Deep League Detective, Volume II

11 min read

Continuing a piece originally established by Kevin, Jay adds some of his own names to know in Deep Dynasty Land.

You can find Volume 1 here.

This series will highlight different players that represent gems of a variety of levels for your fantasy squads. We’ll analyze their skill set, role, the chance for development and growth, and giving recommendations on how we would act if we were you. This will admittedly be a lot of swing for the fence misses mixed in with solid pickups for leagues and we will try to represent each size of deep league to offer some players to consider.

16 TEAM LEAGUES

These are a nice transition into deeper leagues, as it teaches you that waiver moves can make or break your squad. It’s not as easy to grab that top 75 guy. You have to learn to do a little work. Those that love it will thrive. Those that are lazy or never figure it out are destined to remain in the bottom half of their leagues. Dynasty leagues this size let you monitor some of these potential gems before acting, but don’t wait too long because fellow hawkish owners are doing the same.

20 TEAM LEAGUES

Another step up and kind of an awkward number of teams. From my experience, this medium level of deep league tends to happen when a commissioner sets out to fill a 16 team league but gets more interest than expected or a 30 team league that doesn’t get the love it needs. Either way, 20 teamers present even more of a challenge as that waiver pool shrinks considerably. It can serve as a nice between league until you feel good for 30 teams.

30 TEAM LEAGUES

This is the closest you can get to running an actual NBA team. Whether you incorporate components like salaries or not, 30 teams present their own specific challenges and strategies. Available players in 30 team leagues are guys you would NEVER consider even glancing at in standard leagues. At 360 players + rostered, the pickings are as slim as Brandon Ingram. These leagues allow for GMs to stash guys with that potential to wait and see. Generally, you want to move quickly to grab these types of players, then decide later if they are worth holding. You don’t have the luxury to wait and watch.

 

De’Anthony Melton

Melton

16 Team20 Team30 Team
NoMaybeYes

A potential defensive menace, Melton was widely considered to be a 1st round talent when the 2018 NBA Draft rolled around. Unfortunately, he fell victim to one of the many NCAA scandals and ended up missing his whole sophomore season at USC. This was after showing tons of promise his freshman year when he posted per-40 minute averages of 12.3 points, 7 boards, 5 assists, 2.8 steals, and 1.5 blocks. The biggest knock on Melton coming into the draft was his poor jump shooting at 28% from 3. Seems like he put in effort over the summer to correct that hole in his game though. If you exclude the first game in which Melton went a putrid 0/6 from downtown, he shot his 3’s at a 37.5% clip during Summer League. I’ve seen comparisons to several significant NBA contributors – Patrick Beverley, Marcus Smart, and even Jrue Holiday. Can you think of one main aspect that those three players have in common? (It’s defense.) Offensive improvements aside, it may be Melton’s defense and hustle that ultimately earn him minutes at the highest level.

Lonnie Walker IV

Walker IV usable

16 Team20 Team30 Team
NoMaybeYes

Like many names on this list, Walker may be considered a “work in progress”. But is there any better place to be to quickly lose that title and reach maximum potential than San Antonio? The Spurs seem to have a knack for finding a diamond in the rough in each draft. Some say it’s less about striking gold, and more about Pop and his crew being among the best staffs in the league when it comes to coaching a young guy up to reaching his potential. I say the truth lies somewhere in between. Walker finished in the top 10 in every athletic test at the NBA Combine but the vertical, in which he still posted a 40-inch. Super athletic with a smooth stroke that’s only gotten better over time (his 34.6% college 3-ball doesn’t do him justice), Lonnie can make shots off the dribble, catch, and in transition. He’s essentially Zach Lavine with defensive promise. Can’t wait to see what Pop can do with him.

DeAndre Bembry

16 Team20 Team30 Team
MaybeYesDefinitely

A jack of all trades type player, Bembry can give you a little bit of everything. The steals are great, but the number of boards and blocks this guy can get you at 6’6 is the real shocker – just look at that video of him chasing down Arcidiacano. Filthy. In his sophomore season in the NBA, Bembry posted per-36 minute averages of 10.8 points, 5.7 rebounds, 3.9 assists, 1.7 steals, and 0.9 blocks. He’s a useful Swiss army knife that won’t hurt you anywhere except maybe FG% (career 43.2%). This season? He upped the ante to per-36 averages of 11.2 points, 7.3 rebounds, 3.5 assists, 2 steals, and 1 block. Bembry has paid his dues and seen his minutes jump every season – from 9.8 mpg his rookie year to 26 now. I had some concerns early that rookie 1st-round pick, Kevin Huerter would eat into the playing time we’ve been waiting for Bembry to get, but so far it’s been pretty smooth sailin’.

Robert Williams

R. Williams

16 Team20 Team30 Team
NoMaybeYes

There are some question marks with Robert Williams. Luckily they’re off the court. He was late to a Celtics conference call with reporters and he was late to a flight that ended up costing him the first Summer League practice of his young career. Those problems should be fixed according to coach Brad Stevens as Williams moved into an apartment right next door to the Celtics training facility. But there is one more worry when it comes to Williams – where will his playing time come from? There exists a likely scenario in which Boston moves on from Aron Baynes this summer which would clear a path to backup Center minutes behind Al Horford (assuming Horford re-signs with Boston). That’s where Williams comes in. Winning SEC Defensive Player of the Year as a freshman at Texas A&M in 2017, he then posted 10.4 points, 9.2 rebounds, and 2.6 blocks per contest with a 63.2 FG% his sophomore season. As a quintessential shot-blocking, rim-running 6’10 big with a 7’5 wingspan, Williams should be comparable to Clint Capela. Boston will surround him with shooters and playmakers that’ll help him shine.

Furkan Korkmaz

16 Team20 Team30 Team
NoMaybeYes

After the recent Butler trade, Philly is without their two starting Forwards. In return, they received a perennial All-Star wing who will likely slide into Covington’s role as the starting Small Forward (and a young big who will probably be inconsequential), potentially freeing up some reserve minutes for Korkmaz. There was plenty of hype surrounding this 6’7 first-round pick heading into the regular season after he posted Summer League averages of 16.7 points and 4.2 boards per game. He also registered 2017-18 G-League stats of 15.4 points, 5.2 rebounds, 3.1 assists, 1.2 steals, and 0.6 blocks, in 31.9 minutes per contest. Korkmaz is only 21 years old. There’s still plenty of time for him to develop his niche among the world’s best. After an abysmal 28.6% 3-point stroke held him down his sophomore season, he seems to have widened the rim over the summer to the tune of 53.3% from beyond the arc during this past preseason. Have a look at the video of highlights above, when he hit eight triple’s on his way to a 40-point performance in a Summer League showdown against the Celtics. If that effort is any indication, he could, at the very least, become an offensive spark off the bench in the near future.

Dzanan Musa

Musa

16 Team20 Team30 Team
NoProbably NotYes

Similar to Bojan Bogdanovic in some experts’ eyes, Dzanan Musa will, at the least, develop into a fringe standard league talent. At age 19, he’s already played with adult professionals, posting less-than-exciting-but-still-solid per-36 minute averages of 18.7 points, 5.7 rebounds, 1.6 assists, and 1.2 steals, with a 36.4% 3pt stroke, in his last season with Cedevita. Considered a streaky scorer, Musa spent several occasions over his EuroCup career displaying his huge upside; but he also showed a tendency to disappear at times. In Croatia, he was an athletic freak. In the NBA, his athleticism may be considered merely average and he will struggle to get to the rim as easily as he did overseas. Musa may, admittedly, never turn into much more than a scorer with the skillset to provide some points, 3’s, rebounds, and steals, but there is certainly room to roster a guy like that in a super deep league. An optimist would say he has loads of potential and has a chance to become even more.

Fred VanVleet

VanVleet

16 Team20 Team30 Team
YesDefinitelyJust do it already!

Standing at barely 6ft, VanVleet has dealt with doubters for most of his young career. He’s not fast enough. He’s not athletic enough. He’s not tall enough. So what is he? At only 24 years of age, when FVV is on the court, there’s always a chance he is the most dogged high-energy guy out there with a massive basketball IQ that’s still improving each year. He is cool under pressure. He is considered to be a starting-caliber Point Guard who just happens to be playing on one of the deepest rosters in the league. Last season, with Lowry off the court, VanVleet would put up per-36 minute averages of 16.7 points, 4.6 rebounds, 6.3 assists, and 1.6 steals. An underrated player who takes care of the intangibles and finished last season top-5 in net rating of all rotation players in the NBA, FVV works hard to earn his minutes. It’s these reasons his name appears in trade rumors. Even if he never gets the trade to Phoenix (or Orlando) that would undoubtedly boost his value, he’s still worth owning in virtually all fantasy leagues.

Bam Adebayo

Adebayo

16 Team20 Team30 Team
ProbablyYesDefinitely

Many thought Adebayo was poised for a breakout campaign in 2018-19. That has yet to pass as Heat starting Center Hassan Whiteside seems to have taken control of the wheel again after two seasons of regression. With nice handles for a guy his size, good face up potential, and smooth athleticism, Bam fits what the NBA has become better than Whiteside does. Through 11 games this season, Adebayo has shot 52.2% from the field and 73.3% from the line, with per-36 minute averages of 12.4 points, 11.7 boards, 2 dimes, 1.2 steals, and 1.1 blocks. Nice numbers for the 21-year-old, 6’10 young fella’. Even so, the rumors that were swirling about Whiteside being ousted have died down a bit, much to Adebayo’s chagrin. But questions still linger, and plenty of the Heat brass are still clamoring for a changing of the guard (or center in this case… heh). Whiteside is owed $25.4 million this season and has a player option of just over $27 million next year which he is sure to pick up. That makes a trade almost unfeasible given that most teams already have a starting Center or just wouldn’t want to pay that much for a player with his skill set. Whiteside is playing 28.8 minutes per game so far and Coach Spo doesn’t seem as eager to sit him as he has in the recent past. Are they showcasing him for trade, or have the Heat really settled on Hassan as their starting Center again? Time will tell but Bam remains just an unfortunate hold in most Dynasty’s at the moment.

Miles Bridges

16 Team20 Team30 Team
ProbablyYesDefinitely

The Charlotte Hornets have had multiple starting-caliber Wing/Forwards on the roster since the 2015-16 season in Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, Marvin Williams, and Nicolas Batum. They’re all within two inches of each other in height but very different in playing style. MKG is a lockdown defender who struggles with his jump shot. Williams is the complete opposite, being a decent floor-stretcher. And Batum, while not all that he used to be, still falls comfortably in-between, giving you a little of everything. I tend to lean toward Batum’s skill set when it comes to predicting Bridges’ future role in the NBA – just much more athletic. Take a gander at the video above where Bridges maxes out the vertical, touching the top of the backboard! A player like Bridges has the upside to play a pivotal role in today’s positionless game. With the ability to guard spots 2-4 and play wherever his coach wants him, Bridges would get minutes for his defensive versatility alone. The best part is that he is just as intriguing on the offensive end. In his two years at Michigan State, Bridges put up per-game averages of 17 points, 7.6 rebounds, 2.4 assists, 0.6 steals, and 1.1 blocks while shooting 37.5% from 3. He then improved his hustle stats to 8.2 boards, 1.4 steals, and 1.2 blocks over Summer League. Even if Bridges never becomes an elite playmaker or shot-creator, he will still warrant attention from the opposing team’s defense for his catch-and-shoot potential and his spectacular aforementioned athleticism.

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