Season Review: Knicks, Suns, Cavs, Mavs
Season Review: Knicks, Suns, Cavs, Mavs

This article is part of our Season Review series.

Knicks (17-65), preseason over/under: 27.5 wins

The Good

2018-19 quickly became a rebuilding year for the Knicks, and savvy fantasy owners were able to capitalize on the waiver wire. While Kevin Knox didn't play up to expectations, we saw Noah Vonleh have a small breakout. He went undrafted in the vast majority of leagues, but he ended up inside the top-160 on the year. Emmanuel Mudiay also had the best year of his career and made a similar jump from undrafted into the top-160. But it's unclear what their futures with the team are, and their roles were reduced once Dennis Smith Jr. and DeAndre Jordan joined the team. Ultimately, Mitchell Robinson was the brightest spot from the Knicks. He flew under the radar as mystery prospect after leaving Western Kentucky before playing a single minute and arriving in New York as part of a crowded rotation. Once Enes Kanter was let go, Robinson erupted. Overall, in 66 appearances, Robinson collected 11 double-doubles and had 30 performances with at least three blocks, providing fantasy owners with top-85 value. He'll head into next season as the best per-minute shot-blocker in the league.

The Bad

Fantasy owners were hoping Kevin Knox could thrive in a stable role with the Knicks. Once the calendar turned to December, Knox didn't see fewer than 28 minutes per game in any month. Theoretically, that's great. However, he struggled to score, even shooting 32.6 percent during a 12-game February. Knox was drafted with the hope of top-120 upside, but he finished the year outside of the top-250. Most people who drafted Tim Hardaway Jr. also got burned, as he finished the year outside of the top-150, shooting sub-40 percent from the field and providing little by way of supplementary stats. There was also some optimism surrounding Mario Hezonja, but his role was too spotty, and owners were forced to drop him early on.

State of the Franchise

Rumors are swirling about the possibility of Kyrie Irving and Kevin Durant joining forces in New York, and it's possible that happens on top of a No. 1 Draft pick, which would presumably be used to draft Zion Williamson. That's the dream scenario. All or none of those things could happen, and it's possible New York is left with the decision to keep tanking or stock up on some Tier 2 free agents: Nikola Vucevic, Jimmy Butler, Tobias Harris, Kemba Walker, etc.

Suns (19-63), o/u: 29.0 wins

The Good

Despite decreased efficiency on three-pointers, Devin Booker exceeded expectations as a fantasy player in terms of per-game averages. Playing just 64 games hurt owners, but Booker set career highs in points (26.6), assists (6.8) and field-goal percentage (46.7). Rookie Deandre Ayton turned some heads too, finishing as a top-45 player in terms of total production, averaging 16.3 points, 10.3 rebounds and 1.8 assists in 30.7 minutes. Another rookie, Mikal Bridges, despite a wildly-low 12.2 percent usage rate, ended up as a top-80 player in terms of total production. He hit 105 threes and collected 167 combined steals/blocks. A mid-season trade that send Trevor Ariza to the Wizards in exchange for Kelly Oubre also benefited fantasy owners in a big way. After being dealt to the Suns, Oubre averaged 16.9 points, 4.9 rebounds, 1.7 threes, 1.6 assists and 2.4 combined steals/blocks.

The Bad

Offseason moves (hiring a new coach, signing Trevor Ariza and Ryan Anderson) suggested that the Suns were looking to be competitive. In that respect, they failed by a huge margin. Anderson was deemed unplayable (again) and Ariza wasn't the difference-maker the team needed. The Suns weren't without bad luck, as T.J. Warren played just 43 games due to injury in the midst of a career year, which certainly hurt fantasy owners who thought they were getting a top-65 player for the whole season. Sophomore Josh Jackson turned in another underwhelming season, too, and there was little precedent for keeping him on your roster for long stretches of the year.

State of the Franchise

Like New York and Cleveland, Phoenix has a 14 percent chance of securing the No. 1 pick in this summer's draft.  The Suns will also have to make a decision about Kelly Oubre, who is one of the few expiring contracts on the books that demands consideration. Warm weather should make the Suns a free-agent destination, but poor moves by ownership and the lack of a winning culture puts the Suns at a disadvantage. The organization may have to continue building through the draft.

Cavaliers (19-63), o/u: 31.5

The Good

Collin Sexton and Cedi Osman both struggled at times, but overall, each young player had a good season. In terms of total production, Sexton finished just outside of the top-120, which is solid considering he's a 20-year-old point guard. Fantasy owners that hung onto him through the struggles were rewarded once the calendar turned to February. Over the final 30 games of the year, Sexton averaged 20.8 points on 46.2 percent shooting, 3.2 assists, 2.6 rebounds and 2.4 threes across 35.6 minutes. Osman also finished around the top-120, notably averaging 15.0 points on 50.9 percent shooting, 4.0 rebounds, 2.7 assists, 2.1 threes and 1.0 steal during January and February. Jordan Clarkson and Larry Nance also had quality fantasy seasons, with the former finishing as a top-100 player in terms of total fantasy production and the latter finishing in the top-80.

The Bad

Looking back, 31.5 was an absurd over/under. Taking the over meant a belief that a team led by the injury-prone Kevin Love and a 20-year-old point guard was expected to be flirting with the eighth or ninth seed in the Eastern Conference. Love ended up tanking many fantasy owners' squads, as he was often selected in the third or fourth round, and he ended up playing just 598 minutes. Tristan Thompson also had a bit of a lost year, playing only 1,198 minutes, not that he was a hot commodity on draft day. There just wasn't enough consistency within the Cavs' rotation to have confidence in many players for fantasy.

State of the Franchise

The Cavs have $134.2 million on the books for next season, so continuing to develop their young players will be a priority. A 14 percent chance of securing the No. 1 overall pick is certainly something to look forward to, but it really appears this franchise is three-to-five years away from competing again. Trading away Kevin Love and his significant contract should be on the minds of the organization, but that's much more easily said than done.

Mavericks (33-49), o/u: 36.0

The Good

Luka Doncic. The Mavericks made an aggressive move on draft night to acquire Doncic, and it's panned out well. The 19-year-old will surely win Rookie of the Year after averaging 21.2 points, 7.8 rebounds, 6.0 assists, 2.3 threes and 1.1 steals. Fantasy owners who also took the risk on Doncic had to be happy with his performance, as he finished as a top-55 player in terms of total production. Once DeAndre Jordan was shipped to New York, time opened up for Dwight Powell, who finished the year in the top-120. Across his final 22 appearances, Powell averaged 14.7 points, 7.6 rebounds and 2.4 assists on 64.6 percent shooting, and he was a popular waiver-wire pickup.

The Bad

The Mavericks sought competitiveness with their offseason move of signing DeAndre Jordan, but he wasn't enough to put the team over the hump. He had a solid year by his standards, finishing around the top-60 in terms of average, but Jordan's regression as a shot-blocker is worrisome. Harrison Barnes continued his underwhelming production before being dealt to Sacramento, and he finished outside of the top-100.  Dennis Smith was underwhelming as well, and he clearly didn't mesh well with Doncic. It wasn't a shock that the Mavericks decided to move on from the sophomore, and he finished the season outside of the top-140 in terms of average production despite being drafted around 90-100.

State of the Franchise

A worst-case scenario has the Mavericks lose their top-5 protected 2019 Draft pick to Atlanta this summer, but Dallas will still have a promising young core of Luka Doncic and Kristaps Porzingis. And if Dwight Powell accepts his $10.2 million player option, Dallas will have only $54.9 million in committed money this summer, which could be used to try to snag free agents. All things considered, the future looks bright for the Mavericks.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Alex Barutha
Alex is RotoWire's NBA Assistant Editor. He writes articles about daily fantasy, year-long fantasy and sports betting. You can hear him on the RotoWire NBA Podcast, Sirius XM, DraftKings Live and other platforms. Vince Carter and Alex both first dunked during their respective sophomore years of high school.
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