Home Sports The NBA Loser Lineup: Paolo Banchero, Magic on the rise in fantasy and reality despite exit from the playoffs

The NBA Loser Lineup: Paolo Banchero, Magic on the rise in fantasy and reality despite exit from the playoffs

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The NBA Loser Lineup: Paolo Banchero, Magic on the rise in fantasy and reality despite exit from the playoffs

Welcome to “The Loser Lineup,” where we delve into what teams eliminated from playoff contention need to do to improve their fantasy basketball game. As the dust settles from this season’s disappointments, it’s time for these teams to strategize, rebuild and reinvigorate their rosters for a chance at redemption next season. Join us as we explore the pivotal moves and player evaluations that could change the fantasy landscape next year.

This story will be continually updated as each NBA team heads to Cancun and we add them to the losers lineup.

The Magic surpassed last year’s win total by 13 games, the second-highest margin in the league. Paolo Banchero earned his first All-Star berth and Franz Wagner achieved personal bests in points, rebounds and assists. But what really took the league by surprise was Orlando’s shift to becoming a top-three defensive team, a testament to its potential for growth and future performance.

One of the most exciting developments this season was Jalen Suggs’ mini escape. His improved defense and shooting from the field make him a promising prospect for next season. Similarly, Wendell Carter Jr. is expected to see an increase in his numbers, especially if the Magic decide not to re-sign Goga Bitadze.

These potential player developments hint at a bright future for the Orlando Magic.

However, heading into next season, there are still some uncertainties for the team. It’s too early to know if Anthony Black or Cole Anthony will take over the point guard duties or if Jonathan Isaac can maintain his performance for Fantasy relevance. One thing’s for sure, though: there’s a lot to expect from this young Orlando unit. Don’t be surprised to see them invest in some much-needed shooters to pair with Banchero and Wagner this summer as they continue to shape their roster for the future.

Fantasy managers enjoyed an unexpected victory with Kawhi Leonard, Paul George and James Harden playing in more than 68 games this year. All three were great values ​​relative to their ADP, but can they be trusted in the future? Leonard’s knee is giving out again, forcing him to miss several games against the Mavericks, so he’s still not out of the risk of injury. And there is more.

Leonard and Norman Powell are the only notable players under contract beyond 2025. James Harden is an unrestricted free agent seeking a deal, while Paul George and Russell Westbrook could exercise their player options to remain on the team.

Ivica Zubac is coming off his best season and seems confident with no competition in the frontcourt at the moment. Still, with so much change among the stars of this team, a lot can change this offseason.

More on the Clippers’ offseason outlook

What will move the fantasy needle for the 76ers? Finally, Tobias Harris will get out of there. After one of the worst max deals in recent memory, the Sixers will have considerable financial flexibility this offseason. Locking down Tyrese Maxey is the top priority, and it will be interesting to see how Daryl Morey and Elton Brand choose to build around their two stars, knowing that recent iterations have broken out, especially with Joel Embiid off the court.

But not everything is in the main office. Embiid, a perennial MVP candidate, has not been able to stay healthy and I expect his availability issues to push him down a few spots on draft boards next year.

Lowering demand on his top-three usage rate could help on the health front and, in turn, force Philadelphia to be less reliant on its big man. Given Maxey’s track record, he needs to get more touches.

Back to the main office. Will they attract another star? Or look for multi-faceted role players to address the team’s lack of athleticism, playmaking and shot creation? Otherwise, these issues will continue to aggravate this underperforming team.

More on the 76ers’ offseason outlook

Serve one for the Bucks because it wasn’t close to Milwaukee’s best. After getting off to a 30-13 start, things didn’t get any better once HC Adrian Griffin was eliminated. The Bucks finished the regular season 17-19 with a first-round exit to Doc Rivers.

Injuries played a role, but the lack of continuity affected his game. Taking the summer off to recover is key, as Khris Middleton missed 27 games during the regular season and Giannis Antetokounmpo (calf) and Damian Lillard (Achilles) missed multiple games in a first-round loss to the Pacers.

It helps that most of their core players are under contract heading into next season, but they will need to accelerate the development of Andre Jackson Jr. and Marjon Beauchamp. Between injuries, a lack of cash, and a lack of draft picks, the Bucks will have to skimp on depth if they want to remain contenders in the Eastern Conference.

More on the Bucks’ offseason outlook

Heat Culture suffered a setback after last season’s Finals appearance. Tyler Herro missed 34 games this season, plus newly acquired Terry Rozier (neck) and Jimmy Butler (knee) were unavailable in the playoffs.

With Rozier, Butler, Bam Adebayo and Herro taking up the majority of the team’s cap space, it will be difficult to make injection-worthy moves that don’t include at least one of them. Trading Herro and Duncan Robinson’s $19 million-per-year contract makes sense financially, but it will also open up more opportunities for rookie standout Jaime Jaquez Jr.

Another late sleeper to keep an eye on is Nikola Jović. After the All-Star break, he started 24 games and compiled 14.7 points with 8.0 rebounds, 3.8 assists, 2.7 three-pointers and 1.0 steals per 75 possessions. If he can get close to 30 minutes a night, that’s a decent fantasy profile worth investing in.

More on the Heat’s offseason outlook

The obvious move to get this team back on track next season is to bring back LeBron James. He continues to play at an elite level and his success paves the way for others. Fantasy managers can feel comfortable selecting James in the third round next year.

And while Anthony Davis and D’Angelo Russell had their best fantasy seasons in years, I would explore including Russell or Austin Reaves in a trade package to bring in a true point guard who can reduce the demand for a future 40-year-old LBJ. old.

The other obvious change that needs to be made is leaving Darvin Ham as head coach of this team. His inability to make in-game adjustments and frequent rotation changes wore thin, and it’s clear this team needs another leader in the locker room.

More on the Lakers’ offseason outlook

The Pels have plenty of fantasy upside, as four players have ranked in the top 100 in leagues across nine categories this season. Zion Williamson barely made the cut at 103. While the current roster has won 49 games and earned the eighth seed in the West, a first-round sweep all but guarantees a change is coming. Given the rise of Trey Murphy III and Herb Jones as one of the league’s best defenders, we could be looking at a scenario where either Zion or Brandon Ingram are traded.

Their salaries plus CJ McCollum’s take up a significant portion of New Orleans’ cap space, so moving one of them would give the Pelicans more flexibility to address some needs in the frontcourt and second unit.

Of course, if Zion or BI move, it will make a splash in fantasy, so let’s wait and see how it plays out.

A first-round sweep, much less an exit, is grounds for dismissal for one of the Big Three. Devin Booker is their franchise player, so that leaves one of Bradley Beal or Kevin Durant. And since Bradley Beal has a no-trade clause (yuck), the Suns should be looking to explore trade options for KD.

Phoenix re-signed Grayson Allen, but there are a lot more holes to fill, and moving KD could net more role players or draft capital for the future. If this happens, Booker could move to late first-round draft status for next season.

More on the Suns’ offseason outlook

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