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2022-23 Fantasy Basketball - Early ADP Analysis: Forwards (Part 3)

A key part of doing a fantasy draft is avoiding players who are overvalued while finding gems buried down the ADP leaderboard. The wrong pick can completely tank your season. The perfect steal can give you a magnificent advantage.

Today, let's talk about some players whose ADPs makes little sense given their projections--for the good and for the bad. For whatever reason -- be it talent, a lack/surplus of opportunity, or some combination of those and multiple other things -- these are players who I'm actively tracking in drafts to see how their ADP evolves as we get closer to the regular season.

Let's look at some forwards who have sleeper/bust potential this year in fantasy basketball leagues.

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2022-23 Fantasy Basketball - Early ADP Analysis: Forwards

Overvalued: Kawhi Leonard, SG/SF (LAC) - ADP: 27.8

Kawhi is the most disappointingly consistent player in the NBA. In other words, he's the one who seemingly always manages (pun intended) to play 55-to-60 games, but no more than that cutting his upside in fiercely infuriating ways. Kawhi has played 60, 57, and 52 games in the past three seasons. Or should I say four seasons, after he entirely missed the 2022 campaign? That, probably, would have made sense.

The last time Leonard "missed" a season, it was in 2018 when he only played nine games for the Spurs before getting traded to Toronto the next offseason, and he came back with enough mojo to earn Canada its first NBA chip. He posted 45 FPPG over 60 games, finished 2019 with a 26-7-3-2 stat line, and entered the top-35 OVR realm to go with a top-10 finish at the F position. Not bad, if you ask me.

He moved to Hollywood as a free agent, brought Paul George with him, and it's now been three top-10 F-position finishes in a row for him along with top-33, top-13, and top-35 OVR campaigns. Can he repeat that after spending one year out of the hardwood? We don't really know.

The ADP of around 27 OVR might make sense after all. Kawhi's ADP is very close to that of his teammate Paul Geroge (22 OVR as I'm writing this). Both come with similar concerns, mainly regarding their health and availability--on top of a top-heavy/loaded roster that includes John Wall ahead of the 2023 season, whatever role he takes on.

I'd say it's safe to bet on a top-30 finish by Kawhi next season. If--but only if--that's the case, then Kawhi's ADP might be in the perfect sweet spot right now. The minute Leonard misses more games than expected (say, he ends up playing 40-to-45 games), then things might start to fall more on the overpaid side than the underpaid one.

The shooting was incredible the last time we watched Kawhi (career-high TS% of 62.0 in 2021 with 51/40/88 shooting splits) but his 5+ APG should go down as should his 24+ PPG with George/Wall/Powell playing next to and getting touches from him.

Undervalued: Saddiq Bey, SF/PF (DET) - ADP: 88.7

Rookie Bey was good because he got tons of opportunities but not much more than that. He was a below-average player on a per-minute basis (0.83 FP/min) and his saving grace was the 27 MPG as part of a ridiculously bad team in Detroit--peep at the number of recent top-10 draft selections. In fact, among rookies in 2021 with 60+ games played, Bey would have led or finished near the top of most statistical categories on a per-36 minutes basis because he was given free rein and then some.

Sophomore Bey was even better than his 2021 version, but of course, he also got to use an above-average number of possessions, his playing time increased from 27 to 33 MPG, and he started all 82 games over the season. No wonder he finished as a top-15 F and top-40 player overall. That volume absolutely affords (and demands) that, if not more. He also was a borderline league-average player from an efficiency angle with an average of 0.91 FP/min. Slowly but surely, folks. Slowly but surely.

Bey is a good young player and has all of his career ahead. I'm betting on a steady improvement as long as Detroit has the room in the wings to keep giving him daily reps. The statistical increase was there last year, but again, so was the six-minute-per-game increase helping that. The TS% went almost four percentage points down and Bey shot below 40% from the floor with his massive 7.4 3PA a pop saving him even on a good-not-great 34.6 3P%.

The playing time can't go any higher and he will have the help of two lead guards taking eyes off him next season in second-year Cade Cunningham and rookie-PG Jaden Ivey. Bey has a promising path ahead and betting on him fulfilling this promise, at an ADP of nearly 90th OVR doesn't feel that crazy to me.

Overvalued: Kristaps Porzingis, PF/C (WAS) - ADP: 49.7

Remember the Tim Hardaway Jr. trade between the Knicks and the Mavericks? Well, if you don't allow me to remind you about an ancillary piece that was part of that deal, one of the New York Knicks came away victorious when all was said and done: Kristaps Porzingis. All of that is harsh, of course, but it is also very real. KP is not that KP anymore, the one who got booed by Knicks fans in the draft and then proceeded to do unheard-of things on basketball courts.

Porzingis has actually been a great performer for years on and even had his best season while playing for Dallas after the trade--and after missing the 2019 season entirely. Back then, in the bubble year of 2020, he put up a ridiculous 40.8 FPPG average and an even-better 1.28 FP/min... only he could only do it over 57 games. That wasn't bad in a season that ultimately got its usual 82 games cut down a bit. The problem is that the OG Unicorn has nearly missed more games than you'd have ever guessed.

In six years of NBA play, Porzingis has appeared in 337 of a potential 492, or just 68% of those. Not only that but he's never topped 32 MPG nor 57 games in the past four seasons (a span of five years, accounting for the season he missed) of his career. Someone like KP, only healthy enough to play around 70 games per season, would be a fantasy monster and a lock for perennial top-15 OVR production. Bad news: he is not.

Acquiring Porzingis with the 50th OVR pick in your draft is overpaying wildly for his projected production, and most importantly, availability. KP has never been better than the 38th-best player in the NBA and he's actually finished outside of the top-55 in all other five of his seasons. He's only cracked the top-20 at either C/F-eligible players twice in his career in the short 2020 season and the 2021 campaign... playing 43 games. Not liking such a glass-bone guy with limited production playing next to an opportunity-eater and huge-volume shooter/scorer such as Bradley Beal for a full season.

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