Tag: nba

Basket Brawlers Fantasy Basketball Four-cast

Your personal fantasy basketball cheat sheetYour personal fantasy basketball cheat sheet

Welcome to the Basket Brawlers Fantasy Basketball Four-Cast! For the week of March 2nd to 8th (Saturday-Friday), we have yours truly, Rajan Sharma joined once again by Jordan Taylor, and the dynamic duo of the Power brothers giving you your fantasy basketball insights as you head towards fantasy playoffs.

1) FANTASY LINE OF THE WEEK
2) FANTASY SLEEPER PICKUP OF THE WEEK*
*LESS THAN 20% OWNED IN 12 TEAM LEAGUES ON ESPN
3) TOP SELL HIGH CANDIDATES
4) TOP DROP CANDIDATES OF THE WEEK

1) Fantasy Line of the Week

Dray and Cal’s Pick:
Damian Lillard
51 Pts, 5 Reb, 9 Ast, 2 Blk, 1 Stl, 3 3PM, 15/28 Fg, 18/20 Ft
03/07/2019 vs OKC

Dame time was all around on Thursday against a hot OKC Thunder team. Unfortunately, it was a losing effort. Everyone is starting to look at the playoff picture and this is something we could see a lot more of in the next few months. Buckle up, because that was a blast to watch.

Jordan’s Pick:
Karl Anthony Towns, Minnesota Timberwolves
41Pts, 14 Reb,2 Stl, 3 3PM, 15/27 Fg, 8/10 fts
03/05/2019 vs OKC

As I write this KAT is putting up an almost duplicate line Saturday night against the Wizards tonight, if there was ever any doubt of KAT making the all star game, then this week should have eliminated all the haters. While there is 0.01% chance of Minny making the playoffs, at least we can take solace in the Timberwolves All-Star not letting up on the gas pedal anytime soon.

Raj’s Pick:
Zach LaVine, Chicago Bulls
39Pts, 5 Reb, 4 Ast, 1 Stl, 2 3PM, 14/26 Fg, 9/13 Fts
03/06/2019 vs PHI

Only 1 player has scored more points since the all star break than Zach LaVine as he appears to finally be coming in to his own as the focal point of the Bulls offence. LaVine dropped 39 on the Sixers including the game winning bucket, look for LaVine to continue scoring at a high rate for the rest of the season.

2) Fantasy Sleeper Pickup of the Week

Dray and Cal’s Pick:
Derrick White, San Antonio Spurs
20.4% Owned
14.3 Pts, 6.0 Reb, 6.7 Ast, 3.3 Blk, 1.3 Stl, 1.0 3PM over the last 7 days

Derrick White has turned around the Spurs after the worst Rodeo road trip (always takes place after All-Star) in team history. Since then, Derrick has crushed with those averages above and beaten OKC, Denver, and Detroit. Go get this boy if he’s available. Won’t be for long.

Jordan’s Pick:
Tyler Johnson, Phoenix Suns
8.4% Owned
13.7 Pts, 5 Reb, 5.7 Ast, 1.3 Stl, 0.7 Blk, 1.3 3PM over the last 7 days


While he is currently trending down on ESPN, I wouldn’t sleep for long on Tyler Johnson, he has strung 3 solid consecutive games together averaging over 30 minutes per game, with such a lack of guard depth, he is in for a nice run to closeout the season. Solid point guards are hard to find this late in the game.

Raj’s Pick:
Delon Wright, Memphis Grizzlies
2.5% Owned
17.7 Pts, 4 Ast, 5.7 Reb, 1.3 Stl, 0.7 Blk, 0.7 3PM in the last 7 days


Delon Wright has been splitting minutes at the 1 and 2 when playing along side Mike Conley and it is paying dividends for the Grizzlies. This is a contract year for Delon so look for him to finish out strong the rest of the season and cash in them cheques!

3) Top Sell High Candidate

Dray and Cal’s Pick:
LeBron James, LA Lakers
If you’re reading this with LeBron on your roster, it’s probably too late. Minutes restriction, no play-off hopes, and team animosity are all spelling disaster for LeBron owners. Ownership knows they have 3 more years of LeBron and have no interest in endangering their future. He will find pine for the remainder of the year. Dump him if you can.

Jordan’s Pick:
Jrue Holiday, New Orleans Pelicans
News broke out early this week that Jrue will be facing a minutes restriction for the upcoming games until the end of the season, now after averaging just over 30 minutes a game he has been diagnosed with an abdominal strain, see if you can get 2nd or 3rd round value for this guy before they upgrade him to out for the season, you have 7 to 10 days, go!

Raj’s Pick:
DeAndre Jordan, New York Knicks
With the Knicks firmly out of the playoff picture with no incentive to win and a young Mitchell Robinson waiting in the wings, now is the time to capitalize on trading the double-double machine DeAndre Jordan.

4) Top Drop Candidate of the Week

Dray and Cal’s Pick:
Reggie Bullock, LA Lakers
Reggie in Detroit was gaining momentum and was a top pick-up before the trade deadline. After his move to LA, it looked like he might have some juice left in the tank as a 3-point specialist with LeBron; however, the only tank that is happening now is the team. With LeBron resting and the priority shifting to showcasing the young talent, Bullock is out of the rotation and can be let go.

Johal’s Pick:
Gary Harris, Denver Nuggets
Harris has not been able to stay healthy all season and unfortunately never got into the groove in Denver, Malik Beasley, Monte Morris, IT, and Jamal Murray are on a timeshare where no-one can excel consistently, great if you are a Denver fan, bad if you are a Fantasy owner.

Raj’s Pick:
Marc Gasol, Toronto Raptors
Gasol being traded to the Raptor was the worst possible outcome for fantasy owners. Nick Nurse runs a “fluid” rotation at center and Gasol hasn’t quite found his fit with this team. He’s averaging a putrid 8.3 points, 6 rebounds, 2 assists and 1 block a game over the last week of play.

There you have it! Tune in again next week for your weekly Fantasy Basketball Fix!

Basket Brawlers Fantasy Basketball Four-cast

Your personal fantasy basketball cheat sheet

Welcome to the Basket Brawlers Fantasy Basketball Four-Cast! For the week of February 9th to 15th (Saturday-Friday), we have yours truly, Rajan Sharma joined once again by Jordan Taylor, and Adam Johal giving your fantasy basketball insights ahead of the NBA All Star Game in Charlotte this week!

1) FANTASY LINE OF THE WEEK
2) FANTASY SLEEPER PICKUP OF THE WEEK*
*LESS THAN 20% OWNED IN 12 TEAM LEAGUES ON ESPN
3) TOP SELL HIGH CANDIDATES
4) TOP DROP CANDIDATES OF THE WEEK

1) Fantasy Line of the Week

Johal’s Pick:
Russell Westbrook
44Pts, 14 Reb, 11 Ast, 2 Blk, 18/30 Fg
02/14/2019 vs NOP

Although it wasn’t enough to beat the Dumpster Fire Pelicans, Russ stuffed the stat sheet on Valentines Day – he even managed to be an efficient scorer!

Jordan’s Pick:
Paul George
47Pts, 12 Reb, 10 Ast, 2 Stl, 8 3PM, 14/23 Fg

and Russell Westbrook 
21Pts, 14 Reb, 11 Ast, 1 Stl, 2 Blk, 1 3PM
02/11/2019 vs POR

Am I allowed to give it to a dynamic duo? PG13 is on another tear. Only 10 other teammates have recorded this feat. Not to mention how efficient one would have to be to get 10 assists with west boss on the court.

Raj’s Pick:
Giannis Antetokounmpo
33Pts, 19 Reb, 11 Ast, 2 Stl, 1 Blk, 12/22 Fg, 9/10 Fts
02/13/2019 vs IND

In a battle between two of the Eastern Conference’s elite teams, it was The Greek Freak who led the way for the Bucks to secure their league leading 43rd win of the season (tied with Toronto) and once again show why they are the team to beat out East, even with newly acquired Nikola Mirotic still waiting in the wings…. this isnt even their final form!

Picture Source: http://www.nba.com/article/2018/01/24/russell-westbrook-says-its-outrageous-paul-george-not-all-star

2) Fantasy Sleeper Pickup of the Week

Johal’s Pick:
Dion Waiters, Miami Heat
4.8% Owned
18.3 Pts, 3.3 Reb, 4.3 Ast, 0.7 Stl, 4 3PM over the last 7 days

Waiters has averaged 18 points, 4 3PM, and 4.3 Assists over the last week. Waiters should be able to maintain his value while Goran Dragic works his way back into the lineup after the all-star break..

Jordan’s Pick:
Dion Waiters, Miami Heat
4.8% Owned
18.3 Pts, 3.3 Reb, 4.3 Ast, 0.7 Stl, 4 3PM over the last 7 days


Get on the boat to dion waiters island. After publicly stating f*** patience, waiters was inserted into the starting lineup and made it rain. Through this week he’s averaging almost double his season averages.

Raj’s Pick:
Cody Zeller, Charlotte Hornets
8.8% Owned
15.5 Pts, 2 Ast, 8.0 Reb, 1.0 Stl, 0.5 Blk in the last 7 days


After a slow start being hampered by injuries, Cody Zeller has quietly taken back the starting Center spot in Charlotte. If you are in need of boards and efficient scoring, snag this boy up ASAP!

3) Top Sell High Candidate

Johal’s Pick:
Jonas Valanciunas, Memphis Grizzlies
Jonas has been off to a hot start in Memphis, but I don’t expect him to continue a 18 and 9 pace. The Grizz have a history of putting guys in and out of the rotation, and may look to allocate more minutes to JJJ and Ivan Rabb during the back half of the season.

Jordan’s Pick:
Mike Conley, Memphis Grizzlies
Last man standing? Check
Your team traded for a younger point guard? Check
Not going to male the playoffs? Check.
Get some return for this guy now before the Grizz slash his minutes like a early 2000 horror film.

Raj’s Pick:
Devin Booker, Phoenix Suns
Well, this season hasn’t quite gone as planned for the young stud out of Kentucky. After proclaiming that he was done with not making the playoffs, the Suns sit at last place in the entire league (yes, worse than the Knicks) and Booker can’t seem to stay healthy. Best to deal Booker and his Hammies away before the injury bug strikes again.

4) Top Drop Candidate of the Week

Johal’s Pick:
Monte Morris, Denver Nuggets
His numbers have been up and down lately, and with Gary Harris and Isiah Thomas set to join the Nuggets guard rotation, it may be time to cut ties with Morris.

Johal’s Pick:
Noah Vonleh
Vonleh had a nice run for the Knicks but the porzingus trade has stunted his production with deandre jordan in the fold. Rookie Mitchell Robinson also encroaches on his minutes so feel free to cut toes with the journeyman forward

Raj’s Pick:
Tyreke Evans, Indiana Pacers
There was hope that Tyreke the freak would be able to fill Oladipo’s shoes after his injury, but the former Rookie of the Year winner has been utterly disappointing. If you want to take a flier on a high up-side guy, dont feel guilty dropping tyreke

Basket Brawlers Fantasy Basketball Four-Cast

Your personal Fantasy Basketball cheat sheet

Welcome to the first weekly segment of the Basket Brawlers Fantasy Basketball Four-Cast. This will be a weekly post that we will provide every Saturday to help you dominate your fantasy league as we approach the trade deadline and fantasy play-offs.

By this point, you probably have your core players locked in, so we are here to help you make the under-the-radar moves that will push you to the top of your own fantasy basketball leagues! With our rotating panel of expert fantasy Basket Brawlers, we’ll outline recommended moves that we think will make the difference.

From here until the end of the season we will break down the following categories in 140 characters or less:

1) Fantasy line of the week
2) Fantasy sleeper pickup of the week (less than 20% owned in 12 team leagues)
3) Top sell high candidates
4) Top drop candidates of the week

Joining me on the expert panel of fantasy basketball analysts this week is none other than Adam Johal and Jordan Taylor who have both won fantasy leagues in the past and know what it takes to win! So…lets get to it!

1) Fantasy line of the week

Adam Johal’s pick 
James Harden 
56 Pts, 10 Reb, 6 Ast, 1 Stl, 1 Blk, 16/34 Fg, 21/23 ft, 5 threes
01/16/2019 vs MEM

Harden is lighting the league on fire and Wednesday night showcased him at the height of his powers. 

Jordan Taylor’s pick
Steph Curry
41 Pts, 5 Ast, 3 Reb, 11/22 Fg, 10/10 Ft, 9 threes
01/16/2019 vs NOP

This game didn’t need any other mentions as it was already the highest offensively paced game this week, but Steph Curry still managed to shine above the rest. He hit 9 threes on the way to GSW’s win and kept his ridiculous streak of 8+ 3pm for the past three games. He cooled down Friday night and returned to mortal numbers, but we are in the presence of the greatest shooter of all time – so enjoy it.

Rajan Sharma’s pick
Kyrie Irving 
38 Pts, 7 Reb, 11 Ast, 1 Blk, 14/21 Fg, 6/9 ft, 4 threes
01/18/2019 vs MEM

Uncle Drew now has 29 assists over his last 2 games, including a career high 18 assists vs the East leading Raptors (and #1 on our weekly power rankings: http://basketbrawlers.ca/nba-power-rankings/ ) on Wednesday night…maybe he should call out his teammates more often?

2) Fantasy sleeper pickup of the week

Adam Johal’s pick
Richaun Holmes, Phoenix Suns
15% owned
13.5 pts/6.0 reb/0.5blks in the last 7 days

Holmes has had some great 9-cat stats, including great assist and steal potential for a center.

Jordan Taylor’s pick
Kenneth Faried, Free Agent
0.8% owned

The manimal has been waived by the Brooklyn Nets and intends to sign with the Houston Rockets where he will soak up all the missed shots from Harden with Clint Capella out recovering from surgery on his hand. Take the flier and benefit from a boost in rebounds.

Rajan Sharma’s pick
DeMarre Carroll, Brooklyn Nets
16.5% owned
14.0 pts/7.7 reb/1.7 threes per game in the last 7 days

With injuries to many of their key wings, the Nets have called upon Carroll to play all the minutes he can handle. He can be relied on in the short term to provide a boost in scoring, rebounding, and triples.

3) Top Sell High Candidates

Adam Johal’s pick
Bradley Beal, Washington Wizards

Beal has been on a torrid pace lately, but now is the time to maximize his trade value.

Jordan Taylor’s pick 
Draymond Green, Golden State Warriors

With Boogie back in the fold you can expect Green’s already dismal shot attempts and numbers to continue on a downward trend. Draymond has the intangibles for the Warriors that just won’t transfer over to the fantasy stat sheet. Having Boogie last night confirmed you will get the same Draymond with Cousins in the lineup, but how long will it last? See if you can get a high round point guard for your troubles

Rajan Sharma’s pick
Marc Gasol, Memphis Grizzlies

With the Grizzlies having cooled off since their blistering start and free agency looming ahead for their star big man, look for Memphis to be sellers this trade deadline and shift in to more of a youth movement going forward.

4) Top Drop Candidates

Adam Johal’s pick
Josh Jackson, Phoenix Suns

Jackson seemed to be heating up start the new year but has fallen off a cliff his last two outings with Booker back in the lineup. Feel free to give him the snip if you’re eying someone on the wire.

Jordan Taylor’s pick
All Houston Rockets Not Named James Harden

With the beard going on his offensive tear this month, touches for the rest of the team are few and far between. Search the waiver wire somewhere else because the likes of PJ Tucker, Austin Rivers, and Gerald Green won’t get it done for you consistently to warrant keeping them.

Rajan Sharma’s pick
JaVale McGee, Los Angeles Lakers

Well, the JaVale McGee feel good story is now over. He has been bumped down to 3rd string after Ivica Zubac has rushed the scene and stolen the hearts of the Laker Faithful. Time to cut ties here unless you are desperate for shot blocking.

Thats all for this week! Hope you can take away some knowledge from the expert analysis above. Check back in next Saturday for more Fantasy Basketball Four-Cast from your favourite Basketball Know-It-Alls!

Week 13 Power Rankings

After a lengthy holiday break, our regular Power Ranking writer is back with his salty takes on the week that was. Don’t agree with our takes? Write us a comment and let him know what you really think.

Credit to http://www.sportingnews.com for the image

Link to the Power Rankings Below:

http://basketbrawlers.ca/nba-power-rankings/

Leave a comment and let us know what you think!

NBA Power Rankings – Week 12

BasketBrawlers NBA Power Rankings is officially back for the New Year! We will be working even harder to provide you with the content and unique insights that you need from the NBA world. With Adam Kroon, the usual editor of this segment tied up with other commitments, this weeks segment is brought to you by the Give N’Go Podcast’s own: Rajan Sharma

Much has changed in the NBA landscape since the turn of the new year. The Grizzlies, who had started out red hot at the beginning of the season are starting to show their age. The Rockets have been fuelled by the MVP Calibre Heroics of James Harden, and Spurs have quietly been surging behind an inspiring performance on the night of Kawhi’s return to San Antonio. With that said, lets get to it! W

1. DENVER NUGGETS (26-11)

Last Weeks Ranking: 3 (+2)
Last Weeks Record: 3-0 
Offensive Rating: 111.9 (7th) 
Defensive Rating:  106.4 (9th)
Net Rating: +5.4 (5th)

The Nuggets took care of business against some teams fighting hard for a playoff spot with games against the Knicks, Kings, and Hornets respectively. The Nuggets continue their surprisingly successful campaign and have survived their injury plagued season so-far. With Paul Millsap and Gary Harris returning to action this week the Nuggets are finally starting to get healthy – which should be a scary thought for the rest of the NBA.

nba power ranking- weeks 12

2. TORONTO RAPTORS (30-12)

Last Weeks Ranking: 1 (-1)
Last Weeks Record: 4-1 
Offensive Rating: 112.2 (6th)
Defensive Rating: 107.3 (10th)
Net Rating: +4.9 (6th)

The Raptors have been busy this week! They started out with some hard fought victories against the Bulls and Jazz (a game in which Kawhi Leonard dropped a career high 45 points against the Utah Jazz defense) before they went in the San Antonio and got absolutely decimated by the Spurs, who were led by DeMar DeRozan’s revenge triple-double – the first of his career.

However, the Raptors managed to save face by defeating the other 2 teams fighting for the top spot in the east to end the week. The Raptors took a page out of Drizzy Drake’s playbook and beat the Bucks and the Pacers back-to-back. Going back-to-back! With Kyle Lowry returning to the lineup after being out for 6 days, we may actually see the Raptors two stars play in the same game for the first time early December this upcoming week!

San Antonio Spurs

3. SAN ANTONIO SPURS (23-17)

Last Weeks Ranking: Not Ranked (+13)
Last Weeks Record: 3-0 
Offensive Rating: 112.2 (5th) 
Defensive Rating: 109.1 (16th)
Net Rating: +3.1 (8th)

Don’t look now, but the Spurs are once again flying under the radar in to the playoff picture! The Spurs have rattled off 4 straight victories over the Clippers, Celtics, Grizzlies, and capped off by a routing of the Toronto Raptors after DeMar DeRozan racked up the first triple-double of his career against his former team. The Spurs are finally starting to get healthy after their wing depth was decimated by injuries to start the season and the results are showing in the win column. The Spurs play the Thunder twice next week, giving them a real shot of moving in to the top 4 of the Western Conference. Let’s see if old reliable can keep the NBA’s longest winning streak rolling!

4. MILWAUKEE BUCKS (27-11)

Last Weeks Ranking: 4 (-)
Last Weeks Record: 2-1 
Offensive Rating: 113.5 (2nd)
Defensive Rating: 104.3 (3rd)
Net Rating: +9.2 (1st) 

The Bucks are the only team in the top 3 of both offensive and defensive efficiency in the entire league. They came up just short in a marquee match-up against the Raptors on Saturday night, but they have still been dominant thus far. The Bucks have won 8 of their last 10 games, and if Brook Lopez can continue his Harden impersonation – hitting step back 3’s with 16 on the shot clock on the regular – the Bucks will be a tough match-up for any team come playoff time. Despite the hot start, lets see how the Bucks close out this season, as they will now play 21 of the next 30 games on the road.

5. HOUSTON ROCKETS (22-16)

Last Weeks Ranking: Not Ranked (+11)
Last Weeks Record: 2-1 
Offensive Rating: 112.9 (4th)
Defensive Rating: 111.6 (25th)
Net Rating: +1.3 (13th)

The re-emergence of MVP Harden has been an absolute treat to watch for NBA fans across the globe. James Harden is averaging over 40 points per game over the last 12 games, including an absolute thriller against the defending champion Golden State Warriors in which The Beard dropped another 44-point triple double and a game winning 3-pointer over Draymond Green and Klay Thompson.

An interesting point to note though, is that this sudden improvement of play by the Rockets also lines up with Chris Paul being removed from the lineup. Could this just be a coincidence? Tune in to the Give N’Go Podcast’s episode 12 which discusses this in detail in last week’s pod: http://basketbrawlers.ca/give-n-go/

6. PORTLAND TRAILBLAZERS (23-17)

Last Weeks Ranking: 13 (+7)
Last Weeks Record: 3-1 
Offensive Rating: 111.6 (8th)
Defensive Rating: 110.4 (21st)
Net Rating: +1.2 (16th)

The Blazers sole loss last week was by 2 points in a thriller against the rival OKC thunder. Besides the one blemish, the Blazers were able to rattle off impressive wins against the Sixers, Kings, and the blazing hot Houston Rockets. All the off-season talk about whether or not Lillard and McCollum can co-exist as your 2 best players has quieted down now with the emergence of their bench, and their young Bosnian Center Jusuf Nurkic, who became the first player in NBA History to record a rare 5×5 game (at least 5 points, rebounds, assists, steals, and blocks in the same game) while also recording at least 20 points and 20 rebounds. The 23-year old big man finished the game against the Kings with 24 points, 23 rebounds, 7 assists, 5 steals, and 5 blocks. Wow.

7. GOLDEN STATE WARRIORS (26-14)

Last Weeks Ranking: 6 (-)
Last Weeks Record: 3-1 
Offensive Rating: 113.6 (1st)
Defensive Rating: 109.3 (18th)
Net Rating: +4.3 (7th)

The Warriors were one blown call by the refs and a James Harden step-back 3 away from a perfect week. Despite all of their recent struggles, the Warriors still hold on to the 2-seed in the Western conference, and sit only 1 game back of the top spot. If you are a Warriors fan, I think you take this result all day given the struggles of the Warriors supporting cast this season. We are yet to see Boogie make his debut with the team, but it seems like they need another boost to get them back to their championship aspirations after going 8-5 over their last 13 games.

8. INDIANA PACERS (26-13)

Last Weeks Ranking: 11 (+4)
Last Weeks Record: 2-1 
Offensive Rating: 108.7 (16th)
Defensive Rating: 102.9 (2nd)
Net Rating: +5.8 (3rd)

The Pacers fell short on Sunday night against a Kawhi-less Raptors squad, but they still hang on to the number 3-seed in the Eastern Conference and the 2nd best defensive rating in the League. The Pacers will face off against the Boston Celtics on Wednesday night, which should be a nice test for a team looking to establish themselves amongst the elite in the NBA.

9. PHILADELPHIA 76ers (26-14)

Last Weeks Ranking: 2 (-7)
Last Weeks Record: 3-1 
Offensive Rating: 109.7 (13th)
Defensive Rating: 107.6 (11th)
Net Rating: +2.1 (10th)

Despite all the drama that seems to surround the Sixers at every turn of the way – the latest being Jimmy Butler suddenly unhappy with his new role on the team – the Sixers continue to rattle off victories. The Sixers will have a pretty pedestrian week next week, as they have games against the Wizards (twice), Hawks, and the lowly Knicks. If they can sort out all their internal dramas, they could be next in line to join Toronto in the 30-win club by the time we roll out these Power Rankings next week.

10. Oklahoma City Thunder (25-14)

Last Weeks Ranking: 7 (-3)
Last Weeks Record: 3-1 
Offensive Rating: 107.4 (21st)
Defensive Rating: 101.7 (1st)
Net Rating: +5.6 (4th)

Seems like the Thunder can never quite get it right…they followed up impressive wins over the Mavs, Lakers, and Blazers with an absolute DUD against the Washington Wizards. Scott Brooks got his revenge game against his former squad, and despite Russell Westbrook having another triple-double, he did his squad no favours with his 8 turnovers in the game and 9/23 shooting from the field. But alas, that is the fate of the OKC Thunder until they realize that maybe running more of the offence through PG-13 instead of Westbrook may be the solution to their problems. The dynamic duo of Westbrook and Paul George are currently sitting at a usage rate of 31.3 and 29.6 respectively.

Well there you have it! Let me know what you think about the power rankings in the comments below, or on twitter page (link is below):

https://twitter.com/_BasketBrawlers

Who didn’t quite make the cut…

11. Boston Celtics (23-15)

12. Los Angles Clippers (23-16)

13. Utah Jazz (20-20)

14. Brooklyn Nets (20-21)

15. Los Angles Lakers (21-20)

BasketBrawler’s Pre-Season Award Predictions

By Rajan Sharma

If this off-season has taught us anything, it is that the NBA is a 12-month sport. There have been no breaks in the action as we went from another Golden State Warriors Championship to the NBA draft that saw DeAndre Ayton go 1st overall and the Dallas Mavericks and Atlanta Hawks exchange future studs Luka Doncic and Trae Young, to a free agency period that saw the best player in the world – Lebron James – take his talents to Hollywood, to the end of the summer drama with Jimmy Butler taking the entire Wolves organization hostage and terrorizing everyone and their grandmothers on the practice courts.

The NBA is one giant soap opera, and I love every second of it. But with that being said, every good soap opera needs a star-studded cast to take it to the top. That’s where I have turned to the Basket Brawler’s own panel of basketball analysts and experts to see who they believe will walk away with the hardware this season with each of the top regular season awards. Joining me on the panel today will be our local Seattle Supersonics enthusiast Draydan Power, Basket Brawlers Fantasy League Defending Champion Adam Johal, the Tech Guru and lead analytics expert Adam Kroon, the Give N’Go Podcast’s own Jordan Taylor, and Fantasy Basketball Analyst Extraordinaire Steven Petterson.

So, without further a due, lets see who the Basket Brawlers expert panel has chosen to take home the hardware in this upcoming NBA Season!

Most Improved Player Award

Rajan Sharma’s pick – Myles Turner (Indiana Pacers)
After having a disappointing season last year, Myles Turner has completely changed his diet and body in anticipation of a big bounce back season. Myles Turner is the ideal big man in today’s NBA. He is long, athletic, protects the rim, and he has an outside jumper. Look for Turner to help the Pacers build on an impressive 7-game playoff series loss to the Cleveland Cavaliers and take a run at the Eastern Conference crown now vacated by The King.

Draydan Power’s Pick –  Jamal Murray (Denver Nuggets)
The blue arrow has already taken a leap forward after a great finish to last year’s campaign. He was heating up after the All-Star break and was absolutely electric to watch during the OT thriller against the T-Wolves last season. A big piece of me would of loved to have seen the Nuggets in the playoffs just to see what he could do, but regardless, he’s geared up to continue his rapid rise with a huge year this year. Even though IT is there, I don’t think it will affect his play time and I can’t wait to watch him, Jokic, and Millsap make a splash in the high elevation.

Adam Johal’s Pick – Myles Turner (Indiana Pacers)
Myles Turner was a hot choice for MIP heading into the 2017 season, but injuries led him to regress a bit in his third year.  Turner has dedicated his summer to his conditioning and appears to be in much better shape than his previous three seasons. Like his teammate Victor Oladipo, Myles Turns looks to translate his improved conditioning onto the court for 2019.

Steven Petterson’s Pick – Josh Richardson (Miami Heat)
Josh Richardson will be an All Star in the East this year. Book it. Spoelstra, Pat Riley, and Richardson himself have all been hyping him up as a break out player this year and his final two preseason games showed why. He is controlling the floor and scoring at will. Richardson has stated he hopes to reach 18ppg this year and I believe he will do it as he grows in to a force to be reckoned with and shows everyone why Riley was so hesitant to include him in a potential Butler trade.

Adam Kroon’s Pick – JaVale McGee (Los Angles Lakers)
Playing with Rondo and LeBron is going to revitalize his career. I have nothing else to say, but lob city just switched LA teams

Jordan Taylor’s Pick – Giannis Antetokounmpo (Milwaukee Bucks)
If you had Victor Oladipo winning this award at the start of the season, I have some stocks and bonds I want you to take a look at. After preseason I really don’t see alot of players looking like they will take a major step forward. Some that come to mind would be Miami Heats Josh Richardson, the guard-forward was a nice surprise last year and many news outlets have lavished over his off season training. When your part of the package for a potential jimmy butler trade, better believe this guy can ball. Other player consideration I have were Atlanta’s John Collins, a cheap pick in itself as players in their second year make incremental improvements to their game. Finally someone you cannot leave out of the conversation is Giannis, all preseason has taught us is that he truly deserves that number one overall fantasy spot. Is this the year he goes from all-star to better than LeBron? He is a legitimate shot at both MVP and MIP. 
Winner: Giannis Snub: Josh Richardson

Defensive Player of the Year Award

Rajan Sharma’s pick: Kevin Durant (Golden State Warriors)
Adding to my theory of a good storyline, this one is just too juicy to pass up. Kevin Durant has already made it known during the off-season that he wants more respect for the work he puts in on the defensive end of the court, and blames the fact that people “hate” him for the reason he doesn’t get his proper recognition on that end of the court. The Slim Reaper averaged nearly 2 blocks and 1 steal per game last season, along with having one of the best rim defense statistics in the entire league. This is the year that Durant finally breaks though and adds to his already impressive resume.

Draydan Power’s Pick – Kawhi Leonard (Toronto Raptors)
After what most people consider to be a Twilight Zone season for Kawhi, he needs to come back and make a big splash in the worst way. I truly believe that Kawhi will be in the running for MVP but won’t quite close it out (spoiler – I’m betting that will go to the other DPOTY candidate). All the pressure is on the Raps after firing Dwayne Casey and giving up DeMar DeRozan for a Kawhi rental, so expect him to come out gangbusters. I hope to see a Kawhi with a chip on his shoulder, getting down and dirty on both ends of the floor and carrying the Raptors to a deep playoff run.

Adam Johal’s Pick – Kawhi Leonard (Toronto Raptors)
Amongst the players with the most to prove this season, Kawhi has to be near the top of the list.  Fans and journalists around the NBA have seemed to forgot the level Leonard was playing at prior to his injury last season.  Kawhi will once again have to prove why he is one of the greatest two-way players in NBA history, and in a weaker conference, I think he will certainly do that.

Steven Petterson’s Pick – Ben Simmons (Philadelphia 76ers)
This is a real, dark-horse pick. It’s weird to think that Simmons is only in his second year in the league, but I believe we are going to see some considerable growth – specifically on the defensive end. Last year Simmons was a strong force on the defensive end and from what I have seen in preseason he looks extra committed to that side of the floor this year. He locks in, guards with intensity, and smothers opposing guards. I think this year people realize how much of an asset Ben Simmons’ defence is. Does he win the award? Maybe it’s a season or two early… But if he does, I told you so.

Adam Kroon’s Pick – Rudy Gobert (Utah Jazz)
No one will challenge the throne. We’re looking at another Ben Wallace type run for DPOY with Gobert. No surprise here whatsoever.

Jordan Taylor’s Pick – Rudy Gobert (Utah Jazz)
Defensive player of the year is always a hard one. Mainly due to stats not having as much of impact when being factored into voting. Short and quick: were looking at back to back award from the Utah Jazz center Rudy Gobert, something we have not had in at least 4 years. He’s got it all defensively, and with a clean bill of health relative to last year. He’s primed to patrol the paint erasing opponents shot attempts with his quick feet.
Winner: Rudy Gobert Snub: Drummond Green

Coach of the Year Award

Rajan Sharma’s pick: Nick Nurse (Toronto Raptors)
Adding to the story line and what I feel will be a special season North of the Border, first year head coach will take home the Coach of the Year honours after leading the Raptors to 60+ wins and a 1st seed in the Eastern Conference. All the attention seems to be on the Boston Celtics and Philadelphia 76ers coming in to the season and the Raptors will once again fly under the radar and take the crown out East. For those unfamiliar with Nick Nurse, his peers voted him as the most likely best future bench boss when he was an assistant last year. He is an analytical genius and an intelligent basketball mind who likes to experiment and think outside the box. Having come from the Houston Rockets system previously, Nurse is an advocate for high efficiency shots and this new look Raptors team may be even better on both ends of the floor with Kawhi Leonard. I fully expect them to finish top 5 in both offense and defense this upcoming season.

Draydan Power’s Pick –Brad Stevens (Boston Celtics)
He could of easily won it last year as well. Brad took a team of rookies and sophomores to the Eastern Conference Finals, pushing LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers to 7 games without the help of their two All-Stars, Kyrie Irving and Gordon Hayward. People have been spouting off all summer with questions of “What do you do now when you developed so much young raw talent and now have to add two All-Stars!?”. Boo-hoo what a tough problem to have. Even if it was a problem, I would trust Brad to figure it out and incorporate everyone as needed while getting players up and down the bench to buy in to the system. This guy is for real and this will be the first of many awards for him.

Adam Johal’s Pick – Mike Budenholzer (Milwaukee Bucks)
Coach Bud has had of history of making rosters with less than stellar talent perform beyond their capabilities.  Now that he has a roster equipped with a bonafide superstar in Giannis, Mike Budenholzer is ready to show the league what a full roster is capable of under his system.

Steven Petterson’s Pick – Mike Budenholzer (Milwaukee Bucks)
Unlocking Giannis Antetokounmpo’s full potential and unleashing a fast, free-flowing, high octane offense is going to make Budenholzer look like a genius. I see him as being for Giannis what D’Antoni was for Harden. Giannis was already fairly successful while being held back by Kidd, and he will be unleashed now. Budenholzer and Giannis will lead the Bucks further than anyone currently anticipates, and Coach Bud will be rewarded for it.

Adam Kroon’s Pick – Brett Brown (Philadelphia 76ers)
With another year of Simmons and Embiid blossoming under his tutelage, we’re going to see the Sixers make the Raptors and Celtics feel hot under the collar. Looking for 50 wins this year is the next step for this team, and hopefully a nice trophy for coach Brown.

Jordan Taylor’s Pick – Mike D’Antoni (Houston Rockets)
Coach of the year; definition; which team with the best roster finishes top 3 in the conference while not underperforming or over achieving. Check the history, I ain’t lying. Would love to see Denver Nuggets Head coach Mike Malone win. He has done amazing work out their with that young team and they are primed for a David vs. Goliath playoff first round if they can make it in the ever talented western conference.
Winner: Mike D’Antoni Snub: Michael Malone

6th Man of the Year Award

Rajan Sharma’s pick: Tyreke Evans (Indiana Pacers)
Tyreke “The Freak” Evans had a bit of a resurgent year last season – posting his best campaign since he put up 20/5/5 in his rookie year. Make no mistake about it that last season was no fluke. Tyreke displayed elite ball handling and court vision, an improved jump shot, and leadership qualities that we had not seen from him before. With the Pacers looking to take the next step in to one of the Eastern Conference’s elite teams, look for Evans to bring a spark off the bench and even close out games with fellow dynamic scorer Victor Oladipo.

Draydan Power’s Pick – Eric Gordon (Houston Rockets)
Call me safe with some of these picks. Eric Gordon was runner up last year and much like Brad Stevens, I don’t think anyone would of been too surprised to see him win. His touches will definitely go down with Melo in town, but this guy balls out against any starting or secondary unit in the league. He’s a huge reason the Rockets had and will have so much success, so look for him to put in another phenomenal year. If he stays healthy, he’s a top pick.

Adam Johal’s Pick – Dennis Schroeder (OKC Thunder)
The Thunder have been longing for the days of James Harden when they had elite scoring off the bench. Dennis Schroeder is clearly not on the level of Harden, but his ability to score off the bench and potentially play alongside Russ could vault him to the top of the SMOTY race

Steven Petterson’s Pick – Terry Rozier (Boston Celtics)
Terry Rozier is coming for his money. With his contract ending after this year, Rozier has already stated that he is going to play so well that Coach Stevens won’t be able to take him off the floor. I envision a ton of games where Rozier’s tenacity and drive propel him to be on the floor when the game is on the line. Will he get enough minutes behind Kyrie to have the stats needed for a 6th Man award? Debatable. But I think Scary Terry is going to force himself into this conversation one way or another, in his quest for a massive pay-raise in 2019.

Adam Kroon’s Pick – Carmelo Anthony (Houston Rockets)
He did not go quietly into the night. He did not want this. Holy fuck he’s good at it. Whodathunkit? Lou Will will have competition this year in Carmelo now that he’s deemed playing off the bench to be possible. Look for him to drop at least 8 long 2s a game with a couple boards and minimal defense to help the Rockets lose to the Warriors in the Western Conference Finals again this year.

Jordan Taylor’s Pick – JJ Reddick (Philadelphia 76ers)
6th man of the year, as I write this Jamal Crawford still remains without a team in October and you can never count this perennial award winner out of the conversation. Most of my early picks have become full time starters on their teams this year (Denver’s Will Barton to name one). I’m not fond of LA Clippers Lou Will, into reason why is there are alot of capable mouths to feed in LAs step child NBA team. Bother their draft picks look good and Patrick Beverly and Avery Bradley appear healthy and ready to go this season. My dark horse for this award resides on the city of brotherly love. Preseason has shown us Brett Brown is starting to have more faith in second year point guard Markelle Fultz, he has been playing well in response after being inserted into the starting lineup during ore season. The odd man out becomes my NBA look alike: JJ Reddick. A starter in his own right, I see him leading the 76ers second unit on A nightly basis while maintain similar scoring averages to last season. A victim. Of circumstance, but hey bringing a trophy home to wifey should take the sting off.
Winner: JJ Reddick Snub: Eric Gordon

Rookie of the Year Award

Rajan Sharma’s pick: Luka Doncic (Dallas Mavericks)
This one was an easy choice for me. Luka is the best rookie prospect we’ve seen from Europe in a long time. Luka just has that special IT factor in his game that will translate beautifully to the NBA after winning Euroleague MVP last year as a 19 year old Phenom. There is just something with how in control Luka plays that separates him from the rest of the rookie pack. Some may say he is too slow, but he moves just at the right pace, he is never in a rush, and gets to any spot he wants on the floor with a James Harden-esque play style. Couple that with his elite playmaking and court vision and you have the makings of a perennial all star in this league for many years to come! I am all aboard this hype train!

Draydan Power’s Pick Deandre Ayton (Phoenix Suns)
It’s a stacked rookie class again this year, but the era of the big man is ready to make a come back. Deandre Ayton has impressed everyone this pre-season by looking like a man among boys…probably because that’s exactly what he is. I am a big believer that it will transition well into the regular season and we will see Ayton get as many touches and looks as he can handle with Booker out to begin the season. Oh, and when Booker is back, he’ll be a full-time glass cleaner on both ends of the floor. He’s my man for ROY.

Adam Johal’s Pick – Luka Doncic (Dallas Mavericks) 
This year’s crop of rookies are extremely talented with the likes of DeAndre Ayton, Jaren Jackson Jr, Trae Young, and Miles Bridges.  However, amongst all rookies, Luka Doncic appears to be the most NBA ready, and more importantly, has the best roster around him. Often, success of rookies – and NBA players in general – depends on fit. Luka will slot into the point forward role will targets like DeAndre Jordan, DSJ, Wes Mathews and Harrison Barnes around him.  Expect big things from Luka in his first year.

Steven Petterson’s Pick – Luka Doncic (Dallas Mavericks)
Luka is going to make Atlanta look like fools. It will be a strong two way battle between him and Ayton, but Luka will prevail. His long tenure in the European professional leagues will help him battle through the trials of a long 82 game season, giving him a sustainable edge over Ayton. His highlight plays, and already-signature, behind-the-back drives will be on Sportscenter reels all season.

Adam Kroon’s Pick – Luka Doncic (Dallas Mavericks)
Serbian National Team coach and current Phoenix Head Coach was quoted as saying that Luka would be like a wolf among children this season. Former Euro League MVP Doncic will prove all the haters, including the Hawks front office, completely wrong.

Jordan Taylor’s Pick – DeAndre Ayton (Phoenix Suns)
ROY this year more than ever will be about oppurtunity on the team your drafted by. You have to consider depth, coaching staff, and team expectations. PHX Deandre Ayton fits the bill. With little depth behind him, Ayton will demand heavy minutes from the get go. The suns have no expectations going in and this will allow Ayton to flourish as a legitimate player. Other notables to watch will be Dallas Mavericks Luca Doncic and Atlanta’s Trae Young, no depth on either team behind them, but I only see their roles as ok players and not spectacular like Ayton. Not to take away from their talents, they could definitely have the better careers. Time will only tell.
Winner: DeAndre Ayton Snub: Ben Simmons :smirk:

Most Valuable Player of the Year

Rajan Sharma’s pick: Kawhi Leonard (Toronto Raptors)
This was probably the hardest award to choose from. Its hard to bet against the King, and we all know what James Harden and Anthony Davis are all about…. But the NBA award voters love a good story and this one fits the mould. Disgruntled Superstar leaves San Antonio on bad terms and returns to the league to lead the Toronto Raptors to their first 60+ win season in Franchise history. All the talk around the Raptors will be about whether Kawhi will stay or will he go, but make no mistake about it – Kawhi will be on a mission this season to prove that he has still got it! Voters LOVE a first time award winner, and with all signs pointing to Kawhi being happy so far in Toronto, im expecting him to take the league by storm! The Raptors will improve on their 59-23 season last year and I expect Kawhi to laugh all the way to his first MVP award of his career.

Draydan Power’s Pick – Anthony Davis (New Orleans Pelicans)
As I said above, it’s all about the big men. AD nearly won it last year with his incredible performance after the All-Star break to close out the season with Boogie on the sidelines. The dude has a new agent and has not been shy about his feelings towards leaving if there isn’t success in New Orleans. He knows what he’s capable of doing to the best talent in the league and he will do everything in his power to bring success to the Big Easy, or at the very least, cement himself as a top player in today’s game as he looks to move on. Side note: if he didn’t win the MVP (and even if he does), he’s a good bid for DPOTY as well.

Adam Johal’s Pick – LeBron James (Los Angles Lakers)
I really wanted to pick Giannis here, but this season seems ripe for the King.  LeBron’s Lakers have a better roster than his Cleveland team last season and I fully expect the Lakers to usher in a new era of showtime basketball.  While some (ludicrously) have the Lakers finishing as low as 9th, I think the Lakers will finish top 3 in the West – thrusting LeBron to the top of the MVP conversation for 2019.

Steven Petterson’s Pick – Giannis Antetokounmpo (Milwaukee Bucks)
The Greek Freak is coming for everyone this year. At 23 years old, Giannis is ready to take his reign as one of the best players in the league (and make about 8 league members look foolish too). In Milwaukee’s new system his full range of talent will be on display, and it is going to horrify every opposing team all season long. 30-7-7, with Giannis pushing Milwaukee to the 3rd seed in the East – you heard it here first.

Adam Kroon’s Pick – Anthony Davis (New Orleans Pelicans)
This is a contract year for the Brow, and if he wants to get max dollars while not playing for the Pelicans, he’s going to need to blow up and carry the Pels into the playoffs. Without Boogie to help in the last year’s playoff push, we saw Davis pull a LeBron like carry-my-team-on-my-shoulders move. I think we’re going to see a carry over of that Anthony Davis this year.

Jordan Taylor’s Pick – LeBron James (Los Angles Lakers)
The MVP race remains ideally the same horse and pony show after the dust settled on the major off season moves over the summer. The likes of James Harden, LeBron James, and Anthony Davis will continue to reign supreme as upper level players. My guess is the enamour of LeBron in LA is to much for the voting board and the king continues his tyrant rule over the NBA. Let’s not forget that there is always the outliers in teir two that could shake up the status quo: Kevin Durant, kawhi Leonard, and Giannis.
Winner: LeBron James Snub: Giannis


Well, there you have it! Who do you think got it right? Do you agree or disagree with any of these rankings? Hit us up in the comments and let us know what you think!