Fantasy Risers and Losers During Free Agency
A look at who the biggest possible fantasy risers and losers during free agency are so far
We know the biggest winner in free agency this offseason was the purple and gold Lakers in landing the best player in the NBA, Lebron James. But from a fantasy projection which other free agents are in line to see an increase or decrease in overall production? Lebron has made his third move and third organization and what we have learned from James is that it doesn’t matter what team he is on, he produces at a high level. Let’s now take a look at some other free agent moves that might from a fantasy perspective impact the players they left behind, or the current players that free agent is joining forces with.
Deandre Jordan, Dallas Mavericks- This time it is for real, DeAndre is actually going to Dallas and it looks like it might be a great fit for him. With Dallas being so young and having a strong perimeter offense with Dennis Smith Jr. and new draft pick Luka Doncic this should make life easier on Jordan creating offense for him at the rim. The youth, speed, and shooting also allows him to do what he does best in rebounding and playing defense only. His offense is non existent outside the rim and Jordan shouldn’t be asked to score, so this is a perfect fit for his game.
Julius Randle, New Orleans Pelicans- This could be a great fit for Randle moving forward. He doesn’t need to shoot much with Anthony Davis next to him, but is a guy that can bring energy and fill the stat sheet. After spending last season coming off the bench with the Lakers, battling for a starting job, and then finally winning it, he looks to continue to excel.
Brook Lopez, Milwaukee Bucks- Lopez has a chance to have a much bigger impact on the Bucks then he did with the Lakers. Lopez only averaged 23.4 minutes on the Lakers last season and was able to hit ( 34.5% on threes, 1.5 threes per game made, 1.3 blocks per game), at a high offensive and defensive rate in a limited role. The Bucks not only need shooting, but they love big Centers that can protect the rim. This is a big boost not only for him, but also for the Bucks. Look for Lopez to come out and have impactful numbers this season.
Kevin Love, Cleveland Cavaliers- This is Love’s chance to show that he has still got it, and I believe he does. Love could have the biggest opportunity out of all of these guys to put up big double double numbers again. Don’t forget in his last year pre Lebron (2013-2014 season) he averaged 26 points with 12.5 rebounds and nearly 5 assists per game. Those are all NBA numbers and with the Cavs losing a high volume shooter in Lebron, look for Love to have the biggest offensive role for Cleveland.
Elfrid Payton, New Orleans Pelicans- The Pelicans are used to a non shooting PG in having Rajon Rondo last season, and Payton has not shown he can shoot with any type of consistency. Payton has had triple double potential and shown that in both Phoenix and Orlando. Payton can also manage a game, this is why the Pelicans might just be the right fit. New Orleans has shooters in Jrue Holiday, Anthony Davis, Mirotic, and more so this might be a great fit for Payton in where he can focus on what he does best.
Nikola Mirotic, New Orleans Pelicans- With New Orleans signing Julius Randle it almost brings flashbacks of when Mirotic was on the Bulls. Mirotic was constantly fighting for playing time on the Bulls and this might just be the case again. Look for Mirotic to slide back into a committee role like he shared with Bobby Portis and the Bulls.
Lonzo Ball, Los Angeles Lakers- Ball’s minutes and production are going to decrease without a doubt. Lebron James will eat up a lot of his assists and playmaking ability. This will force Ball to be more of a shooter and create his own drives in which Ball has never really excelled in either of those areas. Then add the fact that a proven veteran in Rajon Rondo will be on his heels to show what he can do with Lebron. This is a recipe for Ball to become a true role player and hopefully get some type of consistent shot so he can stay on the floor for long stretches.
Brandon Ingram, Los Angeles Lakers- This is another Laker that will definitely lose some value heading into this season. Ingram was the key offensive initiator for the Lakers last year and guess what, that is exactly what Lebron does. Lebron initiates the offense which will clearly hamper Ingram’s touches, drives, and foul shots. Not only that, but Kyle Kuzma is a much better 3-point shooter then Ingram, and we know Lebron likes to have 3-point shooters on his side at all times. I can see Ingram clearly taking a secondary role this year, and a big hit in production.
Demarcus Cousins, Golden State Warriors- Cousins will be coming off a major Achilles injury and for big men that is hard to do. He will need time to get healthy and joining the Warriors gives him that time, but it also makes him the 5th option on the team when he does come back. His impact and fantasy value will take a major hit even when he gets healthy.
Tyreke Evans, Indiana Pacers- Evans had a great season last year in Memphis when he was given that opportunity. But most of that was in part because of the Mike Conley injury, well basically half of Memphis backcourt was injured last season and nobody else could really score on that team outside Marc Gasol. Evans goes to the Pacers who will clearly continue to leave the keys to the team in Victor Oladipo’s hands. I believe Evans will still be productive, but not nearly like he did last year in Memphis.
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