Part 2 of preseason predictions article will be a little longer as we get closer to the season and see some more value emerge. As mentioned in part 1 we are coming off a respectable 24-18 for last season and in total 66-41 & 16.4 units profit for the last three seasons.
You can review how we went in last seasons preseason projections here.
A reminder that our record is based off the first 3 games of the season only and if there are any major changes to teams starting line up due to injury you should not follow these tips as it upsets the balance too drastically.
Trades, free agent signings and player roles
Westbrook / Capela double, this was initially just going to be a lean in the ‘players of note to watch’ section below. But after watching some of the Rockets preseason games I’m confident enough to make this a tip. As we spoke about in the Steven Adams segment the OKC system was to let Russ rebound and push. With Westbrook going from one of the faster pace team to one of the slowest along with the Rockets system (ie not boxing out for Westbrook to rebound) I feel a significant drop coming for Westbrook’s rebounds. I’m not as worried about Capela’s rebounds and if we are lucky enough to get a 11.5 or less line I’d be inclined to take the over. Westbrook under rebounds / Capela over rebounds with a line of 11.5 or less.
Ricky Rubio, Phoenix has been searching for a point guard to pair with Devin Booker and with the contract they gave Rubio it seems they feel they got their man. As much as I would’ve prefered to see Booker at the point and try and find more of a Patrick Beverley type to pair with him but that’s not what we are here for. We are all aware of Rubio’s shooting woes but his strength has always been passing. Coming out of Quin Synder’s system at Utah now joining the Suns team that new head coach Monty Williams stated he wanted the team to play fast. I expect to see something closer to Minnesota Rubio than Utah Rubio pushing back up to close to the 9apg we saw his last 3 years in Minnesota. Ricky Rubio over assists.
Bam Adebayo, many die-hard fans have been waiting impatiently for Bam to take over from Whiteside in the starting line up for a couple of years and that time has finally arrived. A multidimensional player who gets steals and blocks along with some passing prowess from the Center positions. Bam has shown tremendous potential when given the opportunity. Last season Bams numbers didn’t exactly jump off the page going 9ppg & 7rpg, however, this was in only just over 23mpg. Which per 36 equates to 14ppg & 11rpg. He obviously won’t play 36mpg but I feel these are still very close to what he will average this season. Bam Adebayo points and rebounds overs separately and/or combined.
Thomas Bryant, even less likely to be recognised than Bam is Thomas Bryant. Majority of casual fans won’t know the name especially on a terrible Wizards team but believe me when I say Bryant is the Wizards center of the future. An overwhelming amount of evidence points to a break out season for Bryant. The Wizards just signed him to a 3 year / $25 million dollar contract and there is no other Center on this roster to take his minutes. Especially now with his only real threat, Ian Mahinmi is sidelined with an Achilles injury. Bryant’s numbers last year are easily glazed over at 10 & 6 but post-all-star break he went 12 & 7.5 with per 36 numbers of 18 & 11. Flying under the radar, this is one of my top plays to begin the season. Thomas Bryant points and rebounds overs separately and/or combined.
Gordan Hayward, much like the previous players we have taken advantage of who don’t live up to contracts or coming off injury Hayward ticks both of these boxes. Let’s start with the contract, more than likely his output won’t match his contract but that doesn’t mean he won’t be a valuable contributor to a successful team. Why won’t he live up to that contract? Because of the injury. Hayward is now 2 years removed from the devasting leg injury of opening night. What a lot of people may not know is that he also had to have a 2nd surgery which caused another setback almost 5 months from the original surgery. Hayward spent a majority of last season just getting his body physically and mentally ready, not working on his game at all. We did see flashes of it when Kyrie was out, averaging 16ppg. Hayward averaged less than 26mpg last season too and I expect him to easily clear 30mpg for the upcoming season. The usage was sub 20% after being over 25% his last 3 seasons in Utah. With Kyrie gone we should see some more play making and hopefully back to attacking the basket for a few more of these highlights. Gordan Hayward over points.
Tobias Harris, everybody wondered who would remain on the sixers team between Harris or Jimmy Butler or both. Turns out they chose Harris but also added Al Horford and traded away Butler. What you may not realise is this moves Harris down a position to the 3 where he hasn’t played a majority of his minutes at that position since his 14/15 Orlando Magic days. Subsequently, we will see Harris’s rebound numbers decline but I expect some sort of minimal load management for Horford and Embiid and when that happens look for Harris to move up to the 4. Tobias Harris rebounds under. Tobias Harris rebounds over when Horford or Embiid is out.
Other players of note to watch
These will not count toward our record but we still have a solid level of confidence in these projections;
- Marvin Williams – a household name but with a rebuild underway after Kemba left and a majority of the 2016 contracts coming off the books at the end of the season. I think Williams is in for a drop in minutes, maybe not for the first month of the season but confident after all star break. Points & rebounds under.
- Paul Millsap – last season was Millsap’s first sub 30mpg season in 8 years and we expect another minutes drop with Jerami Grant joining the team and in turn another drop in production. Points & rebounds under.
- Thad Young – also a household name now a back up we may be lucky to get 1 or 2 unders in prior to the line adjusting. Points under.
- Joe Ingles assists – with Mike Conley now in town he will take a majority of the ball handling duties from Ingles. Points & assists under.
- Kristaps Porzingis – there is an indication that load management will be on the cards for KP, attempt to get on Dwight Powell on back to backs early before KP is ruled out. Points & rebounds over.
- Andrew Wiggins – always a sub-par rebounder, the Wolves have been playing Wiggins exclusively at SG during the preseason. This take Wiggins even futher away from the basket. There may not be a great deal of value here, as mentioned, Wiggins is already a horrible rebounder but this position change should really set that is stone. Rebounds under.
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