The San Antonio Spurs have constructed a well-balanced roster, but how will this translate to fantasy basketball?
Fantasy sports have been on a tremendous rise over the past few years, allowing fans to compete against friends by drafting their favorite players and teams. While fantasy football may take the cake in terms of general popularity, fantasy basketball has become widely favored amongst niche fans.
A Supreme Court decision in May of 2018 lifted the national ban on sports betting, helping to clear the pathway to money making opportunities in fantasy sports. This may entice new fans to compete in daily fantasy and prize leagues that may not have done so previously.
When calculating fantasy values, experts project stats based on previous seasons, usage rate, versatility and health. Across the board, fantasy users have found the most success by drafting and adding secret gems scattered across San Antonio’s roster. On any given night, the Spurs’ cast of contributors could be utilized based on matchups and the rotational trends of the team.
San Antonio’s stars were extremely valuable for their production and efficiency last year. Both LaMarcus Aldridge (2,696 fantasy points) and DeMar DeRozan (2,921 fantasy points) finished as top-five fantasy players for their positions in the 2017-2018 season. There’s a great chance that this trend will continue as they develop chemistry together through preseason and training camp.
A handy map of where sports betting is currently legal in the U.S.: pic.twitter.com/w5MREJ2Pyi
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Fantasy output cannot be determined by scoring alone, as a full stat line can be much more valuable than high scoring players who put up mediocre stats. For this reason, starting point guard Dejounte Murray is a great bet for fantasy players seeking depth in the backcourt. While his scoring may be of concern, all signs point to Murray growing as a shooter in the near future. He’s dedicated his offseason to refining his jump shot and improving his ball handling skills.
What sets Murray apart as a fantasy player is his rebounding, which more than makes up for his scoring. By filling the stat sheet with defensive stats and assists, Murray has made himself a high-upside fantasy sleeper.
The same can be said for center Pau Gasol, who’s been a valuable fantasy asset for 17 years. At his current stature, Gasol’s scoring has dropped significantly but his rebounding, passing and shot blocking have kept him fantasy relevant as his output has declined. Without consistent roles, certain players get lost in the fray but there’s always the chance for a breakout night.
In short stints, players like Patty Mills and Bryn Forbes provided fantasy users with replacement and backup production as weekly streaming options last year.
San Antonio’s fantasy wild card is small forward Rudy Gay. Health hindered Gay from a more well-rounded statistical output in the 2017-2018 season when he was sidelined for 25 games. A healthy Gay could transform San Antonio from a solid scoring team to a high-power offense by pushing the tempo and providing an extra layer to their game.
Many fans will overlook the Spurs in their fantasy drafts but the team’s deep rotation will provide a ton of value in the coming season.