Real Dream Team NBA Season Preview – Part 3

Updated: October 14, 2018

Today we have part 3 of our Real Dream Team NBA season preview. Please also have a look at Part 1 and Part 2 if you haven’t already.

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Miami Heat

Miami were a surprisingly solid team last season, making the Eastern Conference Finals. They have gone in with pretty much the same team as last season. They are rumoured to be the main destination for disgruntled Minnesota star Jimmy Butler (see below), so there may still be some changes to the roster before tip off.

It is hard to find any player that is RDT NBA relevant. A case can be made for Hassan Whiteside, and potentially Goran Dragic, but both were very inconsistent last year in terms of Fantasy scoring.

Real Dream Team NBA Relevant Players – Hassan Whiteside – C; Goran Dragic PG/SG

Milwaukee Bucks

The Milwaukee Bucks are a huge chance to come out of the East this season. They have the supremely talanted ‘Greek Freek’ Giannis Antetokounmpo, Malcom Brogdon, Eric Bledsoe, Khris Middleton and Aussies Matty Dellavedova and Thon Maker. They have also bought in Pat Connaughton, Ersan Ilyasova and Brook Lopez.

Giannis is short odds for NBA MVP this season, and the upgrade in coaching from the baffling decisions of Jason Kidd to Mike Budenholzer should lift the whole team. After all, Coach Bud took a slightly above average Hawks team to a 60 win team in 2014/15, and made All-Stars of Paul Millsap, Al Horford, Kyle Korver and Jeff Teague. With the exception of Horford, all are solid players, but certainly not All-Star material. If Bud can get even close to the team synergy he was able to cultivate in Atlanta, the Bucks will thrive this season.

Real Dream Team NBA Relevant Players – Giannis Antetokounmpo – PG/SF; Khris Middleton – SG/SF; Eric Bledsoe – PG

Minnesota Timberwolves

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Wow. You will see less drama in 3 full seasons of Days of our Lives! The Jimmy Butler saga is one for the ages, and the T-Wolves organisation not doing themselves any favours in the way they are handling it. Let’s go through the basics:

– Jimmy Butler has reportedly been at odds with young guns Karl-Anthony Towns and Andrew Wiggins since he joined the team. They lack the same intensity as Butler, and this has caused divisions within the team

– Butler met with coach Tom Thibodeau on September 19 and requested/demanded a trade to either the Knicks, Clippers or Nets

– There appeared to be different messages coming from the T-Wolves organisation – Coach Thibodeau was saying he was still hopeful he could convince Butler to stay, whilst owner Glen Taylor was actively shopping him around.

– There are strong talks between the Heat and the T-Wolves to complete a trade, with Bam Adebayo, Josh Richardson and draft picks reportedly involved

– The deal was pretty close to being completed, before the T-Wolves pushed for an extra sweetener, and the trade fell apart.

– This is where it gets farcical. Butler showed up (late) to his first training session of the season earlier this week. He subbed himself into a scrimmage with the 3rd team to take on the 1st and 2nd teams. He talked trash for the entire session, particularly targeting Wiggins and Towns, but also coaches and front office staff who were in attendance. He then left practice immediately following the scrimmage, without even warming down.

-He then conducted a pre-arranged interview with ESPN’s Rachel Nichols in which he reiterated his frustration with Towns and Wiggins, who have he said are more talented than he is, but don’t work as hard.

So that is where it stands currently. As of writing, there still isn’t any word on whether Butler will be traded, if he will suit up for the T-Wolves, or if he will sit out games to try to force the organisations hand. A lot of the Fantasy relevance here will depend on what happens in the next few weeks. KAT is always good value, but the T-Wolves don’t tend to run a lot of offense through him. If Butler departs, this could all change, and KAT could become a Fantasy beast. One other player to look at is former NBA MVP Derrick Rose. Rose is currently practicing and playing preseason games with the starting 5, and is priced at a juicy $2.95 million. If he continues to be a starter, he needs to be in your team.

Real Dream Team NBA Relevant Players – Jimmy Butler – SG/SF; Karl-Anthony Towns – C; Derrick Rose – PG; Jeff Teague – PG; Andrew Wiggins – SG/SF

New Orleans Pelicans

Will this seasons’ Pelicans be known as Anthony Davis and the rest? Last year, AD had able support from Boogie Cousins, Jrue Holiday and a resurgent Rajon Rondo. Cousins and Rondo have now departed, leaving Davis and Holiday to shoulder much of the scoring load. The Pelicans signed a bunch of Free Agents, including Darius Morris, Jahlil Okafor, Elfrid Payton and Julius Randle. Payton will enjoy being out the black hole that is the Orlando Magic (the 19 games he played for the Suns last year was not really enough to judge, as they were horrible) and Randle should be a solid contributor also.

Real Dream Team NBA Relevant Players – Anthony Davis – PF/C; Jrue Holiday – PG/SG; Julius Randle – PF/C

New York Knicks

Will the Knicks ever be an NBA powerhouse again? One of the ‘big city’ destination teams, the New York is a team that has been saddled by poor decisions to go ‘all in’ on star players that seem to get lost in the bright lights of the Big Apple. Since making the finals in the lockout season of 1999/2000, they have frequently gone after big names who have failed to live up to expectation – Antonio McDyess, Latrell Sprewell, Keith Van Horn, Stephon Marbury, Steve Francis, Zach Randolph, Amare’ Stoudemire, Carmelo Anthony, Chauncey Billups, Tyson Chandler. You can now also add Joakim Noah to this list, who the Knicks will pay $38 million to over the next 3 years to NOT play for them.

The biggest brightspot in recent years has been the emergence of Kristaps Porzingas. Unfortunately for the Knicks, he injured his ACL in February, and won’t be ready to start the season. The Knicks drafted Forward Kevin Knox with pick 9 in this years draft, and he has excelled in the Summer League and preason games. He should see good minutes on this team, and is worthy of selection in your RDT NBA team.

Real Dream Team NBA Relevant Players – Kristaps Porzingas (when he returns from injury) – PF/C; Enes Kanter – C; Kevin Knox (rookie) – SF/PF

Oklahoma City Thunder

The biggest signing this off season for the Thunder was the re-signing of All Star forward Paul George. When he was traded to the Thunder from the Pacers last off-season, many considered this just a pit-stop on his way to a big city team (LA Lakers). The Thunder backed in their culture and their record, and were rewarded with George’s signature. They were also able to off-load Carmelo Anthony, and re-sign Ray Felton and Jerami Grant. They bought in Dennis Schroder from the Hawks as part of the Carmelo trade, and will once again be a strong playoff contender this season. Former league MVP Russell Westbrook will once again should most of the load. He should once again go close to averaging a triple double, but take note that he is currently injured, and is questionable to play in the first game of the season.

Due to the amount of usage that runs through Westbrook, there is not much else to go around from a statistical perspective, so apart from George, there is not much value on the Thunder roster.

Real Dream Team NBA Relevant Players – Russell Westbrook – PG; Paul George – SF/PF

Orlando Magic

The Magic went on a nice run to start the season last year, but fell away sharply after a raft of injuries. Key Players Nikola Vucevic and Aaron Gordon, as well as rookie Jonathon Isaac, were all injured for stretches last season, which resulted in Orlando once again missing the playoffs with a 25-57 record. They have been active this off-season, trading in Jerian Grant, Jarrell Martin and Timofey Mozgof, as well as drafting Mo Bamba with their first round selection (pick 6) this season.

Real Dream Team NBA Relevant Players – Nikola Vucevic – PF/C; Aaron Gordon – SF/PF; Mo Bamba (rookie) – C; Jonathon Isaac (injury discount) – SF/PF

Philadelphia 76ers

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Trust the Process. That will be the catch-cry for Philly fans for years to come. After many years of poor performance/tanking, the Sixers were finally able to see their long term plan come to fruition last year. They have two players on their roster who will be perennial All-Stars – Ben Simmons and Joel Embiid – as well as last year’s number 1 pick Markelle Fultz. Fultz was ‘injured’ for much of last season, but did play some minutes towards the end of the season and into their playoff run. His talent is undeniable – there is a reason he was selected #1 – but the big questions is “Has he fixed his jump shot?”

Real Dream Team NBA Relevant Players – Ben Simmons – PG; Joel Embiid – C; Markelle Fultz (injury discount) – PG/SG

Phoenix Suns

Let’s keep this simple. There are two players from the Suns you should be interested in: Rookie DeAndre Ayton and star Devin Booker. DeAndre Ayton is the number 1 pick from this years draft, and has impressed in preseason games, averaging 18ppg on 60% shooting whilst also pulling in 10 rebounds per game.

Devin Booker is currently battling a hand injury, and whilst hopeful he will be ready for opening night, it is by no means a certainty. Booker is heading into his fourth season in the league, and increased his scoring output to 24ppg last season before being struck down/shut down by injury. He will be in your RDT NBA team at some point this season.

Real Dream Team NBA Relevant Players – DeAndre Ayton – C; Devin Booker – PG/SG

Portland Trailblazers

Can Damien Lillard and CJ McCollum play together? According to Bill Simmons on his annual Bill Simmons Podcast Over/Under podcast, it doesn’t matter. Bill strongly hinted/stated that Lillard will be a Laker before the trade deadline hits in February. Even if that does prove to be true, they will at least start the season together, so will once again try to find a way to meld together after being embarrassed in last years first round playoff series against the lower seeded Pelicans. The Blazers were swept by Anthony Davis, Jrue Holiday and Rajon Rondo, which certainly did not help the calls for one of either Lillard or McCollum to be traded.

CJ McCollum is only priced at $8.8 million, so is also very nicely priced to start the season.

Real Dream Team NBA Relevant Players – Damien Lillard – PG; CJ McCollum – PG/SG

Sacramento Kings

Ummmmmmm. Maybe look at number 2 overall pick Marvin Bagley III. Maybe. The most interesting statistic about this team is that they have three players on their roster who have the suffix III after their name (Marvin Bagley III, Harry Giles III, Frank Mason III).

Real Dream Team NBA Relevant Players – Marvin Bagley III (rookie) – PF

San Antonio Spurs

This will be a very different Spurs team to the one that has been so consistent over the last 20 years. No Duncan, Ginobili or Parker, and Kawhi Leonard has also departed following a season of drama. In comes DeMar DeRozan and Marco Belinelli to compliment LaMarcus Aldridge and Pau Gasol. In a blow to their playoff chances, Point Guard DeJounte Murray ruptured his ACL in a preseason game, so the reigns hd been handed to Derrick White. Unfortunately for the Spurs, White, along with Rudy Gay, have now also been struck down by injury. White is at least 4 weeks away according to reports, so it will be up to Aussie Paddy Mills to run the show.

DeRozan had a very up and down season with the Raptors last year. The All-Star swingman went public with his battle with depression, and how it sometimes impacts his game. He is also well priced at $10.24 million, and should benefit from being the number one option on offense.

Real Dream Team NBA Relevant Players – Derrick White – PG; DeMar DeRozan – SG/SF; LaMarcus Aldridge – PF/C

Toronto Raptors

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The Raptors will be looking to replicate what Oklahoma City did with Paul George as they acquired their own disgruntled star in Kawhi Leonard with one season left on his existing contract. In what was a farcical situation at times in San Antonio, Leonard sat out the vast majority of last season as he failed to agree with team doctors about the best course of action in regards to his injury. He didn’t even sit in the stands during their playoff run.

In the end, he got what he wanted – a trade. However the Spurs sent him, along with Danny Green to the Great White North to become a member of the Toronto Raptors in exchange for Demar DeRozan. Leonard will now become the face of the Raptors franchise, and they will be hoping that the drama is now behind him, and he can return to his All-NBA form from two seasons ago. Leonard joins a team that went deep into the playoffs last season, and will form a formidable partnership with Kyle Lowry and Jonas Valunciunas. Leonard is extremely under-priced ($8.49 million) and should be in everyone’s starting team.

Real Dream Team NBA Relevant Players – Kawhi Leonard (injury discount) – SF; Kyle Lowry – PG; Jonas Valunciunas – C

Utah Jazz

The Utah Jazz have gone with the ‘If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it!’ philosophy this off-season. They were one of the hottest teams in the league in the second half of last season on the back of rookie Donovan Mitchell. Mitchell was a Fantasy beast for RDT NBA coaches last year, putting up great numbers whilst priced as a rookie. He is still worth a look this year, as he is priced at only $8.62 million. He will be once again joined by veterans Rudy Gobert, Joe Ingles, Derrick Favours and Ricky Rubio.

Real Dream Team NBA Relevant Players – Donovan Mitchell – PG/SG; Rudy Gobert – C

Washington Wizards

Can Dwight Howard be the missing piece to take the Wizards to the next step in the NBA playoffs? Probably not. Howard hasn’t been a major force in the NBA for many years now, and is a known locker room problem. This is indicated by the fact that he has been on 6 teams in the last 8 seasons. He is also injured a lot, and has recently been shut down from basketball activities due to an injury that was discovered in the preseason. He is actually yet to complete a training session with his new team mates.

Howard will be hoping that he can provide front court muscle to compliment the star studded back court of John Wall and Bradley Beal. These two have also never managed to fully gel together, and there are often rumours of a trade involving on of them. It will be very interesting to see the on-court dynamics of the trio, and whether they can get along off-court also.

Real Dream Team NBA Relevant Players – John Wall – PG; Bradley Beal – SG; Dwight Howard – C

That brings to a conclusion our preview of the 2018/19 RDT NBA season. Stay tuned to the website for weekly Schedule Analysis articles, and don’t forget to follow us on Twitter and Facebook to stay up to date with all the latest news out of the NBA. Feel free to let us know if you think we have missed anyone off, we are always keen to hear from our readers.

Good luck in the upcoming season, and we hope you enjoy playing.

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Written by Archie Keeler (@OTLSArchie)

Header graphic by Corey Wade Media (@CoreySWade)

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