Fantasy Basketball Mailbag: Load management, COVID, and Christian Wood's ceiling

Josh Lloyd
·5-min read
Kawhi Leonard's usual load management questions remain, while Houston's Christian Wood stands out as one of the most intriguing fantasy bets. Pictures: Getty Images
Kawhi Leonard's usual load management questions remain, while Houston's Christian Wood stands out as one of the most intriguing fantasy bets. Pictures: Getty Images

We are just a couple of days away from the beginning of the NBA season.

Most fantasy drafts are completed and now we are looking at maximising our team for week one and perusing the waiver wire.

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So, I took questions from Twitter, Instagram, and Discord to give you the first regular-season mailbag of the season. So, let’s get to it.

Which round would you draft Mitch Robinson in points leagues? In your mock, you drafted Nerlens Noel. How do you see minutes play out between the two? - @NBARigged (Discord)

Mitchell Robinson is a significantly better fantasy player in category leagues than he is in points league.

At this point, I think he is a ninth-round player in a default Yahoo league, but he did show us something interesting in the last two preseason games.

He curtailed his fouls and played big minutes. But, we have to remember that Nerlens Noel was out and he is still projected to be the starter.

In the past, Knicks coach Tom Thibodeau has given his starters heavy minutes, so I”m not sure it will be a 50/50 split, but this spot has the best chance of being close to that. I would say Noel 25, Robinson 23, but there is going to be some variability there.

Are load managed superstars (Kawhi Leonard, Kevin Durant, etc.) the same value as other superstars since we all expect teams to rest players due to COVID? - @hsudonym_ (Discord)

COVID-19 is obviously going to be an issue this season.

We will likely have situations were multiple players from one team will have to sit out due to infection at some point. But, the premise of your question suggests that players who are load managed won’t get COVID.

We also know that Kawhi, Russell Westbrook, John Wall, Durant, and Blake Griffin will sit one half of a back to back. That is baked in.

Maybe Nikola Jokić gets COVID? Maybe Anthony Davis does. That will force them to miss time.

But, Kawhi could just as easily get it. Durant could get it again.

So, those players like Kawhi are going to miss their physical rest days, and then also perhaps miss games due to COVID.

It does even things up a little as a COVID absence may tie in with injury-related rests and in the end, those guys may end up with more games than others who get COVID if they don’t, but it doesn’t automatically make the value even up.

What is Christian Wood’s ceiling? - @Crooklyn (Discord)

Wood played just one preseason game, but he looked awesome out there, carrying over from his form at the end of last season with Detroit.

DeMarcus Cousins didn’t play in that game, but Wood is going to start. I think, at this point, Wood is a third-round, top 36 player, but imagine if James Harden is traded?

Wood’s fantasy ceiling could be as high as the top 20.

What am I missing, people are saying Cam Reddish has huge upside, but how can he play enough? - @holywader (Instagram)

I’m with you holywader. But, as a counter-point Reddish did average 25.5 fantasy points per game in the preseason in only 22 minutes a night.

His usage was huge (almost 25%) and he scored well, but Reddish getting a 30 minutes a night role if tough to see with Bogdan Bogdanović, De’Andre Hunter, Kevin Huerter, and Danilo Gallinari all having to get minutes at the 2-4 spots.

I don’t hate grabbing him with my last pick, but it’s hard to see a huge breakout given this roster.

How will moving to the bench affect Michael Porter Jr.’s value? - @triplemg15 (Instagram)

I had heard, and hoped, that Porter would be the Nuggets’ starting small forward. He began that way in the preseason. Then Will Barton returned, complained, and was given the starting spot back.

It’s silly, but it is what it is. I think it takes a couple of rounds of value off Porter, probably dropping the playing time a little, but he still can be very good.

He will get a lot of shots, his playing time will go up and he can be the focal point of the second unit and should be separated from Jamal Murray a little bit more.

So, on a per-minute basis, it probably helps him, but he will likely play a little less than I anticipated.

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