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: 32-33 (.492)
- Offensive Rating: 109.4 (20th)
- Defensive Rating: 110.4 (16rd)
- Net Rating: -1.0 (17th)
Talk about exceeding expectations. The Baby Grizzlies started the season aiming to slowly build around Ja Morant’s freshman season... only to find the newcomer is more than just that. After putting together a ROY-worth campaign—sorry, Zion—Morant has Memphis at the No. 8 seed in the west and odds are the Grizzlies make it to the playoffs this very season. While it is not a lock yet (though they are 3.5 games above Portland, New Orleans, and Sacramento with just eight seeding games to play) we could be watching Ja, Jo, and JJJ making it to the postseason in their first run together. That’s as exciting as it gets, and these Grizzlies aren’t truly playing for a chip so they should be 1) mad fun to watch and 2) putting all of their effort in truly getting that playoff spot leading up to the bubble’s bracket unveiling.
Team Leaders (per game)
- MIN: Ja Morant (30.0)
- PTS: Ja Morant (17.6)
- 3PM: Jaren Jackson Jr. (2.5)
- REB: Jonas Valanciunas (11.2)
- AST: Ja Morant (6.9)
- STL: De’Anthony Melton (1.3)
- BLK: Jaren Jackson Jr. (1.6)
- TOV: Ja Morant (3.2)
- USG%: Ja Morant (25.8%)
- DKFP: Jonas Valanciunas (34.8)
- Players Acquired: Anthony Tolliver
- Players Lost: None
We all know who runs this place. Ja Morant caught the league by storm, left no doubts about his game once hitting the spotlight, and shut down some filthy mouths that where questioning his true abilities after having showcased them at middling Murray State prior to making the jump to the Association. Not bad for him this season when his name is a virtual lock to go home with the Rookie of the Year award in a few weeks’ time.
Morant has been far from the only weapon worth keeping an eye on this year in Memphis when it has come to DFS contests. As you can see in the chart above, a lot of Grizzlies came close to Ja’s production, most of all Jonas Valanciunas. The biggie actually outperformed Morant’s fantasy production by almost a DKFP-point per game while carrying a lower price tag on average. That’s the problem with Morant: he’s nothing out of this world in fantasy contests but his price is a tad over what one would expect. The hype he carries always pushed his salary up in DraftKings as fantasy players kept paying for him although his ROI (Price/DKFP) wasn’t the best—by far.
Much better fantasy options than Morant in Memphis are the aforementioned Valanciunas (big man, cheap price, huge points/boards combos) and low-maintenance Josh Jackson. I know Jackson is nothing exciting but at his salary, he is a great lineup filler if you go big on other players. Don’t overpay/overuse Jaren Jackson Jr., and his ROI is even worse than Morant’s with an inflated price given his average performance.