The 2019-2020 season of the National Basketball Association rolls out today and for fans engaging in NBA Fantasy League tournaments it marks start of another stretch of pitting one’s “managerial skills” and enjoying the new NBA year in added light.
As has been the case in seasons past, I have decided to engage in NBA Fantasy League competition, signing up for three tournaments.
The two teams I am participating in, both 20-team tournaments, are with friends and brothers in sportswriting, with teams “Nacho’s BW Posse” and “BW Skychurch,” in reference to one my favorite Jack Black movies (Nacho Libre) and the latter in homage to local metal band Skychurch, another favorite of mine.
The last one is with colleagues in the office, a 10-team field and the longest I have been part of and the one that got me in Fantasy League play. I play there under the team name “Roadblock” after my favorite GI Joe character.
All three are head-to-head and nine-category competitions.
For this season, the strategy in picking up the players was to have different looks for my teams, as opposed to last year where I anchored them on then Golden State All-Star Kevin Durant, and see where it would take me.
For Nacho’s BW Posse, I have James Harden of the Houston Rockets leading. I just had to after getting the first overall pick in our live draft. It helped as well in the decision making that he had a pretty explosive preseason across the board.
Joining him there are Jamal Murray (Denver), Dennis Smith Jr. (New York), Taurean Prince (Brooklyn), Zion Williamson (New Orleans), Serge Ibaka (Toronto), Wendell Carter Jr. (Chicago), Tristan Thompson (Cleveland), Dwight Howard (Los Angeles Lakers), and DeMarre Carroll (San Antonio).
The knee injury and subsequent surgery of top overall rookie Williamson was a big blow on my cause as he is expected to be out for six to eight weeks.
I was having second thoughts of drafting him after going through notes of his injury but just had the urge to pick him up nonetheless for the potential “beast mode” he would bring.
Not still losing hope though and I am expecting him to contribute as expected when he comes back.
Ibaka, Carter, Thompson and Howard hopefully step up their game while Williamson is out for me not to lag too behind in the race.
Guard play I am confident enough with Harden, Murray and Smith but on the wings I have some concerns and may have to check out free agents as the tournament moves along.
For BW Skychurch, anchoring it is Golden State All-Star guard Stephen Curry.
The Warriors have retooled and missing key pieces because of injury and I am expecting Curry to be in playoff mode at the get-go.
With him are Lou Williams (LA Clippers), Joe Harris (Brooklyn), Prince (Brooklyn), LaMarcus Aldridge (San Antonio), Clint Capela (Houston), Meyers Leonard (Miami), Taj Gibson (New York), Collin Sexton (Cleveland), Dion Waiters (Miami), Ersan Ilyasova (Milwaukee), Evan Turner (Atlanta) and Jeff Green (Utah).
I have high hopes for this team, feeling I covered all the bases position-wise.
But one thing I learned from playing Fantasy League for more than a decade now is that nothing is certain and anything can happen.
Still have some issues below the roster and may revisit some options.
Finally, Roadblock, which is led by Kawhi Leonard, now of the Los Angeles Clippers. He is not my first choice admittedly but fell into my lap after our automatic draft. Not bad still though for his two-way play.
Joining him are rookie Ja Morant (Memphis), Jimmy Butler (Miami), Jonathan Isaac (Orlando), Blake Griffin (Detroit), Aldridge (San Antonio), Mitchell Robinson (New York), Thomas Bryant (Washington), Marc Gasol (Toronto), Caris Levert (Brooklyn), Deion Wright (Dallas), Terrence Ross (Orlando) and Paul Millsap (Denver),
It is just too bad that we slid as a league to 10 teams from 12 this year but it has however left much room to maneuver with player selection, presenting a challenge all its own.
A brand-new NBA season is upon us and another go at NBA Fantasy League. Hope you are satisfied with your selections. All the best, Fantasy freaks!
Michael Angelo S. Murillo has been a columnist since 2003. He is a BusinessWorld reporter covering the Sports beat.