We can’t let the Eastern Conference get all the love, when some of the largest fantasy powerhouses reside in the west (ahemmm, the whole team of Dubs) With an exciting basketball week coming up, here are the post-weekend Fantasy Power Rankings for the Western Conference. In case you are shaky or unclear on the relevance of this exercise please check out the ground rules here.
15. Sacramento Kings – 192.8 FPG
When a 36 year old named Z-Bo is your leading scorer averaging less than 15pts/game, you are bound to be in trouble. This man is also averaging 6.3 rebounds a game, his lowest RPG average in over a decade. Just don’t see the chemistry. De’Aaron Fox shows some potential in the assist category as he sits at 5.5 right now. On the plus side, they will be a big part of the Vince Carter farewell tour should that ever happen. He might try to play until 50, in which case he would still probably be better than the majority of this roster.
14. Dallas Mavericks – 196.4
Poor Mavs. Their team leader, Harrison Barnes, is only averaging slightly over half of the league leaders at 29.3 FPG and that simply won’t do it in this grading scale. I get it, Dirk is timeless blah blah blah, but he is little more than an hommage to the past at this point.
13. Memphis Grizzlies – 206.1
These poor bears in blue. They can kick ass against the top teams in the league, but they also fail to show up against mediocre teams. As is tradition, you got Marc and Mike leading the pack. The largest off season pickup was Tyreke Evans, who has settled back in nicely at the FedEx Forum, where he played his home games during his lone year in college. As a team, the Grizz do not do anything to excess. They rank high in blocks and take care of the ball, but that is not enough to get them into the upper half of the FPG rankings.
12. Phoenix Suns – 209.1
If y’all haven’t heard about Devin Booker the 3rd year guard out of Kentucky, then you’re missing out. This kid is a firecracker in multiple senses of the word. He can ball out and has a temper to match. He averages 34.2 FPG and he can straight up score. If Phoenix could put a better squad around him and not one that has guys running away from it, like Mr. Bledsoe, then the Suns might stand a chance of being a marginally good team one day.
11. Utah Jazz – 209.5
With the loss of Gordy, the Jazz now have Rudy and Ricky holdin down the fort in Salt Lake City. Each of them hold their own, with a plus 30 avg FPG, however they lack an elite scoring presence who could help them snag some additional points. Nice try though. It can’t be easy getting dumped by a guy with great hair like Hayward.
9/10. Portland Trail Blazers – 215.3
Underrated team. Or properly rated? In the West, I would say that the Blazers range from like 7-10th, which is conveniently where they rank now in the Fantasy Power Rankings. Lillard continues to be a top 5ish point guard in the West and CJ McCollum GETS BUCKETS!! I’ve decided this team is properly rated. See, stats are good for something.
9/10. Minnesota Timberwolves – 215.3
This is probably the most exciting young team to watch. The T’Wolves are the young guns in the West who are out to prove that their own version of the “Process” works. When Andy Wiggins and JBut are your 3rd and 4th highest fantasy producers, you know you have the foundation for a good squad. However, it is not quite good enough to make a huge impact in the West. The rankings from 2nd to 10th are very tight, so maybe they are just ramping up.
8. LA Clippers – 216.9
Hmm…seems the Clips are now the second best basketball team in LaLa land according to the Fantasy Power Rankings. Griffin is a top 20 fantasy player right now. His increased scoring and assisting role in Chris Paul’s absence has added value to his ceiling. However, if you have the chance to watch “Point Guard Blake” as I have so affectionately dubbed him, you should do so. It’s quite a sight. Nor sure how he gets it done as his ball control is suspect, but he makes up for it with freakish athletic ability. His supporting fantasy cast is lead by DeAndre Jordan, who is a consistent beast on the boards.
7. LA Lakers – 217.0
I wouldn’t go so far to say that one one hundredth of a point is a large enough differential to make any sort of judgement, but numbers don’t lie (?) The LA folks in gold are lead by their Big Baller rookie, Lonzo Ball, whose value comes mostly from steals. He is barely a top 50 player, but the team does a good job of spreading out their value as they go 8 deep with guys averaging over 20 FPG. Side note, who would have thought Brook Lopez would be the second most valuable guy on the team?
6. OKC Thunder – 218.7
This is a powerhouse fantasy roster. With the addition of Hoodie Mello and Paul George over the off season, Westbrook’s value has gone down. Don’t get me wrong, he is still a top 10 player, but now has to spread around the workload more than in the past. With all the aforementioned dudes and Steven Adams all averaging over 30 FPG, this is a team that can fill up a stat sheet and should only get more productive as the season goes along.
5. Denver Nuggets – 219.5
Not typically a team that you think of as relevant when it comes to NBA, but the Nuggs have been a productive team this year as outlined by Barnburner Slim. I’m convinced that the best centers these days are foreign guys and Nikola Jokic is certainly an example of that. He is a top ten rebounder and with the offense flowing through him, other guys like Will Barton and Gary Harris are having a chance to put points on the board, averaging multiple treys per game.
4. San Antonio Spurs – 220.0
LMA may have been a no show during playoffs this year, but he is a top twenty fantasy player at 40.3 FPG. Pau Gasol is still extremely productive, even though he now moves like he is in his late fifties. Rudy Gay does a little bit of everything to average 25.4 FPG. If you are like me you are tired of the Spurs always being competitive, but some things we just have to get used to.
3. Houston Rockets – 220.1
Two words: Stat Machines. That is exactly what this team is loaded with. Chris Paul has only played one game, so once he gets back, expect their assist numbers to go up to give them a boost and keep them at the top of the conference. Harden fills up the whole stat sheet as the fifth most valuable player in the league. Capela averages double digit rebounds and five total guys are averaging double digits in scoring. This is a fun team who jacks up shots at will and only slightly cares about defense.
2. New Orleans Pelicans – 222.8
Now this is a prime example of a team that can put up some serious stats but somehow still not win ball games. 62% of their fantasy productivity comes from the likes of Boogie Cousins and the Unibrow. I can not understate how these guys can fill up a stat sheet. Both those guys are in the top five in the league in total fantasy productivity. They have take this team and have the sole mission of carrying it to the fantasy championship. Meaning, they are less concerned about real life championships. I’m sure they got together at the beginning of the season and decided to do this to appease and impress me. The likes of Jru Holiday and E’Twaun Moore are doing their part to keep this team relevant in fantasy land.
1. Golden State Warriors – 254.3
I had to double check the math multiple times, but the numbers are true. This squad leads the league in points, blocks, and assists. The usual quartet of guys leads the way. Will they ever falter? Probably not with the powerhouse stat potential that they posses. There is not too much new information to take into account, as long as they can score at will, there might not be anyone who can stop them.