Fantasy Review For 2017/18 Season:

Very disappointing year, they had only three players in 9-cat Top150… and all of them missed around 24 games. Some role players had their temporary relevance but overall that was simply a lost season for fantasy GMs who hoped for hidden value in Orlando. It means that it can’t be any worse this year, right?

Changes in the offseason:

Lost = Bismack Biyombo, Shelvin Mack
Added = Mohamed Bamba, Jerian Grant, Jarell Martin, Timofey Mozgov, Melvin Frazier Jr.
New Head Coach Steve Clifford.

Am I the only one who finds it weird that team deep in the rebuilding project hired an old coach with a spotty track record of developing young players [or even playing them significant minutes]? Not to mention questionable health is not exactly a breeding ground for long-term patience. Was he hired basically because he was a part of the last successful team in Orlando? I can’t figure out this move.

Projected Depth Chart:

PG SG SF PF C
D.J. Augustin Evan Fournier Jonathon Simmons Aaron Gordon Nikola Vucevic
Jerian Grant Terrence Ross Jonathan Isaac Jonathan Isaac Mohamed Bamba
Melvin Frazier Jr. Wesley Iwundu Jarell Martin Timofey Mozgov

Positional Battles: PG, one of the wing positions

Among the wings Fournier is a lock to start but who’s going to play next to him is a question mark.
There are 3 very different options – Simmons, Ross and Isaac – and the choice will come down to team’s preferences.
Head coach Steve Clifford seems like a guy who prefers tough defenders [which is way I’ve put Simmons there] but a typical rebuilding move would be to start Isaac. Ross is probably the least likely of the three to actually start but he does have a very popular “spacing” card.

At point guard there are 2 options and by default I’ve put veteran there but don’t be surprised if Grant starts in the second half of the season. There’s also a chance it will be a time-sharing and value-killing split in minutes.

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

Nikola Vucevic

46,495 FG%, 76,023 FT%, 1,04 3PM, 15,33 PTS, 8,87 REB, 2,9 AST, 0,85 STL, 1,02 BL, 1,7 TO

In cases where player is very likely to be traded should you make a projection for his current team or for some generic league-average team? Or should you assume he will land on the contender because those teams will value the most solid but overpriced veterans? Those are key questions to ponder when talking about Vucevic and I probably put too much emphasis on his stats in Orlando. But it’s a blank canvas without information about his next team or teammates and you can easily envision multiple different scenarios for his 2018/19 campaign. I hope above stats represent something close to the middle one.

Aaron Gordon

44,977 FG%, 70,142 FT%, 2,02 3PM, 18,69 PTS, 7,6 REB, 2,24 AST, 0,94 STL, 0,76 BL, 1,75 TO

Gordon improved his stats for the third straight season but that was mostly due to the increased minutes and usage in each one. It will be tough for him to play significantly more than 33 minutes per game or become a first option on offense so in order to take the next step in fantasy he needs to improve some skills. Efficiency in making free throws would be nice but the most realistic path is probably around three-pointers.
Do you know he attempted over 100 pull up threes and made only 22% of them? That’s inexcusable chucking and hopefully new coach will try to steer him into more Catch and Shoot attempts where he made a solid 39% of them. Other than that when will his defensive numbers catch up with his athleticism?

Evan Fournier

44,497 FG%, 83,662 FT%, 2,35 3PM, 18,58 PTS, 3,06 REB, 2,93 AST, 0,9 STL, 0,16 BL, 1,72 TO

Last season Fournier had a career-high in blocks, threes made and FT% but he missed 25, 14, 3 and 24 games in 4 years in Orlando which is concerning for such a young player. Other than increase in usage how can he improve this year? Maybe in steals? His upside seems limited at this point so I think it’s fair to question whenever his value in fantasy plateaued around range solid but below average.

Jonathan Isaac

42,563 FG%, 75,472 FT%, 0,71 3PM, 7,69 PTS, 4,32 REB, 0,85 AST, 1,17 STL, 1,23 BL, 1,23 TO

His rookie season had promising moments but was cut way short. He re-created some buzz in the summer league but in my opinion the key question around Isaac is: which position will he play? In the eyes of Magic coaching stuff is he a small forward or power forward? His so far weak shooting ability probably can’t handle SF full time but there aren’t enough minutes left at PF behind Gordon… So I assume it will be the mix of them which does not bode well for his FG% as he will play too far from the basket. The irony here is they had exactly the same redundancy problem with Gordon in his second and third season so here we go again…

Mohamed Bamba

48,044 FG%, 67,333 FT%, 0,24 3PM, 7,38 PTS, 6,25 REB, 0,47 AST, 0,5 STL, 1,44 BL, 1,11 TO

Bamba’s value is very strongly linked with the future of Vucevic.
The longer Nikola is on the team the worse it is for the youngster in terms of fantasy output.
Above projection is for the scenario where he starts around quarter of his games but most of the season he is a typical backup center.
If you assume early Vucevic trade bump Mo up significantly in your rankings but without one it’s probably a little too optimistic.

Could be useful with trades/injuries [or in deeper leagues than 15 teams]:
D.J. Augustin, Jerian Grant, Terrence Ross

Just don’t bother with:
Jonathon Simmons

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

Posted in Teams preview