Defense Wins Championships: Robert Covington

Looking for a boost in the conventional defensive categories (blocks, steals, rebounds)? You came to the right place. Welcome to “Defense Wins Championships” – a section of the Dynasty Guru Blog that will spotlight one statistically thriving defensive player. Target them.

Robert Covington has been a part of “the process” for three years now. A valuable part.

The 6-9 small forward has proven to be a commendable fantasy player, particularly in the defensive categories.

Covington’s potential was evident from his days at Tennessee State. With his outstanding length and versatility, RoCo was able to guard multiple positions and recover quickly when beat off the dribble. In his senior season, he averaged 2.2 steals and 1.7 blocks (with a steal percentage of 4.1 and a block percentage of 5.9) in 31 minutes of action. He was also a force on the boards, grabbing 7.4 per contest in his four-year career.

Many thought his ability wouldn’t translate to the professional game, as Covington went undrafted in 2013. They were wrong. Continue reading

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Dynasty Battle – Tyus Jones vs. Dejounte Murray

Tom will be battling in favor of Tyus Jones and Alex in favor of Dejounte Murray.

Round 1:

I thought you were going to pick a player that would be harder for me to argue against. Dejounte Murray? The tall “point guard” with an 18 percent assist rate?

My man Tyus Jones has a 39.2% assist rate! 3-9 point 2, bro. That would be higher than CP3’s career high of 38% in 2010-2011.

Tom 1. Alex 0.

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Digging for Diamonds: Lucas Nogueira

On June 27, 2013, the Boston Celtics selected Lucas Nogueira with the 16th overall pick in the NBA Draft.

By June 29, 2014, Nogueira had already been traded three times (twice on draft night alone), and had not played a single minute of professional basketball. This is where our unsung story begins.

That final trade – a deal that sent John Salmons to Atlanta and Nogueira to Toronto – has helped to expose the very real potential of this edition’s diamond. After two seasons of limited run, it looked like Nogueira might get buried on the bench again, as the Raps took center Jakob Poetl ninth overall in the 2016 Draft and signed free agent Jared Sullinger. But coach Dwane Casey gave the Brazilian a chance, and Lucas has absolutely risen to the occasion. He has appeared in 45 games so far this year, averaging 21.4 minutes per.

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Digging for Diamonds – Juan Hernangomez and Thon Maker

In recent months I’ve examined hoops prospects I find interesting that may be worth acquiring or picking up on the waiver wire, depending on the size of your league. In yet another International Men of Mystery version of Digging for Diamonds, I’ll focus on 2016 1st round picks, Juan Hernangomez and Thon Maker.

Let me state off the top – for first round picks, we have very limited information on these two. Information is good – it’s what allowed some to recognize Nikola Jokic as bonafied with confidence where others may have been skeptical. With a larger data set to work with, dynasty owners may have known to avoid someone like bust-in-the-making, Dante Exuum, who had played in very few professional games when the Utah Jazz selected him in the lottery back in 2014.

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Top 200 Dynasty Basketball Rankings, February 2017

A quick primer on these #Dynasty200 ranks for newcomers:

  • These are designed with 9-category, H2H leagues in mind.
  • If you play in a roto league, I recommend fading the category ruiners like Dwight Howard.
  • If you play in an 8-category league, you can give a bump to volume guys with massive turnover problems such as James Harden and Westbrook.
  • I try to keep a healthy balance between present value and upside, but I tend to prefer sustainable periods of contention in dynasty instead of the “go-for-broke” style.

The site is entirely free and supported by Viewers Like You. Please consider donating by finding the “donate” Paypal button along the right side of the page and sharing these ranks on social media or with your league-mates (it can actually help facilitate trades). Follow The Dynasty Guru on Twitter and join our Facebook group

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Digging for Diamonds: Ivica Zubac and Ante Zizic

After riding the bench for most of the season, Lakers’ rookie center Ivica Zubac has posted three double-doubles in the last ten days despite playing fewer than 30 minutes in each contest. Born in a country that definitely exists – Bosnia and Herzegovina – Zubac played against top competition in Serbia before declaring for the 2016 NBA draft.Don’t let his second round pedigree fool you into thinking Zubac lacks upside. He had a rookie WARP projection of 1.7, which is more commonly found among lottery selections, (Marquese Chriss had a 1.9 projection).  My working theory is there’s a lingering bias among NBA GM’s against Euro bigs, particularly those seen as unable to help right away (e.g. the Knicks selected “NBA ready” Cleanthony Early over Nikola Jokic and his 3.1 rookie WARP projection in 2014).

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Digging for Diamonds: Caris LeVert and Montrezl Harrell

In the last edition of Digging for Diamonds I wrote up Willy Hernangomez and Richaun Holmes, a couple of intriguing “per minute darlings “that have yet to find consistent playing time. This time around, I’ll look at two prospects who have recently benefitted from more playing time – Caris LeVert and Montrezl Harrell.

Based entirely on his age, college stats and size, LeVert’s preseason CARMELO projections defined him as an “OK prospect” with his top ten NBA player comparisons including score-first combo guards Reggie Jackson and Brandon Roy (that’s good!)… and a whole bunch of fringe rotation players (that’s bad). Given his combination of size, shooting and playmaking ability the dream is indeed Brandon Roy, who represents a plausible, if highly unlikely best case scenario. Unlike most combo guard prospects, LeVert showed legitimate playmaking skills as a collegiate athlete.  In fact, his 28% assist rate in college ranks around the 90th percentile. His 22% assist rate as a pro (albeit in a small sample) suggests he can at least fake point guard duties, particularly in a league that is more flexible about what a primary ball-handler is asked to do (e.g. Giannis and Harden). (For reference, Brandon Roy had an assist rate just below 20% for his career.)

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The 2014 and 2015 NBA Draft Classes: Buy, Sell, Hold, or Drop

BUY
Disregarding the big names who have already broken out and become established stars. These players are ones to target now before they firmly establish their value.
TJ Warren: Started off the season hot, went down with an injury, and has been up and down since his return. What he showed in the beginning of the season was no fluke. He may only excel in one category, but he’s scoring 20 points per forty minutes which makes him a relatively cheap, reliable source of points.
Elfrid Payton: Struggles to shoot the basketball, but the only thing keeping him from being a double digit assist player is his supporting cast. When Serge Ibaka is currently leading your team in 3PT%, it’s going to be difficult to rack up assists. On the season, Payton has a 16.01 PER and a 3.1 A/T ratio. He is only scratching the surface of his potential at 22 years of age.
Cristiano Felicio: Taj Gibson is a free agent at the end of the year and is rumored to be on the trading block, Mirotic has struggled, and Robin Lopez is Robin Lopez. Felicio may not be an all-star talent, but it may be wise to acquire him now as there is a potential minutes increase coming his way as soon as February. Granted, it is a small sample size, but this season Felicio is averaging 10.9 points and 13.9 rebounds per 36 minutes so he could prove to be an asset down the stretch.
Others to consider: Rodney Hood

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Digging for Diamonds: Richaun Holmes and Willy Hernangomez

I’m a sucker for two things when it comes to dynasty basketball prospects – efficiency and sexy defensive stats. If players are efficient, they’re more likely to get playing time and put up stats. Sexy defensive stats make for a high floor, because the player can be deployed as a useful specialist at minimum.

That’s why when I saw the ease and versatility with which Willy Hernangomez scores and the pace with which Richaun Holmes blocks shots and steals basketballs, I new I had to rip off the baseball writer’s “Digging for Diamonds” column.

Indeed, it does require some digging to find these two on anyones watch list. They only average about 30 minutes per game combined right now, but both have flashed per minute numbers that have piqued my interest.

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Dynasty Hoops Breakouts: Buy, Sell or Hold

When a blue chip prospect such as Karl Anthony Towns plays well, we can be reasonably sure that his production is a legitimate reflection of his true talent. On the other hand, when less heralded prospects break out it can be harder to trust their production will hold long term. Here’s my take on some recent lottery picks without the “can’t miss” tag attached to them enjoying career years.

  1. Myles Turner 

Age: 20 (21 in March)

PER: 21.23

Rookie WARP projection: 2.6 (8th in 2015-2016 draft class)

CARMELO 5-Year forecast: $50.7M (“Up-And-Comer”)

9-Cat Fantasy Ranking: 12th

Turner had a solid if unspectacular rookie year in 2015-2016, flashing a fantasy friendly skill set including a 95th percentile block rate. Despite falling to 11th overall in the draft, there had been a consensus view among scouts and the stat heads that he was an easy top ten pick in a top heavy draft. I ranked Turner 54th in my inaugural #Dynasty200 back in October. I thought that was aggressive at the time, but Turner has since broken out, hitting the high end of his potential outcomes.

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