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: 44-20 (.688)
- Offensive Rating: 113.6 (3rd)
- Defensive Rating: 107.2 (5th)
- Net Rating: 6.4 (4th)
Is this real life? Are we living in a world where the Clippers are better than the Lakers? Could very well be the case, believe it or not. If we go by pure numbers, the Clippers still trail the Lakers in net rating (6.4 to 7.4), but screw statistics for a minute. These Clippers have been resting their two key pieces for the whole season and they have played less than 1,000 minutes combined when compared to the LeBron-AD pair. Even with that wide gap in playing time between those two tandems, the Clippers are one of the three clear-cut title contenders along with the Lakers and the Bucks.
Hiatus or not, the Clippers were always going to rest their superstars. They have depth in bunches, the roster seems to have no end nor holes in it, and this franchise has become the perennial home of Sixth Man of the Year candidates that happen to be key through the season. Kawhi Leonard and Paul George playing to the higher of their levels is going to be needed for the Clippers to lift the Larry O’B, but with the likes of Montrezl Harrell, Lou Williams, and late-addition Reggie Jackson around everything will be much easier for Los Angeles to start calling the Clippers the no. 1 team in town.
Team Leaders (per game)
- MIN: Kawhi Leonard (32.2)
- PTS: Kawhi Leonard (26.9)
- 3PM: Paul George (3.2)
- REB: Kawhi Leonard (7.3)
- AST: Lou Williams (5.7)
- STL: Kawhi Leonard (1.8)
- BLK: Montrezl Harrell (1.1)
- TOV: Lou Williams (2.9)
- USG%: Kawhi Leonard (32.8%)
- DKFP: Kawhi Leonard (48.4)
- Players Acquired: Joakim Noah
- Players Lost: Terance Mann, Amir Coffey
Not only have the Clippers maintained their roster virtually intact for the bubble, but they have also added big man Joakim Noah to it. Not that it matters a lot these days, but that’s one more warm body to throw to the fire when needed while giving rest to some other—more important—players.
Speaking of big men, what about Montrezl Harrell? I know, you were expecting to read about Kawhi and PG13 here, but let’s get to the best fantasy value of the team first. Priced at an average of just over $6K per contest and providing almost 33 DKFP per game, Harrell has turned into one of the best fantasy picks no matter the game he plays in. He’s light years below Kawhi Leonard in pure DKFP production, but he is the best ROI (Price/DKFP) player of the Clippers this season.
Leonard is not far from it, but the gap between these two and the rest of the Clippers is notable. Marcus Morris Sr. is third in ROI among his teammates, and numbers say that skipping Paul George altogether should be a sound strategy given his low fantasy production on very high prices. The Clippers will (most probably) keep resting players through the eight regular-season games left, so I’d avoid them at least for now. Once the playoffs kick off, though, make every single one of them a target as they’ll be ramping up their minutes and production.