by Will Overton
What this past year’s draft class lacked In star power it kind of, sort of made up for it in depth and role player ability. When fantasy owners hear the words role player they roll their eyes and move on to the next massi...
by Will Overton
What this past year’s draft class lacked In star power it kind of, sort of made up for it in depth and role player ability. When fantasy owners hear the words role player they roll their eyes and move on to the next massive upside guy waiting to disappoint. There is a place in fantasy basketball for role players and I think this draft class will turn out to have quite a few of them.
Here are the top ten rookies in my opinion for this season:
1. Victor Oladipo – PG/SG, Orlando Magic: This is the number one rookie for me already, but he could widen the gap for me depending on what the preseason holds, and I’ll be watching closely. I don’t think he’ll start right away no matter what, but I am curious to see how he gets used. If Oladipo gets time at point guard and looks like he can handle the job his value goes up exponentially. If the Magic trust him to run the point as Jameer Nelson’s backup he’ll likely see 30 minutes per game off the bench and eventually Nelson or Aaron Afflalo will be traded to make room for him.
2. Trey Burke – PG, Utah Jazz: Opportunity, opportunity, opportunity. Burke wasn’t drafted as high as some of the people on this list, but no one landed in a more favorable spot for fantasy value purposes. Burke looks like an NBA ready player and he should start from day one. He has NBA range as a shooter and despite his size a fearlessness to go to the hole. The Jazz have a lot of new starters, but these young guys have all kinds of talent around him, especially the big guys, and that should do a lot of Burke’s value.
3. Ben McLemore – SG, Sacramento Kings: Here’s the wild card of this list. McLemore could finish the year as the number one rookie or outside of the top ten. He probably has more talent than anyone else on this list, but there’s a reason he went seventh in the draft and not first. McLemore has 20 PPG upside, I really believe that, but he has a tendency to get lost on the court at times and can be too passive. If he figures it out and becomes more aggressive about wanting the ball and driving to the hoop he has the capability to be special as a scorer.
4. Michael Carter-Williams – PG, Philadelphia 76ers: I’m really not the biggest fan of MCW out there, but this is another pretty ideal spot. Carter-Williams should be starting right away and while he isn’t as NBA ready as Burke, he has NBA ready skills. He is a very good passer and should get 6 – 7 assists per game right away. He also has crazy long spider like arms and good defensive instincts, so he should get a fair amount of steals. What he won’t do it shoot a good percentage, like really bad, and he won’t make many threes.
5. Anthony Bennett – SF/PF, Cleveland Cavaliers: Where these other guys have landed in favorable spots, Bennett hasn’t as much. The opening in Cleveland’s lineup is at small forward and NBA scouts are very torn on whether Bennett is quick/athletic enough to play the three. If that doesn’t happen he’s relegated to backing up the power forward spot along with Earl Clark, so it’s pretty crowded. I think somehow, someway the Cavs find enough minutes for Bennett to make him relevant, it’s just a matter of how relevant. Hopefully this won’t be another Derrick Williams situation where there just isn’t a good place for him.
6. Otto Porter – SF, Washington Wizards: I’m taking a wait and see approach on Porter. I think he has talent, I don’t know how high his ceiling will be though. Porter brings skills to the table with his threes and defense, but he does have competition in Martell Webster for playing time after he had a mini-breakout campaign last season.
7. Cody Zeller – PF, Charlotte Bobcats: This is one of my sleeper rookies. Despite being selected fourth overall I think he’s getting ignored in the majority of fantasy leagues right now and it might be a mistake. Zeller is the stretch four type of guy who can complement Al Jefferson well on the floor. Zeller isn’t a three point