It may be the NBA's offseason, but there has been plenty going on away from the court to pique the interest of fantasy hoops junkies. The NBA draft brought us several rookies to consider in our fall drafts, and free-agent player agreements have impacted the value of many veterans.
I recently adjusted my fantasy hoops player rankings for the 2015-16 season based on the aforementioned NBA roster changes. So take a break from watching Summer League action to see how the rookies slot into the rankings and whether the fantasy value of players who switched teams will increase, decrease or remain the same for the 2015-16 campaign.
Karl-Anthony Towns, Minnesota Timberwolves (No. 67): We can expect Towns to contribute rebounding, blocks and quality percentages right away. However, his overall rookie value will hinge on his offense, which may be a process. The good news is that he joined a team that surely will give him every chance to score. I'm more willing to invest in rookies than most others, but I was cautious with their initial rankings, since it is only July. I expect Towns and others to rise in my rankings if they look good in the preseason.
D'Angelo Russell, Los Angeles Lakers (No. 82): I am not as hyped as others for Russell's fantasy upside as a rookie. Fantasy value comes largely from talent and opportunity, and Russell lacks freakish athleticism and is going to ball in a backcourt that has Kobe Bryant, Jordan Clarkson and Louis Williams. His court vision and 3-point prowess should allow him to make a mark this season, but at this time, I don't expect him to explode out of the gate statistically.
Jahlil Okafor, Philadelphia 76ers (No. 85): On the hapless Sixers, Okafor will be in position to handle a huge workload from the start. That should lead to quality scoring, rebounding and FG%, which means he will have a terrific shot at Rookie of the Year and making an immediate fantasy impact. The reason he isn't higher in my rankings is that he averaged 5.1 free throw attempts and had a 51 free throw percentage at Duke. Coupling that with a weak block rate is enough to slow your fantasy roll on him a bit.
Mario Hezonja, Orlando Magic (No. 96): This kid has no shortage of swag, and he has the skills to back it up, so I expect him to be NBA-ready from the get go. He is only 20, though, and provided little in the way of boards, dimes or steals in Europe, so all of his fantasy value should be tied up in scoring and 3s. The question, then, is how many shots will he get to hoist?
Kristaps Porzingis, New York Knicks (No. 130): His raw skills and direct line to playing time in the Big Apple make him a very intriguing pick in keeper leagues. But at 7-foot-1 and 220 pounds, it's difficult to believe that his body will hold up to any sort of heavy workload as a rookie. That should leave him as a late-round flier in deeper leagues.
Frank Kaminsky III, Charlotte Hornets (No. 138): I peg Kaminsky as a quality player in the NBA, capable of scoring, dishing and crashing the glass a bit, but the Hornets have bigger plans for him, which means he could surprise me and make a mark as a rookie.
Myles Turner, Indiana Pacers (No. 140): With Roy Hibbert and David West gone from the Pacers' frontcourt, the door is wide open for Turner to play big minutes right away. His stock will be on the rise if he performs well in Summer League and preseason games.
Players on new teams
LaMarcus Aldridge, San Antonio Spurs (even): His scoring likely will take a hit -- and the Spurs like to limit starter's minutes -- but I will be surprised if we don't see Aldridge topping 50 FG%, which will keep his overall fantasy value in the top 25 overall.
Greg Monroe, Milwaukee Bucks (down): He doesn't block shots or dish much, and he is a mediocre free-throw shooter. That means his fantasy ceiling is tied up in volume scoring, FG% and rebounds. With so many scorers on the Bucks' roster, it's difficult to imagine Monroe topping the 12.4 FGA and 15-16 PPG he averaged the past two seasons with the Detroit Pistons.
Rajon Rondo, Sacramento Kings (down): Hypothetically, Rondo could be a 10-10 guy who can shoot in the upper 40s and chip in close to 2.0 steals per game, while playing on a one-year "prove it" deal with the Kings. Selling that bet is a tough one, though, considering how awful he has been the past couple of seasons. Plus, the Kings have Darren Collison in the backcourt, which could further limit Rondo's upside.
Wesley Matthews, Dallas Mavericks (even): As soon as he proves to be entirely over the ruptured Achilles tendon he sustained in early March, he will slot right into Ellis' old role with the Mavs and should continue to be one of the better 3-point assets in fantasy hoops. We won't know his status until we see him in preseason action.
Louis Williams, Los Angeles Lakers (even): Williams has been as reliable as any sixth man in the league for a long time, and that shouldn't change as the primary backup for youngsters D'Angelo Russell and Jordan Clarkson.
Arron Afflalo, New York Knicks (up): Perhaps no one else this offseason benefited more from a move than Afflalo. He goes from being an afterthought in a crowded Portland Trail Blazers roster to a central part of a Knicks offense that is desperate for a scorer to play alongside Carmelo Anthony. Afflalo could easily match or exceed the career-high marks he set in 2013-14 with the Orlando Magic: 18.2 PPG, 1.8 3-PPG, 3.4 APG and 3.6 RPG.
DeMarre Carroll, Toronto Raptors (up): With the Atlanta Hawks, Carroll didn't have a big enough offensive workload to break out in fantasy. That could change with the Raptors, who gave him $15 million per season and need some help on offense.
Robin Lopez, New York Knicks (up): Ro-Lo should be primed for his best fantasy season, having moved from the Blazers' deep frontcourt to one of the thinnest. With an expanded role, a stat line of something like 13 PPG, 10 RPG, 1.8 BPG with good percentages is a possibility.
Roy Hibbert, Los Angeles Lakers (up): Because Hibbert moved from a team that disdained him (the Indiana Pacers) to a team that apparently wants him, I felt the need to move the big fella up in the rankings. Surely, he is in a better position to contribute to fantasy teams, at least as a shot-blocker, though we should all remain skeptical, based on the malaise we've seen from him on the court in recent campaigns.
Paul Pierce, Los Angeles Clippers (even): I had already dropped Pierce down a bit before he joined the Clippers because his stats are bound to continue diminishing with age. Nonetheless, he should continue to produce enough with the Clips to help out teams in deeper fantasy leagues.
Updated 2015-16 rankings
Here is my update of the top 210 players in fantasy hoops for 2015-16, along with their dollar value for auction drafts: