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: 53-12 (.815)
- Offensive Rating: 112.6 (7th)
- Defensive Rating: 101.9 (1st)
- Net Rating: 10.7 (1st)
Will Milwaukee ever get the recognition it deserves? Hard to tell. For avid and long-time followers of the league, and those really involved in it, it is easy to spot greatness in this Bucks squad. Milwaukee is historically great on defense, with a 101.9 defensive rating that ranks first in the league by more than three points and is the only one under 102 points allowed per 100 possessions. Add a top-10 offense to that and Milwaukee’s 10.7 net rating comes out as an insane number.
The reasons behind it? Some soon-to-be two-time MVP Greek Freak. Giannis Antetokounmpo is impossible. He has stepped up his game once more this season, averaging a virtual 30-14-6 line nightly, shooting 55% from the field, and hitting 1.5 treys per contest. Oh, and he’s 25 years old. But Giannis is not the only warm body around these places. If casual fans don’t give Milwaukee enough praises as they should, let alone Khris Middleton. K-Midd is a bonafide super-second-fiddle and whoever not realizing that is missing something. All of the focus is on the Los Angeles teams thanks mostly to the high-profile of LeBron James, Kawhi Leonard, Anthony Davis, etc... but let’s be honest for a minute: who can truly stop the 53-12, .815 (!) Bucks this year?
Team Leaders (per game)
- MIN: Giannis Antetokounmpo (30.9)
- PTS: Giannis Antetokounmpo (29.6)
- 3PM: Khris Middleton (2.4)
- REB: Giannis Antetokounmpo (13.7)
- AST: Giannis Antetokounmpo (5.8)
- STL: Donte DiVincenzo (1.4)
- BLK: Brook Lopez (2.4)
- TOV: Giannis Antetokounmpo (3.7)
- USG%: Giannis Antetokounmpo (36.2%)
- DKFP: Giannis Antetokounmpo (60.1)
- Players Acquired: None
- Players Lost: None
MVP in the roster? Check. Legit second-banana player? Check, check. Do-it-all big man? Check, check, check. Great rotation all-around? Four-way mortal check. What do these Bucks lack, if anything!? Milwaukee enters the bubble as the strongest team in the league, has not lost any player due to injury, and only Eric Bledsoe has left Orlando due to COVID-19 although he should be back in time for the restart of the season.
Just in case you have not paid too much attention to the details of the charts I have included in these columns, the one above is unique in that it reaches the $12K price mark to the right side. It is what happens when you have someone averaging a monstrous 60+ DKFP per night like Giannis has done this season. The DraftKings algorithm sometimes is dumb, sure, but it is not entirely a fool. Even at that insane average price tag, Giannis is the 14th-best player in the NBA in terms of ROI (Price/DKFP) for fantasy purposes. Think about it. That is plain and simply ridiculous, but nothing is stopping Giannis for keeping his numbers up. Keep in mind though that Milwaukee has the No. 1 seed virtually locked so they might rest their key players a bit through the seeding games not putting them on heavy minutes of playing time until the actual start of the playoffs.
Antetokounmpo’s value is obvious and his fantasy salaries show it. What they are missing on, though, is on Khris Middleton. Midd has a ROI (the 16th-best league-wide) almost on par with Giannis’ and while he averages much fewer DKFP per game he’s one of the best DFS plays around. Only Middleton and CJ McCollum are averaging 37+ DKFP at $7K or lower prices this season. Other than those two there are not real valuable picks from this team for DFS although if you find yourself with a gap in your lineup and a restricted budget then Brook Lopez could be a good option as a big man with some sweet long-range shooting and incredible blocking numbers going for peanuts.