In deeper leagues, you have to get creative with your bench. Dynasty leagues tend to allow teams to carry young prospects and let them quietly build experience and opportunity. As they progress, learn the work ethic of a professional athlete, understand the speed and physicality of the next level, and learn to play a different role than they may have up to that point in their lives, your investment in rostering them can begin to pay off. That’s what you can expect in an ideal situation.
What we’ve learned over the years is that some situations don’t go as hoped, whether due to injury, mental blocks, trades, team dynamics, or coaching decisions. This can obviously lead Dynasty GMs down a dark path of frustration, cursing, and crazy trades. Let’s look at some younger players that have either shown they can produce and are being stifled, or younger unproven guys that should have had an opportunity by now. Fair warning: these are not guys for standard leagues…we’re thinking deeper dynasty.
Wizards PG Tomas Satoranksy (Age 26)
Last season Sato surprised a lot of people when he took over the backup PG spot from Tim Frazier and went on to start for an injured Wall. He showed off a smart, controlled, efficient game that contributed to a month-long odyssey where the Wizards went 11-3, and the national media was left wondering if the team was better with Sato at the point…they were not. But his play still showed off a valuable skill set for a 6’7 PG.
Sato Stats – February 2018
Seemingly held back by Coach Brooks, Tomas had mainly existed in the doghouse for his first season and a half, up until that impressive run as a starter. Following a cheap shot from resident wanker Bobby Portis that left him with a concussion, he didn’t seem to be the same player afterward. This led to the odd signing of Ty Lawson just days before the playoffs, where Lawson received a majority of the backup PG minutes.
This season Sato has opened up to play wherever he can get minutes, including the 3. Hopefully, the effects of his concussion are now behind him. The addition of Austin Rivers and Jeff Green, as well as the continued growth of Kelly Oubre all put a damper on Sato’s opportunities this season. Fortunately, he will be a free agent at the end of the 2018-19 season and should be able to find more opportunity elsewhere. From a dynasty perspective, he was probably a hot pickup once Wall went down, and depending on your league depth, he may be back on waivers. I say either pick him up now and wait or try to buy low, as he should have increasing value beginning next season, where if he can get consistent minutes, his efficiency and all-around game could potentially net you a top 80 player.
TLDR: Sato has a flexible, smart, efficient game, proved his abilities filling in for Wall, dealt with a concussion and some poor coaching preferences…should see more opportunity after this season.
Kings PF Skal Labissiere (Age 22)
During the 2016 NBA Draft, Skal was that guy who was expected to go early but slid. He ended up going to Sacramento at the tail end of the first round. His NBA experience since then has continued to be rocky and unpredictable. A lot of that lays at the feet of the incompetent coaching. Dave Joerger seemingly changes lineups and rotations on a whim. After bringing in everyone’s favorite BBQ pickup game uncle, Zach Randolph, nobody expected him to dominate the minutes at PF. We were all wrong.
Add up Joerger’s wacky rotations with GM Vlade’s penchant for collecting bigs in the draft and you have a recipe for nobody wins. So in addition to competing with Zach, add in Willy Cauley-Stein, Harry Giles, and 2018 #2 overall pick, Marvin Bagley. That’s a muddled mess of a frontcourt. Skal’s minutes and place in the rotation are all over the place, and as a result, its been difficult to pin down his actual ability. So far he has shown glimpses of a solid modern big that can step out and hit the 3, use solid footwork, and defend intelligently. He may never be a starter level player, but for deep leagues, a big that won’t hurt your percentages, hits some 3’s and can score and board, he has value. He’s on a team option this season but could find greener pastures next year. His ceiling may be a little lower as a big that can get some blocks, but not a ton, some 3’s, but not a ton…consider him a potential Walmart unicorn, with a top 100 ceiling.
TLDR: Skal has shown some lower end modern big abilities, but due to poor coaching and front office, his opportunities have been sporadic, young and crowded frontcourt also limits chances…needs a fresh start somewhere else.
Minnesota PG Tyus Jones (Age 22)
The analytics crowd has been screaming for Tyus to get more minutes. Unfortunately, he plays for coach Thibadeau, a man who tends to strongly favor players who played for him 6 years ago and then also running them into the ground. Coach’s inability to be flexible as far as minutes and rotations have hurt all of the Minnesota youth, besides obvious superstar Karl Anthony-Towns. Rookies like Josh Okogie and Keita Bates-Diop are 2 potentially versatile and useful options on the wing…but once they were drafted by Thibs, their fates were sealed.
Jones has shown consistently, that when given the minutes, he will be productive, effective, and contribute positively towards winning. He’s another very solid all-around guard, that may lack that elite skill, though his defense and ability to rack up steals (2.3 per 36) are pretty impressive. He also contributes in assists and is a solid shooting threat. He could potentially be a lower end starter, and either way should be earning more than the 17.9 minutes per game that he earned last year on a team thin at the guard.
This brings me to the next point, where there is currently a lot of uncertainty in Minnesota. The Jimmy saga has put more heat on Thibs, so nobody is safe, and minutes, roles, and teams could change in an instant. If starting point Teague gets moved in a deal with Jimmy and/or Thibs is finally exposed as being a net negative for this team, Jones could quickly see expanded minutes, a different team, and even a starting role. The potential is undoubtedly there, and its only a matter of time before something huge happens, which should pave the way for increase value in Tyus. Depending on what happens, Tyus could find himself working into the top 70.
TLDR: Another in the poor coaching theme, needs a major shakeup to get an opportunity…which should happen this season, has consistently shown a nice all-around game and may excel at steals.
Have any other players that you think fit this mold? Completely disagree with these takes? Comment below or tweet at me @kevinso