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New Orleans fantasy basketball season recap




At a glance:

Record: 49-33 (7th, West) 

Offensive Rating: 116.5 (11th)

Defensive Rating: 111.9 (6th) 

Net Rating: 4.6 (6th) 

Pace: 98.70 (16th) 

2024 Draft Picks: 21

Fantasy Standout: C.J. McCollum

After a down year during the 2022-23 season, McCollum had a better year shooting the ball, which led to his best fantasy season as a Pelican. In 66 regular season appearances, he averaged 20.0 points, 4.3 rebounds, 4.6 assists and 3.6 triples per game. That allowed him to provide third round value after two straight seasons ranked outside the top-50. He was the best overall fantasy asset on the team, which can mostly be attributed to his shooting efficiency. He improved his field goal percentage from 43.7% to 45.9%, and his free throw percentage was 82.7% after he shot 76.9% from the line last year and 68.2% the year before that.

McCollum still has two seasons left on his contract with the Pelicans, and he will be 35 years old when this current deal expires. He is coming off one of the best fantasy seasons of his career, which was his ninth straight averaging at least 20 points per game. He should continue to be a strong fantasy asset next season, though he likely doesn’t have many years of production at this level left.

Fantasy Revelation: Herb Jones

Jones has been an elite defender since entering the league, but he made an offensive leap in year three, which led to the best statistical season of his career. He averaged 11.0 points, 3.6 rebounds, 2.6 assists, 1.4 steals, 0.8 blocks and 1.5 triples per game, with the points, assists and 3-pointers all ending up as new career-highs. He ended up finishing in the top-75 for the first time in his career, which is a result of his improved shooting efficiency. He shot 49.8% from the field, 86.7% from the free throw line and 41.8% from beyond the arc, all of which were career-highs.

His improvement on the offensive end opens the door for him to be even more valuable moving forward. An elite defender is important, but a true 3-and-D star is vital for teams looking to win a championship. He may not have much more upside, but he has proven himself to be a commodity in 9-cat fantasy formats. He’ll continue to provide strong numbers in fantasy hoops regardless of what moves the Pelicans make this summer.

Fantasy Disappointment: Brandon Ingram

Since breaking out during the 2019-20 season, BI hasn’t been able to make major improvements statistically, and this ended up being his worst season as a Pelican. He averaged 20.8 points, 5.1 rebounds, 5.7 assists and 1.3 triples per game in 64 appearances. While that was the most games that Ingram has played since he was a rookie, this was also his lowest scoring output since he was a Laker. During his first year in New Orleans, he averaged 23.8 points and 2.4 triples per game, which led to his fantasy breakout. Over the last three years, he has only hit around 1.3 threes per game, which has been a big factor in his fantasy decline.

It was a disappointing season that was capped off by an abysmal performance in the playoffs. He averaged 14.3 points on 34.5% shooting from the floor, and the team failed to score 100 points in any of their four playoff games as they were swept in the first round by the Thunder. He has been at the center of trade rumors since they were eliminated, and it seems likely that his time in New Orleans has come to a close. He will likely still play a prominent role in the offense regardless of who he suits up for, but his fantasy production will depend on how he is used. If he gets back to shooting more 3-pointers, he should be able to bounce back.

Fantasy Recaps/Look-Aheads 

Zion Williamson:

Williamson’s 9-cat value may never match his output in points leagues, but he made massive strides as a player this season. He averaged 22.9 points, 5.8 rebounds, 5.0 assists, 1.1 steals and 0.7 blocks in 70 appearances. The points dropped, but he averaged a career-high in dimes while playing more games than he ever has in his career. He played in 114 games through his first four seasons, so 70 games was great to see, though a hamstring injury in their first Play-In game prevented him from suiting up during the playoffs. His improvement as a playmaker led to him being called “Point Zion”, and it provided a new element to his fantasy output. He’ll always be a negative with 3-pointers, free throw percentage and turnovers, but in the right build, he’ll continue to be incredibly impactful.

Trey Murphy:

Despite opening the year with a knee injury that kept him sidelined until December, Murphy was effective when he was on the floor. He only played in 57 games, but he averaged 14.8 points, 4.9 rebounds, 2.2 assists, 0.9 steals and 3.0 triples per game, which resulted in top-75 value in 9-cat leagues. If rumors of a BI trade end up being true, and Murphy moves into the starting unit, his 9-cat upside will skyrocket. He was a top-75 player while starting just 23 of his 57 appearances, and he was a top-50 player the year before when he started in 65 of his 79 games. Murphy will be valuable regardless of his role, but if he’s starting, he will be elite.

Jonas Valanciunas:

Valanciunas used to be a staple of the top-50 in 9-cat leagues, but after ranking outside the top-100 for two straight seasons, it appears that his run is over. He suited up for all 82 games, but he only played 23.5 minutes per game and averaged 12.2 points, 8.8 rebounds, 2.1 assists and 0.8 blocks. If he ends up signing with a new team that chooses to play him closer to 30 minutes per game, he is still capable of providing strong value in rebounds, blocks and field goal percentage. However, he doesn’t have the upside to do much more than that.

Dyson Daniels:

Daniels took on a slightly larger workload in year two, but he still wasn’t able to contribute consistent value in fantasy hoops. However, he did have a solid run as a starter in November that flashed a bit of his upside. In 16 starts, he averaged 8.0 points, 5.3 rebounds, 4.1 assists and 1.8 steals. His shooting was bad (39.8% FGs, 21.8% 3PTs), but he showcased well-rounded upside. He may not see a large enough role in year three to break out, but when he eventually becomes a starter, he has the makings of a star in category formats.

Jordan Hawkins:

Hawkins had an excellent start to his career and a few solid performances sprinkled in throughout the year after that. Unfortunately, when the Pelicans got healthy, there just wasn’t many minutes for him in their stacked rotation. In his 10 starts, he averaged 17.3 points, 4.2 rebounds, 2.4 assists, 1.1 steals and 3.3 triples per game. Much like Daniels, Hawkins won’t be able to contribute much value consistently unless he’s in a starting role. However, he did prove that he can be an elite shooter when he’s given the chance, and he can contribute a little value across the board when he gets the minutes. For next season, he won’t be much more than a streaming option when there are injuries in front of him on the wing.

Jose Alvarado:

The pesky lead guard plays an important reserve role and can be a solid source of assists and steals when he gets the minutes. However, Alvarado simply didn’t see enough consistent time on the floor to make an impact in fantasy. Grand Theft Alvarado can wreak havoc on the opposing team’s point guard, but unless he’s given a ton of minutes, he doesn’t make much of a fantasy impact.

Larry Nance Jr.:

The veteran forward is past his days of being a reliable asset in fantasy, but when Willie Green called on him for minutes, he was able to deliver value in the box score. He had nine points, 13 rebounds, five assists and two blocks in Game 3 against the Thunder after scoring in double figures in both of their Play-In games. Assuming Valanciunas doesn’t re-sign with New Orleans, Nance could step into a larger role next season and be an underrated target in fantasy drafts.

Restricted Free Agents: Dereon Seabron

Unrestricted Free Agents: Jonas Valanciunas, Naji Marshall, Cody Zeller

Team Options: Jose Alvarado, Jeremiah Robinson-Earl

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