Memphis Tigers center James Wiseman celebrates a play against the South Carolina State Bulldogs on November 5, 2019 at the FedExForum.

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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.

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:

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.

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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

Paul George grabbing a rebound in Game 5 of the Western Conference Finals

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In a must win game for the Los Angeles Clippers, Paul George was finally able to look like the best player on the floor in a playoff game.

After a slow start, George poured it on in the second half on his way to a game high 41 points in Game 5. The performance elevated the Clippers over strong outings from the likes of Devin Booker and Chris Paul as L.A. outlasted Phoenix 116-102.

The Clippers don't have much time to bask in their win however as they have to turn around and play two more elimination games just to make it out of the West. The Suns jumped out to a 3-1 series lead as Los Angeles struggled to find their identity without Kawhi Leonard. If the Clippers are to stave off elimination any longer, George has to continue this level of play.

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Ben Simmons disappointed in the playoffs this season

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Following a Game 7 loss to the Atlanta Hawks, the Philadelphia 76ers and coach, Doc Rivers, are questioning if Ben Simmons is the right guy to be running their offense through moving forward.

Offense being the key word here.

Simmons is an all-world defender possessing the ability to guard virtually any opponent on the court from the perimeter to the rim. But it was his lack of offensive help throughout this playoff season that stood out beyond any accomplishments this year. Simmons joined Rudy Gobert as unanimous selections for the NBA's All-Defensive First Team this year and also finished fifth in the NBA in assists per game with 8.8 per contest.

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The Phoenix Suns are just a win away from sending LeBron James home in the first round of the playoffs for the first time in the King's illustrious career.

After stating that "These shoulders were built for a reason," James referring to facing the challenge of taking on added responsibilities after Anthony Davis was ruled out for Game 5, the Lakers and LeBron disappointed in a big way Tuesday night. L.A. started off hot jumping out to a 10-5 lead behind a couple shots from James and a three from Davis' replacement Markieff Morris. But it didn't take long for the wheels to completely fall off for the defending champion Lakers as they spent most of the first half trying to remember how basketball works.

LeBron James LeBron looking on during Game 5Christian Petersen/Getty Images

Two numbers stick out in the Game 5 loss for the Lakers and those are 34.5 and 12. Los Angeles shot 34.5% from the field on Tuesday night and were minus 12 in turnover ratio. No matter who's on your team, if you can't shoot and you can't protect the ball, the outcome is already determined.

The Suns weren't simply beneficiaries of a poor performance however as the Suns put it on the Lakers early and often and they never let their foot off the pedal for 48 minutes. Phoenix ended with 15 more assists, had seven more combined steals and blocks, and outscored L.A. in the paint by 12 points. Devin Booker and Cameron Payne were spectacular and they seemed to hit big shots every time the Lakers appeared to threaten a comeback. Mikal Bridges was effective on both sides of the ball adding three steals and two blocks to help electrify his team with the defensive effort.


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