2017-18 fantasy basketball preview: Indiana Pacers
Over the coming weeks, we at FanSided will do a team-by-team breakdown of each NBA franchise’s fantasy prospects for the 2017-18 season. Let’s continue today with the Indiana Pacers.
After trading Paul George to the Oklahoma City Thunder this offseason, the Indiana Pacers don’t offer much appeal to fantasy basketball owners in 2017-18.
Outside of Myles Turner, who will only further cement himself as a top-25 option moving forward, the Pacers are otherwise devoid of players who deserve to be selected within the first few rounds of drafts. While Victor Oladipo theoretically should have free reign to put up career-best numbers after coming over in the George trade, he’s long been a tease for fantasy owners. He’ll be competing for playing time with Bojan Bogdanovic, Lance Stephenson, Darren Collison and Cory Joseph in the backcourt and on the wing, making him a risky top-50 investment.
Collison looked like a potential mid-round sleeper upon signing a two-year, $20 million deal with Indiana early in free agency, but the team’s ensuing sign-and-trade for Joseph nullified much of his fantasy appeal. Thaddeus Young put up mid-round value last season, but with Indiana pivoting headfirst into a rebuild, it’s unclear whether he’ll have nearly as much of a role this coming year.
Which Pacers players should fantasy owners target with early-, mid- and late-round picks, and who should be left on the waiver wire? Let’s take a look.
Myles Turner, PF: It’s time to hop aboard the Myles Turner bandwagon before it’s too late. In just 31.4 minutes per game last season, the Texas product went off for 14.5 points on 51.1 percent shooting, 7.3 rebounds, 2.1 blocks and 1.3 assists to finish as the 25th-ranked player on a per-game basis in nine-category leagues. With George no longer in the fold, he now figures to seize an even larger offensive role this season. During an interview on SiriusXM NBA Radio earlier this month (via Matthew VanTryon of the Indianapolis Star), Turner said he wanted to “start establishing myself as a leader in this league and on this team,” which would seemingly bode well for his chances of breaking out as a fantasy stud. Grab him in the late second round and don’t think twice about it.
Victor Oladipo, SG: Last year, Oladipo rope-a-doped the fantasy community into grading him as a third-round pick heading into draft day, as he seemed destined for fantasy greatness paired alongside Russell Westbrook. Instead, his output stayed relatively stagnant — he averaged 15.9 points on 44.2 percent shooting, 4.2 rebounds, 2.6 assists, 1.9 triples and 1.2 steals in 33.2 minutes across 67 games — causing him to finish as the 86th-ranked player on a per-game basis in nine-category leagues. While the stars seemingly aligned for Oladipo to have his long-awaited breakout fantasy campaign, we’ve been down this road before with him. If you’re planning on grabbing him before the sixth round, be sure to have some sure things on your roster as well.
Darren Collison, PG: Collison had a one-week stretch where he appeared destined for a top-100 fantasy finish this season, as prior to Joseph’s arrival in Indiana, his only competition at the point was Joe Young. With Joseph in the fold, however, Collison may struggle to match the 13.2 points on 47.6 percent shooting, 4.6 assists, 2.2 rebounds, 1.1 triples and 1.0 steals he averaged in 30.3 minutes per game last season with the Sacramento Kings. Seeing as he finished as the 96th-ranked player on a per-game basis last season with Ty Lawson as his primary competition, Collison profiles as little more than an 11th- or 12th-round option this season.
Bojan Bogdanovic, SG: After trading away George, the Pacers spurned the chance to embrace a full-on tank, instead signing the likes of Collison and Bogdanovic to keep them just good enough to likely miss out on a top-five pick. Bogdanovic finished outside of the standard-league radar last season (173rd overall) largely because he provided little else other than points (13.7), 3-pointers (1.7) and an impressive free-throw percentage (89.3) during his 81 games with the Brooklyn Nets and Washington Wizards. In Indiana, though, he figures to begin the year as a starter while serving as one of the team’s most potent long-range threats. You could do worse than a flier on Bogdanovic as a late-round 3
-point specialist in the 13th or 14th round.
Thaddeus Young, SF: Young is the perfect example of how a player doesn’t need to put up huge numbers to make a notable fantasy impact. While he averaged just 11.0 points on 52.7 percent shooting, 6.1 rebounds, 1.6 assists and 0.6 triples in 30.2 minutes per game last season, the 10-year veteran finished as the 67th-ranked player on a per-game basis in large part due to the 1.5 steals he chipped in nightly. With the Pacers plunging into a rebuild, it’s fair to wonder how much playing time Young will receive this season, as both Domantas Sabonis and TJ Leaf lurk as competition at the 4. As such, he’s more of an option in the 12th or 13th round rather than a mid-round pick, despite his sterling finish from last year.
Cory Joseph, PG
Joe Young, PG
Lance Stephenson, SG
Glenn Robinson III, SG
Damien Wilkins, SG
Domantas Sabonis, PF
TJ Leaf, PF
Al Jefferson, C
Ike Anigbogu, C
Sleeper: Bojan Bogdanovic
Bust: Darren Collison
Other team breakdowns
Atlanta Hawks | Boston Celtics | Brooklyn Nets | Charlotte Hornets | Chicago Bulls | Cleveland Cavaliers | Dallas Mavericks | Denver Nuggets | Golden State Warriors | Houston Rockets
All average draft position info via FantasyPros. All rankings via Basketball Monster are based on nine-category leagues.