NBA ADP Watch: Garland, Nance Among Undervalued Players

NBA ADP Watch: Garland, Nance Among Undervalued Players

This article is part of our NBA Draft Kit series.

The NBA season is rapidly approaching. That means fantasy basketball drafts are starting to become more frequent, leaving us with ADP data to pore over.

Let's discuss some players that are being over or under drafted at this time.

OVERVALUED

Giannis Antetokounmpo, Bucks (ADP 2.3)

There is no questioning Giannis' ability. However, reports out of training camp suggest the reigning Finals MVP is still not healthy after dealing with a hyper-extended knee in last season's playoffs. He hasn't been participating in scrimmages and it's unclear how much he will play during the preseason.

It's worth noting that ADP data combines multiple scoring formats, so Giannis' points-league value likely inflates his overall number. But an ADP of second overall is already too early for Giannis in roto leagues because of the damage he can do in the free-throw department. In points leagues, that's much less of a concern, but this injury complicates matters. Having already won a championship last year, the Bucks could be very cautious with him, especially early in the season. Taking him in the later half of the first round might be more advisable.

Russell Westbrook, Lakers (ADP 21.7)

No longer a member of the Wizards, Westbrook is probably in line for at least some level of a statistical decline. When he played for Washington, he and Bradley Beal were responsible for carrying the team. That helped Westbrook average 22.2 points, 11.5 rebounds and 11.7 assists. Playing alongside LeBron James and Anthony Davis means that Westbrook won't be left to shoulder so much of the load with the Lakers. Thus far, Westbrook has said all of the right things as far as adapting his game to fit the Lakers' two incumbent stars.

If you are playing in a points league, Westbrook obviously carries significantly more value. His percentages – especially his FT% – are usually a drag in roto. Last season, he shot just 43.9 percent from the field and 65.6 percent from the charity stripe last season. If you're in a roto league, don't even think about drafting him this early. It might even be a little early for points leagues, too, because of his move to the Lakers.

Kyrie Irving, Nets (ADP 24.3)

Based on ability alone, this is not too early for Irving. However, there are several factors working against him in fantasy. First, he plays on a loaded Nets team that won't require him to carry their scoring attack, nor will he need to be their primary facilitator. Second, and far more importantly, he's been openly against being vaccinated against COVID-19. Because of New York City's vaccine mandate, he would not be eligible to play in home games if he were not vaccinated. As of publication, Irving is reportedly still resisting the vaccine, and it's possible the Nets could keep him away from the team – for both home and away games – until some sort of resolution is reached.

If Irving does eventually get vaccinated before the start of the season, that would ease the minds of some fantasy managers. However, even if that does happen, it's important to keep in mind that Irving has dealt with his share of injuries over the years, so he's far from a safe choice. On a per-game basis, Irving has top-10 overall upside, but with less than two weeks until Opening Night, there's far too much risk to justify taking him in the first two rounds of most drafts.

UNDERVALUED

Darius Garland, Cavaliers (ADP 82.7)

At this time, the question with Garland might be,:what can't he do? The 2019 lottery pick showed significant improvement last season, averaging 17.4 points, 6.1 assists, 1.2 steals and 1.9 three-pointers per game. He also shot 45.1 percent from the field, which was an increase of five percentage points compared to his rookie campaign. Really, the only downside with his game is that he doesn't provide much in the way of rebounds, averaging just 2.4 of them across 33 minutes per game last season.

With all of that being said, Garland is a safe guard option. Is he actually that much worse than Tyrese Haliburton, who has a composite ADP of 62.7 while playing in a crowded Kings' backcourt? A strong argument can be made for taking him ahead of Mike Conley Jr. (ADP 76.0), who has dealt with a multitude of injuries in recent seasons.

Kevin Porter Jr., Rockets (ADP 90.3)

It would be surprising if Porter's ADP remains this low as the season approaches. Across 23 starts for the Rockets last season, he averaged 17.9 points, 4.0 rebounds, 6.5 assists and 2.1 three-pointers over 34 minutes per game. With the news that John Wall has requested a trade and will not play this season until he is dealt, Porter should once again start at point guard and see heavy minutes alongside Christian Wood and rookie Jalen Green.

The downside with Porter is that he's not very efficient, shooting 42.9 percent from the field and 72.8 percent from the free-throw line as a starter. Also, he averaged 3.6 turnovers per game in that role. Still, he should be drafted ahead of Klay Thompson (ADP 84.3), who won't play until Christmas at the earliest while recovering from an Achilles injury. To me, Porter is much more appealing than Andrew Wiggins (ADP 83.0), who can't come close to matching Porter's production in the assists department.

Larry Nance Jr., Trail Blazers (ADP 141)

It's possible there's some noise in this ADP figure, but if Nance is truly going in the 140s, there is no way this ADP holds up. Nance is in a prime position to be a very important member of the Blazers, even though he won't start. They have one of the worst benches in the league, leaving Nance to combat with the likes of Cody Zeller, Nassir Little and Patrick Patterson for backup minutes at power forward and center. He could even play some small forward with Tony Snell being one of their top backups at the position.

When Nance only averaged 26 minutes per game in the 2019-20 season, he still produced averages of 10.1 points, 7.3 rebounds, 2.2 assists and 1.0 three-pointers while shooting 53.1 percent from the field. He should play around that much this season, and could be thrust into more than 30 minutes per game if the Blazers suffered an injury in their frontcourt. Don't be surprised to see him routinely selected inside the top 100 as the season approaches.

Ricky Rubio, Cavaliers (ADP 170.0)

This is a head-scratcher. Yes, Rubio now finds himself coming off the bench for the Cavaliers behind Garland and Collin Sexton. Still, he should be their top guard within the second unit and he's shown that he can still rack up assists, even with limited playing time. He only averaged 26 minutes per game with the Timberwolves last season but still produced 6.4 assists per game. While his production in other categories has waxed and waned, Rubio has never averaged fewer than 5.3 assists per game in his career.

Players currently being selected ahead of Rubio include Trevor Ariza (ADP 149.0), Dwight Howard (ADP 138.3) and Alex Caruso (145.0). None of those names should be selected before him.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Mike Barner
Mike started covering fantasy sports in 2007, joining RotoWire in 2010. In 2018, he was a finalist for the 2018 FSWA Basketball Writer of the Year award. In addition to RotoWire, Mike has written for Sportsline, Sports Illustrated, DK Live, RealTime Fantasy Sports, Lineup Lab and KFFL.com.
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