Mid-Season Review: Middle Third of the League

Can any of these teams contend for the title this season?

Previously, we looked at the bottom third of the league. Here’s a look at teams currently ranked 5th to 8th in the standings.

BAY AREA BOOGIE, 5.5 games out of a playoff spot
Russell Westbrook is having one of the worst shooting seasons of his career. Lou Williams, Kevin Knox and Tim Hardaway aren’t helping either. The team is 1-11 in field goal percentage and is essentially punting the category every week. But let’s go back to Westbrook.

Westbrook was ranked ninth in the pre-season rankings and was selected 10th overall in the 2018 draft. He’s currently ranked 79th overall. The FG% (41.8), 3PT% (23.2) and FT% (63.3) have been atrocious all year. In typical Westbrook fashion, the attempts are not negotiable with the percentages. Westbrook is going to keep shooting. That much is certain.

Westbrook has been drafted in the first round in five consecutive years. Each team that drafted him failed to make the playoffs.

Westbrook Draft Position and Teams Final Regular Season Standing
2018 - Drafted 10th overall / Currently 9th in the standings
2017 - 4th / 12th
2016 - 2nd / 8th
2015 - 5th / 11th
2014 - 4th / 10th

Do bad managers draft Westbrook or does Westbrook make bad managers out of good men? It’s very difficult to have a good fantasy season without a prominent first round pick that can round out your team’s deficiences. Bay Area Boogie is running out of time to overcome Westbrook’s troubling fantasy history.

CURRY SPICED, 3 games out of a playoff spot
Somehow, Curry Spiced is holding steady in rebounds (6-6) and blocks (5-7) despite only owning two bigs — Jaren Jackson Jr and Deandre Jordan — all year. He’s surrounded those bigs with three cutting guards in Kyrie Irving, Klay Thompson and Eric Bledsoe and one guard who ceremoniously stands in the corner for most of the game in Reggie Jackson. Nikola Mirotic has been out for the past month which has hurt the team’s overall balance.

Curry Spiced made their playoff debut last year and is currently three games out of the final playoff spot this season. They have built a solid fantasy foundation since they stopped exclusively drafting players on the Bulls.

PRIMETIME PLAYASCLUB!, Currently 6th, 3 game lead on the last playoff spot
With the exception of Domantas Sabonis, everyone on the team is averaging more than one three-pointer made this season. Six of those players are averaging more than two-per-game. Yet, the team is only 7-5 in 3PTM and 3PT% and 4-8 in points. The individual play is not adding up to team dominance.

Brook Lopez is averaging more three-point attempts (7.0) this season than Devin Booker, Donovan Mitchell and Kyrie Irving. He’s making 37 percent of them. Basketball has changed. Things will never be the same again.

The team has doubled-down on three-pointers with recent picks-ups of Mikal Bridges and Bryn Forbes. The eventual return of Willy Barton will help. But, with Curry Spiced creeping up in the rankings, how much longer can Primetime Playasclub! afford to hold on to Barton?

MANU GINOCHILLI, Currently 5th, 13 games out of first place
I guess we have to talk about James Harden here. I’m not a fan. What’s the opposite of a fan? An enemy? That’s me then, I guess. Look, I know he’s good. I get it. The numbers are daunting. Is it possible for a player to be good and unwatchable at the same time? Is playing 1-on-5 the statistical revolution that Daryl Morey envisioned? I don’t like it. That’s all I’ll say for now.

This team is securing a playoff spot despite Jimmy Butler’s erractic playing schedule and pending drama. In Kristaps Porzingis, the team holds biggest wildcard this year. There’s no other free agent move this season that can match the return of Porzingis. Mo Bamba is still lurking on this roster. He needs to be unleashed!

It’s a safe bet that Manu Ginochilli will make the playoffs in just their second year in the league. Flint Boozers and Fli City are the only other teams who have yet to make a playoff appearance in their fantasy careers.

Upcoming: we’ll discuss the top-four teams in the league with a special look at Flint Boozer’s dream season.