Typically, rookies are not drafted until the middle to late stages in fantasy basketball. Yes, from time to time, there is a hyped player who enters round three, but most seasons the top rookie won’t go until the fourth or fifth round at the earliest. And it’s the same again this season.
This presents a huge opportunity for the discerning fantasy manager, who dedicates the early rounds to establishing his team’s foundation while keeping a certain or two for the middle and late rounds. Find the right rookie, and it can be a winning formula.
But who are the rookies coming this season? And who are the other sleeper first-year players to keep an eye on as the season progresses?
paolo bancheroPF, Orlando Magic
Banchero was the top overall pick and played likewise in the Summer League. His size, skill and athleticism allow him to score at will and control the offense with dribbles off the frontcourt. He has the size of the NBA and would be relied upon to produce as much as he could for a desperate Magic squad.
Estimated line: 20 ppg (46 fg%, 34 3p%, 74 ft%), 8 rpg, 3.5 epg, 1.3 3 pg, 1.0 spg, 1.0 bpg
Keegan MurrayPF, Sacramento Kings
Murray has the best chance of challenging Banchero for the leading scorer in this class. He is a combo forward who projects forward play in the NBA with a strong 3-point shooting range and a quick first move from the dribble. Murray showed this summer that he is capable of scoring 20 points per night if given the chance. The main question is whether he can get enough shots to do so, a characteristic that is on a team. D’Aaron Fox, domantas sabonis And Harrison Barnes,
Estimated line: 18 PPG (49 FG%, 38 3%, 75 FT%), 7 RPG, 1.5 APG, 1.7 3PG, 1.0 SPG, 1.1 BPG
Jabari Smith Jr.., PF, Houston Rockets
Smith is arguably downtown’s best spot-up shooter in this draft class, and he has the length and defensive time to develop into one of the better defenders. Smith is in line to be the Rockets’ starting force out of the gate, and will play off-ball around the rim as a 3-point shooter or athletic finisher when the offense is on. Smith is a strong on-ball defender at the post, and is quick to switch guards and interrupt the pick and roll. That defensive style should generate some stats, but not the amount of blocks he gets as a pure rim defender.
Estimated figures: 14 ppg (43 fg%, 39 3p%, 80 ft%), 6.5 rpg, 2.0 3pg, 1.5 apg, 1.1 bpg, 0.7 spg
Jaden IveyPG/SG, Detroit Pistons
Ivy is considered the best defender in this rookie class. He is ready to start on the shooting guard beside Cade Cunningham There is explosive quickness and leaping ability as a producer this season and out of the dribble for himself and his teammates. Ivey was a master at running the pick-and-roll/pop game as a ball handler this summer before getting injured. Since Cunningham is also a combo guard, the two may share the common/scorer role for the Pistons. Ivey has good potential as a scorer and distributor, with a streaky 3-point shot he’s working on as well as enough hands to contribute to steals.
Estimated stats: 16 PPG (45 FG%, 36 3P%, 75 FT%), 4.5 RPG, 4.0 APG, 1.7 3PG, 1.1 SPG, 0.4 BPG
Benedict MathurinSF, Indiana Pacers
Mathurin looked like a pro in the Summer League and could be called upon from day one in a rebuilt Pacers team. It is not clear whether giants like Buddy Heeld either Miles Turner Will remain in the team as soon as the season starts, but Mathurin joins tyres halliburton, Chris Duarte And Jalen Smith As potential building blocks for Indiana in the future. The chemistry between Mathurin and Duarte was one of the highlights of the Pacers’ Summer League team. Mathurin has great size and explosiveness for a pawn with a strong 3-point shot. He doesn’t do much to create a dribble, so he’ll have to rely on his teammates to set up for open jumpers or finish around the rim.
Estimated figures: 14 ppg (44 fg%, 37 3p%, 80 ft%), 4.5 rpg, 1.5 ppg, 1.8 3 pg, 0.8 spg, 0.2 bpg
To keep an eye on other crooks
Tari IsonSF, Houston Rockets
Eason managed to become one of the most productive players on the Rockets this summer, playing alongside Jabari Smith Jr. and Josh Christopher. The 6-foot-8 forward averaged a double-double with 17 points and 10 rebounds and was a plus contributor to steals, 3-pointers and blocks. He’s one of the biggest rookies in this class at age 21, so he can contribute immediately if called upon. The Rockets are one of the youth teams in the league, currently starting with four players aged 22 or under… and 33 years of age. Eric Gordon, Looks like Ishaan and J’Sean Tate The two could get a chance to start small ahead before the season ends, and could play their way up the fantasy radar if Eason gets the call.
Walker KesslerC, Utah Jazzu
Kessler has a real opportunity to start rebuilding Jazz this season. Although he is technically behind the recently traded center kelly olenik On the depth chart, Kessler is a 21-year-old first-round rookie who was traded to the Jazz as part of his deal. Rudy Goberte, He is an elite shot-blocker who generated 4.6 BPG for the Auburn Tigers last season, and his per-40 minute stats were 17.9 PP40, 12.6 RP40 and 7.1 BP40. He never showed he could play key minutes, and still has to earn minutes in the jazz rotation, but he is a potential sleeper as a defensive role player in the Division League if he starts.
shadon sharpSG, Portland Trail Blazers:
Sharp was one of the top rookies in this class, but he also has a lot to grow since he didn’t play in college. Sharpe was also injured almost immediately in his Summer League debut, so he didn’t even get a chance to compete with the pros this summer. with Damien Lillard And anferney simmons in the backcourt and stalwarts like Jeremy Grant and jusuf narkik On the front line, it’s unlikely Sharpe will get big minutes or opportunities to start the season. But, if the Trail Blazers have a season like last, where they go into offseason mode early on, they might want to see what they have in Sharp in the later part of the season.
Mark WilliamsC, Charlotte Hornets
Williams has a legitimate opportunity to compete Mason Plumley For the starting center job at some point this season. He’s one of the best defensive, shot-blocking big guys to come out of this draft and the Hornets need that. Also, being 21 years old lamello ball The team’s centerpiece gives the Hornets a youthful slant, and if Williams can develop rapport with the ball it could increase his chances of earning heavy minutes as the season goes on.
Jalen WilliamsSG/SF, Oklahoma City Thunder
While all eyes were on the second number of the overall pick Chet Holmgren, Williams was another lottery pick for the Thunder. And, on his perennially rebuilding team, Williams has the opportunity to earn a spot in the rotation. Williams is a shooter at catch-and-shoot 3-pointers, so if he earns the minute he could be worth long-term consideration in the category league as a 3-point role player.
johnny davisGee, Washington Wizards
Davis was a consensus All-American First Team last season, with college averages of 19.7 ppg, 8.2 rpg, 2.1 epg and 1.2 rpg at 34.2 mpg. But, he had a disastrous summer league in which he wasn’t able to keep up with the pace in Las Vegas… Additionally, the Wizards lacked talented depth on the backcourt, and Davis had to play himself in the rotation. is the opportunity. If he can prove that what I saw in Vegas was a fluke, and he is able to translate his all-American potential to the next level instead.
Dyson DanielsPG/SG, New Orleans Pelicans
Daniels is a sizable combo guard, and he played in the NBA G-League last season, so he already has professional experience. He is expected to play some point guard role in the pros, and once he develops he can fit well next to a 6-3 combo guard CJ McCallum, But, the Pelicans have serious aspirations later this season, with an impressive start like five more prior starts Devonte Graham And Larry Nance is coming off the bench. Barring injury, it is unlikely that he gets enough runs to be considered imaginary.
Jalen DurenC, Detroit Pistons
Durren is the youngest member of this draft class, but has grown the man size to eventually develop into a dominant two-way center. He stretched during the Summer League, where he sank several assets in a short amount of time, and his ability to finish around the rim is probably ready to go. However, the rest of his game is not. The Pistons are a young team, but they played well to finish last season and would like to use their vets to help establish a winning culture. Duren seems more like a developmental player for this season, but I’m still keeping my eye if they decide that’s the best way for them to develop alongside their other young centerpieces.
big branhamg/f, and jeremy thoughtSF/PF, San Antonio Spurs
Spurs are in the midst of a rebuild after ousting their best players since the start of last season. they retain Keldon Johnson And jacob poultlyand young guard Devin Vasey Hoping to get a bigger role in this season. But, for their rookies, Branham and Sochan, the door is clearly open for the season to start minutes before the end. Branham is a 3-and-D type, while Sochan is a defender with a weak jumper. Neither is likely to put in a large number, but if one of the two starts, it would be worth keeping an eye out for them.