Fantasy Basketball Mailbag: Playoff Picks, CBA Impacts, Wembanyama's Fantasy Value + More

Fantasy Basketball Mailbag: Playoff Picks, CBA Impacts, Wembanyama's Fantasy Value + More

The regular season is mercifully coming to an end but that doesn't mean there aren't more questions to be answered. Who's going to win it all this year? What impact will the new CBA have on fantasy hoops? How much will we have to pay for Victor Wembanyama this fall? Dr. A answers all those questions and more in this week's Mailbag column. 

Who will win the West? Who will win the East? Who will win the Finals? What should the Mavs do in the offseason? - Illgobbo (@Illgobbo)  

Answer: While both the Suns and Lakers look unstoppable when everyone is healthy, and the Kings shocked the world this season with a great campaign, I still think this might be the Nuggets' year. They have the best record in the West, the core of Nikola Jokic, Jamal Murray, Michael Porter, Kentavious Caldwell-Pope and Aaron Gordon is pretty healthy, and they've got depth with veterans like Bruce Brown, Jeff Green, Reggie Jackson, Thomas Bryant and DeAndre Jordan on the bench. And Jokic could be playing with a chip on his shoulder given how much support both Joel Embiid and Giannis Antetokounmpo have been given to beat him out for MVP.  

Who will win the East? 

Answer: The Bucks have the best record in the league and the Celtics are built to win a championship, but Embiid has been a monster and teaming him with James Harden has been a beautiful thing. Tyrese Maxey is

The regular season is mercifully coming to an end but that doesn't mean there aren't more questions to be answered. Who's going to win it all this year? What impact will the new CBA have on fantasy hoops? How much will we have to pay for Victor Wembanyama this fall? Dr. A answers all those questions and more in this week's Mailbag column. 

Who will win the West? Who will win the East? Who will win the Finals? What should the Mavs do in the offseason? - Illgobbo (@Illgobbo)  

Answer: While both the Suns and Lakers look unstoppable when everyone is healthy, and the Kings shocked the world this season with a great campaign, I still think this might be the Nuggets' year. They have the best record in the West, the core of Nikola Jokic, Jamal Murray, Michael Porter, Kentavious Caldwell-Pope and Aaron Gordon is pretty healthy, and they've got depth with veterans like Bruce Brown, Jeff Green, Reggie Jackson, Thomas Bryant and DeAndre Jordan on the bench. And Jokic could be playing with a chip on his shoulder given how much support both Joel Embiid and Giannis Antetokounmpo have been given to beat him out for MVP.  

Who will win the East? 

Answer: The Bucks have the best record in the league and the Celtics are built to win a championship, but Embiid has been a monster and teaming him with James Harden has been a beautiful thing. Tyrese Maxey is part of the Big 3 in Philly, Tobias Harris is a very experienced and competent veteran and P.J. Tucker is one of those dogs everyone wants to play with. The bench isn't as solid as some other teams but De'Anthony Melton, Jalen McDaniels, Georges Niang and Paul Reed can all play. In fact, Melton and his defense might be the key to the whole thing. 

Who will win the Finals? 

Answer: I'm going with the Nuggets and if this matchup happens it's going to be a dream. It wasn't long ago the 'big man era" was dead, but that's clearly not the case any longer with Jokic and Embiid playing for two of the best teams in the league. 

What should the Mavs do in the offseason?

Answer: First of all, they have to make sure Luka Doncic doesn't lose faith and is fully invested again next season. The Kyrie Irving experiment was a failure but if they end up keeping him, the addition of a talented big man could really help the Mavericks. They need to make a smart draft pick, add a stud power forward or center, and find a guy or two who can play defense. In other words, they have their work cut out for them. While the Rockets and Spurs get all the hype about being the worst defensive teams we've seen in a while, Dallas is right there with them, rounding out the Texas Trifecta.

Special shoutout to loyal follower Illgobbo, who submitted questions every single week that I was looking for some. 

Your thoughts on the new CBA and what impact it might have on fantasy hoops? - hoopstrainer (@hoopstrainer) 

Answer: I doubt there are any major impacts in regards to fantasy, but there are three changes that stand out to me. The new CBA allows teams to keep more than two super-max players, does not punish players for smoking weed, and most importantly, doesn't allow players to be eligible for postseason awards (like MVP) if they don't play at least 65 games. There is some leeway in terms of the number of games they must play depending on each situation, but generally speaking, 65 is the magic number. 

As Kurt Helin pointed out in a Pro Basketball Talk piece, a team like Cleveland can now theoretically keep both Darius Garland and Donovan Mitchell while also signing Evan Mobley to a max deal. Maybe the fantasy impacts would be even bigger if those players had to separate, but it is one of the more interesting new items in the deal. As far as the league no longer caring if players smoke marijuana or not, that will surely make a lot of guys happy and take away the risk of a suspension or penalty. But the most interesting one, in the era of load management, is the 65-game minimum to be awards eligible. If that were in place today, Damian Lillard, Stephen Curry, LeBron James, Kevin Durant and Ja Morant (just to name a few) would not be eligible for end-of-season awards. So any incentive the league can come up with to get stars to play in more games is good by me. 

How can fantasy basketball H2H be saved? - Kevin Radnor (@kevin_radnor)

Answer: I think the question ties in nicely with Hoopstrainer's, as load management has really taken a toll on long-time, season-long fantasy managers. It simply isn't as fun as it used to be. Stars you draft early sit way too many games, rosters during the fantasy playoffs often don't even resemble teams that were drafted, and families are getting tired of spending a ton of money on tickets for their children to see their favorite players, only to have them take a night of rest, resulting in heartbroken kids. I can relate to that one, as I once took my son to see Luka and Kristaps Porzingis play against the Hawks only to have both of them sit that night.  As memory recalls, Jalen Brunson also suffered his season-ending shoulder injury on that same night. 

In any case, Adam Silver and the NBA know they have a problem on their hands and it's pretty clear that the players almost have too much power these days. Props to Mikal Bridges, who appears to be on track to play in all 83 (!) games this season as he leads the Nets into the playoffs. He gained an extra game due to his trade from Phoenix to Brooklyn and is a throwback (and breath of fresh air) by not missing games and being a beast on both ends of the court. 

I don't think the CBA is going to solve the problem and I'm not sure the NBA has anything in the works that would encourage teams and players from limiting rest. But I do know that having the schedule makers eliminate back-to-back games would be a huge step in the right direction. I don't think any of the teams or players in the league like back-to-backs and in today's world, they don't really make sense. Especially if it would mean guys playing another five games or so per season. But if things don't start turning around as far as load management goes, I would hope that more steps would be taken in the next two years to try to get it back under control. Because old-school fantasy hoops leagues that so many die-hards have played in for 20 or 30 years are simply not as fun as they used to be and something has to give. 

Will Victor Wembanyama be the highest-priced fantasy player to start the new season? - Richard Wright (@IndianaHoopsFan)

Answer: First of all, Wembanyama is likely to be the No. 1 pick not only in the NBA Draft, but in every dynasty league imaginable, as well. There's no way to know how his skinny frame will hold up in the NBA but his talent is unquestioned and he's destined to become a fantasy superstar either way.

Outside of dynasty leagues, I'm pretty sure all of us would like to get our hands on Wembanyama in season-long fantasy leagues next year. I'm guessing he'll be going late in Round 2 or anytime in Round 3 of those leagues. And depending on how Summer League and the preseason go, he could even become a regular first-round pick by aggressive fantasy managers. 

As for DFS, I doubt Wembanyama will kick off next season as the most expensive player on the slate every night, but it may not take him long to get there. I'm guessing he'll start off being a Top 10 or 15 guy, price-wise, but I do think he'll have a chance to be the most expensive player by next Christmas. Then again, if he destroys Summer League and has a big preseason, I may be selling him short. Either way, I just hope to have him on a roster or two next season, whether in a dynasty or season-long league.  

Top three guys the rest of the week? - Randy Green (@randyGdeveloper)

Answer: Sorry I didn't get back to you sooner on this, Randy. But here are my thoughts on the Top 3 non-stars who should be fantasy stars the rest of the way. It all depends on who is sitting and who is playing, and we're still waiting to find out if the Mavericks are going to give up on their postseason dreams and shut Luka and Kyrie down. If they do, these are my rankings. 

1. Jaden Hardy - Mavs

2. Josh Green - Mavs

3. Talen Horton-Tucker - Jazz

There are literally about 25 guys who belong on this list, especially when you look at the eliminated teams like the Pistons, Hornets, Wizards, Pacers and Blazers. Here are some other names you should be looking at: Shaedon Sharpe, Jalen Duren, Malaki Branham, Eugene Omoruyi, Jordan Nwora, Aaron Nesmith, Andrew Nembhard, Jalen Smith, Sandro Mamukelashvili, Theo Maledon, Svi Mykhailiuk, Bryce McGowens, Johnny Davis, Jordan Goodwin, Kendrick Nunn, Jay Huff and Skylar Mays, to name a few. 

Here are the teams with just two games left for the rest of the week. Everyone else goes three times.

2 Games Remaining: CHA, CLE, GSW, HOU, MIN, OKC 

Want to Read More?
Subscribe to RotoWire to see the full article.

We reserve some of our best content for our paid subscribers. Plus, if you choose to subscribe you can discuss this article with the author and the rest of the RotoWire community.

Get Instant Access To This Article Get Access To This Article
RotoWire Community
Join Our Subscriber-Only NBA Chat
Chat with our writers and other RotoWire NBA fans for all the pre-game info and in-game banter.
Join The Discussion
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Steve Alexander
Steve 'Doc' Alexander has been covering hoops for more than 20 years and recently joined Rotowire after spending his entire career at NBC Sports.
Fantasy Basketball 2023-24: Position Preview - Center
Fantasy Basketball 2023-24: Position Preview - Center
Fantasy Basketball 2023-24: Seven players going too high – or too low – in fantasy basketball drafts
Fantasy Basketball 2023-24: Seven players going too high – or too low – in fantasy basketball drafts
Fantasy Basketball Rankings 2023-24 - Updated Top 150 NBA Fantasy Draft Ranks
Fantasy Basketball Rankings 2023-24 - Updated Top 150 NBA Fantasy Draft Ranks
Fantasy Basketball 2023-24: Position Preview - Power Forward
Fantasy Basketball 2023-24: Position Preview - Power Forward