We are four days removed from the NBA draft and the ripples have finally settled. We saw 3 major trades, minor moves for positioning, and several teams filing immediate needs. The reason you don’t see a lot of draft talk on Hoop Zero is because rookies often have little impact in their first Fantasy Basketball season – those that do you already know about and pointing it out again won’t be a huge help to you. Hoop Zero will focus analysis on the upcoming season and how the bigger draft day moves and names will pan out.
- Brooklyn Nets Trade Brook Lopez and 27th overall pick to Los Angeles Lakers for D’Angelo Russell and Timofey Mozgov
- Fantasy Winners: D’Angelo Russell. Look for his minutes to spike into the 30s and with this horrid Nets roster he will eat, eat, eat. Lonzo Ball. Ball now has the opportunity to do this thing in LA without the Media talking about a Point Guard controversy.
- Fantasy Losers: Ivica Zubac. We all laughed last year when the one guy in our league snagged Zubac … a few weeks later she/he was the one laughing. This up and comer will now be a backup but still good in a handcuff/long-term keeper league role.
- Push: Brook Lopez. Already with great value on the Nets he slots into a similar role. Should be a good complement to Julius Randle for this offense.
- Chicago Bulls trade Jimmy Butler and 16th overall pick to Minnesota Timberwolves for Kris Dunn, Zach LaVine, and 7th overall pick.
- Fantasy Winners: The real winner is Dwayne Wade. While D-wade isn’t young anymore he has learned the 3. Wade hit 101 more 3s in 2016-17 than in 2015-16. He barely even attempted 3s in his later year in Miami. Understanding that Butler took major pressure off him, Wade may be asked to do more of the facilitation right? Wrong. Lavine and Dunn should be able fill that role and DWade will get more of the shots he wants. I see Wade value sitting steady.
- Fantasy Losers: Zach LaVine. He was in a good situation with a club he was familiar with. Going to the Bulls and coming off a major ACL injury, I worry his drop in athletic ability and inefficiencies will catch up with him.
- Push: Jimmy Butler. He will still get his minute sand is an amazing player with more options around him. Sure the scoring might dip but why can’t the assists increase?
- Charlotte Hornets trade Marco Belinelli, Miles Plumlee, and 41st overall pick to Atlanta Falcons for Dwight Howard and 31st overall pick.
- Push: Nothing extreme in either direction here. This was mainly a real-life basketball operations move centered on the Howard contract.
Rookies and the Draft
By now we know the draft board (http://www.nba.com/draft/board) and the hot takes. Therefore, let’s take a look at the best opportunity for fantasy production for those selected in this year’s draft:
- Markelle Fultz (76ers): The best chance at providing fantasy value from this draft. He has great options and will be given the opportunity to make mistakes and improve. Top 75 would make sense in some formats especially if you find yourself without a decent PG in your draft.
- Lonzo Ball (Lakers): Good player but his fantasy impact will be limited. He will have games of fireworks and then night where you wished you benched him. Like many in this draft after the 10th round makes sense
- Malik Monk (Hornets): Think Handcuff to Kemba Walker and a good source of threes. Other than that not loving him in redraft leagues
- Lauri Markkanen (Bulls): This is the one who interests me the most as a late rounder flier. Big and can stretch the floor. He will more than likely be a waiver wire add/drop until all-star break but I could see him getting more than a 3 and block per game which in some formats is gold.
Questions on the Brain?
Where do I draft (Insert any rookie name)? Other than one guy (see below), anyone in the first 75 picks of a re-draft feels like too soon. Rookies are often poor in FG% and turnovers. If you are building a team around certain categories, this changes. One major category this year is assists. If you want/need a point guard who can deliver assists this is the rookie class to lean on for Dime. Shoot for those who have the highest opportunity (think minutes played and solid teammates who make buckets) … but don’t be surprised when the turnovers start to pile up.
Who are we forgetting?
Ben Simmons. He’s still the best prospect we’ve seen in years and will be the Rookie of the Year (yes, he is eligible #trusttheprocess ). Among his fellow rookies, Simmons has the best opportunity for minutes, major leeway to make mistakes, and the widest range of plus skills among rookies. One thing to point out about Simmons is his height. Listed at 6’10 and the dude can jump. He blocked 27 shots in 33 games at LSU. The block numbers will sway his value is a major way.
Overall prediction: At best Simmons will be a top 40 player but will oscillate between 50 and 90 in most weeks. If you’re not in a keeper or dynasty league someone may jump the shark in the 4th round of a ten team league but the highest I’d reach is pick 50 – and that would only be if I was extremely happy with my first few picks or if I was a 76ers fan.