Top Post-Draft Fantasy Basketball Prospects

Although we are still waiting on numerous free-agency ‘decisions’, one major part of the offseason is in the books — the NBA Draft. Now that the annual player selection meeting has come and gone, our attention turns squarely into next season, in particular, who are the top post-draft fantasy basketball prospects to come out of Thursday night.

Unlike last season’s abomination of a rookie class, this one has the ability to dramatically effect the fantasy landscape for years to come. I wrote a comprehensive piece on RotoWire.com covering every pick made in both rounds of the draft, which you can read here. But this article will attempt to give my early ranks on the rookies you should be targeting, in redraft and dynasty formats.

Hope springs eternal for all NBA teams at this point, as it should for fantasy owners as well.

1. Jabari Parker, SF/PF, Milwaukee BucksJabari Parker

Projected Role — Starting Power Forward
NBA Comparison —  Carmelo Anthony (82) *rookie season per game nine cat fantasy rank
Projected Stat Line — 17 ppg, 1 3pm, 7 rpg, 1 apg, 1 spg, 0.9 bpg
2013-14 Stat Line — 19.1 ppg, 1.1 3pm, 8.7 rpg, 1.2 apg, 1.1 spg, 1.2 bpg

Everyone got their wish. Milwaukee wanted Parker. Parker wanted Milwaukee. Fantasy owners wanted Parker in Milwaukee. And we should be suitably excited for it. The Bucks’ roster is a shambles. Their ‘best’ player, Larry Sanders, was a wash out last season and has started this offseason by entering rehab, so the minutes are going to be there for Parker to gobble out.

After Ersan Ilyasova‘s lacklustre season in 2013-14, there’s no reason for the Bucks to sit Parker in deference to the enigmatic Turk. Although Parker can play at the three, I imagine would like to turn that position over to the Greek Freak, Giannis Antetokounmpo and run a three/four combo of their last two top draft picks.

Parker is the front-runner for Rookie of the Year and he’ll be hard pressed to be beaten as the best fantasy rookie as well and that’s why you need to take him as the first pick in rookie drafts and probably in the fifth to sixth round of standard drafts.

2. Julius Randle, PF, Los Angeles Lakers

Projected Role — Starting Power Forward
NBA Comparison — David Lee (234)
Projected Stat Line — 12 ppg, 10 rpg, 1 apg, 0.3 spg, 0.8 bpg
2013-14 Stat Line — 15.0 ppg, 10.4 rpg, 1.4 apg, 0.5 spg, 0.8 bpg

Even though his comparison is to David Lee, whose rookie ranking was less than ideal at 282, Randle has a much larger opportunity this year in Los Angeles to put up big numbers. Depending on how the roster takes shape in Los Angeles, he easily exceed the 12 and 10 I projected him before, but the thing limiting Randle is that he only contributes in three categories — points, rebounds and field goal percentage. If he can block some shots, it will help his fantasy value tremendously.

For this season, I think he safely slots in as the second best rookie and will be a decent target in about round seven or eight.

3. Marcus Smart, PG/SG, Boston CelticsMarcus Smary

Projected Role — Starting Shooting Guard
NBA Comparison — Dwyane Wade (90)
Projected Stat Line — 13.5 ppg, 1.3 3pm, 4.5 rpg, 4.5 apg, 1.5 spg
2013-14 Stat Line — 18 ppg, 16. 3pm, 5.9 rpg, 4.8 apg, 2.9 spg

Smart could go through the roof as a rookie if Rajon Rondo is moved, which is seemingly more and more possible every day, but for now, he is still a fairly safe selection as the third rookie off the board. A great rebounding guard, he should be able to translate that talent to the NBA as well and while his assisting will drop due to Rondo’s presence, he’ll have the chance to score. The problem being, he isn’t a great shooter. He only shot 42.2 percent as a sophomore at Oklahoma State and needs to get that number closer to 45 to help out more owners.

4. Andrew Wiggins, SF, Cleveland Cavaliers

Projected Role — Starting Small Forward

NBA Comparison — Rudy Gay (164)
Projected Stat Line — 13 ppg, 1.0 3pm, 6.1 rpg, 1.2 apg, 1.3 spg, 0.9 bpg
2013-14 Stat Line — 17.1 ppg, 1.2 3pm, 5.9 rpg, 1.5 apg, 1.2 spg, 1.0 bpg

The number one draft pick is not the best option for fantasy this year, but it won’t stop a lot of people from taking him first off the board. It’s not that he isn’t a good player, it’s more that he needs to develop and he is playing with two ball dominant guards in Kyrie Irving and Dion Waiters. He projects as a guy I’ll love in fantasy, a player who averages over a block, a three and a steal per game and looks to be a potential franchise player. I’ll go through dynasty ranks later, but Wiggins will be higher.

5. Dante Exum, PG/SG, Utah Jazzdante exum

Projected Role — Starting Shooting Guard
NBA Comparison — Anfernee Hardaway (30)
Projected Stat Line — 14 ppg, 1 3pm, 5 rpg, 5 apg, 1.5 spg
2013-14 Stat Line — 18.2 ppg, 1.9 3pm, 3.6 rpg, 3.8 apg, 1.7 spg (U19 World Champs)

The international man of mystery. The wonder from Down Under. Dante Exum bears many monikers, but none truly fit the humble kid from Melbourne Australia. Much like his role in Utah, the knowledge of his game is murky at best. What we do know is that he is exceptionally quick, with an innate ability to get to the hoop. He’ll most likely likely share the backcourt with second year man Trey Burke, but will get ample time with the ball in his hands as Alec Burks rounds out the three man guard rotation. He could possibly have the largest upside in the draft, but is also able to give you stats right away on a young and athletic Utah team. He’ll need to be snapped up in the top 100 of drafts.

6. Elfrid Payton, PG, Orlando Magic

Projected Role — Sixth Man/Backup Point Guard
NBA Comparison — Rajon Rondo (171)
Projected Stat Line — 12 ppg, 0.6 3pm, 4 rpg, 5 apg, 1.6 spg
2013-14 Stat Line — 19.2 ppg, 0.4 3pm, 6.0 rpg, 5.9 apg, 2.3 spg

As much of a mystery to many fans as Exum, Payton rose up mock drafts after his third season at University of Louisiana-Lafayette. Also like Exum and Smart ahead of him n the draft, is major downfall is his shot, but he’ll be a defensive terror and rebounding beast from the point guard spot. If the Magic move on fromJameer Nelson, which they’d love to do, Payton’s value soars.

7. K.J. McDaniels, SF, Philadelphia 76ers

Projected Role — Starting Small Forward
NBA Comparison — Jeffrey Taylor
Projected Stat Line — 12 ppg, 1.0 3pm, 6.5 rpg, 1 apg, 1 spg, 1.6 bpg
2013-14 Stat Line — 17.1 ppg, 1.2 3pm, 7.1 rpg, 1.6 apg, 1.1 spg, 2.7 bpg

Perhaps this a huge reach going with the 32nd pick in the draft, a second rounder. But just remember to have a sneaky peek at who drafted him. The Sixers’ first two picks won’t play this season and they had nobody last season who was a stalwart at small forward. It was a shock McDaniels dropped as far as he did and the stats he produced at Clemson are producible at the NBA level. He’ll get every chance he to play in Philadelphia and if his crazy defensive energies turn into boards and blocks, he’ll be a surprise pick for fantasy rookie of the year. Grab him with your last pick in drafts and stash him just in case.

8. Rodney Hood, SF, Utah Jazz

9. Noah Vonleh, PF, Charlotte Hornets

10. T.J. Warren, SF, Phoenix Suns

That list was exclusively for this season. For dynasty purposes, the list looks a little different

  1. Parker
  2. Wiggins
  3. Joel Embiid
  4. Exum
  5. Randle
  6. Smart
  7. Dario Saric
  8. Vonleh
  9. Aaron Gordon
  10. McDaniels

Let me if you agree or disagree with these early thoughts on Twitter (@redrock_bball) or email redrockfantasybasketball@gmail.com.

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