2017 Outlook: For the first time in five years, Harden's TS% dipped below 60-percent, but he was able to produce for his fantasy owners by leading the league in minutes played (38.1 per game) for the first time in his career. He has missed just one game over the last two seasons, a level of health that when combined with the fact that his FGA per game jumped by nearly nine-percent for the second consecutive season and his rebound/assist totals rose again makes him nothing short of elite in our game.
2017 Outlook: The 2009-2010 regular season saw the Lakers and Magic finish as two of the three teams to win over 55 games. It's been a while. That was also the last time Westbrook finished as anything other than a Top 3 player in USG. Not sure if you've heard, but Kevin Durant is no longer in Oklahoma City and Westbrook is entering the final year of his contract.
2017 Outlook: The Rookie of the Year is only going to get better ... and his introduction to The Association was pretty impressive. As a 20-year-old, KAT was the only player to average 10 rebounds while shooting 80-percent from the free throw line, a rare skill set that allows for roster balance. His "big-man" numbers are going to be impressive, but don't rule out the potential for him to rank among the best at the Center position in both assists and three-point shooting. He's the complete package and his name belongs in this class.
2017 Outlook: The lasting taste in your mouth is probably a negative one after a disappointing NBA Finals performance, but don't be blinded by the most recent events. Curry's FGA attempts spiked last season, resulting in him averaging 26.5-percent more points per game than his MVP 2014 season. The best part? The scoring bump didn't cut into his other counting stats, as he actually averaged more rebounds-plus-assists than a season ago.
2017 Outlook: Durant was able to flourish in a Thunder offense eighth in pace and 17th in assist ratio. There is minor risk in moving to Golden State, but that risk is mitigated by an increase in pace and a significant bump in assist ratio. For the second time in three seasons, KD averaged at least 13 rebounds-plus-assists and for the fifth time in seven seasons he averaged at least a steal and a block. Look for increased efficiency to offset his potential minutes dip, making Durant a safe option to build a fantasy champion around.
2017 Outlook: His point and assist production has steadily increased every year of his professional career, a rare combination that has the 25-year-old Leonard ranked among the very best in the game. He’s an elite two-way player that flirted with the coveted 50-40-90 shooting line last year. He is the focal point of the one of the best franchises in professional sports...yea, we will take our chances.
2017 Outlook: He's the same player he always has been, just with a slightly downward trending minutes count. For the third consecutive season, his MPG dipped, but that didn't stop him from posting elite numbers. He settled less for long-jumpers last season, as his average distance of attempt (9.7 feet) was more than a foot lower than any other season of his career. For the first time, he took more than half (55.2-percent) of his shots from inside of eight feet. If you subscribe to the theory that you "can't win a draft in the first round, you can only lose it," then The King is your guy as he is as safe an option as there is.
2017 Outlook: The upside here isn't that of some of the younger point guards that the NBA is littered with, but his high floor is appealing in the early rounds and will allow you to roll the dice in the middle rounds. Over the last three season, CP3 is averaging 19.2 points, 10.3 assists, and 2.12 steals ... numbers that essentially mirror what each individual season has looked like. Without Blake Griffin for the majority of the season, Paul's efficiency dropped a bit, yet he still finished fifth on our player rater. There is next to zero downside with the veteran point guard and one could argue that a healthy Griffin makes him worthy of first round consideration.
2017 Outlook: Don't worry Boogie, we don't know what the Kings are doing either. Fortunately, we do know what you are doing and that is producing massive numbers across the board. Among players that will play in 2016, no player averaged more FGA per 48 minutes than the Kings center, a volume of shots that is becoming increasingly valuable as he made 86.4-percent of his career triples last season. Add that to consecutive seasons with at least three assists and three blocks-plus-steals per game, and we are talking about a rare talent.
2017 Outlook: The Bucks appear willing to tie their wagon to Antetokunmpo and, while it'll cost you an early pick, you should be willing to as well. The 2015 numbers are appealing, but look at his numbers after the All Star Break (18.8 points, 7.2 assists, 8.6 rebounds, 1.9 blocks, and 1.4 steals) and you're looking at a 21-year-old that is nearly impossible to matchup with. This Milwaukee offense is going to be a work in progress as Jason Kidd tries to figure out exactly what he wants, but there is no lack of room for growth (bottom 10 in both pace and offensive efficiency) and it is clear that Antetokunmpo is clearly the building block.
2017 Outlook: Remember the last time he played 70 regular season games? Me neither ... it hasn't happened yet. He is essentially a slightly better version of Towns when it comes to scoring and defensive numbers that comes with health concerns. We've seen him produce at a level that would justify him being the second player off the board (February 2015), and given the lack of help he has in New Orleans, his well-rounded numbers are a safe bet as long as he is on the court.
2017 Outlook: On a monthly basis, few fill it up like Dame DOLLA. Coming into the 2015-2016 season, Lillard had never averaged more than 23 points and at least 6.2 dimes in a single regular season month (minimum two games played). But that was then and this is now. Lillard will enter the 2016-2017 season having reached those thresholds in six consecutive qualifying months and that level of volume doesn't appear to be going anywhere. One minor concern for H2H owners: Lillard failed to shoot over 50-percent from inside of eight feet for the third time in four professional seasons. It's nitpicking, but it will result in the occasional stinker and that really hurts in a weekly format.
2017 Outlook: With the Heat coughing up just shy of $100 million for his services and letting Dwyane Wade walk, it is clear that the plan is to create a winning team from the inside out. The rebound and block (more blocks per game than Rudy Gobert and DeMarcus Cousins combined for) totals are going to be nothing short of elite, which combines nicely with his scoring ceiling. He shot 75-percent from the charity stripe in the second half of last season to go along with attempting nearly 60-percent more free throw per game. If that growth is real, Whiteside is a prime candidate to become the first player to block three shots AND score 20 points a night since Alonzo Mourning/Shaquille O'Neal did it in the 1999-2000 season.
2017 Outlook: The gruesome injury he suffered ahead of the 2014-2015 season may stick out in your mind, but in the three seasons surrounding that campaign PG has missed a total of six games, making durability a strength. In his last three full seasons, George has recorded at least 140 steals and 170 3PM, a nice combination of skills for a player who continues to see his scoring stats rise. The additions of Jeff Teague and Ty Lawson to this backcourt make Indiana a great bet to considerably improve on the league's 23rd most efficient offense.
2017 Outlook: The Raptors leader is the only point guard to rank as a Top 5 player at the position in rebounds per game in each of the last three seasons, a nice advantage Lowry owners hold while they chase the increase in scoring efficiency that we saw last season (his TS% jumped from 52.7-percent in 2014 to 57.8-percent last season). The Raptors were the second best team in the Eastern Conference last regular season by relying heavily on Lowry (only James Harden played more minutes per game) and it is hard to imagine the game plan being any different in 2016.