9 Bold Predictions (2020 Fantasy Basketball)
The offseason came and went in the blink of an eye. Basketball is back, folks! With every new NBA campaign comes new surprises. I don’t think anyone saw Hassan Whiteside further elevating his game to become an elite fantasy option (62.1 FG%, 15.5 PTS, 13.5 REB, and a league-leading 2.9 BLK). Who would’ve thought that a near completely undrafted player in Devonte’ Graham (2019 ADP: N/A) would end up being Charlotte’s offensive catalyst, averaging 18.2 PTS and 7.5 AST with 3.5 3PT? Bam Adebayo was 74th in ADP last year, but produced at a borderline first-round clip thanks to his hustle stats (1.3 BLK and 1.1 STL), smart ball distribution (5.1 AST), strong rebounding numbers (10.2 REB), and solid efficiency (55.7 FG%). At the same time, early-round big man Julius Randle repaid his fantasy GMs with poor efficiency metrics that drained his value (46 FG% and 27.7 3PT%). Plus, talented center Thomas Bryant just didn’t see the minutes (24.9 MIN) to live up to his 61st overall ADP.
One could go on further about other players like Spencer Dinwiddie and Richaun Holmes, who both stepped up in big ways that nearly no one was expecting, but it’s time to turn the page to the upcoming season. We must ask ourselves what shocking player performances have a decent chance of happening and leaving us all stupefied in the process. Our featured analysts are here to share their thoughts on what those could be and why they might happen. Read on to see their bold predictions below.
Q. What is one bold fantasy prediction for the upcoming season and why could it happen?
“John Wall wins NBA Comeback Player of the Year and becomes a six-time All-Star. The 30-year-old PG is fully recovered from an Achilles tear and is all systems go for the 2020-21 campaign. He hasn’t played in a regular-season contest since December 2018. The Wizards traded Wall along with a protected future first-round pick to the Rockets this offseason for Russell Westbrook. With a new team and clean bill of health, a highly motivated Wall will look to be a dominant force in the NBA once again. He averaged 20.1 points, 4.2 rebounds, 9.8 assists, 1.7 steals, and 1.3 triples in his last five seasons before tearing his Achilles. Wall is currently 69th among all players in the latest FantasyPros expert consensus draft rankings and will produce as a top-50 player as long he’s able to stay on the court. Everything is in line for him to put his Achilles injury behind him and be an NBA All-Star once again.”
– Brad Camara (FantasyPros)
“John Wall will finish as a top-20 fantasy player this season. This may not be a radical take in a few days once James Harden is eventually traded, but for now, this is where I’ll plant my flag. The rumblings concerning Harden and the culture he fostered in Houston have grown significantly louder in recent days and new trade rumors continue to emerge daily. The writing is on the Wall (see what I did there?) for Harden’s exit, leaving the former Wizard to lead the Rockets into the future. Across his last five full seasons, Wall averaged 19.9 points, 9.9 assists, 4.4 boards, and 1.8 steals while earning All-Star honors in each campaign. Health is his biggest concern, but there should be plenty of opportunities for him to succeed and smash his current ECR.”
– Zachary Hanshew (FantasyPros)
“Darius Bazley finishes as a top-100 fantasy asset. Here’s what he did when he played more than 25 minutes per game last season (12 games): 13.1 points, 7.6 rebounds, 0.8 blocks, and just 1.2 turnovers. Those averages are very similar to Marvin Bagley’s, but it’s Bazley who finds himself ranked 176th in ECR, while Bagley is ranked 99th. With Chris Paul, Danilo Gallinari, Dennis Schroder, and Steven Adams now gone, Bazley figures to be a staple in the Thunder’s starting lineup and should approach 30 minutes per game on a consistent basis. Don’t let him and his upside slip through your fingertips at the back end of your fantasy draft.”
– Adam Koffler (FantasyPros)
“Going super bold here and saying Fred VanVleet finishes top-15 in category leagues. What’s not to love about Freddy? He averaged a whopping 1.9 steals and 2.7 threes per game. If he can get that 41 FG% up, it will drastically improve his value. We all know Lowry will miss a decent amount of games, and with Serge Ibaka out of town it leaves lots of goodies for VanVleet.”
– Shane Mosley (FB-Ninja)
“Kevin Durant will finish as the scoring champ and top-10 in fantasy basketball points leagues. No longer sharing the court with Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson, Durant should see an uptick in usage while providing a higher point total than the Nets saw in the 2019-20 season. If the Nets average 115 points per game and Durant can pull a 30% usage rate, a number he has hit three of the last six years, he can score approximately 35 points per game, which could easily lead the league.”
– Dave Kluge (FantasyPros)
“DeMarcus Cousins plays 60+ games and finishes as a top-12 center. Obviously, this hinges on the veteran center’s health, but let’s not forget that we last saw him on the court in the same playoff season as Kevin Durant (ECR 15) who happens to be two years older than Cousins. It’s easy to forget how dominant he’s been over his career and while he may no longer be capable of putting up his career-average of 21.2 points/game, he can easily put up a nightly double-double with John Wall running the point. He also fills up his stat sheet with enough assists, steals, and blocks to bolster his fantasy production. Christian Wood is another new addition in Houston, but the two should be able to coexist in the Stephen Silas coached frontcourt. Cousins is well worth the shot at his current draft price.”
– Aaron Larson (FantasyPros)
“Shai Gilgeous-Alexander (current ECR – 24th overall) will finish as a top-10 player by the end of the season in all formats. With Chris Paul, Dennis Schroder, and Danilo Gallinari out of the picture, Gilgeous-Alexander’s usage rate will climb from 23.7 last year to over 30.0 this upcoming season. He’ll become one of the NBA’s premier points guards, elevating his game to deliver averages of 24 PTS, 7 REB, and 7 AST in his first season as the cornerstone player of a rebuilding franchise.”
– Dan Titus (FantasyPros)
“Russell Westbrook (ADP 14) finishes outside the top-75 players in nine-category leagues. An inefficient fantasy player no matter where he calls home, he excels in the so-called ‘popcorn stats’ (points, assists, and rebounds), but he is a turnover machine and a poor free throw shooter who offers little help in blocks and threes. Even his formerly elite production in rebounds, assists, and steals tailed off last season and won’t return to the levels they were in Oklahoma City. At 32 years old, he’s also an injury risk due to his history of chronic knee problems. We already know he won’t play in back-to-backs and it would be no great surprise if the Wizards shut him down completely once they fall out of playoff contention.”
– Andrew Seifter (FantasyPros)
“Moe Harkless will be a top-100 player for fantasy. He won’t score many points, but he will chip in some rebounds and an occasional three-pointer. His main value comes from steals and blocks. though, and he has 1/1/1 potential. This could happen because he has a good chance of starting at power forward for the Miami Heat. If he gets 28 minutes per game, then top 100 for fantasy is feasible, which is exactly what happened back in 2016 with the Portland Trail Blazers.”
– Stan Son (Razzball)
Thank you to the experts for naming their bold predictions for the 2020-2021 NBA season. Be sure to give them a follow on Twitter for more advice all year long.