5 NBA Rookies You Should Roster in Fantasy Basketball This Season
The NBA season starts in two weeks, and with no Summer League and shortened training camps and preseason, the incoming rookie class will have to adapt quickly to the association.
Of course, some will adapt more quickly than others, and their numbers will reflect it. Players like James Wiseman on a contending Warriors squad. High-flying Knicks forward Obi Toppin who will be putting guys on posters all season. Frenchman Killian Hayes, who according to Pistons head coach Dwayne Casey is the team's starting facilitator.
Dwane Casey said that Killian Hayes is the starter at point guard right now.— Omari Sankofa II (@Omari Sankofa II) 1607280336.0
These young studs and many more could have big roles from the jump and thus be viable fantasy basketball candidates.
That being said, here are five rookies that should be rostered in fantasy leagues this season, factoring in their teams' current situations and the players' projected stats.
5. Killian Hayes
19-year-old Hayes is already being given the keys to the car, though the car is a Ford Focus. But maybe Hayes will turn the Focus into a Mustang; we'll see. For now, he brings a combination of shooting, driving and playmaking to a Detroit team that is in need of elite guard play aside from Derrick Rose, who wants to help groom the rookie into a star.
They have so many forwards on their roster that we might see Blake Griffin starting alongside Hayes in the backcourt (only partly joking).
But at 6-foot-5 and with an 80-inch wingspan, the international point guard exhibits the ability to score at all three levels. He's patient when looking to attack the rim and has good body control, but he's going to have to develop a right-handed drive over time.
Projected stats: 14.3 PPG, 5.5 APG, 4.1 RPG, 35% 3PT FG
4. Obi Toppin - Knicks
The Knicks actually had a decent offseason, which is rare to say, and it was highlighted by drafting the guy they had been eyeing for a while: Obi Toppin. The 22-year-old forward was the NCAAM AP Player of the Year and is known for doing things like this in games:
Obi Toppin's Knicks debut is 2 weeks from today https://t.co/zZu88NGpqL— NYK-NYJ-NYY-4Life (@NYK-NYJ-NYY-4Life) 1606516466.0
Because of his age and talent, Toppin should be a plug-and-play option who sees a lot of minutes early on. He's not locked in as a starter yet, as Julius Randle will presumably fill that slot. But Toppin could quickly overtake Randle as the team's top power forward as his game complements that of sophomore guard RJ Barrett's better.
Also noteworthy, the 6-foot-9 New York native has been working on his three ball nonstop during the offseason, an area that Randle has struggled with. Last season at Dayton, Toppin averaged 20 points and 7.5 rebounds on 63% shooting in about 32 min a game, including 39% from deep, although he barely attempted three triples a night. Regardless, he will provide the Knicks with some much-needed energy as they look to dig out of their lengthy hole of irrelevancy.
Projected stats: 13.5 PPG, 7 RPG, 1.2 BPG, 54% FG
3. James Wiseman - Warriors
After playing just three games at Memphis for Penny Hardaway, James Wiseman went No. 2 overall to the Warriors and immediately fills the team's need for a starting center. He's not expected to be a nightly 20/10 guy, though that was his average in his brief collegiate career, even as the Dubs aim to get back in the playoffs.
But Wiseman will be playing in a Steve Kerr system centered around the GOAT shooter in Stephen Curry and one of the league best passing forwards in Draymond Green. The 7-foot-1 big will be involved in both PNR and pick-and-pop action, as he can space the floor with his shooting. He will benefit from short dump off passes, lobs, running the floor and will clean up the glass on both sides of the floor. Draymond will maximize the rookie's length on defense, too.
Projected stats: 14.6 PPG, 8.1 RPG, 1.8 BPG, 58% FG
2. Anthony Edwards
He went first in this year's draft, but I have him second on this list. Nevertheless, Anthony Edwards has drawn comparisons to James Harden, though he compares himself to Dwayne Wade. Edwards' 6-foot-5, 225-pound frame is more than ideal for a shooting guard, and with an 82-inch wingspan and 42-inch vertical — he will be finishing above the rim more often than not and can make a defensive impact as well.
His perimeter shooting might be inconsistent at times, as the 19-year-old connected on just 29% of his triples in his lone season at Georgia. But he should get some quality looks in a lineup featuring a talented duo of Karl-Anthony Towns and D'Angelo Russell.
But playing alongside two All-Stars makes Edwards the third option, which isn't bad for a guy who wants to be playing football.
Projected stats: 15.1 PPG, 4.2 RPG, 2.6 APG, 44% FG, 31% 3PT FG
1. LaMelo Ball - Hornets
The No. 3 overall pick in 2020, LaMelo Ball enters a crowded Charlotte Hornets backcourt that features Terry Rozier and Devonte' Graham. Rozier is coming off career-highs of 18 PPG, 4.1 APG and 40% three-point shooting in the 2019-20 season — the first of his three-year, $57 million contract.
Graham, on the other hand, skyrocketed in his sophomore season, averaging 18.2 points and 7.5 assists after scoring less than five points a game the season prior.
But the 19-year-old Ball is a highly-touted prospect, and at 6-foot-8, his size combined with his playmaking and finishing ability could slot him as the team's starting point guard. Starting Rozier and Graham would leave Charlotte undersized in the backcourt, and with neither guard being a defensive specialist, that could be a problem.
LaMelo Ball's Teammates Say His VISION For Game NEXT LEVELyoutu.be
Plus, you don't draft a guy top-3 and bring him off the bench, right? I mean, you got that pick because your team sucked last season.
LaMelo will have the ball in his hands a lot (see what I did there) and will emerge as one of the team's best playmakers in addition to newly acquired veteran forward Gordon Hayward. The guard might struggle with his outside jumper a bit, but he's shown he has the range and confidence to take to take and make long-distance jumpers. He's my pick for Rookie of the Year.
Projected stats: 14.2 PPG, 6.8 APG, 6.6 RPG, 1.2 SPG
- NBA Players Are Doing More For Racial Equity Than Congress ... ›
- NBA Teams That Could Possibly Make a Surprise Playoff Run - Find Bet ›