Fuck Kevin Durant
Welcome to the Fantasy Friend Forever Retrospective 2017, a 12 part series examining the victories and the mistakes of each GM over the course of the 2017 season. In other words, Tim Jiang will spend far too much time on Fantasy Basketball analysis.
Kevin Wang was winning. He was at the fifth seed, but not your average 5th seed. Four tiny categories separated the fifth seed from the first seed. Don’t buy into any revisionist history claiming that he wasn’t a contender — Kevin Wang’s team was good. He was nearly undefeated in field goal percentage and turnovers, his 2 strongest categories. He was winning rebounds and blocks at a respectable rate and on any given week he was a threat to win 3's. Kevin Wang was the dark horse. He had a real shot at beating anyone if the stars aligned. Unfortunately, they aligned against him.
This is not going to be a story of negligence. We’re past the articles about mistakes, laziness, and deliberate loss. This is a story about bad luck. A story of chance, or god, or a little of both. Maybe Kevin Wang made one too many jabs at Richard. Maybe he had been a little too mean throughout Kevin Ko’s long life. Maybe he had made Tim Jiang fly one too many times. The one thing that is certain is that the karmic gods made Kevin Wang pay. For one moment, Kevin Wang was winning. And in the next, he had lost.
“I blame naming my team after Tim Jiang. That bad mojojojo was the real reason why KD went down at the end of the season.”
- Kevin Wang’s misguided blame on loved commissioner
We’ll start, as usual, with the draft.
Kevin Wang’s draft had hits and it had misses, as most do. Kevin Durant is simply the most rounded player in fantasy basketball. In his new home, he gives you everything. He’s efficient, he’s a consistent 25–30 points a night. He flirts with triple doubles and has emerged as one of the best defensive wings in the league. We all know how that story ends.
Klay started the year poorly, but caught fire amidst the season. The only better 3-point shooter is Steph Curry. He is inconsistent, but usually efficient. He produces defensive stats at a respectable rate and also assists and rebounds occasionally. On top of that, he provides his most value by doing all of this volume on a very low TO rate (simply because his style of play emphasizes catching and shooting). Hassan Whiteside is a top 25 player and Kemba Walker is putting on 3rd round value. Elfrid Payton (if you excuse his turnovers) is putting on 7th round value.
After that, things get a little murkier. I don’t have to tell you that Pau Gasol, Marcin Gortat, and Monta Ellis had less than stellar years. All 3 have regressed significantly compared to their previous production, but haven’t been completely unplayable for Kevin. He chose to take perhaps 1 too many of these high risk, high reward players. If he could re-draft, I would expect him to avoid these relics. Pau Gasol has been in steady decline since 2010 and Gortat is very old. Monta Ellis can’t shoot and makes every Pacers line-up worse.
The bottom of his draft was similarly disappointing. Evan Turner could have been a breakout player this year, but instead he found himself at the fringe of Portland’s rotation. On top of that, he was injured for large stretches of the seaons, preventing him from retaining his 2015–16 form. Ilyasova only became valuable after being traded, and even then had limited value (at that point, he was already off Kevin’s roster)
Overall, Kevin Wang had a fairly average draft. He had great keepers going in (Kemba Walker is particularly valuable at his draft position) but drafted a few too many old guys. It’s unclear if Pau will ever be fantasy relevant again. Marcin Gortat is closer to approaching retirement than 5th round value. He gets a B-, because I can’t help but feel like this draft is a tier above the other ones we have looked at, perhaps merely because of his excellent keepers.
In terms of transactions, KWang wasn’t extremely active. He had a steady hand and trust in his team. Unfortunately, sometimes the greatest enemy of success is complacency. Had he been a little more active, had he picked up one of the young Phoenix stars, perhaps the injury to Kevin Durant could have been slightly mitigated. But at this point I’m splitting hairs. In a league as competitive as ours, no contender could survive the loss of the debatably number one fantasy player.
Nick Young has had a career season with the young Lakers. His value is spoiled by injury luck and a tanking Lakers team. I believe that he will be better than this next year. Austin Rivers is a phenomenal pick up. After Chris Paul went down he produced very respectably. Finally Buddy Hield, someone who I thought was just going to be a bust. He is a pure scorer, no question, but he has some future potential as a keeper’s player, given his draft position.
In the process of all of this, KWang manged to shed some of the dead weight. He held steady and patient with many of his players and it paid off. It’s a balance between holding on with known talent and recognizing when a player is in a new, beneficial situation. I think he performed admirably, above average. I give KWang a B+ for his activity on the waiver wire.
“Fuck Kevin Durant”
- Kevin Wang/Based God
Here is where a summary usually goes, but I think Lil B rapped it better than I could ever write it: