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 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: 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: You know how hard it is to finish as the sixth player while finishing 131st in USG? That's what Green accomplished this past season due to his increased efficiency and his ability to impact games in a variety of ways. Will the addition of Durant cut into Green's growth? It's possible, but you're talking about a matchup nightmare that led one of the most potent offenses in recent memory in minutes per game.
2017 Outlook: He's a tough player to gauge. On one hand, you've got a player that has averaged 20 points in consecutive seasons while seeing his assist per game count increase by at least 26.9-percent in each one of his NBA seasons. On the other hand, we've got one major question: is he a good shooter? The three-point percentage has been sporadic and his inability to consistently knock down open jumpers (43.1-percent over the last three seasons) is concerning given the skill sets of the newly acquired Rajon Rondo and Dwyane Wade. Our projection reflects our optimism that a repeat performance can be had, just be aware that the roster overhaul could cause some bumps along the way.
2017 Outlook: You come go to ‘Melo for the scoring, so the fact that his points per game have declined in three straight seasons, there is concern to be had. He did average a career-high in assists last season and with more offensive weapons around him, it would be logical to think that he can at least sustain that growth. Still, we need proof that he is going to be more efficient before we assume such, making him a tough sell unless on a very specific type of fantasy roster.
2017 Outlook: The list of players that averaged two 3PM to go along with at least five rebounds and five assists is a short one: the top three players on our player rater (Curry, Harden, and Durant) and Batum. This was the first time Batum had pull those three stats together in one season, but the signs were there that this production was coming. His defensive numbers were down a touch, leaving room for even more value. He ranked just 19th among shooting guards in USG, but the Hornets now have some 120 million reasons to up that rate sooner rather than later.
2017 Outlook: We know exactly what DeRozan is: a volume producer. His lack of a three point shot is an obstacle (65 shooting guards averaged more 3PM last season), but with most owners in standard sized leagues having a more than capable three point shooter rostered after the first two rounds, DeRozan's primary fantasy wart can be overlooked in the right situation. He averaged at least one steal and better than eight rebounds-plus-assists for a third consecutive season, allowing him to gain some value other than the 20-plus points you know you're getting from him.
2017 Outlook: Can you name all of the qualified players who made at least two three pointers per game at a 40-percent clip and did not play in the NBA Finals? C.J. McCollum , J.J. Redick, and Fournier. The points and percentages are a given, but the ceiling has yet to be explored. We are looking at a 23-year-old with four years of experience that will be tasked will filling the void left by the departure of nearly 32 points and 25 FGA this offseason (Tobias Harris and Victor Oladipo). Sure, the Magic added some front court talent to help, but Fournier is primed to lead this backcourt and have his best fantasy season to date.
2017 Outlook: In a season in which his FG%, 3P%, FTA, AST, BLK, and STL averages all fell (albeit slightly in most cases), Hayward still managed to finish the 2015 season fourth among SGs on our player rater. That speaks to both the lack of depth at the position and Hayward's ability to provide strong value across the board, the exact reason you should feel good with him in the early rounds. The Jazz upgraded to George Hill at point guard and brought in Joe Johnson, moves that should help free up Hayward on the perimeter (the percentage of his FGA that have been uncontested has steadily be declining).
2017 Outlook: He's posted two essentially identical seasons while in Houston, and while the numbers aren't overwhelming, they have been reliable. The league's premier "3-and-D" player (joined Curry and Lowry as the only players to have multiple 3PM and steals) has been able to produce in large part to his 35.5 minutes per game, a number that figures to be trending downward this season. The Rockets brought in Ryan Anderson and Eric Gordon this offseason, adding to their already crowded group of perimeter oriented players. Ariza's ability on the court should allow him to sustain some value, as it is something his new teammates don't have, but you don't want to pay for his past numbers.
2017 Outlook: The 2016-2017 Wolves might be the most fun Minnesota franchise since the Daunte Culpepper/Randy Moss days and Wiggins is the leader of the pack. Despite a slight dip in minutes played, Wiggins managed to attempt more shots and convert them at a higher percentage. You have to love the bump in free throw attempts (he made 5.3 per game after attempting 5.7 per game in his rookie season) and the scoring stability that comes with that. He is going to score and produce highlight reel plays with regularity, but his otherwise pedestrian numbers leave fantasy owners wanting more. With plenty of talent around him, statistical growth is very possible in all categories, but paying for much growth over his 2015 numbers is a risk.