Over the 2010s, there have not been many players who have defined what it means to be underrated as well as Mike Conley of the Utah Jazz. While the star point guard was a model of consistency and key piece to the “Grit-and-Grind” Grizzlies, the former Ohio State Buckeye is not as revered by casual fans because he played in Memphis.
Even though the point guard has never made an All-Star team, the 12-year veteran has been very consistent over his time in the league. While he has only averaged more than 20 points twice in his career (2016-17 and 2018-19), he has averaged more than 15 points in each of the last six seasons to go along with more than six assists per game in seven of the past nine seasons.
While these numbers don’t necessarily reflect that of a star point guard, having Conley on your fantasy basketball roster is wise, as he can always be counted on for at least 15 points and six assists each game, which is always nice to have either off your bench or in a flex position.
That assist number is likely to go up as Conley embarks on this new journey in Utah. While Memphis features a lot of young talent like Jaren Jackson Jr., Conley will get to play with fellow potential All-Stars in Donovan Mitchell and Rudy Gobert. This is the first time Conley will play with guys who have a chance to be legitimate All-Stars since Marc Gasol and Zach Randolph were at the peak of their powers earlier this decade.
Pairing Conley with Mitchell gives the Jazz one of the better backcourts in the NBA. Conley’s ability to find passing angles and get his teammates open will help boost Mitchell’s game, while all the attention on Mitchell will usually make Conley open on drives. If he can excel at shooting corner 3-pointers off Mitchell’s passes, the Jazz will finish toward the top of the Western Conference.
That backcourt duo is projected to be prolific when it comes to advanced statistics, as they are ranked in the top 10 of FiveThirtyEight’s CARMELO rankings, placing them ninth in the league with a projected WAR (Wins Above Replacement of 10.0.
Utah’s projected starting lineup of Conley, Mitchell, Bojan Bogdanovic, Joe Ingles and Rudy Gobert is the ideal lineup in terms of Conley’s fantasy success. He has a great pick-and-roll partner in Gobert to get the offense rolling, and should he get stopped before he reaches the basket, he can find his prolific scorer in Mitchell or find Bogdanovic and Ingles spotting up all around the 3-point arc.
So while his averages seem a little mundane on paper, those numbers are expected to increase this season. If Utah can manage to be at the top of the Western Conference by the time the season is over, there will have been a lot of points to go around, and Conley will have his hands on a lot of those points.
There is an argument to be made that Conley may not be the hipster star point guard everyone thinks he is. But at the very least, Conley is a consistent performer who will put up strong numbers, even if they aren’t flashy. 12 years of NBA play under his belt, a healthy change of scenery and a great starting lineup around him may lead Conley to a career year statistically, making him a great pickup in your fantasy league.