• Opening week is finally here and I’m pretty sure most of you fantasy addicts have been preparing with mock drafts and the must-have HoopBall guide that has you covered!

    It’s that time of the year where we get to browse around the league and see how the international guys are performing and we move on to the Western Conference this week, examining who is rising up and who is trending down on the fantasy front.

    After a couple seasons that were heavily affected by non-basketball issues, there is hope that we are returning to a normal fantasy season.  But like every year, especially this season, there is a lot of fantasy value hidden, so make sure you stay up to date on all the breaking news and rumors posted on our website and on our Twitter account @HoopBallFantasy.

    Dallas Mavericks

    In Dallas, the Mavs have a new coach in Jason Kidd but the roster construction is pretty much the same compared to last year and that fantasy production looks to be similar unless the team decides to do something drastic during the season. The Luka hype train is out of control as he has been getting drafted even as the #1 overall pick, which is fine if you believe his turnovers and free throw shooting are going to improve. The Slovenian sensation is more of a top-25 guy but his usage isn’t expected to go down anytime soon and he will once again deliver monster fantasy lines that will have managers drooling.

    Kristaps Porzingis meanwhile looks healthy and ready to turn the page but he is a risky pick due to the injury history and the fact that Doncic dominates the offensive side of the ball, something that has a ripple effect on the numbers his teammates produce. KP is a fantasy beast when healthy, scratching the surface of top-15 value so feel free to take a shot on him at the right price/round.

    Maxi Kleber is entering another season as the backup PF/C and I like him in the later rounds as a nice all-around option who can also operate as a safety net in case Dallas has issues in the frontcourt. Finally, Boban Marjanovic and Frank Ntilikina are deep on the depth chart and should only be good for the occasional game here and there so they are not in my radar for standard leagues.

    Denver Nuggets

    Nikola Jokic is entering the season as the reigning NBA MVP and the fantasy MVP of last year so there is really not much to say more about him other than that he is really good at basketball (#analysis🤣); please don’t allow him to slip beyond the top-3. The absence of Jamal Murray meanwhile means that Monte Morris and Facu Campazzo will be handling point guard duties for most part of the season. The Argentinian point guard should play around 25 minutes per night and he is a valuable source of steals and triples in the later rounds while he proved to be very durable in his first year in the NBA. Bol Bol had once again some strong games during the preseason but he still hasn’t found his role and I don’t see a reasonable path for him to get minutes.

    Golden State Warriors

    Jonathan Kuminga will not be ready for the start of the season due to an injury he sustained and even though he showed flashes of his potential in Summer League he is not standard league material yet. Nemanja Bjelica meanwhile seemed like a nice fit for the Warriors and followed up with a decent preseason which likely guarantees him playing time as long as James Wiseman and Klay Thompson remain on the shelf; he can be viewed as a points and triples specialist in deeper formats.

    Houston Rockets

    Turkish rookie Alperen Sengun is entering the season as a dark horse in the race for the Rookie of the Year after a very successful Summer League and strong preseason play. He is not expected to start, but he is someone that you could easily stash due to the situation in Houston as the Rockets will be looking to develop their youth for another season. His ADP right now is at 135 which looks reasonable but the Turkish big has a high ceiling due to his high basketball IQ and his stat skill set that includes triples, assists and defensive stats.

    Daniel Theis on the other hand is a veteran that will likely start next to Christian Wood and he projects to be a great value pick in the middle rounds, especially for the first part of the season. Finally, rookie forward Usman Garuba looks like he won’t be in the rotation when the season begins this week and even though I like him long term the value doesn’t seem to be there this year.

    Los Angeles Clippers

    The Clippers are expected to be without Kawhi Leonard for most of the season and his absence is likely to create opportunity on the fantasy front for a few of his teammates. Ivica Zubac is someone that I’m targeting in the late-middle rounds this year as he is coming off a strong year where he reclaimed his starting job back from Serge Ibaka. His ADP is at 115 which seems a bit high but that’s the kind of value that Zubac is projected to return.

    Ibaka meanwhile suffered a mysterious injury that ended up being nerve damage and cost him over half of the season last year, resulting to him having his lowest scoring year since the 2011-12 NBA season. He probably won’t be ready for the season opener but he is on track to return soon and it’s not out of question that the Clippers insert him back to the starting lineup. His current ADP is around 137 right now but I think there are better options around that number while I’m not very optimistic about his playing time in a season where the Clippers likely won’t be able to contend.

    Nic Batum surprisingly came to life last year with the Clippers and his role should remain the same this season. He is definitely not a sexy pick but the value should be there in the late rounds and he is someone I’m keeping an eye on in competitive formats where the lack of available players at the end of the draft leads to questionable decisions (hello Hassan Whiteside!).

    Finally, German-American forward/center Isaiah Hartenstein was able to secure a roster spot after a strong preseason and he should be on your watchlist as the season progresses, as he seems ready to grab the opportunity when it presents itself and he has a fantasy-friendly game.

    Los Angeles Lakers

    Sekou Doumbouya finds himself in LA after a disappointing sophomore season and he will try to work himself up through a strong organizational structure and lots of playing time in the G League.

    Memphis Grizzlies 

    Steven Adams lands in Memphis this year and the fantasy community seems to be skeptical regarding his fit with a young and exciting Grizzlies squad.  The New Zealander has a current ADP around 125 but I’m worried that his playing time will take a hit and he should be seen as a rebounding and blocks specialist only in standard leagues. Rookie forward Santi Aldama will use this year to acclimate to the NBA game and he shouldn’t be on the fantasy radar while two-way international players Killian Tillie and Yves Pons will spend plenty of time in G League.

    Minnesota Timberwolves

    Argentinian forward Leandro Bolmaro made the leap to the NBA in the summer and he is a nice project for the Wolves who are finally looking to be competitive. Unfortunately, he is not on the fantasy radar yet.

    New Orleans Pelicans

    In New Orleans, Jonas Valanciunas finds himself as the new starting center for a team that has a lot of questions coming into the season. The Lithuanian center has been a top-50 asset the last couple seasons but the fit with Zion seems odd and I really can’t wait see how that translates to fantasy value. Jonas should be able to average again a strong double-double and while his ADP is at 55 I could see him taking a hit once Zion returns to the team. Willy Hernangomez will battle for the backup center job with Jaxson Hayes but I don’t expect him to be a contributor this season while rookie guard Didi Louzada has a lot of work to do and will find himself in the G League.

    Oklahoma City Thunder

    The Thunder are projected to provide a ton of volatile fantasy value for a second consecutive year as the rebuilding process is slowly taking off. Rookie Josh Giddey has been impressive in the preseason, with an all-around fantasy stat set that has managers drooling and Oklahoma City will likely insert him into the lineup so he is a nice flier pick towards the final rounds.

    Theo Maledon and Aleksej Pokusevski are entering their sophomore seasons and will likely come off the bench; they both have their pros and cons and the hope is that they will take the next step in their development but consistency is not there and they should be treated only as specialists in deeper leagues. Finally, Gabriel Deck and Vit Krejci will compete for bench minutes and they both are likely to get an opportunity at some point during the season.

    Phoenix Suns

    Dario Saric will likely miss the entire 2021-2022 season so he’s not on the fantasy radar, while Egyptian forward Abdel Nader will remain a security blanket on the Suns roster.

    Portland Blazers

    Bosnian center Jusuf Nurkic is entering the season healthy and ready to compensate fantasy managers for the last couple seasons where he played only 8 and 37 games. His ADP is at 56 which is totally reasonable if you can make the leap of faith about injuries not knocking on his door again.

    Sacramento Kings

    In Sacramento, Chimezie Metu and Neemias Queta will provide frontcourt depth for the Kings but neither is expected to be in the rotation. Alex Len will compete for backup minutes but he could be valuable if and only if there’s a case where he has to play extended minutes.

    San Antonio Spurs

    Jakob Poeltl enters the season as one of the core pieces of a young Spurs squad that will be looking to focus on player development. The Austrian center finished the season strong last season and will likely average a double-double with a couple blocks so he is a strong consideration in the middle rounds as long as your team intends to punt free throws. His ADP is around 80 but this shouldn’t scare you as he is likely to return borderline top-75 value. Aussie center Jock Landale, meanwhile, is another international find by the Spurs and it remains to be seen whether he can keep it up against the best competition in the world. It looks unlikely that he will be in the rotation on opening night.

    Utah Jazz 

    The Jazz have loaded up on veterans once again and this looks like a make-or-break type of season for them. Rudy Gobert is coming off a year full of basketball and not much rest and I just hope that Utah takes it easy with him, especially in the early stages of the season. Gobert remains a strong second round option and he is the type of big that will get you the defensive numbers you are looking for. Bojan Bogdanovic will again step into the role of second scoring option behind Donovan Mitchell and he really has no competition for minutes other than newly acquired Rudy Gay; the Croatian forward has a current ADP around 100 but I consider him more of a top-125 asset that will provide plenty of points and triples in the later rounds of the draft. Finally, Aussie combo guard/forward Joe Ingles will again come off the bench and provide the secondary playmaking that the Jazz will be looking for and he is also a top-125 option that will produce plenty of assists and triples.

    Thank you for reading our Eastern and Western Conference Rotation Battles and make sure you stay up to date on all the breaking news and rumors posted on our website and on our Twitter account @HoopBallFantasy.

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