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: 27-36 (.429)
- Offensive Rating: 111.9 (11th)
- Defensive Rating: 113.7 (25th)
- Net Rating: -1.8 (20th)
Let’s hold a moment of silence for the San Antonio Spurs missing on making the postseason for the first time since 1997.
Alright. We can start now. I have not known the Spurs as a non-playoff team. I mean I have because I was alive in 1997, but my brain was still too under-cooked to know about it. From 1998 to 2019 the Spurs made six Finals and won five of them, which is very insane if you ask me. That’s about to become a fairy tale, though, as the pairing of DeMar DeRozan and LaMarcus Aldridge failed to deliver the goods in their second season together and now San Antonio will pack their bags earlier than they’ve done for 20+ years.
You can’t blame the Spurs stubbornness and willingness to make the postseason, though, as they have ridden the DD-LMA train to the limit and trusted them to put the team over the hump instead of looking forward and trading both for younger players and draft assets. Ultimately it didn’t work and although still mathematically possible the chances of San Antonio getting to the No. 8 or No. 9 seed are minimal in Orlando. It was nice while it lasted, but all stories reach their ending at some point. It’s time to close this volume and start anew for the Spurs.
Team Leaders (per game)
- MIN: DeMar DeRozan (34.3)
- PTS: DeMar DeRozan (22.2)
- 3PM: Bryn Forbes and Patty Mills (2.3)
- REB: Dejounte Murray (5.8)
- AST: DeMar DeRozan (5.6)
- STL: Dejounte Murray (1.7)
- BLK: Jakob Poeltl (1.4)
- TOV: DeMar DeRozan (2.4)
- USG%: DeMar DeRozan (26.4%)
- DKFP: DeMar DeRozan (39.1)
- Players Acquired: Tyler Zeller
- Players Lost: LaMarcus Aldridge, Trey Lyles
With the odds at making the postseason so low, to begin with, it made sense for LaMarcus Aldridge to shut down his age-34 season and 13th in the league to go under the knife, fix his shoulder, and enter 2021 as fresh as an elder can hope. Removing LMA from this team means freeing 33.1 minutes of playing time and 23.6% of the team’s offensive possessions—Aldridge’s usage rate—and who knows who will be the recipient of most of those now-available opportunities as there is no clear answer to that...
...unless DeMar DeRozan can eat even more than he has already this season. Aldridge or not, DeDe has been the leader of the Spurs, full stop. San Antonio is playing for nothing at this point, DeRozan has a player option in his contract which he will take to stay in town next season, and he won’t have a problem playing as many minutes as Pop wants him on the court inside the bubble. In fact, being the clear go-to guy of the Spurs will probably boost his numbers even more making him a great ROI (Price/DKFP) value pick for any DFS lineup. He was already a top-25 player in the ROI-leaderboard up to this point, so you can safely build around him.
The second-best value from the Spurs is Derrick White, although he’s just averaging 22 DKFP per game... If the Spurs ramp up his minutes he might become something valuable, at least to an extent, but chances are he doesn’t improve that much. Not much more to like in San Antonio, with Dejounte Murray perhaps getting more opportunities in Aldridge’s absence but a very middling ROI through the first part of the season.