IMPORTANT NOTE: I’ve waited as long as I could but I write this preview when Butler’s situation is unresolved. Because he is officially still on the Timberwolves I have to assume it will drag out longer than expected, maybe until the December when more players around the league are going to be tradeable?

Fantasy Review For 2017/18 Season:

2 stars played better than expected, Taj Gibson and Jeff Teague were solid but Wiggins disappointed and as usual with Thibs the bench was a non-factor. Even though they made the playoffs after long drought there were such big issues in the locker room we still hear about them today and they will be the main reason for the Butler trade in the near future. Another fallout from all this is the possibility they will have a new head coach or general manager within a year.

Changes in the offseason

Lost = Nemanja Bjelica, Jamal Crawford… Jimmy Butler???
Added = Anthony Tolliver, Josh Okogie, Keita Bates-Diop… players acquired for Jimmy Butler??? New GM???

Projected [only temporary?] Depth Chart:

PG SG SF PF C
Jeff Teague Jimmy Butler Andrew Wiggins Taj Gibson Karl-Anthony Towns
Derrick Rose Josh Okogie Luol Deng Anthony Tolliver Gorgui Dieng
Tyus Jones Derrick Rose Keita Bates-Diop Gorgui Dieng Justin Patton

Positional Battles: SG

Assuming current roster the starting five would be locked in but obviously at least one big change will happen soon so it will open up a lot of minutes at SG. I assume whoever they acquire [like for example Josh Richardson] will play them but right now it’s an unknown.

Dark horse for that role is Josh Okogie but that’s a long-shot and something unexpected would have to happen in the entire process [like hold out by Butler or trade focused more on picks/salaries than solid players].

Fantasy Relevant in leagues with 12- to 15-teams:

Karl-Anthony Towns

54,8 FG%, 86,8 FT%, 1,6 3PM, 23,1 PTS, 12,64 REB, 2,55 AST, 0,78 STL, 1,38 BL, 2,05 TO

It doesn’t seem optimal when by far the most efficient offensive player is fifth in usage on his own team [and third among starters] but this is what happened last year with Towns in Minnesota. For that reason alone I kind of understand why he waited with signing the extension there. I don’t know what changes to the roster will Butler’s trade bring but either way Towns should shoot more this year which, even with some regression to 3P%, will be great for his fantasy value. And if he somehow improves his defensive numbers sky will be the limit [in that case he literally could be #1 in fantasy rankings, he has that kind of upside].

Jimmy Butler

46 FG%, 85,3 FT%, 1,29 3PM, 22,75 PTS, 5,4 REB, 4,95 AST, 1,94 STL, 0,43 BL, 1,94 TO

Please note I don’t know where he will play this year so those projections only make sense with the assumption he will stay in Minnesota for a couple of months. It’s important to remember that Thibodeau plays his starters way more minutes than almost all other coaches so it has to be considered best-case scenario for Butler’s fantasy value because in most other teams his minutes will be adjusted down [and his stats will go down with them]. But he will be a star anywhere he plays, just keep in mind he played 70+ games only twice in 7 years.

Jeff Teague

43,2 FG%, 85,6 FT%, 1,31 3PM, 13,96 PTS, 2,83 REB, 6,89 AST, 1,47 STL, 0,29 BL, 2,53 TO

Again those projections only make sense with the assumption Butler will stay for a couple of months.
Otherwise the key question is how many legit ball-handlers will be acquired for Butler? I don’t know but if actual trade brings to Minnesota mostly role-players this move would actually be positive for Teague’s value. At this point it’s a pure gamble.

Taj Gibson

After a great season there are multiple reasons to be sceptical how he can repeat it.
1) Tom Thibodeau has to be the only coach on Earth who would play him 33 minutes per game at age 33 and while he’s still the coach in Minnesota he may not be one for the whole season,
2) Gibson notched career-highs in multiple categories, especially shooting percentages were impressive but it would be hard for him to replicate those numbers even in optimal circumstances,
3) most possible trade scenarios regarding Butler will have someone to compete with Taj’s minutes so there’s a lot of risk that future changes will lower his value [but right now it’s just an educated guess].

Andrew Wiggins

43,5 FG%, 72,6 FT%, 1,53 3PM, 17,54 PTS, 4,16 REB, 1,94 AST, 1,04 STL, 0,6 BL, 1,69 TO

Despite the max contract he took a step back and I’m not talking about points per game [because the arrival of Butler forced lower usage] but his assists, 3P% and FT% were simply unacceptable for high-volume scorer. Also his defensive numbers were still weak for athletic wing despite the fact he didn’t have an excuse of expanding a lot of energy on offense.
At this point the only hope his contract won’t be a disaster is mid-career Derozan-like improvement in shot selection, playmaking and he will have to live up to his potential on defense.

Could be useful with trades/injuries [or in deeper leagues than 15 teams]:
Josh Okogie, Anthony Tolliver, Gorgui Dieng, Tyus Jones

Just don’t bother with:
Derrick Rose, Luol Deng

Don’t forget to check the rest of the Orlando Magic fantasy basketball projections..

Posted in Teams preview