Hello again NBA Fans! The season is a few days away and I am continuing my in-depth NBA Fantasy Player Ranking for this upcoming 2019-2020 Fantasy Season. Round 1 was released today, so read that first, followed by Rounds 2 now through whatever I have time for before the season starts on Tuesday.
2019-2020 NBA Fantasy Season Rankings
1. Kemba Walker – PG, Boston Celtics
Look at Kemba Walker’s last 6 games in April.
Started it with a 47 point game and ended it with a 43 point game. Was he going hard to end his time in Charlotte with a bang, or is that just who he is now? That production was on a very bad team, which can be looked as a positive, since the defense was focused on him, or a negative, since no one else could score. Kemba finally has a supporting cast in Boston that could truly produce, and his numbers should validate that. They’ll need him to score and distribute as much as they did Kyrie, and he’ll happily do so. I like Kemba’s production this year over the guy he replaced in Boston.
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2. Kawhi Leonard – SF, LA Clippers
He’s Kawhi and just led his Toronto team to a championship last year. He averaged 26.6 ppg, 7.3 rpg, 3.3 apg, 1.8 spg. Yet he only played 60 games, after only playing 9 the year before. He knows he can do whatever he wants on this team after the Clippers bent over backwards to accommodate him. That includes sitting out and using his personal medical staff to make decisions on when he should rest. His numbers should be great still when Paul George is out and may dip a bit when he’s back, but it’s hard to know if you could rely on him for a full 82 games.
3. Kyrie Irving – PG, Brooklyn Nets
I kind of see another Boston situation with Kyrie. Last’s year Brooklyn team had such good chemistry and really rallied around D’Angelo Russell and the ice in his veins to make the playoffs. Reminded me of Boston’s team before Kyrie got there, and we all know how that went once he arrived. Yet even in a bad situation he still averaged 23.8 ppg and career highs with 5.0 rpg, 6.9 apg, 1.5 spg, 0.5 bpg. Yet he missed 15 games last year and 22 the year before. Ideally his production should increase being the center piece of this Brooklyn offense. Yet he could be very frustrating to own and there’s a chance he doesn’t gel with his team again, preferring to sit out a little bit if they falter in order to wait for Durant next season.
4. Paul George – SF, LA Clippers
Shoulders are tough injuries and surgeries to recover from. You have to sleep in lounge chairs for a while, and once you go back to contact sports, it could be scary to think about a bump hurting it again or a twinge of pain meaning your rotator cuff is going to tear. He’s supposed to be out the first 10 games. If the Clipps are winning, I give him 20, plus more throughout the season as a precaution. It’s easy to see his 28 ppg last year and think he’ll replicate that. Yet this is without Russell Westbrook’s 10 assists a game. His 2nd highest scoring season was 23.7 ppg. He did have the most rebounds, assists, steals, and 3’s made in his career last year with 8.2, 4.1, 2.2, and 292 respectively. Yet that was a high octane offense, and now he’s on the Clippers who predicate their success on defense and hustle. For all those reasons, I see him taking a bit of a deep from last season and being a risk going in to this season.
5. Jimmy Butler – SF, Miami Heat
Jimmy Butler’s peak performance was 4 years ago when he averaged almost 24 ppg, 6.2 rpg, 5.5 apg, 1.9 spg, and hit 91 3’s. That year he played 76 games, which was the most since his 2nd season. The past 3 seasons however were 55 games, 10 games the year before, and 59 games the year before that. He got his money this year. That might demotivate him and cause him to take self-imposed rest days now that he’s the man around town. He also might have lost that edge that he had 4 seasons ago. Yet he got what he wanted, which was his own team that he could be dominant for. So there’s a good chance, he wants to prove he was worth the money and can be a top player in the league again. When I started this list, he was high, but the more I’ve been thinking about him, the more I don’t trust him to be consistent and healthy throughout the entire season.
6. Donovan Mitchell – SG, Utah Jazz
I like juniors better than sophomores. Donovan Mitchell, despite feeling like he had a down year due to perhaps too-high expectations, actually improved in year 2. I expect him to take another leap in year 3 with Mike Conley next to him taking pressure off him both offensively and defensively. He seems ready to break into that 25-5-5 threshold. Pairing that with his almost 1.5 spg and ability to make the 3, I don’t see you regretting picking Mitchell.
7. Ben Simmons – PG/SF, Philadelphia 76ers
Technically Simmons is an NBA Junior as well. He’s played in all but a few games the past 2 seasons, and is close to getting in to that triple double range. He felt underwhelming since he regressed in some areas and didn’t develop a jumper, but still averaged 16.9 ppg, 8.8 rpg, 7.7 apg, 1.4 spg. Apparently he’s ready to take some shots, and ideally his scoring should go up with Jimmy Butler gone. I’m pegging him at a 20-9-8 line.
8. Luka Doncic – PG, Dallas Mavericks
Originally I thought he would have a sophomore slump, but then remembered that he’s been playing professionally in Europe for a while. He gets Porzingis back this year, but the rest of his team feels a lot worse. NBA teams now have a year of film to figure him out, which might limit him. I’m expecting him to take a slight jump in scoring from his 21.2 ppg, and assists from 6.0 apg, but a dip in rebounds down from 7.8.
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9. Trae Young – PG, Atlanta Hawks
Luka and Trae will be grouped together forever. Time will tell who will be better, but on this list Luka has a slight edge. Same goes for Trae in terms of teams figuring out his game and putting a body on him. Yet I still think his scoring will pass the 20 point threshold this year, from 19.1 the year before. 8.1 assists is pretty awesome for a rookie and may increase if they could find some other scorers. Steals should pass 1/game and I imagine his 3’s will go up a bit if defenses crowd the floor. A strong pick regardless.
10. Andre Drummond – C, Detroit Pistons
Drummond averaged 17.3 ppg and 15.6 rpg (including 5.4 offensive), along with 1.7 bpg and spg. He rarely misses games and is still only 26 years old, which means his game should still be improving in his prime. A decreased emphasis on the center position in the NBA, might actually be a good thing for Drummond with Dwane Casey as his coach, since they’ll feed him the rock in the post and there are less centers to counter him on defense (besides his daddy Embiid).
11. Blake Griffin – PF, Detroit Pistons
Griffin just feels injury-prone to me, even if he played in 75 games last year. That’s why I have him slightly below his teammate Drummond, despite Griffin averaging a career high in points at 24.5 ppg. His overall game is often overlooked as he averaged 7.5 rpg, 5.4 apg, and an astonishing 619 3-pointers made. He should be a lot higher on this list. However, I personally have owned Griffin in too many of his injury plagued seasons to feel great about drafting him going in to any.
12. Jrue Holiday – PG, New Orleans Pelicans
I had Jrue lower on this list, until I started looking at his last season again. He averaged 21.2 ppg, 5.0 rpg, 7.7 apg, 1.6 spg, 0.8 bpg. Pretty good on an underperforming Pelicans team. Add in young studs like Zion who will command defensive attention and need leadership, and that should force Jrue to flourish on offense. The risk is if Lonzo’s point skills, Zion’s scoring, and Ingram’s potential rise limit the amount of time he has the ball.
Wait, what about Zion, Fox, CP3, and others? Keep reading in Round 3