• The season is about to get underway and fantasy basketball is back to fill our days and nights with NBA stats we can all geek out over. With a player-movement-heavy offseason now behind us, many new faces on new teams are ready to make waves. That said, there are many storylines for fantasy GMs to follow, especially with plenty of intel and surprises to be revealed in the first 5-10 games of the year.

    We’ve got a handful of storylines that are worthy of everyone’s attention, brought to you by SportsEthos editors Erik Ong and Mike Passador.

    The Victor Wembanyama Sweepstakes

    All throughout the preseason images and video clips of the 18-year-old French phenom stole the limelight from many an NBA performance. It’s crystal clear, Wembanyama is a generational talent and is someone that any franchise could benefit from landing in the 2023 NBA draft. He’s not the only star in that class, to be fair, though he is indeed shining the brightest. It’s a deep class, stacked with talented players and because of this, many teams are expected to tank in order to improve their chances to win the lottery and land the first-overall pick which presumably will be used for Wemby.

    The Thunder have been tanking since the wheel was invented, or at least shortly after that and they’re not about to change course now. They’ve been notorious for sitting their players due to “injuries” — shorting the value of guys like Shai Gilgeous-Alexander. Fantasy GMs have become wary of that now and have smartly faded SGA in drafts. But this year, it’s different because we can now consider the Jazz,  Spurs, Rockets, Magic, and even the Pacers and Hornets to possibly join that race to the bottom of the standings — and a few teams figure to join them during the course of the year. So how should GMs use this knowledge? Firstly, don’t assume that all these teams will behave as the Thunder have over the last several seasons. Not all of them will sit their young players. Simply put, player development is a thing, and there’s no better teacher than actual time on the floor during a real NBA game. The second is to plan ahead and make your moves/trades much earlier, way ahead of the All-Star break. If your call is that Team X is going to do “a Presti” and sit Y players for the last 3-4 weeks of the season, then act accordingly. Keep a close eye on the standings, those will matter more in fantasy than ever before.

    Alperen Sengun

    This was supposed to be smooth sailing.

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