When building your dynasty team, it’s important to build around foundational pieces that can define your team. For those that miss out on the likes of AD, KAT, Jokic, and Embiid, know that there are other young center-eligible players available in drafts a little later on. I realize that almost all of you have already executed your draft, but you can still make moves to acquire these bigs.
Found in the early-mid rounds (3-6) in redraft leagues, and earlier in dynasty, 3 centers have generally been lumped together for better or worse. They all share 4 important qualities:
- Scoring potential
- Stretch the floor
- Block Shots
- Solid FT%
They each carry varying levels of potential and ability in these areas, but the fact that they have these traits bodes well for the future in an NBA that is moving towards this mold of big man.
Strengths: Blocks, 3PM, FT
Weaknesses/Just OK: Potential Timeshare, FG%, Boards, Assists
Turner flashed all of the signs of the modern unicorn with growing upside during his rookie and sophomore seasons in Indiana. After the 16-17 season, expectations were ridiculously high. He seemed primed to make another leap, and with the scarcity of quality big men, combined with a 24th overall ranking that looked like it was destined to improve, Turner’s ADP soared into the early 2nd round.
All of this led to an overall letdown of a 2017-18 season. Hampered by injuries, Turner seemed to have trouble getting back into game shape and into the flow of the Pacer’s offense. He was cursed by every fantasy GM that drafted him on his upside. His minutes, FG%, FT%, points, rebounds, steals, and block all regressed. Ranked 55th by per game ranking, he disappointed many last season. There were still some positives to take away from this off year. Specifically, he improved his 3P% and 3PM, and per 36, his points, rebounds, and blocks remained almost exactly the same, so this decline may have been overblown.
This summer Turner began to work more on his body, watching his diet and practicing yoga. In addition, he just signed his rookie extension to the tune of 4 years, $80 million, so he’s locked in and hopefully being rich doesn’t mean saying bye to the newly ripped physique. While he’s looked more in shape, his preseason play has not been as positive. In 3 games he only managed 7.7 points and 5.7 boards shooting 34.6 and 71.7 with a disappointing zero 3PM. On the plus side, he managed 2 blocks per game, but he looked slow, even with his svelte new body, with Sabonis often looking like the more effective big man. He also dealt with a lot of careless fouling issues which is concerning.
With the first game of the season, Turner played fewer minutes than Sabonis. He managed 4 blocks, which shows that upside, but the rest of his line and low minutes is concerning. He didn’t attempt any 3 pointers and his +/- was 7, compared to 26 from Sabonis. It was obviously just one game, and one that was a blowout, but it’s something to keep an eye on. It doesn’t appear that he and Sabonis will be sharing the court very much, which may continue to be a limiting factor over the next few years.
Looking ahead, I am of the belief that talent will eventually win out. After dealing with a challenging 3rd season, he may still be working through some residual rust. A new season will provide a clean slate for Turner to regain his form and continue on his path for unicorn greatness. A top 40-45 finish this season, with an increase in blocks and 3’s is definitely possible. He’ll just never be a rebounding beast, and you will need to make peace with that. Starks will say top 30, but I’m not there yet. I need to see him fully gel with Oladipo, fend off or work with Sabonis, and regain some of that confidence and swagger. He’s still a definite buy if he fits your team build and if he stumbles yet again out of the gate, make sure to plant doubts in his GMs head and move on him.
Strengths: Scoring, Assists, Steals, FG%, Rebounds
Weaknesses/Just OK: FT%, Blocks
With Atlanta in full on tank mode, John Collins is going to get as much run as he can handle. His rookie season was very up and down, as you would expect most rookie seasons to be. Of the 3 centers, he has shown the least prowess in the coveted blocks category, and his unicorn skills have not been consistently on display, nor really developed yet. His scoring aside, he probably has the furthest to go to stand out among his other categories.
It’s helpful to note that these stats are very similar, if not a little better in most categories than Turner’s rookie season. He does have slightly different strengths, being a better rebounder, higher steal rate, and more efficient scorer from the field, but worse at free throw shooting and blocks. These strengths and weaknesses don’t define his game, since we’ve only had a one season sample size. They do point towards a similar player, though with a higher ceiling athletically, and a situation that is more clear cut and centered around him. It’s also worth noting that his playmaking role and possibly skills increased as the season went progressed, averaging 2 assists in March and 3.2 assists in April.
Collins made short work of Summer League this year, playing only 2 games, showing of his scoring prowess averaging 24 points, 8.5 boards, 1 block and 1 steal on 48% shooting, before being pulled out because he was too good. He also made a brief preseason appearance, playing in 1 ½ games. In his full preseason game, playing just 20 minutes, he stacked 18 points, 3 boards, 2 assists, and a steal on 8 of 14 shooting and hitting both of his free throws. His 2nd preseason game was cut short due to an ankle injury, which led to a procedure. The Hawks plan to check back on him after the first week, in what will hopefully be a minor blip on his 2nd season, but it is something to monitor. He’s a solid buy, but if this ankle injury slows him down, Collins may have a tough time reaching the lofty expectation of those that drafted him in the 4th round this season. He’s arguably the rawest of the 3, but I believe Collins may have the highest eventual upside. If anyone in your dynasty league has him and is not fully on board, pounce.
Strengths: Blocks, FG%, FT%, Boards
Weaknesses/Just OK: Steals, Assists, 3PM (Though maybe not!)
Brooklyn has an interesting mix of mostly young talent which can make a lot of the fantasy values at most positions a little murky. Luckily for Allen and his fantasy GMs, Ed Davis and Faried are not threats to his playing time or development. After a surprisingly effective rookie year, generally only held back by the coaching staff, Jarrett looks to take the fantasy world by storm.
Those numbers don’t jump off the screen, but considering the low minutes and inconsistent role given to him by the coaches, it’s pretty solid for a rookie, particularly the percentages and blocks. Taking a closer look at his per 36 stats, and he kills with 14.7 points, 9.7 boards, 2.2 blocks, and 0.7 steals.
Like Collins, Allen looked like a man among boys in Summer league. He didn’t score a ton (10.5 points), but 11.5 boards with 3 blocks are nice. In preseason he put in more work, appearing in 4 games with 13.9 points, 6.8 board, 1 blocks, 0.8 steals, and 0.5 3PM. His FT% dipped, but I think that was just a random aberration. In his 1st game of the season, Allen really showed off that immense potential going for 17 points (60% shooting), 10 boards, 4 blocks(!!!), and 2 for 3 on 3 pointers! (One of those 4 blocks was a nasty denial of Blake Griffen that will be a top highlight for the season, see video above.) That’s a super impressive line that really shows his unicorn appeal. After 1 game he’s already hit 40% of the threes that he hit all of last season. Averaging close to one 3 a game, along with 2.5 blocks and a double-double with high efficiency makes Allen a player you will be glad you reached for this season.
All 3 of these players are highly sought after in fantasy leagues and for good reason. Particularly if you don’t want to punt FT%, Turner, Allen, and Collins represent the next generation of bigs that can be excellent foundational components to help anchor your team and define its identity. Depending on your category preferences, consider my projected trajectory of each player and draft and trade accordingly.
|Myles Turner||Top 45||Top 40||Top 40|
|Jarrett Allen||Top 40||Top 30||Top 30|
|John Collins||Top 55||Top 35||Top 25|
What are your thoughts? Let me know in the comments below or on Twitter @kevinso
Side Note: Before people start jumping on me for not including Ayton, I have him in a higher class, both for this year and looking ahead. He’s being drafted in the 3rd round and that may be a steal. For Dynasty leagues, he has legit top 12 upside down the road, especially if he can keep his blocks up and begin to develop that 3 point shot.