It’s been quite a—boring—ride but we’re almost there, folks. Starting July 30, the NBA will enter a vortex of daily action that will get us back to our couches to indulge as much basketball as we can with games coming left and right. With such a short time between now and the restart (and with the four months we have endured without any NBA hoops around) it makes sense to go through the 22 teams that made it to Disney’s bubble to review what they did during the first months of the 2019-20 season and what we can expect from them going forward. Consider this a primer on who to target, who to avoid, and a know-it-all reviewing exercise of what will be there when NBA DFS contests come back in less than 14 days time.
As has always been the case, I will be using data from both the official NBA website paired with information from DFS contests held on DraftKings through the first months of the season. Every chart uses the same scale (salaries from 3K to 10K except when they don’t fit, fantasy points from 0 to 65) so they can be easily compared between teams to see where each player ranks league-wide.
Regular Season Stats
- Record: 43-22 (.661)
- Offensive Rating: 112.5 (9th)
- Defensive Rating: 109.5 (13th)
- Net Rating: 3.0 (10th)
Not many teams are entering Orlando’s bubble with as clean a roster as Denver. The Nuggets went through a scare when Jokic tested positive and missed the team’s initial flight to Florida, but they have every team member in the bubble now and ready to go, no injuries nor COVID cases on sight. After suffering a disappointing loss last year in seven games to Portland preventing them from reaching the WC Finals, Denver will try to make it there against a packed field of teams in a conference that will feature two of the strongest title contenders in both LA teams. Will the Nuggets at least make it to the WCF, if not the actual Finals? Chances aren’t low, but they’ll need to put on a Herculean effort.
Team Leaders (per game)
- MIN: Will Barton (33.0)
- PTS: Nikola Jokic (20.2)
- 3PM: Will Barton and Jamal Murray (1.9)
- REB: Nikola Jokic (10.2)
- AST: Nikola Jokic (6.9)
- STL: Gary Harris (1.4)
- BLK: Nikola Jokic (0.8)
- TOV: Nikola Jokic (3.1)
- USG%: Nikola Jokic (26.7%)
- DKFP: Nikola Jokic (47.4)
- Players Acquired: Tyler Cook, Bol Bol
- Players Lost: None
While Jamal Murray keeps steadily improving his game, he’s still ways below Nikola Jokic as a true team-carrier in the NBA and a definitive No. 2 option without rather an a 1B to Jokic’s 1A role. In fact, Murray is much closer to Barton’s fantasy production than he is to Jokic’s, the latter being an MVP candidate (to an extent) in and on himself.
With that out of the way, though, Denver still has four players averaging 25 or more DKFP per game and one of them (Paul Millsap) is doing so at a very low $5K salary on average. All of those four players also lead the team in ROI given their prices and fantasy production this season with Barton leading the way by a good margin over second-best Nikola Jokic. As is always the case with true-studs, there is nothing wrong with paying big bucks for Jokic to build your lineup around him if that’s what you really want, as he will deliver more often than not without many flops.
Moving onto hidden gems usually going under the radar in DFS contests, big man Mason Plumlee ranks fifth in ROI among Nuggets players, and Jerami Grant follows him very closely. Grant could have a heavier role in the playoffs when rosters shrink a bit and fewer players feature heavily, so definitely keep an eye on him going forward.