Fantasy Basketball: Rookie Boom, Bust, and In-Between
Rookies are always tricky to judge in any fantasy sport and basketball no different because all of the players selected in the lottery dominated in college or overseas. While we know guys likes Andrew Wiggins and Jabari Parker are going to get quality playing time and be productive fantasy assests, it is hard to find other rookies that will put up solid numbers as well. Also, there are going to be some players that bust and you don't want those players on your fantasy squad. Here is a small group of players that are going to boom or bust this season, as well as some players that could fall in either category.
Dante Exum, Jazz G- While we don’t know a lot about Exum, NBA Scouts were raving about him and theres a reason he was selected with the fifth overall pick. However, the Jazz drafted Trey Burke last year and have been grooming Alec Burks as their starting shooting guard. Exum is a magnificent passer that can shoot the ball pretty well and get to the basket. If Exum can play himself into a big time role, which I believe he can, then he will produce in multiple categories and be a fantasy darling.
Elfrid Payton, Magic PG- Most people have never even heard of Payton, he was the “Do it all” point guard for Louisiana-Lafayette. He averaged 19.2 points, six rebounds/assists, 2.3 steals with a solid 51 FG% per game in his junior season. The Magic released Jameer Nelson and traded away Arron Afflalo, and despite signing Luke Ridnour, there is going to be plenty of playing time for Elfrid. Expect him to play 30 plus minutes per game as he should contribute in all categories, except three pointers made, thus giving him the potential to be one of the most productive rookies in fantasy basketball.
Also, really believe that Marcus Smart has major boom potential as well.
Nik Stauskas, Kings SG- There isn’t a lottery pick I hate more than Stauskas and there are so many reasons for that. The Kings drafted Ben McLemore last year and the sharp shooter Jimmer Fredette in 2011. Neither of those guys have panned out and this year they drafted another shooting guard, who is only known for his scoring abilities, in Nik Stauskas. He averaged 17.5 points, 2.9 rebounds, 3.3 assists, 0.6 steals in almost 36 minutes per game in his Sophomore season at Michigan. Klay Thompson, who is a great player and better than Stauskas, averaged 12.5 points,2.4 rebounds, two assists, and 0.7 steals in his NBA rookie season. Players that average those numbers are not on winning fantasy teams. Stauskas does nothing but shoot the ball and those guys usually fail in the NBA because defenders are quicker so it causes problems for them and he just isn’t that good at defense which will hinder his playing time. With a limited skill ability and multiple guards vying for playing time, Stauskas will be lucky to average 10 points per game, while contributing very little in every other counting category.
Want nothing to do with Aaron Gordon or Noah Vonleh this season because they are project players that will need some time to develope.
Doug McDermott, Bulls SF- We know Doug Mc-D can score the ball, but there are plenty of other questions that his play will have to answer. Can he guard NBA power forwards/small forwards? What position is he going to play? Can he get open by himself or does he have a post game? What position do the Bulls use him at? We won’t know any of these answers until we actually see him play vs NBA players, but he will need a lot of time to adjust and learn the NBA game. However, that can be said about most rookies, but McDermott will have a mediocre and inconsistent rookie season. He does remind me of a Ryan Anderson type of player (which is a good thing). He has more value in dynasty leagues than in redraft leagues because he has all the makings of a special player in the NBA, but has more long term value than short term value.
James Young and T.J. Warren are a couple of other players that have a chance to be really good, but will need some more seasoning and the chance to play quality minutes before they can have a major impact in fantasy leagues.
Make sure to store this information in your vault as the NBA season is still a few months away. Continue to check out the rest of the goodies that FantasyAlarm.com has to offer. Also, I will be writing fantasy basketball articles all throughout the dog days of summer to make sure you are well prepared for this upcoming fantasy basketball season. Most importantly, be on the lookout for an in-depth fantasy basketball draft guide that is going to blow your mind and help you dominate your fantasy basketball leagues. As always, feel free to hit me up on twitter @DaTrueGuru with any fantasy basketball questions or comments about this article.
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Anthony Bennett is a guy that is barely owned in fantasy leagues (4%) that will be one of the first players picked up. He's MIN backup PF.