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Dynasty Battle: Zach LaVine vs. Andrew Wiggins vs. D’Angelo Russell

Since my initial #Dynasty200 I’ve ranked these three Russell, Wiggins and Lavine, though I considered placing LaVine ahead of Wiggins in my December update. This is an interesting debate to me because Russell provides the most upside, LaVine has the most present value and Wiggins boasts the pedigree of the first overall pick. LaVine is already a top 50 redraft player thanks to his improved efficiency, play making ability and three-point shot making. Neither Russell nor Wiggins can come close to making that claim.

Zach LaVine
Age 22 in March
PER 16.63
9-Cat Per Minute Fantasy Value  45th
Rookie WARP Projection 0.9
Blocks + Steals per game 1
Carmelo 5-Year Market Value  $51.8M
Andrew Wiggins
Age 22 in February
PER 15.86
9-Cat Per Game Fantasy Value  138th
Rookie WARP Projection 1.3
Blocks + Steals per game 0.9
Carmelo 5-Year Market Value  $91.8M
D’Angelo Russell
Age  21 in February
PER 16.87
9-Cat Per Game Fantasy Value  106th
Rookie WARP Projection 3.7
Blocks + Steals per game 1.6
Carmelo 5-Year Market Value  $123.5M

On the other hand, Russell was by far the best prospect of these three and offers the most upside, particularly since he’s currently only playing 26 minutes per game. Wiggins and LaVine had relatively mediocre college production (hence their poor WARP projections) and relied on scouts dreaming on their athleticism and physical projection to get selected in the lottery. Russell had the backing of both scouts and the stat heads. His 3.7 WARP as a prospect is about as good as you’ll see in most drafts.

In all, I strongly prefer Russell from this group thanks to his superior age-adjusted production, defensive stats and diverse game. (I also happen to think he’s already the best real life player from the three in terms of affecting team wins.) The tougher question is LaVine vs. Wiggins. While LaVine offers more play making and shooting, I’m still giving Wiggins the slightest of edges thanks to his superior prospect pedigree and defensive stat potential (his college steal and block rates were far superior to LaVine’s). It’s close enough that I might let that decision come down to needs. Regardless, I think it’s clear that Wiggins is more Rudy Gay than Paul George, and for those of us expecting superstardom – it’s time to recalibrate expectations.

 

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Tom Trudeau

Tom Trudeau

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