NBA Draft: First Year Fantasy Forecast
The whirlwind that was the 2014 NBA Draft has come and gone. Now it's time for us to turn our focus to what really matters, the fantasy value of these rookies, so here is the first year fantasy forecast for the top players in this draft.
While we do know a good deal about these players, we will get a better feel on all of these players after watching these guys play in the summer league. Yes, it is only summer league, but it is the best way to see how good these players compete vs each other.
Another thing to be aware of now that the draft is completely finished, is the fact that free agency and trades will increase some of these guys value because teams will ship players away in order to free up playing time for their prized rookie. Something we will keep you abreast of here: NBA Player News. So let's turn our focus to what you're really yearning for and that is the rookies that will have a positive fantasy impact from day one of the 2014-15 season.
Jabari Parker SF, Milwaukee Bucks- The Bucks love Parker and he is a better offensive player than Wiggins. The Bucks are building for the future, but also want players that can contribute right now and Parker fits that role perfectly. My only concern with Parker is that the Bucks also have a small forward in Kris Middleton, who played surprisingly well last season, and a shooting guard/small forward hybrid in Giannis Antetokounmpo, A.K.A “The Greek Alphabet”, who has apparently grown two more inches and is almost seven feet tall. The Bucks could continue to start G.A. at the shooting guard position while letting Parker play the small forward position, which would give him a plethora of minutes and make him one of the best fantasy rookies out there. He would be the first rookie I would take as long as they plan on starting him at either the shooting guard or small forward position.
Andrew Wiggins SF, Cleveland Cavaliers - Heard a lot about how raw he is, that he is an athletic player with great defensive abilities, and how flat his shot is and that it needs work. The good thing about Wiggins is the fact he should be their starting small forward from day one, as the Cavs cleared up more playing time by shipping away Alonzo Gee and are not expected to resign Luol Deng. Wiggins will have a low shooting percentage, but should still put up double digit points with five to six rebounds and a steal/ block per game. He will be better in total points leagues than rotisserie leagues because of the low shooting percentages and inconsistent play. Wiggins will have a lot of pressure on him since he was the #1 overall pick. However, he will get plenty of playing time and that equals fantasy production.
Marcus Smart PG/SG, Boston Celtics - Almost seems like a sure thing that the Celtics are trading Rajon Rondo after drafting Smart because they are both point guards. Rondo is more of a passing guard while Smart is a better play maker that the Celtics can groom and build around. He will get plenty of playing time from the start even if Rondo is still there, but would likely be the starter if Rondo gets dealt. Smart will be one of the best rookie fantasy values if he begins the season as the starting point guard for the Celtics.
Julius Randle PF, L.A. Lakers- The versatile forward is the rookie I am most likely to own in fantasy leagues. The Lakers currently have three players under contract, THREE!! Those three players are Kobe Bryant, Steve Nash-ticals, and Robert Sacre (who most people have never heard of). That means Randle will be thrust into a big time role from the beginning and is going to be under the tutelage of Kobe Bryant. That is a big deal for a rookie because Randle will get to see what it takes to be great in the NBA and Kobe will push him to be better every single day. He will produce all around numbers and be one of the Lakers pivotal players this season. Of course, this all depends on his foot being 100%, which it sounds like it is. He is my dark horse for Rookie of the Year and will be a solid fantasy contributor in all formats.
T.J. Warren SF, Phoenix Suns - Warren is one of the best scorers in this draft and that is evident by his elite stats in college last season, which was only his sophomore season, by averaging 25 points, 7.1 rebounds, 1.8 steals, with a 52.5 FG%. P.J. Tucker was the Suns starting small forward last season and is a free agent this summer so the Suns will likwly turn to T.J. Warren as their starting small forward. He will thrive at the NBA level because he can score the ball at will and will be a sleeper in fantasy drafts.
Continue to check back to Fantasy Alarm as we will be producing multiple fantasy related articles on the draft that includes rookies that will be better long term values, boom or busts rookies, sleepers, and more. As always, feel free to shoot me any fantasy basketball related question on twitter @DaTrueGuru .