Fantasy Review For 2017/18 Season:

Kawhi’s injury was the main event of the season but that disappointment overshadowed some nice stories.
LaMarcus Aldridge had a great season and quite similar to what he did in his best days in Portland, Kyle Anderson filled the hole at SF admirably which resulted in a new contract with the Grizzlies, Rudy Gay came back from serious injury in a stronger way than anticipated and Dejounte Murray had a really promising second half of the season.

Changes in the offseason

Lost = Kawhi Leonard, Danny Green, Kyle Anderson, Tony Parker
Added = DeMar DeRozan, Marco Belinelli, Jakob Poeltl, Dante Cunningham, Lonnie Walker

Projected Depth Chart:

Patty Mills DeMar DeRozan Rudy Gay LaMarcus Aldridge Pau Gasol
Dejounte Murray Bryn Forbes Marco Belinelli Davis Bertans Jakob Poeltl
Derrick White Dejounte Murray Lonnie Walker Dante Cunningham LaMarcus Aldridge

Positional Battles: PG, C

Popular sentiment is that Dejounte Murray will start at PG but I disagree with it based on one simple fact – how can Spurs start 3 or even 4 players who can’t shoot threes? I don’t think they can make it work which is why I assume bigger role for Mills than people realize. And don’t worry about Dejounte, he will be fine because there will be plenty minutes left at both guard positions.

At center is a classic dilemma between old known quality [Gasol] and promising but inexperienced prospect [Poeltl] which probably will end up with something close to the split minutes.

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

LaMarcus Aldridge

49,282 FG%, 83,521 FT%, 0,43 3PM, 19,9 PTS, 7,59 REB, 1,91 AST, 0,55 STL, 1,05 BL, 1,46 TO

Last season was a nice flashback to his days in Portland but LaMarcus’ fall in fantasy rankings for 2018/19 is one of the most predictable ones in the entire league.
His offensive numbers will decline because he won’t be a clear #1 option anymore [thanks to Derozan] and
his defensive numbers will decline because he’s going to play less minutes at center this year [to make a room for Poeltl]. Both factors will negatively affect his fantasy value but keep in mind Aldridge won’t fall off the cliff completely, quite the opposite, he’s a versatile player so even despite those losses he should be #1 ranked Spurs player in 9-cat Roto. Just don’t expect anything close to 2017/18 stats because you will be disappointed.

DeMar DeRozan

45,238 FG%, 83,573 FT%, 1,16 3PM, 22,53 PTS, 4,08 REB, 4,51 AST, 0,98 STL, 0,21 BL, 2,23 TO

I’m surprised how his offensive role in Toronto was not that much different than Kawhi’s in San Antonio and what’s even more surprising, Raptors’ change in style last year accidentally prepared him for what he will need to do with the Spurs! His minutes were already low for a star [Spurs’ hallmark for years] and he focused more on moving the ball [ditto]. That’s why I assume pretty similar stats even though DeRozan changed teams and conference.

But keep in mind that there’s way more uncertainty in those numbers than if he stayed with the Raptors.
You never know for sure what new coach will try to do with acquired player, even someone as established as Derozan may need to change something significant in his game. Speaking of which…

Rudy Gay

46,737 FG%, 81,379 FT%, 0,83 3PM, 12,94 PTS, 5,2 REB, 1,42 AST, 0,87 STL, 0,63 BL, 1,6 TO

Last season he recovered from injury quickly and he made a really smooth transition from starter to backup role. In the offseason two small forwards left San Antonio so it opened the door for Gay to become a starter again.
But keep in mind this probably won’t mean the same thing as in Sacramento because he will play less minutes than typical starter. It’s also worth mentioning Spurs signed Marco Belinelli who’s probably a better fit than Gay in the starting lineup next to Derozan so that’s something to monitor in the preseason.

Jakob Poeltl

62,5 FG%, 62,295 FT%, 0 3PM, 8,44 PTS, 5,37 REB, 0,88 AST, 0,48 STL, 1,19 BL, 1,21 TO

The main prospect acquired in a trade which sent out Kawhi has a typical profile for young center [strong FG%, blocks, solid rebounds and not much else] but the most promising thing is he may actually start at some point this season. His upside is limited because he won’t play a lot with Gasol and Aldridge in town but he should be able to carve out a role just big enough to rank in the 9-cat Top150.

Dejounte Murray

44,7 FG%, 70,32 FT%, 0,27 3PM, 9,57 PTS, 5,48 REB, 3,86 AST, 1,35 STL, 0,46 BL, 2,05 TO

I haven’t joined this particular hype train because in my opinion 3 years of data [including NCAA and G-League] that he can’t shoot at all is way more important information than gushing stories about how great his jumper looked in the offseason.

Sure, generally speaking young players tend to improve but I don’t think enough people realize how rare it is they learn entirely new skill. Dejounte Murray may be one of them but I just don’t like paying draft-day dollars for optimistic assumptions because most of them won’t happen.

EDIT after an unfortunate injury we’ll have to wait another year to find out and instead of Murray pickup Derrick White or Patty Mills.

Pau Gasol

46,794 FG%, 75,966 FT%, 0,59 3PM, 9,22 PTS, 7,2 REB, 2,26 AST, 0,26 STL, 0,9 BL, 1,28 TO

It’s a pretty boring move to fill out roster with Gasol but here’s the hidden beauty of fading star players: they start from such a high point they can still be more fantasy-friendly than most players in the league even when they lose a lot of their value due to aging. Or you can just look at this in a more positive light – “a lock to join hall of fame in the future at a discounted price!”

Could be useful with trades/injuries [or in deeper leagues than 15 teams]:
Derrick White, Patty Mills, Marco Belinelli

Just don’t bother with:
Lonnie Walker, Dante Cunningham

Don’t forget to check the rest of the San Antonio Spurs fantasy basketball projections.

Posted in Teams preview