2014 NBA Draft: Early Fantasy Basketball Rookie Awards
Most of you fantasy basketball fans have either attended a basketball camp and/or have sent your kid off to one. If you have, it probably concluded, as my son’s did this past week, with the handing out of any possible award they could think of in order to send off the camper with some type of accolade to brighten their summer days. Well, while having to sit through one made up award after another, I got the idea of passing the time by creating some of our own future awards, in collaboration with @DaTrueGuru Mark Kaplan, for members of this year’s crop of rookies. We will start with some more common type of awards, then move into more fabricated ones that may give you a better idea of what type of fantasy value we see some of this season’s rookies providing for fantasy owners both in the immediate future and beyond. So, while we lineup this year’s preseason awards go ahead and bookmark FantasyAlarm.com’s NBA Player News feed so you keep up with the latest on-going happenings in the NBA.
(Note: Kaplan’s picks appear in italics while Pichan’s appear in normal font).
Best Offensive Player in 2014:
Consensus is in and it’s SF Jabari Parker Milwaukee Bucks
Best Defensive Player in 2014- So good you would draft them on their defense alone:
Marcus Smart PG Boston Celtics
Andrew Wiggins SF/SG Cleveland Cavaliers
Top 3-point Shooter (Will score most triples in 2014)
Doug McDermott SG Chicago Bulls- This is the hardest award to pick because there are very few good, long range shooters that will also get playing time.
Agree Dougie McBuckets most likely to take this award home, but a dark horse could be Hornets SG P.J. Hairston
The Elmer’s Award- For that glue type player who will be a team’s catalyst doing a little bit of everything:
Aaron Gordon PF Orlando Magic
Adreian Payne PF Atlanta Hawks
Best Project Player- (Player Worth Drafting in Dynasty, who will have little to no fantasy impact in 2014 but could blow up in near future)
Noah Vonleh PF Charlotte Hornets-don’t think he is going be great this season, always thought of him as a project. I know I am stealing away Nomad’s Man crush, but sometimes it just has to be done, but then again he loved the Vampire Vitor Faverani last year, and we all know how that worked out.
Me and Vitor are on a break...oh what could have been. Let’s hope my relationship with Vonleh lasts longer than my previous one with my favorite dark horse from last year’s rookie class in Faverani. Well since Kap is courting one of my new man crushes I’ll drop another one on you:
T.J. Warren SF Phoenix Suns
Damian Lillard Award (Biggest Surprise from the Guard Position):
Dante Exum G Utah Jazz
Elfrid Payton PG Orlando Magic-expect the JV team from Flordia to make a move with Jameer Nelson whether it is a trade or an outright release before July 15th, either way it should open up serious playing time for the former Ragin’ Cajun who could prove to be all the rage among this year’s crop of rookies.
Kawhi Leonard Award (Player currently blocked who may contribute some in 2014, but could blow up in a couple years).
T.J. Warren SF Phoenix Suns
You already know I love that pick, and Kaplan feels the same for this pick:
Garry Harris SG Denver Nuggets
Paul George Award (Mid-first round superstar in the making)
James Young SG Boston Celtics
P.J. Hairston SG Charlotte Hornets
Gourgi Dieng Award (Biggest Surprise from the Forward/Center Position 2014)
Jusuf Nurkic C Denver Nuggets
The player pool, from which to chose from, for this category is shallower than that kiddie pool Kaplan has been chilling in to cool off this summer, so here is my take on: Jusuf Nurkic
A dark horse could have been Hawks C Walter Tavares, but it seems doubtful Atlanta will attempt to buyout the recent three-year deal the 7-foot-3 center signed with Gran Canaria just a week before the NBA Draft.
Anthony Bennett Award (Highest Pick Pansy/top bust):
Nik Stauskas G Sacramento Suns
Hell any of the Michigan and Michigan State Players could fall into this category as the team’s they landed on seemingly could not have been any worse of a fit. So, since Stauskas was the highest of the four UofM/MSU players drafted between he, Adreian Payne, Gary Harris, and Mitch McGary he gets this award, which I guess is only fitting because both he and Bennett are both Canadian.
Chandler Parsons Award ( 2nd round pick that could become a stud)
Cleanthony Early SF New York Knicks
Great pick by the Knicks, and a little surprised Kap didn’t go with PF Jarnell Stokes whom the Jazz took with the 35th overall pick then traded the former University of Tennessee forward to his Grizzlies.
Nick Johnson PG Houston Rockets-would have liked for last season’s Pac-12 Player of the Year to have landed with a different team as it will likely be tough for him to carve out playing time in the early going with Jeremy Lin and more importantly Patrick Beverley on the Rockets roster.
Here is an interesting side story, for some shits and giggles in case you missed it: While at the University of Arizona last season, Johnson sent out a tweet saying, “James Harden plays NOOOOOOOOOO DEFENSE.” Johnson surely will be put to the test right from the get go as Harden was well aware of the tweet, even though he holds no personal grudge and was vocally happy about the pick, you know the former Sun Devil will be anxious to try and put it to the former Wildcat in Johnson once camp starts.
Nerlens Noel C Philadelphia 76ers-Yes, that’s right, don’t forget about Noel who will be eligible for this award after having sat out all of last season. If you want to force my hand though and make me call a ROY from this year’s draft class then it would be the former Dukie that Mark is on board with.
Jabari Parker SF Milwaukee Bucks
Dark Horse for ROY
Julius Randle PF Los Angeles Lakers
T.J. Warren SF Phoenix Suns-we both see point guards Marcus Smart and Elfrid Payton as possible dark horses, but like Warren it will all depend if/when the veteran starter in front them is moved. In Warren’s case his value would sky rocket should P.J. Tucker, whom the Suns made a restricted free agent by extending a qualifying offer to on Tuesday, not return.
Feel free to add some of your own awards in the comment section below and check out Mark Kaplan's NBA Draft: First Year Fantasy Forecast .