TThe NBA East is a complete toss-up. You can call it what you want, but I’ve finished atop my rotisserie NBA Fantasy league four of the last five years (or is three of the last four?) Most of these guys are fanatics like I am and not to toot my own horn, but I’m a real damn good Fantasy GM. I’m currently sitting in second place, making a run at another championship.
Okay, I love tooting, sorry. I feel like professional basketball teams all over the world are missing out on my supernatural powers.
The truth is, the NBA is all about how pieces fit together. What you see and what I see may be different, based on our experiences of watching, playing, and evaluating basketball trends, players, and teams. The truth is, we don’t actually know what is going on inside the players’ minds, their egos, their home life, their marriages, their health, and all the stuff that effects performance. The NBA is rotten at times. It puts livelihoods and reputations on trading blocks publicly, and when the trading blocks get personal, players get lost in their heads.
Their games suffer.
This public trade talk puts everything out there for a player.
Imagine your boss writing a memo saying your company is going to trade employee A for Employee B at another branch office. Employee A is a talented worker and adds a ton of value to your team. He’s shown up for five years and poured his blood, sweat, and tears into the company. And then the next week, employee A. has to show up and do his job with the same amount of conviction and teamwork as before the memo went out?
It’s just not humanly possible to do.
NBA talent can show up to work and win games in the regular season, but that doesn’t mean much to me when the playoffs come around.
A player’s and team’s mentality can change everything in the playoffs and in production in fantasy hoops.
But let’s just say, for a moment, no one’s feelings are hurt by what went down in a blockbuster trade deadline before the NBA All-Star break.
What does that mean? Who in the NBA East has more synergy now? Who has the mindset to win in the playoffs when it really matters?
Let’s start with the first place team, the Milwaukee Bucks. The Greek Freak is awesome. Undoubtedly, he needs more space to operate. He has Bledsoe. Middleton. Lopez. Brogdon. These guys are decently efficient, but do they win Eastern Conference Finals? Have they ever been in high-pressure situations where they have to make outside shots and work together at the highest level?
Granted, the Bucks needed more depth and more shooters. More floor spacers. They added Nikola Mirotic so I give them a little bump, but overall, I don’t see them coming out of the East.
The real winners in the trade deadline out of the East are Toronto and Philly.
On paper, the most capable chemistry is with Toronto. Marc Gasol isn’t a primary player. He is a great third to fourth option, a guy that fits into the puzzle and still makes players around him better. Hypothetically, he will make the already great players like Leonard, Lowry, Danny Green, Pascal, and Serge, better. Points will come easier for them now. In the grand scheme of things. they have the lineup that should win the East. I actually think Kyle Lowry and Danny Green improve 10–15 percent with Gasol on their team.
If Kyle’s not mad about losing his homeboy DeMar and whispers of him being traded for Mike Conley, they have a shot to be there.
I mean, who else in the NBA East has a 100,000 million dollars in their starting lineup besides the Raptors?
That’s a shit ton of money in just their top four.
That said, the trade deadline caused some ruckus in the East. Is Kyle Lowry happy? Does he feel slighted and miss his guy DeMar DeRozan?
Yes, I would. Especially after losing to LeBron for 92 years in the Eastern Conference playoffs and then the year he’s gone, you trade DeMar?
Yet, the inside mechanics, synergy, and gut feelings the Raptors have still give them the best chance of coming out of the East on paper if they put all the bullshit behind them. Paper talent may not be enough for them to win against the Celtics or Philly.
My NBA East predictions are this:
1. The Bucks won’t come out of the East.
2. If Toronto gels, they will come out and get to the 100 million NBA championship.
3. If they don’t, I predict a knock down drag out fight between the Celtics and Philly.
4. The X-factor is Tobias Harris. How fast can he assimilate with the 76'ers? Can they gel and find a championship mindset?
NBA Fantasy Repercussions
This year I picked up KAT first round. Paul George 2nd round. Victor Olidipo 3rd. I snuck in Jayson Tatum 4th. I can’ t remember who else after that, but my primary targets were Zach Lavine, John Collins, and Jeff Teague as a late value pg.
I lost Victor this year to the knee thing and actually got better.
But the thing about Philly is this: I love Tobias Harris. Another Fantasy wunderkind. He helps do a little of everything. Space. Plays D. Hits shots. Rebounds. An efficient two-way player that adds experience and veteran play on the wing. But to do they have the ball movement and synergy like Toronto?
No, better than Toronto. Everyone’s stats on Philly will diminish. Will their FG % go up because of adding Tobias?
But I think everyone on Toronto will become more efficient now with Marc in the lineup.
Why does Philly go down and Toronto go up?
Because Jimmy needs the ball. JJ needs screens or open looks, and then the ball. Embiid and Simmons definitely needs the ball. Tobias is about the only one that might not need the ball. If Ben Simmons or Joel is creating, you have great shooters and players around him —Jimmy Butler, J.J. Reddick, Tobias, and now adding some depth in Jonathon Simmons and Boban could help immensely.
Maybe I’m wrong, but regardless, the East just got really interesting.
The good news is I picked up Otto Porter Jr. three weeks ago because of the void of John Wall partying and tearing his achilles in his home.
John, I played in the pros too. I know what guys do when their seasons end due to injuries and too much cash laying around…
I could be wrong, but there are whispers around the league that John Wall parties harder than Prince in his prime (RIP).
I can’t predict who will win if Toronto doesn’t gel and do what they’re capable of doing, but if I had to put money down, I’d take the Celtics. They are still figuring out their chemistry, but when the post season comes around, they have the coach and talent to make any team fold up shop.
If you own any fantasy players on these teams, I feel for you. Creating a better team also creates less stats, but higher player efficiency.