Fantasy Basketball: Donovan Mitchell, Kris Dunn lead the biggest surprises of 2018
We look at the biggest surprises of the Fantasy Hoops season, and the likely impact on their stock for 2018-19.
The NBA regular season is coming to an end and many Fantasy basketball championships have already been decided. Whether you won or lost in your league, it's never too early to get a jump on the upcoming campaign.
Several players in the league turned heads this season, both for positive and negative reasons. Let's reflect on some of those performances and what impact they'll have on players projected draft positions next season.
The Jazz suffered a significant blow losing Gordon Hayward to the Celtics over the summer. Left with a big hole in their offense, they turned to Mitchell, who had an immediate impact on the team.
He got off to a slow start in October, but that was mainly because he only averaged 22 minutes per game for the month. Mitchell went on to average at least 32 minutes per contest in each subsequent month and finished with a 29% usage rate, which ranks inside the top 20 in the league.
Not only was Mitchell an excellent offensive player, but he also managed to average 1.5 steals per game. He didn't provide elite production in terms of rebounds or assists, but his averages of 3.6 per in each category at least didn't put you in a significant hole in your league.
Mitchell's ADP in CBS leagues this year was 129, making him one of the best bargain values at any position this season considering he's currently ranked 28th overall. He's a very comparable player to C.J. McCollum of the Trail Blazers, who had an average ADP of 30 this season.
The Bulls jumped into a full rebuild on draft night, trading Jimmy Butler to the Timberwolves in a deal that netted them Dunn, Zach LaVine and a pick that, minutes later, turned into Lauri Markkanen. Dunn struggled in his first season with the Timberwolves, but was thrust into a prominent role on a Bulls team that lacked talent and depth at point guard.
Dunn always carried a reputation as a strong defender, so it's not surprising that he averaged two steals per game this season with regular playing time. However, he made significant strides offensively, shooting 42.9% from the field after shooting an abysmal 37.7 percent last season. He still has a lot of work to do on his 3-point shooting, but his averages of 4.3 rebounds and six assists per game made him a top-100 player when healthy.
It's important to note that Dunn played a good portion of this season without Zach LaVine, who was recovering from a knee injury. His usage rate dropped when LaVine returned, bottoming out at a season-low 21.4 percent in March. Dunn is still a very important piece of the Bulls' future, however, and he finished the season ranked 119 in CBS, despite playing just 52 games. His ADP was 133 this season, so expect that to rise significantly next year.
Adams' numbers from 2016-17 don't jump of the page, but he provided value by averaging 11.3 points, 7.7 rebounds, 1.1 steals and one block per game. He was primed for a significant role heading into this season though as the Thunder's trades for Paul George and Carmelo Anthony left them with very little depth up front.
Adams certainly didn't disappoint, as holds career-highs in points (13.9), rebounds (9.1) and steals (1.2) per game heading into the final week of the season. His free throw shooting was a drag on many a Fantasy squad (55.3% FT), but he helped to offset that some by shooting 62.7 percent from the field.
Adams' ADP this season was 114, but he is currently ranked 84th in CBS leagues. Even if the Thunder address their depth issues through the draft or free agency, Adams should still be selected at least a couple of rounds higher this fall.
The Knicks handed the reins over to Porzingis once they traded Carmelo Anthony to the Thunder, leaving him to post a 31.2% usage rate this season before tearing his ACL in February. With an ADP of 23, he was well on his way to meeting Fantasy owner's expectations.
It goes without saying that the injury dealt a devastating blow to those who drafted Porzingis. He is almost certain to miss the start of next season and may not play again until early 2019. The Knicks were a fringe playoff team, at best, even when Porzingis was healthy, so it makes no sense to rush him back next season.
His timetable could be very similar to that of Zach LaVine, who didn't play his first game this season until the middle of January. LaVine's ADP was 85, which could be an indication of where Porzingis could be drafted next year, depending on how his recovery progresses over the summer.
Turner received his first taste of extended playing time last year and showed promise, averaging 14.5 points, 7.3 rebounds and 2.1 blocks per contest. Many were expecting a breakout campaign this season, demonstrated by Turner's preseason ADP of 40 in CBS league, which placed him ahead of Nikola Vucevic (46), Dwight Howard (57) and Clint Capela (73).
Not only did Turner fail to improve this season, but he actually regressed. He still was an excellent rim protector with 1.9 blocks per contest, but Turner averaged just 13.4 points and 6.7 rebounds per game. He also shot 49.1 percent from the field, the lowest mark of his career.
Turner is still only 22 years old and has loads of potential, but he's currently ranked 88th overall in CBS leagues. Expect that to be reflected in his ADP heading into 2018-19, when he'll be a popular buy-low candidate.
Gortat may not have ever been a flashy Fantasy commodity, but he still managed to average a double-double last season. It marked the sixth straight season that he averaged at least 10.8 points and 8.5 rebounds per game. In short, Gortat had been a low-ceiling/high-floor player with little room for variance.
Seeming like a safe option, Gortat carried an ADP of 79 into the season. To say he has not lived up to that would be an understatement. Gortat saw a relatively drastic reduction in playing time, averaging 25 minutes per game after playing at least 30 minutes per game in each of his first four seasons with the Wizards. His numbers -- 8.5 points, 7.6 rebounds, 0.7 blocks per game -- have suffered according.
Currently ranked 151st in CBS leagues, Gortat's days of being a viable option in standard leagues may be in the rear-view. If you decide to take a chance on a bounce-back next season, Gortat should still be available in the later rounds of your draft.
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