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NBA Summer League Losers - Centers: Charles Bassey, Luka Garza, Santi Aldama

fantasy basketball offseason trades free agents NBA sleepers

A key part of doing a fantasy draft is avoiding players who find themselves in a bad situation. The wrong pick can completely tank your season. On the other hand, rostering players in perfect situations can be the ultimately league-winning move for savvy fantasy GMs.

Today, let's talk about some potential busts and sleepers that have been part of the Summer League tournaments held in early-to-mid July. For whatever reason -- be it talent, lack of opportunity, chances to rack up minutes, good and bad environments, etc-- these are players who fantasy GMs are currently buying at too high or too low ADPs this early in the preseason and who should be kept under the radar to track their progress in training camps as we each closer to the regular season's tipoff.

Let's look at some center-eligible players that have bust potential this year in fantasy basketball leagues who appeared in July's Summer League tourneys and explore their situations going forward.

Editor's Note: Our incredible team of writers received five total writing awards and 13 award nominations by the Fantasy Sports Writers Association, tops in the industry! Congrats to all the award winners and nominees including NBA Writer of the Year, Best NFL Series, MLB Series, PGA Writer and Player Notes writer of the year. Be sure to follow their analysis, rankings and advice all year long, and win big with RotoBaller! Read More!

 

Summer League Losers: Centers - 2022-23 Fantasy Basketball

Charles Bassey, PF/C - Philadelphia 76ers

Bassey got to play some NBA minutes as a rookie last year, but he never did after the All-Star break while only getting 15+ minutes twice in his 23 total appearances with the Sixers. Even without having a lot of depth in the big-man depth chart, Philly still might find itself not really wanting/needing to use Bassey handing the center rotational minutes to Joel Embiid, Willie Cauley-Stein, Georges Niang, and Paul Reed instead.

Bassey got more Summer League playing time than Filip Petrusev (another one of his rotation-minutes challengers) but was way less efficient (0.90 FP/min to the latter's 1.11). He was also worse than Bruno Caboclo, Paul Reed, and Michael Foster, just on par with Tyler Bey, and only edging Julian Champagne. He got 20+ MPG over six games, but Bassey never quite exploded nor showed he was truly above his competitors.

The average per-game line finished at 8-6-0-1-1 for Bassey, which wasn't bad but fell short or didn't jump out of the page when compared to those of his teammates. Petrusev turned the ball over half the time while shooting seven percentage points above Bassey from the floor. Cabloco hit 60% of his shots while Bassey sat at 46% (on almost one fewer FGA by the latter...) If you expected Bassey to breakout or show glimpses of it this summer, I'm sad to announce it didn't come to happen.

Luka Garza, PF/C - Portland Trailblazers

Another case of the good-not-great, could-have-done-more type of SL stint is the one from Reggie. Perry could have solidified his position in the depth chart of the Blazers. Of course, Drew Ebanks and Jusuf Nurkic got to free agency this summer but both will be returning to the PDX under freshly inked deals with the Blazers. Not good news for Garza to start with.

The Summer League didn't turn into Garza's best stage to showcase his development, either, as Portland only allowed him to play 16, 14, 14, and 13 minutes in Las Vegas (he started three of those four games, though), and it's not that Garza did anything otherworldy in those short stints of play. Garza never reach more than 17 FP in any of the games, and although he had a couple of efficient outings on a per-minute basis, those two just amounted to some 7-4 and 9-4 lines with a couple of blocks baked into them combined.

Nurkic missing time opened the door for Garza to get reps at the NBA level last year. That might or might not happen next season, though, and even if it does, Garza clearly didn't secure a solid role for himself with his Summer League play. Far from it. Some warm body will always get thrown into the court to solve issues like that, and you never when those arise throughout the regular season, but that's all hope Garza brings with him entering the training camp portion of the season.

Santi Aldama, C - Memphis Grizzlies

It'd be harsh to say Aldama came out of the Summer League as a loser. In fact, I was this close to handing him an entry in the winners' column. But bear with me here for a minute. Aldama was, in fact, the 13th-best player of the SL in terms of total FP over the summer tourneys while playing 156 minutes spread over six games. That's fantastic! The problem, though, is that teammate and fellow big boy Kenny Lofton topped that mark in fewer minutes and that tells me this was most of a system/collective/team-effort result than anything else.

Aldama averaged a 15-7-1-1-1 line to Lofton's 15-6-2. It's funny that these two performed better in the SL than higher-ranked picks of the Grizzlies such as David Roddy or Jake LaRavia. Anyway, the main point of Aldama "losing" the SL is 1) the news that Jaren Jackson Jr. is going to miss time, and 2) Brandon Clarke, Xavier Tillman, and David Roddy (I'm not even counting Lofton because he's G League bound most probably) being part of the rotation.

What I mean by JJJ's injury is that Aldama might find a way to play NBA minutes in emergency relief duties. That would do him some good, but fantasy GMs horridly because some will trust the kid and then hate JJJ coming back and sending Aldama packing to the third/fourth string and/or the G League. Also, the Grizz have a ton of big men around in Steven Adams, Brandon Clarke, Tillman, Roddy, Lofton, and Killian Tillie. It's going to be a grueling battle out there for minutes and a sustainable role. Good SL stint, but one that was not entirely going to help Aldama no matter how well he did there.



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