The series will focus on the three biggest free agency moves. We’ll be digging through the stats and taking an in depth look at the team/fantasy implications of these free agency acquisitions. Part two will focus on Dwyane Wade.
2. Dwyane Wade pulled off a surprising move that will lead to some high expectations in Chicago, not by me however. I’ve got some legitimate questions about how efficient the offense will be. As the league transitions to the three point shot, Chicago’s starting PG, SG, and SF combined to make 133 three pointers last season. That number will have to improve this year. Also, the Bulls have three guys that dominate the ball in Rondo (21.3 usage rate/95 touches per game), Wade (30.5 usage rate/58 touches per game), and Butler (24.0 usage rate/68.2 touches per game). As I look at the numbers, I’m curious to see how smooth the half-court offense will run. Unless Jimmy Butler (34.3 % catch and shoot) and Dwyane Wade (43 % catch and shoot) learn to shoot better, it’s hard to see Rondo putting up assist numbers similar to last year. If Mirotic can shoot the ball more consistently, he will add some much needed spacing to the offense. This would then allow the Bull’s guards to use their strengths in getting to the rim. The big three will definitely put pressure on opposing defenses, with an average of 8.6 drives per game. This will be crucial to the team’s success because there simply aren’t any shooters on this team. In terms of fantasy production, I think the big three’s all around numbers will take a hit due to the insertion of two high usage players into the starting lineup. With names like Jimmy Butler and Dwyane Wade, I expect them to figure it out, but my expectations will be lower than others simply because I don’t like how the pieces fit together. However, If Jimmy Butler continues his growth as an NBA player by adding a three point shot to is repertoire, we may be having a different conversation by the middle of the season.
The Miami Heat lost its superstar, but I don’t think it’s as bad as everyone has made it out to be. With Wade posting the 8th highest usage rate in the league, there will be a lot of shots to go around. I would expect Goran Dragic to increase his shot volume and pick up a little more of the facilitation role. Expect an increase in his potential assist rate to rise from the 11.4 mark he posted last year. Justise Winslow will be a significant part of the Heat’s success or failure as a team this year. He will be much needed as a scorer this year. Winslow has displayed a much higher usage rate thus far in Summer League, but his 43.5 true shooting percentage has to increase significantly if the Heat want to do anything this year. Hassan Whiteside is a phenomenal talent that will see his opportunity increase this year. The Heat would love to see Whiteside take advantage of the opportunity, since they offered him a max contract. Josh Richardson is the other piece that will have a lot of say so in how Miami does as a team this year. His 45.8 catch and shoot percentage should be enough to space the floor for Dragic and Whiteside to work. I don’t expect Spoelstra to make any significant changes to the offense, which will allow more opportunities for Richardson to drive to the hoop, however, he will be asked to be more efficient. With more young talent on the floor this year an increase in pace (95.7 possessions) is expected, this will allow for more fantasy production to be split amongst the starters. For fantasy purposes, I really like Dragic and Whiteside this year. The development of Winslow and Richardson could make them nice values in the mid to late rounds (depending on league size). I like the Heat as a sleeper pick, similar to the Trailblazers last season. The development of the Miami Heat’s young core will make them one of the more intriguing teams to keep an eye on this year.