-plus-blocks. Heading into 2021-22, it's tough to say Durant is a true health risk -- especially since last season's injuries had nothing to do with the torn Achilles. But in a vacuum, a 32-year-old seven-footer coming off a major injury, followed by a 35-game season, is someone to think twice about before drafting. No one should question Durant's ability to average 27/7/6 again, but availability matters, and it's really the only concern around Durant at this point. Even so, Durant won't make it out of the first round in most fantasy drafts, and that's understandable. His pedigree and talent are far too enticing for him to slip into the second round.
Coming off a torn Achilles that kept him out for all of 2019-20, Durant didn't miss a beat in his return to the court for the Nets. While he dealt with injuries and played in just 35 of a possible 72 games, Durant reminded fans and fantasy managers alike that he's one of the most talented players the game has ever seen. He ranked fourth in per-game fantasy production behind 26.9 points, 7.1 rebounds, 5.6 assists and 2.0 combined blocks-plus-steals while shooting 54/45/88. Durant also put together an absurd postseason run in the Nets' hard-fought, seven-game playoff series against the Bucks. For the series, he averaged 35.4 points on 50/35/83 shooting, plus 10.6 rebounds, 5.4 assists and 2.7 combined steals-plus-blocks. Heading into 2021-22, it's tough to say Durant is a true health risk -- especially since last season's injuries had nothing to do with the torn Achilles. But in a vacuum, a 32-year-old seven-footer coming off a major injury, followed by a 35-game season, is someone to think twice about before drafting. No one should question Durant's ability to average 27/7/6 again, but availability matters, and it's really the only concern around Durant at this point. Even so, Durant won't make it out of the first round in most fantasy drafts, and that's understandable. His pedigree and talent are far too enticing for him to slip into the second round.
PHI (C)
G
64
Min
32.6
PTS
28.2
REB
11.2
AST
3.3
STL
1.0
BLK
1.5
3PT
1.4
Embiid is coming off a 2020-21 season in which he finished second in MVP voting behind Nikola Jokic. In 31.1 minutes per game, Embiid averaged 28.5 points, 10.6 rebounds, 2.8 assists and 2.4 combined blocks-plus-steals. He also posted a career-high true shooting percentage (63.6) by a significant margin. The result was him finishing as the fifth-best fantasy player on a per-game basis. However, he continued to miss time with injury and appeared in just 51 games, limiting his total fantasy production to 16th overall. Injuries are still the overarching theme with Embiid, as his career high in games played is 64 (2018-19). He's a top-five fantasy talent but will often slip to the end of the first round due to the concern. Heading into 2021-22, not much should change regarding Embiid's role, and there's potential for him to see more usage if Ben Simmons is traded, as has been rumored all offseason. That could create better floor spacing for Embiid to work in the post. Even if Simmons doesn't get dealt, Embiid will still presumably put up MVP-caliber numbers as one of the best two centers in the NBA.
Embiid is coming off a 2020-21 season in which he finished second in MVP voting behind Nikola Jokic. In 31.1 minutes per game, Embiid averaged 28.5 points, 10.6 rebounds, 2.8 assists and 2.4 combined blocks-plus-steals. He also posted a career-high true shooting percentage (63.6) by a significant margin. The result was him finishing as the fifth-best fantasy player on a per-game basis. However, he continued to miss time with injury and appeared in just 51 games, limiting his total fantasy production to 16th overall. Injuries are still the overarching theme with Embiid, as his career high in games played is 64 (2018-19). He's a top-five fantasy talent but will often slip to the end of the first round due to the concern. Heading into 2021-22, not much should change regarding Embiid's role, and there's potential for him to see more usage if Ben Simmons is traded, as has been rumored all offseason. That could create better floor spacing for Embiid to work in the post. Even if Simmons doesn't get dealt, Embiid will still presumably put up MVP-caliber numbers as one of the best two centers in the NBA.
LAL (F)
G
68
Min
33.1
PTS
23.9
REB
7.6
AST
3.2
STL
1.4
BLK
2.0
3PT
1.0
Injuries decimated Davis' 2020-21 campaign, limiting the big man to just 36 regular-season games and contributing to a decline in his normally-elite stats. When healthy, he posted per-game averages of 21.8 points, 7.9 rebounds, 3.1 assists and 1.6 blocks -- by no means paltry, but substantially below his marks over the past several campaigns. In addition, the former Kentucky Wildcat shot under 50 percent from the field for the first time in five seasons, converted only 26 percent of his tries from deep and made free-throws at a career-worst 73.8 percent clip. The Lakers' lack of a reliable third option behind Davis and LeBron James was evident as the team tumbled down the Western Conference standings while the two stars dealt with injuries, and Davis' campaign ended with a noble but ill-advised attempt to return too early from a groin injury in Los Angeles' first-round playoff defeat at the hands of the Suns. The organization reloaded during the offseason, adding a superstar in Russell Westbrook along with other key pieces, including Carmelo Anthony and Dwight Howard. Los Angeles no doubt hopes these additions will take some of the load off James and Davis, allowing both players to enjoy healthy rest more often and preventing a repeat of last season's disappointing early-round playoff exit. That would be a boon for a squad considered among the favorites for the NBA Championship, but not so much for the fantasy outputs of the stars involved. Westbrook's presence, in particular, is likely to cut into some of Davis' offensive and rebounding opportunities, though the point guard's playmaking skills could also help the big man garner more frequent easy shots. Health will continue to be the most pertinent risk factor for managers looking to draft Davis, and with the Westbrook factor now part of the equation, it wouldn't be surprising to see The Brow slide down to the second round in fantasy drafts.
Injuries decimated Davis' 2020-21 campaign, limiting the big man to just 36 regular-season games and contributing to a decline in his normally-elite stats. When healthy, he posted per-game averages of 21.8 points, 7.9 rebounds, 3.1 assists and 1.6 blocks -- by no means paltry, but substantially below his marks over the past several campaigns. In addition, the former Kentucky Wildcat shot under 50 percent from the field for the first time in five seasons, converted only 26 percent of his tries from deep and made free-throws at a career-worst 73.8 percent clip. The Lakers' lack of a reliable third option behind Davis and LeBron James was evident as the team tumbled down the Western Conference standings while the two stars dealt with injuries, and Davis' campaign ended with a noble but ill-advised attempt to return too early from a groin injury in Los Angeles' first-round playoff defeat at the hands of the Suns. The organization reloaded during the offseason, adding a superstar in Russell Westbrook along with other key pieces, including Carmelo Anthony and Dwight Howard. Los Angeles no doubt hopes these additions will take some of the load off James and Davis, allowing both players to enjoy healthy rest more often and preventing a repeat of last season's disappointing early-round playoff exit. That would be a boon for a squad considered among the favorites for the NBA Championship, but not so much for the fantasy outputs of the stars involved. Westbrook's presence, in particular, is likely to cut into some of Davis' offensive and rebounding opportunities, though the point guard's playmaking skills could also help the big man garner more frequent easy shots. Health will continue to be the most pertinent risk factor for managers looking to draft Davis, and with the Westbrook factor now part of the equation, it wouldn't be surprising to see The Brow slide down to the second round in fantasy drafts.
ATL (G)
G
76
Min
36.0
PTS
25.3
REB
4.5
AST
9.7
STL
1.1
BLK
0.1
3PT
2.5
With the Hawks adding significant talent and depth during the 2020 offseason, Young's role decreased slightly last year. He saw nearly a two-percentage-point drop in usage rate and averaged 25.3 points, 9.4 rebounds and 3.9 assists in 33.7 minutes. The result was Young ranking 22nd in per-game fantasy production compared to his 2019-20 mark of 7th. The point guard also continued to struggle with his field-goal efficiency, shooting just 43.8 percent from the field and 34.3 percent from three. However, he's been able to make up for it with an impressive 88.6 percent free-throw percentage -- a massive boost considering he shot 8.7 free throws per game last season. Young was also part of the Hawks' surprising run to the Eastern Conference Finals, and in his 16 postseason appearances, he averaged 28.8 points on 42/31/87 shooting, 9.5 assists, 2.8 rebounds and 1.3 steals. Notably, he went for 48 points and 11 assists against the Bucks in Game 1 of the ECF. Heading into 2021-22, Atlanta made very few significant offseason moves, so Young's role will remain unchanged. At this point, we know he's a nightly threat for 30-and-10, so Young needs to work on cleaning up his efficiency to improve his fantasy value. Ultimately, his upside as a still-developing 23-year-old makes him an automatic second-round pick.
With the Hawks adding significant talent and depth during the 2020 offseason, Young's role decreased slightly last year. He saw nearly a two-percentage-point drop in usage rate and averaged 25.3 points, 9.4 rebounds and 3.9 assists in 33.7 minutes. The result was Young ranking 22nd in per-game fantasy production compared to his 2019-20 mark of 7th. The point guard also continued to struggle with his field-goal efficiency, shooting just 43.8 percent from the field and 34.3 percent from three. However, he's been able to make up for it with an impressive 88.6 percent free-throw percentage -- a massive boost considering he shot 8.7 free throws per game last season. Young was also part of the Hawks' surprising run to the Eastern Conference Finals, and in his 16 postseason appearances, he averaged 28.8 points on 42/31/87 shooting, 9.5 assists, 2.8 rebounds and 1.3 steals. Notably, he went for 48 points and 11 assists against the Bucks in Game 1 of the ECF. Heading into 2021-22, Atlanta made very few significant offseason moves, so Young's role will remain unchanged. At this point, we know he's a nightly threat for 30-and-10, so Young needs to work on cleaning up his efficiency to improve his fantasy value. Ultimately, his upside as a still-developing 23-year-old makes him an automatic second-round pick.
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