Preseason is upon us! Over the next two weeks, we will break down each team and give you their fantasy outlook coming into the 2017 NBA regular season. This article will break down the offseason moves, the fantasy MVP for the team, a DFS sleeper, and a DFS bust pick.
Projected Starting Lineup:
One of the most talked up franchises of the offseason, the Lakers made big changes to the roster to begin the Lonzo Ball era in Los Angeles. The offseason began with the pre-Ball move of DeAngelo Russell to the Brooklyn Nets in exchange for veteran big man Brook Lopez. This will undoubtedly fill a big leadership role for the team, as well a low post presence that has been missing for the Lakers for some time. The young trio of Lonzo Ball, Julius Randle and Brandon Ingram will look to outrun the Western Conference with their fast-paced, pass-first offense. The Lakers also added shooting guard Kentavious Caldwell-Pope from Detroit to act as the replacement for Lou Williams as a spot up shooter on the wing. A couple long shot names to keep in mind, through the draft LA added some mean potential in rookie guard Josh Hart and forwards V.J. Beachem and Kyle Kuzma. These guys looked sharp in summer league and could quietly come into their own midseason. Keep watch.
A high-flying team of youngsters will look to capitalize on the opportunity of uncertainty with all the new pieces and make some noise in the Western conference in hopes for a lower playoff seed. If the rookie talent materializes and Lopez can provide rebounding support to an undersized roster, that is a decent possibility.
Fantasy MVP: Lonzo Ball
Out of all of the players on the Lakers rosters with large unknowns (Ingram’s scoring potential, Randle’s ability to stay out of early foul trouble, Lopez’s minutes in a new role), the most likely scenario I could see was this: Lonzo is going to rack up mad assist numbers this season. This Lakers squad is full of shooters. Ball’s best quality coming out of college was his court vision, which we have already seen on display in Summer League and in the preseason. He will be relied upon to be the primary ball-handler and will have the opportunity to create big plays for the Lakers on offense. If there is anyone who has the best chance of them being the fantasy MVP for the Lakers, it’s Lonzo. I expect useable value in DFS for Ball as long as his price doesn’t inflate to match the size of his dad’s ego. He may not win Rookie of the Year or MVP, but I believe at season’s end, he’s the most valuable Laker for fantasy purposes.
Daily Fantasy Sleeper: Brook Lopez
I think a veteran player on a young team is often overlooked in fantasy due to the lack of attention to their overall value compared to the star players. I think Brook Lopez has a chance to overtake Lonzo Ball as the fantasy MVP for this team, solely based on his prior NBA experience. He posted great seasons for many years in Brooklyn and was the only consistent provider of points, rebounds and defensive stats for the entire time he was a Net. That talent is still there, even if he isn’t nearly as nimble as he once was. I believe this is the best center that the Lakers have had since Bynum and Odom fell off years ago. Lopez will provide a foundational post presence and easy scoring opportunities for an otherwise undersized roster. A nightly double-double threat, Lopez will continue to be undervalued and could be a staple in winning DFS lineups this season.
Honorable mention: A rookie to keep an eye on, Kyle Kuzma. He has dominated the Summer League and preseason so far and is making a case to have a legitimate role for the Lakers to begin the season. Preseason flashes don’t always lead to production, but an early flier for tournament lineups could be had in a player like Kuzma if he gets the minutes for his performance in the preseason.
Daily Fantasy Bust: Julius Randle
I have Randle in this spot because I have experienced his DFS busts for myself. Just when he has a great scoring/rebound showing against a good team, the next he gets into foul trouble and is forced to sit, zapping all of his value. Due to the lack of consistent minutes and scoring chances, Randle rarely lives up to his price in DFS. He is a risky play, especially now with the addition of a bigger and more capable rebounding partner in Lopez as he will take away opportunities on the glass. Unless his price adjusts to the actual performance of Randle, I won’t be adding him to begin the season in DFS.